We heard no news from the palace but Dad was working late, he was allowed to come back home after work but to do that he had to travel a long time. People were sending me gifts to congratulate me on my engagement. I didn’t even bother to look at them. I just stayed in my room and sulked. At school I completed my exams and left early so I didn’t have to talk to my friends. I had no idea why I was being so strange. I kept telling myself that this was going to happen someday and if I don’t do as I’m told.....I shook those thoughts away. I have to be okay, I have to be okay. I repeated the words in my head until they were tattooed in my brain.I took my meals in my room and now my room smelled disgusting. I decided I had to clean my room and let the dirty air out so I opened the window and the door. I made my bed and cleared away all the books and notes that had gathered all around my room.
One day Lyra and Tristan came to visit but I didn’t answer the door and Granny told them that I was studying and they went away. The only visitor I had was my grandmother and she only came in my room when there was a delivery and someone had sent something for me. I stopped pretending like my room was a quarantine and started to think positive thoughts. I stopped taking meals in my bedroom and went outside a few times to stretch my bones and stargaze.
I kept hearing voices, at first I thought it was just Dad but they were coming from Granny’s room. I went to check on Granny and her bedroom door was half open. She was sitting on the edge of her bed and she seemed to be talking with someone but that is not possible, I don’t think Granny even knows how to use a laptop. I don’t because I’ve never owned one before. I hid behind the half of the door that was closed and listened.
“When is the wedding?” Granny whispered. I couldn’t hear the other person but Granny’s words were enough. “Have you gotten a fixed date?” she added.
“You can have her and do whatever you want with her. I couldn’t care less” she said. I got sick to my stomach.
“You can take all of Virgo if you want” Granny said calmly. What in Virgo is she talking about? Take all of Virgo. What is that supposed to mean?
I rushed to the bathroom and spilled out everything that was inside of me. I felt stupid and I knew I had been lied to. Who was Granny talking to? What did she mean by she would survive? I cried on the bathroom floor with the water running so no one would hear me. I eventually passed out from crying and no one came to check on me. I woke up in the middle of the night and the water tank must have drained out because the water wasn’t running anymore.
My eyes were red and swollen. I felt gross and I was because I slept on the bathroom floor. I washed my face with soap and peeled off my clothes which were soaked in tears and sweat. I fell asleep after a few hours and my dreams did not help me calm down.
I dreamed about Mom. I was two years old, it was a few days before she died. She used to stargaze with me eve though I was a child and understood nothing about the stars. I almost felt happy. I saw my family, Granny looked joyful and Dad was happier than ever. I was a toddler and I was in my mother’s arms.
The scene shifted. It wasn’t clear but I could hear voices.
“We should bring her here” a voice said “It’s time”
“She is not old enough” said another voice.
“But she is in danger. If we don’t she will die”
“They’ll kill her” the other one agreed.
I woke up with a terrible head ache. I didn’t take much time to get dressed and I was at school in thirty minutes.
I walked straight to class and everyone glared at me in the hallway and during class. At lunch I sat alone but then Lewis came and sat down next to me. Before he could say anything I opened my mouth.
“I want to be alone” I snapped “Please go away”
“Yeah, I don’t want to talk either but I have to know......” he hesitated.
“What?” I asked.
“Did you say yes?” he asked.
I got annoyed by that question. “What do you think I said?”
Lewis didn’t answer. Instead he opened his mouth a few times to say something but couldn’t find the words. He scratched his back and stood there awkwardly.
I let out all the anger in me and spoke calmly and truthfully, “Even if I wanted to..” I started “I couldn’t have said no. Because I don’t have a choice. Neither of us do”
I walked away and hoped no one heard what I said. I shielded myself from everyone’s whispers and glares in the bathroom. Amara walked in a few minutes later.
“Hi” she said. When I didn’t respond she started talking.
“Are you okay?” she asked. I appreciated her concern but I couldn’t meet her eyes.
I sighed, “I’m fine. It’s just that....everything is happening really fast”
“I know it’s hard” Amara blurted “I know you are not taking this well and that it hurts but if you don’t want to then......”
“It’s not that easy” I said “Thanks Amara but no one knows how I feel”
There was a long pause until I finally said “I should get going”
With that I exited and I could tell Amara wanted to talk but I didn’t. I held it together during class and the walk back home but when I stepped through the front door I slammed the door so hard the whole house shook. Granny rushed downstairs.
“Annabelle!” she yelled “What happened?”
I approached her as if I was going to strangle her which I would have if she wasn’t my grandmother.
“Granny, who were you talking to yesterday?” the words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. Her eyes widened with fear. She swallowed a few times and her breathing fastened.
“Excuse me?” she said. I could see fear in her eyes.
“I heard you talking to someone” I informed. Granny hesitated then I spoke up “Who was it?”
Just then Dad walked in. He saw Granny and me staring daggers at each other.
“What’s going on here?” Dad asked.
“Nothing” I replied before Granny could say anything. “This isn’t over” I whispered to her as I walked up the stairs.
I was halfway through my homework when Granny called me downstairs.
“What happened?” I asked.
“You’re all over the news” Dad informed. His face was covered with a newspaper. The headline read: Prince Alec engaged to Annabelle Virgo.
“Holy Virgo” I cursed.
“It’s not all good Annabelle” Dad said “People think that you’re not happy”
“They probably think right” I said under my breath but Granny heard me. “I’m not unhappy. I’m just...this is....happening too fast”
“Annabelle!” Granny scolded.
“Can’t we wait until I’m at least twenty years old?” I asked, my voice full of hope.
“No” Granny replied immediately.
“This is too much to handle. I wish it would slow down a bit” I heard myself say.
There was a long pause. Neither of us talked. I crossed my arms and waited for them to speak but Granny looked like she was going to kick me but Dad didn’t even look at me he kept reading the paper. I ran out of the house and I didn’t stop till I reached the top floor of the Tower. It was almost night and the sky was a mixture of purple and blue. I tried to control myself otherwise I would light up the sky but I couldn’t.
Virgo was the brightest but that wasn’t all, Ophiuchus was there too. Two constellations at once. The Signs on my left wrist were burning but I didn’t do anything to make it feel better. I let the tattoos sting my skin. I calmed down and that was only because there were people around, I stood there and let the cold winter air freeze my face.