Chasing the Horizon

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The Big News

Alexandria had left quite some time ago, but Konnor was still sitting on his bed, staring at the wall. He still didn’t want to believe what she had said. He sat there for a while, processing the information. Timothy was still waiting for him in the parlor. He knew he shouldn’t keep him waiting any longer.

He let out a long breath and forced himself to stand up. He walked out of his room, ignoring the protests of the servants. Continuing down the hall, he made his way downstairs to the parlor, both of his guards in tow. Finally, he got the parlor, opening the door to see Timothy sitting on one of the couches, reading. He glanced back at the servants following him, “Can you wait here a moment? I’d like a private word with Timothy.”

The girl and boy stood still for a moment, only staring up at Konnor, mouths slightly agape. Finally, the girl nodded and grabbed the boy by the hand, dragging him away from the parlor.

Konnor didn’t want to share his news with anyone else yet. He walked into the room, shutting the door behind him. That was when Timothy looked up and saw his friend. “Konnor, how did it go?”

He let out a sigh and slumped down on the couch, leaning his head on the back. Konnor opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t get words out. He knew what Alexandria had said, but for him, saying it out loud made it too much more real. He looked over and Timothy was looking down at his book again, patiently waiting for Konnor to be ready to speak. He gulped, “You were right. I’m... pregnant.”

Timothy nodded, still looking down at his book. A brief moment of silence hung in the air between them as realization set in. Timothy looked up, brow furrowing. He turned to look back at Konnor, eyes widened slightly, “You really are pregnant?”

Konnor nodded, looking away and pressing himself against the back of the couch. “Six weeks.” He shook his head a little, looking down at his hands in his lap, “It’s still so hard to believe.”

Timothy rested a hand on Konnor’s shoulder, “Should we tell your father then?”

He sat there quietly for a moment. He really didn’t want to tell his father, but he knew that Timothy was right. Waiting wasn’t an option, because sooner or later, it would start to show. It might actually be worse for him to wait and have his father see what was going on. Quietly, he said, “We have to tell him.”

“Do you want me to tell him?” Timothy looked intently at his friend.

Konnor shook his head, “No. I have to tell him.” He sat up straighter, wanting to be strong and be able to face his father. He just had no idea how he was actually going to tell him. He stood up, taking a deep breath.

Timothy stood up too, smiling up at Konnor, “I’ll be by your side, don’t worry.”

“Thanks,” Konnor smiled briefly and walked out of the parlor. In the hall again, the servants that he’d sent away before were back and standing on the other side of the hall. He went right up to the boy and girl. They both stepped back a little, cowering under his height. Konnor let out a sigh, he really hated that reaction. Anyone who knew him, knew that he was far softer than he looked. “Where is my father?”

“In his study,” the girl spoke and ducked her head slightly.

The boy servant was a little more daring and squeaked, “You’re not supposed to leave this part of the castle.”

The girl’s eyes widened and she stared at the boy next to her. She grabbed his arm, starting to pull him away from the prince. She pulled him down the hall. Konnor called after them, “You don’t have to leave. You didn’t upset me.”

Although they both looked back, the girl didn’t stop until she and the boy were out of sight. Konnor let out another sigh. He had to wonder if people’s opinion of him would change when they saw that he was pregnant. He doubted that new servants like those two would be as afraid of him.

He looked back at Timothy, “You don’t have to come with me if you don’t want to.”

Timothy shook his head, “I’ll be right there with you, I promise.”

“Thanks.” Konnor took a deep breath and started walking down the hall towards the stairs. The walk towards his father’s study seemed longer than usual. With every step, he felt an impending sense of doom. He knew his father would be disappointed in him for getting pregnant before he was even married. He wondered how his father would react, if he would be cold or explosive. Reaching the study door, he froze, he couldn’t bring himself to even knock. He stared at the door, feeling his father’s icy glare on him already.

After a good minute of him and Timothy standing at the door, Timothy finally reached up and knocked on the door himself. He glanced up at the redhead, “You’ll be able to do it.”

Konnor nodded, he didn’t know if his friend was right, but he hoped that he was. A voice came from the other side of the doors and Konnor took that as an invitation to enter. He slowly opened the doors, seeing his father looking down at something on his desk. Konnor took a breath, “Father.”

King Tendarian instantly looked up. He hadn’t spoken to Konnor since he banished him to his room in the castle. The middle aged man stood up, walking around his desk, narrowing his eyes at his son as he asked, “What are you doing here?”

Konnor almost hated this reaction from his father more. He hated the way he pretended to care, especially when he knew that his father was far more concerned that he was disobeying his direct orders. He swallowed, walking into the study and standing up straighter, Timothy following behind him. He was several inches taller than his father, but somehow his father always made him feel so small. But not this time. Konnor wanted to stand tall and face his father straight on. “I have something I need to tell you.”

His father leaned against the edge of his desk, crossing his arms and glaring at Konnor. “What is so important?”

“I had Dr. Grenault come out to see me today,” he paused, he wasn’t really sure how to say he was pregnant. “She gave me some news...” Konnor couldn’t keep himself from trailing off. He wanted to be strong and just say it, but the words wouldn’t come out.

King Tendarian raised an eyebrow, seemingly interested that Konnor needed to have the doctor come out. He pressed Konnor to continue, “What is it?”

Konnor looked down for a moment, taking a breath. He balled his hands into fists and brought his gaze back up, looking straight into his father’s eyes. “I’m pregnant.”

King Tendarian stared at his son for a moment, as if waiting for him to say it was a joke. He stood up straight, glaring at Konnor, “Who did it to you?”

“I guess that’s something else I need to tell you,” Konnor stood his ground. He knew his father wasn’t happy. He hated the way that his father depersonalized it. How he couldn’t ask who’s the father, but rather this was just some situation someone else put Konnor in. He made himself smile as he spoke to his father, it was the best way he could feel like he still had some control over the conversation outcome. “When I ran away a month and a half ago. Prince Austeareus picked me up in some tavern, took me on his ship, we got close. It’s his baby.”

King Tendarian let out an audible breath, his entire body relaxing. A smile spread across his face, “Then on with the wedding.” He narrowed his eyes slightly at his son, “How far along are you?”

Konnor was just staring at his father, mouth slightly agape. Of all the reactions he expected from his father, this was not one of them. He looked down and back at him, tilting his head to the side. This certainly wasn’t how he was expecting the conversation would go. “Six weeks...”

“Good,” King Tendarian walked towards him and Timothy, saying, “We can still arrange the wedding to be before everyone starts to see that you’ve been acting like a whore.” He patted his son’s shoulder before walking past him to leave the study.

Konnor stood there for a moment longer, teeth clenched, fists tight. He wanted to just hit his father, but he knew that would be no good. He knew his father’s good reaction had been too good to be true. He just couldn’t believe that his father actually thought he was a whore.

“Konnor...” Timothy’s quiet voice brought him out of his thoughts.

He looked down at his friend, saying, “I hate him.” Konnor turned on his heel and stormed out of the study. He could feel Timothy following him and as much as he wanted to be alone, he didn’t want to snap at his only friend.

He rounded the corner, stopping at the top of the stairs. His father was down in the grand entryway, making an announcement to the servants. Konnor’s curiosity made him stay and listen. “The date for the wedding with the Prince of Toeaux is being moved forward, I need all wedding preparations to be ready by week after next.”

Konnor shook his head, walking a different way through the halls coming out at a balcony terrace. He went to edge of the terrace, leaning against the railing. He could hear footsteps against the stone floor and knew Timothy had continued to follow him. He spoke without turning to look at his friend, “I should’ve known my father was just prolonging the engagement to prolong my punishment.”

Timothy’s small hand rested on Konnor’s back, “I’m sure it’s not only that. Prince Austeareus hasn’t been recovered for long either. I heard my father say that even though he was out of the hospital a few weeks ago, he was still recovering inside the castle.”

He knew Timothy was probably right and that took off some of the edge. But he knew he still had a problem. Konnor hung his head forward, stepping back so he could rest his head on his arms over the terrace railing. “I haven’t spoken to Dax once since we were separated. He’s going to hate me.”

“Why would he? He loves you,” Timothy’s tone was earnest.

“I’d hate me.” Konnor’s response was immediate, “In all this time, I’ve never reached out to him.”

“That wasn’t your fault Konnor,” Timothy tried to be supportive, but it wasn’t helping Konnor feel any better. Konnor had asked the servants to send a letter for him. After they refused, saying it was against King Tendarian’s orders, he didn’t try again. He should’ve tried harder to reach out to Dax.

“Doesn’t matter.” He turned his head slightly to look up at Timothy, “He’ll come here expecting to see a stranger, but instead find me.”

“I’m sure he’ll be very happy when he sees you,” Timothy said with a small smile.

Konnor shook his head, looking back at the stone ground beneath his feet. “He’ll be mad, I know it. And it won’t make it any better that I have to tell him that I’m carrying his baby. I don’t think he even wants a family so soon, if at all.”

“He might surprise you, Konnor,” Timothy’s voice was more even than it had been, less like he was trying to console Konnor and more like he was saying what he really thought.

Konnor sighed, lifting up his head to look out over the castle grounds. “I do hope you’re right, Timothy. I really do.”

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