Realizing I was causing Firranda pain, I leaped off of her onto the floor, overreacting, the taste of her still lingering on my lips. "Sorry, honey," I murmurred as I stood back up and brushed off my pants. "I got a little carried away. I've just missed you so," I explained as I gave her a weak smile and sat down on the bed next to her, taking hold of Firranda's hand and rubbing my thumb over the top of it.
"I know how you feel," Firranda moaned. "If it weren't for this injury, I wouldn't be able to control myself either." She squeezed Howard's hand, a little humiliated by the fact that their dramatic reunion was reduced to this, but longing for physical contant nontheless. "Did everything turn out ok? Did you catch Xavier?"
"Xavier is currently in the dungeon. I believe Mother and I will be planning later tonight on what should be done with him. I can say he deserves whatever he gets," I mumbled as I lay my head down on Firranda's cot and looked up at her. "I'm going to mention something to the queen about locking him away in the prison on that island far out in the middle of the ocean. That way there is no possible way that Xavier can come back and bother us again. I think he's learned by now that we are incapable of being torn apart because of our strong love for each other," I said with confidence as I stood up, smiled down at my beautiful fiance, and planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
Firranda, overcome with relief and joy, reached forward to embrace the prince as he kissed her forehead. Her back screamed in protest, but it was worth it. As she fell back into her hospital bed, she asked Howard, "Shall we have the engagement dinner tonight, then, dearest?"
"But, honey...your back. You can hardly sit up, or even move, for that matter, without any pain. Are you sure you want to have the engagement dinner tonight?" I murmurred as I sat on the side of Firranda's cot and pushed her bangs out of her face.
"Perhaps you're right," said Firranda, settling back down into her bed and wincing from the pain. "But I want it as soon as possible." She didn't want to risk something like this happening again before they had the opportunity to be engaged. But nothing would be gained if she was this hurt...
A memory floated back up through her subconscious. When she was younger, she could heal herself easily, but it meant using her powers. She didn't want anyone to know, but Howard would probably find out eventually. Maybe if she could get alone with him.
"Howard..tomorrow morning..can you call me up to your room? I need to tell you something...privately."
"Sure honey! You know you can tell me anything," I said with sincerity as I put my hand underneath Firranda's chin and bent down to kiss her. I remember Firranda worrying a few days back about my father knowing something about her "secret"...I began to wonder if this was what she wanted to talk to me about. Putting it to the back of my thoughts for now, I got down on my knees beside her cot and looked at her with big, loving eyes. "Would you like me to stay here with you or do you want some peace and quiet?"
Firranda took Howard's hand and squeezed it. "It would be lovely if you stayed here. You don't want me out of your sight, remember?" Firranda turned her head to smile at Howard, but fell fast asleep a few seconds later.
((we can have a little time-lapse as Firranda gets better, if you want, and then the secret-telling may comence :3 if that's ok with you, of course))
((Yeah, great idea!! That's perfectly fine with me. :) ))
As Firranda fell asleep, I snuggled under the sheets right beside her, my arm wrapped around her protectively. With my chin on the top of her head, laying right beside her, I fell into a deep sleep, my fingers intwined with Firranda's.
--Three days later--
Firranda was finally well enough to walk around the castle with me by her side at all times to keep an eye on her. Today was the day she was going to talk to me privately. I had to be honest with myself, I was a tad bit worried about what she was going to tell me. But, whatever Firranda tells me later tonight can not break my love for her. We had planned on talking privately later tonight after the engagement dinner party. Royalty from all over the world was going to be coming to this party. It had been a few years since someone in the royal family had gotten married. I was shaking a bit just thinking about it. I always got nervous about being around huge crowds of people. I was never a big people person. I usually preferred being by myself, except for now when I wanted to spend all my time with Firranda. I assisted her down the stairs towards the kitchen for lunch.
Firranda was a little unsettled at the thought of telling the prince her secret, but at the same time she was glad that her secrecy could end. Howard wouldn't react like his father did, she told herself, it wouldn't change anything. She tried to distract herself by thinking about the engagement party. "Do you know what your mother has planned for the party tonight?" she asked Howard conversationally.
I laughed silently to myself as I looked at Firranda with adoration in my eyes. "My mother has been keeping her mouth shut about that engagement party these past few weeks. She's the only one that knows the details about it," I admitted as I pushed open the kitchen door and walked both of us through. Sitting her down in a stool by the counter, I gave Firranda a quick peck on her forehead and went after one of the cooks to get some food. Firranda didn't know this yet, but I had planned a picnic for the both of us on the outskirts of the courtyard where I first admitted my feelings for her. I was really hoping she'd enjoy it and it would help to relieve her stress.
"Seems like something she would do," Firranda said, laughing a little. It was hard to act naturally with the prince with her secret hanging over her, but at the same time she couldn't bear to leave him. Hopefully the upcoming dinner would take her mind off things, it was an exciting time, after all. She wouldn't have imagined doing something like this a few weeks ago, but now it seemed the only logical thing to do.
I came back out of the kitchen and took ahold of Firranda's hand and pulled her along behind me with the picnic basket in my other hand. "Come on, hon, I have a surprise for you." I said as I looked back over my shoulder and gave Firranda a sly smile. We walked into the courtyard to the spot where I first told Firranda how I felt about her. I set the picnic basket down on the cobblestone and lifted my hands up in the air. "Surprise!" I exclaimed.
It took Firranda a second to comprehend the significance of the location. "Oh, the courtyard!" she exclaimed, memories beginning to come back. "I was so confused then, but if it weren't for that..." She realized now the feelings behind Howard's previous actions that had seemed snooty and obnoxious before. He had loved her before she began to even notice him...
I walked up to Firranda and took her in my arms. "The first place we ever really talked and where I first confessed my love for you," I said as I put my hands upon her face and looked straight into her eyes. "I thought this would be a great place to have a picnic since it's nice and quiet and away from all the chaos." I kneeled down on the cobblestone and started to unpack the picnic basket, grabbing the metal flask of tea and pouring myself a cup. "I thought that this might be a good place to talk as well if you feel comfortable with that," I explained as I took a sip of tea and then poured some tea for Firranda.
Firranda took the tea slowly, feeling timid again. She glanced around, but saw no one around them. "Ok, I'd better just get this off my chest. But could you give orders that we don't be distrubed? We need absolute privacy."
"I've already instructed the guards that we wanted some privacy, so to make sure that the courtyard is off limits until we are done with our picnic." I noticed a tenseness in Firranda at this moment, and I tried to comfort her by giving her a hug and rubbing small circles on her back. "Whatever you have to tell me, I will not think any differently of you. I will always love you, no matter what," I whispered as I held Firranda in my arms.
Firranda tried to think of the best way to tell him. If she just told him outright, he might think it's a joke..she would hae to show him. "Ok, but..you need to close your eyes first. I swear, it's nothing dangerous," she quickly flashed her birthmark so he was sure it was the real Firranda and not an assassin, "but...it'll be better if you have your eyes closed first."
"Okay, sweetheart," I whispered as I leaned forward and kissed her forehead before I leaned back and closed my eyes, putting my hands over my face. "I'm ready whenever you are."
Firranda took a deep breath, trying to summon her long-idle power. To her surprise, it came to her as naturally as it used to, and she felt every cell of her body ready at her command. She thought about what she should turn into, and decided on a cute little puppy. She walked into Howar'ds lap with her wobbly puppy legs and licked his hand.