Beneath the Crown

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Chapter 33


“Just speak your mind, brother,” I said to Raylon as he stood against the glass wall of the kitchen watching me, “Don’t just stand there smiling at me like that. It's distracting.”

“I have nothing to say.”

I met his eyes and raised my brows.

He laughed, “All it is, is that it is good to see you happy again. I haven’t seen you like this in a long time. I’m happy to have my brother back. Ash is bringing the real you out, and that makes me happy.”

“I still don’t know what will happen with us,” I said and turned back to the screen on the polished white counter, “I can see she wants to be with me, but she is holding herself back. As though she is afraid of me. Or what I will do.”

“She is, brother,” he said and pushed off the wall and came to me, “She is afraid. You know what the last man she loved did to her. You know how deeply that scarred her. To let go of the freedom she feels since leaving that vile man is difficult.”

“I don’t want her to give up her freedom, brother. I would never want that. What does that even mean?”

“As Connie explained it to me, being with someone for Ash, is the same as being owned by that person. That is how her mind sees it. I know it's not how you would ever treat her because if you did you would have me to deal with, but it's years and years of living under the rule of a man that hurt her, that has warped the way she sees a relationship.”

I shook my head. I had no words for him. The thought of Ash, her beautiful face and her sweet gentle nature being hurt like that made me clench my fists.

“I am trying to show her that I am not like that. I want her to see me as a man equal to her. I might be a king, but I could never rule over her. She only speaks a single word and I would do anything for her. I want to take my time, and make her feel sure of me, but I fear that if I take too long. . .”

He chuckled, “I have seen the way you two are with each other. She will not move on so quickly. It’s clear as day in the way she looks at you.”

I smiled, “I can see-”

At loud music coming from the lounge, I looked over at Raylon at the sound of the strange banging.

He shook his head and we both made our way out of the kitchen. We paused by the entrance of the lounge to find Connie and Ash jumping around and swinging their hair in wild tangles as they moved to the beat of the strange music.

I ran my gaze over Ash. The way her hips moved, the way her body flowed like water and her hands going into her hair.

I smiled at the sight. My brother lowered to speak into my ear, “What are they doing?”

I shook my head, “I do not know, brother, but I pray to the universe they don’t stop.”

When Ash spun around, she caught sight of us standing there, watching them. She stopped moving and her face turned red.

I pushed off the wall and went to her, “What were you doing?”

“Dancing!” She shouted over the loud noise. Connie turned the volume down and went to my brother.

“This music you dance to, it’s very strange. What do you call this?”

“Rock and Roll,” Ash said with a smile.

To see her smiling again, and being this happy warmed my heart.

Perhaps she is willing to give you a chance. To prove to her that you can be good for her. Or perhaps she has resigned all hope of that at all and simply moved on.

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