It Should Be Me

Chapter Five

I was sitting in the dining hut, trying to ignore Miranda's hand that was caressing my thigh under the table when the room fell silent. I looked up from my conversation with Amari, our village healer and instantly found out why everyone had gone so quiet. Xena was standing in the doorway with Alexandria by her side, their hands clasped together tightly between them. They were definetely a sight as they stood there together, two of the most beautiful women I have ever laid eyes upon. I watched as they glared menacingly around the room until everyone returned back to their conversations and their meals.

I continued to watch her, nodding absently towards Amari as she continued to talk about the few patients we had in the healers hut. I wanted to look away but Xena looked so beautiful that I couldn't tear my eyes from her. She had traded her leather battle dress from a pair of tight black leather pants and a black silk shirt. It looked more like she had come to my village for a funeral than for my wedding, but I had to admit she did look stunning. Our eyes met and her pale blue orbs were full of so much emotion that it sent shivers up my spine. Gods, I wanted to smile at her, to let her know that she was more than welcome to be here, but I could only stare at her with my mouth hanging slightly open.

I was pulled from my private thoughts when I felt Miranda's hand squeeze my thigh tightly, causing me to flinch with pain. "Ow!"

"Can you please, for one second, not stare at her like you want to fuck her on the table in front of me," Miranda whispered fiercly into my ear, her dull blue eyes flashing with anger.

"Excuse me?" I replied, pushing her hand from my thigh as I straightened in my seat, embaressed at being caught. I wanted to glance back towards Xena, to see if she was still watching me, but I didn't dare try while I was captured in Miranda's rage filled gaze.

"From the second she entered, you couldn't stop looking at her," Miranda muttered, running her fingers through her dark brown hair in frustration. "We're getting married in just over a week, Gabrielle. Can you pretend for a moment that actually want to marry me?"

I was left speechless as I stared at my consort, my brow furrowed as my hands gripped the table so tightly that my knuckles were white. I couldn't say anything because I was scared if I opened my mouth, I would speak the truth.

I don't want to marry you!

I looked down at my full plate and found that my appetite had deserted me. It wasn't that I wanted to marry Xena instead; I just didn't want to marry Miranda. I could never do anything right by her lately, and her moods swings were out of control. I had found myself honestly scared for my life several times in the past few weeks as our wedding got closer and closer. She would have fits of rage, smashing anything and everything that she could get her hands on in our hut. And then moments later, she would be on her knees in front of me, telling me that she was sorry and how much she loved me.

"I think I'm going to turn in early," Miranda said softly, leaning over to press a kiss to my temple. "Will I see you later?"

I could only nod as she stood up from the table, her hand squeezing my shoulder gently before she departed. I watched her leave, her shoulders slumped in defeat and I was overcome with guilt. Maybe I should just call off the wedding now to save us both the pain. I knew that she loved me, but deep down, I don't think she wanted to marry me either. We had both tried so hard to make this work, so quickly after we had both came out of serious relationships, but it was a losing battle.

We weren't meant to be together.

I could feel the stares from my friends around me, but I ignored them. I knew they were only concerned for me but there was nothing they could do. I had made my bed and now I had to lie in it, besides a woman that I know I will never truly love.

With a sigh, I looked up from the table that I had been studying and let my gaze drift around the room until I found her again. She was sitting at the table where I had put all the friends we had met in our travels and she looked happy. She was talking animatedly to our daughter and I couldn't help but grin as I watched them. I wanted desperately for her to turn around and look at me, just so I could stare into her eyes and find peace like I always did when I looked into her baby blues, but she didn't. I contented myself with just watching her instead, finding myself calm more and more with every smile that she gave Eve.

I hardly noticed when people started to leave, so focused on watching my ex lover. It wasn't until Amari reached across the table to squeeze my hand that I realised that almost everyone was gone.

"My Queen, will you be alright tonight?" The healer asked me, geniune concern in her dark brown eyes.

"I'll be fine," I reassured her, squeezing her hand. She nodded and we said our goodnights before I finally returned my attention to Xena.

Everyone had left her table and now it was just her and Alexandria. I could see them talking quietly, Alexandria's hand resting on Xena's forearm like it had been all night. I felt a small burst of jealousy as I watched them, wondering if they were back together. They had been close all night and it was quite possible that Alexandria had returned to Xena in the past few months, but I could feel in my heart that she hadn't. She had a look in her eye when she greeted me this afternoon that told me the truth. They were just friends.

Or is that just what I wanted to see in her eyes?

I gathered my courage and stood up from the empty table before making my way over to them. I smiled slightly as Alexandria turned in her seat and caught my eye, and she returned my grin before turning back to the table, removing her hand from Xena's arm.

"Xena," I said softly when I finally reached them, watching as my ex lover's body tensed for a moment before she finally turned to face me, a small smile on her face.

"Hello, Gabrielle. It's nice to see you. You look good."

She spoke calmly and I wondered how she could feel so at ease when I felt like I was about to explode. My heart was racing in my chest as I glanced between her and Alexandria before our eyes locked. "Yes. Nice."

Alexandria seemed to realise that this was her cue to leave because she slammed her half full mug down on the table and stood up quickly. Her chair would have toppled over if it hadn't been for Xena's fast reflexs. "Well, it's be a big week! Gabrielle, it's been wonderful day and Xena, you know where I am."

I watched as Alexandria gave Xena a meaningful look before she turned to smile at me encouragingly. I gave her a small smile of my own and then she was gone, rushing out of the hut as quickly as possible. I turned back to Xena and my expression softened as I looked down at her, her pale blue eyes shining up at me.

"I didn't think you would come," I whispered, my voice thick with emotion.

"I didn't have much of a choice," she replied with a lop sided smile as her eyes darted to the door that Alexandria had just left through. I breathed a sigh of relief as I finally understood Alexandria's reason for coming. She didn't come with Xena; she had brought Xena here. Once again, I felt thankful that women like Alexandria existed.

"Well," Xena said as she stood up, resting her mug on the table. "It's been a long week and I think I'll return to camp."

I felt my heart jump into my throat at her words, not wanting her to leave. Without thinking, my hand reached out to touch her arm and I felt a spark of electricity jolt through me at the feeling of her skin underneath my fingers. "You don't have to do that, you know. I know this is... weird, but you can stay in the village. I don't mind, really."

It was the truth. I truly wanted her to stay. I wanted to be able to speak to her, to talk to her about how I felt about my upcoming wedding but she shook her head and rested her hand over mine and I knew her answer.

"I think it would be better if I stayed outside the village."

I knew it was the truth, but it didn't make me feel any better. My smile faultered as her hand slipped from mine and I shrugged. "Well, if you need anything..."

"I know," she grinned and it was contagious. I held her gaze for another few moments before she shook her head once more and stepped towards the door.

"Goodnight, Gabrielle."

"Goodnight, Xena," I whispered as I watched her walk away from me, again.

To be continued in Chapter Six.


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