Chapter Five - Emotions
I’m making my way to the kitchen, the stables as my endpoint. I was passing by through the hallways when I heard someone call out to me. “Robert?”
I stopped, turning around immediately. It was Nana Olsa. I walked back, meeting her halfway. “Hello, Nana,” I greeted, taking her into my arms.
“What happened during lunch, son?” she asked as we pulled away from our hug.
“Nana, I don’t want to have this discussion right now,” I complained.
She gently held onto my arm. “Walk with me son,” she requested.
I let out a sigh and nodded in defeat. We then made our way to the garden.
“Son,” she started as we entered the garden. “Your father is an affectionate man. Everything important to him, he holds them with great care. The only problem with him is he doesn’t know how to express it so he rarely shows any kind of emotion.”
“How is that the case, Nana?” I asked.
“It’s because of what happened to your grandparents. They loved each other with all their hearts,” Nana began to tell a story. “But she couldn’t handle the pressures of being a royal. Your grandfather was ready to sacrifice everything for her but she feared for your father and his siblings.”
“Elizabeth said the same thing but it happened between James and Mother,” I replied as my brows furrowed, baffled.
She nodded. “When your grandmother left, your grandfather was heartbroken. Because of what happened to them, your father closed his heart to protect himself from getting hurt like your grandfather. He started to care less about you and your sister,” she continued. “What happened to your grandparents happened to your parents. But your mother decided to stay to keep you and your sister safe. Your father regretted that he didn’t show you that he loved you when you were a child. That’s why he’s trying to connect with you now.
“Did he send you to talk to me, Nana? Can’t he just walk up to me and explain everything to me himself?”
“Young one,” she stopped us in the middle of the garden, turning to one another. “How could he explain everything to you when you treat him so coldly? He’s already trying to make a connection with you but you don’t want to accept it.”
Can’t he understand that I don’t feel it? I don’t even see that he’s trying to be a father to me. If he truly is trying to be a father to my sister and me, he should be putting more effort into his actions. Trust isn’t easy to build, most especially to rebuild. Trying to repair a broken trust is the same as playing with a broken mirror: it’s impossible.
“I’m not asking you to consider it now, son,” she smiled at me. “I just want you to think about it.
Mother and Elizabeth have already asked me for this favor. I just don’t understand why they keep on asking me to think about it. I let out a sigh. “I will, Nana, for you.”
“No, son. Do it for your father and yourself,” she blocked my reply. “You two must connect. You don’t know how much he wants you to see him as a father, not just in the title.”
I just gave a nod. I don’t want to say anything else because if I opened my mouth, I will only disagree with her even more. After those two clashes with James and scolding from my mother and sister, I’ve had enough for today. “I have to go, Nana. I’ll see you later when I return.” I kissed her on her forehead.
“Where are you going?” she stopped me, holding onto my arm.
I thought for a moment as I must be cautious with what I’m about to say. “Somewhere that’s not within the castle grounds. You did say I should think about it so I’m going to go and have a change of scenery.”
She cupped my face with her gentle hands. “Do be careful.”
I nodded and proceeded to the stables.
I was busy preparing Lady for another stroll to the Mortal Realm when a hand suddenly attached itself to my arm. I looked and saw Mallory, her eyes puffed and almost red.
She must have been crying all this time.
I sighed as I shook my head. “Mallory, I don’t have the time to do this with you. I have to be somewhere else right now.”
“Please give me a chance to be with you, Robert,” she said. “Give me a chance to prove to you that I can love you more than any woman can. Let me prove myself to you.”
“You already have, Mallory. You’ve proven yourself to be a good friend and sister to me. Let that be the end of it between the two of us,” I slowly removed her hand from my arm. However, as soon as I got it off, she clung to my arm with both hands. “Mallory, don’t you feel sorry for yourself?” I continued, completely irritated. “Do you want me to paint a picture of how desperate you look right now?”
“I don’t care about what I look like, Robert,” she whined. “All I want is a chance to call you mine.”
When will she give up? Can’t she just accept the fact that in her lifetime and mine, there will never be a chance for us because right from the beginning, there was never a chance?
I scraped my hand across my face out of frustration. I just want her to leave me alone. I just want for this conversation, this matter to end here. “Mallory, what do I have to do to make you stop bothering me? What can I do to make you stop crying every time you and I would bump into each other in this castle?”
She held my hand as I could see a glimmer of hope coming from her tired eyes. “Will you do anything just to make me stop crying?”
As she asked that question, I immediately regretted what I said. She’s going to take advantage of what I just said. But if this is the only solution for her to stop disturbing my peace every time an opportunity arises… might as well do what needs to be done.
I pulled my hand back from her grip. “As I recall, you mentioned that if you’re given even just a chance to be with me, you’ll stop bothering me, correct? You’ll stop this overly-dramatic act that you’re currently doing right in front of me, correct?”
“Uh, yes, I did say that,” she quickly nodded.
I let out a sigh; not of relief but defeat. I know that if I get into a relationship with her, it would be difficult for me because I have to pretend and lie to her that I love her. And if I ended the relationship, it will be even more difficult for her.
“I’ll make you a deal, Mallory,” I answered, crossing my arms. “But whatever is in this deal, that is only what I can do for you. Nothing more, nothing less. Do you understand?”
She nodded, paying full attention to what I’m about to say.
“I’ll give you the chance to be with me just so I don’t have to deal with this melodramatic scene for the rest of my life,” I started. “We can be a couple only until I turn twenty-one thousand years old. I think that’s a fair chance for you.”
“Really? You would do that… for me?” she asked, her tone became hopeful. She also started to smile amidst the tears running down her cheeks.
“I’m only doing this because you said you wanted to. And I don’t want to see you crying every time we bump into each other. I don’t like it when people are sad, especially when it’s because of me,” I explained.
She quickly locked me in her arms, saying, “I love you so much, Robert.”
I removed her as fast as I could, my face not amused.
“Please do not do that.”
“Why?” she hugged me once more but I removed her again.
“Robert, I just wanted to show you how much I love you.”
“First of all, you’ve told me too many times today and it’s getting annoying,” I replied. “Second, I don’t like being touched or hugged by anyone other than my mother, my sister, and Nana Olsa. Don’t expect me to be all-loving and sweet, whether it’s in public or in private.”
“Does that mean I can’t even hold your hand in the castle grounds?” she asked, confused.
“Yes, that is also included.”
“But why? If we’re a couple, what’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t we be proud of our love?”
“Mallory, you’re being delusional. I already told you: I don’t love you the same way you love me,” I repeated. “And I’m being careful with my image. My family’s reputation is very important to me and I must protect it.”
“Are you saying that all you care about is your image? You don’t care about what we have?”
“Mallory, this relationship I’m offering you isn’t of any value to me. I value our friendship but if you’re asking me to do the same with this so-called relationship, I can’t do that. I agreed to this so you would stop with your endless proclamations of love,” I explained. “And if I don’t care about my image, we could lose everything. And if that happens, you would love everything as well. Would you want that for yourself? Would you want that for Nana?”
She stood quiet for a moment, staring into nothingness. “Robert… you said we’re now a couple. But you don’t look like you’re happy about it.”
“Because I’m not, Mallory,” I replied, turning around and locking Lady’s saddle in place.
“Then why did you agree if you don’t even want it in the first place?”
I groaned. I don’t know if she’s deaf or she’s playing dumb because I’ve explained this already and she’s asking me the same thing over and over again. “Mallory, didn’t it occur to you?” I asked as I turned around to her. “I did it for you.”
Her lips slowly formed a smile and hugged me again. “You do love me,” she uttered.
I removed her arms from me, holding them firmly as I looked into her eyes. “Let me repeat this for you, Mallory: I did it because I want you to stop professing your love to me. I didn’t do it because of feelings,” I let go of her hands.
“You really can’t love me?” her eyes started to swell again.
I closed my eyes as I let out a sigh, my hands on my waist. I have somewhere I want to be and Mallory is just becoming a nuisance now. “Mallory, no matter what you say or do, I love you as my sister. All I can give you is friendship.”
“Now that we’re a couple, why don’t you try loving me for real?” she asked as she started to cry.
I sighed as I made sure that the saddle is locked in place. I then turned back to her. “Mallory,” I gently wiped her tears. “Look, I agreed that I will be yours until my next birthday. A year isn’t enough to know if you truly love someone.”
She sniffled. “I know you can’t offer any more than what you incorporated within the deal but… can’t we be together for the rest of our lives?”
“You know I can’t Mallory,” I replied. “You know that I already have a fiance. And once I turn twenty-one thousand years of age, we’re to be wed.”
“So, you’d rather marry someone you don’t even know than to be with someone who knew you since birth?”
“Mallory, I have no other choice. It’s a decree from my parents and hers,” I answered, hopping onto Lady after. “And like what I’ve said many times already: I see you as my sister. Therefore, I can’t be with you.”
And with that, I gave Lady a light kick on her side and we went on our way back to the Mortal Realm.