“Princess Evelyn, do you have a plus one for dinner this evening?”
Everest went straight for the kill. There was no point in delaying, despite it being the supposed reason why he showed up.
Just when Evelyn thought there’s nothing that would surprise her, he opened his mouth and his question flowed out like wine from its bottle. He was unashamed of his question, in fact, the smirk on his flawless skin seemed to widen, his icy eyes holding a mischievous spark.
Ivory had heard Everest and seemed genuinely confused, she had a hint of disgust in her eyes. She stared at the back of Everest’s head as if looking deep enough would slowly uncover his secrets. After Evelyn’s answer refused to come, much to Everest’s dismay and Evelyn’s intentional stalling, Everest resorted to completing his speech.
“I suppose it’s only fit, I am a guest after all,” He said it so naturally as if he didn’t just disrespect the host. He then pulled his hand from her back, interlocked their arms and held her hand in his, so casually.
He looked straight ahead, not acknowledging Evelyn’s glare she was sending him from her position on the left. He just did a big move and Evelyn knew it was for show, but she didn’t know why nor did she know for who.
In spite of that, she enjoyed his touch. His hand larger than hers as his skin kissed hers and his thumb soothing the skin. It sent jolts of electricity up her arm and straight to her heart. Images once more began flashing in her head and she felt her need to relive them.
“Perhaps,” She started, putting on a smirk of her own as she watched Everest turn to her. He noticed her personal mischievous glint, something rare. As a result, he knew something he would not like was going to happen.
He knew her more than she knew herself.
“but as it happens, Prince Braxton is a guest as well.” It was payback for all that Everest did to her, she cherished Everest’s reaction. He returned her glare, a pang of jealousy thrusting deep into his heart.
Evelyn dismissed the glare just like he dismissed hers, and instead of feeling guilty, she felt empowered. She had control, she had the upper hand. Ivory was proud as well, as a smirk reached her lips.
Evelyn looked ahead, “Who’s to say I can’t take him? Besides, he got me first.” The word slipped out of her lips involuntary, and she turned to look at Everest. He just stared at her, urging her to go on. She was just reminding him of his mistake, a mistake he only realised after he lost sight of her frame that morning as she ran away from him, and along with any chance of a future they had.
Braxton did get her first, she wasn’t Everest’s the moment he asked her to leave with him. Everest pulled away, repulsed at the thought of Braxton.
She held his gaze for what seemed like an eternity, him daring her and her daring him. She hid her feelings, prompting her orbs to express certainty and strength, completely hiding her nerves.
As his stare intensified and begun towering over hers, she resorted to ending their walk. “Ivory,” She called out and didn’t bother waiting for her reply, instead, she just completed her speech, “I think it’s time to attend a meeting.”
With that said, she gave one last glance at Everest and walked away, hearing Ivory’s footsteps behind her and still feeling the intensity of Everest’s eyes despite being away from him.
“His claim of negotiating peace are merely lies.” Lord Faulkner, the head of the court, stated. His eyes were roaming over the countless of Royals in the room as they sat around the roundtable. Some alert and serious while other laid back on their chairs, bellies out and dozing off.
It had been nearly an hour since the beginning of the meeting and the energy in the air seemed to slowly evaporate. They had discussed several things, but most predominantly, Prince Everest’s sudden appearance.
“What if they aren’t?” One of the lords, Lord Abdon, had muttered from his seat. He was one of the Royals dozing off and seemed shocked the room heard his whisper. His eyes widened and he sat up, cleared his throat and said, “What if peace is what they want?”
Lord Faulkner sighed irritated, taking a seat from his standing position and rubbing his forehead simultaneously. “The Kingdom of the Orb has never sought peace before, why would they decide on such a thing now when there is a possibility that Princess Evelyn will be betrothed to a prince? It’s suspicious and we need to uncover this before any harm is done.” He stated the obvious, glaring at Lord Abdon.
“The people have become aware of his presence and are on edge.” He continued, “We need to speed things up. Princess Evelyn, any opinions?”
“We should accelerate our plans,” Evelyn started from her seat, feeling the burn with having everyone’s eyes on her. “we should not make it obvious Prince Everest’s appearance has steered us off the road. It’ll only make us seem nervous and that would downgrade us.” She finished, dismissed them all and left.
She finally reached her room and she hastily shut the door. She felt ill and as a result, she ran to the bathroom and began vomiting her stomach’s remains. She hadn’t eaten anything all morning thus all that spilt out was bile and acid. It stung her throat and her chest. She sat on the bathroom floor, her dress mixing with the tiles and her head over the toilet. She felt disgusted at her state.
After her episode was done, she flushed the toilet and rinsed her mouth and her hands. She looked up, her eyes meeting their reflection on the mirror. She looked dead, physically and mentally. Her hair stuck up obnoxiously, her makeup no longer flawless and her eyes were half closed. She forced them open.
She wanted to sleep but she knew she couldn’t. The eye bags she hid this morning resurfaced. Overall, she looked real. She resembled who she really was: a tired, sad girl. She was no beautiful princess. This was the side she hid from everyone. She hid the grey specks of depression in her irises, she hid the sad frown she wore in private and she hid the broken pieces.
She wasn’t happy but she knew her happiness didn’t matter because all that did was her people’s happiness. She laughed at her reflection, wondering when they’ll see her for who she really was. She laughed so hard tears prickled her vision and she quickly wiped them away. She opened the bathroom door, hurriedly slipping outside.
She breathed in sharply once she caught sight of Everest’s form on her bed. Her eyes trailed back to the partition next to her closet, where she spotted the open door hidden behind it. The door gave her access to the underground tunnels, the ones she used to escape the palace to meet Everest. It seemed Everest snuck in from there.
She watched his frown deepen at her state but she quickly dismissed it. Instead, she sat on her sofa and took off her shoes. She put them on the side then continued to stare blankly at Everest. “What are you doing here?” She asked him uninterested.
At her question, he stood up and settled in front of her. “What were you doing in there?” He asked her, towering over her fragile form while nodding towards the open bathroom door.
She sighed irritated. She didn’t want Everest asking her questions she didn’t want to answer. “It doesn’t matter what I was doing in there,” Evelyn told him, running her hands through her hair, messing it up more simultaneously.
Everest just glared at her, unappreciative of her answer. “Evelyn,” He warned her, his voice stern and unbreaking.
At his tone, she stood up and pushed past him. She didn’t want him towering over her. “I don’t appreciate your tone Everest and I don’t have to tell you anything.” She crossed her arms. She didn’t care if he was concerned, because if he really cared for her, he would’ve let her leave and not unexpectedly make an appearance at her kingdom.
“Yes you do, Evelyn,” He told her.
“Why?” She boomed out, he was pushing her and she was going to shove back. “Do I somehow owe it to you? Because we had a ‘fling’?” She air quoted her words, degrading their relationship as she referred to it as a fling. It stung, but Everest dismissed it.
The adrenaline accompanied with being fed up and angry coursed through her veins and she found herself acting on impulse.
Her brain couldn’t fully comprehend the situation and she felt as if it wasn’t real, that all of it was just an illusion, that she wasn’t arguing with Everest in her room, or that he hadn’t shown up unexpectedly or even that they broke things off. She cherished the feeling because it meant that it was all a bad dream. It was a feeling she found herself accustomed to, she was simply so used to her usual boring life that when something different and unexpected happened, it was as if it was so absurd to the point that she thought of it as fake.
“Because Evelyn, I care about you and you should tell me if you’re sick.” His eyes widened at her exasperated expression.
“Great,” She sighed out loudly, chuckling simultaneously, “You care about me. Well, isn’t that just spectacular.” She was in hysteria, laughing and crying all at once.
Everest stepped towards her but that just seemed to repel her further away. “You know it’s funny,” she begun, wiping away her tears, “I thought that the hardest thing I would’ve had to deal with being away from you was missing you, but now, now that you’re right here, I just want you away from me.”
Everest froze, his breathing becoming shallow and forced. His eyes just stared straight at her, almost as if trying to soothe the pain. He blinked, his face frozen, void of any readable expression. His mind was racing over several thoughts. He thought of his actions and their effects on Evelyn. However, he didn’t regret them, he still believed it was for her greater good.
Evelyn saw his reaction and looked into his eyes. She saw nothing, she couldn’t make out any emotion. He was hiding them, intentionally, and it only angered her more.
“Can you just not, for once, hide your emotions? Why can’t you just tell me how you feel?” She yelled out aggravated, breathing in sharply after using up all the oxygen in her lungs. She watched him for a few moments, but he seemed taped to his position. His eyes still remained on her, he stood like a robot, stuck.
After receiving no reaction, she turned to make her emotions known. “I am so sick of being left in the dark. Can you please just tell me?”
At that comment, Everest snapped out of his daze and told her, “Fine, Evelyn. What do you want to know?”
His question triggered something unknown in Evelyn and millions of memories came flooding back. The billion of questionable actions and words came along and she debated asking which questions. For example, why was he so haste on leaving? Why did he ask her to run away with him?
Evelyn didn’t bother delaying, she just told him her question. “Why are you here Everest?”
The atmosphere seemed to lighten a tad bit, and the tension simmered. Everest’s shoulders dropped slightly, as he proceeded to answer. “I wanted to talk to you. I didn’t appreciate your comment about Brandon this morning, and I wanted to show you whom you belong to.” He crosses his arms, his muscles bulging. His voice was firm, undeflected.
Evelyn rolled her eyes and clicked her tongue. She then continued to sit on her vanity’s stool. This was going to take a while.
“Braxton, his name is Braxton,” She told him but Everest only scoffed. “Please acknowledge the fact that I am no longer yours and that you purposely twisted my words. I meant why are you in my kingdom?”
“No, you are still mine,” He began, tucking his chin, “I am here for you Evelyn, I expected you to figure that out by yourself,” He said it so casually as if it held no significance whatsoever, and it wouldn’t be the first time.
“I’m sorry if I thought you’d get the hint when I barged out of the cabin after you, sweetly might I add, asked me to leave my life behind and join in on our trip to death. Do you even know what’s behind those trees? What about what lies after the kingdoms? No, you don’t. You, Everest, are selfish because it seemed when you asked me that horrific question, you were thinking of yourself and yourself alone.” She stopped to catch her breath, but Everest didn’t give her the opportunity to complete her argument, instead, he told her his.
“I’m not selfish Evelyn. There’s a reason for what I do, and you might not believe me right now, but when I asked you to leave with me, I asked it for your own good. You can not simply assume I did it for my needs, because you, Evelyn, do not know the whole truth,” He told her, fists and jaw clenched as he watched her shift uncomfortably on her seat. Under his scrutinising gaze, she felt weak. He towers over her, with his 6′2 height.
She didn’t like feeling weak.
“Then tell me the whole truth. How am I supposed to understand if you don’t fucking tell me?!” She yelled out, clenching her own fists as she stood up abruptly, causing the stool to tumble down. She ignored the sound and instead stood in front of Everest’s frame, looking up at his icy blue eyes with her own.
Everest let out an aggravated breath and didn’t speak. He examined her face, watching one of her furrowed eyebrows raise in anger. “Evelyn,” He said.
“There’s someone else in the room,”