The owner of the karaoke bar kicked them out around 3 in the morning. Neither of them were ready to go home, so Gunther suggested going to Myshuno Meadows. At first the name didn’t ring a bell and Guinevere thought it was a cemetery. Of course, he laughed at her “honest and adorable” mistake. It was then that she learned the name of park she used to frequent after leaving the castle so long ago. They walked up the wedding aisle and sat in the first row of seats.
“Cornelia wants to get married here. No idea why, but I might just go along with it.” He leaned forward, elbows on his knees and chin resting on his hands. His hair fell over his shoulder creating a curtain between them. Guinevere looked around at the scenery to give him some alone time. It was a beautiful place, though it was a bit tacky with the decor.
“I like it.” She murmured, hoping to raise his spirits. “It has a charm that I can easily see appealing to Cornelia. Clean, and picture perfect.” Gunther snorted and laughed wryly.
“Yeah. That’s all this sham of a marriage will be. Picture perfect.” She brushed his hair away from his face and back over his shoulder. There was a hollow expression on his face…an emotion she was sure she would see on her face after every league meeting.
“Maybe it won’t be as bad as you’re expecting it to be. Did you listen to my advice last time we talked about this?” A stiff nod from Gunther told her it didn’t go well, but she probed anyway. “And?”
“She didn’t appreciate it. Like I expected.” Oh.
“What did you do?” Guinevere kept her tone as neutral as she could.
“I took her to the opera show she wanted to go to, but apparently she didn’t want to go with me. I think she’s embarrassed of me or something.” It was Guinevere’s turn to snort with laughter.
“Well there’s a solution for getting her out of your hair after you’re married…put her in an institute because she’s crazy if she’s embarrassed by you.” She triumphantly smiled when she noticed the corners of his mouth twitch into a brief grin. “So…have you decided on a date?”
“Nope. Still arguing about that. Naturally. Picture perfect, remember? Have you decided on a date?”
“Hell no. I have all the time in the world, remember?”
“I’m scared, Gwen. Everything is going to change when I get married. I won’t be able to spend time with you anymore. Especially after children happen.” Guinevere grabbed his hand and squeezed.
“There’s always the glade. I’ll gladly be there for you…I think it’s safe to say you’re my best friend, and I don’t want anything to change that.”
“Thank you. We should leave this evil place before I get even more broody.” He stood and pulled her up, catching her in a quick embrace.
They walked the trail, reading the disaster placards and talking about anything that wasn’t Cornelia and the impending wedding. The spa trip may have brought outer and bodily peace, but walking in nature with Gunther brought an inner peace she had never felt before. It was then that she thought of something.
“I knew we said no more talk about duties.” She started slowly, trying to put the idea into words. “But, hear me out, what would happen if you just…disappeared?”
“I’ve never really considered it an option before, but I guess the business would be given to my sister Frida, or even her husband. Frida’s not interested in the business at all but her husband might be. He’s more of a tech guy though, so I’m not sure how well he would do in meetings. As for the title, Frida would inherit that.”
“So you’re saying, everything would be fine?” Gunther shrugged.
“It’s a little more complicated than that. My parents have spent so long putting everything in place for when they pass, and I don’t want to mess that up for them. Leaving would be throwing a wrench in perfecting working machine.”
“You’re a human being! Not a gear, or whatever.” Gunther stopped and put his hands on her shoulders. He looked deeply into her eyes and sighed.
“I’m duty bound. Even if I left…I would feel guilty for abandoning them. I think that’s why they invested so much into my future so I would be guilty if I failed in any way.” Ever since they met, she knew he was a dutiful son. That’s one of the reasons she felt comfortable with him.
“It was just a thought.” A completely incomplete thought. What that happen if he did run away? Not like anything could happen between us anyway. He’s human. His hands slid from her shoulders, down her arms and to her hands.
“It was a good thought. But I can’t run away from my problems. Just like you can’t.” They embraced just as the sun started to rise. “You should go home.” He muttered into her hair.
“I can stay out a little longer, I’ll be fine.” I just don’t want to leave yet.
After their embrace, he picked a rose from a nearby bush and handed it to her.
“You match.” Amusement twinkled in his eyes.
“My middle name is Rose.” She took the rose and ensured the thorns wouldn’t prick her.
“Really? I didn’t know that. Are roses your favorite flower?” Guinevere stuck her nose into the center of the flower and nodded.
“They were my mom’s favorite too. They’re part of the Alcorn family crest. She told me it’s because the women were very beautiful and very deadly. Which I guess is true. I would hate to piss off my aunt, she can be a banshee when angered.”
“Caleb tells me you’re the same way. So it must be a true trait.” Guinevere glared at Gunther. “Don’t glare at me! Caleb’s the one that said it. I’ve never seen you when you’re angry.”
“Then I’ll be sure to glare at Caleb next time I see him.”
“Oh please no. He’ll hate me for telling you.” She snorted and shook her head with a laugh.
“Oh I doubt that. Well I suppose you can hate someone and still fantasize about them.” Gunther turned as red as his hair. He hid his face in his hands and turned his back to her. He mumbled something, but even with super hearing, she couldn’t hear his muffled, mumbled words. “Sorry, I didn’t catch that.” She poked the middle of his back with the stem of the rose. He uncovered his face and turned to her.
“Did he tell you that? He had to have been fucking with you. He’s all about women.” Guinevere rose an eyebrow.
“Interesting.” Was all she managed to say. Then why did he say it?
“What brought on the conversation?” Guinevere looked at the rose, avoiding eye contact with him. “Gwen?”
“Nothing.” She said in a small voice. She cleared her throat. I can admit my lust for him. There’s no shame in it. “Fine. If you have to know, I may have…probably, maybe, fantasized about y-someone when I was getting a massage. And he said he fantasizes about you all the time.”
Dammit, why did I have to chicken?
Maybe because it’s not just lust, dummy.
No…it’s totally lust. What else could it be?
Oh, I dunno…maybe another four letter word that starts with an L?
I don’t accept that answer, at all.
Ignore it all you want, you know it’s true.
I won’t say it.
Her inner argument was interrupted by Gunther gently shaking her.
“You spaced out, are you okay?” She nodded.
“I think the sun is starting to affect my brain. I should go now. Thank you for the nice evening and early morning. I had fun.” She kissed his cheek and left him there, to watch her leave as a cloud of mist.
How long are you going to push it away?
As long as I need to. I can’t do that to him.
So you’re going to miss out on true love because of what? A few barricades?
This is supposed to happen!
Give in. Admit it, for your sanity.
Fine! Fuck. I’m in love with him.