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The Power of Love

by Heather Miller about a year ago in Young Adult
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Ask and you shall receive...a continuation of Tough Love!

The Power of Love
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Looking at herself in the mirror, Priscilla felt a ripple of nerves in her belly. The fluttering feeling was not unlike how she'd imagine having actual butterflies in her stomach would feel but she rather liked the sensation. It reminded her of what tonight meant, what it was.

No matter what happened after, tonight she was going to bind herself to her soulmate. Tonight was for love, true love, and she wouldn't regret it for a second.

She also wouldn't let fear work its way into her thoughts, though that part was much more difficult than she initially thought. Worrying about what would happen if the king and queen found out had no place in tonight's ceremony. This was for her, for them.

A soft chirp from beside her drew her thoughts back to the present. Glancing down at her most beloved companion, she gave the cat a small twirl. The silk of her emerald gown shifted and rippled as did so, reminding her of water cascading over the edge of a fall. It slid over her porcelain skin as if part of it, a fact she adored watching in the full-length mirror she'd been standing in front of.

"What do you think girl? How do I look?" Pris glanced down at the cat, rolling her eyes as the animal attempted to catch the draping fabric of the gown as it shifted and swayed around her mistress' legs. Taking the skirt in her hand, she gently lifted it away as she took a step towards her closet. "This dress is not a toy. I'll see if I can bring you back some cream once we're done," she promised, crouching carefully to run her hand over the cat's head. Pris was pretty confident in her knowledge that cats couldn't pout but it sure looked like that's exactly what her girl was doing at the moment.

Straightening herself, she gave the animal one last scratch behind the ears before moving towards the closet. Truth be told, the closet could have been considered a room all on its own. Pris was not blind to the privileges she received living in a palace but that privilege came with a cost.

Her freedom.

Shaking the thought off, she moved into the space that many girls had swooned over when she'd brought them to her rooms. Her best friend Drusilla, in fact, had made the joke once that she could simply live in the extravagant closet without anyone being any the wiser. Pris was as tempted by the thought as she was horrified. She would kill to have her friend by her side at all times but was loathe to bring the other woman into the dangers the palace represented. It was the very definition of deceptive beauty and she was glad Dru hadn't found herself entangled in its web.

Moving through the lines of clothing and drawers holding every accessory a lady might need, Pris finally stopped at the far back of the space. After only a brief second, she selected an exquisite cloak made of the softest furs. It was winter out, after all. Blue was not a good look for a lady of her stature. Electric blue eyes passed pensively over another cloak, one that matched the brilliant emerald color of her dress with white trim, but she ultimately decided some contrast would look better.

A girl only got married once, after all.

Well, most girls anyway.

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Wrapping the soft fur around her, Pris carefully lifted the hood so it covered her titan hair. There was no veil, no grand carpet to walk down, no ladies holding her train, none of that. Nobody but her and Alexei would be any the wiser of what transpired tonight, or at least that was her belief.

"Need a hand?" The voice came from behind her, causing her to jump as she spun. As if summoned by her thoughts, Dru stood there, dressed in her own fine gown and holding Purrcilla. The smaller girl set the cat down, stepping up to Pris with her trademark impish grin on her face as she took in Pris' obvious shock.

"How-?" Pris finally managed, launching herself at her friend with barely any time for Dru to put the cat down before her arms were around her. Muffled laughter sounded from within the confines of her embrace, prompting her to release her friend with a choked laugh of her own.

"Alexei thought you might want someone by your side," came the simple answer to her half-asked question. Pris shook her head, laughing as she eyed the still-smirking, cheeky creature she called a friend.

"Of course. And I'm sure you in no way weaseled the information out of him before inserting yourself in the proceedings, hmmm?"

Dru's answering whistle as she attempted to feign innocence told her all she needed to know. Shaking her head fondly, she sighed and looped an arm through the other woman's. "Let's go. We don't want to keep him waiting," she said, excitement returning full force with the weight of this delightful surprise behind it.

The moon was bright in the dark sky as the girls emerged into the night. Pris' breath came out in puffs of air, the cold stinging her cheeks pink as they moved. She kept herself close to Dru as they moved as quickly as they could past the fountain that covered most of the front lawn of the palace. It was more like a pond, large enough and frozen solid enough to skate on should they decide to be brave. Or foolish. One of the two.

Pris had always loved the fountain, questionable winter antics aside. The statues in the center, with their white marble and precise sculpting, were eye-catching. She'd once spent an entire afternoon just staring at it, the sun shifting and traversing the sky, her mind lost in imaginings of what the figures immortalized there could have been.

Her boots, a choice she'd begrudgingly made rather than the heels she wanted to wear thanks to the weather, crunched over frozen ground as she moved towards her destination. They were the only sound aside from hers and Dru's breathing as the pair traversed what seemed like miles with the bite of cold wind at their backs. She could make out her friend's annoyed grumblings as they moved, bringing a quirk to Pris' painted lips. Exercise was not something they did often and the cold was perhaps a bit much.

Not enough to make her change her mind, however.

They passed the ruins of gardens that the family hadn't gotten around to renovating yet, with another fountain guarding the crumbling arches behind it. Tall weeds grew from the frozen water, poking out as if signals from those unlucky enough to fall beneath the cold depths. It was a wonder so many of these existed, especially given their size. Truly, a little kid could enjoy all sorts of games on the ice it was almost a lake in and of itself.

jozef sedmak / Alamy Stock Photo

Pris bit back a silent gasp as the sudden image of a small James Ashton sliding across the ice while his guards hurried to stop him flashed through her mind. A small gnawing sensation of guilt curled in her stomach but she pushed it away. She couldn't think about him now.

Focusing on not falling on the slick, deadened ground, she clung ever-so-slightly more tightly to Dru as they moved. Her friend seemed to sense her need for reassurance, giving her arm a squeeze as they moved past the near-fallen arches and into the garden proper. Even before they were within sight, Pris could sense her love was near. Like always happened when Alexei was close, her heart skipped and her breath seemed to quicken. Warmth swirled in her, confirming he felt it too, and she had to resist the urge to run the rest of the way. It wouldn't do for her to ruin all the hours she'd spent getting ready now that they were so close.

As they crested the hill, she could just make out his broad frame against the dark backdrop of night in the woods. The only light came from lanterns placed along what could only be described as an aisle. No chairs adorned either side, no other figures stood at the end either. Only Alexei, dressed in a suit, so handsome it made her breath catch. He stood under an arch, simple in design and make but beautiful all the same.

Or maybe that was just because of who stood beneath it.

https://happywedd.com/decor/26-winter-wedding-arches-and-altars-to-get-inspired.html

Despite her earlier thoughts, Pris broke into a run then. A cry of protest from Dru was easily heard over the sounds of an otherwise silent night but she didn't stop. A gloved hand held the silk of her skirts, doing her best not to rip the beautiful fabric. The hood of her cloak had blown off as she ran, red hair billowing in the wind as it escaped the hold of the wedding crown he'd gifted her. Oh well.

When she was close enough to see the amused smile on his face, Pris leapt. Alexei caught her easily, spinning her once as his lips connected with hers. He tasted like the snow that covered the trees mingled with something uniquely him. Sweet, dark, masculine.

Hers.

"Ahem." The not-so-subtle clearing of a throat behind them prompted Alexei to set Pris on her feet. His hands moved to smooth her wayward hair back into place, the smile on his face so beautiful it hurt.

"If you two are done....we have a ceremony to complete don't we?" Dru's voice was playfully chastising as she came around the pair and stood beneath the arches. It was then that Priscilla noticed a length of cord and ribbon braided together sat atop the linen-covered table that had been placed beside the arch. Her heart squeezed at the colors, recognizing exactly what it was and -more importantly- what it meant.

Nodding eagerly, she let Alexei lead her to stand in front of Dru, the couple now positioned squarely beneath the gorgeous arch. She took his hands, unable to stop looking at him for even a second. She heard the eye roll her best friend gave but ignored it in favor of enjoying the moment.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/817121926133638601/

Since the ceremony wasn't anything official, the handfasting was a perfect way to symbolize what they were doing. Dru had absolutely no authority to be binding people, legally or otherwise, but Pris wouldn't have it any other way. She couldn't stop bouncing on the balls of her feet, eager for the words to be finished so she could kiss her love, which only served to make Drusilla talk more.

Brat.

At last, with a flourish and a wink, she finished whatever speech she'd been making and pronounced them bound. The cord around their hands flashed with green light, eliciting a surprised gasp of delight from Pris, before she realized what it meant. Or, at least, what she could do now: kiss the love of her life.

Their lips met, arms wrapping each other up, and everything else melted away. There was no tomorrow, no king or queen, no prince. There was only them, now and forever. Come what may.

*****

Thanks for reading! If you missed the first part, read it here in Tough Love!

If you enjoyed it, please leave a heart or even subscribe. Thanks again! :)

Young Adult

About the author

Heather Miller

Just a girl with too many voices in her head trying to tell her what to write. Hopefully you like some of it as much as I like writing it!

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