One True Queen

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Chapter 13

Dear Ari,

Oh my word! No Silvers or Reds?! What colour blood do you have? And a letter from the past? Are you a witch or something? Elliot... Well I do admit he’s cute. And I have a suspicion that he likes me... But I don’t know him that well. I’ve never met him before. And as for Chloe, she’s lovely but I’m straight. I don’t know how I feel about being a Silver. My whole life has been a lie. I’ve lived 14 years as a Red only to switch very quickly to the high society where I’m clueless. How would you feel in that situation?

Yours sincerely, Bekka

As I hesitate over the letter, it vanishes into thin air. Where it went, I have no idea. I probably spelt something wrong, but it’s too late to change that. But how did a letter from the past come into the future? And how does this Ari boy know things about me and my life? Well, I say boy, but they could be female... They must be a witch or... But the thoughts continue to circulate around my head as a knock sounds. It’s barely audible, and I nearly miss it.

“Yes?” I answer, as I have been taught to. Even Reds have a scrap of dignity. Elliot comes in, hovering by the doorway.

“I forgot to say...” He starts, before trailing off.

“Yes?” I ask. He seems distracted, so I repeat the prompt.

“Sorry.” He mutters, avoiding eye contact.

“What did you forget?” I ask and Elliot refocuses.

“You have a visitor. She came during the feast.” Elliot reports.

“Who?” I reply. He opens the door a little wider and girl enters, her blue eyes are as pale as mine, her dark ebony hair is a darker shade to my own, which is pulled back by an elastic band. Her cheeks are just as pale as I remember, only a little more flushed. Around her wrist sits a red elastic band. Her clothes seem to have been recently mended, with lace. Lace that she shoved into a basket, which might explain the slight sweet scent of apples. The corners of her mouth are slightly raised into a small, weak smile.

“Happy birthday.” She says, her arms out to embrace me. I may have only seen her this morning, but it’s still a shock.

“What... What are you...?” I struggle to finish my sentence, but she grins now.

“They didn’t take me to the war, so I did a bit of exploring. I was sewing nearby when I saw you go in. I thought it was weird, but I came in anyway.”

“Why?”

“You’ve celebrated the wrong day, just as I have. Can’t a twin say happy birthday?” She giggles.

“But what about Mother?” I protest and Rachel rolls her eyes.

“Why would I care about a liar? She hurt you, so I won’t see her again. Tyler walked too. He went to Lydia’s.” She replies. So Mother is all alone... Why does that satisfy me...?

“So why are you all fancied up?” She pouts.

“I’m not a Red.” I whisper. It’s so quiet that only Elliot picks it up, with his oddly impeccable hearing.

“Huh?” She prompts.

“I’m not a Red. I am a Silver. Apparently, their one true queen.” I say, speaking up a bit. Rachel’s eyes widen.

“What a day! So I’m not fourteen like a thought, but you are unlike what we thought. You are then sent to the War whilst I get let off from all services for conveniences. Then you are a Silver and a princess?” I nod meekly and Rachel laughs. But then her eyes land on the little red elastic band around my index finger.

“A symbol of the Reds.” She whispers. Her eyes flash with fury.

“Are you trying to get yourself killed?!” She snaps.

“No!” I protest. She lunges for the band, but I leap back, crashing into my dresser and a necklace topples to the floor. The marble that was connected to the string of pink lace immediately shattered at the first impact with the floor and all three of us gasp instantly.

“I’m so sorry Bekka... I know how much that meant to you.” Rachel whispers, staring at the purple and pink wreckage on the floor. Elliot stares at his feet, refusing to look up at the commotion.

“It’s okay Rachel. I’m sure I can find another one now.” I murmur, but Rachel shakes her head.

“We both know that’s not why you treasure it.” I look away at her words. Elliot finally looks up and whispers something so quietly that I miss the words. But Rachel doesn’t. She stares at him, and then looks to me again. Then looks back to him. Her cheeks flush with happiness and although I can’t see it, I know she is smiling.

“No. Way.” She breathes.

“What?” I ask hopefully. My question is ignored though, as Elliot’s cheeks darken and Rachel continues to giggle. Am I missing something here?

“So Bekka, what about that boy who gave it to you?” Rachel finally asks and Elliot’s cheeks darken again.

“I don’t really know but I do know that his mum told him...” I don’t even manage to finish my sentence when I notice Elliot looking away and Rachel’s grin. Didn’t Elliot say that he gave someone something that they kept and his mum told him off for it? That sounds an awful lot like... As I gasp, Rachel’s grin widens. My door is thrown open as I realize. Elliot gave me the necklace! Chloe enters, with Angelica at her heels. Rachel turns at the sound and instantly gasps.

“What’s wrong Rachel?” I ask, but her eyes don’t leave Angelica’s.

“I know her... She’s...” But she stops talking. It’s like someone forced her to, because she’s clearly frustrated by the lack of her voice. What is going on? This is the strangest birthday ever...

“Can we all leave now? I would like some rest.” I say, yawning. Chloe nods, and guides everyone out of the room. Elliot remains, closing the door behind Chloe. He stands in front of me and looks at me. His expression is warm, and I can practically feel his warm breath, and I suddenly long for him to be closer, to hold my hands in his own. I push the thought away, and try to be angry. It fails.

“Why didn’t you tell me it was you who gave me the marble?” I ask, a little softer than intended. He shrugs in response, and opens his mouth to reply. The door opens suddenly and Elliot springs back. The cold air rushes back to my cheeks, stinging them as Elliot’s warm breath leaves, any chance of romance gone with it. But I don’t have time for romance. Certainly not with Elliot. Queen Leah stands at the door, her eyebrows raised in surprise at the sudden leap Elliot made.

“Please allow Bekka her beauty sleep. She will need to be introduced to the people on all broadcasts.” Elliot nods and leaves obediently, a small scowl on his face. But he knows better than to argue with the Queen of Tork.

“What if they don’t like me?” I mutter meekly, realizing how pathetic I sound.

“The Torkians will love you Bekka. But you have to be careful, because Lord Warrick Barslow won’t be happy to hear there is a new heir to be rid of. And he most certainly won’t be thrilled that you managed to gain his mother as an ally. She was singing your praises when you left, although she was a little suspicious when you helped a Red. She sees a new kindness in you that she’s never seen before. You are lucky she accepted that and admired you more for that.” I nod meekly, and Queen Leah nods back.

“Get your rest Bekka. Good night.” And soon I am left alone in my large room. A small flash appears on my desk as a piece of paper appears there. I get up to read it. It’s another letter from this Ari person. So I take the letter in my hands and begin to read it:

Dear Bekka,

Yeah, no Silver or Reds! My color of blood? Well, we all have red blood. No XD I’m not a witch!! I’m just a normal human being! Ooh, I should agree with you, even though I don’t know how Elliot looks like XD Could you maybe describe him? Ah, I sort of gathered that you are straight, just like me :) You must feel so confused about everything... Hm, if I were in your place, I’d feel confused too, and quite scared...

Your new friend from the past,

Ari xx

I smile at the letter. This Ari person seems to understand me. So I take up a quill and a small sheet of paper and oblige to her, or his, request.

Dear Ari,

Wow! So you’re from before the first Silver reign? That’s so cool! Or course I can describe Elliot! Elliot has strawberry-blonde hair. It’s not quite ginger, it’s a cross between ginger and blonde. It’s a lovely colour. And his eyes are blue. He is quite pale, but not as pale as Chloe. You’re straight too! That’s nice. There aren’t many straight people where I am. You’d think there were plenty, but there aren’t that many.

Your friend from the future, or present, Bekka

I smile as I describe Elliot’s gorgeous features and I feel my cheeks flaming as I think about how close his lips were to mine, how his hand casually slipped into mine when we met Angelica. But then I think about how quickly his hand fell from mine, how he jumped back from me like I was a disease when Queen Leah came in. I... I can’t think about him. A Queen would not think about love, or possibilities. And if I’m going to be Queen of Tork, I’m going to need practice. The letter vanishes quickly, and I’m left to sweep the marble’s remains in one hand and I swipe each small fragment into a nearby locket and lock the clasp in place. I calmly place the locket around my neck and sigh happily. It may be broken, but the symbol’s still there, and now it’s close to my heart. Always and forever…

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