35. Chapter 35
Ethan spent that night at my house and then the weekend. Next thing I knew, I offered him my spare room permanently. What started out to be only a vacation turned into much more. When I confronted him about it, he said he had saved up enough money to start his own real estate business. He was able to manage things via email and such, at least for a while. I couldn't help but wonder if this was his plan all along. Somehow, I didn't seem to mind.
We kept our relationship purely platonic. I was not ready to jump back into things as they once were. Besides, I still worried about Legolas. I still had strong feelings for him. I couldn't explain it. I just needed to know he was not mad at me and was alright wherever he was. I missed him terribly. I think Ethan sensed something. Often times, when I found myself reminiscing silently about Legolas, I would look up to see Ethan observing me with a look of confusion. And then one evening, he called me out on it.
"You've met someone else haven't you?" he said as we sat on the porch one night. It was late September, still warm enough to be summer and not officially fall just yet.
"No. What? Why would you…" I stumbled over my response.
"It's alright you know. I'm not upset. Jealous maybe." he smiled. "So who is he and where has he been all summer?"
I felt my face flush. Legolas was my secret. I had never told anyone about him, except my mother. Ethan had been such a refreshing change of pace for me. I felt like I could trust him once again. But could I really tell him about Legolas? "Ethan, I… I can't say anything." I said and quickly swigged down another gulp of beer.
"Alright, keep your secrets." he said. I knew what he meant but at that moment it seemed like he already knew everything and was testing me.
"It's not what you think." I started. "In fact, it's nothing you could ever imagine." I laughed to myself.
"Try me. I've got all night." he said.
I looked over to Ethan, sitting in a chair by the front door. The light from inside just lit up enough of his features to make him look older and wiser than I had noticed before. There was something about him that said he would believe me even if I told him the moon was made out of cheese. Maybe this is what I needed. Too long had I carried this secret around with me. It never burdened me before as long as Legolas visited me. Since he disappeared that night, I felt like I had no one to confide in any longer. Now, here was Ethan, willing to be a receptacle for my secrets. Could I trust that he would keep this information closed up tight and never tell another soul? And could I trust that he would not think I was losing my mind? I don't know what made me decided to tell him my tale, but I felt I could not keep it bottled up any longer.
"There is someone else. Well, there WAS someone at least, but I think he might be gone now." This is how I started my story. I proceeded to tell him about my near death experience as a child and about my rescuer. I told him about the night in the woods with Clyde and his men and how Legolas was shot; how I rescued him for a change. I told him about his visits and where he came from, who and what he was. Finally, I told him of my vision of Minaethiel and how Legolas and I almost made love. "And now I don't know if I'll ever see him again." I finished. I sat silent, afraid to look at Ethan and find him looking back at me as if I needed a straight jacket.
I heard him get up from his chair and join me on the swing. He sat next to me for the longest while, not talking or looking my way. Then, I felt his hand and his fingers intertwine with mine. I was feeling very vulnerable right then. The wrong words and I would have been out of there and Ethan well on his way back home. "I'm sorry." is all he said, without looking at me and just holding my hand.
That was it. No questions. No strange looks. He did not judge me. He didn't even say I must be dreaming or losing my mind. He just sat silently and listened. And when I was through, I felt his sympathy for me and my ordeals. I felt his trust and his compassion. He believed me. I saw Ethan in a whole new light in that moment. The sadness I felt for losing Legolas seemed to melt away as my heart opened to Ethan once again. And then my father's words came back to me. 'Make sure he is the one. There should be no question in your mind. If he truly loves you as he says he does, he will live and breathe for you. He will believe every word you say to him and not question you. He would reach up to heaven and give you the stars if he could. You will find it in his eyes. There you will see his soul.'
I reached for Ethan's chin and turned his face to meet mine. I looked deep into his eyes and he into mine. I saw something there that I had never seen before. It was raw and pure, unlike anything I had experienced with him in the past. It was at that very moment that I fell in love with Ethan all over again. I was looking at him for the first time and it was love at first sight. The feeling I was experiencing was closely related to what I felt when I was within Minaethiel's mind, when she first laid eyes upon Legolas. It was a love so strong it felt like it could never be broken.
"You believe me, just like that? No questions." I asked searching the depths of his eyes.
"You have never lied to me. I trust you. I believe in you. I always have. I love you that deeply. If you say it is true then I have no reason but to believe you." Ethan answered.
Tears filled my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I never felt so free before. Ethan reached up and wiped the tears from my face. We continued to look beyond just our eyes. We saw our souls. "I love you Ethan." I whispered and leaned in to kiss him. A flood of memories came rushing back into my mind. I remembered our first kiss just as I remembered Legolas and Minaethiel's. I saw our need and desire to be together just as I saw theirs. 'Parallel universes.' I thought to myself.
The kiss deepened into so much more. Images of Ethan and I mingled with visions of Legolas and Minaethiel. My mind was in a whirlwind of emotions and every one hit me like a ton of bricks.
And then, just as quickly as it all came about, it all came crashing down as a truck came flying up the driveway to a screeching halt. Dwain jumped out of the passenger side. He had a black eye and a bloody nose. "You all better get in the house or get out of town." he said out of breath.
"Dwain, what happened to you?" I said confused by everything taking place all at once.
"Never mind that. It's Clyde Carson. Someone's tampered with his traps and he thinks you had something to do with it. I knew you didn't and confronted him to try and change his mind but he's dead set on it being you. He's on his way here now and he's not alone."
Ethan looked flabbergasted. "Who's Clyde Carson?" he asked innocently.
"I'm afraid you're about to find out. Come on, we can't stay at the house and I'll be damned if I'm going to run off. This is my land and it's about time he realized it. Get your boots and jacket. We're going to the woods. It's the safest place." I said without even thinking. I had never felt as safe as I did in the forest and I just knew this was where we needed to be.
"Maybe Ethan should go with us." Mac yelled from the truck. "Clyde don't know nothing about him anyways."
"Mac's right. You don't need to get involved. I can handle this myself." I agreed.
Ethan shook his head and looked me straight in the eyes. "I'm not leaving you. I'll get my stuff." he said then kissed me with so much passion. "I love you." he said and ran into the house. He came back out ready to go and carrying a couple knives from the kitchen.
I shook my head. "No. We fight fair and square. I've done it before, I can do it again." I took his hand in mine. "Let's go." I said and pulled him towards the back of Mac's truck. We hopped into the bed and they took us to the edge of the forest. It was time to put an end to Clyde's bullying.