Life Without Life

Chapter 12:

"Josette, dear, I cannot be bothered with such nonsense now. Besides, I do not believe a word you have just told me."

"Father, please try to understand. If we do this, he may never speak again!"

"You are talking crazy, child. He may just be nervous about the marriage. Now don't worry. You will be married sooner than you think."

"That is what I am afraid of," Josette mumbles.

"What was that, dear?"

"Oh, nothing, nothing at all. Father, would it be all right if I go for another ride?"

"Dear, you were just on that horse. I think you should give her a rest for the remainder of the evening."

"All right, Father, whatever you say." She walks upstairs to her bed chamber and, after collapsing onto her bed, begins to wonder what life will be like after her marriage: married to one man while loving another.

"I have got to get out of here," she says to herself as she straightens up. "Maybe there is still time to run away. But, no, that would upset Father. Oh, I don't care anymore! I will not let my future husband wallow in sorrow and grief just because of me!" She gets up, walks downstairs, and out to the stables.

Even with her father's pleads and outcries, she still mounts her white stallion and gallops into the twilight. All that is going on her mind is Why is fate doing this to me? She rides until she gets to the Blacksmith's shop, dismounts, and quietly looks around for any sign of Timothy. Just when she is about to mount her horse again, he appears from the back door, covered from head to toe with soot and ashes from the hot-iron stove.

"Timothy, is that you?" she asks, trying to see his blue eyes through all of the soot.

"Josette, what are you doing here? We could get caught- - -."

"I don't care!"

"What do you mean you don't care? If we are seen together and I am arrested- -!" She cuts him off by kissing him full on the lips.

He shoves her away saying, "Josette, what has come over you?! This is crazy! Just- - - just leave! Leave this place before I am forced to do something irrational!"

"Irrational?! What do you mean irrational?"

"What I mean is that we must stop this, Josette. We should forget about each other and get on with our lives. You are to be married to the Baron's son in less than two months and I am nothing but a Blacksmith's apprentice! We should say adieu and be done with it!"

"Are you finished making a fool of yourself?!" she retorts.

"Aye, I am finished."

"Good. Timothy, listen to yourself! You are asking me to marry someone I do not care about and to forget everything we shared. I just cannot do it! I can't do it!" She begins to cry, knowing how Matthew had felt when his love was taken from him. He pulls her into his arms, allowing her to cry against him.

"I am truly sorry. I did not realize how much this would upset you."

"It's just that I wish I was not a Baron's daughter anymore and just a commoner like. . ."

"Like me, right? Is that what you think of me, Josette, a commoner?!" he says, pushing her away and looking into her eyes.

"Nay, Timothy, that is not what I meant at all. Look at us! Fighting as if we were married!" she laughs to herself.

"I wish we were," he mutters.

"Did you just say that you wish we were married?"

"Aye, that I did. You know very well we would not have to secretly see each other like we are doing now. It would be perfect."

"Then, come with me, Timothy,"

"Come with you? Where?"

"Anywhere but here! We could run away!"

"You can never run away from your problems."

"Timothy, what will you do after I am married to Matthew?" she asks, quickly changing the subject.

"I don't want to think about it," he says, turning his back on her and looking up at the sky. "Josette, stay with me tonight."

"Where? Remember, if we are caught- - -." He places his finger against her lips to silence her.

"Please. Allow me one night in which I can sleep in peace knowing you are not near him."

She pulls her arms up around his neck and says, "I will always be with you, in your heart."

"Josette, you make it sound as if you were dying. Are you going to stay?"

"Of course, but where are we going to sleep without being seen?" she inquires while mounting her horse.

"Out in the meadow, past the cornfield. The corn is so high, we will not be seen by anyone." He mounts his own horse, which is tied in the front of the shop, and the two of them ride into the meadow. That night, Josette and Timothy sleep under the stars.


chapter 13