Peter ascertained that he could not leave my world.
"Guess I'll have to look for lodgings," Peter said. He gave me a rather guilty look. "Could I borrow some money? I promise I'll pay you back - I..."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," I interrupted him. "You don't have to find lodgings. Why don't you just stay here the night?"
"I would never intrude upon your parents' hospitality like that - and besides, I'm a boy; you're a girl; and despite the fact I'm related to Romulus, I'm not him." Peter looked away, uncomfortable even talking about this topic.
"I know," I said patiently. "And you wouldn't be intruding - I bet my parents would love to have you." I paused, struck by a thought which troubled me. "In fact, you're just the sort of boy they'd want me to go out with..."
Peter looked sympathetic. "I'm sorry your emotions are making your life so difficult, Tilly." He gave me a hug. "Are you sure I wouldn't make things harder by staying here?"
I nodded, gently pushing him away. "I can cope. And anyway, what kind of a friend would I be to throw you out into the big bad world?"
Peter smiled. "You're one of a kind, Tilly."
That night, perhaps because of Peter's presence in my house, albeit in the guest bedroom, I dreamt of the way things might have gone if not for Romulus.
Peter and I sat atop his cave and watched as the sun set, casting dazzling colours across the sky in which stars were already beginning to appear. Our fingers entwined in between us and it felt as if our auras were partially radiating out towards each other so that our essences were interweaving too.
Peter looked at me and gazed deep into my eyes.
"I love you, Tilly," he murmured, leaning in to kiss me.
I luxuriated in pleasure in the deep green world my mind had become. I felt free as a spirit, weightless as a feather and carefree as one who has fulfilled their destiny. Peter was in my mind too. A tree - supportive and strong. A dove - pure and beautiful. And a star - shining to symbolise fate and the romanticisms I indulged in.
When Peter broke away and I opened my eyes, I could only murmur "Love," as my mind struggled to facilitate any other emotion or thought.
Peter chuckled; the sound was soft and caressed my ears.
"I knew you were the one," he told me. "Ever since I saw your face in the River Lu, I knew. Our souls were once taught a dance, and in this dance, we mirror each other, proving how perfect we are for one another."
"Wish I'd seen you," I said. "And then we could've skipped the introductions and just begun the relationship."
Peter shrugged. "I don't know. I quite enjoy the leisurely pace. And good things are worth waiting for."
"I waited so long," I murmured.
"I'm sorry I didn't come sooner. That's my only regret. As much as I think our love will mature best given time, I can't bear the thought of you sat in lonely places crying."
I sighed. Then brightened up. "Well, that's over now. No more misery. I can bask in the warmth of your company 24/7 and know that you enjoy it as much as me."
Peter smiled. "Yes. Forget about the past. It's just you and me now, Tilly. The two halves of one heart."
He kissed me again and the scene faded.
I woke up upset and confused. Those images were exactly how I would have pictured the dream relationship. Back in my poetic, romantic days. Back before Romulus - in fact, at a time where I would have shivered with disgust and fear at the thought of even meeting someone like Romulus.
But I had met Romulus. And I loved him. So why would my subconscious inflict this pain upon me, causing me to doubt my feelings and worry about the choice I could (no, would) be making at some point in the future.
I missed Peter, I even loved him. But I wasn't in a relationship with him and wanted to tie my soul to his brother's. Yes. Forget those meditations, forget the fact Peter had seen me in the River Lu, Romulus was the one.
Maybe that was the purpose of the dreams. To make me realise what I was missing out on.
So it was a terrible shock when at breakfast, Peter quietly told me "I dreamt about you last night."