Chapter 22: We're in this together
Hope you guys like this chapter. I finally managed to get this chapter right. Thank you all for you support and understanding it means alot.
I absentmindedly stared out the fogged window as we slowly approached the Palace gates. The rain that I thought had ceased, hadn’t. It kept pouring and pouring as the distant flashes of lightning struck the earth. The mighty roar of thunder drowned out every sound within the kingdom but their own.
It was a storm no one would dare get caught in, except for us. Of course, our objective was to get back to the Palace as quickly as possible despite the storm outside. Not that I could bring myself to care about the dangers of being here. I was mentally and physically drained and wanted nothing more than to take a hot bath and let the sweet darkness of sleep consume me.
To let it consume me whole and take me to a place where I wouldn’t be able to think or feel. I would be able to ignore the reality of this world by having a peaceful sleep. Not that I could after what I had seen. My mind would not let me sleep peacefully knowing that my sister’s killer was still alive roaming the streets of Awa as a normal citizen and not locked behind bars paying for their crimes.
“We should be passing through the gates in about 20 minutes.” Prince Marcus said, bringing me out of my thoughts. I blinked a few times before turning my attention to him. His once wet hair and clothes were almost dried from the cool air from the AC in the car.
After he had taken me into his arms as a sobbing mess, he had carried me back to the car waiting to take us back to the Palace. I had protested at first but soon gave up as my limbs were too tired to put up a fight. Instead, I spent half of the drive back curled up in Prince Marcus’s embrace crying my heart out. All through my breakdown, I was very aware of the fact that our interaction can be misinterpreted by our families. But at that time it was the least important problem for me.
Now, I’m sitting next to the man who had changed my whole life with my swollen red eyes as evidence of the countless tears I had shed. Even my throat protested when I spoke for longer than required. Of course, the dryness and aches of my throat were also another reminder of the strain I had put on my throat when the screams of my protests had torn through my lips as I cried for the sister I lost.
“And to be on the safe side I want you to visit Dr. Lily’s office the instant we arrive at the Palace. You need to have your wounds disinfected and rebandaged.” Prince Marcus ordered as I returned my gaze to the window that was too clouded to see anything outside. It was truly a miracle that we could find our way to the Palace in this weather.
“I’m fine, Prince Marcus. There isn’t any need for me to see Dr. Lily. I can easily disinfect the wounds myself and have Linda assist me with rebandaging it.” I said as I cringed at the sound of my own voice. It sounded hoarse and even cracked at the end. I guess this was to be expected after I had refused to drink any liquid or talk for the past two hours.
Sighing in frustration, I took a bottle of water from the container on the floor. Opening the cap, I downed half of the cool liquid. It felt wonderful against my dry throat as I greedily drank the remaining half of the water inside of the bottle. Clearing my throat, I waited for Prince Marcus to say something.
He sighed before collecting another water bottle and placing it in my hands. I raised a brow in question as he gave me lopsided smile, “You shouldn’t strain yourself by speaking if your throat hurts and try to keep yourself hydrated. And I know you can tend to your wounds yourself, but that isn’t the only reason I’m insisting you see her.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “I know you haven’t been eating properly for the past few days and you haven’t been getting enough rest. Although I suppose your lack of sleep is partially my fault after what I had shown you. Not to mention in your current state you can easily catch a cold from being in those wet clothes for too long. I hope you understand that I only want to ensure that there is no danger to your health.” He said in a serious tone as I furrowed my brows in confusion.
It was true that the few days that I had locked myself inside of my room I hadn’t eaten much of the food Albert had left outside my door, but I don’t recall ever telling anyone -especially him- about it. So, how did he know? Was Albert personally reporting to Prince Marcus about my condition?
Tilting my head in his direction with my brows still furrowed in confusion, I replied, “You’re right, Prince Marcus. I haven’t been eating as much as I should have, and I haven’t been able to sleep for the past few days. Not to mention every imagine of my sister’s mutilated body is still fresh in my mind. Although I wouldn’t say that I’ve had enough time to deal with that or for me to completely forget what I had seen. However, none of those are valid reasons to see Dr. Lily. At least not when I could fix those problems myself. Because all I’ll need to do is start eating right again and get a good night’s rest and hopefully I’ll be able to overcome my fears with time.”
Taking a sip of water from the bottle in my hand I watched as Prince Marcus groaned as he ran his fingers through his messy black strands. “I see you’re still the same Rebekah. Always headstrong even after you were crying your heart out. And when are you going to stop with formalities.” He mumbled under his breath before he threw his head back onto the seat. He stared at the roof of the car with a small smile on his lips before he tilted his head in my direction.
“You may be right, Rebekah, but I still believe a doctor’s opinion on the matter would be better. Besides, I don’t ever want to see you heartbroken over anything ever again. I know I’ve already put through enough over the past few weeks and then some sick bastard decides that killing your sister would be a smart move and now that person is roaming the streets like nothing happened. It’s frustrating enough that we don’t know who killed her or why or even who their next target is, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But until the police force can get some lead to solving this case, I can only hope that no harm comes to you or anyone else in this kingdom until we find the person or persons responsible for Lizzy’s death.” He clenched his hands into fists in front of him as I silently listened. It was the first time we weren’t arguing but having a simple conversation. Though it may not be one of roses and sunshine. It was sincere and real. And I wanted to hear what he thought for once without letting my fears and insecurities get in the way.
“I only want to make sure that you’re fine and that I could lessen the burden on your shoulders. And I’m truly sorry I had to put you through all of this but what I said to you and to everyone present that night, I meant it. I really do care and love you. And believe me when I say there are a lot of things I have yet to tell you, one being why I love you and why I would choose you even if it meant I had to do something terrible to have you by my side. I know what I did was wrong, but at the time it was the only option I had. I hope you’ll give me the chance to make this work and fix my mistakes. I hope you know that I’m truly sorry for everything.” Prince Marcus sincerely said as he took my cold hands into his surprising warm ones. My eyes widen with shock and my lips parted in disbelief as I stared into his sad but sincere eyes as he rubbed his thumb against my cool skin.
Hearing him apologize was like seeing Linda finally being polite and quite to Arthur. It was a rare sight. In all the years I’ve been around this man he has almost never apologized for any of the decisions he has made. Whether it was for his family or Scarlet. He did what he thought was right for everyone. So, having him apologize at this moment was unbelievable to me. It couldn’t be real…
I heard him chuckle as I continued to look at him in a mixture of disbelief and shock as the car suddenly came to a stop. I jerked forward a little, but he pulled me into his arms, resting my head against his chest. “I’m guessing you weren’t expecting this kind of change in our conversation. But I realized a while after our last conversation that you were right. I didn’t take into consideration your feelings on the matter nor did I think of the consequences that came with it for both you and Scarlet. Although that mistake wasn’t corrected then, it can be now. From this point on I will not force you to decide what to do. My feelings -though unchanging- will not fade no matter what you decide. I would much rather have you accept me of your own free will instead of receiving fake feelings of love from you. I know that I should have explained the situation to you the day you moved to the Palace. But as you know our conversation that day didn’t go as planned. However, I believe that it is time I start telling you the truth. No more secrets. No more lies. Only the truth. If we’re going to be spending the rest of lives together and ruling this kingdom, then we must start with a clean slate. We need to be able to place our trust in each other.”
He was right about it all. But could I really put my trust in the man who broke my sister’s heart and trust? Could I really believe that he wanted us to work together or would he make me believe his every word and left me in the dirt like he did to Scarlet? Is it possible to trust him after everything that has happened?
“And about showing you Lizzy’s body when you weren’t ready, I’m sorry for that too.” He said as slowly released me from his hold snapping me out of my thoughts. I moved away from his side as I waited for one of the guards to show up.
“Why did you show me her body if you knew I would have reacted this way? Was it really necessary to do that?” I asked as I narrowed my eyes at my hands. They felt cold without his hand in mine and I hated myself for feeling that way. I hated that I was supposed to be trying to decide whether to place my trust in him or not, yet I was more focused on the missing warmth and comfort that his touch brought. It reminded me of the times he comforted me when I was younger and no one else was there.
And I didn’t like it. I didn’t like that he was starting to be the Prince Marcus I remembered. The kind and compassionate Prince Marcus who had made my heart skip a beat and my cheeks flushed red.
So why? Why did he have to change now? He should have stayed the Prince Marcus I had come to dislike over the years. Then I wouldn’t have had to worry about old feelings that I had buried deep down resurfacing. Especially when I was too tired to fight them.
“It may not have been necessary, but tell me this, would you have believed us if we had continued telling you Lizzy was dead without any proof?” He countered as I clenched my hands into fists. Again, He was right. I wouldn’t have believed it no matter what they said, I would have ignored their words and thought they were being ridiculous. Though cruel, he had made the right decision. Not only did it prove that they were right but when it came down to it, it proved that I was never going to believe them unless I had seen it for myself.
“No, I guess I wouldn’t have,” I whispered as I heard the click of the door before it opened. I felt a few drops of water hit the fabric of my dress as I looked at the guard standing above us with a big black umbrella. Though it doesn’t look like it prevented him from getting wet judging by the state of his uniform.
“Your Highness, I am terribly sorry for the delay, there were a few complications in the preparations for everyone’s arrival after the storm had gotten worse.” The guard said as the wind blew the pouring rain in our direction.
Before I could reply to the kind guard in front of me Prince Marcus began to speak, “It’s fine Shawn. Thank you for your hard work. And I would really appreciate it if you escorted Rebekah inside first.”
Shawn nodded with a smile before extending his hand towards me. I took his extended hand and exited the car before he replied to Prince Marcus’s statement, “It would be my honor, your Majesty.”
The moment I exited the car Shawn wasted no time in quickly and swiftly ushering me to the Palace doors as I felt the assault of the pouring rain on my body. The moment I entered through the doors it was closed, leaving me to stand in the empty halls, and dim lights. It looked like the main power was off and only the generators were working.
Deciding that it was pointless to stand here, I tiredly sighed as I took a few steps away from the doors behind me. But I quickly stopped in my tracks at the sound of the door behind me slowly opening and slamming shut. In a fright, I placed my hand over my rapidly beating heart and slowly turned around.
I sighed in relief when I saw Prince Marcus standing at the entrance in his now wet clothes. His facial expression was blank, but eyes showed determination. He stood a few steps away from me as his words from a few minutes ago replayed inside my head.
No more lies...
No more secrets...
We’re in this together...
He was willing to fix this, but the problem wasn’t whether he was ready or not. It was if I was ready...
Ready to tell him the truth about everything...