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Chapter 28

“Scarlet? I brought your lunch. I asked to.” Renee entered into Scarlet’s sitting room. Scarlet sat in a long back chair, facing out into the garden. Scarlet didn’t move. Renee looked down to the plate of breakfast food, cold and untouched from that morning. She exchanged the plates, putting the lunch one on the coffee table and the breakfast on the silver platter. Renee had heard through the servant’s gossip circle that Scarlet hadn’t eaten anything in the past day and half that she had been awake. She had been cleared to leave her room by Dr. Cartson, but chose to remain. The King had been asking for her, and only her. Everyone within the walls knew it but no one spoke of it. Their private affair was now very public.

Renee was scared for her. They may no longer be friends, but she cared for Scarlet no less. She had remained next to her the whole ride back. Scarlet and the King were brought back to the capital in a warship from the field. Renee was barely harmed in the scuffle of the battle, but she knew both Scarlet and the King were greatly wounded. During the ride back there was so much she had wished to say to Scarlet. To apologize and to let Scarlet know that she honestly meant no harm. Despite the fact that she caused much of it. Renee only wanted her to be happy.

“Scarlet.” The door to the room swung open. “We need to talk. You, go, now.” The Queen slammed the door to the sitting room behind her. She shooed Renee, and Renee exited the room. “I am your Queen and I demand that you look at me Scarlet. Now.” Scarlet wiped her face, knowing full well how awful she looked. Between the bruises and crying, her face was a bloated mess.

Scarlet turned to face the Queen. She was as elegant looking as ever, a true royal. Even in her pregnant state. “Good, stand up and come over here.” Scarlet stood, and moved towards the Queen. There was a folder in her hands and Scarlet’s worse fear had come true. The Queen found out. Scarlet mentally prepared herself for any beating the Queen could hand out. Along the way she grabbed a note book and pencil, to write with. “No need for that.” The Queen tossed the folder onto the coffee table and papers went flying out from it. A closer looked showed what they were. The King’s notes, from their lessons. “I taught myself. Now speak, why haven’t you gone to see my husband?”

‘What do you mean?’

“Oh cut the shit. I know what you two have been doing, so answers my question. Now.”

‘I can’t.’

“You can’t or won’t?” The Queen’s gaze was so powerful, Scarlet was unable to move her eyes from it.

‘I can’t. He and I. What we did was wrong. You’re his wife. You be by my side.’

“I have been, but he hasn’t been asking for me. That’s my point. I’m there but he doesn’t want me. He- he.” For the first time, Scarlet saw real emotions in the Queen’s eyes. “He wants you. He’s asking for you. Not me. You. So you should be there.” Hanging her head, Scarlet looked away.

‘I can’t! I just can’t!’

“Look at me Scarlet. Look at me.” The Queen bent down and grabbed her shoulders. Forcing the eye contact. “My husband is on his death bed right now. He might not make the next hour. And his only request is for you to be there. It doesn’t matter what you two did or didn’t do. What values were broken; none of that matters anymore, because he’s dying. He has a thousand dreams, you were clearly one. Your love was one, and now most of those remaining dreams won’t come ever true. So please, I am begging you.” The Queen shook her shoulders, her grip getting tighter. “Grant him this request. Fulfill his dream. Allow him to leave this place in peace. Please, Scarlet. Please. Please, go to my husband. Be by his side. Please. This is not for me, but for him. Please.” She was crying, the Queen was crying. She was beginning, begging Scarlet to be with the King. Scarlet looked away, wiping at her own tears.

‘Okay. I’ll go.’

The Queen released her and sat down on the couch. Breaking out into a wave of sobs. Scarlet, thinking she should say something, left without a word.

Vern led Scarlet up to the third floor. This was the one floor of the house she had yet to be on. It was considered the royal family’s private space and only a few outside of the help were granted access to it. She was lead to a plain looking door, with two guards standing carefully outside of it. They straighten up at the sight of Vern, and allowed him to open the door. “Go right in Miss Scarlet. I’ll be in the corner.” Scarlet looked to Vern, and then the open door. Nodding, she stepped into the dim room. Allowing her eyes to adjust, she made out the basic furnishings of a bed room, in one far corner was something not always seen. The King was laid out on a large lounge; it could easily fit two. There were no lights or lanterns on, a few sticks of candles gave the only light. Scarlet’s heart broke, but she moved forward.

Coming up to the lounge, she fell to her knees. She reached for the King’s cool hand and his eyes opened just barely. “Scarlet.” His voice was fragile, and weak. Scarlet nodded, hoping he could see her. Just in case, she squeezed his hand. “Scarlet.” He repeated, opening his eyes a little more. “You came.” She nodded once more. “I’m so happy you did.” Each sentence was drawn out, and breathy. Scarlet nodded her head, unwillingly to let go of his hand. Her good arm reached out and ran down the side of his face. “You didn’t believe me, when I said I would see that you lived. I meant it.” He gave a puff air of a laugh. Scarlet gave a sad smile. “I promise, once I’m gone, you’ll be taken care of. But you have to promise me something first.” Scarlet leaned closed, his voice getting softer. “Promise me you’ll keep living. Live to be a hundred. Get married, and have lots of babies. Then watch them have babies. Just promise me..” Scarlet nodded her head and squeezed his hand as his eyes begun to close. He forced them open, wider than he had at all during this visit. “Closer.” She leaned closer and they kissed. It was salty, and weak. “I love you.” Scarlet sob, her chest jerking. Moving her lips, she willed the words to come out but instead her mouth just moved as she had seen others when they said it.

‘I love you.’

He saw, giving a smile as his eyes begun to closer again. Scarlet kissed his lips one last time. Pulling away, she felt one last breath come from the King. Then nothing. Pulling back, she looked at him. He did not look like he was sleeping. He did not look peaceful. He looked dead. The worst emotions Scarlet had ever felt hit her. Her hands still in his, she buried her face into her arms. Allowing herself to cry.

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