Chapter Nine, Season One - Lorain (b)
He nodded and quickly headed to the corner. As he rang the service bell, I began putting all my soiled items on the tray and secured the finished pile of reports as well. But in the back of my mind, I’m still waiting for Laura’s reply.
I can’t stop myself from thinking about her and what she must’ve felt when I acted the way I did. I do hope I would be given a second chance to prove myself to her; that I’m not that bad of a person, to begin with.
Moments later, Gonzalo finally arrived. “You called for me, young prince?” he bowed in front of me.
“Yes, Gonzalo. I’m finished with my breakfast,” I started, handing over the tray. “Here are the reports that I’ve finished. You may send them to James’ study,” I walked to the pile, putting my hand on top of it. “And here,” I then grabbed my letter, handing it to Gonzalo. “This is my response to Princess Lorain. Have this sent out as soon as possible, please?”
“As you wish, Your Highness,” Gonzalo nodded. “I’ll have some of His Majesty’s servants fetch the reports for you.” He bowed and left my room.
I sighed, walking towards the window. Looking out, I could see the servants by the garden. As the usual sight, all of them are smiling. It’s as if they’re already content with the life they have. I wish I could have that kind of genuine happiness in my life.
Out of nowhere, the wind began to whistle. I looked at the window that I left open and the curtains on the side began to swing a bit violently. Moments later, a gust of glistening dust entered my room, landing on the table by the window.
It’s Laura! She has responded!
I rushed over to the table, closing the window to prevent any of the particles from being blown away. With a simple spell, the dust instantly turned into the leaf that I included with my letter to Laura. Inside of it was a piece of paper.
With great care, I opened the leaf, the letter next. It reads,
I don’t understand your instructions and why you specifically asked me to follow them in sending you a reply. But I guess I have to trust you on this one since you’re the one who first sent a letter.
For what happened on that day, on the day that we met, I don’t think it’s worth it to talk about anymore. I guess I’ll brush it under the rug. Maybe something crossed your mind that made you act in such a way and I forgive you for it. We all have moments where our mood suddenly shifts to a different angle.
I’m sorry if I took so long to reply. I thought that maybe you could use some space to get some stuff out of your mind.
I would love to see you again, Robert. I feel comfortable around you and I’m happy to have met a person like you whom I can consider as a friend.
She’s not angry. She wasn’t offended. And she even thought I was going through something that may have caused my sudden outburst. She forgave me too easily.
I have no words for this woman. How come she has this big of a heart to understand and think of different scenarios for everything?
I quickly slid her letter into my pocket, rushing out to the door, and headed to the stables.
On my way there, I bumped into James.
“James!” I exclaimed, stopping.
“Robert,” he greeted back, looking at me with a baffled expression. “Why are you running in the hallway? You know how I feel about that.”
“I’m sorry, I just need to get to the stables as quick as possible,” I replied.
“Stables?” he asked. “Why? Are you going somewhere?”
Oh, great! It slipped. I have to think of a reason, something that’s acceptable. I’m quite late for my time with Lady. I’ve taken the responsibility of giving her baths and everything else that she needs for the day.”
“Didn’t you assign that to one of the servants?” he continued to ask questions. “Why the sudden interest in taking care of Lady?”
I tried my best to calm my nerves. I can’t show him that I’m panicking because if he finds out I’ve been frolicking in the Mortal Realm, he will make sure that I won’t step foot out of the castle. I’ve realized that Lady is my horse and as such, she should be my responsibility,” I started making up an excuse. “As the future king, I must learn to take care of the ones under my wing, am I correct?”
He looked at me in silence for a few seconds, nodding after. “You’re quite right about that. I’m glad that you’re finally understanding what it means to have someone or something under your care.”
I nodded calmly but all of my organs on the inside relaxed after being in such a panic. It’s like they all took a deep sigh of relief.
“Anyways, now that you’re here, did Gonzalo give you my message?”
“Yes, he told me this morning right when I woke up,” I replied, putting my hands behind me.
“Very good,” he answered, heading towards the other side, behind me. “So, do you have any space for your schedule today for a quick fishing trip?” he asked, turning around to face me.
“I’m still juggling my schedule as of the moment,” I said. “Don’t worry, if I find some time during the afternoon, I will let you know.”
“I understand,” he put his hand on my shoulder. “I know what it feels like to have a lot of things to do. It gets tiresome sometimes and like what your mother always says: we all need time to rest,” he continued.
Throughout this conversation we’re having, it’s like I don’t even know James right now. He seems so calm, collected, and speaks to me like a father: something that I’ve been asking for my whole life.
Has he finally realized that now? Is he finally changing for the better?
“Well,” he pulled back his hands. “I will not keep you from your activities any longer. If you need me, I’ll be in my study. Or the library. Your mother has been in there with your sister almost all morning and I do fancy a read myself.”
I nodded, giving a light smile.
“I’ll see you later, Robert,” he walked away, smiling at me before turning around. His sudden smile left me in shock. It’s been a long time since he smiled because of me or smiled after we had a conversation. Most of the time, our conversations would end in him, scowling and snarling at me.
Now, it seems like he’s currently in a good mood, better than any day that I’ve encountered him so far. I shrugged off my thoughts and quickly headed to the stables. I don’t want to keep Laura waiting for me.
Arriving at the stables, I just gave Lady a bucket of water so I could brush her without any distractions when Mallory walked up to me. “Good morning, Robert.”
I sighed at the sight of her.
“Is that how you greet me now? A sigh?” she asked with an attitude.
“Please, Mallory, I don’t have time for this,” I said, raising my eyebrow at her. I went to the wall and grabbed the saddle, checking its state as I walked back to Lady.
“What a nice morning to you, too,” she replied sarcastically.
I put the saddle down on the ground. “What do you want, Mallory?”
“I just came here to see you. Is that a crime?” she asked.
“No, you didn’t come here just to see me,” I quickly answered, stopping her from talking.
She looked at me, standing silent for a few seconds. She sighed as she shrugged, “Fine. It seems like there’s no point in lying to you.” She crossed her arms, “Where are you going this time?”
“Why do you need to know?” I grabbed the saddle again, putting it on Lady.
“Because, Robert, we’re a couple, remember?” she started to follow my every move in preparing Lady.
I turned back at her with an unimpressed look on my face. “Mallory, what did I tell you about this matter? Can’t you get it through your head? Do I have to repeat myself over and over again?”
“Robert, why does it matter if our relationship is real or not?” she complained. “You always remind me of that. Can’t we just pretend that for the time that we have each other, it’s real?”
“Mallory, I only agreed to have a relationship with you so you won’t bother me all the time,” I walked forward to her, causing her to step back. “I did not promise you that I will pretend that everything is real between the two of us. I can lie to you but I can never lie to myself.”
“You’re being unfair to me, Robert!” Mallory responded, stomping her feet. “You said you’re doing this for me! Why can’t you at least pretend for me?”
“What did I say when I agreed to this relationship? Would you be so kind as to remember and tell me again,” I crossed my arms, raising an eyebrow.
Her eyes suddenly moved from side to side. She was frantic, in a panic to remember what I told her, I think. But also, I guess she’s trying to find another loophole from the deal. “I don’t care what you said. This relationship is real to me so you have to honor that!”
I sighed and turned back to Lady. I began to lock the saddle without saying anything else to Mallory. This constant bickering with her is just exhausting. And I thought I was going to have a bit of peace if I agreed to be in a relationship with her.
“Robert,” she suddenly put her arms around me, locking me with her hands.
I removed her hands, gripping her right hand with my left. “Don’t you ever do that again, Mallory.”
She shook my hand off hers. “Why? Why can’t I hold you? Why can’t I touch you? Why can’t I have the privilege of feeling that even just for once in my life, you truly love me?”
I moved my face closer to hers, “Because I don’t and I never will.” After putting apples in the saddlebag, I hopped on Lady and went on my way.