“Oh, I –” and Mirelle had turned pink.
That lady-in-waiting of hers, Kimbur, she was a smart one. She had been dismissed by this gentleman – though that was euphemistic – but had then immediately insisted upon his and Kendrick’s attention.
Keldrick swung around one side of the pillar while Kendrick swung around the other.
“Dear Sister, it’s been just a few hours since we saw you last and yet it seems like days,” Keldrick ventured.
Mirelle yanked her hand back.
“Varley, have you met my brothers?”
The young man stood straight and, it seemed to Keldrick, almost did not smile.
“No, no I have not. Perhaps another time,” and he backed away.
“Not at all, Lord Varley,” Kendrick stepped forward smoothly and rounded Varley’s shoulders with an arm.
Varley coughed and looked distinctly uncomfortable with the familiarity. “It’s actually ‘Prince’ – Crown Prince.”
Kendrick walked him away from Mirelle. “Really? Then we have that in common, being princes, that is. Although I can’t say I know which country you’re a Crown Prince of. Are you visiting from a Coastal Country, then?”
Whatever Varley’s answer, they were too far away to hear it. Keldrick snorted laughter.
“What’s so funny?” Mirelle asked.
“Him – that – Prince Varley. Of Storden.” Keldrick shook his head.
“What of him? I thought he was very – nice….” Mirelle turned pink again.
Keldrick looked down at her. Adorable but so very naïve. They had a lot to teach her. “He was practically licking your hand. Perhaps they do it differently in Storden,” he trailed off and shook his head. “But here in Romeny, we don’t corner young girls and make people question their virtue, especially when those young girls are Princesses.”
Mirelle’s mouth dropped open and her hand fluttered at her throat. She stared after Kendrick and Varley.
“He said he just wanted to talk….”
Keldrick grinned. “I’ve done a lot of talking in the back corners of the Palace. Lots and lots of it.”
Mirelle smacked his wrist smartly. “Shame on you!”
Keldrick laughed and shrugged. “What? It were just talking….”
Mirelle arched her eyebrow. “Oh, sure it was –” and then she looked frustrated. “I can’t remember your name.”
Keldrick laughed. “Don’t think that’s the first time that’ll happen. It still happens to Mother and Father. That’s why, when twins are born,” and he held up his left hand and pulled his signet ring up to reveal a tiny scar in between his ring finger and his index finger. “To keep track of first and second. Kendrick’s is between his pinky and ring finger. And yours, dear Sister, because you are youngest, is between your two first fingers, though you originally thought it a scar.
“But something about him –” Keldrick nodded in the direction that Kendrick and Varley had just taken.
He put his arm through his sister’s and escorted her back toward the main Great Hall. “There’s something about him I don’t like. I’m not sure what it is, but – just stay away from him. And if he wants to ‘talk,’ or any other man for that matter, don’t leave the dance floor, stay where everyone can see you. A real gentleman won’t ask. Never go anywhere alone with a man – not unless it’s family. All right, then?”
What a sweet thing she was. They were going to have to keep a closer watch on Mirelle from now on, for just reasons like that Prince Varley….