Disclaimer: See Part 1

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It Should Be Me

by

Mikaeli Hooper

 


Chapter Eleven

 

The walk to Xena's camp was completely terrifying, filled with doubt and confusion. My palms were sweaty and my knees were trembling as I walked through the thick forest and away from the Amazon village. What would I do when I saw her? What would I say to her? I'm getting married in a few days but I want you so badly I feel as if I will explode? I'm sorry that I have a girlfriend but I love you so much that all I want to do is run away with you?

That I wish it was her that I was marrying and not my consort?

I knew that she still loved me; she had proved that to me earlier when I brought lunch to her camp. Her eyes had sparkled with affection for me when I set those little cakes down in front of her. I should have kissed her then, I thought to myself with a small smile. It would have been easier to do it then, when I could feel the heat radiating from her muscular body. I could feel her love for me, shining so brightly, but that didn't mean she wouldn't turn me away, knowing that I had promised myself to someone else. I couldn't blame her either, remembering the pain I had felt in my heart when I kissed her while she was still with Alexandria.

I decided to try and talk to my ex-lover, wanting and needing to explain everything to her. I wanted to tell her that I had made a mistake, and that I still loved her but when I walked into her campsite and saw her, every ounce of self-control I had simply vanished. The way she looked with the moonlight shining down upon her and the fire light making her skin glow made my heart clench painfully in my chest. Gods, she was so beautiful.

Without a sound, I crossed her camp on shaky legs and stood before her, staring up into her pale blue eyes that confessed her love for me without her having to say a word. A shiver raced down my spine as she whispered my name and my eyes were immediately drawn to her soft lips. I always did love the way she said my name.

"Artemis, forgive me," I whispered as I cupped her face with my hands, gently caressing her cheekbones with my thumbs before leaning up and kissing her.

Lightening surged through my limbs and every nerve ending caught alight as I brushed my lips lightly against hers. I felt her body tense, but she responded to my kiss with equal tenderness after her shock subsided. I felt a familiar warmth seep into my belly as I tangled my fingers in her hair, pressing my body against hers so deliciously that I shuddered in pleasure.

I wondered, as I pressed my lips more firmly to hers, why she wasn't touching me in return. I longed to feel her powerful hands caressing me as I scraped my fingernails against her scalp. It hit me at that moment that she was giving me the control. She was giving me all the power and the chance to back out if I chose to.

Only backing out was the furthest thing from my mind.

 

*********

 

 

My body stiffened in surprise as I felt her brush her lips against mine hesitantly, her fingertips lightly caressing my cheekbones. I let myself slowly relax as I returned the kiss, reveling in the way her lips felt pressed against my own. Her lips were so soft and it sent fire racing through my veins as she kissed me so lovingly I felt as if I would cry.

I whimpered softly as her mouth opened underneath mine, her tongue snaking into my mouth and dancing with my own. My knees almost buckled as I felt her run her fingers through my hair, gripping the raven strands as she pressed her body tightly against me. I could feel her every curve and my fingers were itching to touch the soft skin underneath her clothes.

I felt my heart thumping in my chest as the kiss became more passionate, my hands clenched into fists at my side. It was taking every last bit of self-restraint I had not to wrap my arms around her and pull her close, but I needed to give Gabrielle the control. Her behavior towards me over the past years has been erratic at best, and I needed her to know that it would be okay if she pulled away. I wouldn't be able to blame her if she did, after everything we had been through.

Plus, she was getting married in only a few days.

That thought alone was enough to make me pull away as the warmth in my heart instantly vanished. I reluctantly broke the kiss, watching as Gabrielle's eyes fluttered open, the green orbs shining with confusion.

"Xena?"

I swallowed the lump in my throat, a shiver racing up my spine as I saw the desire in her eyes. "We should stop."

Gods, the words were almost painful as I choked them out, my throat tight with emotion.

A flicker of understanding lightened her eyes and she smiled sadly as she caressed my cheek. I couldn't help but lean into the touch, my eyes closing involuntarily at the feather light caress. It felt so good to have her hands on me again, to feel the warmth of her skin. My center pulsed with the thought of feeling the rest of her body naked, pressed up against mine.

My eyes opened slowly as I felt Gabrielle's other hand wander down the side of my neck, stroking every bit of exposed skin. She held my gaze as she hooked her fingers underneath the shoulder strap of my leather battle dress, pushing it down my arm slowly until my breast was exposed to the cool night air. Her eyes travelled the same path as her hand did, bright with need as a soft moan escaped her lips at my exposed flesh before she leant forwards to press her cheek against my warm skin.

"Gabrielle," I breathed, my voice half pleading, half warning as I felt her hot breath on my skin, my nipple tightening in reaction. The feeling made me want to scream as I felt my stomach clench, my eyes involuntarily looking down to watch her.

"Xena, please," she whispered as she brushed her lips against my breast, gentling kissing the skin that was becoming unbearably hot underneath her lips. "I need this, if only for one night... I need you. Gods, I want you so much, Xena."

For a split second as I listened to her lust filled words, I felt so happy I could have cried, until an overwhelming wave of sadness rushed over me. Gabrielle needed me now, because in a few days she would be married to her consort. I felt my heart break in my chest all over again as my shoulders slumped with defeat, averting my eyes from the pale hair resting against my chest.

Gabrielle seemed to realize that she had said something wrong as she pulled back to look up at me. I tried to mask my pain but I could tell by the slight furrowing of Gabrielle's brow that I was failing miserably. "Xena?"

"I'm sorry," I managed to choke out, bowing my head and allowing my hair to fall around my face, making a barrier between myself and the woman I loved more than life itself. "I'm sorry, I...

"It's okay," Gabrielle smiled sadly, tears welling in her eyes as she pressed her lips together. "It's okay. I understand."

I felt her fingertips lightly stroking my cheeks before she leant up and pressed her lips against my forehead. I closed my eyes at the sweet touch, breathing in her familiar scent, which was all that was left behind when I opened my eyes and Gabrielle had once again disappeared.

#

To Be Continued

 

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