Never.. have I ever.. wanted to end my life.
I never have, I’ve always valued my life.
But for a split moment, a thought came to me.
Love is something my mother always treasured, she said it was what made life worth willing.
If there is no love in my future. Is life worth willing?
I shake my head and smack myself. Get a grip! Are you crazy!?
I’m breathing heavily, my mind swirling with thoughts. The silver ring sits on my night stand, dim light shines through my curtains and sleep tugs at my eyes. But my imagination won’t let me rest.
I imagine marrying Jabeth. Our wedding day. I’ll pick out my dress and meet him down the aisle, but I won’t be smiling. After the ceremony we will avoid each other the whole day, hanging with our friends or crying on their shoulder.
Our wedding night, we won’t say one word to each other. We probably won’t stay in the same home more or less sleep in the same bed.
I can imagine him, coming home or off with some woman. A mistress or a lover. He will kiss her, make love to her, care for her. They will have children while I sit on my throne, surveying my-our kingdom. Alone..
It’s depressing to think about it. Growing old with only detest for my husband. It’s unfair.. I never wanted this.
I can't say I don't have a choice, because I do. I could protest until I die of old age, but this is the right choice for my people and my kingdom. I need to put them first, instead of my own insignificant desires.
The silver ring sits on my nightstand I stare at with such hate it could melt the precious metal. I imagine grabbing it and throwing it out my window to drift into the clouds, lost forever. When something goes into the clouds, it becomes lost forever.. it’s never seen again. It probably falls forever.
Suddenly a knock sounds at my door. “Josie? Are you awake?”
It snaps me out of thoughts I’m not ready for, thank God. I sit up in my bed, the pastel blue strap of my silk slip falling off my shoulder. “C-Come in.” I recognize the voice as Darby’s.
She opens the door and quietly closes it, walking into my room until she sits on my bed. She blinks, “You look like Hell.”
I snort. “Of course I do.” I flick my fingers to conjure an augury screen, my sea colored magic reflects my face, which is pale, sunken in, and depressing.
I sigh, fix my strap and flick my wrist, causing it to evaporate and disappear. “I just can’t do this. I can’t imagine living a loveless life.” Never having children, starting a family. Never falling in love while I rule my kingdom. It would turn my heart cold.. and I don’t want that. To become as cold as the bitch I’m marrying.
My eyes swell with tears, and soon Darby’s face become a blur.
Her eyes widen. “No, no.. Josie, don’t cry. He’s not worth it.” I'm sure she would say otherwise, if the circumstances were different.
I scowl, “I’m not crying over that bastard. I just..” I bite my lips closed and lower my head. “My mother always told me falling in love is the best thing in the world. I could never learn to love him.. But this is for our kingdoms.. it’s... f-for the best.”
Darby shakes her head. “No it isn’t.”
A tear drops onto my lap.
“I will find a way to make this engagement null and void, just you wait.”
I sniff and look up at Darby, feeling pathetic and useless. I hate crying in front of other people. It shows you’re weak and a good Queen needs to be strong.
She shakes her head. “Uh-uh. You deserve love, and you will get it. There are other ways to bring peace and unity between the realms. Marriage isn’t a necessity.”
I give a weak smile and hug Darby’s shoulders. “Thank you..”
Darby smiles and pats my arm, getting up from her spot on my bed. “Get some rest.” She heads for the door as I snuggle up in my covers. The second I close my eyes I hear, “Oh. By the way. Your father told me to tell you. His Majesty and his Royal Highness are staying in the palace, tomorrow you all are eating breakfast together. Love you, night!” She shuts the door right as I shoot up from my spot.
I stare at the door.
I get to see that asshole tomorrow morning..
“Ugh!” I flop back, letting my hand smack against the blanket.
I stare at the ring on my middle finger, hunched over on the chaise sofa by the window. It’s much too bright in here for my taste, I’m used to the dark curtains and the deep night sky.
But I will never admit the feeling of joy as I stepped into the Heaven’s. The feeling of the sun on my face was a dream come true. I’ve never seen a blue sky before, but some part of me doesn’t find it abnormal.
The air was clean and rich, no longer thick with the smell of fire and iron. Instead the scent of flowers and fresh grass wafts the air. It’s almost like the scent of freedom, who couldn’t love it here. And I will take that to my grave..
But I won’t deny, I miss all of that, the scent of fire and iron. The thick, heavy air and the high humidity. The freezing temperatures but beautiful snow of the Hell’s. It’s my home after all. My kingdom.
Father stares out the window to his side of the room, only separated by a few columns. It looks down on the falls, which is a small section of water which flows through the garden, which my room views, and then falls down with the river of clouds. Disappearing into the soft, white lumps. He strokes his chin, eyes thoughtful. “Well, I found her rather pleasant.”
My head snaps toward him almost involuntarily, my brows furrowed in the usual scowl. “How could you even say that? She called me a cold hearted bat.”
Father looks at me sideways, “Is she wrong.”
I scoff and look back through my window. “I don’t sleep in a coffin.”
Father looks at me sideways again.
I turn towards him. “You seriously think-”
He shrugs, “No, no. You just.. give off an air that could possibly insinuate that.”
I throw my hands in the air. Like any normal person, I sleep in a bed. A cold hearted bat. Pfft. “Why in the Realms would you find her pleasant? She disrespected me, the future King of the Hells.”
“Ah.” Father holds up one finger. “Don’t start using that excuse or the people will find you unfit to rule.”
I frown. “You know I don’t mean it like-”
“And if I’m correct. You also disrespected her, the future Queen on the Heavens, in her own realm.” He grins while crossing his arms.
I slouch. Ugh.
“But if you must know.. I found her pleasant, not just because she is beautiful and strong opinionated. But also..” He turns toward me, his smile warm. “Because she reminds me of you.”
I gape at him as I stand up, hands by my side. “How is she like me? That pompous, arrogant, self-righteous-”
Father gives me a look, raising a brow as if to say, ‘I told you so’.
I shake my head and sit back on the chaise. Resting my elbows on my knee’s and knitting my hands together. “And whats worse we have breakfast with them tomorrow, every single meal until we leave for the Hell’s in a week.”
I look down at my ring again, it mocks me with it’s oath of promise. Stupid. I don’t need a self-centered and inexperienced woman as a wife. I don’t even need a wife in general. All women are too feminist, thinking they’re better then men in every way. I don’t need that in my life.
Father looks at me, his eyes tired. I guess they sleep in the day, an impossible feat for me. “It’s so you and your fiance can get acquainted.”
I tense at that word. Fiance. It’s like a chain around my neck. I sigh, “Why, Father?.. She doesn’t care for me and I don’t for her. It’s pointless.”
Father sighs too and walks over to me, his arms still crossed. I look up at him from the floor, eyes hopeful.
“Jabeth..” He swallows and scratches his jaw. “I can’t thank you enough for today.”
I knit my brows together, “Why would you have the need to thank me?”
I gives a weak smile. “During the ceremony today. I will not deny the hostility and despise I saw in your eyes. Both of you.”
I don’t even bat an eye.
“But. You both still went through with the ceremony. For our sake, and your kingdoms.”
I look down and nod slowly. The thought had come to me many times during the engagement ceremony. My father and kingdom needed this arrangement. Peace was a necessity. The Hell’s may be known for war, blood and cruelty. But it isn’t. It is a place of love and loyalty with just a very humid atmosphere and lots of fire with skyscrapers.
The Hell’s is also at it’s weakest due to obsessive trading. Honestly this truce could help strengthen both realms.. it would also bring my fathers mind to peace.. it.. it was for the best.
“Although you both know there will be no joy in it for you. You will make sacrifices.. that’s another way, you both are similar.” He continues.
My eyes flick back to him.
He nods, “You both gave up something, for someone you love. Me, and the kingdom. Her father and her kingdom.”
All I can do is blink. He can’t be serious. But the facts don’t lie. Me and the royal bitch are pretty similar.. no. No no no, she probably just wants something I can give her. Like more money and a condo.
There’s no way this ignorant bimbo has a heart for people less then her. I-I can’t see it.
There’s.. there’s no way.. right?