Chapter 10: A Fairytale Comes to Pass
Time held no meaning for me, as in turn I held Ella's pale hands between my own. Mandy had come and gone, but I had vowed to stay with Ella until…until whatever would occur came to pass. Thoughts of the future, of a future without her invaded my mind, and I attempted to stave them off by imaging a future where we would be together. Of course, even if she does awake, she will be cursed, endangering both myself and our country a snide voice inside my head would comment, and eventually I shied away from all thought, resigning myself to study the profile of my beloved in her enchanted slumber, like an image from a child's tale. If only our story could have a fairy-tale ending as well…
As the candle burned to half of its original size, I began to drift off to sleep even as I sat holding her hand. I was nearly in my own dreams, until I felt Ella's hand clench within my own. I awoke, sitting ramrod straight as she squeezed my hand repeatedly. Her face was no longer smooth in her slumber, but twisted in pain. Now it was my heart's turn to clench as I studied her face. Her expression changed, and it made me catch my breath. The look of determination, the expression of resolve that belongs only to Ella, adorned my face. That face gave me back my hope, and I realized that she was far from capitulating to her curse.
"I believe in you." The words escaped from my mouth, and I knew that they came from the center of my heart. All I could do was wait, and hope, with every part of myself. I watched her face, transforming now to a look of shock, comical and perfect for Ella. The next moment my hope began to die, as her face once again became smooth and tranquil, empty of emotion, so empty of the life I knew laid beneath her eyelids. The tears came unbidden to my eyes, and it took all of my self control to resist the urge to sob.
"It's over." I thought aloud, unable to look at the face of the one I loved more than anything in the world. I stared at our hands, mine wrapped around her fragile, ebony fingers, pain resounding in my heart and moving to every inch of my body. "This…this is the end." I could no longer hold on the sobs, empty of all strength as I held her still warm hand against my cheek.
"No." Her voice rang in my ears, so joyous and strong I could only sob stronger, sure I was hearing her at the moment when I needed her most. "This is only the beginning, Char. This is our beginning." With those words, her hand slipped from mine, and I looked up through my tears, into the face of my beloved, even more of life than I could ever remember seeing.
"Ella….it is you, isn't it? This isn't some sort of dream I'll awake from, to find myself without you, is it?" And how desperately I wished with my heart that it was really her! My heart, feeling ready to explode, was so close to breaking if it truly wasn't Ella, but simply a figment of my imagination.
"It is, oh, it really is me Char. Please, I implore you to believe me! It truly, really is me." The desperation in her eyes snapped me from my state of shock, and I once again placed her hand gently between my own, and brought it up to my cheek. I could feel the warmth, the life within her, her pulse pounding as strong as my own. This truly was reality- I was awake and sound in mind- and Ella…Ella was alive!
"I believe you. You have no idea how…overjoyed I am to be able to say that. But…how…?"
"You helped me Char. It was your love that helped me overcome. It was your love, that led me back. Without you…" She paused, struggling to find the right words. "But now, everything is the way it should be. And, if it wouldn't be too presumptuous…" she looked down, uncharacteristically shy, "I have you as well."
"Ella, you have had my heart, I believe, since we first met. Eleanor of Frell, you are the one I love, the one I wish to spend the rest of my years with." I felt my mouth break into a smile, the widest I have ever known, only to disappear as I recalled the entire reason we had been forced through this dilemma.
"We'll find a way to be together, even with your curse. I will do everything within my power-"
"There's no need. Oh, Char, I understand how unbelievable it is, but my curse, my curse is gone! A true, real life fairytale, if there ever was one. And it was your love that helped me, even when I felt like…when I thought there was no way that I would be able to come back." Looking down at our hands, then back up into my face, I could see tears, tears of joy, I thought, coursing down her face as she simultaneously squeezed my hands. "But there will be a time to talk about everything. We have…we have the future ahead of us."
"That we do. That we most certainly do," I agreed with her, pausing for a moment, and then rushing forth with the only words that made sense for me to say. "This might not be the most…ideal time, but I must as you a question, a question I need the answer to quite desperately.
"Eleanor of Frell- Ella, the most charming, comical and beautiful maiden I have ever met-I must ask you: will you marry me? I promise, I promise that you will always hold my heart, and that I will do everything, anything out of the love I hold for you, whatever may come our way, if you would just say yes."
Laughter. I was met by her laughter, as bright and marvelous as I remembered, I noted, as a smile lit upon her face.
"Yes. Forever and for always, yes."
Standing up, and in so bringing Ella to stand with me, we kissed for the first time, signifying our promise of forever and always. For whatever would come our way, we would face together with the love and strength we knew resided within the ever present bond between us. And I knew in my heart, our fairytale would be one with a happy ending- Fate could not deny us that. And if it does, we'll overcome. That is the beauty of love.
So, here's the last chapter. I'm not sure whether I'll write a sequel- I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head... but I have another story idea for another catagory, so I'll be working on that for a while. If anyone would really like a sequel, just drop me a note and maybe I'll put some serious thought into it :)
Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions/criticism, I'd really appreciate it.