“Ah, so bright.”
Looking out, it’s already full moon. Rising from his bed, Lucas chuckled. It’s that time of the year again. The time he never once missed, ever since he met her ten years ago. Athanasia’s birthday eve. Not even his trip to the World Tree delayed his arrival to her 15th birthday.
It’s her birthday today. She’s turning 18, huh? So young, yet on the inside…
His Princess is becoming an adult. Somehow, it makes him feel delighted.
Checking the mirror once, he nods to himself. Presentable enough. He’s on his teenage form, but she said she preferred this form...
But since when he cared? He always looks perfect. She makes me crazy, maybe I’m the psychopath here.
Shrugging to himself, he left for Garnet Palace. The thought of meeting his Princess alone blooms a smile to his lips.
There she is.
Standing outside on her balcony, on her nightgown, a soft smile graced her face and Lucas forgot how to breathe for a second.
For a while, he stood on the tree next to her room. Just gazing and admiring her. Her golden hair, her sparkling eyes that seemed to glow with the moonlight, the wind blowing on her gown softly.
He has no words to describe her. Beautiful? Pretty? Breathtaking? Everything?
His chest tightens and he feels he can just stare at her forever.
But no, he won’t ever be satisfied just by staring.
So he made himself known. Appearing behind her, and approaching her side. She looks surprised for a second but sighs fondly when she saw him. She knew he’ll appear tonight, like always. Did you wait for me? You know I would never miss your birthday.
“You can’t sleep because you’re upset about aging?”
“Even though I’m aging one year, I’m still young and healthy, so I’m not upset.”
Haha, she’s pouting. Lucas chuckled under his breath and looks up to the moon. How many times has it been now, them standing on her balcony under the moonlight together? Every year, he would grant one of her wishes and promised not to hold it against her. But tonight will be different.
He scoots closer to her and leaned his back against the railing. Twirling her hair on his fingers, he scoots closer to Athanasia.
“It’s already been ten years since I’ve met you.”
Has it been that long? For him who lived for hundreds of years, ten years are short and fleeting. But with her, ten whole years by her side, time seems to pass by too fast for his liking. He had fun, for the first time in decades Lucas feels like his existence had meaning again, for the first time in forever, he has someone to cherish and he deems precious.
He smiled wryly.
“You’re right. It’s already been ten years.” She said.
Yes, I’ve been with you for that long and I never regretted even a single second of it, Athanasia.
“When I first saw you, you were so unlikeable.”
“What? What did I do? Even back then, I was a pleasantly nice magician.”
He scoffs. He’s the nicest person he knows, besides her. He was so benevolent and tame now, thanks to her influence… Maybe that’s a good thing. Even that fake bastard Caraks said he’s like a puppy now. It makes him want to kill him slowly and painfully.
But Athanasia wouldn’t like that. So Lucas limited his anger to simply leaving Caraks alone.
“Time flies so quickly…” It’s not fair. She will live long, but he wants more. He is greedy for her, he wants more time with her, why is it when he’s finally enjoying his life, time seems to flow faster? Lucas bit his lips.
“You’ve only lived for 17 years. Don’t talk like a grandma who’s experienced the entire world.”
“You don’t know that my mental age is actually way older.”
“Even so, you’re still young.”
Bah, you can combine your ages and I will still triumph. You’re a baby in my eyes.
He has his own hypotheses about her. Maybe she was a lost soul or a reincarnated person like Caraks. But she seems to remember both her lives? Maybe the latter theory is the correct one? He’ll know sooner or later.
But her next words stuns him.
“But still, I had fun with you.”
She smiled at him. Athanasia smiled at him and he feels like he’s the happiest person in the whole world. Someone appreciated his existence, someone enjoyed having him around, no, not someone. Athanasia appreciated him and that’s all he needs to push forward.
Without thinking, he kissed her.
Lucas pressed his lips gently on hers. So soft, so delicate, tasted like honey and he wants more. She looks stunned, but all he can think now is how he wants to taste more.
He pulls back to get some air, and he already misses her. He feels whole for the first time in his life. He’s not empty anymore.
“You… Just now… What…”
See? She’s surprised. Athanasia’s pupils are shaking, but he leans in one more. I want more, give me more.
He pressed his lips to her again with a little more force. Ah, sweet, soft, precious… His first kiss.
Women flirted with him in the past, but he paid them no mind. Women aren’t THAT interesting, more of an annoyance, but her, oh God. What won’t he do to stay by her side? To have her with him for eternity? Nothing.
This second kiss lasted longer than before. When he pulls back, both are equally breathless. He touched his own lips, dazed and in wonder. Meanwhile, she was red, so red like his eyes.
“Y, You… What…”
Lucas was still in a daze.
“What are you doing?!”
With complete peacefulness on his mind, he spoke again quietly.
“Ah, sorry. You just looked so pretty.”
“…Y, You would do this to anyone who’s pretty?!”
He tilts his head. What was she talking about? In the first place, the only person he ever thought was pretty is himself, and now, her too. Not only pretty, she is more than just ‘pretty’. No words can do her justice.
He reaches towards her again, his palm caressing her cheek. So small, so delicate.
“What? No, of course not.” He said. He didn’t even realize he smiled at her, a smile that reached his crimson eyes. “I just wanted to do that because it was you.”
Her eyes went wide and he never stops caressing her face. You make me go crazy. You make me feel like I can do anything, and nothing at the same time. This yearning I feel, it won’t ever be complete because I always want more of you.
She mumbled something about permission, and he blinks. So he needs permission? You’re mine. I don’t need permission to kiss you. But if that makes you more willing to kiss me, I’ll beg if I have to.
“I want to do it again, can I?”
Softly, earnestly, he looked at her. Her lips are quivering, and so is her pupils. He even mumbled a please. She didn’t answer, but her eyes spoke for him. So he lowered his face once again, kissing her softly. She closes her eyes.
Lucas can’t be happier.
He pulled her closer, his palm on her nape, and his other hand circling her slim waist. Good God, she’s so alluring, delectable, I want her. I want her. I want more of her. Please, let me stay like this longer.
He kisses with more force, embracing her against him. Athanasia, Athanasia, Athanasia…
He loves her.
He loves her so much.
His life’s anchor, his reason for living all this time, his heart beats, yearns, aches, warms and longs for her. His heart, that he thought he had lost. All those emotions he erased, coming back to him like a tsunami crashing against the waves. Violent and unpredictable, yet brings something new. Another hope inside him.
A hope to continue this life, to cherish his life more, with her.
Meeting you was fate, Athanasia.
But falling in love with you, so deeply, so wholly with every fiber of my being, was beyond my control.
With great reluctance, he pulled away. She will need air soon, and so is he. His hands never left her body, keeping her on his chest. So she won’t go away, won’t fly away to another man. Not even he wants to imagine the pain of losing her.
And he won’t ever let that happen.
Her face is so red… Red, like my eyes. Red suits her. I should get her more reds. Crimson, turbulent, blood, every shade of red. I will give them to you, Athanasia.
“Ah, you’re red.”
Trying to be nonchalant, but his smile betrayed his intentions. She turned redder, and he hugged her closer. As if he will consume her with his being. The bells rang, signifying a new day.
“Happy birthday, Athanasia.”
He kissed the top of her head, and when she looks up, her forehead too. Gently, he cupped both cheeks and kissed her again. His hands moved back to her waist.
“Thank you for being born.”
She relaxed in his arms and hugs him back. Lucas is soaring as he rests his cheek on her head. “I’m glad I met you. Thank you for giving my life meaning, Athanasia.”
She is all he can think about. Day in, day out. With her, without her. The last thing on his mind when he fell asleep, and the first thing he thought about when he opened his eyes. The way she said his name makes his heart yearn more for her. The way she smiled, she walks, she laughs, she frowns, she pouts, everything she did makes his heart burst. Screw common sense. Since when I have any, especially about her?
The pure, unadulterated happiness whenever he thought about her. No matter how annoyed he is at her sometimes, the feeling is there. Coming to life like the sunrise.
Next, he tilts up her chin and presses his forehead on hers. Tonight, he will be honest. He will say everything on his mind. His heart alone can’t contain all his feelings for her. Love? Love is too shallow. My feelings for her went deeper than love. She’s not just my love.
She is my life.
“I promise, I promise you as long as I’m breathing, even beyond that, Athanasia. I will always be by your side. For all that I am, it is yours. Even when I die, and get reincarnated again, I promise I’ll find you. Even if I don’t remember you… I know I will fall in love with you all over again.”
With a gentle smile and quiet voice, he promises himself to her.
You’re my home, Athanasia. Where my heart is.
He never had a home before. The empty tower, quiet annex, those are not home. He never felt at home there.
And Athanasia came to his life.
Reckless, playful, sassy, strong-willed, kindhearted, brash, witty, smart, gentle and warm Athanasia de Alger Obelia.
He caressed her cheeks, her lips, her jaw, and kisses her again. When she gasps, his tongue slips in and roamed inside her mouth. He left no single place untouched, and he can feel Athanasia moaning softly on his mouth.
Fuck. This is bad.
He pulls back. More, and he’ll regret his actions for his whole life. No. Not now, not yet. She’s not ready, calm your hormones.
He got nothing more to say. Not to say right now, at the least. Tenderly, he gazes into her eyes. What is it?
“Thank you… For coming today,”
She didn’t push him away. In fact, she hid her face on his chest as she spoke.
“Like you, I too… Feel thankful. Thank you too, for being born, Lucas.”
Now it’s his turn to feel shocked. Nobody ever said that to him. His own parents abandoned him, his teacher left him, nobody stayed with him in the end but her.
She thanked him for being born.
“Thank you for staying with me all these years, thank you for saving my life, thank you for giving my Papa’s memory back, thank you for always protecting me Lucas. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you. As you needed me… Remember that I do need you too.”
So let’s stay together. Words that are unspoken, but both knew by heart. Lucas laughed wryly, as he facepalms.
“ God fucking damn it, Athanasia. You’re making this so hard…”
“You’re making it so hard to restrain myself from taking you right here and now.”
But he held her tighter than ever. Laughing quietly to himself before composing his posture and he picks her up princess-style.
He walks inside her room, tucking her in, and kissed her forehead. He held her hand and kissed her fingertips too.
“Now, Princess has to sleep before this Wolf really go berserk.”
“Why are you so certain? I’m a man too.”
“You would never hurt me, Lucas.”
She smiled at him. He scoffed and grins to himself. Hah, she got me. But only if it’s that easy.
“Lucas… really, thank you…”
She closes her eyes and falls asleep. Lulled by his warmth on her hand. Lucas twirls her hair with his other hand and sits there, on her bed, staring at the full moon.
“I’d kill myself first before I even try to harm you. Goodnight, Dear Princess.”
He stayed for the whole night, holding her hand. When she woke up he’s still there, smiling at her. He kept his word, he would never leave her side. Because she held his hand, and he never wanted to let her go.