Beneath the Crown

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Chapter 21

Zasrus

I could physically feel her eyes on me when she looked down at my body, and that sent my heart racing. The desire in her eyes made me wonder if it was too soon to just sit up and kiss her right here.

Her cheeks turning red, and the embarrassed look in her eyes made me smile more.

If only she knew the thoughts I held in my head, she would not feel so ashamed.

“Ash,” I said, hoping to get her to look at me.

“Mmm?” She mumbled, still hiding her face.

“It’s alright. I understand what you meant.”

She released her face and met my eyes, “I can’t believe I said that. I am so sorry, I don’t know why-”

“It’s fine,” I said and took her hand, “I honestly don’t mind. Look all you want.”

She turned her face away again, and after a moment she turned back with rosy cheeks again.

I adore the way she looks at me.

“Shall we speak of something else?” I asked, trying to make her feel more comfortable.

She nodded, “Yes, change the subject, very good idea.”

“Very well. Then tell me about how you felt when you learned the truth.”

“The truth about what?”

“About all this. When Connie told you that Raylon was alive and that he was a prince of another world.”

“Ok,” She said and again she moved her legs, “Well, it was the Ful’s that made me believe. You and your brother look just like humans, so I wouldn’t have believed her if I hadn’t seen Billy and Bob.”

“And how did you feel when you learned the truth?”

She shook her head, “I passed out.”

“Oh,” I said, “Was it that shocking?”

“Honestly, yes. A lot had happened that day, and all the Tequila I drank and then that happening, I just poof, passed out. I woke up on the couch to hear Connie telling Raylon she was coming back here with him. I told her I wanted to come to.”

“A very wise decision, if you ask me.”

“Yeah, one of my better ones.”

“Did you leave any family behind?” I asked, thinking about why Connie had left, and how much pain my brother went through because of it.

“No. Well… Yeah, but not family that I ever want to see again.”

“Why not?” I asked, hoping deep down that I had not steered the conversation to her previous partner.

“I have a sister, but we never see each other. Last time I spoke to her I was twelve years old.”

“Is she still alive?”

“Oh yeah. She just has no interest in me at all. She is nine years older than me, so when I was twelve she was twenty-one. I remember sitting in my bedroom, watching her pack her car out of my window. That was the last time she ever spoke to me.”

“What did she say?”

“Have a good life,” She said and I watched her eyes, but I saw no emotion there. This sister of hers held no place in her life at all.

“She just left you?”

“Yeah, my dad kicked her out of the house when he found out she was taking drugs. I told her she must either get help or get out. She chose the latter.”

“I’m sorry. I cannot imagine my life without my brother.”

She nodded and met my eyes, “That’s because you have a really good brother. I didn’t even cry when my sister left. She was a bitch to me my whole life.”

“Then all the better, I would say.”

She nodded and once more, I saw her shift her legs.

“Are you uncomfortable?” I asked, watching her rub her knees.

“I just can’t sit like this for long without a backrest. My joints start to hurt.”

I sat up and crossed my legs in front of me, “Lay down,” I said and patted my lap.

Her smile fell and she swallowed as she looked at my lap.

“Please, get comfortable. Use my legs as a support for your head.”

She eyed me for a moment, then moved to lay down and rested her head on my legs. I smiled down at her as she let out a relieved sigh.

“Better?” I asked.

She nodded, “Better.”

“What about your father?” I asked, hoping to keep the conversation going. I enjoyed the sound of her voice so much that I didn’t want this moment to end.

“My dad was the best. Growing up he was always around to be silly with, to play with and he loved going to the park with our dog. He could spend hours there just kicking a ball around with me, or going walking in the hills. He was all I had for a long time.”

“What about your mother?”

“She died when I was very little. I don’t remember her at all.”

“I’m sorry,” I said and without thinking, I took a thick chunk of her hair into my hand and began running my fingers through her soft locks.

“What about you?” She asked, looking up at me.

“What would you like to know?”

“Tell me about your mother and father.”

“Well, my father was the king, so we hardly had time to spend with him. My mother was this perfect lady, who always dressed well, and looked her best no matter what she was doing. She loved to cook. Many times Raylon and I would sneak off from our lessons to spend time with her in the kitchen. She made the most delicious food you have ever tasted. She passed not long after Laylar was born.”

“She sounds like a wonderful woman.”

“She was. She was kind, and wise and so strong. The way she kept our father in line,” I shook my head at the memories of the countless times our mother told the king off for something he had done, “Everyone in the kingdom knew that when the Queen was upset, it could only be the king's fault.”

Ash smiled again, and I stared at her. Her eyes focused on something in the distance, and I ran my eyes over every tiny part of her face. The way the setting sun made her skin glow, and the soft curve of her cheeks. The perfectly curved lines of her lips and the small bump in her nose. The little white hairs over her jaw, and the gentle spring of her vein under the skin on her neck.

“Ash?” I said and waited for her to look at me, “Has anyone ever told you that you are truly beautiful?”

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