Glad you could join us for the next heart-breaking episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
“We need to talk.”
Persephone’s joy vanished while the four words portending Relationship Doom hung in the air.
Not wanting to believe it, she curved the corners of her mouth upward into a tight, frightened imitation of a smile. “Arnie? Is something wrong?” Each word passed her lips through a slog of reluctant molasses.
Prince Arnie stiffened and tried to avoid her searching eyes. He still had his arm around her, the smooth delicacy of her enticing and fragile shell a cruel reminder of how easily she could be crushed.
“Lady Persephone, I think it’s best if you return to your own Kingdom.”
“Why?” Desperation edged her voice. “Why, after all the plans we’ve made? All the dreams we’ve shared?”
He wanted to hold his own pain in and make her think he felt nothing, but one glance at her impassioned beauty ripped his heart open, pouring the truth out with his soul.
“I love you, Persephone, as I’ve never loved before and I will never love again. I want nothing as much as I want you beside me creating a life together — a family. But, my love, my treasure, not everyone in the Kingdom of Bog is prepared to welcome our union.”
Her head drooped into silence.
In that instant, Arnie met his Real Self. He knew it would do no good to send her away because he would not survive without her. Tenderly lifting Persephone’s chin, he gazed into her tear-filled eyes with new resolve.
“No. Bog be hanged! I can’t betray you,” he told her, “and I will not let you go. We can have the life we want. I won’t ask you to have it here, under the judgmental, fearful pettiness of foolish ignorance, but we’ll find a place where True Love is valued no matter who shares it.”
Persephone’s tears overflowed, rolling onto Arnie’s hand, glistening like jewels as they fell to the ground. Gratitude filled her throat, and her words squeezed out in a strangled sob.
“Oh, Arnie, my Prince, my love, my friend, all I want is to be with you. It doesn’t matter where. I don’t even care if everyone hates me for it. But, my sweet, I cannot let you betray all those who already depend on you — your father the King and all the people of the Kingdom. Every one of them.”
“I renounce them all!” Arnie insisted.
“My dearest Prince, you are destined to be their King.”
Shaking his head, Arnie replied, “Without you, I am destined only to die.”
Lady Persephone leaned her head against his shoulder. “I will love you forever, but I cannot allow you to turn your back on Bog because of me.”
Her determination to save his honor humbled him. “Then I ask you to promise me one thing,” he beseeched her.
“Anything,” she granted.
“Stay here with me till morning.”
Persephone looked into his eyes, and smiling from the depth of her love, she said, “I will.”
To be continued…