Seeing a glint of a tear tracing down his fine cheek, she felt a strong wave of warmth and tenderness wash through her, and instinctively, she knew that he needed and wanted her very much, perhaps even loved her. This sudden revelation slammed through her like lightning, causing an intense answering cry in her own heart for him. There was only this moment, this now, with him. She could no longer deny that the force she had been fighting against all of these months was love. Throwing all thoughts of caution to the sea winds, she came around the table to stand before him, her arms open and beckoning him to her. Her heart was racing and her head pounded as he took her hands in his. He slowly lifted his eyes to hers and drank deeply of her emerald pools with the crystal blue glaze of his own. He trembled as he stood and tenderly enfolded her in his warm embrace.
“Everything in my life has changed, I have changed. I want nothing that I valued before now, I need nothing, save for you, my little one!” his voice came softly, intense in timbre, and a small sob escaped as he pressed his lips against her ear. His next words sent her heart soaring ever higher, and her fingers clutched him tighter to her still as he spoke in a hoarse whisper, “‘Tis true that I wanted vengeance once, but that quickly changed. I wish only to hold you and to have you with me always as I have never wanted anyone or anything before in my life!”
Stepping back a bit, he tilted her face up to his and looked deeply into her eyes before bending to kiss her softly with trembling lips, his heart jumping in surprise when she gave no resistance to his kiss and made no move to back away from him. He pulled away enough to touch his forehead against hers, breathing deeply of her perfume and warmth, and closed his eyes as he sighed.
“Do you understand what I am saying to you, girl, what you mean to me?” he asked softly as he opened his eyes to look deep into hers. Her eyes were wide, and tears threatened to spill, for she did indeed understand the depths of his feelings for her. Not knowing the awakening in her mind and heart towards him, he went on, his tears now falling without shame, “I cannot stand another day, another moment, with this wall of hatred between us! You are destroying me every time you pretend that I’m not even alive when I’m right here with you! I cannot even find comfort in being near you at night for you jump whenever I accidentally brush against you in my sleep! Please, Leigha, would you at least be my friend as you were when you thought that I was Stephen? Would you at least grant me that much?”
“Simon, you must know that we can never be as we were at Dagonmoor,” she said, her voice hushed and full of emotion as she reached to tenderly touch his cheek with her open fingers, making his nerves jump with pleasure at her touch though his heart was shot through with pain as she continued to speak, “Terrible things have happened since we’ve met. I know now that, at first, it was your duty and your way of life, then your wounded pride that made you hurt me so, and I . . . I believe that I understand why you have taken me away from Robert, from everyone.”
“Leigha, please stop, please love me!” Simon choked as he pulled her against him, willing her to feel his love and to keep her from denying him any longer. “I have never loved or been loved by anyone, and I am afraid that now that I have lost my heart, my very life to you, you will continue to turn from me! I cannot bear that, little one!”
Simon was surprised when Leigha laughed softly into his shoulder, and he held her away so as to see her face as he looked at her in confusion and pain.
“But I do love you, Simon,” she spoke before he could utter any words. “I think that I have for quite some time now. I want you to know that though it sounds peculiar and perhaps ‘tis a sin, I love Robert as well as you. I am his wife, and I have a deep, gentle love for him. I know I should honor my vows to him, but oh, how I love you, my darling, I love you!”
Simon’s heart pounded and rang with her words as he impulsively lifted her up into his arms and carried her over to their bunk set against the wall of the ship. Setting her down gently, he knelt to kiss her deeply before laying beside her. His heart fairly burst as she returned his embrace and as eagerly sought his mouth.
“She loves me!” he thought to himself in elation. Sobering, he murmured aloud, “We will speak later of Robert, and everything else that stands between us, but for now, ‘tis enough to know that you love me.”
Leigha smiled warmly up at him as he turned his full attention to her lovely form. She had lain beside him many times before, but now, she was not turning away. Her arms were open wide to hold him close, and as he kissed her full mouth again, Simon’s thoughts of everything, save his love for her, vanished.
Lee, Virginia (2011-01-20). Dagon’s Blood (p. 285-287). Xlibris. Kindle Edition.