Peter began pacing my room. "How are we going to get out of this situation?"
I shrugged. "Supposedly Romulus will let us back at some point. I mean 1) he can't expect you to stay the night here and 2) he expects me to want to come back to him after this ‘silliness'."
"To counteract you first point, he'd find it extremely amusing if I were forced to stay the night here, Tilly, and with the second point, how long will he give you? We could end up stuck here for a good few weeks."
"Well, you're the only one who's stuck," I pointed out. "I live here. But true, I want to get back to Asteria and tell Romulus that he totally got the wrong idea."
Peter stopped pacing. "Yeah, why did he think you were going to do something incredibly nasty to him?"
I looked steadily into Peter's forest green eyes. "I told him I could choose either of you."
Peter sat down heavily on my bed. "I thought you chose him," he said.
I nodded. "But the dream... I dreamt of both of you. It all seemed to be about you being opposites and me being with either of you, but never with the both of you at the same time."
"But you chose Romulus," Peter repeated, and I realised that he didn't want to set himself up for a fall.
"I could choose you," I murmured. "And even if I don't, we'll know we loved each other once."
"Tilly, I don't think you understand. I can't open up a closed wound. Especially when that wound never really healed properly before its closure."
"I'm sorry," I said, and lay disconsolately on my back on the bed.
"It doesn't matter," Peter said dismissively.
"It does," I countered. "I've hurt one of you already and now I'm threatening to do it again. What kind of sick creature am I?"
Peter shook his head. "You're far too kind to be a monster, Tilly. And you're just trying to make sure you make the right decision. No one can tell you you're wrong for doing that."
I closed my eyes. "I don't know, Peter. Sometimes I feel awfully conflicted, as if I have done something wrong."
Peter sighed. "No way should someone as perfect as you feel this way."
"I'm not perfect," I murmured but then said no more on the subject.
"I should probably leave the house before your parents get suspicious," Peter said after a while.
"Oh yeah, good plan. I'll go out, meet you in the park and then I'll bring you back."
Half an hour later, I was walking to the house with Peter, devouring ice creams (which Peter had apparently never tasted before), and looking very much like a girl bringing back a guy to check that her parents approve of her choice of boyfriend. Peter was very polite to my parents and before we went upstairs, my mum said casually "He's a nice boy."
Blushing furiously, I told her that he was just a friend and ran the rest of the way to the bedroom where Peter and I collapsed into laughter.
When we stopped, Peter looked deep into my eyes and said "It could be that way, couldn't it?"
I nodded and said "But only if I decide Romulus is definitely not as good as you for me."
Peter nodded in understanding. "Deep inside I hope for that to happen. But it is a selfish desire and I apologise for it."
I looked away, the intensity of his eyes becoming too much. "It's not your fault," I mumbled.
"Neither is it yours," Peter said, and stroked my arm comfortingly.
"You wouldn't say so if it was," I pointed out.
Peter rolled his eyes. "I'm trying to cheer you up."
I sighed. "I know. It's just that I'm really worried about Romulus."
"I'm sure everything's going to work out," Peter said reassuringly. "Romulus would be a fool to end the relationship he is so fortunate to have. And like you said, he thinks you just want a bit of time off. When you go back to him, you can show him just how much he means to you."
I smiled. "If we don't find a way for you to get back to Asteria, it'll be really nice spending some time with you," I told him.
Peter smiled back. "That would be extremely pleasant."