I can't, I won't.

This is a 1,500 word story that I am entering in a contest on another site. So, any feedback is welcomed!

Basically,

Princess Kiara is in love with the stable boy, Graham, however, their love is forbidden.

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1. I can't, I won't.

 

He pushed a strand of hair behind my ear and pressed his lips to my neck. "Now, certainly this isn't so bad." He whispered, his hot breath tickling my neck. He stood behind me, a hand wrapped protectively around my waist.

 

"The guards will be here any moment to haul you away." I responded, my voice hushed. "It's not worth it." I turned to face him.

 

He smiled the smile I was so accustomed to. "Every moment of every second of every day I spend with you is worth the price of death." His piercing green eyes poured themselves into mine. "I'd be willing to die if my last moments could be spent with you."

 

"Graham," I turned away from him again. "I'm a princess, and my father demands that I am never in the presence of a man until I am set to be wed. It is a miracle we are in the same room now as it is..." I was stopped when he grabbed my wrist, pulling me to him once again.

 

"Every princess is in need of a knight in shining armor." He took my face in his hands and kissed my lips, making me melt from his touch. The effect he had on me was undeniable, and I wouldn't dare call it fake, I, however, saw the danger in our love, he refused to accept it.

 

"But Graham," I protested, before his lips met mine again. "you're just a stable boy. My father would never accept you. We can never be together..." He stopped my words with his finger.

 

"Just because I am a stable boy does not make me any less worthy to be your husband." He let his hands fall to his sides. "Kiara, I am willing to die for you. Does that not make you any more willing to speak to your father?"

 

I smiled halfheartedly at him. "You need to prove nothing to me, Graham. And of course I would love to confess our meetings to my father!" I turned to my vanity and mindlessly moved various beauty items. "But he would never understand how we feel about each other. He wouldn't even give you a chance." I bit my lip. "He'd kill you faster than you could beg for mercy." Tears pricked at my eyes. "And I could never bear that. I wouldn't be able to go on."

 

"But we can't continue our secret meetings at night, can we?" His voice was hopeful, even though we both knew the answer.

 

"I'd rather sleep at night knowing you were out at the stables, safe and without love, than here with me, in danger of being killed." I whispered, wiping away the tears that continued to trickle down my face. "And I know how you would have it, Graham. I envy the way you live life, without fear of death or prosecution."

 

I heard him move to me. "I feel it's worthless to worry about the fate that everyone must face in the end. It just depends on when you meet your ending fate." His hands stopped my fingers from picking up a powder brush. "You are blind, Kiara. You see only your father's disapproval when you look at me, while you should see a man that loves you to the ends of the earth."

 

"I see the danger in our love, Graham. It has nothing to do with my father." I spat.

 

"You don't realize yourself how much you want to love me unconditionally. But unlike me, you fear death. And that, Kiara, is your downfall." The way Graham knew me was uncanny. I were to deny his accusations, I would be lying to myself.

 

"I do realize, Graham, but--" I stopped.

 

Footsteps.

 

We both heard them. It was nearly midnight! Who could be walking around the palace now? Another thought struck me.

 

"Guards!" I hissed, signaling for Graham to run into my wardrobe. He did, trying his best to be silent, though I knew the guards had discovered I was not alone, and Graham would be arrested.

 

Tears began to well in my eyes, finally realizing our inevitable fate. The footsteps began to get louder, coming closer. My heart began to pound in my chest. I sat quickly on my bed, pulling my diary out from under my pillow. I looked in numerous drawers, searching for a quill, before my fingers met the soft feather. I pulled it out and with my ink well, and began to scribble random nonsense. I had just barely written, 'Princess Kiara', before the doors to my chambers were thrust open, and startled, I dropped my ink well, it falling to the floor and shattering.

 

"Princess." The first guard greeted me solemnly, bowing, though I knew he meant no respect, bowing for me was simply customary. He was burly, tall, and muscular, though I did not fear him. I feared only what he would do to my lover, hiding in my wardrobe.

 

"Good evening." I responded, just as numbly. More guards burst into the room, wildly, then, seeing me awake, bowed before forming a stationary line.

 

"We heard some unusual noises in your room," The first guard commented, glancing around. "Has anyone been to visit you?"

 

"No." I stated, frankly. "I've been alone the whole afternoon." 

 

The guard nodded. "May we search your room?"

 

I froze. If they searched, they could find Graham, and his punishment would be death, yet, if I denied them their wish, they would become suspicious and consult my father.

 

I inhaled sharply. "Please."

 

The guard nodded again, and quickly waved his hand to the other guards behind him, signaling for them to check my room. I attempted to steady my breathing.

 

They searched quietly, under my bed, behind my dressing chambers, around my vanity... One of them put his hand on my wardrobe.

 

"No!" I nearly screeched.

 

"What's wrong, Princess?" He asked, dumbfounded. He removed his hand.

 

"I don't want you to look in my wardrobe. I have a special gown in there." I paused, trying to develop my excuse. "It... perishes when exposed to unclean air!" I suggested.

 

The guard looked at me uncertainly. "We need to search everywhere, Princess. To ensure your safety." He glanced at the other guard. 

 

The other guard nodded. "We need to search the whole room."

 

I jumped up from my seat, my quill and diary tumbling to the ground just as the guard replaced his hand on the knob. "Please," I pleaded. "I promise there's nothing in there." He turned the knob. "Please!" Tears slid down my cheeks. He opened the doors.

 

My sobs overcame me, and I crumpled to the ground, not wanting to see Graham be taken away, not wanting to say goodbye.

 

"All safe." The guard reported.

 

I looked up, sniffling. "All what?"

 

"Safe." He repeated. "Nothing there. No danger."

 

I blinked at his words. He wasn't there? Graham had vanished? But how? I stood, my legs shaking.

 

"We have completed our search, Princess. Get some rest." Then he and the other guards exited my room, leaving me alone, confounded by Graham's sudden disappearance.

 

I slowly approached the wardrobe again. I inhaled and exhaled slowly, before pulling open the doors.

 

I looked in the wardrobe again.  There, sitting at the bottom was a note. Lines, scraggled onto a piece of parchment. A quill or an ink well was not to be found, but this note lay at the bottom, folded with a one name address: Kiara.

 

I froze at the sight of it, but tenderly picked it up. The parchment was ripped, as if torn from a book or another paper. I unfolded it slowly. When it was fully exposed, I saw it was a torn page from my diary. Then I began to read.

 

Kiara,

If you are reading this, I am no longer with you. I'm sorry that our love was not received with blessing from your father. In a sense, you were right. Our love is dangerous. I am gone, though the reasons I will not disclose to you. It would only harm you, my dear Kiara. Believe what you must about me, but do not tell anyone of our relationship. I do not wish to be found. I want you to be safe, and I know you will continue to love me, even if we are apart. I expect you to do this, and I hope you will respect my reasons, though they have not been described in full. I conclude with, Kiara, I love you. Please, do not harm yourself because of me. Do not mourn over me. There will be a time when we will meet again. I promise.

 

I collapsed. "I can't promise no harm to me, Graham." Then I pulled out a dagger from the waistband of my dress and plunged it into my side. "I can't live without you and I won't." Then Death claimed me, and I was his.

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