“When did we become enemies?”
His tone was somber, melancholy even, but he dared not look at her. He already knew the answer.
She sighed heavily as the wind picked up around them. Her eyes watched him intently as he stared off into the distance, waiting on an answer she knew he already had.
“I always though that our souls were the same,” she said. “I always thought I knew what you would do in every possible scenario.” Heat began rising in Pri’s cheeks. She was impossibly bound to reflecting her emotions on her face so she made no effort to hide it around Ali anymore.
“I told you you would grow to hate me,” he said without emotion.
She said nothing. He was right, but she didn’t care. She searched her mind for something to hold onto, some shred of truth between them that could not have been fabricated. Everything she thought she knew about him felt like a lie.
“Go back, check everything I said” he spat, a small spark of anger birthed in his last syllables. “I told you the truth about who I was…who I am from the start.” he paused, shifting his gaze from the distance to Pri. The trace of melancholy replaced with the smolder of guilt.
When Ali’s eyes finally met Pri’s, anger radiated from her cheeks. Every time his tone rolled off his lips with anger, she glowered deeper into him, willing him to lose control.
The embers from Ali’s smoldering anger leapt from his chest and took hold of his tongue like ifrit fingertips conducting his tenor to crescendo.
“You chose not to listen. You chose not to hear.” his mouth in a tight, thin line nearly covered by his facial hair.
Pri met his crescendo with her own, loud, and unforgiving, “You spent our entire life lying to me! You left out entire chapters of who you are, what you were doing, who you were with–entire swathes of time that just…” her voice cracked and she bowed her head in defeat.
“You should not have come here,” she whispered, “your place is with her now, in your vast kingdom, with your many admiring subjects to whom you have given your life” her voice was stale, empty. “I gave you mine. You knew you would not stay, you knew what obligations you had, you knew it would not be forever between us, but you carried on anyway,” she raised her head and looked at him. Her face was an array of hate and hurt and anger and mourning. “You should not have come here.”
Ali’s anger was still visible on his face, his eyes searched her, but he found nothing to hold onto.
Pri felt a hand against her back and Ory’s presence beside her. Safe, good, kind Ory.
“Come,” Ory brought his arm around her shoulders in embrace, “the world doesn’t end here for you tonight,” he squeezed her tightly and looked up at his old friend, Ali.
Ali reached out toward Pri, but Ory turned and put himself between them. “Go,” Ory was curt.
Pri pulled herself closer to Ory, allowing him to protect her the way Ali used to.
“There is nothing left for you here, Ali. You made your choice,” he turned and guided Pri back into the woods, leaving Ali alone under the vast night sky.
He should not have gone there, but it was far too late to stop the wheels that had been put into motion.