The Queen and the Chieftain

“Why did you accept the offer of marriage?” the queen asked, glaring down at the lord from her throne. Even bereft of courtiers and attendants, she was still imposing; her air of rigid command dispelled all thought of disobedience.

“‘Twas better than the alternative, majesty,” the orc chieftain said. “I’ll not watch the sons and daughters of the clans fall to your knights, not when I could prevent it. My honor demands it, so that we might be allies, and not enemies.”

“Yet you know it was a political maneuver, and not made in good faith. I believed you would not accept the shame–”

He cut her off brusquely. “You know nothing of us, majesty. Not of our ways, not our lives, and not our honor. You’ll not disrespect me by speaking your ignorance…” His tone softened. “…and I’ll not disrespect you for being less than I want in a wife.”

She stepped down from the throne, and approached him. She was a slight figure, barely five and a half feet tall, to his almost seven feet of thick, scarred muscle. She stood before him, neither afraid nor intimidated by his size, and looked up into his face. They were alone, at her behest, in spite of the protest from her Royal Guard.

She grabbed one of his tusks, and pulled his head down to her level with surprising strength. He grunted, and almost put his hands on her, but stopped short.

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear, orc,” she growled, “I think you will find that I am far more than what you expect in a wife.”

I’ve always wondered if (a) I could write fantasy romance, and (b) if anyone would actually read it.


Because I like cliches

It was a dark and stormy night.

Except it wasn’t. It was actually quite sunny, with a hint of clouds and the smell of fresh coffee in the air. I sat in front of a pleasant Parisien cafe, wearing my favorite summer dress and earrings, and desperately wished for it to be dark and stormy. That would have been easier to deal with, instead of the whole world being happy just to spite me.

The waiter was sympathetic, when he saw my red eyes. He left the coffee and croissant on my table with a few extra napkins. I just kept staring at the screen of my phone, reading the words over and over again. ‘I want a divorce.’

Why did he want a divorce? This was supposed to be a second honeymoon. We’d had some arguments. It was nothing serious. Even this was supposed to be a date, of sorts. But I was here, and he was late, and all I had was one stupid fucking text message.

Maybe things hadn’t been as good as I thought they were. Continue reading

What if I

Teenagers are cruel and strange; too young for adult wisdom, too old for childish innocence.

“So what if I did like you?” she says. It’s a trick question. A cop out. The words of someone who hasn’t yet learned how to communicate their own desire. Maybe it hides fear, and tension. For me, it hides┬ádeep nervousness that any true commitment will lead to mockery and embarrassment, as if that were worse than mere rejection.

And it’s more than that, of course. There are complications, because we’re both girls, even when one is more mature for her age than the other. We’re both afraid – and I’m not afraid to admit it – because there may be other words, harsh words, from the people around us, that can damage us in ways that a simple ‘No’ never will.

Too young to really understand it, but too old to just ignore it.

She’s so beautiful to me. Like the air after a rainfall; it smells like life, like clean, pure, life, gifted straight from the heart of the world itself. Soft and gentle and new. I think this is what love feels like. I pray that it is. I don’t want to take this chance on something that isn’t real.

“Well, if you did, then I’d be okay with that,” I say. Another cop out, sort of. I’m a coward.

“Well,” she says, and I can see a hint of a smile on her face. She reaches out and touches my hand.

Suddenly it doesn’t matter. All the words don’t matter. She smiles, and I’m suddenly a hundred feet tall and invincible; things like embarrassment, or what my parents will say, lose all meaning. Maybe I’m wrong, but maybe I’m right, and maybe it’s better to hold out your heart, take a running jump, and pray that you land somewhere safe. All I can think is what if I never do this, what if I’m always afraid.

I take her hand, and lift it up. It’s corny and pretty silly, but I guess I have to start somewhere. I kiss her fingers.

Her smile gets wider, and maybe I’m learning something after all, because I know – I know – the joy that’s dancing in her eyes.