A broken heart was a heavy burden to bear. Eliza wished every day that it would simply stop hurting but the pain was so severe that it made her feel ill. Today was no different from any other as it had been for the past three months. She sat outside her room upon the porch and rocked in her chair. She would stare endlessly at the frozen lake as the light rays from the sun played upon the surface. Everything was covered with snow and ice and it would be wise to stay inside out of the cold, but Eliza found that the weather suited her mood just fine. Scarlet was constantly worrying about her becoming even sicker than she was then but it had become fruitless to tell her to come in; she simply tucked her in with a blanket.
Since that night, Eliza had not seen much of her mate. He would come and go, sometimes without coming to see her. If it had not been for Scarlet she was sure he would never come back. Perhaps there were other reasons, like Eyola for example. Yes, even after she'd walked in on them, she hadn't thought to throw Eyola out of their home. She had met her there yes, but as her mistress, Eliza had enough power to do as she pleased with her. It would seem that her choice of action was nothing. The very day after, all she had asked Eyola to do, was to never speak of the night again, especially to Scarlet. Eliza did not need to take that light from her daughter's eyes when she saw her father; she wanted to always see that even if she shared it no longer.
As the wind bit at her pale skin and she ducked her head lower into the blanket, the sound of booted feet came from behind her. She didn't turn to see who it was. More than likely it was Scarlet or Eyola come to plead with her to come inside. She was going nowhere she thought as she sighed and pulled the blanket tighter over her head. She was not expecting to see strong silver eyes set so deep with dark rings encircling them. She was surprised when he bent before her and looked up at her as if his world was falling down about him. It seemed like an eternity since she felt her heart beat or her breath caught in her throat or even since she felt some proof of life in her body. Why had he come when he knew how she felt? It was unfair to come now when she was trying her hardest to heal herself. She found herself staring back at him with eyes that felt heavy and burning.
"I am dying every moment that I am not in your arms. Any moment this life shall expire if I do not have you in mine. Eliza, my love and my only besides the child we share, I need you. Eliza I need you. Please…please...forgive me." His words had made the tears fall. It hurt to know that he had done the worst to their relationship, but it probably would hurt even more to not have him anymore. To be so torn was becoming a burden that was making her shoulders ache. The way he was looking into her eyes was enough for her stiff pale fingers to uncurl and touch the long lock of red hair that fell over his right eye. She winced when she felt the warmth of his cheek against her palm. Was she truly forgiving Aaron? Could she live another day without him? No. Even now she was so ill. In so many ways she was glad that he'd come to her; it meant that he did truly love her and was just as distressed to not have her as she was him.
"My dearest Eliza, I do not deserve such a touch…such love…" He whispered as his arms found her waist in the blanket and embraced her. Eliza felt her body quiver and feel so alive that she was finding it hard to not pant with excitement. All this with just one touch? Aaron's head rested in her lap and she found her fingers playing in his hair. It reminded her of Scarlet the way it shimmered in the light. She could stay like this even if forever found them this way.
Time passed with the him clinging to her in that manner and she with her fingers in his hair. So much time that the sun started to set over the glimmering ice of the lake. Eliza didn't want this to end; her body had missed the warmth of her love for so long, to have it gone would be the end of her. She couldn't afford to be without Aaron anymore. She had raised their child basically on her own and though she had no qualms with it, the task had been hard on her.
"Don't go…" she whispered.
She felt his muscles stiffen at her words before he lifted his head from her lap. His eyes looked so weary and blood shot, even with the intense silver glinting away with in them.
"I'm here." He said.
"Yes," Eliza started. "But for how long? Won't you stay now?"
Her voice was thick and hoarse from staying out in the cold for too long and crying so much.
She watched as he looked away and sat back on his heels, no longer embracing her. This was not a good sign; already he was pulling away from her. Eliza's heart could not survive this any longer. If Aaron refused to stay with her and be her husband and her daughter's father, she would leave and never look back. The resolve was one that felt final inside her heart and mind. There were no regrets to this decision.
"Aaron, no. Will you stay, or will you leave again? I must know the truth."
He stood up and ran his fingers through his hair. The gesture showed frustration that was all the answer she really needed but hope was still there.
"There is much to finish Eliza, I can not stay here when there is such a weighty responsibility on my shoulders."
"But what about your daughter? What of Scarlet? Is she not considered your responsibility as well or am I all she has?" Eliza asked as she pushed at the blanket that suddenly felt too heavily draped upon her. She stood with shaky legs and her eyes already stingy from new tears.
"You know that isn't so Eliza. She is both ours but I must leave. There is something more important to see to." He explained, his palms capturing her cheeks. She shivered from there warmth and closed her eyes knowing that it would be the last she would feel them. She held his wrists, closed her eyes, and waited till her tears had made the journey down her cheek only to splash onto her collar bone. This was not fair. To have this unbelievable amount of love for someone and to not have them. This didn't feel fair at all, and she knew that Scarlet would be heart broken from it. Why this?
"More…important." The words would forever haunt her mind with his voice. More important…
"That is not what I meant my darling." He cried, trying his hardest to convince her as he pulled her against his chest. Eliza felt cold in his arms. It scared her to feel this way but she was so cold. She couldn't feel him anymore.
"Then go. Go and see to your responsibilities. I would hate to keep you away from them."
It was hard, but she spoke through the thickness in her throat that was threatening to strangle her. Eliza pulled herself away from the arms that were trying to hold on to her. Aaron looked down at her with confusion and sorrow clearly upon his face.
"Eliza…no. Please d-"
"I can not truly survive like this Aaron. I will die if my heart continues to be so easily broken and mended by you. I…I…" There was no more holding them back, her sobs came with a forced that rocked her body and nearly took her to the floor. She backed away from his reaching arms and stumbled against the wall behind her. Aaron's world was visible to her now, and she watched as its destruction took place right before her eyes.
"But Eliza, I will come back. I swear to you I will." He cried, and truly there were tears in his eyes.
"I won't ever have a way to be assured of that. You won't even tell me, of what business you are on. If you would only give me that much, perhaps I will find endurance and contentment."
She watched his eyes become shadowed and steely. She knew that look; it meant he was going to tell her nothing.
"There is nothing I do in my absences that would give you reason to worry. Why can you not trust my words?"
"I trusted that you would be faithful to me, and that I would be your only as you mine. That trust proved fruitless and for that, I am more cautious. Do you find fault in me for being so?" She felt her anger that had taken so long to find her. Shed been shocked, confused, hurt, depressed and utterly lonesome…but anger had been no where to be found. Now, it was slowly blazing up inside her. It would seem that he too had anger that he'd been suppressing.
"Why must you bring up things that were not meant to be! I told you that I was sorry and that it would never happen again. I was weak then-"
"And if I were to give you the same excuse for pardon would you accept it?" She asked her voice rising a pitch louder.
"Of course I would!"
"You dare to lie to me and think me a fool Aaron, but I know better. Just go! Go away and stay away from my daughter and I! You can not give us both the love we deserve so you in return have deprived your self of ours!" Eliza yelled back and turned to the door to her room.
She only got to turn when she felt hands grabbing her too roughly and spinning her back around. His eyes were like twin stars that were bursting with flames. She refused to let her fear render her immobile; she pushed at him until she felt her arms turning numb from the grip he was using on her.
"Stop this Aaron-"
"What makes you think I will let you walk away Eliza? You belong to me! You are all mine and if I say stay and wait for my return you must. I am your mate and I control this flesh!" He growled in her face as he pressed her into the wall behind her. Eliza was so angry with her body because it was so weak. She would never be able to fight him back without injuring herself.
"Unhand me! Ah! You're hurting me!" she sobbed. Aaron crushed his lips upon hers and Eliza tried to scream for help.
Suddenly the door to her room flew open and Eyola came running out with Scarlet behind her. They both stood there in shock to see the scene before them. Scarlet was the first to recover.
"Stop it! Take your hands off of my mother!" She pulled at Aaron's shoulder and the force was so great that it staggered her, sent him crashing into the railing of the porch and Eliza to the ground upon her face. Aaron looked up at Scarlet with wild eyes and she at him with eyes that were so close to looking like his. Eliza tried to pull herself up but was too weak to move much. Her arms felt so sore and she could see the imprints of his hands on her pale skin.
"Get up and get out! You do not belong her with us. You can never give my mother the love she deserves and surely, you will never be a true father to me. Just leave us alone!" Scarlet yelled as she came to shield Eliza with her body. Aaron shot accusing eyes at Eliza and growled.
"You've turned her against me. You've spoken evil of me to my own daughter!"
"I've done no such thing-"
"Lies!" He yelled.
"She speaks the truth! I need no words to discover what you truly are father, you speak them clearly with your actions. I vow it, if you place but an unwanted breath upon her flesh, you will rue the hour you bonded with her to bring forth this child. Now leave us!"
There was silence that was so loud that followed her threat. Scarlet was so angry that she was having trouble seeing about her. Everything was slowly turning fuzzy and all she wanted was to make her father pay for hurting her mother.
Aaron arose slowly and looked from his daughter to his mate. He was such a fool to have attacked her. And as he looked down at the bruises on her skin, he knew he'd lost Eliza for good. But what of Scarlet? He needed her more than ever now and he'd ruined his chances in but a few seconds. How foolish of him!
"I will go…but I will come back." He looked from Scarlet and back into Eliza's pained eyes as he spoke the words again. Eliza blinked and looked away from him with a heavy shattering heart.
"Come Eyola…we will return…"
"Master?" Eyola asked.
"Take nothing. We leave now." Then to Eliza he said.
"I am so sorry Eliza. I love you but don't know how to do it successfully. I will learn…"
"Go…please…" Eliza pled. She was too tired and too soar to listen to anymore of Aaron's lies. He'd made his decision; his time was devoted to his secret and not to his mate and their daughter. As They turned and walked away, Scarlet helped Eliza up and allowed her to lean her weight onto her. Eliza felt her heart crumble in her chest and she knew that it would never be whole again.
"Take me inside love…I don't feel…"
"Say no more mother. I'll get you tucked in."
Moments later, Eliza was under a blanket in her bed with Scarlet stroking the top of her head. She'd been like so since Aaron had left and refused to leave her side. Scarlet was all she had now. Aaron had left with the very woman that had caused them their love. Was she angry with Eyola? Somewhat. Even after, Eyola had not attempt to apologize for her actions, instead she'd carry on as if Eliza hardly existed. It was a lot to swallow but she had.
"Stop thinking about them. They are not worth the thought." Scarlet whispered in her ear.
Eliza felt her eyes stinging but she was so tired of crying.
"I will…I will." Eliza assured her. But she knew she would never truly forget them…mainly Aaron. All she could do now is hope to pick up all the pieces and make her daughter's life much more complete. She would have to be both mother and father…
So be it…
Three years later…
And as she had vowed, so did Eliza do. She had taken care of her daughter ever since the day her husband had left her. She had kept her warm in the coldest of winters and helped her through her step into woman hood. There was still nothing that Eliza would not do for Scarlet and she preferred keeping it that way, especially because she knew she had the love of a daughter that would see to it that her mother was well loved.
Eliza's heart had not been the same when Aaron left her, but because Scarlet was relentless in proving to her that she did not need him to be happy, she had given in to her daughter's will and tried every day to never be found with a frown upon her face. There had been a time when it was all fake, particularly the first year without Aaron, but soon enough Scarlet had made it real. Watching her grow was a wonder to Eliza's eyes. She was the most beautiful creature her eyes had ever beheld. There was not one day that went by when Eliza could not help but stare in awe at her daughter who was now all woman at ten and nine.
"Do stop that mother you are making me uncomfortable." Scarlet blushed as she caught her mother's stares. She was at it again; always seeming so caught up with her beauty. She was aware that she was pretty by her mother's standards but she always wondered what would others think if they had not lived in the confines of the forest. Many a days had passed that she wished to be amongst others but seeing her mother's panic just at the mention of it made her stop asking. But Scarlet wanted exposure and she was not getting it here. She thought this now as she placed the last quilt over a tree branch to be aired out. Winter was on its way and they would have to see to warmer clothing and blankets.
Eliza helped her adjust the quilt and chuckled at her daughter's words. She truly couldn't help herself sometimes. Scarlet had a pull, especially with her emerald eyes with its hint of metallic flints, that made even her mother stare. Some days she wondered if she acted like her parents; always wanting Scarlet to herself and never to the public. Eliza was not sure what she would've done if she was sill living at the Govferi's Castle. She washed that thought away knowing the next would be of her mother, who she had missed. It was odd to feel such feelings for a woman who kept her at arms length when she attempted a hug. Again, she stopped the train of her thoughts before it was too late.
"How can I help my amazement of such a beautiful girl who smiles from her little toes all the way up to the last strand of her scarlet hair? I will stop staring when I learn it would mean beauty has left you and as I now see darling…your beauty is one that is called everlasting." Eliza replied as she took a seat on a tree stump. Scarlet rolled her eyes, something Eliza's her mother would consider unladylike, and grinned.
"You are incorrigible mother. And to think you have a reason for everything…it amazes me." Mother and daughter shared a laugh as a light breeze flowed about them. It was a bit chilly however, giving proof that winter was definitely near. Scarlet pulled the hood of her cloak over her hair and settled in beside her mother.
It was obvious that Scarlet had truly appreciate her gift that her mother had taken the time to make for her; there wasn't a day that passed-whether hot or cold- that she didn't wear her cloak. The color was still so vibrant and starkly beautiful against her skin. When her mother had offered to make her another, Scarlet had refused, saying that she was quite pleased with the one she possessed now and had no need just yet for another. Eliza smiled as she remembered her daughter's words and ran her fingers over the soft fabric of her cloak.
Eliza was still smiling as she answered her daughter with all the love for this young child in her eyes.
"There's something I wish to ask you." Scarlet started, her body tensing for the reply she knew that would come. She hated to ruin these peaceful moments with her mother, but she found she got a more calm response from her when the atmosphere was so relaxed.
"You may ask, love." Eliza replied, her face still so serene.
Scarlet turned slowly and looked up at her mother. She was already feeling the guilt from the emotional turmoil she was about to give her mother, but she had to ask. Scarlet simply had to know the answers to what had been plaguing her for so long. She had lived quietly and seemingly peaceful all her life in the forest that surrounded their home. She had known no others that existed outside of the three adults in her lifetime. Surely she would go mad if she was forced to live another nineteen years in isolation.
"Mother, when you left home, from the castle you once lived, how far did you have to travel?"
The question placed a shadow over Eliza's eyes and a frown over her face. Why did Scarlet have to chase after this dream? There were times that Eliza wondered if she was being selfish for keeping her locked up to herself but…she couldn't let her go so easily…
"I do not recall my dear. It all happened too swiftly for me to keep track of my bearings and I was so in a hurry to leave that I don't think I would've taken much note." Before she could finish she saw the next question forming on her daughter's lips.
"So you have said, but surely it could not be so far away. Perhaps a few hours travel?"
"I-I guess that would be so but Scarlet-"
"Then perhaps if I were to leave early in the morning I could make a great head way in finding-"
"Absolutely not!" Eliza exclaimed as she came swiftly to her feet, shaking with the fear that the very thought would bring her. She could not and would not allow her daughter to prance about in the forest by herself when there could be wild animals or dishonorable men about. The thought of Lord Senthwil ripping at her lovely dress came back as fresh and clear as the moment it happened. Scarlet saw the fear in her mother's eyes and took it as response to just her leaving.
But she had to tell her mother how she felt and how unfair she was being. She stood just as quickly and with the first time a hint of anger in her eyes directed at her mother.
"You are not being reasonable at all mother." She said shaking her hood from her head.
"In this subject I don't need to be reasonable; I am your mother and you would heed to what I say." And it seemed for the first time Eliza was being stern with her daughter.
"All my life I have heed to everything you have desired of me. I have stayed with you knowing that I am well off age and a woman who should be seeking her own. You have become so content with the notion that I am happy that even now when I state to you that I am not, you can not hear me over your false belief."
"The answer is still no Scarlet, I'm sorry but-"
"That is a lie if I've ever heard one! You are anything but sorry and your eyes say so. What are you afraid of mother? That I would be like him and run off and leave you here all alone?"
"Scarlet…"Eliza tried, but her daughter was not yet finished and had no need for her to answer.
"That is it, isn't it? You believe that I would leave and never return and you will become old and depressed all by yourself because there would be no one about to pick up the pieces."
"Stop it!" Eliza screamed and it echoed through the forest. Her tears were pouring down her face as she stared at her daughters silver eyes. She gave her the same eyes that haunted her sleep every night and she knew she would see them again tonight. But she never thought Scarlet would show her anger. Never thought her daughter would rise up against her and point out her flaws and insecurities. But there they were, spoken out into the air and floating about Eliza in a taunting dance. She'd thought she was doing a better job than her mother was, but she saw now that she was just as bad.
Scarlet shook her head slowly and turned away from her mother, heading back to the house. She was furious with her mother and she hated it. The last thing she'd ever wanted between them was anger, but her mother had refused to see things from her prospective and in all truth that was simply not fair. Scarlet was right on point with her accusations. She had no need to wait on an answer from her mother's lips because her eyes said it all. She was afraid to let go and it seemed even after three years of his absence, her father still had her mother's heart. There was no way that Scarlet could truly fill that void.
As she tossed herself onto her bed she stared up at the ceiling and felt defeated in jut this battle but her mind was not willing to give up the war just yet. She was angry but she was never one given to tears. They would've helped to release some of tension in her body but right now she was stuck with just her anger.
"I have to leave this place…or surely I will die."
The last thing Scarlet wanted to do was disobey her mother. But she had to do something.
And so she did. A month had passed since her quarrel with her mother and since then the two had started to ease back into conversations, none including her leave to go seek out her grandparents, but at least they had apologize to each other. Scarlet had seemed a bit more content to her mother but that was only because every night as Eliza slept, Scarlet snuck away from home cloaked and armed only with a long blade to chop away bushes. She was very careful to wait until the candlelight under Eliza's door had been out for a little over an hour. When she was sure she was asleep, Scarlet would sneak out of her room, down the hall and out the back door. She never feared that she would be hurt in the forest or that she would not find her way back home. She was always very careful to make sure the path she was making was cleared enough and that she was always vigilant to the sound about her. Apparently there had once been a path there before but as time had progressed from lack of usage the shrubbery had grown over it. So every night for the pass month, Scarlet had hacked swiftly at the greenery with only light from the moon and her bright keen eyes to guide her. Jut before the sun could warm the horizon, she would run back home with a speed that left even herself baffled and clean up quickly. She knew was getting closer and little did she know she was much closer than she expected to the castle.
"You look a bit tired this morning love, perhaps you could do with a bit more sleep." Eliza suggested as she cleared the table in the kitchen. The two had just finished breakfast and she couldn't help but notice how exhausted her daughter looked. She was physically drained and maybe it had to do much with her monthly health but Eliza felt it seemed much more severe. Scarlet nearly locked her jaw as she yawned and removed her head from the table. Her mother was right, she needed more sleep and that was what she would seek. She arose slowly and turned to find her mother's palm reaching for her forehead.
"I'm well mother, just a bit sleepy as you've guessed. I hope you do not mind me taking a bit of a rest from my chores this morning." She wanted so badly to just drop face first onto the wooden floor and welcome sleep, but her mother would know for sure something was wrong.
Eliza smiled up at her daughter, because truly Scarlet seemed to grow over night these days, and sent her off to bed. There was no harm in her doing her daughter's chores.
Scarlet awoke that night ready to leave when she heard her mother moaning. She was a bit later that she usually stayed tonight simply because she had required more sleep. She was fully rested now and very much confused at the sounds coming from her mother's room. She crept out of her room and wondered if she should peep in. The moans sounded painful at first to Scarlet until she heard her mother whimper yes and panted in what sounded like ecstasy. Scarlet pulled herself from the door and backed up slowly. Why was her mother making those sounds and why did her body feel so odd? She felt a shiver run through her body and a new energy filled her that seemed so thick that she could caress it. She was confused but she had no time to waste and little moon light left. Scarlet pulled herself away from her mother's room and out to the forest to start her task and hopefully finish it.
As for Eliza and her moans, she had been fast asleep when the dream had interrupted the one she was having. She felt her body quiver with a need that she would never and could never forget. She knew it was his touch that she felt and that he was going to take from her. Eliza tried to even pull away from him but she couldn't wake from the dream. She felt Aaron's arms close about her and pulled her deeper into the dream. His lips were just suddenly upon her neck and his teeth biting tauntingly on her lobe.
"Aaron no…" She whispered, but already she was wet and craving him. Her body trembled under the phantom of his touch as he turned her and crushed her lips with his. Their kiss was almost savage and Aaron was like a starved man. He ripped at her night gown and seized her nipples the moment they were bare. She heard him growl deep in his chest in answer to her vulgar cries for more. To first deny him and now so quickly beg him was proof to Eliza how starved she had been herself. She suddenly found herself naked under him with the scalding heat of his skin pressed against hers. The feeling alone was enough to almost send her over the edge.
Aaron devoured her breasts as his fingers caressed the little swollen bud between his mate's thighs. Eliza opened her legs wider and her moans became so loud that she feared she would wake just from them. As he worked his fingers between her legs she thrashed her head back and forth, her back arching to her orgasm. He was merciless to stop until he had had his fill of her and she wasn't sure just yet if she wanted him to. Aaron mounted her and for the first time she looked up into his eyes and found them blazing silver as if stars shown through his lashes. She felt him at her opening and her body tensed for the feel of him entering her. Eliza's eyes slid shut as Aaron filled her with his thick hot flesh. She cried out as he found a rhythm much quicker than she had expected. Her body jolted to each thrust he delivered and Eliza thought she would die from such a wonderful feeling. Aaron could only growl his pleasure as he lifted her off the bed and held her tight against his chest. He found a deeper angle inside her and wanted to explore it more, especially because it made her cry out his name and beg him for more. Eliza's little nails did no damage as she raked down his back and threw her head back from another climax. He fed of each moan, each squeeze of her walls around him and found his seed spilling inside her. Eliza was still riding the wave of her orgasm as he found his and was spent as he pressed her back into the sheets and kissed her lips softly. The way he looked down at her proved to her that this was only a dream. The look of love in Aaron's eyes was one she had grown to miss and think only a figment of her imagination. Surely it was a dream because she had wanted it so badly.
"Eliza…" He whispered and before she could answer, his head flew up and to the right. She looked to where he had but found herself awake.
Eliza blinked up at the ceiling and saw that she was very much alone in her room. It was indeed a dream. But as she sat up, she found her night gown was about her in shreds, her skin was still hot from the press of his body and the sheets were wet from their love making. She was so confused that she sat there just staring for what seemed like an hour. Then her eyes turned to the spot that she had seen him look. She saw her bedroom door and wondered why he had looked there. There was so much alert in his eyes that she had thought someone had walked in on them.
Perhaps she should check on Scarlet. If her ripped gown meant anything, she was sure her moans were just as loud awake as they were asleep.
But when Eliza got to Scarlet's room she didn't find her daughter there, nor did she find her anywhere else in the house. Panic hit Eliza so hard that she nearly fell off her legs. Where had her daughter gone to? She lit a candle and looked in her room again to find her cloak missing. She must be outside then. She raced to the back door and found it unlocked. The night's air was biting at her exposed skin. She pulled her robe tighter about her and looked into the darkness. She called out for Scarlet and had no answering reply. Moments passed and still Eliza stood by the door with her candle shaking in her hands. Scarlet was definitely out there but Eliza was too afraid to venture out, She hated her fears and knew that some day they would cost her…and it would seem that that moment had come. She would wait then. She would sit at the kitchen's table and wait for her daughter. She had to return and if not, she would leave in search of her before the sun came up.
"My Scarlet…" Eliza could not hold the tears that poured from her but found that they
were all she could do just now…