Beneath the Crown

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Chapter 34

Ash

Connie and I followed the men to the kitchen and I sat down on a stool across from the king. Connie went to Raylon on the other end of the room. The king’s eyes didn’t move from the little screen in front of him.

“What’s for lunch?” I asked hoping to get him to look up at me.

“Even if I told you the name,” He said and looked up, “Would you know what it is?”

I smiled, “Probably not.”

He gave me a half-smile and turned back to the screen.

What’s up with him? Why is he so distant suddenly?

“Is everything ok?” I asked, lowering my voice.

He nodded, “Yes. Will you excuse me, I need to go make a rather important call.”

I nodded at him, and my smile was gone. I stood up and went to the large glass doors leading out to what looked like a jungle. I stood in the fresh air and crossed my arms.

You pushed him away. You are too broken and messed up in the head, and he lost interest in you. Maybe it’s for the best.

The door opened behind me and I turned to find Raylon coming out. He shut the door and came to stand next to me.

I looked up at him as he stared out at the trees.

“Everything ok?” I asked when he didn’t say anything.

He turned to me then, “I fear not.”

“What’s happened?”

“A dreadful misunderstanding.”

“Between who? If you don’t mind me asking?”

“Between you and my brother.”

What is he talking about?

“I don’t understand?”

“Ash,” He said and turned to face me, “My brother is sure that you do not want to get close to him. He fears that his position as the king is hindering any hope of the two of you being together. I told him that there is more to it than that, but now I’m not so sure. May I ask, how do you feel about him? Honestly?”

I chewed on the inside of my lip for a moment then sighed, “I’m scared Raylon. You know what I went through before. And I’m not saying that your brother is like that, I know he isn’t, but there are deeper wounds than just the physical ones that I am terrified of. I like your brother, a lot. And I want to be brave enough to try, but I keep getting this feeling that I’m just not good enough for him. If I let him in, and he breaks my heart... I think that would be one hit too much for me.”

“You know, when the queen died, my brother came to me and told me that he will never love anyone again. That his heart is too broken to be mended. He shut himself off to any hope of ever finding someone to be at his side. Until he saw you. Nothing has ever occupied his mind as much as you do. It’s rather annoying to be honest because every call I get from him ends up being about you. My brother is the kind of man who knows what he wants, and when he wants something he is sure of it. If he wants to be with you, it will never come to an end from his side. I can promise you that much.”

“He’s pulling away from me, I can see it.”

“No. He thinks that you have already made your mind about not giving him a chance. He is not angry, or distant, he is heartbroken.”

What the hell am I waiting for then?

I nodded and Raylon continued, “Whatever you want to do, do so in your time. At your own pace. My brother will respect that. But make sure he knows where he stands. Either let him in or let him go.”

Raylon turned away and went back inside.

Let him in or let him go. . .

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