With the happiness of yesterday still fresh in my mind, I stand in my black heels and satin knee length black dress, waiting for Ginger to let me put my arms down that are weighed with books to "Improve my posture" as she put it. I'm also balanced on one foot, with a flower pot on my head. Which is ridiculous but you know, Ginger knows best. She walks back in with a rapidly following Zachary, dressed as usual in a waistcoat and odd coloured shirt, today it's yellow. Which to be fair doesn't look too bad, but I assume he has worse colours in his wardrobes. He looks at me and is immediately confused but before he can say anything at all Ginger goes "Say what you came to say then leave because we're training."
He stutters "Well... um... it was just to...um... well you see I think... um... Lillia is well, don't you think she deserves a break? I mean you've been training for a long time and I'd really like to have a chat with her. Without you. And I think Lillia is far more reasonable."
Quickly putting everything down I pull Ginger to face me and looking her in the eyes I say gentle but firm "Breathe. He's not worth the anger you're feeling. He's really not. So breathe, ok?"
She nods doing as I say. Taking deep breaths in and out, looking me in the eyes. Then I glance past her to Zachary and see him looking extremely embarrassed and suddenly I feel slightly sorry for him. Letting go of Ginger I say to him "After I've finished today's training, I'll stop by your rooms and we can talk then. But only for an hour."
He nods before saying in a timid voice "I'm sorry for interrupting. Thank you for being reasonable."
Then he leaves the hall, the door slamming cutting through the silence. Ginger says in a defeated voice "Come on. We'd better get back to working on your posture." Then she picks up the books and flowerpot and sets them on my palms and head, signalling for me to stand on one leg again.
Watching Lillia stand with various things balanced and not see her wobbling is satisfying, especially when we got interrupted by that imbecile Zachary who apparently can't obey simple rules. He keeps interrupting mine and Lillia's time together for reasons he never mentions. Like ever. And he refuses to tell anyone why he's here, except for that folder he's given me and Lil to read. Which we still need to read. But to be totally honest I'm kind of nervous to read. With all the drama that's been happening in the past few days, I don't want anything else to appear from around a corner.
"Ginger." A snap of someone's fingers in front of my face pulls me out of my thoughts as I turn around to see Zachary and my mother stood looking at me. Inclining my head I say steadily "Yes Mum?"
She looks at Lil and then says "Lillia dear can we have a minute alone with Gen?"
Lillia dips her head and walks out her hand slipping out of mine, leaving me vulnerable and nervous without her by my side.
Fiddling with my thumbs my mum says "Genevieve, Zachary here says you haven't been treating him nicely. Is this true?"
My shoulders sag as I reply "It's true. I haven't exactly been warm and welcoming. But he interrupted us yesterday when I'd specifically asked for everyone to be notified to not disturb us. And then today was training and he keeps pestering us to read that stupid file and we will but we're both busy. What with Lillia training and me training her and doing all my classes too, so the only time we have is nighttime and by that time we're both exhausted. So forgive me Zachary but if you give us some time then we will."
My mother looks pointedly at me before saying "You young lady are not being fair. This poor man has come a long way for you and Lillia and if you read that file then you would know why."
My fists clench by my side and I really wish I had Lil here to hold my hand. So I know she's there, that I'm ok.
At this point Lillia bursts into the hall and runs straight to me, barging past my mum and Zachary in the process.
My mum says sternly "Lillia I thought I told you to wait outside."
"I don't give a damn your highness."
Then she turns to me and takes my clenched fists in hers and slowly uncurls them, quickly spotting the blood seeping, quite quickly, through my torn skin from my nails digging into my palms. She takes the scarf she's been wearing off and rips it in half, before wrapping one half around each hand, tying them tightly. She kisses each one, apparently not caring that Zachary doesn't know that we're together and we don't know if he's homophobic or not.
Then she puts her hands around my neck, her fingers fiddling with my hair. An immediate feeling of calm washes over me as she presses her lips lightly to mine. I wrap my arms around her waist and then as she pulls away, instead of letting go I just spin her around, her back pressing against my stomach and her head leant back on my shoulder. Zachary looks between us and then goes "You're a couple?"
I nod, careful not to whack Lil on the head while doing it. Then he says looking to my mum "A phase?"
My mum's face changes from disappointment in me, to what looks like disgrace at Zachary. But then she says "I would hope so."
Then out of the blue Lillia walks up to my mother and spits in her face "You deserve to rot in hell, you sick woman."
Then a resounding slapping sound echoes through the hall as she turns and with tears in her eyes pulls me in out of the hall.
I can't believe that witch. She acts like she's fine with it but then she says "I hope it's a phase."
I don't care who hears as I scream, before feeling the tears hot and thick pouring down my face. Ginger's arms wrap around me, cradling my shaking body in hers. For a long time we stand in each other's arms, me shaking and sobbing, Ginger not saying anything. Just stood. Silent as when I met her.
Eventually we go back to our rooms and silently climb into bed, not speaking and fall into a fitful sleep.
Waking up I see Ginger dressed and sat on the window staring into space. Slowly I get dressed too and take her hand saying softly "Good morning."
She doesn't say anything but instead looks to me with eyes that portray a broken soul. Knowing she won't talk I simply keep a hold of her hand and lead her out of our rooms and towards the breakfast hall. As we go to enter I say "If you want to leave at any point just squeeze my hand three times ok?"
Again she didn't speak just squeezes my hand in acknowledgment. We sit down, the Queen sat opposite me, Zachary opposite Ginger, Alex day at the head. We all start to eat and I give Ginger some fruit but she shakes her head. Sighing I say gently "Ginger you need to eat. Come on. Just a few pieces and then you don't have to eat anything else."
I stab a piece with her fork and hold it to her mouth as she hesitantly takes it and chews as though it tastes disgusting. Then after she has a few more pieces she squeezes my hand three times, and so standing I say addressing the King "Please excuse us, Alex."
He nods his head as I follow Ginger out and back to our rooms where she resumes her position on the window seat.
Throughout the day I busy myself around our rooms, cleaning everywhere, sorting through all our clothes, organising them in colour order, throwing out anything that doesn't fit anymore. Changing our bed sheets and the spare room ones as well, cleaning all the windows and dusting and polishing all the wood. The entire time Ginger sits on the window seat, staring into space. Not talking, not doing anything. At lunch we have our food delivered to our rooms and again she eats little. Then she goes back to her seat on the window, gazing into nothingness once again.
And so the days pass, Ginger rarely moving from the window seat unless she's climbing into bed to sleep and even then I've noticed she only comes to bed at around midnight and is already up again at two in the morning. She barely eats anything and hasn't spoken a single word since. And I think it's starting to worry her parents. Well mostly Alex because even though the Queen looks worried she's the one that brought this on in the first place. But Alex looks genuinely worried and to be honest so am I. If she carries on like this I don't know what would happen. But I do know it wouldn't be good. As I sit on the bed trying to read but mostly just glancing at Ginger to see if anything's changed but every time it hasn't, I remember that stupid file that Zachary gave us to read. Pulling it out from underneath a pile of rubbish I decide to read it, I mean might as well know why the jerk is here in the first place. Opening it up the first line is already boring, I mean it just states his name, age and one of his hobbies. I mean how interesting can it get?
But I carry on, mostly skim reading but some parts are actually interesting. For example one part explains how the journey here has been horrendous because the carriage driver had been taking shortcuts and so kept cantering down bumpy roads that made the whole carriage fly for a few seconds on multiple occasions. Then there's a section titled "Why I'm in Loutocia."
Which I stop at before reading on.
"My dear Princess Genevieve and Lillia. One of you is very important to me, because you're the only chance for me to redeem myself.
I wish to arrange a marriage between myself and one of you. Who I am unsure of because I haven't met you yet, so that is yet to be decided. What I do know is that one of you WILL marry me within the month of me being in Loutocia. The Queen has already agreed to either of you being married to me and for either of you to be taken back to my kingdom. The entire process has to be quick because otherwise my redemption will be gone. I'm a very nice man and I hope you are not too against this. However even if you are, you will still have to marry me."
Staring in shock at the page of text I have just read I quickly take it to Ginger and snap my fingers in her face before saying firmly "Read this."
She takes it from me before skimming her eyes over it. Then she speaks for the first time in a long while and says in a monotone voice "I'll marry him. I'll do it."
Confused I say "Ginger.."
"That's Genevieve's to you."
"Ok. Genevieve. Why are you being like this? I thought you said you loved me? Why would you marry him? He's a jerk and he's homophobic."
In reply she says "I don't love you. You were an experiment."
That's Genevieve to you.
I don't love you.
You were an experiment.
And so in three sentences she manages to shatter my soul and render my heart broken.
And so she gets up and walks out and I don't stop her.