Author's Note: Well here is another chapter! We are getting close to the end of More Than Life, I want to thank you all for all your support, it means the world to me!
Psyche sat in the carriage as it was pulled along the forest path, twenty guards had accompanied Tristan and Psyche, and the King rode with his men while Psyche was in the comfortable carriage. There was more than enough room for her to put her feet up, yet she still treasured the times she was able to get out and stretch her legs. Warm furs covered her, keeping her warm on these cold fall days.
She stared out the window at the leafless trees, her mind was usually filled with Eros, yet right now she could only thing of Tristan. How can Tristan not understand? How can he expect me to give him my heart, when it no longer belongs to me? She sighed again, an ache within her chest.
They stopped at noon to rest the horses. They were right by a lake, a lovely waterfall crashing down into it. The door to the carriage was opened and one of the men that accompanied them held his hand out. Psyche thanked him as he helped her out. She pulled at her furs, keeping herself warm against the cold of the day and watching her breath frost in the air. Her eyes strayed to the clouds, dark and heavy with their load. Snow, it would snow for certain, which would slow their way. Two days they had been traveling, it would not be long before she reached her Eros.
Psyche looked over at Tristan as he helped his men make camp. He had barely said two words to her since that day in the library. Her heart ached and a lump formed in her throat at the thought of saying goodbye to him. He had been so wonderful to her, she hoped they would not leave things like this. She gave him the space he clearly needed, yet she wished he would speak to her, that things could go back to how they had been before they had kissed. She supposed it was all her fault, seeing as how she had unknowingly begun this, thinking that the man in her arms was Eros. She had toyed with Tristan's emotions without meaning to, and she hated herself for it.
A guard came over and handed her a hot cup of tea, she nodded a thank you to him, not able to speak through the emotions that were consuming her. She sat down on the cold ground in front of the waterfall, her mind desperately going through what she could possibly do to make things right. But the one thing Tristan wanted most, was the one thing she could not give.
After eating a good lunch and waiting for the horses to digest their food, they were off again on the road that led her home, to everything she wanted. Each moment that passed was one a moment she could not get back. She had to say something to Tristan, she had to make things right.
When night came, they made camp. They lit a large fire, seeing as how the road they traveled was safe and the twenty guards would be more than enough to defend them. After all, who in their right mind would attack the royal caravan? Friendly conversation was exchanged between the guards as they all sat around the campfire.
Psyche did not join in the revelry, and neither did Tristan. At one point, their eyes met from across the fire. Psyche lips parted, though no words were spoken. His eyes were agonized, tortured. He had just lost his father, a man who was the guiding light of his life, and now he was going to lose her as well. He felt empty except for the pain, and no matter how hard he tried to numb himself to this feeling, he could not find a way how.
Tristan was not a man to drink, no matter how dire the situation was, and so he had no out, no escape from this pain. He wanted to run to her, to take her into his arms and ask her to hold him, just for a moment. But as she said, she was not his, she belonged to another, heart and soul, and that other was a god. So Tristan of Athens adverted his eyes and took a deep breath, willing the ache in his heart to end.
He stood from the fire and walked off into the darkness, needing to be alone, to be away from the influence of her eyes. She did love him, he just wished she could love him enough. He leaned against a tree, looking up at the black sky, taking shaky breaths. The sound of a twig snapping alerted him to her approach.
"Tristan." She said softly as he met her eyes, the glow of the campfire behind her gave her an ethereal glow that outlined her figure.
"Hello Psyche." He greeted her in a formality that was painful to her ears. He had never spoken to her with such a cold detachment.
"What can I do to make this right?" She asked, he shook his head, a heartbroken smile lighting his lips as he shook his head, tears filling his eyes.
"You made your choice, and now we both have to live with it." He said, turning his eyes back to the stars.
He wished she would just leave him to his misery, he had to hold back a sigh as he heard her footsteps crunching the dead leaves on her way to him. She came up to stand before him and he looked down to meet her eyes in the dark of the night.
"What do you want from me?" He asked, that formality was gone from his tone, now there was only a sadness that hurt Psyche in a way he would never have guessed.
"I am sorry." She said to him, tears in her own eyes, her voice filled with the pain that brought those tears to brim her eyes. "I am sorry I cannot be what you want me to be."
"You are all I can think about." He told her, his voice still tortured. "I cannot stop myself from remembering how you kissed me, even if you thought I was him, it was still me you were kissing, me you were touching. Tell me you do not think about it."
"Of course I do." She said softly, and saw a something light in his eyes, a fierce need and longing. "Tristan, you and I... we are simply not meant for each other."
"Then why do I feel like this?" He asked, his eyes intense. "Why am I so drawn to you? Why are you in my every dream in one form or another? Why can't I stop thinking about you?" His voice had fallen to a whisper.
"I do not know." She told him softly. "I am no goddess of love, the only love I have ever known is with Eros. What you and I have, it is different. When you find the one, you will understand that." Tristan looked away, taking a deep breath to keep himself calm.
"You keep saying that, yet the moment you chose this journey, I felt as if the only happiness I will ever know was being taken from me." He said.
Psyche reached up and placed her hand upon his cheek, not able to help herself. He leaned into her touch, it was like a balm to his tormented soul, yet knowing he could not have her as his own made the ache worse. Before he could stop himself, he began leaning down for a kiss, that was when Psyche pulled away and with just that slight move, his heart sunk once again. He met her eyes and she gave him a sad smile.
"I do not know the meaning of what you are feeling," She told him. "But someday, it will make sense." She promised him, he nodded softly. She leaned in and kissed his cheek. "Goodnight, Tristan."
She took a step away from him, her hand sliding from his cheek. She looked into his eyes for a moment before walking away, leaving him in the dark with his thoughts as the snow began to fall. She made her way to the tent that had been erected for her and went inside, getting under the warm furs and curling up against the cold, blowing out the candle that had been lit. Her dreams that night were a confusing mixture of Tristan and Eros.
She saw her husband, laying on a bed sound asleep. His body had become transparent, only the ghost of the great god remained. Aphrodite laid on a divan that had been pushed up to her sons bedside as she held his unresponsive hand. A god, whom Psyche could only assume was Eros' father Ares, laid curled up behind her, sound asleep, his arm wrapped around her waist, holding her close. The goddess watched her sons emotionless face, a sadness on her features that could not be explained. Psyche began crying at the sight before the dream shifted.
The next thing Psyche saw were images of Tristan, his smiling face, the sounds of his laughter, the way he looks into her eyes, how comfortable she is with him. It was everything the bond called 'friendship' should be, yet she knew he wanted their relationship to be far more than that.
The dream made her wonder about how Tristan fit into her life, if friendship would ever be enough for him. Eros was her destiny, and Tristan was someone that meant so very much to her. She woke in the morning, thinking over the dream, though her mind was more filled with Eros' slowly fading body than with Tristan's laugher.
When she rose and dressed for the morning, she left the tent at the same time Tristan left his. Their eyes met for a long period of time, she saw him take a deep breath, nod to her, and then go about breaking camp with his men. It was not much, but aside from the previous night, it was the most acknowledgment she had received from him in what felt like a very long time, and it brought a soft smile to her lips.
Psyche sat by the fire with Tristan at her side, he had begun sitting with her these past few nights, though very little conversing happened. She dreamt of Eros again last night, he was calling out to her, calling her home. Her soul longed for him, an anxious, nervousness had risen up within her. She would be on time, she would have to be. In her mind and with all her being she prayed to Eros to stay alive, to wait for her, that she would be with him again soon and then all would be well. She did not know if he could hear her, all she knew was that he was still alive.
"Are you well?" Tristan asked her, she met his eyes and wiped her tears away as she nodded.
"I just want to get home to him," She told him, taking a shaky breath. "I have to get to him, soon. He does not have much time left." Tristan took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"Just a few more days." He assured her, she nodded and he looked down at their intertwined hands. "I apologize for being so selfish, for letting my emotions cloud my better judgment. You are going through so much right now, your husband is out there dying, and here I am just putting you through more pain. I am truly sorry." And he was sorry, not for loving her, but for hurting her. She gave his hand a squeeze and he met her gentle eyes that held no upset within them.
"There is nothing to forgive, I understand." She told him, he nodded. "I want you to be happy." He told her.
"And I you, my friend." She said and they shared a bit of a smile before letting go of the others hand, her eyes turning back to her own hands that now sat in her lap, warmed by the fire.
Psyche took a deep breath; it was hope that kept her going, even when the odds seemed against her hope kept her going, hope and love. Love for Eros, love for their child that grew within her womb. Sitting by the warmth of the fire on this cold night, her eyes drifted shut as she let her thoughts drift through memories of happier times.
Psyche laid beneath the stars on the beach, the warm summer breeze caressing her skin. Her fingers ran through her husbands curls as his head laid in her lap, gazing up at her with those gray blue eyes of his, taking her breath away. She laid her hand on his cheek, he captured the appendage, placing an ardent kiss upon her palm that made a shiver run through her.
He moved, and came to hover over her, propped up by his hand. He caressed her cheek, then ran his thumb down her lips and chin, letting his fingertips trail down her neck and chest, his eyes never leaving her own as his hand came up to caress her cheek once again. She saw the outline of his smile and a smile of her own graced her full lips, stretching across her face as she reached up to place her hand on the back of his neck, tugging his lips down to her own for an effervescent kiss that made that made her melt as he laid his body upon her own.
She smiled against his lips as she rolled them so she was on top of him, kissing his lips as the most beautiful sighs came from him, making her smile against his lips as her fingers went into his curls while he gently yet playfully gripped her waist, making her giggle as his hands then ran up her sides. Her lips trailed down his neck, loving how unsteady his breathing had become as she kissed his chest, her fingers trailing to a lower place, hearing him gasp as her smile grew.
He sat up and lifted her by her hips before settling her in his lap once again as their bodies became one, her hands fisting in his hair as he nuzzled her neck. They moved together, clutching onto each other as they breathed heavily into the night. His fingers tangled in her hair as their eyes met, their lips parted as such sounds came forth.
"Kiss me, beautiful." He said to her, his voice barely more than a breath. She looked into his eyes and smiled as she passionately complied with his wishes that matched her own...
Tristan looked over to Psyche and realized she was sound asleep. She looked so peaceful for the first time in so long, he could not bear to wake her. He gently lifted her into his arms and carried her to her tent. He laid her down on the soft furs and pulled them over her. She made a sound and moved around a bit to get comfortable. He looked at her for a time before standing and walking out of the tent and to his own, knowing that it was the right thing to do, no matter how much he wanted to hold her tonight, even if it would perhaps be the last chance he got to do so, she was not his to hold and she never would be.