Untold agony

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Happy Monday!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! Today is one of those odd Mondays when I feel like I can take on the world – we’ll see how long that feeling lasts.

This post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. I missed it last week, and you could probably tell from the lack of a post on my blog. But this week it’s back with a vengeance and I’m probably going to be posting a response for each of  the three, for each of my ongoing serials. Today’s prompt, “Untold agony,” will be contributing to A Vampire’s Bride as inspiration because angst 🙂

Happy reading!

~~~

It only strikes me now, at the sight of my name on the letter, that I didn’t know what Niklaus’ handwriting looks like. My father leaves the room in silence, giving me the space he knows I’ll need to read this.

Ariella,

It was never my intention to hurt you. When I chose you, I never thought that I’d grow to care about you as much as I do, that I’d miss you so much. Knowing what I know now, I should have sent you home after the first night – faked your death and let you be free. 

I’m sorry – for everything. It was selfish of me to keep you here, to hope that this could have worked and resulted in something other than me hurting you. Though loving me is a mistake, I can’t begin to explain how your words made me feel. No matter how long I live, I don’t think I’ll ever forget them. Know that I’ve never felt this way about anyone, never loved anyone as I love you. And I’m certain I never will.

Please understand why I’ve done this. It was only a matter of time before I lost control again – before my parents triggered another episode. There’s no guarantee Nadya will always be around to protect you, to keep me from hurting you. I can’t bear the thought of that happening, and I’d rather suffer through being away from you than allow that possibility. 

Forever yours,

Niklaus

My vision blurs as my eyes hover on his name, but I refuse to acknowledge the coming tears. Rather than wipe my face, I simply stare at the words on the page. How could he possibly think writing this is a good idea? Eyes wandering back up the letter, they settle on the three words that make everything worse. He loves me – and he waited until writing this letter to tell me.

“My brother’s a coward.”

My head snaps up at the familiar voice, eyes meeting a familiar pair of blue. She’s leaning against the door frame, arms crossed as she watches me. “Nadya? What are you doing here?”

“Who do you think delivered the letter? Everyone else thinks you’re dead.”

“Right…” I look away, immediately self-conscious about the tears and furiously rubbing them from my eyes and face. “Well, you delivered it. You can go now.”

Still, she doesn’t budge. When I look at her again, she just stares back. “Why don’t you write him back?”

“Why? It’s not like he’ll come running if I call. Or take me back.”

“You’d be surprised at the running bit.” She smiles, her eyes far away. “He would, you know, come running if you called. I suspect he’d do anything for you.”

“Except let me stay with him.”

“Yes, except that.” Nadya crosses the threshold into my room, sitting gingerly beside me on the bed. “Though, really, he’s doing that for you, too.”

“Then it would be pointless to write. I’d only be hurting us both.” A part of me wants to shred the letter, furious with him, but I don’t. I can’t. The same part that wants to hold onto the letter latches onto Nadya’s words. He would come if I called. “What will happen to him, now that he lost his bride?”

“The vampire council might try to marry him off again.” At this, my heart breaks. “But I don’t think he’ll go for it. He didn’t refuse the first time because of the pressure from our parents, but I doubt he’ll budge this time.” She rushes her words at the look on my face, placing her hand on mine. “Trust me when I say Nik will spend the rest of his days pining for you.”

“And there’s nothing I can do.”

“You can write to him.” Why is she pushing this so hard? “He can come see you.”

“Why are you doing this?” At my question, Nadya looks away. I catch a glimpse of pain in her eyes.

“I’ve…I’ve never seen Nik this way. The little bit I saw of the two of you together was the first time I saw him anywhere near happiness since our parents turned him. And now he’s miserable – beyond miserable. I just…I want him to be happy, even if it’s only temporary. Maybe…maybe you can still make this work.”

I can’t help but think Nadya is more delusional about mine and Niklaus’ relationship than I could ever be. Could it really work if he left the castle every night just to see me? How long could that happen before the vampire council caught on? And would he really do it if I asked him to? That last question, and Nadya’s words, give me undue hope. I’m a glutton for punishment, apparently, because I can’t stop the next words from leaving my mouth. “Maybe I can.”

I want to be with him – unguarded, free to sleep in his arms during the day. Would clandestine meetings and secret rendezvous be enough?

I don’t give myself time to doubt, reaching for my writing supplies.

Niklaus,

Come see me? Even if I can’t stay at the castle, there’s no reason for you to stay away. Your parents can’t get to you here. Please. I miss you, and always will – nothing is going to change that.

With love,

Ariella

Before I can take the decision back, I hand Nadya the letter. She offers me a small smile before bringing me into a gentle hug.

“Thank you.”

~~~

What could possibly go wrong, right?

No matter how I tried to steer this one, there was no keeping those two away from each other. Talk about characters making really, really, really dumb decisions. Anyway, let’s hope whatever happiness they find will be worth the consequences (whatever those consequences may be, still not sure).

As always, think happy thoughts!

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