Both Sides of Eternity ch.6
Nikolay stopped in the middle of the forest at a small pool of water. The water was crystal clear and showed the crescent moon in its glassy surface. Elizabeta was amazed by the beauty of it all. The glassy pool, the twinkling stars, the dark forest around them, and the bright crescent moon. "It's beautiful.." she whispered. Nikolay smiled. "It is.." he answered as he dismounted and helped her down. He gave her a chaste kiss on her hand and led her to the pool of water. Elizabeta could see her skirts reflected in the pool and soon enough she saw her face. She looked almost like an angel in the pale moonlight. Nikolay couldn't help but admire her beauty. He was also handsome in the moonlight. Luckily it wasn't a full moon or Elizabeta would be definitely afraid. They admired each other's reflections and then looked at the real thing. They were slightly amazed by the sight that their eyes took in. "You look so handsome..." Elizabeta said shyly. Nikolay smiled. "And you look so beautiful." he answered causing her to blush and look away shyly. He smiled and took her hand to lead her to sit down near the water. They sat down and Elizabeta was shy towards him. "It's beautiful here." she said as she shyly looked at him. "It is. That's why I brought you here." he answered. "Did you want to say something to me?" she asked curiously. "Yes." he answered. She turned her attention to him and looked at his face. "I care about you Beta.. More than I thought I did.." he said. "I feel like I love you.." Elizabeta blushed at his words. "He loves me?" her mind asked.
"I-I'm flattered.." Elizabeta answered. Nikolay actually blushed and looked away. "I didn't scare you.. did I?" he asked. "No you didn't. I just wasn't expecting it." she answered still shocked. "I thought so.." he answered with a sigh, slightly disappointed at her reaction. "Did I hurt your feelings?" she asked as her eyebrows furrowed with worry. "No! No of course not!" he said somewhat lying. "I'm sorry.." she said softly. "There is no reason to be sorry." he said. She sighed and stood up. "I feel sorry for you in different ways.." she said. "I've never had to know the taste of blood on the battlefield. I've never had to kill someone on the battlefield. I've never had to fight.." she said. "I admire you.. I admire how well you've held yourself together." He smiled. "It was difficult.." he said. "I can imagine." she answered as she leaned against a tree. Nikolay got up and leaned against the same tree. "Really?" he asked. "Really." she answered. "How so?" he asked. Her face suddenly fell at his words. She looked down at her feet. "My father would always come home to tell me that my fiances had died in battle. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Each of them were like sons to him. He would have preferred a son over me." she said. "I tried to please him the best I could though by accepting every marriage proposal that came my way." "He was always sad after their deaths.." she said looking down at her feet.
Nikolay was somewhat stunned at her explanation. "That must have been terrible.." he said. She nodded. "It was.." "My family had trouble coping with my brother's death.." he said. "Really?" she asked. "Yes. I was the only remaining son. They pushed for me not to fight but I did anyway." "Why did you want to fight so much?" she asked sitting in front of him like a young child to listen. "I couldn't turn my back after my brother died. I had to continue fighting for him. Then when my mother and father died I was the only one left. So I had no choice." he explained as he looked up at the moon. Elizabeta looked down at the grass beneath her feet. "I know how you feel. My mother, Vibeke died when I was young and left my father to raise me. Then he died recently and left me alone to rule by myself." she said. Nikolay felt bad for her. She had to be raised by her father and he could tell that it was a extremely strict upbringing. "I was raised like the little girls in the crusades were. I was raised to be the perfect bride.." she said with a sigh. He sat down and pulled her down into his arms. He held her tight and close to his chest. "You are perfect in every way." he said. "You don't have to do what he said to you. You don't have to be quiet and completely obedient with me." "I want you to be happy and to be yourself." he said. She blushed. She had hidden back her personality from everyone and only Vaslav had seen it. But perhaps Nikolay might see it.. Just maybe she might break free of her cage for him.
"I'm not entirely a shy girl.." Elizabeta said to break the silence. Nikolay couldn't imagine how she wouldn't be shy all the time. "I love to dance and sing. Before my mother died she would teach me the dances and songs of her people." "She was a gypsy.. I never told any of my suitors this in fear of them thinking that I was a heathen." she said as she looked down at her hands in her lap. "You have nothing to fear with me.. The werewolves and the gypsies are close friends." Nikolay assured her. "I know.. But I was afraid that you would want me to sing or dance.. I haven't practiced in so long I'm afraid that I forgot how." she said with a blush. He smiled and stroked her hair gently. "Beta.. Do not have any fears with me.. Even if they are something that small. I want you to be comfortable around me." he said gently. She blushed and looked away from him. He made her feel like a little girl. "You always blush when you are near me." Elizabeta looked up at him, her cheeks still rosy from blushing. "Yes... I suppose I do.." she answered shyly.
They went back to the palace and laid on the bed in Nikolay's room gazing up at the stars. Nikolay was pointing out the constellations to Elizabeta. "The group of stars over there is Andromeda." he said as he traced over the stars with his finger the shape of a woman. Elizabeta nodded as her mind filled in the details of the woman. "She's beautiful." she said. "Yes but I know a woman who is more beautiful." he answered. "And who is that?" she asked. "I will not say." he replied but his mind said the answer. "You.."