Life Without Life

Chapter 10:

"What is this, Josette, even though you are going to marry 'his high and mighty ', you are still courting a common Blacksmith's apprentice?"

"Oh, stop your mockery, Timothy! I can't help it if I am betrothed but I am here, am I not? At least that counts for something." She dismounts her stallion and places her arms around his neck.

"Stop this Josette! I mean it!" Timothy abruptly pulls her arms away from his neck and steps around to the side of the shop.

She follows him while saying, "Timothy, what is wrong? I thought you cared about me! I guess I was wrong!" She turns her back on him like a little girl.

"Josette, I- - - I did not mean it! It's just that I can't get the thought of you marrying another out of me head." He approaches her and puts his arms around her waist.

"Timothy, don't do that," she teases. Then, before vanishing behind the shop, she adds, "Besides, if we are caught out in the open, you are liable to be arrested."

"Josette, what are you doing?" he asks as he follows her back.

"You shall see!" she calls back before hiding behind a tree. She does not see that Timothy has gone around the other way and sneaks up behind her. "Timothy! You scared me!" she exclaims.

He leans her up against the tree while saying, "I do not care if anyone sees us." He passionately kisses her as her fingers move through his soft, blond hair. They stop kissing when a snap of a branch is heard from the distance.

"What was that noise?" Josette asks, her voice shaky and weak. "If we are caught. . ."

Timothy quickly places a protective arm around her waist. "Come on. We should get you back to your horse."

When they come to the horse tied to a tree in the front of the Blacksmith's shop, he helps her up and says, " 'Tis a sad good-bye, Josette."

She reaches down and cups his face with the palm of her free hand. "But not forever, my love." She softly kisses his lips one last time before leading her horse away from the Blacksmith's shop.

Timothy waves good-bye, then pivots, and strolls back into the shop. It is a shame to think that this is the only way to see her, so secretly. Now, the question is, will the love they share dwindle because of her betrothal to Matthew?

* * * * * *

"Father, I refuse to go through with this marriage! She is nothing but a Hot-Headed, selfish wench- - -!"

"You hold your tongue, Matthew, or I will be forced to remove it from your mouth!"

"But Father, please!"

"You know I cannot and will not go back on my word with the Baron of Cannock! You will marry his daughter and that is final!" With a click of his heals, the Baron storms out of the great hall, his footsteps bellowing around him.

"Well, there is one thing Josette is right about: my father is stubborn as stubborn can get!" Matthew aimlessly wanders up to his bed chamber where he is greeted by his cousin in the hallway.

"Good morrow, Little Cousin," Katherine says, bowing her head slightly. She takes one look at his grieving face and adds, "Matthew, what is it? I know that look. Come now, you can tell me what is ailing you."

"Cousin," he begins slowly, "have you ever lost a love before? What I mean is, have you ever loved someone and had that person taken away from you?"

"Oh, please, Little Cousin, do you even realize what real love is?"

"I do!" he says as he turns around and gazes out at the wilting willow tree in the orchard below.

"What is it you want me to do, 'Little Cousin'?" She lays her hands on his shoulders and leads him away from the window.

"First of all, stop calling me 'Little Cousin'! Second, I need you to help me to get out of this betrothal."

"Wait a minute! Are you telling me you want me to take part in a plan that could very well put my own life in danger?! You have to be joking!"

"Nay, Katherine, I am very serious. Are you going to help me or not?"

"Surely you jest!"

"Katherine, you don't seem to understand!"

"Matthew, please, tell me what it is I don't understand!"

"Nothing at all," he mumbles. Then he adds sadly, "Emily."

"You do not mean the Emily that was banished from the manor last evening, do you?"

"Aye, that I do. Her name is Emily-Elizabeth Berkeley, Katherine. I want my Em, I want her back!" He turns and dashes into his bed chamber, slamming the door behind him.


chapter 11