The doorway was lost in the gloom. She couldn’t quite make out if it was open or closed; she was always forgetting if the signal was yes if it was open or no if it was closed. She gathered her skirt into her fist and went down the garden steps towards the door. She wasn’t frightened, no, he never frightened her with games, but still, she was cautious.
There were goosebumps on her arms. The wind blew through the grasses on either side of the path. As she reached the door, she saw it was open and in the courtyard there was a fire. He was kneeling at the edge, poking at the coals. As she approached, he smiled, his teeth flashing white in the firelite, and he embraced her, his breath warm on her hair.
“You came!” he whispered into her ear, and kissed her cheek. She murmured assent and leaned back in his arms and looked up at him.
“Did you doubt?” she asked. His eyes looked troubled, and he looked beyond her into the fire.
“After what my brother told you, I wasn’t sure.” He cleared his throat and drew her to the bench at the edge of the firepit. They sat, holding each other tightly.
“There is nothing your brother can say to me to make me not want you. We are soul mates.” She looked at the scar on her wrist. She held it up to him. He grabbed her wrist and kissed it feverishly. He groaned.
“Oh, Vashti, I would have given anything to spare you that torture.” He drew in the dirt, and looked at her. “We need to leave tomorrow night, or we will not be able to. Jonathan is coming back, and will expect his wife to be here when he does. You will never be able to escape if we do not go then. See, I will meet you here, “ he paused, and marked a spot in his drawing, “and we will go on to Savannah. I have friends who can hide us.” He looked to her for agreement. She frowned.
“Cyrus, Cyrus! We have to be careful. I think it would be better if we waited until the end of Sabbath. He will not expect us to leave so late. Even though I hate so to spend another night in that ogre’s bed.” She shuddered and wrapped herself in his arms again, leaning her head against his chest, listening to the beat of his heart. She so loved him, and longed to find a way to go back and undo the mistake that caused her to marry the wrong brother. She hoped once they got to Savannah, she could prove that she had been tricked. The papers of intent were hidden, and she knew that her happiness depended on convincing the judge to annul the horror that was her marriage. She had the scars to prove it.
Vashti looked up at Cyrus from the warmth of his arms, and kissed his lips. It would work out, she knew it.
You have one sort of madness,
and I have another.
Your dripping desire is barely disguised
by the light in your eyes, and
I see your hands trembling
as you reach out to touch my face.
We dance around negotiation, seeking to appease our mutual hungers,
what sort of freedoms would I sacrifice, if I gave in to your appetite?
You would devour what I am, and I would surely stifle
what you are
you reached any sort of satisfaction,
before you could complete
the thought that I see in your eyes.