And she tried to explain why she couldn’t stay even though she promised to. She tried to make him understand that he had killed any love she felt for him over the years they had been married. But he wouldn’t understand and when she refused come back and he had raised his hand to hit her, and she had been prepared, raising the derringer that was kept in the drawer of her older brother Beau’s desk. The next day she went to a lawyer and a week after that she was on her way to Paradise.
She still felt a little guilty about not keeping vows she made. But no one knew exactly what had been happening every day, day after day. How anything could set him off. It could be something as simple as falling asleep at the wrong time. “To hell with it all!” She says; rubbing her face with both of her hands and then dropping them to her sides, turning she watches a small fishing boat bobbing against the deep blue water off the coast. She sinks down into the soft white sand, leaning back against a palm tree, and drawing her knees up to her chest. It is early afternoon, and most of the locals are inside for siesta. A gentle breeze blew in from the Atlantic, rustling the leaves of the palms above her.
Glancing down the beach, Sam watches a mother with a small child walk along the waters edge. To Sam, the woman seems lost, like she is unable to relax, waiting for something to happen. Something inside Sam forces her up; maybe it is because she recognizes that panicked look, that look of fear, always looking over your shoulder, waiting for the attack. Sam starts to walk down the beach towards the mother and child. She is about halfway down the beach when the mother turns toward the boardwalk. Picking her son up, she starts to run towards Sam. Looking behind the woman and child Sam sees the problem.
A man, a good three to four inches taller than the woman and at least a hundred pounds heavier, is chasing her up the beach. They are a few yards away from Sam, when the man catches her.
“Give me my son!” He yells.
“No. Leave us alone!” The woman cries, as she fights to hold on to the child.
“You are not taking my child away from me!” The man yells. The baby burst into tears. “You have already turned him into a sissy. My son will not be a weak.”
“He is three years old and you are scaring him. My son will not be raised to be a bully. You know the ruling. You are not to be within 500 yards of us. You are breaking their order.” She yells back.
“I do not give a bloody damn about that order. A royal order is not going….”
“You heard her, let her go.” Sam says, stopping a few feet from the couple
Releasing his ex-wife, the man spins around, pinning beady little eyes on Sam. “What did you say?” The man demands.
“I said let her go.” Sam replies, watching and waiting for his next move.
“Mind your own business, outlander.” The man snarls, turning back to the woman “You will give me my son.” He reaches, but Sam is standing between them. “I think you need to be a taught lesson, bitch.” He snarls again, raising his hand.
“You do that Lieutenant and you’ll be in the dungeon before night fall.” A mans voice says from behind them. The man to spin around, staring, before Sarah and Max both drop immediately to their knees. “Your Highness.” They mumble.
Sam stares at him. He is tall, well over six feet, muscular, the riding pants he is wearing define his trim waist and narrow hips. He is wearing a light green polo shirt, the color drawing out the green in his eyes. The soft breeze ruffles dark strands of hair, forcing them across his forehead.
Sam feels the sudden urge to reach up and brush them back. Surprised, she slips her hand into the pockets of her shorts, afraid she’ll give in to the impulse. Her gaze drops to the sand. He drops the reins of a black stallion in the sand as he takes a step towards them. The horse nuzzles his master, neighing softly as he walks past. “You know the Kings orders. She proved you were unfit.”
“He is my son, Sir.”
“And you lost your rights last night.” Nicholas replies. “Now, you will return to the palace Lieutenant that is an order. I will deal with you when I return.” The man threw Sam a look of intense hatred and then turns and stalks away without further argument. After he reaches the boardwalk Nicholas turns to Sam and Sarah. Sarah is still kneeling beside them with the baby cradled in her arms. Reaching down, he helps her to her feet. “Sarah, are you alright?” He asks, watching Sam as he spoke. “We’re fine, Your Highness.” Sarah replies
“Did he hurt you either you or John?” He mumbles. His attention is still on Sam.
“No Sir, the lady stopped him. Thank you.” Sarah says turning to Sam, who is watching Nicholas. He stares back. Words fail him as they watch each other. Her long brown hair is French braided, with a few wisps of hair hanging down from the sides and neck. She is lightly tanned. Long eyelashes frame soft blue/gray eyes. Her mouth is small and it reminds him of Cupid’s bow with a small nose that reminds him of a button. Slowly he runs his eyes down her body, noticing the blue jean cutoffs and bright red tank top. Noticing too that she is barefooted, but you can see lines on her feet from the straps of her sandals. He smiles when he glances down at her feet and sees her toes are buried in the sand. Her legs are fairly long, lean, toned and tanned. “I think I’ll go home now, it’s time for John’s nap.” Sarah mumbles, feeling the tautness of attraction between them.
“You be careful going home, take the main road, no side streets.” Nicholas orders, snapping out of his inspection of Sam but he doesn’t look away.
“Yes Sir.” Sarah mumbles, walking back towards the boardwalk.
They continue staring at each other for several minutes, before Nicholas finally says as he holds his hand out “I am Prince Nicholas Whitfield. That was a very courageous thing you did, courageous but foolish. You should have sought help from the police or security from the resort.” Taking Sam’s hand and bowing deeply he kisses the top of it.
“I know who you are. Do you see any police or security around here? If I had gone for help, he would have hurt her and taken the baby before any help arrived.” Sam replies, withdrawing her hand.
“Still, you should not have interfered. If I had not come this way, he would have hurt….”
“I can handle myself, and taken care of him. I’ve been doing it for a long time.” She says, shrugging her shoulders before turning and walking back up the beach towards the palm tree.
He stares after her for a couple of seconds, watching the gentle sway of her hips as she walks. She walks with her back straight, shoulders square and her head held high. There is a toughness about the way she moves but still a vulnerability that makes Nicholas want to hold her. That realization shook him so deeply that he gasps softly before he reaches for the horse’s reins and follows her. “I am glad I arrived when I did.”
“So you can play the hero? The fearless prince protecting the damsels in distress, thank you, but I had it handled.” She says sarcastically, sitting down in the sand and leaning back against the tree and staring out at the water.
“You are stubborn, you know that.”
“What is that to you?” She asks, glancing up at him.
“And you have a smart mouth.”
“Again, what is that to you?” She asks, still watching him.
He stares at her, realizing he is loosing control of this conversation, he watches her for a couple seconds before he says. “I’m finding this conversation very invigorating.”
“Invigorating, are you that bored being Prince.” He starts to reply but Sam continues. “Well, if you’re used to everyone bowing to your every command I guess I would be bored too.” She says, looking back out at the water.
“I find it invigorating because it’s fun to talk to someone so unimpressed by my title. And I find you very intriguing Ms?”
“Sam Renton, my full name is Samantha Renton.”
“Ms. Samantha Renton, you are a very intriguing person and very beautiful.” He replies, dropping the reins of the horse and then sitting down beside her.
Sighing softly, she thinks ‘he’s not Wade’ before she says, “I’m sorry; I guess I’m a little on edge. Thank you for stepping in. What was happening over there?” She asks; taking a sip of the bottled water she has with her.
“He is one of my officers.”
“You allow that, to be an officer?” Sam asks, staring at him in disbelief.
“Yes, he is one of my best officers, but he’s had a bit of trouble lately. His name is Lieutenant Maxwell Johnston, and that is my assistant and his ex wife Sarah. A few months ago she came to my father for safe haven after the Lieutenant nearly beat her to death. She petitioned the throne for a decree of divorce and last night was the hearing.”
“And he lost.”
“Yes, my father ruled in favor of Sarah and he was ordered not to be within 500 feet of either of them.”
“I would say that he broke that order.” She says, as Nicholas looks at her for a moment. “Why do men think they have the right to act like that?” She asks, looking out at the water.
“I don’t know, but not all men do.” He replies, moving closer to her.
“Really, they seem to, to me.” He looks out at the water for a few minutes, before he turns to her. “What?” She asks, looking over at him
“I do not want to pry and if you do not want to talk about it I will understand.”
“What do I not want to talk about what?” Sam asks, looking back at him.
“What has you on the defensive?” Nicholas says, looking at her.
“It’s not important and too long of a story to get into now.”
“You said; you had been doing it for a long time. Doing what?”
“I’ve been taking care of myself, defending myself. I’ve learned you can’t count on anyone except yourself to survive.” She replies, turning back to water. “Do you always ride around on a black stallion?” She asks, watching a seagull soar.
“I usually go for a ride every afternoon, but I am not supposed to leave the palace grounds without an escort though.”
“Oh, a rebel.” She says, glancing at him.
“I am sure that my head of security is probably pacing the halls right now.” He replies, giving her a devilish grin, flashing dimples in each cheek.
Sam stares at him for several seconds, before she realizes what she is doing and looks away. “Don’t you think you should get back? That is if he’s pacing the halls? What happens if he sends out the guard? Will I be arrested for detaining the Prince?” Sam says, smiling as she glances at him.
“No, you will be fine. But you are right I should head back. I have a meeting in about twenty minutes.” Nicholas says, standing up.
“Well, don’t let me detain you, Your Highness.”
Looking down he watches her for a couple seconds, before he reaches for her hand to help her up. They both walk over to the horse. He lightly runs his hand along the horse’s neck, gently patting it before putting one foot in the stirrup and mounting the horse. She watches fascinated by his grace, for a man over 6 ft tall he moves with such fluidity. Her blue gray eyes sparkle when he looks down, smiles and says. “It was nice to meet you, Samantha Renton.”
She looks up and smiles again. “You too, Prince Nicholas Whitfield.”
Turning the horse around he rides a short distance and then stops. Turning in the saddle he yells back. “Are you staying at the resort?”
“Where else would I stay, I’m a tourist.” She answers, shrugging and smiling.
“I will see you again.” He calls back, before turning and taking off at a gallop.
She watches until he is out of sight and then sinking again into the white sand she leans back against the palm tree. Stretching out her slender legs, crossing them at the ankle, she closes her eyes.
By the time Nicholas reaches the stables, Captain Wolcott, the head of the Palace guard is waiting for him as he walks out. Captain Wolcott is a rather thin and lanky man. He has thin brown hair and pale blue eyes framed by thick bushy eyebrows. His face is angular with a hooked nose that almost seems to big for his face. His mouth is small and his lips seem to stay in a thin line at all times. Nicholas can not remember a instances where he had seen him smile.
He is also several inches short than Nicholas. What he lacks in personality he makes up for in military matters. And for this, he has been promoted rather quickly through the ranks of the Palace guard. As the Captain is walking across the courtyard, Nicholas realizes that he has never seen the Captain in anything other than his uniform. He has never known the man to go out socially. In fact, he has never had a girlfriend, let alone a wife and he has no children as far as Nicholas knew. “Sir, how am I to insure your safety…?” He asks, as he falls into step with Nicholas.
“Relax Captain; I only went down the beach. Has Lt. Johnston returned to the Palace?” Nicholas asks, walking towards the palace.
“No Sir. Not that I know of, why?”
“He was on the beach, harassing Sarah. When he gets back, inform him that he is on report and have Captain Reeves decide the appropriate punishment.” Nicholas says, as they reach the formal gardens.
“Yes Sir, your father is waiting in the throne room.” Captain Wolcott says.
“I know. I’m surprised Horace is not out here as well.” Nicholas says, walking across the terrace. After a few steps he turns back around. “Captain, can you do something for me?”
“Yes Sir.” He says, walking over to him.
“Tell Sarah, when she comes back from lunch to send two dozen pink and yellow roses to a Samantha Renton at the resort.”
“Yes Sir.” Captain Wolcott replies, surprised by the request.
Turning away, Nicholas walks back through the Palace garden. He is entering the Palace from the west when his father’s assistant appears in front of him. “Sir, your Father…” Horace says, walking up to him.
“I know. I’m late and I know he is upset. Go tell him that I am on my way. And tell him I was unavoidable detained while I was riding and I’ve got to change. He would not want me to appear at Court in riding breeches and helmet now would he.”
“No, most definitely not Sir.” Horace replies, before Nicholas turns away from him.
He walks through the winding halls of the Palace, passing priceless works of art, ancient tapestries, and porcelain vases filled with every flower in the Palace garden. The hallways and walls are made of wood and marble. He stops outside two large doors, with ornate designs carved into each one.
Reaching for the handle it swings open without him turning it. He stands there in shock at the sight before him; sitting on the couch is a woman, her long red hair flowing around her. She has soft ivory skin, large green eyes, high cheekbones and a generous mouth. He shivers with slight revulsion at the memory of that mouth pressed against his a couple weeks before. “Nicholas darling, you’re back.” Julia softly purrs, getting up and meeting him as he closes the door behind him.
She wraps her arms around him, before he has a chance to move away, pressing her slender body to his. He stands there making no move to hold her. “What are you doing here Julia?” He asks his voice hard and controlled.
“I was waiting....” Julia says, but Nicholas interrupts her.
“I don’t care what you were waiting for. I told you last night that our date was a one time thing.” Nicholas says, pushing her away from him.
“Surely you would like another....”
“No, I would not. I did not want the last one. You were a fill in…”
“Don’t say that Nicholas, there was…”
“There will never be anything between us. Now please, I have a meeting I must get to, I am already late and Father is furious.” Sitting her away from him, he walks into his closet, grabbing a suit he goes into the bathroom, closing the door on her. He locks it and then turns the water on.
Julia stares at the closed door shocked that he walked away from her. Picking up her purse, she looks back at the bathroom door with look of determination as she pulls the door open and then walks out of the suite. “I will be back.” she whispers, before closing the door behind her.
Ten minutes later, Nicholas appears in the Royal Throne Room. There are men gathered in separate corners, dressed in long black robes all in various heights and sizes. His father is sitting on the throne, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and dark blue tie. Looking distinguished with his salt and pepper hair, perfectly combed and in place. His eyes are steel gray with long black eye lashes. His face has an aristocratic shape to it, with a strong jaw line, full mouth and sharp nose and eyes.
When Nicholas takes the throne beside him, his father turns immediately to him. “You are late Nicholas.” He says, speaking precisely.
“I know, I am sorry sir, I was unavoidably....”
“How many times must I tell you that these meeting are very important? You have thrown the whole schedule completely off. Do you realize that?”
“I am sorry Sir. I went for a ride and was unavoidably….”
“How can I expect you to take over, if you can not arrive on time for a meeting?”
Sighing softly, “Can we get started Father?”
“Yes, yes. We must get started; your mother and I have to meet the Wellington’s at the yacht club for dinner.” For the next hour Nicholas sits through what seems like endless discussions about things that seem so trivial to him. Nothing is said at these meetings that benefited the people of San DeMarcos. The only interesting point of discussion is the plans to develop the resort on the other side of the island. “Nicholas, are you paying attention?”
Shaking his head, Nicholas replies. “I’m sorry, Father I was thinking about something.”
“I can see that. I asked if you had anything that you feel needs to be discussed about the resort on the other side of the island.”
“Ah no, Sir.” Nicholas replies
A few minutes later King William adjourns the meeting and the cabinet of advisers file out slowly. When the door closes behind them King William turns to Nicholas, his son and only heir. Watching him for a few seconds, Nicholas once again seems to be lost in his own thoughts, and judging from his expression those thoughts had nothing to do with the meeting his father had adjourned. “What is on your mind?”
“What? Nothing father, I was listening too….” Nicholas looks around the room and only then realizes that the room is empty except for him and his father.
“You have something on your mind besides this meeting Nicholas. At a time when it’s crucial that you be paying attention. If I am to step down in a few months you need to be able to concentrate on the matters at hand. This island is your first priority, not the latest party you went to or woman you have found satisfaction with. You must learn to put all that out of your mind when it comes to affairs of….” King William says, gearing up for a long speech which Nicholas interrupts.
“Yes, I know father. I can not be distracting by anything. I must be totally focused on matters of State.” Nicholas says, mimicking his father and bored with the argument.
“Do not use that tone with me and if you know this then why were you not paying attention? You are the heir to the throne. The people of this island depend on you to lead them into the future. You can not afford to be distracted.”
Losing his temper, “I know this father. And for your information, I was handling… a minor incident on the beach with Sarah and Max. Now if you will excuse me I have some business to attend to.” Nicholas says, getting up to leave.
“What is this business?”
“It’s personal Father.”
“It’s personal.” King William says mimicking his son. “That’s what I’m talking about, you don’t have…”
“I have to meet Patrick at the range father.” Nicholas says, bored again.
“Oh, in that case don’t let me detain you.” Shaking his head, Nicholas turns to leave before William finishes speaking. His mother opens the door and comes in. “Good afternoon, mother.” Nicholas says.
“Good afternoon, Nicholas.” She replies.
“You have him to yourself. I was leaving.”
“Virginia, darling.” King William says, drawing his wife’s attention away from their son for a second before she turns it back to Nicholas
Virginia watches him as he walk away. “What is different about him?” She asks, continuing on into the room.
“Different, dear I saw nothing different in him. He was a little distracted at this meeting probably planning how he was going to beat Lord Wellington’s son, I imagine.”
“No, it’s something else.” She says, still focused on Nicholas.
“I’m sure it’s nothing.” King William says, waving his hand in a dismissive manner. “Are you ready to go to the yacht club?” He asks.
“Must we go there, I….”
“We go to the yacht club every Friday evening dear, why change now?”
“I thought maybe we could try something different, maybe try one of the new restaurants at the resort and maybe a walk on the beach.”
“Why would you want to walk on the beach? All that sand and…”
“It’s a beautiful night. We should enjoy it William.”
“We can enjoy it at the yacht club.” William replies, taking his wife’s arm leading her out of the throne room.
After Nicholas left the throne room, he roams the palace, restlessly. Pulling his cell phone out of his pocket, he starts to dial the number to the island’s resort but hangs up before they answer. Instead his dials his best friend Patrick Wellington and after a couple rings his friend picks up. “Hello.”
“Patrick, I’m sorry to do this again. Nicholas says, walking through the palace.
“Oh no, you’re not canceling on me again. We’ve already put this rematch off twice. Are you afraid I’ll beat you this time?”
“You haven’t beaten me at archery in years. Alright I’ll see you at the club.” Nicholas hangs up and then stands there for a few minutes lost in thought before he turns around and goes back the way he came.
He is walking past his office when a Sarah steps out. “Your Highness, Sir.” She says bowing slightly.
He is nearly past her before he realizes that someone spoke to him, stopping he turns around and notices Sarah standing in the doorway. “I’m sorry Sarah, I’m a little preoccupied.” He says.
“I understand Sir.” She replies.
“Was there something you needed?” He asks.
“I was on my way to deliver these to the messenger.” Sarah says, nodding to the box in her hand. Nicholas doesn’t reply and she stands there waiting for him to say something. When he doesn’t she asks “Are you leaving for the day?”
“Yes, I’m finished for the day.” Nicholas replies still. He turns to walk away.
“Sir, I am taking these flowers to the messaging service.” Sarah says, pointing to the box in her arms. “I was about to meet Patrick at the club. Did you get John home safely?” He asks.
“Yes, thank you. Go easy on my brother.”
“I will.” He replies, with a smile.
Pointing to the box in her hand again, she says. “I was sending these to Sam as you requested.”
“Yes, thank you.” Nicholas says, distracted again.
“Is there something in particular you wanted for the card Sir?”
There is a few seconds of silence and then Nicholas realizes that Sarah is still waiting beside him. Shaking his head he tries to shake the thoughts of Sam that has filled his mind since he left her on the beach earlier that afternoon. “Is there something else Sarah?” Nicholas asks, looking at her.
“These are the flowers you ordered for Ms. Renton.”
“Yes, what did you put on the card?”
“Nothing sir, I was going to sign the card your standard signature.”
“No, there has to be more.” Nicholas says, walking into his office.
Taking a seat at his desk. It’s large, taking up the majority of the room. Made of wood, native to the island. It’s simply covered with a protective coat of clear polyurethane to bring out the woods natural color and grain. Behind the desk is a large leather Executives chair. The desk is littered with different folders and loose pieces of papers, and messages. He rummages through the papers until he finds his favorite pen, before he looks up at Sarah standing on the other side of the desk. Pulling out his personal stationary, he starts a note.
“Dear Ms. Renton,
I would like to thank you for a wonderfully… He stops for a couple seconds, tapping his pen on his chin before he continues to write. …intriguing afternoon. I hope you no longer feel the need to jeopardize your security to protect one of my countrymen. Perhaps you will allow me to invite you to attend dinner here at the palace before you leave the island. Feel free to come by the palace anytime, When you do, ask for Sarah and the staff will bring her to you.”
My sincere gratitude
HRH, Nicholas Whitfield.
Satisfied with the note he folds it in precisely into three-quarter pieces and slips it into a matching envelope and then in small precise letters he writes Ms. Samantha Renton before he seals the envelope with a sticker bearing his personal seal. When he is finished he hands the letter to Sarah. “Send this note instead of a card.”
“Yes sir. Will there be anything else Sir.” She asks, taking the note.
“That will be all.” Nicholas says as Sarah nods. She leaves followed a few minutes later by Nicholas.
Ten minutes later, Nicholas pulls up to the San DeMarcos Country club and is located in the harbor not far from the resort. Getting out of his car, he hands the keys to the valet as Patrick walks up. They go into the club together. He and Patrick have been friends since grade school. And when Nicholas was sent to school in England, Patrick insisted that his parents send him as well.
They had taken the same classes, ran with the same friends, and even fought over a few women during the course of their friendship, whenever the other needed defending they were together. And neither one could stay mad at the other one for very long. “Are you ready to get beat?” Patrick asks, as they walk into the club.
“If you think you can, remember you still owe me from the last time.”
“Yes, but if I win today, we’ll call it even.” Patrick says. “Beside Sarah’s not ready for you.”
“She’s like a little sister to me. And even if she wasn’t like a sister to me, she’s still working things out with John’s father.” Nicholas says, opening his locker.
“I heard she had a run in with him on the beach today. Why won’t you let me teach the man a lesson?” He asks. When Nicholas doesn’t answer he turns to look over at his friend. “Hello, Nicholas. Are you listening to me?”
“I’m sorry; I’ve got a lot on my mind Patty.”
“Don’t call me that.” Patrick says, popping Nicholas with the towel in his hand.
“Hey, don’t do that. I’m your prince.” Nicholas says, faking anger.
“Oh really.” Patrick says, doing it again.
“Stop it, I hate when you do that.”
“It’s all part of the locker room experience.” They say at the same time, and then bust out laughing. Turning, they finish dressing.
When they are ready, two attendants carry their bows and arrows for them out onto the lawns below the club house. The staff has a series of targets set up for them and runners are waiting to go after the arrows after each shot. There are three rounds and whichever one has the best score out of the three rounds is declared the winner. Nicholas takes the first shot and hit a bull’s eye. “Are you sure you want to put a wager on this round?” Nicholas asks, turning to Patrick
“Step back, and watch a master at work.” Patrick says, stepping up to make a shot once the field is clear.
“A master, how can you be a master when I taught you what little you know about this sport.” Nicholas asks, loosely holding his bow. Patrick’s shot hit outside the bull’s eye. “Well done, old man. But you have to do better than that to win.” Nicholas says, stepping up when the field is clear. He hits another bull’s eye.
“I think I can handle that.” Patrick says, taking his second shot and hitting a bull’s eye this time. “See; don’t get comfortable Your Highness.” He says, as Nicholas moves to take his third shot. This time Nicholas hits outside the bull’s eye this time. “See, never get cocky.” Patrick says, mimicking Nicholas. “Maybe you should follow your advice.”
“I am and I’m not cocky. I’m good.”
The battle went on for the next hour, each moving up and then falling behind in the points. About halfway through the last round Patrick remembers the comment he had made in the locker room about Sarah’s ex and the beach and he brings it up again. “What happened on the beach this afternoon?” Patrick asks, as Nicholas steps up to take his next shot.
“What do you mean?” Nicholas asks, concentrating too hard for a simple shot and Patrick notices.
“Okay, what happened?”
“What?” Nicholas asks, looking at him.
“What, you. You suddenly got tense when I brought up the incident on the beach.”
“I did not.” Nicholas says, taking his shot, which went wide right.
“Now I know something happened. You haven’t shot that bad since you were involved with the girl at university. What’s her name?”
“Who’s name? The girl from university. That was….” Nicholas asks, trying to appear casual.
“No, the girl that’s got you distracted so much you shoot like that.” Patrick says, gesturing towards the target.
Nicholas stands there, not saying anything while his mind fills with images of Sam on the beach, standing between Sarah and her ex, defending a woman she never met. Sam, with her eyes flashing in defiance when he had told she should have gotten help from the resort. Or Sam, standing under the palm tree, smiling at him as he rode away.
They had gone through two more shots and Nicholas had shot so terribly, now Patrick was back in the lead and after Nicholas’s final shot decide to take pity on his friend. “I concede.” Patrick says, laying his bow on the ground and turning to him.
“What?” Nicholas says, snapping back to reality with those words. “Your conceding, why?”
“Why? Because I refuse to take advantage of what or whoever is on your mind. Because after those last three shots, your mind is obviously not on this. So are you going to tell me who she is?” Patrick says, laying his bow on the ground.
“Who, who is?” Nicholas asks, turning to hand his arrow to the attendant standing beside him.
“The woman that has you so preoccupied you can’t shoot straight, literally.” Patrick says, gesturing toward the target thirty feet in front of them as he to turns to hand his bow to his attendant.
“What makes you think it’s a woman? I might have had an argument with my….” Nicholas asks, standing up.
“That had nothing to do with your father or state business. Only a woman can distract you that bad, so tell me. Who is she?” Patrick asks, as they walk towards the club house.
Giving up pretending he has no idea what Patrick is talking about Nicholas smiles as the attendants follow them back to the club house. “Her name is Sam Renton, well Samantha Renton and she’s staying at the resort. She was on the beach today when your ex-brother-in-law was harassing Sarah and John. She got between him and Sarah. Max was about to hit her when I rode up.” Nicholas says, holding the door as Patrick walks in.
“Did you stop him?” Patrick asks, stopping to wait for him.
“Of course I stopped him, but I think if he had hit her, he would have gotten more than he had bargained for.” Nicholas says, walking into the club, nodding to a couple of men when they bow to him.
“So you like this woman.” Patrick asks, walking in behind him.
“I appreciate her standing up for Sarah.” Nicholas says, formally.
“Oh come on, it’s more than that.” Patrick says, as he starts to pull his shirt out of his pants.
“What do you mean?” Nicholas asks, as they walk into the locker room.
“Your voice, you complete demeanor changes when you start talking out her.” Patrick says, following him in and over to their lockers.
“It does not.” Nicholas says, reaching for his other pants.
“It does too, hell; you couldn’t even shoot straight when I brought up the incident from the beach. So, what’s she got that’s got you so shook up.” Patrick says, reaching for his shirt.
“I haven’t got the slightest idea.” Nicholas says, sitting down on the bench behind them. “I haven’t got any idea why she’s stuck in my mind? What it is about her that holds my attention like no other woman has done? What would father say if he knew I’m…? I’m what? I can’t be in love with her I only met her a few hours ago.”
“Who said anything about love?” Patrick asks, but Nicholas doesn’t hear him.
“But yet, I don’t what to think about what it was like before I rode up to them on the beach this afternoon. This is nuts, I can’t be in love with a woman I met a few hours ago. I’m only infatuated with her and it will pass. But I have never met anyone like her.” Nicholas says, turning to look at his best friend. “She has this; I don’t know what to call it... essence about her that holds your attention”
“Oh damn, you got it bad.” Patrick says, sitting down beside him.
“What do you mean I got it bad?” Nicholas asks, looking at him.
“You’re in love with her.” Patrick says.
“I am not.” Nicholas says, standing up and pulling his pants on.
“Of course you are. What’s wrong with that?” Patrick says, standing up as well.
“What’s wrong with that? Imagine what my father will say when I tell him I’m in love with a woman I met on the beach this afternoon. Can you imagine what he would do? He would probably disown me, except that he doesn’t have another heir.
“Don’t worry about your father. Do you want her?”
“Yes, yes I do.” Nicholas replies, smiling over at his friend.
“Then I say, to hell with your father and go after her.”
“He’ll kill me Patrick”
“No he won’t. As you pointed out, who’s going to replace you. And as much as King William is a stickler for propriety he’ll never disown you because he loves the power and prestige that comes with being King. And he would never allow that prestige to pass to the likes of Richard Spencer. Can you imagine Julia’s father as King? It will be a cold day in hell before your father would let that happen.”
“But, she’s a commoner.” Nicholas says, closing his locker.
“So, I’ve always said the palace needs someone who wasn’t so stuck on the title and the power. If we had someone like that we might get somewhere.” Patrick says, reaching for his shoes.
“You know I could have you thrown in jail for half the things you just said.” Nicholas says, as they walk out of the club.
“I know, but you won’t.” Patrick says, looking over at Nicholas and smiling at him.
“What makes you so sure?”
“Because, you agree with me.” Patrick says, “What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know.” Nicholas says, looking towards the beach and the resort.
“I think you do, go see her. What harm can come from it?” Patrick says, nudging him in the shoulder.
“You’ve only scratched the surface, but I think I will.” Nicholas says, as the valet brings Nicholas his car. “I can’t seem to get her out of my head. Maybe if I spend some time with her I can work whatever this is out of my system before my father finds out.”
“Yeah right, maybe, but I doubt it.” Patrick says, shrugging his shoulders as he walks away. Nicholas watches him walk away, before he starts the car and pulls away from the club. It takes him a few minutes to reach the resort and parking in the parking lot, he gets out and walks towards the hotel.