Following my drunken binge I had resolved to put things straight. An anger still burned inside me, anger at myself but misdirected towards Rip, towards his apparent aggression towards Orchid, who was blameless in this entire episode, poor Orchid, torn apart by my weakness and her friendship.
After Nareth had left me that evening I had sat down to complete the letter I had started many times earlier that day. I battled with my emotions and to this day regret that I was not more estrained in my writing any yet, it was the truth, my heartfelt apology not for my feelings but for admitting even submitting to them.
City State of New Babbage
Dear sweet Orchid,
It is in great sorrow and ignominy that I start upon this letter, for, as you know so intimately, I had vowed never to accept another into my heart if not into my arms. It was not by wulfil choice that I let you in, and in solemn truth I had hidden these feelings as much from myself as from you.To my eternal shame, two nights ago, in an act of unconscionable passion through my weakness, I let this fire burn uncontained.
Orchid, I trust and know that you have the elevation of mind to understand that I have never wished to force myself into your life, and yet through your caring caresses and patience when I needed you most, you have perhaps unknowingly nurtured a bond between my heart and yours. This tenderness enveloped and made physical just this long evening past.
I cannot with ease forget, the soft warm pressure of your body,the fullness of you lips, the softness of your skin; it is seared into my mind and yet this fervent indiscretion is as nothing to the power that you hold over my heart. But I know now that I was right to hide this, to bury it deep, for I see that these feelings are not shared that there is no fire burning in you for me.
I acknowledge the great generosity of your heart, and consider myself highly honoured to be called a friend, a gift of inestimable value. Could I prevail with myself to prefer to peace of mind, the enjoyment of your affections at a cost to poor dear Rip? I know that in all good conscience I cannot and as I have been very sincere, I beg that you both trust once again that I will conceal this love which afflicts me. I cannot extinguish this, no more did I bid it come than can I cast it out.
I have run out of space before sentiment, please turn over.
I have made my choice, and in growing certainty know that neither you nor he will need to endure my presence for long now. His anger at me is palpable and I worry that in a momentary lapse he would bring that rage upoon you. I have decided to face this wrath and speak the naked truth to Rip, indeed I would speak with him before you receive this letter.
To the end and beyond, I remain in secret unspoken passion, ever your lover
Shortly before midnight, tears still stinging my eyes, I had long since given up trying to avoid their falling onto the sheet, I folded the paper and sealed it into an envelope. So as not to lose my nerve I immediately set out into the streets and placed it in the post box before finally retiring to bed.