On their way to Charisse’s room, Ajax told her the truth. He left out the details, telling her only the outline of who she was, who he was, and who Metus was. He didn’t tell her about his own encounter with Metus all those years ago, thinking that even if Charisse had all her memories, she wouldn’t have remembered. He didn’t even recognize who it was that guided him, until he saw her form in dreams.
“People have two faces, one in dreams, and one in reality,” he explained after telling her their story. “I found out only recently.”
“Only recently?” In her mind, Ajax knew everything. It surprised her that he only found out something so important “recently”.
“Yes, only recently. Tell me, Charisse. What do I look like to you?” They were sitting on her bed, facing each other. He recalled how she had taken his hands when he was stricken with fear in the delusional nightmare, and so now, he did the same. Perhaps there was a certain kind of shock to her mind as she received all the information. Even though she had been Phoenix, when she forgot everything she was, every reputation she had built, she showed herself to be such a simple girl. That was why he had told the servants to let her be.
“Golden hair, green eyes…you are beautiful,” she answered as she studied his face. “But you looked the same in the…illusion?”
“I’m sure it’s because you haven’t gone out of the dream yet. Once you remember everything, you will see me as who I really am in reality. What do you look like to yourself?”
She fell silent for a moment, contemplating his words. “I have pink curls. And…I look…pretty. Am I not pretty in reality?”
He chuckled, despite the situation. “I saw your pink curls in the dream, but right now, you have black hair. My darling, you are always beautiful.”
“What about you?”
“Don’t you want to see for yourself?”
He stood up then, and she did too. “I’ll help you remember then.” Ajax leaned forward, but before closing the distance between them, he said, “Before that, though, tell me one thing. Do you love me?”
Charisse widened her eyes. It was an “Oh!” moment for her, realizing that she’d never told him her feelings at all. “I love you,” she said.
Smiling at her reply, he leaned in and pressed his lips on hers.