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To Love the Enemy
JULIAN: As the music quickened, I spotted her, the magnificent beauty that now held me to earth was waltzing with some wannabe Captain that didn’t have the right to even look at her. As she laughed with a group of cadets, I listen in awe as the melodious sound of her happiness flows into my memory.
Wait, Julian stop yourself! She fits the description of Rose Crone, the daughter of General Crone: the one man that no one in my camp will miss if he is gone. Oh, who am I kidding, she is a mirror image of an angel, I thought to myself.
As I turn my attention back to the celebration, I see that the amazing girl who I think is Rose is now dancing with Captain Tony Crone, who, as we call him over in camp, is worse than Satan himself.
ROSE: As I chat with Cadets Morley and Jane, I feel as if I am being watched. As a reflex that my father has taught me, I subtly scan the room for those who might be watching me just a bit too closely. Suddenly I feel a light tap on my shoulder as I try to spin around gracefully. I see that it is my dear cousin, Captain Tony, of my father’s cavalry.
“Would you be kind enough to reward a humble man of the cavalry with a graceful dance, dearest cousin?” Tony inquires in his most gentle voice, which still sounds like a command.
“Do tell me, kind Captain; is the Grand Captain Tony Crone now in need of a new feminine presence to dance with?” I answer back in a mischievous tone.
“Not at the moment, though your father did promise me a dance with you. So if I may, will you accept or decline my offer?” Tony says quite frankly.
“Then I believe, dear cousin, we will dance.” As we make our way to the dance floor I feel as if I am being watched again. As Tony spins me round and round, I spot a young man in lieutenant’s dress making his way to the door, though for now I ignore the actions of this man and continue to dance with my dear cousin. As the song ends, I tell Tony that, even though the night is young, I have had many a drink and feel the need to visit the privy.
Now that I have come up with an excuse, I am going to find the young man who rudely left the Cadets ball without dancing with a single young lady. As I weave my way through the tents, saying hellos and good evenings to the soldiers I pass, I spot the man who has so rudely left our celebration.
Suddenly the young man stops and makes an about face. He moves his mouth as if he is talking, though I am far enough away not to hear what is being said. So, as I creep closer, I begin to hear the makings of a conversation come together.
I hear my so-far-nameless soldier say, “Hello Benny. Aren’t you supposed to be at the Cadet’s Ball entertaining some lovely women, hoping their dates get drunk?”
Another voice, which belongs to the so-called Benny, replies, “I would say the same of you young and arrogant Julian, but I have more important questions to ask.”
My young soldier, who I now believe is Julian, says in an extremely serious manner, “I am anything but arrogant, Benny, and you know that. You do remember when I almost took a bloody bullet for you and Max during our mission last winter, don‘t you?”
Benny then says in a voice so low I can barely hear, “I do remember but we have more important matters to discuss, so what information have you gathered tonight?”
“I have found no valuable information, though I did lay eyes on a beautiful young girl. That girl, I believe, is Rose Crone. If we can get her alone, we may be able to get some information out of her.”
At this point, I now feel as if I am hearing the plans of the destruction of my own self. With the courage I have now somehow found within me, I step into the small courtyard and face the two young men.
I say with all my might, “I am Rose Crone and you will not be getting information from me. Now, if you will go back to your camp and report nothing, I will let you live, instead of reporting you to my…” And suddenly I find myself at a loss for not just words but thoughts as well, as I stare into the beautiful eyes of one which I believe is kin of the angels.
As I lose my grasp on reality and drift into the fantasy that is made up only by the glowing figure of my amazing Julian, I am suddenly brought back to earth by the slow steady sound of footsteps. I now realize that Julian, “Benny” and I are no longer alone but in the center of a small group of soldiers that I am unfamiliar with.
As I drift back to reality I hear this Benny say, “Come dear friends, we shall let Julian gather whatever he can from this girl.”
Julian takes a step closer to me so that we are almost touching. My heart is pounding at such a speed, for if it was pounding any harder it would shake the earth we are standing on.
Julian slowly lifts my hand until it is parallel to his full and tempting lips and says, “With my unworthiest hand. I stand ready to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” And with that he kisses my hand.
“Dear Julian, you do wrong your hand too much, and palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.” I say with as much calmness as I can manage.
“Have not saints’ lips and holy palmers too?” He says in a manner that makes my heart pound harder than a herd of wild horses.
“Yes, Julian, lips that I must use in conference with others,” I say now seeing the objective of this conversation.
“Then, dear Rose, let lips do what hands do,” He says as he presses his hand to mine.
“I do not move, but to please my father,” I say much calmer now.
He says then with a look of love in his eyes, “Then move not, sweet saint.” And he kisses me as if I was a glass of water and he had been trapped in the desert for thousands of years.
He kisses me as if he has just now tasted the passion of true love.