|photo credit: Cheryl Ruffing|
Alexis turned away with a start, covering her mouth, a bright blush burning her cheeks. Will watched her, his gaze hardening, not moving from where he'd stood, so foolish, so naïve, expecting something that would never commit to being his.
"It... Was you? You were the one that tried to save me? You risked your life to save mine, after everything?" Adam advanced to wear Alexis stood, trembling, mumbling apologies and excuses. He heard none of it, but only wrapped an arm about her waist, pulling her to him and kissing her tenderly, lingeringly, on the lips, feeling her against him in a way so delightfully familiar, he finally realized how much he'd missed her.
Alexis pulled back in shock, but he held her tight and pulled her closer. She remembered this, the way his rested so close to hers, the warmth of his lips, the softness of his held breath. She relaxed, slowly, hesitatingly, eyes flickering shut for a moment as he pulled away and pressed his forehead against hers, smiling into her frightened, troubled face, burning now with guilt as well as embarrassment. "Thank you."
She was speechless. What on earth was she doing? She was just about to... She glanced at Will, who came up and clapped Adam on the back with a smile. "Adam! So glad you're awake. I take it you two know each other?" Alexis saw the pain in his eyes and hated herself.
"Ah, yes, Will, this is my long-lost lover Alexis, the one I've been telling you about." He continued to grasp her waist even as she tried to covertly free herself. "I had my suspicions that it might be you, but... Alexis, can we talk?" His voice softened, looking down at her in a way that would have made her weak in the knees not long ago. Even now she felt her heart stir and rustle. She looked at Will, but he was now walking down to the creek, his head hanging low.
What had she done? Why had she told him how she felt? And what did this mean? Had he really felt the same way? She was such an idiot. She was supposed to be with Adam, if anyone. It had to be that way, and now she'd only gone and made it harder for both her and Will. "Wait." She pulled herself away and ran after him, calling his name.
He stiffened, visibly cringing, gritting his teeth as he turned to her. "I don't want to hear it. Go back and join your 'long-lost lover.' " He swallowed most of the venom, but some still leaked out into the cold night air.
Adam watched them for a few moments, then shrugged, deciding he owed his friend at lest a few moments of privacy, remembering how worked up about Alexis he'd been before. He wasn't happy with what Alexis had said, what he'd caught them on the verge of doing, but he didn't own her, he recalled as Robin's words echoed annoyingly through his head. But Robin had got Marion back in the end, and he would do the same.
"Will, I—" Alexis hated herself even more. Why had she said that thing? Why had she told him? The words had flown from her mouth carried by some force that was not her own. A spirit, powerful and terrible, had spoken from inside her.
"No. I've heard enough. Everything you say, everything you've told me, has been a lie. And for what? Even that... Reason you gave me was false. You couldn't think of a good one, so you made one up. All I wanted was the truth. It wouldn't have mattered why, I just wanted one true thing from you, and you couldn't even give me that."
"It was the truth. You have to believe me. Please." She pleaded, grabbing at his arm, but he still refused to face her.
"Is this a game to you? Am I no more than a ridiculous little toy that you enjoy dressing up and then tearing apart? Do you find my feelings a game?" He trembled, staring at the hurt, desperate girl in front of him, and despising himself for loving her. If he didn't, it would all be so much easier for the both of them.
"What? No! What I said back there was true. You're right, I've told you a lot of lies, too many, but that wasn't one." She shook her head, a tear trickling down her face as she backed away. "But you don't believe me, you won't. And that's for the best. I don't deserve to be believed, and I don't deserve you." She uttered the last words with a cold, calculated certainty, as if they were a matter of hard fact, unchangeable and awful.
Will felt his anger flicker, but as he turned to look her in the eyes, to try one last time to see if she was lying, she wasn't there, but was walking away, back to the shelter where Adam waited for her.
"Start packing, we're leaving before sunrise!" He called after her, stomping away to clear the camp, feeling burning inside him flare up stronger than before.
Start at the beginning: Chapter 1 Part 1