My sister soon found her days filled as she was flown all over the linked world. But she still remained curious about a one-time member of our family. As her time in the linked world became years, she found herself enjoying things called movies and TV. She said our former stepmother was, unfortunately, quite talented, which explained quite a few things.
Abigail hadn’t meant to sleep the day away, especially since the clouds had finally started to part to let the late winter light in. Spring would be coming fast, and she didn’t want to miss it.
But her heart hung heavy in her chest. Not only would her mother never experience another spring filled with flowers and baby birds and new foals for her to coo over, but neither would her father. Not that she even knew what her father did during the spring; he’d never been home during the spring that she could recall.
Still, her family had been cut in half in less than a year. Sometimes the pain struck her so hard she could barely breathe. The few times she had awoken, the piercing pain had been too much to bear. There was always a serving girl sitting by her bed, a warm meal ready for her. Against her protests, the girls persisted under Adrian’s orders until she had swallowed a few mouthfuls. Then they’d let her cry herself back to sleep, curled up tightly, as though she could curl around the pain and crush it into oblivion.
Now she lay on her side, her knees drawn up to her chest, her face turned to the windows. Moonlight streamed onto her floor, the edges brushing against her bed. But she lay in darkness, and that was just fine with her.
Her father would never be the one to place the family seal on the documents sealing her union with Adrian. That would fall to her sister, the new Countess Olidan. Her father would never retire from his duties as ambassador. That had died the moment the mermaid princess revealed herself as a sea witch. Her father would never find out his new wife was a fraud. Camille had never told him and Abigail had always been too awkward around him.
Silent tears streaked down her cheeks and across her nose, dampening the pillow below her face. She only blinked them away, making them flow faster.
Her father would never get to hold the next heir to the Glass Kingdom, would never be given the chance to smile at and play with his granddaughter or grandson. Her father would never get to swim with a tail again. Her father would never sit surrounded by things that reminded him of his life with Genevieve. Her father would never get to travel to the linked world like Camille always said he wanted to do. Her father-
Her thoughts were cut short not just by her hiccuping cry, but also by the soft swoosh of her door opening. She squeezed her eyes shut, unwilling to face the next serving girl to sit with her. The last had argued about leaving until Abigail had begun to shriek, screaming that, if Adrian insisted, he would have to tell her himself.
Her eyes opened and she wiped at her face, pulling in a shuddering breath. Perhaps it was Adrian coming, having found a break in his duties as Crown Prince.
“Ah, this is where you’ve been hiding,” a light voice said.
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