The Prince's Mate

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Chapter Nine: Resolutions

I spent three days by myself in that room. I curled up on the bed, not bothering to do anything. Seb didn’t come to see me. Only the maids came and went. They brought me food, but it all went untouched.

I felt like I was suffering from déjà vu. Seb and I’s relationship had just been reverted back to square one, it was like I had just gotten to the castle instead of being here for weeks. I sighed and curled up on my side, pulling the blankets tighter around me. I looked around the room and almost laughed; ever since I snapped and broke all of the Prince’s things everything with value had been removed from his room.

Seb’s mark had settled, it was no longer an angry red and it wasn’t raised off of my skin anymore. I often touched it, trying to get used to the fact that it was going to be on my skin forever.

“Why me Goddess?” I whispered to no one.

There was a knock on the door and I didn’t bother to move. It was probably just one of the maids here with more food I wouldn’t eat. The door creaked open and I cringed as the light from the hall filled the dark room; the light made my eyes hurt.

“Serena?” I heard a voice call.

I looked over and saw Cal standing in the doorway, “Yeah?” I murmured. My voice was thick and crackly since I hadn’t drunk much water.

“Goddess,” he murmured. He walked in and shut the door behind him.

I chuckled, “If Seb knows you’re here he will hang your head on his wall.”

Cal smiled at me, “Seb hasn’t come to this side of the castle for three whole days. He’s avoiding talking with you. He’s upset with himself.”

“I’m upset with him too,” I said dryly, “At least we have something in common.”

Cal frowned at me, “Have you moved at all?”

I shook my head, “There’s no need to, this bed is wonderful.”

“Come on Serena, this is pitiful.”

I glared at him, “If you’re just going to be annoying then you can leave Cal.”

He frowned, “Have you even eaten anything? You’re wasting away under those silk sheets.”

I shrugged again, “I lose my appetite when I’m emotional,” I told him. He walked over to Seb’s desk where three plates sat with large metal covers over them. He opened one up and whistled.

“There is a steak right here with your name on it, mashed potatoes on the side. It’s a little rare but hey, you’re part wolf right?” He winked at me and covered the plate again and moved on to the next one.

“Oh, this must be breakfast,” he said, “French toast covered in icing sugar and homemade maple syrup. And would you look at that! Bacon on the side, how can you resist?” He picked up a piece of bacon and popped it into his mouth and he looked over the next meal.

“Wow, this one looks pretty darn good. Home made mac n’ cheese. It really doesn’t get any better than that Serena, if you don’t eat this one than I will.”

I laughed and sat up, as soon as I did, hunger attacked me. I gasped and clutched my stomach as it rumbled. Cal stared at me and I realised how much weight I had lost since coming to the Palace. I ate worse here than I did back home. My wrists were frail looking and my chest and face was sunken. Every time I moved my bones would crack, causing both Cal and I to wince.

“Serena, this isn’t funny,” he said to me.

I looked down at my hands, “I know.”

He brought over the mac n’ cheese and handed me a fork. “Don’t eat too much you’ll make yourself sick.” I nodded and scooped some food into my mouth. It was cold but still tasted good. “You can’t do this to yourself over Seb,” Cal told me.

“I know,” I sighed, “It’s not just him. It’s everything. It’s being away from home; it’s coming here and being away from my sister. Everything’s different. A part of me hates it. But another part of me was starting to like it here, almost I mean.”

Cal frowned, “I wish we could bring your sister here Serena. Maybe I can talk with my parents.”

I gave him a flat look, “You? Talk to your parents? Every time you are in the same room with them you fight.”

Cal laughed sadly, “Yeah, you’re right. I can see if Seb will talk to them.”

I smiled and ran my hands over the silk sheets, enjoying the feeling of them. “I can’t believe he marked me.”

Cal sighed, “Yeah, well he isn’t the smartest.”

I looked up at Cal and asked, “Did I overreact?”

Cal shook his head, “Nah, if I were you I’d be pissed. I think he over reacted. I mean he has to realise what it’s like to be you. But you didn’t help with the whole running away thing.”

I cringed, “Yeah I know I didn’t. I wasn’t even sure if I was still thinking about leaving at that point. Everything was just a lot to take in, and the words just flew from my mouth. And then he started to talk and he gets me angry when he talks.”

Cal laughed, “You two set each other off like fireworks. Your personalities are too similar.”

I looked down at my hands, “I think more than anything else I was disappointed.”

Cal titled his head to the side, “How so?”

I sniffled, “I mean, I was starting to get to know him better. I thought we had reached a whole new level. We were having a great time, connecting, getting to know one another. And then he just snapped, he fell right back into his old self. It makes me wonder if the time I spent with him was just a facade. If that version of him is sitting there, right under the surface, how will I know if he’s ever sincere?”

Cal was quiet for a moment before he said, “I don’t know him that well anymore. I realised that soon after getting here. He’s different. But I don’t think he’s unreachable. I don’t think you ever lose who you truly are, and he was such a good person. Kind down to his bones. I think he was just overwhelmed. Much like you were.”

I bit my lip as I mulled over his words, “He shouldn’t yell at me though.”

Cal raised an eyebrow, “You like to provoke him too Serena.”

I tossed him a small smile, “I know I do.” I scooped another couple of mouthfuls of macaroni and cheese into my mouth before I kicked the blankets off of my legs. At first, my bones cracked due to lack of use. But soon they loosened up.

Cal winced, “I can’t believe the maids let you waste away under these sheets.”

“Don’t blame them, they were nice enough to bring up the food for me, I just didn’t eat it,” I reasoned.

Cal shrugged, “They didn’t do it because they care, it’s because they are paid to bring your food to you.”

I frowned, I had watched the maids come and go the last couple of days and I didn’t miss the worried glances they shared. “I don’t know, I think they care to a certain degree.”

I moved over to the closet and shut the door, cutting me off from Cal. I pulled on a pair of soft grey sweat pants and a loose, blue t-shirt. I didn’t bother doing anything with my hair, it laid down my back in soft waves.

“Where are we going?” Cal asked when I emerged from the closet.

I smiled, “To go find Seb.”

Cal’s eyes nearly popped out of his head, “What? You are going to look for him? Am I dreaming?”

I gave him a flat look, “No, I just figured I’m going to have to step up. Maybe it’s the mark talking, or maybe it’s me. But I know he won’t want to see me unless I approach him first, he’s upset with himself.”

Cal looked blown away, “I think three days of solitude and starvation has matured you.”

I punched his shoulder lightly and grinned at him, “I think you’re just an idiot.” I didn’t know what I would do without Cal. He was stable, he was a friend.

“Well then, let’s go find Prince Charming.”

“Ha, ha,” I said dryly. I followed Seb out the door and walked beside him. I wasn’t sure where Seb was hiding out so I shuffled after him. We came to a corridor I had never been to before and I wondered idly just how big the Palace was.

“Down here,” Cal said. We walked to the end of the hallway and stopped in front of a mahogany door. There was a distinct murmur of voices from inside and both Cal and I pressed our ear to the door at the same time.

“Serena, I’m sorry—Serena I didn’t mean— Serena I wanted to apologize—that’s no good. Oh Goddess.” I pulled away from the door and felt my stomach flip. Was he really practicing what he was going to say to me?

Cal raised his eyebrows and looked at me, jabbing his thumb towards the door. I mouthed, “I know,” to him and smiled. Seb was sorry.

I didn’t bother knocking; I just walked into the room. I ignored Cal’s protests and Seb’s shock and walked right up to Seb. “You’re forgiven,” I stated. I wrapped my arms around Seb’s waist and pressed my cheek to his chest, enjoying the electricity that flew between us.

I don’t know what came over me; maybe it was the mark on my neck. Or maybe I was starting to grow closer to Seb. Seb growled lightly and I felt his chest vibrate under my face. I laughed and squeezed him tighter, not realising how much I had missed him. How did I miss him?

“This is weird,” Seb said nervously.

I pulled back and smiled up at him, “You were practicing.” Seb’s face went scarlet and I laughed, to see him be embarrassed over me—the future King of all the wolves—was extremely gratifying.

“Uh—yeah? Did you hear that? Goddess,” he murmured.

Cal smiled at the both of us and took a step back, “I’m just going to go now, my work is done.”

Seb stared blankly at his brother as Cal turned and left, leaving us alone. Seb took advantage of our position and nuzzled his face into my neck. The tip of his nose scraped along my mark and I jumped up, not expecting the surge of energy that flew through me.

“What was that?” I gasped.

Seb’s green eyes looked confused, “What was what?”

“Didn’t you...” I raised a hand to my neck and realised that I didn’t feel the sparks when I touched it. Without asking I grabbed Seb’s hand and placed it on the mark. I jumped again and Seb laughed.

“It’s sensitive to my touch I guess,” he told me.

I blinked a few times, “Whoa, intense.”

“Can I ask why you are here?” Seb saw my expression fall and quickly added, “No! I mean—I want you to be here—only the Goddess knows how much. I—I just thought I was going to have to be the one to reach out. I didn’t expect you to—”

I shrugged, “I had a sudden change of heart I guess.”

Seb nodded slowly, “Well, I want to apologize. My wolf was totally out of line—marking you I mean.”

“It’s alright, I don’t mind so much,” I said. Seb stared at me as if I were an alien and I blushed. “I mean I would be upset, if I could, but I can’t get mad at you because of the mark.”

Seb’s face fell a little, “Right. Well, I am sorry. And I’m sorry for what I said. I don’t want to be like that anymore, it’s just that my wolf has a ruthless streak, he has to if he is going to make decisions that will eventually effect all the werewolves in North America.”

I nodded, “I understand. And I want to try, because I know that no one else will ever be able to do this—” I grabbed his hand and shivered from the sparks that flew through my arm. “You’re my mate, and I want things to work, but there are things that need to change.”

Seb nodded, “I know, but we have so much time to speak about that. Would you like to go play some piano? Maybe we can swim? I had the maids turn up the heat, so it will be warmer.” Seb stared at me, stars in his eyes.

I shook my head and he frowned, “No, I don’t want to play piano, and I don’t want to swim.”

“Okay, well we have a bunch of movies we can watch and a home theatre.”

I shook my head again, “No, I want to talk about it now.”

Seb took a deep breath, “Okay, where would you like to speak?”

“Let’s go on a walk,” I suggested. I took his hand and together we walked outside. On the way we picked up jackets and Seb grabbed a granola bar and an apple for me to munch on, my lack of eating worried him.

I munched on my granola bar as we walked through the trees, I felt more at ease out here and I could tell Seb did too. “So, what do I need to improve for you Serena?”

“I need to see my sister,” I stated firmly. This was nonnegotiable. If I went much longer without seeing her, I knew I was going to lose my mind.

Seb’s jaw tensed, “I thought you would be more understanding of this subject seeing as you know the history.”

“Just a visit,” I pleaded.

“A phone call,” Seb said firmly. I shook my head.

“I need to see her in person, I need to know she’s okay, and she needs to know that I am okay. I trust her, and you can trust me, so you can trust her. Please.”

Seb was silent as we walked, and I was too nervous to eat so I just stared at the ground. “Okay. She can come. Is a week long enough?”

I almost burst with joy, I grabbed Seb’s hand and yanked him to a stop before grabbing his face and kissing his cheek. “Thank you,” I breathed. He looked as though he was going to pass out.

“Is there anything else?” he asked, his voice was thick.

“You and Cal, you have to fix that,” I declared.

Seb growled, “My brother and I’s relationship shouldn’t and doesn’t concern you.”

“He’s my friend Seb,” that earned a growl from him, “And I don’t like it when you two fight. Besides, what you don’t know is that Cal was the one who convinced me to give you a chance. He told me what a good guy you were underneath all of the crap. He’s been helping you from my angle, and I want to help both of you now.”

Seb looked broken, “You don’t understand Serena, he is the reason she’s gone.”

I took his hand in both of mine, thankful that I had freed my hands by eating my food. “I know it’s hard to accept, but you can’t blame anyone besides the guy who killed her. Cal was a victim, and he’s sorry.”

A tear fell from Seb’s eye and I felt my heart breaking for him, “Okay,” Seb breathed. He closed his eyes and nodded, “Alright, I’ll try. For you.”

I kissed his hand and pressed it to my cheek, “Thank you Seb, thank you for trying. That’s all I can ask.”

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