Dear Reader, I attempted something interesting for the next couple of chapters. For the past few months, I’ve been getting allergy shots that tend to make me very sleepy, so I decided it would be interesting to see how well I could write while fighting to keep my eyes open and my mind from wandering into the clouds. Not only is this your first time reading it, but mine as well as I lightly edit it before posting. I hope you enjoy? More accurately, I hope it makes some kind of sense.
My sister chased the man all the way to the Palace. She was in awe for a moment, staring up at the ice blue blocks and towering turrets of spiraled ice. It was her gasp as the sun struck the ice just right that made the man walking swiftly in front of her still his steps, his body seeming to be just as frozen as the ice. He demanded to know why my sister was following him. She said she was curious, and a stranger, and asked if he was the prince. With cautious eyes, he nodded and asked if she was a princess.
Abigail perched on the edge of the velvet sofa, a saucer balanced in one hand as she sipped the hot herbal tea Rose Roderick had handed her. Beside her, the mermaid handmaiden was too nervous to hold fine china, so sat with her hands pressed to her knees, barely sitting on the edge of the sofa. On Abigail’s other side, James sat, leaning forward with his hands dangling between his knees, his eyes earnest as she described his situation to the couple sitting across from them.
Rose and Harrison Roderick were not quite as she expected. They were relatively young, around their thirties, she guessed. They sat with much space between them, and hardly acted like a married couple. At least, there was none of the affection she had grown up seeing between her parents when Lawrence was on land. Instead the space between them seemed to be filled with polite indifference with no touches or glances.
“Can you help?” James asked as he finished speaking.
Abigail could feel the nervous tension rolling off of him. As if the handmaiden’s anxiousness wasn’t enough. As jumpy as she usually felt around people she barely knew, she felt like a sea of calm between the couple. It was a little unnerving. But at least it kept her from thinking she’d likely be Queen one day. That one didn’t bear thinking on. At least, not yet. They’d only just formalized their intent to court. She hadn’t even told her father! Not that her father would be surprised. He’d probably be happily dropping her off at Murant Manor, eager to see the announcement in the Plaza for their engagement.
Or maybe that would be Camille. It was difficult sometimes to figure out who wanted her marry Adrian more. But at least she and Adrian were of the same mind and didn’t want to rush. Of course, if he were to be pronounced Crown Prince in James’s stead, their time would likely be vastly shortened, but they had a foundation to work from, a childhood together and mutual crushes. It was something, even if a rushed timeline did sometimes make her feel dizzy.
Very carefully, Abigail placed her cup back on her saucer with a light clink.
“You may pass through the portal,” Harrison said, “but, if you wish for us to mask you, you will never be able to return.”
Abigail watched as James and the handmaiden exchanged glances across her. She was too much a lady to let her head whip back and forth, but she could catch the looks between them from the corners of her eyes. Clearly, they were very unlike Harrison and Rose and only her body situated between them kept them from holding hands.
It was like a sudden knife in her stomach. If James were to remain, he would be married to someone he would never love, but Adrian would be free to return to his pastoral life at Murant Holdings and she would be a happily situated Duchess in the country. If James were to have his heart’s desire, and she really couldn’t blame him for throwing duty to the wind when literally every other person in the kingdom was allowed to marry for love, Adrian would be king and she knew a part of her heart had already decided on him.
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