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The pain of her rejection all those years ago stung deeply inside of him. Today, of all days was their anniversary. On the same calendar day, Caspian ‘celebrated’ their anniversary. Alone as he always had been because of her! Holding onto the tenth bottle of his beverage of choice Dragon’s milk, Caspian hoped that this tenth bottle would put him in a better place.
Caspian had been at his favorite pub since it opened, accumulating a collection of bottles. The number of bottles did not matter, no amount of Dragon’s milk would release the pain he felt because of her! His mind went back to that day. The day he had showed her the ring. The ring that he had carefully crafted for her, the ring that he would place on her finger. The ring that still rested in its box. He took out the ring, looked at it as the veins on his temples popped out. Anger filled him like an empty bottle. He grabbed a bottle and was about to throw it away when Vin placed a full bottle in front of him.
“What’s on your mind my friend?” Vin sat down next to him.
“Do you have time? Caspian looked into Vin’s eyes
“We’re not busy tonight, would you like me to clear these?” Vin asked.
“No, I like the view, how the yellow light of that street lamp casts its pale glow through the window and onto the bottles.” Caspian said in a sarcastic tone of voice.
Vin noticed the ring. Understanding filled his mind. Ever since Caspian had moved to Evermore, he had come to Vin’s Pub once a year with that box. Through the years, Vin had learned that Caspian had a broken heart. The woman that Caspian pined for had rejected his affections. He had never learned the name, Caspian was very discrete in that matter. This year the poor dude seemed angrier.
“I have waited all these years Vin. I have been by her side all this time, and now she is taking away the only thing that held me together, my Lucia. How could she do this to me? Have I not been there for her? All this time?” He necked the fresh bottle of booze, stood up leaving in a drunken stupor. Two Benjamin’s had been left at the table.
“Keep the change Vin” Caspian ushered as he meandered towards the entrance. Managing to stumble onto every chair and table that had happened to be obstructing his path. His mind was full of questions. Those questions had waited too long. This was the last straw. Lucia was leaving the tribe, leaving him. His daughter had been his anchor. The dam that held back his anger. That dam was now cracked, anger was boiling over every inch of his body.
Caspian had enough sense not to drive, he walked to her house and made a spectacle of himself. Drunk to the gills, the Nivei had lost all control.
‘’Anivia! Open this door! Aniviaaaa.” Yelling at the top of his lungs, his eyes blood shot red, temples veins pulsing, clothes crumpled up from three days of wearing them, Caspian continued his assault at Anivia’s door.
Anivia and Caspian had a past one that would twist their lives together forever. Yet through the years the pair shared their ups and their downs, yet she knew the closer it go to the day he proposed and she rejected him it became a time she couldn’t reason with Caspian. Most years he was gone for that month while she stayed back on the island handling the tribe and raising their daughter. She knew this time was needed for him to be away to make the rest of the time easier for the pair to co parent and still be friendly towards one another.
Anivia still held admiration towards Caspian, she respected him as a man and a father but she knew that he could be emotional at times. She knew most of the time he accepted her choices even if he didn’t agree with them, knowing that her rejection hurt him especially because they could have really been in love. Yet Anivia couldn’t reflect on the past not while trying to keep the Tribe safe in a new city.
Things only seem to get worst between Caspian and Anivia when Anivia named Roman as her second in command. The younger arrogant Niveis who took a rather strange approach to Niveis life. Roman had been unafraid to call Nivia out on things, while respecting her. They had a strange relationship and she enjoyed having Roman around. Yet she also couldn’t tell Caspian she chose Roman because she knew she couldn’t rule beside him day in and out without her heart hurting for what could have been. Anivia had her reasons for doing things even if she didn’t tell them out right.
Anivia looked to the date before she went to her bed that evening. Sighing heavily as she laid down on the bed. She figured he was off drinking since she didn’t see him around the tribe that evening. The tribe tucked in the mountain tops out of view from the city. Most of the Niveis lived there while a few had moved into the city to lead more normal lives. Anivia closed her eyes as she fell asleep deep in her throughs between the date and what was the next move for the tribe.
The bangs on her door along with the screams from outside of her home caused Via to sit up in her bed with a groan as her eyes looked at the time which glowed 2 in the morning she pushed off the bed. She picked up her robe wrapping it around her. She moved through her home as quickly as she could to the door. She opened it her hand shot out taking hold of his worn clothes and yanked him through the door. Slamming it shut she pushed him to it her eyes glowing bright blue as the anger fueled her power.
“What in the hell do you think you are doing Cas?” She pushed him against the door roughly before stepping back. Rubbing her hand to her sleepy eyes as she yawned. She was thankful that Lucia wanted to live with one of her friends in house that was next to Anivia’s. “Why are you hear at two in the morning…” she took a sniff of the air her nose wrinkling “drunk off your ass on Dragon's Milk?” She said as she moved from the entryway towards the kitchen flicking on the light.
She moved over to the coffee maker she had sat up to brew around 6 going a head and flicking the timer off and started the pot. “Come in here and sober up.” She said with a serious tone yet she soften her gaze remembering the date yesterday “Sober up? Please.” she said softer that time as she pulled out a mug for him, once there was enough for the first cup she poured it and slid it over to him. “What is going on with you Caspian?” she asked as she moved sitting across from him.
Her eyes, those eyes that could be so kind and full of love now looked at him in disdain. Caspian knew it was late. He also knew he was drunk. He also knew that with his daughter leaving he would no longer have an excuse to visit her. The anguish he felt at this realization had brought him to her doorstep.
It all had started when Caspian’s special alarm rang at 5:45 am this morning. It was the only time he allowed himself to listen to the song that had been playing when they first met. His eyes filled with inched tears as they ran through the counters of his face, falling onto the pillow in silent protest of his weakness. When the song finally disinherited playing, Caspian got up not bothering cleaning up his tears for they kept running like a dam that was overflowing. After twenty years Caspian had reached the end of his journey. He had never wondered through those dark thoughts...the "what if" of his predicament.
But now, after two decades the consequences of Lucia’s decision to work outside the tribe had brought fourth a domino effect on the male that now stood swearing at his face. No matter how many women came after him, Caspian was unable to move on. It was then that his soul filled with resolve. *Today* he told the image in the mirror. The broken man that Caspian could hardly believe where one in the same. *Today you will propose and let things fall where they may. No more avoiding it. Anivia knew Caspian was deeply in love with her. Words had been spoken in the heat of passion but as soon as she left his arms, Anivia would turn into the ice queen she showed everyone else.
Once dress Caspian realized it was almost midday. He had spent hours staring at the face in the mirror. Calculating all possible outcomes. Discarding them and make new assumption until both him and the image in the mirror agreed on one path.
With keys in hand Caspian went to the secret vault that was behind a family portrait of all three, when Lucia had been five years old. Inside the vault where all of Caspian’s most valued items. A dried flower that Lucia had given him, when Caspian had been ill. Lucia didn’t know it was just depression, none the less the gesture had made Caspian resolved on not to show his pain but only once a year. Ever since then Lucia never saw her father melancholy, he made sure of that.
Along other items of immeasurable worth were the tickets to the Opera that Caspian had bought for Anivia and the last of all things, a small velvet box which held a ring. The ring that Caspian had had especially designed for Anivia. The one she would wear on their wedding day, the one that had remained in its box all this time.
His hand trembled as he took out the delicate velvet box. He didn’t opened it, Caspian couldn’t bear look at it. It would only bring more pain.
He went for some lunch at the tribes cafe called “Crave." They made almost anything you desired. They had originally advertised "everything you desire"but Caspian had proven them wrong. Even so, Caspian enjoyed their brunch. It was light and flavorful which was all the Nevis required.
After a good meal, his feet carried him all over. He visited every spot where the three of them had had family outings. He chuckled at the memory of how people assumed they were married. And why would they not assume that? They were happy, both loved their daughter and they were good parents.
Shaking his head, his mind went into a spiral of disappointment while his feet found the nearest watering hole they could find. There, Caspian began to drink. When drunk Caspian was a huge flirt. All his inhibitions gone. He was on the fifth bottle of Dragon’s Milk, a malt beer with a kick like no other that Caspian found the courage to open the little velvet box. The ring caught the a,bet light above his head. It was stunning.
Putting it back in its box and placing it safely inside his vet pocket, Caspian drank six more bottles and went to see an ice queen, maybe for the last time. Caspian had lost hope. When hope is lost, there is nothing left for a soul to hang on to.
As he screamed his lungs out, he was not only trying to wake up Anivia, he was trying to "wake her up" out of this denial fantasy she had constructed. This idiotic reason as to why she couldn’t married him.
Then she opened the door, and the daggers her eyes gave him went straight to the heart. In his mind, at that very moment Caspian knew Anivia no longer loved him. As she manhandled him inside her house, Caspian was slowly disintegrating into nothingness. When one has nothing? Why go on?
Anivia ordered him to sober up. He wasn’t drunk anymore. The walk had allowed his metabolism to consume the alcohol Caspian had ingested. He drank the coffee as he was told. Averting those cold eyes even though her tone of voice had mellowed down. He heard the sound of pity in her words. They sting as much as her judging eyes.
Placing the empty cup on 8the table, Caspian got the velvet box, got on one knee and said the words that he had wanted to say for twenty years. It was all or nothing for him. Would it be all or nothing for her?"
The thick eyelashes hid the redness in his stunning aquamarine eyes. They had cried a river today. They have shed all the tears that had been held back, those eyes had no more tears left.
Closing his eyes, not wanting to see her face he began...
"Anivia, when I first met you I thought of you as the most honorable and strong female I’ve ever met. We became friends and we were good together. I don’t know how we went from friendship to something more, but what I do know is when we took that step, together...I knew I was meant to be with you for the rest of my life. I love your strength, your loyalty and the way you love someone without reservations. I love your smile, your sense of humor and your determination to help anyone that asks for it, but most of all I fell in love with the girl you don’t let others see."
Caspian opened his eyes, opened the bow and said the words he had waited so long to say. "Anivia Lumi Frostbourne would you marry me?"
Anivia wasn’t one to jump to anger quickly after all she tended to have the calmest in the tribe thinking things through logicly. Yet when it came to Caspian especially lately it was like all he knew how to do was push all of her buttons to anger her or hurt her. What if she had not been alone that evening. What if Lucia had been there to witness another fight. Something she never wanted her daughter to see. She wanted Lucia to believe her parents could work well still to this day. Yet as the years passed Caspian seem to have taken that old rejection harder and harder.
Anivia was ashamed of her actions as she manhandled Caspian and thought of using her powers for a moment to shut him up. She let out a sigh as she stared at the coffeemaker for a long moment after giving him the mug to drink. She didn’t know what to say or do anymore. Each year on this date it seem to escalate. She cared for Caspian deeply but she wasn’t sure if he would want to be around her if she rejected him once again. He had a right to move on, Anivia knew that.
She waited for it, she could feel his nerves so as he got in front of her and down on one knee she pressed her lips tightly together as if to stop herself from letting him get out what he needed to. Watching his blue eyes close she closed her own to keep her tears at bay. She felt her stomach twist in knots as she waited for him to finish speaking before she reached out and took the box from his hand. Looking at the ring that he tried to give her back then and slowly closed the lid.
“You will always hold a special place in my heart Caspian Oakley, you gave me love, and a beautiful daughter but I can not marry you.” she said as she took hold of his hand and placed the box back in his palm. Taking his other hand and placing it over the box. “I am not the woman who can make you happy. You need a free spirit like yourself. You need someone who will be far better to you then I ever was. Please Caspian I beg you to move on and forget me as anything other than your friend and the mother to your daughter.”
She let his hands go as she took a step back and swallowed hard “I am sorry.” she said feeling her own heart break unable to look at him. “Keep the ring for Lucia when she finds someone.” She offered a suggestion before she turned to pick up the mug and place it in the sink trying to keep her body from shaking like a leaf waiting for him to lash out at her rejection.
Caspian had expected her rejection, had seen it a thousand times unfold in his vivid imagination of all the ways she will say no to him. Her words were those she had told him many times, yet there was a tinge of falsehood in her words and that’s what had kept him hopeful. Today he heard exasperation, like the one a parent gets when his toddler asks for the twentieth time "why not?" That’s what Anivia thought of him. A petulant child fixated on one thing. Could he feel more miserable than what he did now? He raised his eyes only to see how tense Anivia had gotten, that made him feel even worse.
Every woman he slept with did not hold a candle to Anivia. Caspian had put her on a pedestal, and there is where she would remain. Untouchable as she had been the first time he had asked her to marry him to now. Thankfully Caspian had seen this as the most likely scenario and had come prepared.
From the day we are born, we are destined to play a roll in this life. Anivia had been destined to be their tribe leader. Caspian had no clue what his destiny was. He liked his job, he loved his daughter. But did he have a destiny? After twenty years of dedicating himself to Lucia, he found he had nothing that defined him. Nothing he could be proud of, except Lucia of course an extension of two people that for a fleeting moment had loved each other. Now that Lucia was leaving. It was time to move on. Anivia didn’t need him to come to family night anymore. Anivia didn’t need Caspian to go pick up Lucia from school or get Lucia some poster board for her science project.
He sat there motionless. Even though he was expecting this, Caspian had not thought of what to do after it. He watched as Anivia turned her back on him. She looked tense. He had caused that. Usually Anivia was well composed but when ever Caspian had one of his emotional fits Anivia tensed up. She wouldn’t treat him like everyone else. She was more patient with him, why was that, Caspian wondered.
He had come here drunk and determined to prove himself a point. A point that now seemed so childish. *How many times does it take to get the point Cas?* Chastising himself, he shook his head and closed his eyes. He had no clue what to do. He felt defeated, like a man without a purpose.
Caspian grabbed the little box and tucked it in his coat pocket. Sipping his coffee as he sobered up. His mind become sharp, his emotions however ebbed in the reassess of his mind. He waited calmly for her to sit down. For her to notice he was no longer being a petulant child but a grown man that knew, after twenty years, that Anivia would never choose him over the tribe.
He gulped the last of his coffee but made no attempt to get up and be close to her, if he did Caspian would not be able to resist the need to take her in his arms and kiss her as he had kissed her that night. That glorious night. A tear escaping, cleaning it up quickly before she turned around and saw how broken he was.