“Everything is set for tonight.” I told Viktor, clearing my mind of what I genuinely wanted. “Have you found out anything more regarding my necklace?”
“Someone from inside the Aslanov Kingdom told me the necklace was sold directly to Nikolai Aslanov.” Viktor grunted, hatred swirling around in his mind.
“Why do you hate them so much?” I murmured, trying to relax him through the bond. Viktor could feel my own emotions, he could feel what I was trying to do to him.
“I will tell you sometime, little Princess.” Viktor responded, his accent thick. “But I will only do so in person.”
“I’ll be waiting for that.” I smiled softly, “My Uncle was the one who sold the necklace, I’m sure of it.”
“Perhaps there has been a mistake.” Viktor frowned. I could tell he said that for my benefit. He didn’t want to see me hurt, physically or emotionally. He knew what it would mean if my Uncle were a traitor, what that would do to me.
I had enough going on at the moment that I was able to distract myself from the truth. Sooner or later it would come crashing down. I was determined to prolong my peace.
“There is no mistake.” I shook my head, “We both know the truth.”
“I am truly sorry, little Princess.” Viktor frowned. He was telling the truth. He cared not for himself, but for how I felt. I could feel his general dislike for the human and werewolf population, but he cared for me.
“I’m glad I know.” I tried to keep my voice strong, “That way I can stop him before anyone gets hurt.”
“The necklace has left the Aslanov Kingdom.” Viktor murmured, “I’m still tracking it, though it has been difficult. I’m not sure where it’s heading.”
“If it’s on Nikolai Aslanov, I’m afraid it’s heading to my house.” I grimaced. I hadn’t told Viktor about my dinner plan with Nikolai.
“Why would he be heading to your Kingdom?” Viktor’s voice was dark, malice evident in his tone.
“I invited him over for dinner.” I cringed, yet somehow kept my voice strong. The last thing I wanted was to upset Viktor, but I needed proof that cleared his name.
“You’re having dinner with him?” Viktor’s voice grew deeper, the strange aura of power he possessed swirled around him. I could feel the possessive jealousy rolling from him in waves. I could feel him quite literally drowning in his own emotions.
“I won’t be alone.” I shook my head, “My Dad will be there, my Uncle too most likely. I need to find proof against him, Viktor.”
Viktor could feel my exhaustion, my frustration with the entire situation. I wanted him back. I craved his presence more than I could express. The moment he left; I had felt on edge. I was incomplete without him. Viktor was destined to rule at my side, to be the one I spent my life with.
I could clearly sense Viktor’s surprise at my thoughts. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he thought I might reject him. He hated the idea of ruling, but he would do so for me. He never considered the fact that I might accept him.
While his possessive jealousy remained, he was just a tad more accepting.
“Keep your eyes open around Nikolai.” Viktor grunted, “He will not harm you in your home, but there is much he can do.”
“I will, I promise.” I nodded, determined on keeping my word.
“I will see you tonight, little Princess.” Viktor murmured, “We have much to catch up on.”
Once the connection ended, I opened my eyes. The bathwater was cold, indicating I had been absent for a couple hours. The headache that formed across my temples was less painful this time. I was getting skilled at contacting Viktor. While this fact pleased me, I wished it weren’t necessary. Viktor should be at my side.
When I walked out into the bedroom, Shannon was sitting upright on the couch. Her mouth was open in a yawn, her arms stretched over her head.
“Glad one of us could nap.” I chuckled, rubbing my sensitive temples.
“That means one of us will be useful.” Shannon smirked, standing up from the couch.
“Very funny.” I rolled my eyes at her.
It was late in the afternoon now, the sun beginning to drift behind the thick tree line. The setting sun cast a beautiful orange glow across the garden.
An hour later Jules knocked at the door, the dinner cart behind her. Eating dinner in the dining room had become scarce lately. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sit through an entire dinner with Elena, Annalise, and Bryton present. There was no guarantee they wouldn’t make their way to the dining room, determined to torment me. It was safer eating in my own bedroom, Shannon my only source of company.
“Princess?” Jules’s voice called out, her tone cautious and unsure.
“What’s wrong, Jules?” I frowned, noticing the concern in her eyes.
“I just wondered if I could ask you a question.” Jules picked at her fingernails.
“Ask away.” I smiled, trying to make her feel comfortable.
“Well.” Jules hesitated, “I heard something from one of the other servants. Did Elena Halifax really try to kill you?”
‘I called it.’ Aela’s voice rang out in my head.
‘I think we all called it.’ I rolled my eyes, ‘I was just trying to remain optimistic.’
‘She couldn’t resist spreading rumors.’ Aela rolled her eyes, ‘How very typical of Caroline.’
‘Typical or not, I want an explanation.’ I frowned.
‘Then let’s get one.’ Aela shrugged, ‘She’s sleeping over tomorrow regardless.’
‘You’re right.’ I nodded.
I couldn’t help the incredulous scoff that came from my mouth. I knew Caroline loved gossip, but I specifically told her my life could be in danger if she told anyone. Shannon on the other hand seemed unphased. She simply crossed her arms and shook her head in distaste.
“As far as I know, she didn’t.” I shook my head, denying the entire thing.
“Oh, good.” Jules grinned, “I was just worried because she’s been staying in your house and all.”
“I appreciate the concern, Jules. Feel free to tell the other servant they heard wrong.” I smiled back at her.
“Of course. Enjoy dinner, Princess.” Jules gave a little wave and headed for the door.
“Hey, Jules?” I called out, an arrant thought crossing my mind.
“Yes, Princess?” Jules turned.
“Don’t worry about coming for the serving cart.” I smiled softly, “I’ll bring it down in the morning. Go ahead and take off early. If anyone asks, I said it was alright.”
“Thank you, Princess.” Jules beamed, looking profoundly grateful.
I decided not to bring up Caroline’s obvious betrayal. She could have been unable to resist spreading the rumor. I didn’t believe Caroline was involved with people like Nikolai Aslanov or Elena Halifax, but Caroline’s lack of caution irritated me.
It could have been a huge mistake on Caroline’s part, one I was willing to forgive her for provided she gave me an explanation. There was no way I’d be trusting her with any secrets in the foreseeable future.
I told Shannon about my latest conversation with Viktor, minus the sexual bits. While I told Shannon just about everything, there was some she didn’t need to know.
After dinner I sprawled out on my bed, trying to ensure sleep would claim me. At some point I must’ve fallen asleep. When I opened my eyes, the sun had vanished from the sky. The night seemed darker tonight, the stars and moon not shining as brightly.
Shannon was sitting on the couch, her eyes peering at me through the dim light of my lamp.
“Have you been watching me sleep?” I groaned sitting up and eyeing her warily.
“You talk in your sleep.” Shannon pointed out.
“And you just thought you’d sit there and listen?” I lifted my eyebrow at her.
Shannon shrugged, “There’s nothin’ better to do.”
“I could name a couple things.” I smirked.
Time ticked by slowly, a knot in my stomach growing as I waited. I couldn’t force myself to sit still. I continued jumping to my feet, pacing the room as my mind produced thought after thought.
A light tapping sounded on the window, making my heart leap from my chest.