Lying flat on his stomach beside Flamara, Ara came to his conclusion. Flamara obviously loved him, she'd made that plain as daylight hundreds of times. What she didn't know was if he returned that feeling.

He needed to sort that out. Now. If he left it alone it was only going to fester until it blew up in his face. He had to come to a decision about Flamara, once and for all.

Okay, so on one hand I do like her. In fact I like her more than I care to admit. And she obviously loves me too and seems willing to forgive my past and accept me for who I am.

On the other, we have the fact that, should my courage fail me at any time, I could possibly run out on her and let her turn into a monster. If I give out, then it will be the death of both of us.

But what if I don't give out?

What if I actually stay strong enough to stand with her, no matter what happens. If I could fight my fears and not run away, then I could be myself again.

I could love again.

But how can I insure I won't run out? I'm a coward and I know it. Yes I can fight Shadows now, but what if I'm ever alone and no-one can help me? Would I fight or run? I can't be sure. And  I can't afford to make a mistake with this.

No. I won't make any more mistakes. I'll never be alone. These people are my friends, they wouldn't run off. I can tell that from the way they fought for Corby to get her to this room. And, if Flamara really does love me, then she wouldn't leave me either.

I can stand against this evil if they're with me.

And I know they will be.

Ara allowed himself a small smile. He felt as if a great weight had been lifted from his mind. A decision had been reached, and it was one he knew he could stand by.

"Hey Flamara," he whispered softly, only loud enough for her to hear. "I have something to tell you."

She looked up, soft amber eyes glowing and her beautiful face smiling contentedly. Ara put his cheek against her forehead and kissed her lightly. Then he spoke again, voice scarcely more than a sigh.

"I love you too."

The End

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