Hey everyone! Sorry for the extended period of nothingness.
I am continuing the story of Corlin and Rose. I'm adding in more and I'm making
this chapter the actually end of this story.
I just wanted to let you know that I will be writing the continuation; it's just taken
me longer then expected.
Chapter 21: The Morning After
Corlin's eyes fluttered open. He gasped.
The sweet voice reached his ears and his eyes shot fully open. "R-Rose?"
And there she was: dark circles surrounded her eyes and looking as pale as the moon. Her hair was pulled into a messy ponytail and her clothes were fixed in a haphazard way. But still she managed to look as beautiful as the day she matured into a lovely woman.
He lifted a weak hand and cradled her cheek. "Why are you…"
Rose closed her hands around his hand and she nuzzled his palm. "Oh my lord, you were asleep for three days!"
He slightly frowned. "Three days?" How can that be? His gaze went to the side table where the Eye usually occupied, but he found the spot empty. "The Eye?"
Rose slightly grimaced. "Gone."
"How can that be?"
"Someone injured you and heavily dosed you with Drop Poison. The intruder must have taken it."
He blinked several times, trying to recall such a memory.
Rose tightened her hold on his hands. "Don't worry. The physician said it'll be a while before your memory comes back. Until then, you shouldn't force yourself to remember what happened. For now, you should eat something and rest."
Corlin's gaze softened at her words.
"I'll send for some food." Rose left and returned with Emily, who carried a bowl of warm porridge and tea on a tray, and Cory and Trin.
With Cory and Trin's help, Rose gently sat Corlin up and leaned him against the headboard of the bed. Emily placed the tray on the side table.
"Thanks, you guys." Rose said.
Her friends smiled with response and bowed before quietly leaving.
Rose sat by Corlin and grabbed the bowl. She checked the porridge and started to feed Corlin little by little.
Minutes passed and the silence between the couple never faltered. Both seemed to enjoy each other's company despite the circumstances. Sometimes their eyes would meet and Rose would shyly look away, finding some excuse to busy herself with like mixing the porridge or dabbing the corner of his mouth. Other times either one would stare at the other when they thought the other wasn't looking.
When Rose made sure Corlin ate all of the porridge and drank all of his tea, she sent for one of her friends to pick up the tray. She returned to his side and helped him lay back down.
"I'll be…in my room, if you need me." Rose said hesitantly. Her demon blood urged her not to leave his side, that it was her duty to stay by him until he was better.
Corlin's wolf half whimpered in the back of Corlin's mind. 'No go.'
Corlin silently agreed with his wolf and voiced his thoughts, "Please, do not go."
Rose blinked. "E-excuse me?"
"Don't go," he repeated, his voice ever so soft.
Rose read the silent plea in his ruby eyes. She understood that he thought she would return to the other dimension while he rested. She sighed, though a part of her rejoiced that he wanted her near him. "Until tomorrow,"
He nodded. He didn't close his eyes until Rose sat next to him, his cool hand in her warm hand.
Corlin woke about two hours before sunrise. He was surprised to see Rose lying across his chest, sleeping peacefully. He smiled a rare smile and stroked her hair.
'Mate beautiful,' his wolf half murmured.
Yes, he agreed.
'Mate did not sleep well,'
Which is why we should not wake her now.
His wolf half settled itself in the corner of his mind, probably resting for the moment.
The early morning rays gently caressed the pale skin of her cheek as morning came. And Corlin felt like he had suddenly discovered the ultimate treasure. The sun created soft highlights in Rose's dark hair and added a natural glow to her skin.
When her eyes started to blink open, his heart warmed at the sight of melted-chocolate eyes. She was still trying to wake up as he stared at her openly and unashamedly. As she yawned, Corlin saw the glint of small fangs. Part of him wanted to take pride in that because he knew she had his blood running in her veins, but the other part of him grew worried. What if she didn't accept the way she looked? What if she –
"My lord!" At once, her eyes shot opened when she recognized his ruby orbs and tried to lift herself from his chest.
Corlin immediately hooked his arms around her, one on her waist and the other across her shoulders.
He sighed and closed his eyes. "Hush."
For a long moment, they stayed like that, engulfed in silence and warmth. It was just like yesterday when she fed him porridge and tea. Rose silently admitted that it felt good to be in Corlin's arms instead of Michael's. Corlin's embrace felt secure yet gentle while Michael's felt loose yet clingy.
"My lord, I think breakfast is ready." Rose murmured.
Corlin opened his eyes and looked down at her. He sighed and loosened his hold on her.
Rose slowly sat up and made her way to the door. "I'll be right back."
Rose stopped at the bitterness in his tone. She turned around to find him looking away from her. "I-I beg your pardon?"
"Are you really going to come back?"
He thinks I'm going to leave after I send for breakfast. "Yes, my lord. I'll come right back."
Suddenly, he started to sit up. Rose dashed across the room and helped him. "My lord, you are still weak. You shouldn't force your body to do these kinds of things without help."
Corlin ignored her words and stared into her eyes. He happened to do that a lot now, and he didn't know why. It was as if it was all he could do: just stare into the deep chocolate eyes.
"My lord, may I ask you something?"
"What is it?"
"When you were sleeping…"
"You thrashed around and screamed my name. You kept on saying, 'Don't leave me.'" Rose began. "May I ask what you were dreaming about?"
Corlin's lips pursed and he looked the other way.
"Were you…dreaming about what happened at Falcor's grave?"
He remained silent.
"Were you dreaming about…um…'that night'?"
His hands fisted.
Rose got her answer. But she wanted to know…"Then, why were you saying you wanted to kill yourself?"
Silence. Then, "Would you be happy if I died?"
Rose grimaced. "My lord! Of course I wouldn't want you to die! Who told you to do such a thing?"
Corlin stared into his lap. "I have done a vile thing to you in the past. You have no idea how much it haunts me day-to-day, night-to-night. When I was dreaming, I…" he stopped.
"Yes? Go on."
"I saw you and you tried to persuade me to kill myself. You said that it would have made you happy, that I was such a burden to everyone because of my sin and they were suffering from it. You said that everyone, including you, would have been happier without me in the living world."
Rose frowned. She sat down and grabbed his hand. "My lord, believe me when I say I do not want you dead. The woman you dreamed of was not me."
"That is not me. You know it…Corlin that is your own image of me in your mind. You made her up. That is what you think I will say to you when you want to win me back. Do not let yourself be poisoned by this dark one."
"I would never want that from you," she continued, her voice firm. "What's done is done."
He turned back to the white-clothed Rose when she said, "Let's go. Stop feeling guilty. What's done is done. It can never be redone. Let's just go home."
"My lord, whatever you have done to me is in the past. I could never think of your actions as a sin. I would rather think of it as a…a blessing."
"Yes." Rose eyes started to tear. "My lord, you have given me a precious gift despite his very short life."
"Yes. I like to think of Falcor as not only my son but my apology gift from you. He was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my entire life and he helped heal my heart. The smiles he gave me…" She chuckled. "They were same as your smile. I remembered seeing your smile for the first time in the Talera Mountains and it was every bit as warm and loving as Falcor's."
Corlin looked down.
"You know, my lord," Rose said. "I think you had that dream of me out of guilt."
"You've lived with that guilt for two years. And I think that's just way too long."
"It is my sin-"
"It is not your sin." She paused. "I should have told you this long ago instead of telling you to forget about the past, so…I forgive you, Corlin."
"Wh-what?" Did this woman know what she was saying? He had committed the worst act that a male could ever do to a female. Forgiving such an act as well as the committer is a hard thing to come by.
"I forgive you, Corlin. There's no need to feel guilty anymore. It was silly of me to not tell you this when I came back. But I think the reason I didn't tell you was because I was afraid."
"Afraid of what?"
She shrugged. "It doesn't matter now. All that matters is that you overcome your guilt and get better. I think guilt can be partially blamed for you still not getting back to your full health."
Then, he asked, "When are you leaving?"
She blinked, startled by his abrupt change of subject. "Y-you said in…in three days."
"Do you still want to leave?"
Her heart started to race. For sure, she thought he could hear her heartbeats. "If my lord still wants me to leave,"
"Forget what I said. What do you want to do?"
Rose nervously glanced to the side and down to the floor as she toyed with her fingers. What did she want to do? She wanted to leave and be with Michael, but she didn't want to leave because of Corlin's near-death experience.
Her heart tingled.
No. She didn't want to leave because of what had happened. She wanted to stay because…
Corlin looked away. "Very well-"
"I will stay."
Corlin's whirled around to look at her. "What did you say?"
"I will stay," she repeated. When silence followed, Rose assumed that he wanted an explanation. That was usually his tactic to get an explanation from someone. "My lord is very ill and needs all the care and attention he needs. He needs someone at his side to help him relieve his heart from the guilt he's been suffering from." She paused, searching for another reason. "And…And it's still dangerous to go outside of the palace…and…I want to spend more time with my friends…and…"
The corner of Corlin's mouth turned up.
Rose bit her lip to stop herself from rambling any more than she had to.
He took her hand in his and laid a chaste yet sweet kiss on her knuckles. "Thank you," he whispered. "For everything."
Rose blushed at his action as tiny shivers ran up her arm. She didn't know why, but somehow this felt rather intimate. It was a silly notion, but the way his breath fanned over her knuckles and the light brush of his petal-soft lips made her heart beat faster, if that was even possible. She could feel her face heat up when his eyes lifted to search her face. She sensed that he wanted to chuckle at her red face, so she bowed, murmured something about breakfast, and left quickly.
But before she could reach the door, it swung open suddenly, revealing a rather relieved-looking Lord of the Northern Lands and a dark-circled-eyed Lady.
"My boy!" Mathies boomed.
Rose looked over at Corlin and the look on his face was priceless that she had to bite both her lips from bursting into laughter.
Corlin looked startled yet horrified at his father's entrance and words. "F-father," he greeted softly yet cautiously.
Mathies ran across the room, laughing in joy. He leaned down and grabbed his son in a very firm yet very careful embrace. "Oh my pup!"
Atrea followed after her mate, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Corlin tried to push away from his father, apparently not enjoying the "un-manly" gesture. "Father, please,"
"We thought we lost you! I'm so sorry! It'll never happen again!" Mathies said loudly.
Rose quickly turned and walked out of the room, deliberately ignoring Corlin's look of plea to help him.
"Father!" came Corlin's irritated growl.
"Well! Excuse me for not making you seem like a proud warrior in front of your mate!" Mathies replied. "You need to loosen up, son. At least pretend to look happy when I come in to give you a hug."
As soon as Rose was away from Corlin's bedroom door, she burst into a series of laughter.
Corlin's thinking as his father walks in 'Oh Shit' Ears flat against head and eyes wide in fear.
The continuation of WDNL is titled 'Prince: Heir to the Throne' and will be posted on my website. It might make it's way on here but for now it, only going to be posted on my website.