– 27.3 – Fast or Slow?

Are you more comfortable when a relationship you’re in progresses quickly or slowly?

To be honest, I have had relationships go either way. So my level of comfort depends entirely upon who it is I am involved with and how we mutually feel with regard to the arrangement and levels of intimacy.

My best friend in the world is a man that I have been intimate with for nearly the whole time we have known each other. In our particular case, the relationship happened very quickly. We were friends nearly at first glance and it was as if we understood each other in ways that none before ever had. To this day we maintain that level of rapport and intimacy. And in spite of social norms of the times and the constraints of his being married and my being attached as a priestess of one of the Holy Islands, everything seemed to be a natural progression.

With Athos, it was not the same as with others. The friendship was something different – intriguing perhaps. It was after a bet of a duel for a dance that things again moved very quickly. Such liaisons within the French Court were common, but rarely were they considered to be anything more than what they were; discreet moments of mutually shared pleasures that no one expected to end up anywhere at all. They were made for fond memories but little more than that. I genuinely liked him and according to Athos and his companions, I was a rare female creature indeed who could coax their dour comrade out of his shell so that he not only was rather personable but genuinely pleasant. I enjoyed his company, but my sentiments were more reserved. I was a stranger in a strange land afterall. It would probably not do to have such entanglements looming should I have to leave France in a hurry. Given the nature of the politics at the time, that was indeed a very real possibility.

But there was one man who changed all that. We were neither of us fast friends with each other, nor did we even particularly like each other at all. Monsieur le Comte de Rochefort, Sebastien, Captain of the Guards of Cardinal Richelieu had a reputation that was fierce and foreboding. He was as handsome and elegant as he was intimidating by his mere presence. There were few, if any, within the French Court who could equal his ability as a swordsman, and even fewer still who had a clearer grasp of the treacherous inner workings and internal politics of the Court other than the Crimson Cardinal himself. He knew the comings and goings of everyone including myself, and when I found myself seated across from him at a banquet held in honour of Queen Anne’s birthday, we engaged in very pointed, if not heated discussion of politics, religion and any number of topics. No doubt those seated in our immediate vicinity half-expected us to come to blows over our differences of opinion. Slowly, over time, however, we found that in spite of those differences, we had even more in common. It began with after dinner chess matches that lasted into the wee hours of morning and later in Courtly hunting excursions or indoor events that left us in both frank discussion and companionable silences that we preferred rahther than to be spending it with others. It came as quite a surprise for me to discover that he and I both were beginning to feel quite at ease with each other and that we would actually look for one another at Court.

It was not until he had been sent away on some rather long errand of the Cardinal that Athos made his reappearance. The specifics of the event are not as important as the fact that the King’s Musketeer had asked me to become his wife. To this day, I remember agreeing, but I cannot remember why. Certainly when Sebastien returned he heard of my engagement to his former friend and when I saw his face, I knew that I had made a terrible mistake on so many levels I could not even begin to count them. This was, I knew, the beginning of the end. It was the re-ignition of the bitter feud between them that had begun years before. Two young men, both once having regarded each other as brothers were now at irreconcilable odds. I did not wish to be the catalyst, but under the circumstances there was little to be done about it. At least there was little that I myself could do.

Events sped by and I was left bereaving my affianced, my emotions a confused jumble of what I had wished and what was the reality. I felt guilty of complicity and certainly less than pure in my own intentions. Even after Athos’ funeral, I wanted nothing more than to be held and told that all would be well, and I wanted the person to tell me to be Sebastien. But in that time, he never came, and certainly, all was not well. It was not well at all. It would be nearly two years before I was to emerge once more from deep mourning. That period of time felt like an eternity to me! Within the Court there were the perpetual whispers of my having bewitched Athos, and the fact that his grave held an empty coffin and that there was no body interred in it, did not help matters either. When at last I emerged, the Comte de Rochefort wasted no further time in beginning to court me. The whispers that dared to prevail within Sebastien’s hearing were oddly silenced. But I could still feel the steely eyes of suspicion for many years yet to come.

Fast or slow in the way of relationships matters very little. What matters, I think, is the mutually held motivations behind the relationship that make a difference.

Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom” Original Character / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 974
crossposted to

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