“I do hope you know that I tried,” he murmured into her soft blonde hair as she rested her head on his sturdy shoulder.
“Hmm?” she sighed in question as she tottered on the brink of sleep, so very close to falling into the peaceful abyss. She absolutely cherished these times with him, where they could relax and be themselves with one another, undisturbed by anyone else’s presence or the unwelcome gaze from a too curious pair of eyes. She reveled in the fact she was the only person he allowed to see this side of him; the real and actual human side. Not the Führer persona he presented to the rest of the world.
“I tried so very hard to make this world perfect,” he explained to her, his voice low and arising from deep within his chest. “Not just for everyone, but especially for you.”
She opened her eyes, mentally shaking off the remaining dust of sleepiness. “What do you mean, Adi?”
“I had such a great future planned for us,” he said quietly, almost to himself, his statement coated in sadness. “I was finally going to make everything right after I won the war. I was so excited to make your waiting for me worth it.”
She smoothly slid her fingers between his, bringing his hand close to her. “Oh, Adi. There hasn’t been a moment with you that I have regretted. Every second has been precious. It still is and always will be.”
A Russian shell landed near the ground above the large bunker they were nestled in, making the cement walls shake and causing small flecks of dirt to fall from the ceiling. But the chamber remained sturdy. “I have cheated you out of a full life.”
She sat up then, turning her body fully toward him as she tucked her knees beneath her. Her eyes were bright. “Adolf,” she said in a stern voice, imploring that he look at her. He refused to meet her gaze and simply stared ahead. “Don’t be ridiculous. My life would have been horribly empty without you.”
“You wouldn’t have noticed any difference had you not met me,” he muttered stubbornly, frowning.
“Well, I did and there’s nothing we can do to change that. And I can tell you right now there isn’t anything that would make me want to, either.”
He turned his steely blue gaze on her then, fury raging like wildfire within his eyes. “Look at where you are, Eva!” he shouted at her. She didn’t react or flinch back. Instead, she continued to meet his intense stare with a calm and unaffected gaze, allowing him to vent his frustration. “Did you really dream of being trapped within a cement prison like this, attached to an old man who has never been able to deliver unto you anything you deserve?! Was that what you had hoped for when you were a small girl?”
She blinked at him. “I didn’t know anything when I was a girl. I couldn’t have even begun to imagine a scenario like this,” she answered softly. She gripped his hand and looked down at them. Her face grew tender at the sight of her two hands failing to fully obscure his one. “But I also never expected I’d get the opportunity to meet a man as extraordinary as you, much less be a part of your life.”
“Some life,” he shot back at her.
She frowned and looked back up. “Stop it,” she stated with strict finality.
He huffed and turned his eyes away from her again. He got up off the small couch, tearing his hand out of her hold. She watched him stiffly stride to the other side of the room, his back now to her, as her own anger began to cause tears to form at the edges of her eyes. Why was he ruining such a precious moment? They hardly ever had time to themselves like this and he was spoiling it. They only had so much time left with one another….
“I made my own choices and will continue to do so. I love you and as much as you may want to revert that, you can’t. I’m sorry you are so regretful of this relationship-” she stopped, choking on her words. She brought her hand to her mouth, attempting to hold herself together.
She wouldn’t let him see her like this. She had to be strong for him, especially when he was acting so foolishly.
“Leave,” he suddenly whispered.
She sighed heavily, her hands dropping like dead weight into her lap in exhaustion at this topic. “I’ve already told you, Adi, I’m not-”
He reached up and gripped his black hair in a tortured fury. “Why don’t you ever heed me when it’s most necessary?! Why can’t you see that I’m trying to save the last person I care about?” He turned back to her, his voice broken. “Why won’t you let me do that? Please, just listen to me this once,” he begged, gesturing theatrically with his hands as he always did when he was passionate.
He was bent toward her, frantically searching for something within her eyes-some sign of capitulation, she supposed-as she sat quietly before him. His hand was gripping the grey fabric of his uniform right above his heart. She wasn’t going to tell him that she could obviously see he desperately needed her, now more than ever. So she settled for her other reason: “I think it’s quite selfish of you to ask that I continue living without you,” she said in all seriousness, scolding him. It was almost insulting that he thought her so capable of moving on without him.
He straightened up, his eyes widening in disbelief as he tried to form words but was unable to do so. He was caught between giving way to rage and total confusion, not sure how he should respond to her for a moment. His shoulders dropped and he clenched his teeth, glowering at her from beneath his brow with the dangerous shining eyes of a wolf. “After all that I’ve demanded from you… this is what you find to be selfish?” he inquired silkily, his tone deep and deadly. This was the calm before the storm.
The tension within the room had suddenly surged exponentially and the little hairs on the back of her delicate neck had risen in full solute. This was how he kept his generals and soldiers in line. This was how he incited the essential fear used to effectively control everyone who moved about around him. This was how he had made everyone else bend unconditionally to his will.
But she wasn’t one of his subordinates. She was his companion; his bedmate; his lover. She was the woman who had happily and readily chosen to spend her life at his side, no matter the sacrifices or consequences necessary for it. She wasn’t afraid of him and never had been. He had never been aware of it but she knew she had just as much power over him as he did over her.
When it came to their relationship, they were true equals.
“I have abstained from complaining when you have been unable to make it back for holidays or even my birthday,” she started in an even tone, watching his fingers twitch in anger. “I haven’t said a word when you put the country and your politics before our relationship. I never tried to force the marriage I have so achingly waited for out of you. I have never stood by and let my parents speak ill of you, even though quite often they were justified in doing so. But I will not allow you to push me away. I am not another one of your generals you can bully around with threatening words and a harsh tone. Your tricks will not work on me.”
His eyes flared and she could detect he was physically biting onto his tongue. He was aware that she knew he always tried to refrain from yelling at her. It went against his Bavarian nature-all charm and manners-and he was furious that she was blatantly throwing them back in his face, challenging him with her eyes to break his own rule that women should only be spoken to gently.
“Why can’t you see that I am different from everyone else?” she asked him delicately, and she saw her arrow hit its mark within him: his vivid eyes softened the tiniest bit and the tension in his jaw fractionally lowered. “I’m afraid you’re stuck with me until the end, whether that’s how you want it or not,” she continued, sighing happily. “This time Adi, you will not be getting your way.”
She got up off the couch and smoothed out her silk dress. She contentedly made her way over to the door and he gripped her arm as she passed, forcing her to a stop. She looked up and could clearly see the resistance boiling within him, as was in accordance with his horribly stubborn nature. He was breathing heavily, his nostrils flaring as she dared to go against him.
He pulled her into him, using his other hand to cradle her head and roughly-yet with the underlying gentleness of a lover-brought her lips to his. It lasted no longer than a brief moment and then he was gone, stomping down the hallway away from her, defeated.
She smiled lovingly as she watched after him, his childishness being one of his traits that she admittedly found most endearing about him, then made her way down the opposite side of the corridor, satisfied in knowing she had won another battle.
But she knew he would continue to fight in vain, as was in accordance with his nature, hoping he would at least win this war.
Though it was clear to the both of them he was already doomed to lose this one as well.
© 2014 Elizabeth Klarke
Because I have a strange love for these two and hope to produce more of them in the future… since I have exhausted the internet of its stories between them and my appetite is now going unsatisfied. Guess I have to learn how to cook my own food and feed myself.