* X *

During the journey,  Emrald kissed me, whispering "Everything will be okay, cherished one. I'll make it so."

With his arms around me, I felt safe and contented. I murmured "I love you," and "I believe you," between the kisses.

It felt wonderful, as always, to know I was loved by someone, treasured by them. Each kiss was beautiful and tender and left me more in love with Emrald than the previous one. I wondered if it was possible to start forgetting things as love took up more and more space in one's mind. I reckoned it probably was and looked forward to the days when I'd know only Emrald rather than acknowledge only him as I did currently: everything was perfect when he was around even if it wasn't.

***

It was the day after the meal at Marcorelli's. I woke up and smiled. I was cheerful as I ate breakfast and got changed. It seemed that it was natural to be in love and I felt like I was ... more as Emrald's girlfriend. Part of me expected Emrald to turn around and say he didn't love me after all but I ignored this feeling in my optimistic mood.

The doorbell rang. I ambled downstairs and opened it - my mum was in the garden and my dad was out playing golf. It was Emrald. He grinned and handed me a bouquet of roses.

"Roses?" I asked, amazed.

Emrald nodded. He gently took them from me and placed them on the floor before leaning in to kiss me. His arms came around my waist as mine wrapped tightly around his. He broke away briefly to whisper "Thank you."

I was captivated by his eyes and dazed by their warmth. I kissed him and found myself never wanting to let go. I was slightly bewildered by my willingness to give away my heart but on the whole, calmly euphoric at the emotions Emrald evoked from me. Who knew that friendship could so seamlessly turn into love?

***

I woke up. Had we finally arrived? The journey had been so long that I wondered where Sapphire City was in the world - it seemed unlikely that we hadn't at least left the country. I looked out my window and saw a fairytale castle. Instead of wonder and fascination, I was filled with resent. This place was taking Emrald away from me. It made it worse that the end of the journey had interrupted my dream of a gorgeous memory - I adored reliving the past and saw it as my mind's reminder that I was Emrald's and signified that the relationship was strong and an unavoidable part of life (not that I wanted to avoid it).

Emrald stirred. His head was on my lap and he lifted it, asking "Are we here?" in a tired voice which was quite soporific.

I yawned and replied "I think so."

"I think you should be the ruler: you'd make a great princess," Emrald said, sitting up and kissing me. He always said random, lovely things when he was sleepy and I loved the feeling of being in a dream with him.

The door of the limousine opened and we sighed resignedly as we got out. The sunlight was harsh and the air was cold. It felt like the city was giving us the cold shoulder despite its need of Emrald, or was it that it was rejecting me?

We followed Tara inside and were led to a living room which shouted out 'Luxurious'. I was too bitter to care how expensive the furniture was, though, and sat on a couch beside Emrald, desiring to lose myself in him rather than the room.

A few moments later, a stunning boy walked in. He looked about a year older than Emrald and had black hair and emerald-coloured eyes.

"Hey, I'm Ralph," he said. He looked at Emrald and said, "I'm your cousin."

 

The End

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