After she had calmed down with Eurina's help, Timena had insisted on staying in the study alone for the rest of the night. She had never experienced fear and panic in such a drastic manner before— it felt as though Silas was bringing out the most vulnerable parts of herself, and she did not like that.
She spent the remainder of the night ruminating on why she had reacted the way she did when Silas had yet again, brought up the conversation of Calyx. It was obvious that she did not want to leave her home and that she was not fond of the idea of marrying him, but she realized that her fear might have stemmed deeper than she had thought. Leaving home was just merely the surface; how could she leave the only life she'd ever known to create a new one with a man she'd hardly known and a kingdom that was completely foreign to her. Timena was skilled with weapons, with knowledge of the land and her people, with the council and general monarchy. Hell, she was even decent when it came to sewing and cooking, but she had no expertise on truly being on her own, becoming a wife and let alone a queen— those responsibilities from early on had been delegated to Delacroix. There was a certain amount of pressure that Timena knew she could manage, but she didn't know if she could manage this.
"Are you, alright?" Delacroix's quiet voice sounded across the hallway just as Timena opened her room door.
No. "I'm fine." She answered after a moment.
"The dress is beginning to come together." Her sister said suddenly, stopping her again.
"Is that really what you're starting with? The wedding dress?" Timena asked, almost incredulously.
Delacroix laughed nervously. "I'm sorry, it sort of was just the first thing that came into my head."
She turned to go to her room again. "Please don't hate me forever Mena, I miss my sister and I'm sorry." Delacroix voice trembled.
"I, I don't hate you Dela." And she meant it.
She closed the door behind her.
She only felt the slightest bit of distaste towards her sister now, the anger she had normally felt had passed. It was obvious that Delacroix was sincere in her apologies, but Timena still needed time to fully forgive her for what she had done. She knew that her sister had always been quick to let her emotions take control of her, but Timena needed her to fully understand the consequences of her actions.
"For fuck sake Clara." Timena clung at her chest at the sight of the girl sitting on the window sill.
"Sorry." She smiled awkwardly. "How was your-"
"Where exactly do you go during the day?" Timena wondered.
Clara laughed in response. "Well, here and there. I like to keep an eye on certain people, Makar for example." Timena's eyes lit up at the familiar name.
"He's fine, still the best swordsmith in all of Vitabesk... I believe he misses you, Norman updates him about you from time to time." "I think you should invite him to the wedding." She suggested.
Now that she came to think of it, it wasn't such a bad idea. Timena had become fond of Makar almost instantly when they'd met, and it would be nice to have a friendly face at the dreaded event.
"Anymore thoughts about the wedding?" Clara asked hesitantly.
She groaned. "None positive." They laughed lightly in unison.
"I have to ask Timena, do you have feelings for him?" Clara asked seriously.
Timena understood that she was just a mother who cared for her child and did not want to see Silas get hurt.
"It doesn't matter. What matters is that I'll have to marry him in less than a month." She replied sadly.
"Of course it matters, but I need to know. For my peace of mind."
Timena looked to a worried Clara, and she nodded. She didn't have the heart to lie, knowing that it would only hurt her, and she could no longer deny that her feelings were growing for him with each passing moment. And that was the problem.
Silas had kept a bit of distance from Timena in the passing days, it pained him to know that he was the cause behind her panic a few nights ago. He could not seem to control himself when it came to her and the more she pulled away, the angrier he became. He'd never met someone who both infuriated and entranced him the way Timena had managed to. Consciously, Silas knew that she needed to adjust but how much time was enough for her to accept him into her life? He needed to remember that even though he'd known he wanted her his entire life, she had only just come to the realization that she could love more than just her weapons.
He chuckled at his princesses' devotion to her sword, even when they were growing up, she could never see his growing interest in her. Her obliviousness was both charming and maddening.
Silas watched from the window as she sparred with her instructors, Leo and Ulric and he wasn't too ashamed to admit that he was jealous. It should have been him teaching her, he could train her better than those two brutes ever could, he thought to himself.
"Just talk to her already Silas." Aldus said in disbelief. "You've been peeking in on her and having people give you full reports when you could easily just go to her yourself."
"Do you not see how she reacted only a few nights ago, how do you suppose I talk to her." Silas bit out, tersely.
"Calmly and gently. You're giving the poor girl whiplash." Aldus said jokingly.
Silas sighed, turning away from the window and walking back towards his brother before taking a seat. "I don't know why I can't seem to control myself." His face rested in the palms of his hands.
Aldus chuckled faintly. "You're a fool in love." He said simply.
"Hey don't fret, I won't tell the public that you have feelings." Aldus laughed again. "Maybe you could hold off for a bit though, on the... wedding." He suggested hesitantly.
Silas glared in his direction. "No, you know I can't. I want her to be mine officially and I can't let him get anywhere near her." He countered, sternly.
They stared at one another seriously, but neither uttered another word.
After attending council, Timena and Delacroix practically ran out of the room before parting ways. As Timena walked along the corridor to the throne room, she began to think about how long it had been since she had seen Silas— she had caught glimpses of him in passing, but overall he had kept his distance and Timena was glad...
Invitations had already been sent out as the wedding date drew near, the loss of time was frightening but she tried not to let herself think about that.
"Timena will you get off the floor and come sit next to your father please." Adelia spoke, clearly irritated.
Timena purposely sunk further down until only her head rested against the pillar and almost her entire body laid against the black and white marble floor. The discussion of the setup of bouquets and seating and anything else having to do with wedding preparations caused her to sink further to the floor. Timena could not have cared less about where to place each guest next to one another or which color scheme she preferred; the slightest bit of interest concerning her wedding day went only to what food would be served after the ceremony. If she had to be forced to marry Silas, she figured the least she could do was get a few decent meals out of it.
"Is this a normal occurrence for you or should I be worried?" Silas asked curiously.
Timena snorted. "I don't want to be here, the more difficult I make things for my mother, the sooner she will let me leave."
"If you'd told me that sooner, we could have left a long time ago. Come on." He offered his hand, but Timena refused politely as she pushed herself off the floor.
Silas simply told Vassar and Adelia that he needed to have a private moment with his soon-to-be bride without so much as sparing a glance. They left the large room, making their way to the watchtower.
"Leave us." Silas demanded as they entered, the guard nodded before leaving.
The watchtower consisted of only a few columns, as it overlooked the kingdom. It was a circular, small and open area that allowed a view from all angles. Timena rested against one of the columns, letting the gentle breeze blow against her face.
"I think that we should talk." He said.
She nodded, looking back at him to go first.
"I'm sorry that the thought of marrying and starting a life with me made you react the way you did the other night. I can't seem to control myself or my feelings towards you and I want you to accept this life, but I never seem to know the right way to go about that." Silas admitted.
"Maybe if things were different and I wasn't being forced and had gotten to know you overtime, maybe... I don't even know." Timena responded defeatedly. She wasn't sure of how to respond anymore, it all seemed too monotonous.
"What? What don't you know?" He inquired.
"I know that I don't want to be married, not to you, not to anyone. I've been battling with myself for weeks as to how I should deal with this, but I still haven't come up with anything. I would have never chosen this, and I still wouldn't now because I never wanted this." She replied.
Silas' jaw tensed and his hands wound into fists as he tried to calm himself. "I don't understand you. You won't let me in."
Timena shrugged her shoulders. "Because I don't want to. We've known one another since we were children and you know who I am, do you think marriage is a life I would have chosen for myself?"
She didn't let him reply. "When my father stepped down, I was to take the throne. Me. Delacroix would marry a wealthy king and unite our kingdoms, become a queen and bare children. I was going to change things— why do you think my father spent so much time preparing me? So I could breed and stand aside as my husband rules a nation?"
"I do not wish for you to just stand aside, I want you by my side. You'll have more power governing over Calyx than you would ever have here, I-"
"I don't want to rule over your people with you by my side, I want to do it on my own. I want to help my people and I want to change history. I'll never have the respect I need as your queen, I'll just be an attachment, a means of an alliance." She continued.
"Anyone who disrespects you will face consequences, if they dare to be so foolish. I know that you don't see how good we are for one another, but you will. I will let you do it on your own, earn your place if that's what you wish." He told her, being completely sincere.
"Silas, it isn't just that. You want me to accept this life, and too soon at that. I keep trying to create a line that you keep crossing. It feels like an alliance at times and others, some sort of common romance-"
"Why can't we have both? We have so much common ground, that is the thrill of being around you. You have knowledge that most women I've known couldn't dream of possessing. When am I going to find another woman who can stand on her two feet without the help of someone else, and handle a sword the way you can?"
Timena nearly smiled. "I'm not as strong as you believe me to be Silas."
"I believe that you're stronger than you'd like to admit, let me help you." He started to come towards her.
"It isn't your help I'm seeking. I'm young and I want to learn from my people so that I can one day rule on my own. My mind has only ever been on a certain path, and marriage was never anywhere in sight. Perhaps I would have been a different person if I hadn't spent so much of my time with my father, but this is who I am." She turned away, looking over the land again.
"You cannot say you aren't aware that there is something between us Timena, you feel it too. You wouldn't have given parts of yourself to me if you hadn't." Silas said angrily.
She turned to him quickly. "Of course I feel things for you which is why I am so conflicted. I don't feel like myself when I am around you and I'm scared that I'm becoming a different person because of it."
Silas noted the glazed look in her eyes. "You don't have to just be one version of yourself. There isn't anything wrong with having feelings for me, I am to be your husband soon."
"You have clouded my brain with silly thoughts of romance, and I resent you for it." Timena spat out before angrily leaving the room.
Silas followed her down the spiral staircase, he caught her arm, pulling her against the wall.
"Don't say things you don't mean." He bit out, his gaze narrowing.
"It is the truth, it's just one of the reasons I can't accept being with you." She said, yanking her arm away.
Silas was visibly seething with anger and after a moment, he brushed past her, continuing down the staircase. Timena leaned against the wall, not sure of what to think but she was certain of one thing.
This can't be good. She sighed.