I was shocked and pulled my hand out of his. He hurriedly grasped it again, holding it between his, almost conveying implore.
"You love me, you do," he told me. "And....I love you in return. But you haven't the slightest idea of who I am, and how....I could hurt you."
I believed I knew him and didn't think he could hurt me. I also was of the opinion that what I knew about him already was enough. Who needed to know anything more when the person they were in love with was perfect?
"I don't need to!" I told him. "What more must I know?"
"You are so open, Tiffany....so willing, so unknowing, so sweet," he told me, melting my already liquid heart as he kissed my fingers. I adored the feeling that I was special which his compliments gave me.
Something about kissing my fingers seemed to startle him: he quickly straightened up, confusing and troubling me. Why could he not show he loved me? I had a feeling that it was merely because he wanted to say something important at this moment, since there was still immense, nearly dizzying love in his eyes.
"We must both learn restraint," he told me. "You because easily one more powerful than you could easily take your soul and destroy it, and I because I fear that I could become dangerous to you. You should be frightened and wary of me."
How could Tony be dangerous to me? I didn't understand his concern. All that I had seen of him inclined me to think he was like an angel! I couldn't feel fear around him.
"But I am not," I told him.
"You have met me but only a short while ago." He caressed my fingers and made them intertwine. "Your soul is precious; you must guard it and not dare ever give it away so simply."
He kissed my hand again. I longed for him to do more - we had shared a kiss sweeter than the honey which dripped from the honeycombs in Alafaris - and desired to give myself to him. He was the rightful owner of my soul, if only he would claim it. The fact that it was precious made giving it away an even more romantic prospect. My love for him was an underlying current in every river of emotion that flowed through my mind, it had become a part of my essence and since I needed to give him all of my love, I needed to give him my being as well. He already possessed my heart, holding it safe within himself and keeping it safe from every danger, so what could be harmful about him looking after my soul? I didn't want it if it meant being apart from him.
"Even to me."
"But..." I looked down, depressed by his refusal to let me give all that I could to him. I half-wondered if he truly loved me.
"I love you, Tiffany. I do. I cannot think straight. When I am with you, I am crazed inside, when I am without you, I yearn for you. You don't know how this pains me! I am asking this because I love you."
He leant towards me and kissed me, once again becoming every wonderful thing I had ever imagined, making all my dreams come true and fuelling the raging fire of desire within me.
We put our arms around each other. I could've cried out in frustration when he kept a barrier between our minds: we were meant to open up completely to each other.
It was agonising when he pulled away - I tried to pull him back but he was stronger.
"Please, for me?" he asked.
I hesitated, still crying inside but remembered that I would do anything for him. I nodded. "Yes. I will."
He smiled, as if depriving myself some of the most profound experiences this relationship had to offer were a good thing. He kissed me once more, though not nearly as passionately as before, and said "Guard yourself, my Love. Never allow yourself ever to be compromised."
I nodded dejectedly, trying to hide the unbearable sadness welling up inside of me, and slowly loosed his grip on me. I walked over to a willow tree and sat beneath it.
We stayed in our positions for a few moments, both silent and pensive until Tony came up behind me, touched my shoulder and murmured "I have to go."
He sounded slightly strained as if annoyed or saddened, but I was too lost in my own emotions to take any real notice.
I nodded. "Come and find me again tomorrow," I said quietly, not looking at him.
"I will," he promised, before the physical contact ended. I guessed he dematerialised.
Slowly I stood up and wandered home. After dinner, when I was feeling more cheerful, I daydreamed about his kiss but then found myself upset again as I imagined giving my soul to him. I fell asleep that night feeling lost and unhappy. Finding the perfect man should definitely not feel like this.