As I slept, I dreamt. A montage of images passed through my mind, clear and significant.
First I was falling. Down, down, down into a deep black pit. At the bottom, Romulus caught me, a look in his eyes I had seen the previous day in my parents' bedroom and knew lay beneath all the allure and tease his enemies thought made up his entire mind. Romulus placed me on the ground and I stood, gazing into his navy blue eyes so full of open love yet so closed to everyone else. He held my hips and leant in to kiss me. The next moment was slightly confusing, for although I had my eyes close to better feel the sensations of the kiss, I could see in my mind's eye a wraith-like thin shadow of a Chinese-looking dragon wrapping itself around Romulus and I, rising upwards in a spiral.
And then I, too, was floating upwards. The dragon had disappeared and I found the darkness around me changing into bright white light: shadows fading and dissipating. Slowly, I rose, the air warming me rather than chilling me as the descent had done. All of a sudden I was rising through open sky, my surroundings cerulean blue rather than white. Upon a cloud stood Peter. He reached out and grasped me, pulling me into him as if I was a cherished toy which had been lost and had now been found again - was being presented to him by a kindly stranger. He hugged me tightly and kissed my forehead. This time my eyes were open to witness a phoenix rising above us, its movements and symbolism, and the aura it exuded completely different to those of the dragon. Whereas the dragon was dark and a shaded character (if dragons had personalities), the phoenix was bright and radiated goodness.
Then the scene changed. I was in a long hall-like room with a sloping floor. Peter was at one end, wearing a crown, standing next to a pair of thrones, the second of which had a crown upon a red velvet cushion on the seat. This end of the room was brightly lit, sunlight pouring in through the windows behind Peter, and seemed really open. Few shadows were cast here. The other end of the room clearly contrasted with this one, much of it in shadow, the only light coming from a candle. The fact that this end sloped down away from the windows gave it a sense of being an inferior place, a darker, more secretive area of the room, a place where you wouldn't want to stay, even on a dark wintry night. In this part of the room, Romulus lay, lounging on a rug, grinning at me, gesturing the space beside him, all in black. He was a part of the darkness, but he was alluring and drew you in rather than pushed you away by evoking your fear.
The scene changed yet again. I was alone in a massive field walled off from the rest of the world by a perimeter of trees. The grass beneath my feet was lush and green and the sky above me was empty of clouds, and for a time that was all I could really notice. Suddenly, a figure in a brown hooded cloak appeared out of nowhere and walked towards me, bearing a sword. I felt no fear or apprehension, so I didn’t try to escape this anonymous character. Soon he was before me. He presented me with the sword and turned and walked away without uttering a single word. I looked at the sword, noticing my birthstone in the hilt, and gazed upon my reflection upon one side of the blade. I saw myself staring back, wide-eyed and vulnerable with Peter in the distant background. Peter’s expression was concerned and protective: he was the guardian I needed in my life. When I turned, he wasn’t there, but his reflection remained on the sword as if he were an angel watching over me invisible but to the mortals who possessed such an object as this. I turned the blade over and this time saw Romulus watching over me. The look in my eyes matched his: one of mystery and allure. The blade obviously portrayed something of my personality in relation to the two brothers. But what was it trying to tell me?
The dream ended and I woke up, mystified. Somehow, I had fallen asleep with my head on Peter’s lap. He seemed to be absent-mindedly stroking my hair.
“Are you okay now?” he asked.
“What d’you mean?” I replied, confused by his question.
“Earlier. You were whimpering. I presumed you were having a nightmare.”
“Oh no,” I said. The dream had actually been rather pleasant. Although I was Romulus’ girlfriend, the scenes involving Peter had for some reason been comforting and calming. I was filled with the same serenity now: the cave had a warm, fuzzy atmosphere and I was enveloped in a bubble blessed to enjoy Peter’s company and safe and secure from the evils of the world. “I’m fine. I think I had an important dream.”
Peter’s face became grave. “You kept mentioning my name,” he murmured. “And following it with the word ‘bliss’. Whereas, with Romulus, you kept chuckling derisively and saying ‘desire’.” Peter’s cheeks reddened slightly towards the end of the second sentence but his face remained serious.
I blushed. “Well, he’s a very tempting person.”
Peter shrugged. “I suppose. But he doesn’t deserve the love of a pure soul like you.”
“Hey - that was my choice. I love Romulus and he loves me too.”
“But could it be that the love you find yourself feeling and giving might not be strong enough?” Peter looked searchingly into my eyes. It was then that I realised my head was still on his knees.
I sat up and shook my head. “I love Romulus really strongly and deeply, and I know for certain that he returns those feelings.”
Peter nodded, looking a tiny bit disappointed. I rubbed his shoulder comfortingly.
It was at this moment that Romulus walked in.
He cleared his throat meaningfully as he saw me and Peter, alerting us of his presence.
I stood up and turned around. “No, it’s not what you think.”
Romulus nodded to me, looking relieved (though only with his eyes).
“See you at lunch,” he told Peter, before walking out.
I followed him and promptly forgot about my significant dream and the fact I was supposed to be finding myself. Romulus was waiting to the left, out of the view Peter had of the landscape. As soon as I was in front of him, he wrapped his arms tightly around my waist and started kissing me with such desperation that it felt like he was trying to tear my heart out of my chest. I pulled away, gasping for breath and said “Stop! You don’t need to do that.”
Romulus looked at me with the eyes of a child.
“Tell me you love me, Tilly. That you need me and you’ll want me forever. Sing me a song that no one else will hear, dance me a dance that no one else will see, promise every one of your senses to me and just be mine. ‘Cause that’s all I ask of you, darling. Even if I rarely say it. Even if I appear strong enough to survive without you.” His voice dropped to a whisper. “I’m not strong. I need you, Tilly.”
I reached out and stroked his face. “You have me,” I murmured, and he kissed me again with such passion and ferocious intensity that I felt like he had purposefully chosen the best way to override my senses and make me long to be his in every possible way, and also in every way unthought-of, rather than tried to show me how important I was to him. He stole from me my will to live without him - what little I had of that from survival instinct. He increased the impossible amount of love I had for him.