Chapter 13 - The Chapel
* * * * * * * *
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thank you to all those that have read, followed, and reviewed. I love getting reviews! This story was put off for a while, but it is now BACK ON!
* * *
* * * * * * * *
Despite his best efforts, Nephrite was having a hard time paying attention as the girl went on, chatting about something or other, and recounting her past days.
Part of his mind was telling him to just relax and enjoy his short visit. It was incredible that after all this time she was still here, smiling up at him as if he had never gone. Knowing his visit would be short, why waste it worrying? Spending time with Naru was a gift more than he could ask for. However, the other part, the more reasonable part, was shouting to him not to lead her on anymore.
He had known for some time that the girl had had a crush on him, but he was surprised of the magnitude of devotion she showed when she had thrown herself in front of the tiara to save him. Then again, he had surprised himself.
"True love…" Jadeite's word's from before echoed in his ears. It did not make sense to him. He had seen how people acted when they claimed to be "in love"; their needless displays of affection, the fools they make of themselves and their unnatural emotional anxiety over separation from each other. Surely, this was not him. It was true he could no longer say the girl meant nothing to him, yet to say she was his true love seemed implausible. She must know as well as I, he thought, that their time together would not be long. At dawn it would all be gone and he would be back in the same place. And yet the reminder of the small weight of her hand in his was enough for him to doubt himself.
As they made their way down the galley, a sudden revelation came to him as they passed the large mahogany doors to the chapel. Upon the doors, there was a large crest which also served as a lock to the room, where the characters of the crest had to be rearranged for the doors to open. From what it seemed, the doors had not been opened. He knew there was no need for Jadeite to open them and that Naru would likely not pry. He remembered, this is where he had often spent most of his time. It was the place where he sought the counsel from the stars. It was the power of the stars that had produced the crystal that led him to her. The stars led him to her, but why? He wondered, would they still guide him now? He let go of Naru's hand to reach for the door.
Naru took notice and immediately stopped chatting, looking up at him inquisitively and surprised. "I've never been in there. I asked about it once, but Jadeite said it was just a big old empty room and that it creeped him out. I thought it was just because he was too proud to admit he didn't know how to open it though."
Nephrite grinned. "As it so happens, this is my favourite room in the entire house. I'll show you why." At this, he looked at her to make sure she was watching, and slowly turned one piece of the crest to the right, then another upwards, and finally a small piece inwards, causing them to hear the click of the door unlocking.
"Just don't tell Jadeite," said Nephrite with a twinkle of amusement in his eyes, as he pushed the door open and held it to for her. "After you."
Naru stepped in past him hesitantly, as if unsure as to what she would see. However, after taking her few steps inside, she gasped, "I've never seen anything so beautiful!"
Despite obviously not having been cleaned for several months and as Jadeite said, was completely void of any furniture, the place truly was breathtaking. The tall vaulted ceilings of the room seemed to go on forever. On the wall directly across from the door was a large circular stained glass window, with a row of arched windows on each adjacent wall. The light from the stars and the brightness of the moon streaming in from the large windows reflected upon the white marble floor, even under the heavy dust and cobwebs, making the room feel almost dream-like with nothing but their silhouettes to cast shadows.
Nephrite could not help but enjoy watching Naru as she gazed around the room, turning slowly in awe, with her eyes shining bright. This strange dreamy glow from outside seemed to fall upon her lovely face perfectly.
She turned and caught him looking at her and smiled. "Thank you for showing me your secret place Nephrite. It's wonderful."
Though a little caught off guard from his gaze being so abruptly met, he smiled back. He would have liked to spend a little more time with her there, but the ever shining stars in his peripherals reminded him why he had wanted to come inside in the first place, and knew he had to find a way to be alone.
"There was an old Cabernet I had hidden somewhere in the kitchen. If Jadeite hasn't gotten to it already, I would love share a glass with you here," he said, the Masato Sanjoin attitude coming out involuntarily. He felt a small pang of guilt for having lied yet again. "You're the only person I've ever invited in here." At least that was partly true, he thought.
Naru beamed. "Oh, you stay right here! I'll go try to find it!" Taking the bait, she rushed out of the room and disappeared through the door.
Nephrite felt the guilt heavier in his heart after seeing again how happy she was to try and please him, but reminded himself once more of what he had come in for. Perhaps the stars could give him some answer this time. He glimpsed through the windows to see the stars still shining for him and then closed his eyes to concentrate.
He began,"The stars know everything."
* * * * * * * *
return to Index / go to Chapter 14
The Nephrite and Naru Treasury