My mind seemed blank at those moments. The streak of shock can easily be noticed in the way I look today. My lips parted and I gasped for some air for me to be able to breathe well.
“Based on the emotion I read in your eyes, I’m sure you haven’t even heard of that thing.”
I just came to my senses when Varri spoke again. I turned to her but I could still feel my mind flying away. I almost forgot that Alfaro was impatient to wait for me since earlier. It’s already late and maybe they are now looking for us in the palace. I wanted to say something but I lost the strength to do that. I’m speechless. I can’t speak. I just remained silent in front of Varri.
“Identify what is troubling your heart and mind as early as possible. Don’t give in to fear and confirm whatever your feelings are.” she advises, “You have to make a decision. You will never feel fine if you will forever deny and keep what you really want to express.”
I suddenly looked away. I’m afraid to admit that I get what she means and it’s so clear to me what she wants me to understand.
“The weight you’re carrying will only lessen if you stop pretending to yourself.” she added.
I was stunned because of that and at the same time I was hit hard. She slowly approached me and then hung something on my arm that was covered before whispering in my ear.
“And every time you try to deny it, it only gets worse…”
A wide smile was drawn on my lips as I returned to Alfaro while carrying the fruit that Varri had given me earlier. It doesn’t match how I feel but it’s better for me to show him this way so that he doesn’t have to worry and ask more questions. He greeted me with a stare as if he was examining my whole being.
“Darkness has overtaken us on the way, let’s go back to the palace.” he said.
We traveled for about an hour before we finally reached the palace. As soon as we entered, the King’s question immediately approached us.
“Where did you two come from?” he asked seriously when we both bump into each other.
Alfaro and I looked at each other and signaled who would answer the two of us. I raised my brows to him before I bent down to turn to the King.
“I sincerely apologize, dear King. Forgive us. I promise not to do it again.” my direct response.
The King became silent for a moment. I just looked up at him when I heard him suddenly laugh out loud.
“I can trace the nervousness in your trembling voice, Princess.” teasing the King added, I bit my lip in embarrassment.
“We just went for a walk somewhere, father.” Alfaro replied, obviously suppressing laughter from my nervousness.
“All right, then you shall go rest in your rooms because we will leave early tomorrow.”
The expression on my face was erased when I heard about that again. I glanced at Alfaro who looked away and at the King then I sighed. I can do nothing more.
Alfaro and I politely said goodbye to the King before we walked towards our rooms.
“I forgot that I had a question to ask you earlier.” Alfaro suddenly said next to me.
“Really?” I jested. “What is it? Try to remember it,”
“Who did you talk to? You both talked for almost an hour.”
“It was m-my friend,” I smiled fakely.
He nodded and it seemed satisfied with my answer.
“I’m sorry we’ve been there for so long, twilight hit us on the road.”
He just smirked in response. I frowned and looked around the corner of the palace. My attention was drawn to the fruit web I was holding when it hit my leg. I turned to Alfaro and then thought of giving it to him. He stopped walking.
“What is this?” he asked, confused.
“I mean what is this for?”
“To thank you,” I smiled at him. “Because you took me to the place I’ve been wanting to go to for a long time.”
“We can still go back there no matter how many times you wish.”
But if you’re not, I will be the only one going back there...
I’m leaving but until now I still don’t know when and how I will let you know.
“We are here in my room,” he said, bringing me back to reality.
He pointed to his room and we were on the opposite side. Only then will I say goodbye to him.
“Oh, yes.” I said, “You go inside. I’m going straight to my room.”
“I’ll take you there---”
I immediately shook my head and laughed a little. “There is no need. It’s just near here. Just rest,”
He could do nothing but nod. I waved at him until he could finally enter his room. I sighed when he closed the door.
It’s hard to say goodbye...
I was about to enter my room when I passed Alvaro’s room. The door was pitiful then and even though I didn’t want to peek at the end, I still couldn’t stop myself. I secretly watched him as he played the piano slowly, full of emotion is what he gave there. I heard in my mind again what Varri had said earlier.
“Identify what is bothering your heart and mind as early as possible.”
I took a deep breath and knocked softly on the door then continued to enter his room. Now is not the time for me to be led by shame.
He stopped playing and stood up in shock when he noticed I was there. He was about to open his mouth to ask what I was doing there when I immediately stopped him and spoke first.
“Can you pretend that you don’t know who I really am even just for tonight? Can you also pretend that you don’t loathe me?” I boldly asked, “Although it’s not pleasant to listen to but I beg you, I want to talk to you at least one last time.”
“For the last time?” he repeated confusedly, “What do you mean?”
I nodded and smiled bitterly. “I will leave the palace tomorrow morning,”
He was stunned. I really should be leaving on Sunday but my decision has changed. I know this is what Alvaro wants but that’s not the only reason why my decision was changed, but also because I can’t bear to witness the celebration that will take place tomorrow. I can’t bear to see people having fun while my heart aches at the fact that I know what is going to happen next. Because when I do that it only means one thing, that I’m now accepting the consequences of everything.
“You’re good at playing piano,” I added and glanced at the big piano in front of me.
I learned that when you belong to a royal family or you are a princess or a prince, you have to be an expert and have the talent to play even just one instrument.
“I also heard that tomorrow the King will grant the throne to you as the new King of Araya,” my tone was hoarse when I said that.
I want to say I’m happy for him when I heard that news but my feelings were screaming differently.
“The weight you’re carrying will only lessen if you stop pretending to yourself.”
Is it right to say that I greet him and I hope the King can find her a suitable mate? Or would I just fool myself even more if I said I sincerely wished him to be happy?
“Yes,” he looked away. “But… Why are you leaving?”
It was only then that I heard his voice again after he had been silent for a few minutes. I smiled at him sparingly.
“Isn’t that what you want?” I uttered, “You don’t want to see me again, right?”
When I uttered those words it was as if there was a big thorn stuck in my throat, that whatever I did would still not go away. And only the one who put that thorn can remove the wound.
“The reason why I came here is to say goodbye and explain to you as well. First of all, I didn’t intend to pretend to deceive all of you. Second, everything I did every time we are together is not just a lie…” I explained, “I don’t want you to think that way…”
I bowed my head when he turned to me. Even though I didn’t raise my head, I could still feel his stare.
I fought his eyes as if indicating that he was waiting for me to say more, as if he was hoping. I feel like the weather is heating up all of a sudden, I’m sweating a lot.
“And every time you try to deny it, it only gets worse…”
I gasped for air and calmed myself down. This is my first and last chance to admit to him how I feel.
“I like you, Alvaro…”
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