The Ring on the GroundMature

Aiden

The moonlight caressed Alexandria's smooth skin and lighted a whole new world inside me. Her delicate and gentle features attracted me more to the woman she was than it had before, my fingers etched impatiently to interlaced them with hers. She stood before me, regal and defying, her fingers were tightly clenched fist.

"What is wrong, Alexandria?" I asked, after several seconds of silent staring. I took a step toward her, raising my hand to touch her face, but she backed away and glare at me. My heart crushed at her cold composure, I couldn't help but imagine how will our married life be.

"Prince Aiden Windlord," she said in a strong voice, "I have come across the knowledge that you will propose to me tonight, is that right? Please answer frankly."

I eyed Alexandria for a moment, linking her to Nathaniel. It was he who told her, I was sure of it. Somehow I did not feel anger toward him, there must be a reason behind his actions and I would find out, soon. "Yes, I am still planning to. And I would be honoured if you would accept me as your future husband..."

She scoffed and crossed her arms across her chest, she tossed her head indignantly and said, "How can I say no to a man who was chosen for me for the sake of our kingdoms?"

I was stunned at how painful her words were, ache burned in my heart as I asked, "you really think that is all I'm doing it for? Don't you know that I have feelings for you too?"

"You haven't been so keen on demonstrating them to me, you just care about the fate of our kingdoms! I don't want to marry out of duty like you do..." Her voice rang through the night, at this point the silence of the night had been disrupted by our discussion.

For a fleeting instant I wanted to take her in my arms and crush my lips on hers for a kiss, but I controlled my impulse. "You don't give me a chance to come closer to know you," I debated, "I honestly tried my best to get to know you better! And yes, if our kingdoms will live in peace after our marriage, then I will gladly do it out of duty too. But you have to know that that time has to come soon..."

"Aiden, you are a good man and you would make any woman happy," Alexandria cast down her eyes, "I also know that you are very concerned about our kingdoms and its affairs and up to some extent I feel you care about me. But, I..."

I didn't let her finish, I went down on my knee before her and pulled out the little box I had had with me since I was seventeen. It was a gift from my grandmother, her wedding ring. I opened the lid to display a beautiful gem that glinted and shimmered the moon in its surface. This was the right time, "will you marry me Alexandria Riordana?"

Alexandria gasped in horror as she watched the ring in a reluctant manner, her face was quickly contorted in confusion and pain. She shook her head steadily, tears welling in her eyes. "Aiden," her voice came out merely as a whisper, "I have confusing feeling towards you. Sometimes you are a stranger and wished I could get to know you better, but other times I feel like I've known you and you've hurt me..." Her fingers pressed her lips to suppress a sob, "I have to stop this nonsense, I don't belong here... I cannot marry you..."

My world caved in and suddenly the sky lost its mysterious beauty. Alexandria turned around to go inside the castle, her dress skirt brushed against my numb extended arm causing the box to slid from my frozen fingers and fell on the ground. Slowly, I lowered my arm and watch the dew of the grass touch the perfectly carved gem in the ring.

I watched her run back toward the castle, fighting the throng of people that had assembled in the door, maybe drawn by our voices. She struggled her way inside, silent to the inquiries of the guests and her own father. I saw Aislinn pulled her away and up the stairs into the sanctuary that was her room.

Slowly I rose from the ground, expressionless and empty, and walked back toward the ballroom to announce my sudden departure. Nathaniel was a great help escorting me out of the room and into my own chambers.

"You know what?" I told him amused at my own thoughts as we were walking toward my room, "I forgot to tell her that I love her."

Nathaniel only gave me a slight smile and then I was left alone. Inside my chambers I pushed aside the curtains and a glimmer of light caught my eyes, there was the ring on the ground, unwanted.

The End

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