Pushing the large double doors of the room at the end of the grand hall on the second floor of the Manor, her presence, should anyone actually be around at that time of night, would have immediately been made aware of by the groaning of the old library doors as they swung open. Sure enough, having stepped inside only two steps, Felano would move out from the shadows in the corner, smiling at her.
“Evening, Ana. It’s good to see you. We’ve all … no, I’ve missed you.”
“Gods, Fel! I swear, you step out of the shadows like that one more time and you’ll scare me to death one of these days!” But almost as soon as the words were out of her mouth, a large smile spread widely across her face. “You know what though? I missed you, too.”
And then, impulsively, she did something she had never done before, such was the overwhelming sense of relief and gratitude she felt on seeing him again following their conversation just days earlier, that she quickly moved forward a couple of steps, closing any gap between the two of them and pressed herself against his chest, hugging him, a big, warm, well overdue hug, the first, in fact, that she had ever given him despite their undisputed long, entirely overcomplicated friendship.
Fel stiffened for a moment, probably from the shock of her physical contact, her warmth, so she pulled back long moments later, softening her tone, looking up at him, she told him.
“Seriously, though Fel. There’s a few things I need to say, one of them being thank you.”
“Ana, there is one thing you should know about you and I, you will never have to thank me for what I do.”
He’d always told her that. He’d picked her up, or tried to, emotionally, so many times before, had offered to give her anything she wanted, do for her anything she needed, and always, he’d told her that she never need thank him for any of it, but she would, regardless. She had much to be thankful for, and she would make that clear now, she had to, she needed to. She owed him so much.
“Call it destiny, call it meant to be, whatever other notion or overused cliché that people like to use, but there is a reason, there has to be, that you and I are the one constant and always have been, in each others lives, and this … this is one of them. What has happened recently, how you have helped me, this time you may have saved my life.”
She paused to look at him, a knowing look, the statement itself weighted with a significance that he would understand.
“You want to know why I care so much, Ana? Do you really want to know how I have felt for you since the day that you saved me from myself? You are the reason I am standing here right now. My life from that moment to this one exists because you did one seemingly simple thing, when you knocked that sword from my hands. I have loved you ever since that damned day. If you had been one second slower, I would not be here. I owe you my life, Ana, and I am thankful each and every day for you.”
“I’m sorry that I can’t ever seem to say or do, or even feel what you would like me to.I can’t give you what you need, what you want. But, I will tell you something, Felano. This world would not be the same without you in it. Maybe you will never believe that, but for me it remains the truth. You do mean something to me, but can I define it? I can’t … I wish I could.”
She looked at the man, the closest friend she had in the world, although why she had been so stubbornly blind to that fact all this time she would never know, and realized that she was lucky beyond these worlds to have him. So she voiced this, the last thing she would say before turning in for the night, the first night that she would actually find herself sleeping soundly in a very, very long time.
“I give you nothing, and you give me everything in return. I don’t deserve you, yet here you are, ever constant. Thank you.”