Disclaimer: This is based on an RPG I have played off and on for the last year. Gloryanna Fraiser is all mine. Sergei Ivanova is the property of the lovely gelsey. Rebekha Cabot is the property of her creator (I don't know if she has an LJ account). I have permission to mess with them all.
Ree peered over her book at the boy across the table from her. No, not boy, man. He hadn’t really been a boy in all the time she had known him, but sometimes she had trouble making the mental transition of terms.
But he was definitely a man, and a fine figure of one too. His skin was naturally pale with only a hint of tan from the local sun, and his black hair fell about his shoulders, so dark it flickered with hints of purple in the candle light. Oh yes, he was pleasing to the eye, and just as pleasing to the mind. An intelligent man with the ability to use his mental prowess was enough to make her drool even without the pretty face. And that was the problem.
He was Sergei Ivanova, her best friend, the fiancée of her other best friend – and she had loved him since she first laid eyes on him. Oh, perhaps not that first moment, when he had promptly gotten into a verbal brawl with the woman to whom he had since proposed. However, when he had then turned to her - to her, a random fellow student, not the Aradia heir or even someone he knew, but just Gloryanna Fraiser – and apologized, simply because he was a kind, polite person, then she had fallen in love. It was a trait she had not seen in any man she had met in many years, maybe even ever, save her father.
That was the beginning. When she had discovered the breadth of his mind she had become lost. Oh, she had told herself it was merely a crush, an understandable reaction to meeting a kind man after too many years of stuck up prigs. She told herself it was merely the bonds of the friendship they formed that kept her by his side through all that came. Deep down, however, she knew it was all a lie. With every look, every conversation, every kind word, she fell deeper and deeper in love. Now, more than two years later, she peered at him over the top of her book and mourned for her heart.
What else could she do? Tell him? By the time she had even realized her crush, he was with Rebekha, and now he was worrying about her as she went charging off to danger. Was she to hope her other best friend, her great ally, would die of the dangers she faced for the sake of one foolish heart? Was she to hope that somehow in the time apart she could steal his heart from her? No, that way lay madness. And Rebekha Cabot, for all the pain she endured, the hardship to life and heart, needed him more. So she would step aside without ever showing she had interest in the race, stand at her friend’s side as maid of honor at her wedding, and bounce their children on her knee, and never say a word.
Someday she would wed as her family bid, but her husband would never hold her heart. She knew no other man could ever understand her as this one did. So when she looked at her husband and saw dark hair and chocolate eyes, when she heard her husband’s voice and it came out in a rich accented purr, that dream was as close as she would come to her love. Perhaps it was a hard life, but it was better than being thrust from her love’s side for the truth.
Ree jumped at the feel of a soft hand on her shoulder.
“Vhat upsets you so?” His rich voice rolled over her in waves. She was embarrassed that her musings showed so clearly on her face.
“Nothing … Just worried about Bekha.” It was a truth, and a part of the truth, but not the whole truth. It was not the first time she had used such a half truth to cover the mad beating of her heart, and she knew it would not be the last.
“As are we all, love,” Oh how she wished she could take those words at face value. So often he used words like love, but though her heart beat faster every time she knew they were only the words of a friend. Instead, she leaned back into his touch as his arms surrounded her and his cheek rested on her head, savoring this feeling of peace that always comes with him, and storing the sensation for her dreams in the lonely years to come.