One True Queen

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Chapter 7

“Okay. We need to find the perfect gown!” Chloe says. She practically dives into my new wardrobe and searches like a dog searching for its bone. Except with a bit more grace.

“Chloe.” I say. She immediately turns to me.

“Yeah?”

“Are you jealous?” I ask. Her cheeks redden slightly and she attempts to defend herself.

“No... I... I am not...” She starts.

“It was obvious. You don’t like Elliot.” I say. Chloe’s cheeks grow paler as she says,

“I do... It’s just... We didn’t get to a good start.” I blink just once.

“It’s okay to admit you’re jealous.” Chloe’s cheeks darken again. Any darker and she’ll turn into a cherry! A knock at the door sounds and Chloe’s cheeks are restored to their natural colour.

“Come in!” I call and Chloe goes back to dress hunting, oblivious to the person who entered. Elliot looks around quickly and of course, doesn’t see Chloe.

“Hey. Your little sidekick’s not here then? Good. I need to speak to you quickly. I don’t want her little ears hearing this.” Elliot says, moving towards me.

“My little ears?” Chloe snaps, jumping out of the wardrobe and landing in front of me.

“Oh. Uh...” Elliot stutters.

“What were you going to say?” Chloe prompts and Elliot stands a little straighter.

“I offered my services to the rightful ruler, not a stinking Silver.” He snaps at her. Chloe snarls and Elliot prepares to spit, but thinks better of it.

“Can you both, please, get along?!” I yell and the two jump in surprise.

“I can’t rule a kingdom when my advisors are constantly arguing. It won’t help anyone. I will speak to Elliot, alone.” I say and Chloe opens her mouth to protest, but closes it quickly and leaves. Elliot smiles.

“Finally...” He breathes. I roll my eyes.

“You two need to stop arguing all the time. You have to learn to deal with her. You chose to be my advisor, so you have to learn how to behave around Silvers.” I say, frowning. He smiles softly.

“Anything for you, Bekka.”

“Thank you.” I reply.

“Can I ask a question?” He asks. I laugh.

“You just did.” His eyes sparkle with laughter, but they don’t leave mine.

“You’re right. Can I ask two questions?” He asks.

“You technically just asked your second question.” His eyes still fixate on mine, but the corners of his mouth rises slightly.

“Can I ask four questions?”

“Fire away.” I say, breaking eye contact, even though I know he’s still watching me.

“Can you tell me about your personal life? Before all of this.” I turn back to him, thinking he was joking but his expression is deadpan.

“Oh. Umm... Sure. I guess.” I mutter and he doesn’t move. He just watches me, ready for an answer. “I was born from two Reds. Raised as a Red and now I’ve found out I’m a Silver.” I say blankly. He reaches out for my hand and takes it.

“Tell me stories. Stories of your childhood. Anything.” He pleads.

“Well... There was this girl... My best friend, Alice Jacobs. Alice loved to play catch, especially with random junk we found on the floor. Once, Alice and I found a diamond in the sewer. Obviously, we jumped down and retrieved it. We sold it at the nearby market and got three cartons of milk and a crate of strawberries. We thought it was a rip-off, but we didn’t complain. We split one carton between the two of us and halved the crate. We each took our earning home. Mother was very pleased. But with four mouths to feed, it lasted no longer than three days. Alice loved going hunting for treasure. When I was eleven, Alice and I were eating a dirty loaf of bread we found at the edge of the Silver market. A boy came up to us and showed us a really pretty marble. It was purple and it had lovely pink swirls inside. A little hole was drilled into the middle of the marble. Small enough for a piece of string. He used a piece of pink string he found the other day and put the marble on it. He made a little necklace. He gave it to me and told me it was a really pretty necklace for a very pretty girl. He looked like he was going to say something else, but his mum called him away. We watched as the poor boy got scorned for giving away such a valuable find. I bet he would have got three apples, a carton of custard and two pears for it.”

“Would he?” Said Elliot, breaking me from the story.

“What?” I stutter.

“Would he have actually got three apples, a carton of custard and two pears for it?” Elliot asks.

“Well...”

“You sold it, right?” Elliot asks.

“No. I have no idea what the boy would have got for it because I kept it.” I finally say and Elliot’s expression warms. He sits down on my bed, as if he was ready for me to continue. I sit beside him and oblige.

“Once, my twin sister and I...”
“Twin?”

“Yeah. My twin sister Rachel.”

“Oh.”

“Well anyway, we were hunting and we realized that we had never really found any fabrics. Rachel ran off to search for fabrics and came back with loads of lace! The lace was quite thin, and Mother couldn’t find much use for it. So before they could sell it all, I stole a bit of the pink lace and upgraded the necklace. I went to town later that day and sold the rest of the lace. We had a week’s supply of apple crumble with custard. We really hit the jackpot that week.” I say. What am I doing, talking about myself so much? I barely know Elliot.

“What about you? Any interesting times?” He nods.

“Only really one. When I was eleven, nearly twelve.” Elliot replies.

“Go on. Tell me.” I say, intrigued of course.

“I had gone out with my mum to sell something that I found the other day. I’d cleaned it so it was nice and fresh. We were walking along when we saw something shining in the mud. I picked it up and cleared the mud. My mum was distraught to find that it wasn’t in perfect condition, but I didn’t mind.”

“Did you sell it?” I ask. He looks straight into my eyes and says,

“No...”

“Well. What did you do with it?”

“I gave it away. To someone who needed it more.” He says.

“That was really nice of you. What did they do with it?” I ask and Elliot blinks quite suddenly, looking away.

“They kept it.” He replies.

“For emergencies?” I ask and he shrugs in response. Chloe barges into the room at that moment.

“Sorry to interrupt bu...”

“Are you?” Elliot interrupts Chloe.

“What?”

“Are you sorry to interrupt?” He repeats.

“Uh... Yes. Anyway, Bekka. You need to get ready. The feast is about to start.” Chloe says, rushed. She begins to dig through the wardrobe.

“You’d better dress up to.” She sniffs to Elliot.

“I thought the feast was tomorrow.” I say to Chloe.

“No one was free. It had to be moved to tonight.” Chloe replies curtly. pushing Elliot out of the room.

“Get into something smart, but casual.” She tells Elliot.

“But I don’t know what to do at a feast!” I protest.

“You’ll get the hang of it. But whatever you do, don’t anger my mum.” Chloe says, seriously.

“Lady Isabella?” I reply and Chloe nods.

“Lady Isabella knows full well that she can back Warrick. She chooses Queen Leah, but if my mum discovers you were a Red, then she’ll back my brother and then everyone who backs Queen Leah will be dead...”

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