Part 30: link DISCLAIMER: For the purposes of my story, I've decided to make the Arthurian legend an obscure one. So please suspend your disbelief for me.
Gwen is sorting through boxes. Arthur left for work an saa and a half ago, with much whining and carrying on about not wanting to leave. Gwen laughed at him and pushed him out the door, but she was not looking mbele to the inayofuata two days alone in this new place. “At least I have something to do,” she says aloud, deciding to tackle the dreaded jikoni straight away. Do whatever wewe like,
Arthur had told her. This is your nyumbani now, too, and I want wewe to be comfortable here.
“All right, then, let’s see how much damage I can do.” Gwen strolls to the jikoni and begins opening the boxes she put there the awali day.
As she unpacks, she starts making a list. A trip to the market is definitely in order.
She tackles the refrigerator, opening each takeaway box she finds and throwing away anything that smells suspect au looks unidentifiable. With the fridge now mostly empty, she decides to scrub down the interior as well before heading out to stock up.
“Nosy,” Gwen majibu the phone. It is early evening and Arthur has just rung.
“Yes,” he agrees. “What have wewe been up to?”
“I tackled your jikoni this afternoon.”
“Were wewe victorious?”
“Of course. I also went to the market. I’m introducing wewe to a new concept, I’ve decided.”
“What concept would that be?”
” he repeats slowly, as if trying out the word for the first time. “Rings a bit of a bell, but I’m not sure I’m familiar.” Gwen hears a guffaw come from the background. Merlin.
“Well, I think your refrigerator actually cringed
when I put some lettuce inside.”
Arthur laughs at this, saying, “Be gentle with him. It’s his first time.”
Gwen laughs now, too, then asks, “Anything happening ‘round your way?” she asks.
“Not a blessed thing. We washed the trucks, which is always exciting.”
“Yes. I am trying to track down a building that is slated for demolition, actually. Sometimes they’ll let us set moto to one, as practice, before they knock it down.”
“That sounds interesting. Practical training.”
“It is. If I get it arranged, wewe can come watch.”
“Can I toast marshmallows?”
Arthur laughs again.
“I wish I could be nyumbani with wewe tonight,” he tells her.
“I know, I do, too. But I’ll be fine. Morgana’s bringing over some pizza, so I won’t be alone all night at least.”
“Leon is making lasagna and garlic bread. It smells really good in here right now.”
“Ooo, I’m coming out there.”
“Don’t tease me, woman.”
There is a knock at the door. “Morgana’s here.” Arthur listens as Gwen opens the door and greets her friend. Are wewe on the phone?
Morgana’s voice in the distance. Yes, I’ll just be a dakika more. Take your time.
“Sorry,” she says into the phone.
“Not at all. I’ll let wewe go so wewe can eat. I upendo you.”
“I upendo you, too.”
Gwen looks around the living room, dressing it with her eyes. “Have to find everything first,” she says with a sigh. She reaches into a box and lifts some vitabu out.
“Not what I was looking for, but oh well.” She looks at the vitabu in her hand, flipping through them. She comes across a book Dr. Gaius had aliyopewa her on Thursday. She had forgotten about it in the flurry of moving and the surprise party. The book is one of his own, and it looks incredibly old. She handles it with great care, running her fingers along the raised uandishi on the cover. Legends of the British Isles.
He has a chapter bookmarked for her, but she opens to the meza, jedwali of contents. Robin Hood. The Mabinogion. Camelot. Joseph of Arimathea. The Wizard of Lincoln.
Some familiar, some not.
She opens the book at the bookmark. Camelot. Camelot is the nyumbani of King Arthur, a legendary British ruler of the late 5th and early 6th centuries,
Gwen reads. His existence has been debated kwa scholars, as there is no historical evidence of him ever having actually lived. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and legend.
Gwen sits on the couch, curling her legs up beside her. Her eyes do not leave the page. King Arthur is most often associated with uniting the kingdoms of Albion, establishing the empire of Great Britain. He is also known for wielding the mythic sword Excalibur, which is alisema he pulled from a great stone. He was alisema to have been beloved kwa his people, often inaonyesha no regard for class distinction, knighting worthy commoners and inaonyesha disdain for nobility if they abused their power au treated others poorly. Amongst the most controversial of his supposed acts were his elevation of his servant, Merlin, to royal adviser and court wizard and his marriage to Guinevere, who was originally a servant in the castle.
Gwen looks up from the book. Her moyo is pounding, her mouth dry. “Bloody hell,” she says to the empty room.
She continues reading, not wanting to believe any of it, but finding she cannot deny it. Magic banned… Merlin’s secret… Guinevere’s wisdom… Secret love… Battle… Knights of the Round Table… Betrayal… Banishment… Battle… Excalibur… Wedding… Retribution… Merlin’s secret revealed… Battle… Albion…
It is too much. Gwen squeezes her eyes together, trying to collect her thoughts. Internet,
she finally decides, and heads to her laptop.
Arthur calls again that night. “How’s it going?”
“I’ve gotten nothing done today,” she tells him.
“Is something wrong?” he notices she sounds a little shaken.
“I am freaking out over here,” she admits.
“Why? What happened?”
“Dr. Gaius gave me a book last Thursday. I’ll have to onyesha it to wewe tomorrow. It will blow your mind.”
has got wewe all worked up? What is it about?”
“Well, the ‘us’ in my dreams. Turns out there is a not-very-well-known legend about a King Arthur who married a serving girl called Guinevere.”
Like I said: freaking out over her. I’ve been looking through this book and surfing the Internet all day.”
“And what have wewe found?”
“We’ll talk zaidi about it tomorrow night, but basically the part that pertains to us is that he was a King and she was a servant and they fell in love— before he became king— and he didn’t care that she was a servant and was going to marry her anyway and there were a lot of obstacles in their way but they overcame them and eventually got married after like five years of wanting each other and she got to be Queen and they were great rulers and it was a really great upendo story because of them being from different backgrounds and having to work so hard to get to be together.”
“Whoa, take a breath!”
“Oh yes, this is apparently where the wizard ‘Merlin’ originally
came from. I hadn’t realized that.”
“Hmm. Wonder if our Merlin knows that.”
“I feel pretty dumb, actually, not having heard of this legend before.”
“I never have either. Besides, wewe alisema it is not well-known.”
“Yes, but I work in a library.
“That doesn’t mean you’ve read every book there.”
“True. And Vivian’s certainly no rocket scientist, and she works there.”
“Not a good comparison, love.”
Gwen laughs. “I appreciate that.”
The alarm rings in the firehouse. Gwen jerks the phone away from her ear it is so loud.
“Gotta go. upendo you.” He says quickly and hangs up.
“Love you, too,” she whispers, staring at the dead phone.
Later that night: Tanker truck overturned on motorway. Piece of cake.
Gwen turns off the light and rolls over, burying her face in Arthur’s pillow. She inhales, letting his scent overtake her as she drifts off to sleep.
Arthur strolls into the library. Elana is behind the desk, and she looks up when he approaches the desk. He has finished his book and hands it to her.
“Hello, Arthur,” she says, taking the book.
“Elana,” he smiles.
“She’s in her office,” Elana tells him before he can ask. “You can go on back if wewe like.”
Arthur’s eyebrows go up. “Oh, great, thanks.”
“I know where it is,” he smiles and walks back. How does he know where her office is?
Elana wonders, but decides she probably doesn’t want to know.
The door is open, and Arthur peeks in. Gwen is studying her computer screen, loaded fork in mid-air. He knocks.
“Come in,” she says, not looking up. He walks silently in, wondering how long it’ll take her to notice him. He sits in the chair opposite her and watches her. She must be doing zaidi research.
“Find out anything interesting?” he asks suddenly, and she jumps.
“Oh! Arthur, hi!” she puts her fork down and comes around the desk, where he grabs her and pulls her into his lap.
“I missed you,” he says into her neck. I wish her hair was down. I miss its smell,
he thinks, but decides to plant a few kisses on the delicate skin there while he’s in the area.
“Mmm, I missed you, too,” she says, laying her cheek on juu of his head and briefly closing her eyes. Pulling her further down into his lap, he kisses her softly, tasting her lips with his own.
“You smell like smoke,” she tells him, leaning back to look into his eyes.
“Didn’t get a chance to kuoga yet. It’s the first on my orodha of Things To Do When I Get Home.”
“I’ve left wewe some lunch,” she tells him.
“How very domestic of you, thank you,” he smiles and grants her another kiss. “Oh, I need a new book. I finished Pi.
“Did wewe like it?” she asks, extracting herself from his lap.
“Yes, it was very good. Started out a bit slow, but the middle bit was great.” He stands also, and she takes his hand and leads him back out to the shelves to find him a new book.
Shortly after five, Gwen comes in the door. Arthur is sitting on the sofa, flipping through Gaius’ book. He looks up at her and says, “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced. Looks as though we’ve traveled this road before.”
She takes her shoes off and puts them on the mat. They look so small inayofuata to his.
“That’s what we’re being led to believe, anyway,” she says, leaning over to kiss him hello. “Stop looking down my blouse,” she accuses him before she stands.
He laughs. “Well, it’s not like I don’t know what wewe keep in there.” She shoves his head playfully and goes back to their room to change clothes.
After dinner, they sit and look at Gaius’ book and some other things Gwen has printed out.
Holding the book between them, Gwen points, leaning in close. “See, right there. ‘Guinevere, a servant in the castle, was Arthur’s only true love.’ I don’t know what to make of this, Arthur.” She looks at him, so close. He smells much better now.
Arthur leans in as well scanning the page, using the book as an excuse to snuggle closer to her. “Guinevere, wewe are far too logical.”
“They’re just legends,
Arthur. No proof of any actual history here.”
“True. But there are far too many coincidences to dismiss it entirely.”
“You’re right. And it really is a beautiful tale.”
He takes the book, carefully paging, looking for something. “Did I read that she betrayed him at some point, though?” He furrows his brows.
“There are a couple different versions of that. The one I saw the most alisema that she was not uigizaji of her own free will at the time, and that she was later cleared of any blame au wrongdoing. Another claims it was all her, but he forgives her nevertheless. A third claims that not only was it all her, but she actually leaves him, and it crushes him.”
“Well, that last one sucks.”
“That’s the…” she looks at a page, “…French version.”
“Ah. I saw that she did betray him, but I didn’t get to what she exactly did.”
Gwen leans over and reaches for a stack of papers on the table. Arthur watches her, then gently reaches forward, unfastening the clip holding her hair up. He puts it on a side table, then plunges his fingers into her hair, his hand reaching up to utoto the back of her head at her nape, gently working her hair loose. Feels so good,
Gwen thinks, straightening back up onto the couch. His hand still in her hair, he pulls her lips to his and kisses them before nuzzling her neck, burying his face in her curls.
“You always smell amazing,” he says into her neck. “And it’s the strongest in your hair.” He places a few kisses on her neck, then says, “If we could bottle this, we could make millions.”
Gwen laughs softly, gently pulling back. “I don’t think we would, because you’d be the only one buying.” What was I doing again? Oh yes.
“Okay.” She shakes her head slightly, attempting to clear the distraction he was causing. He reaches down and pulls her legs across his lap, his thumbs caressing the back of one of her knees as she scans through the printouts, looking for the information he requested.
“Ah, here it is. Apparently she was caught kissing one of Arthur’s most trusted knights.”
“Oh.” He scowls.
“The night before their wedding.”
“Ooo. Not good.”
“No. But according to most sources, she was under some sort of spell au enchantment at the time and if she had been in her right mind, she never would have done. They of course still get married later, though.”
“And others say she was guilty?” He leans over and peeks at the pages, resting his head on her breast. Comfy.
“A few say she was, but he eventually forgives her and marries her anyway.”
“And the French version was what? She dumps him?”
“Yep. Runs off with the knight.”
“Cold. I think I like the first version best.”
“Does it say which knight? Is it the same one in each?”
“Umm…” she flips through the pages. “Shit. Wow. Shit.
” he asks. I don’t think I’ve heard her swear like that before.
“Lancelot. That is the name of the knight.”
elot?” he repeats, emphasizing the “Lance.” He sits up again and looks at her.
“Like I said: Shit.”
She looks at him levelly. “Just legends, right?”
“Then why is this so upsetting to me?”
“The Lance thing?”
“Like wewe said: too many coincidences.”
He leans over and kisses her softly. “Well, look at it this way. wewe already had your dealings with Lance. And unless seeing him the other day…” he raises an eyebrow at her with a small smirk. I know she’s not going anywhere.
“Good God, no!” she says, eyes opening wide. Then she narrows them at him, saying, “You know that, wewe prat.”
Arthur laughs, squeezing her to him. “I upendo wewe so much, Guinevere,” he tells her softly in her ear. His voice, his words, his proximity make her warm all over, the heat is spreading outward from her center, extending to the tips of her fingers and toes.
Reaching up, Gwen cradles his head against her with her hand and closes her eyes, just feeling his presence around her. Loved. Safe.
Part 32: link