Gurth Vasan was tired. His daughter would head off to start her future in a week’s time and he had been hard at work preparing for that. He knew that Arwen would be an excellent queen, even if she did not know it herself. He had groomed her over the years for her position, but she was headstrong like her mother. Her mother………Tessa de Muse was and always would be the only woman to capture his heart. A heart she did not want. Their relationship was very strained. She resented him for erasing her memory and getting her pregnant. Her anger was well understood and deserved. But they also shared an undeniable attraction to one another, an attraction she did her best to ignore. Over the years they had brief interludes when the attraction became too powerful to ignore. Elvin was unaware of these instances and Tessa refused to leave her husband. It was a very complex situation that Gurth had not expected to happen. His use for Tessa was not supposed to go beyond her giving birth to his heir. He never thought he would grow to care about her as a woman.
“For goodness sake, Gurth! I’ve asked you hundreds of times not to pop in and scare me like that!” Tessa said clutching her chest.
“I’m sorry. I do not mean to frighten you.”
“Well you do! What are you doing here? You aren’t to come for Arwen until next week.”
“I know. I wanted to speak with you,” he said.
“If it’s not about Arwen, then we have nothing to talk about Gurth,” she said walking away. He reached out and grabbed her arm, pulling her to him.
“Don’t walk away from me, Tessa. I’ve accepted that you would rather deny what you feel for me than face the truth. I get that. But we both know how you feel,” he said.
“Look Gurth, I don’t know why we have this……..thing, between us. I don’t really care at this point. I’m married to Elvin,” she said.
“But you love me. You cannot tell me that you don’t. I can feel it, in here,” he said placing his hand over her heart.
“I don’t want to talk about this again! Why are you here, Gurth?”
He looked at her for a few moments before sighing and letting her go.
“There are things that I did not tell Arwen about her being queen. There are…….stipulations, that the elders have set in place. Things that I don’t think she will be happy about,” he said.
“Things like what, Gurth? She’s already nervous about going, must you make it worse? Can’t this wait?” Tessa asked.
“I suppose it could……..she will not be pleased about them. She is, after all, your daughter,” he said with a smile.
“She’s a tough kid. She gets that from me as well. What things did you not tell her?” Tessa asked.
“Well, the most pressing issue is that she is to have an arranged marriage once she becomes queen. And they have chosen her husband for her.”
“What? Why would they care who she marries? She’ll be surrounded by elves, what difference does it make which one she chooses?”
“Because they are afraid……..of me. The elders are afraid of a repeat of the past. Arwen is half dark elf and they are afraid that if she marries another dark elf, it will be a repeat of when my father ruled. So their solution is to require that she marry a light elf so that there will always be balance,” he said.
“But an arranged marriage? She’s definitely not going to be happy about it,” Tessa said.
“I know. But my hands are tied right now. Trust me, I am not please by the idea of my daughter marrying a light elf. I don’t think he will be able to handle her,” Gurth said.
“And just what the hell does that mean?”
“That…….that’s what I mean. She’s so much like you, so headstrong. She will need someone in her life that can manage her when she is being unreasonable, not make matters worse. I am hoping that once she arrives the elders see that she is not a threat. She will be a wonderful queen no matter who rules at her side. She’s a dark elf true, but she is also human. And that side of her is more good than any light elf could wish to be. Because of you,” he said softly.
“I know what you’re trying to do, Gurth. It can’t happen again. It won’t. I’m married to Elvin, and I will be until the day I die.”
“Regardless of how you feel for me? Of how you feel when we’re together?” Gurth asked stroking her cheek.
“Yes. You and I were never meant to be. A crazy series of events just threw us together. I made a vow to Elvin, and I intend to honor it,” Tessa said.
“How can you say we were not meant to be? The birth of our daughter was prophesized centuries ago! You can remain married to him, but your heart will always belong to me. And there is not a damn thing you can do about that. I’ll be back in a few days to prepare Arwen for her trip,” Gurth said as he backed away from her. As she watched him disappear in a blaze of golden light, Tessa knew he was right. She would always have deep feelings for Gurth Vasan. But as her daughter would soon learn, sometimes life didn’t care about how you feel. You just play the hand you’re dealt and hope for the best…….