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Chapter 1


Written by Karen Bruce
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

"This is it? Forever?"

A sad, sweet smile touched the face of the woman as she looked at the man she loved so much. Handsome to the point of beauty, with flickering-coal eyes that had earned him in the nickname of 'le diable blanc' in his native New Orleans, he was scowling at the lake, the sky, the trees, as if they were to blame for their current predicament. As if a butterfly fluttering gaily and obliviously in China had caused their personal storm as Chaos Theorists believed.

"It's f'r de best. "

He glanced back at her, demeanour softening slightly. She was so slight, brave, beautiful, framed as she was against the endless expanse of horizon. Her eyes were suspiciously bright though, and her lips were too tight. Everything within him wished to heaven that he was not the cause of her pain, that he could have excised himself neatly from her life without leaving a scar.

"Who is she, Remy?"

Her voice was soft, as she returned his look. She had always known this moment was inevitable, that he would tire of her untouchable charms and seek solace in the arms of another woman. It would be easier to accept if that was the case. It would not be a personal failure, something which she could have corrected as she had all the times before on Mystique's behest.

"It's not anotha' woman. It's us. We . . . we keep hurtin' each other, keep rippin' open each other's old sores."

He loved her too much to continue to wound her. It had been selfishness on his part that had prevented him from ending the relationship before then - a desire to cling on to a sense of family, a sense of belonging, a sense of being loved. In protecting her, he was forced as always to sacrifice the deepest, truest part of himself.


The eloquent monosyllable was all she could manage, before the tears overtook her. Despising them and herself, she turned away from him to the mansion. Blurred, shimmering, the old house held too many memories. Was haunted by ghosts of laughter, shared secrets, dreams and impossible hopes, mocking her for her foolishness. She should never have tried to be normal, they jeered, should have never thought that any man would commit himself indefinitely to a relationship as unique and difficult as theirs.

"Dieu. Don' cry. Please. I never . . . Oh, merde, Roguey . . . ."

He could have taken her anger with impunity, but not her sorrow. Not the silent sobs that shook her shoulders, or her tattered pride in trying to conceal them from him. Feeling his own eyes begin to sting, he walked towards her, as the prickles took liquid-form, trickling diamond-like down his cheeks. Savouring the warmth of her body, the silk of her hair, the perfume that surrounded her, and knowing that it would be the last time that it would be his, he hugged her to his chest.

"We were young an' foolish, weren't we?"

The Witness dropped a kiss on the nape of his wife's neck where tiny, fine curls of chestnut hair were gathered. Since she had gained control of her powers, he took every opportunity to touch her, to reassure her of his feelings for her in the tangible way in which she so firmly believed. Squirming in his arms to become more comfortable, she laughed, without bitterness:

"Correction. You were foolish, leBeau. Ah never dumped you."

Knowing of old how pointless it was to argue with her, he grinned and tightened his grip around her waist. The fine linen of her nightdress was cool to the touch, embroidered around the hem and neck with a daisy-chain. Sighing melodramatically, she interlaced her fingers with his and lifted them to her mouth to kiss.

"Ah'll forgive you though, lovah, foh that mistake."

"Merci beau, milady."

"Je vous en prie, milord."

The slender woman twined in his arms, completely content, the Witness reflected how forever could be as long as a heart-beat or as short as a century.


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