Troy has been so busy since the last time we saw each other at the banquet and I've been dying to see him. I understand that, his stepping into the kings shoes when he's not yet prepared would be very cumbersome and exhausting.
Only wishing I could be there for him and help him ease and lighten the burden.
Moreso, the ban that restricted me from stepping into court hasn't been lifted yet...... so, I was pretty much stuck.
Adrian, on the other hand has been a darling and quite helpful, constantly acting as an intermediary between me and Troy, conveying our secret and open feelings expressed in letters to each other.
Although I was getting comfortable with it, but it was nothing compared to being in the company of my prince physically.
As I kept dreaming and fantasizing of my prince charming, realization hit me hard, I still had to work on deciphering the meaning of my dreams and the connections it had with me.
These thoughts kind of made feel uneasy and lightheaded. The information Echo supplied to me at the annual banquet the other night, remained unscathed, since I lacked the courage to pounce on the anticipated reality.
So much has been happening in the kingdom of lately - some scary, others satisfying. Like that of lord Castor scared the shit out of me........ how could he think of ending his own life with his hands? Maybe he wanted a less humiliating death, I assumed.
Oh..... how I felt for his entire household - wife and children. They must really be somehow grateful for what happened, sadly their happiness will be short lived.
Mostly wondered why the royal family always had endless issues ranging from envy, treason to sabotaging one another or possibly plotting a coup.
These thoughts, some times left me scared to my bones.
It made me worry for myself...... maybe because I assumed they always had many dark secrets hidden, buried deep never to resurface.
Cold shivers ran through my spine uncontrollably at the building cognition in my head.
Stop overthinking Aris!, my subconscious uttered.
Shaking off the thought, I delved back to day dreaming about my prince. His thoughts were the only thing calming me down at the moment.
Notwithstanding, he's been doing relatively well acting as king.......oh king! I quivered breathlessly as I reeled from one end of my bed to the other, throwing my legs in the air exhausted.
This meant, any moment from now, there may be a coronation.....not only that, as Doxa's custom demanded, the marriage ceremony must happen before the coronation.
I haven't even thought of that and it's only one month left for........ oh my God! Would Gemma marry Troy?.......of course she will. The question should be the reverse, will Troy marry Gemma?
Hell No! He loves me so much and wouldn't hurt me again.
Consumed in thoughts, I allowed anxiety and panic to overwhelme me, the image of our last night in the garden at Souli played through my mind.
"Your fiance will be looking for you. Please let me go"
"Fuck Gemma! you are my fiance, your the one my heart chose, your the one my hearts beats for, the one I love - Yes, you're the only woman for me. Please can we talk? I'm dying to talk to you"
"Its okay princess. I understand you. Just take your time and when you're ready to be with me again, let me know. I will be waiting for you because you're worth it. And know that I will never...... ever......trade you for another again"
"I missed you so fucking much........ and I love you.......I have always loved you"
Well, his words from that night where reassuring. He said he wouldn't trade me for another, anytime........that's a profession of love and commitment.
Yes, I know Troy loves me but it was me who wanted time........time to think and process everything all over again if I was really ready to be with him.
And yes...... I am ready to be with him now......to be his princess.......his queen...... whatever he wants me to be.
I'm prepared to rule beside him, rewriting the wrongs and correcting the mistakes that's been made all over the kingdom.....
A faint knock on the door jolted me out of my thoughts.
Jumping up from the bed, I rushed to the the door and unlocked it.
"Ida" I sighed with a slight frown on my face as I called her name.
"My lady....... you have a visitor" She spoke softly.
"A visitor....." I looked at her with a bewildered expression on my face. I wasnt expecting any visitor....not that I know of.
"No my lady......" she answered as I gave her my tell-tell look..
"The duchess requests your presence in the great room" she let out a muffled smile......maybe my mother knows this stranger......I assumed, and followed Ida after stretching out the blue floral dress I wore, hoping to look presentable and regal.
"What the hell......?" I muttered inaudibly stopping in my tracks the moment I stepped into the living room.
What the hell is he doing here? I gasped as my mouth and eyes opened wide.
"Princess......"the duchess smiled once she noticed my presence. "Come on in, you've got visitor.... Lord Paris Argyros of Wayfort"
Fuck!.....Wayfort.....our enemy and yet my mother looks so calm smiling and accommodating.
He smirked at me with a sexy grin on his face as I slowly strolled into the room to where my mother sat still shocked.
"My lady" he stood up, still with that sexy smirk on his handsome face, he took my hands in his, bowed lightly, and kissed the back of my hands inciting me and I resisted every urge to gasp.
His touch was electrifying even though I didn't like it.
No doubt, Paris was charming and hot......but a visit..., what did he want with me? I shook my head disapprovingly.......Troy would not like this at all.....even Adrian if they eventually found out.
"Hello, lord Paris" I forced a smile, at him and quickly a scowl replaced it as I spoke through gritted teeth faintly. "What are you doing here?"
Interuppting our little glaring contest , my mother spoke. "Well my darling....., Lord Paris is a very interesting young man..... and good looking too" she added with a wink at me as I frowned my face deeper.
"Uhm......I think he wants to talk business with you" she grinned again and whispered in my ears as she got up probably to give us privacy "Make him comfortable" she said gigling and walked out.
Was this woman really okay? One minute she says it has to be Troy and now she's setting me up with Paris.
"Uhmm...." Paris cleared his throat, making me aware of his presence again. "Can we....maybe go somewhere more private" his eyes hovering all over the room in admiration. "Nice place" he commented afterwards.
I just stood there stunned and angry....... I know that night I was kinda giving him my undivided attention but right now,....... I admit , his very presence is intimidating and tempting but... God! ..... I'm with Troy....... the king of this kingdom.. I sighed, boasting with pride in my head and blushing.
"Something amusing you.....my lady" He startled me and I scowled at him intensely.
"What are you doing here Paris? What do you want?"
"Well....for starters, I think we both have some unfinished business"
Unfinished business! What's that?
"What are you talking about?" My body stiffened anxiously as I collapsed onto the couch staring at him.
"The last banquet...." he peered at my face searching for an acknowledgement and I gave him.
"Paris.....we were just talking that night and -"
"Before your boyfriend stole you away"
"Adrian's not my boyfriend......he's my bestfriend"
"I see" he chuckled and sat across from me. "And the prince?......He asked scoffing. "Wait isn't the bridal rites beginning tomorrow?......Oh my!... Where does that leave you in all of these, my lady?..."
He smirked. "Because last I checked my sister is the bride-to-be and future queen of this kingdom"
Paris' words were enough to pierce through my soul and into my heart but I was glad I'd accessed the situation before meeting with him.....Troy would never let that happen.
"I don't know where that leaves me lord Paris" scoffed rolling my eyes at him. "But...... time will tell"
He chuckled a bit loud...."Time you say. Need I remind you thats what is lacking, Time, my lady and that brings me to the reason I'm here" He stared at me, none of us uttering a word for a couple of minutes before he broke the silence and chose to join me on my couch.
"You felt it right......" He spoke, pulling my right hand toward his chest, pressing it hard against his hard toned muscular chest which I must confess felt sexy.
Wriggling my hands out of his, I shoved him away from me angrily.
"Are you crazy Paris.....felt what? I felt nothing......and will never. Why are you even here?" I cried out... "What do you want from me?"
"You....." He spoke abruptly and at that instant, my body froze with a parted lips. "I want you Aris...... I want you in my life" He studied my face expecting a reaction, but I wasn't bulging. His breathing became rash and rapid and his hands kept rubbing the nape of his neck. He was frustrated.
"I have never felt the same since I set my eyes on you that night...... it's like you stole my heart....... It's been really difficult to concentrate at all........ I think I'm in love with you..." He confessed, while I gasped awe-struck.
This was the most insane thing I've heard in a long time....... Lord Paris.,.....in love with me..... I was too speechless to speak.....just gazed at him in utmost shock.
"Please......" He took my hands in his again, and knelt infront of me, bringing it towards his chest.
"I won't pressure you..... feel free to take your time and think about how you feel about me....... that's why I came right to you to confess my feelings"
My eyes closed and I took in a deep breath kept to calm my nervous heart and tensed nerves because I had no idea on how and what to respond.
My encounter with Paris was hot,nintimidating and provoking.... what was he thinking.....confessing and professing his ove to me.... that was preposterous and annoying and a bold step on his side.
Knowing fully well how Troy would react to this if I told him..... I decided to bury it and pretend, nothing of such ever happened, hoping Paris would never make an obvious pass at me again.
Back in my room, thinking of a distraction tactics to divert my thoughts from what just happened, I opened my drawer to fetch out the envelope Echo gave to me. I think it was time to face this demon.......and get it over with.
Scurrying back to the bed with the envelope, I poured its content on the bed when a bright coloured paper caught my eyes..... it was purple and had shimmers of gold on it....quite catchy. I picked it up and studied it......a letter.... to who?
Out of curiosity, I opened it and read through its content, I froze staring at it with wide eyes and slightly parted mouth.
With my legs starting to wobble uncontrollably, I could hardly remain standing, so I sat down on the bed still holding the paper.....
What is this?......A letter to Adrian from Echo?
Echo's been in love with Adrian all this while, I couldnt believe it..... Does he even know?
I had difficulty controlling my emotions at that moment.....This was one hell of a revelation to digest.
As I sat there processing the words of the letter, an ounce of jealousy swept through my body...... I knew I loved Adrian alot besides, he's my best friend but Echo......and Adrian......? Honestly, I never saw this coming.
Oh poor Echo..... I felt for her.... why did it have to be Adrian?........ she's so pure and innocent and doesn't need any drama in her life......
Pausing, I relished the moments of that night at Souli.... She looked breathtakingly gorgeous..., kept blushing, stealing gazes and making sneaky eye contacts through the short time I spent with her.
Shit!..... It was Adrian...... Echo dressed up for him and kept looking at his directions..... I gasped, blushing lightly......
This means Adrian knows..... Fuck you boy!...... I laughed at my crazy analysis throwing my head back as I lay on the bed.
"What's wrong with you baby.....? Thought you'd be happy to see me" Adrian smiled at me stroking my hair lovingly.
He was leaning against the table, smirking at me but I wasn't in the mood for his shenanigans. "You know I come bearing good news..... for you"
On hearing that, my head shot up glaring at him "Mmhmm" I hummed, lowering my head down again.
"Hey, don't do that..... talk to me" he whined, using his fingers to tilt my chin up so that I was now staring at him again.
"Adrian it's nothing......." I waived it off and shoved his hands away from my face, peering back into the book I was reading....... deceiving myself.
"Aris what is bothering you...... its been five days since I last you and you dont look happy to see me?" he blurted out coldly.
"That's because you abandoned me for five days......" I eyed him.
Honestly, I didn't even know why I was giving him such attitudes......could it be that I missed him so much.....or was I being overly jealous of him and Echo..... maybe a little of the two.
"Oh....C'mon baby..... you know I wouldn't do that to you..... I was so busy, this whole impromptu leadership Troy assumed is really telling on all of us" He sighed heavily rubbing his hands across his face.
"Hows Troy doing?" I asked in a soft tender voice, concerned.
"Great......but he's fucking stressed. This past week has been really challenging for him especially in taking stern decisions -"
"Hmm, like passing judgement on the queen right?" I arched a brow at him.
"That....and also lord Castor, Ophelia..... the kings health and the search for princess Kathy...."
"Princess Katherine....." he repeated with a frown as I gave him a confused look. "Dont tell me you didn't know.... Troy had a sister?"
"Not for once" I whispered, shaking my head.
"Shit" he closed his eyes briefly, exhaling. "Maybe it was an oversight probably because she's no more here with us"
"Where is she? What happened to her?" My curiosity grew and Adrian withdrew... I knew he didn't want to divulge any information or talk about that?...
"That should be a topic for another day...... Troy's asked me to tell you he's coming into town this weekend"
My face flushed and brightened immediately.... "He's visiting Rythfork?"
"Yes....officially and unofficially"
"What does that even mean?" I giggled apprehensivsely clapping my hands together.
"He's coming for you and secondly for the commissioning of his project here" He licked his lips as he spoke.
The butterflies in my stomach erupted and began dancing as my heart raced in split seconds.... I blushed and kept blushing while Adrian just smiled at me...
"That's why you came?" I asked after putting my emotions into check....
"Yes..... and also because I missed you so much....." he moved closer to me, lifted me up to my feet and pulled me into a very warm hug, burying his face in my hair and kissing it softly while my arms wrapped round his waist......
"You see..... you missed me too" he teased me in a soft low tone, pulling away slightly so that he could study my face... "What's bothering you?" He frowned.
"Would you tell me if I asked?"
"Sure" he smiled revealing those sexy set of teeth and well chiseled face.
Damn!.... who ever ended up with Adrian was going be one lucky lady.
Withdrawing myself from his grip and leaning my back slightly on the table again so that we were inches apart from each other I spoke in a low tone.
"In one month's time Rian, Troy would be getting married....... Is it going to be me or Gemma?"
"Ohh, c'mon baby....." he let out a heavy sigh, cupping my cheek and slowly running his fingers along the muscles of my face. "It's you..... Its always been you Aris.... Let Troy worry about that... you just cheer up to receive him this weekend. Okay?"
"Okay" I nodded... he was about taking his hands off my face when I held onto it. "Adrian...... Are you in love with....... Echo?"
Adrain froze instantly gaping at me as I stared into his sexy eyes searching for his answer but his expression was impassive.
"What are you talking about?" He stammered and withdrew his hands from my face, clenching them at his side.
I breathed out blinking."Just tell me.... please dont lie to me.."
He closed his eyes exhaling. "She told you this?"
"No, I found out myself"
"A letter. I saw a letter she wrote to you?"
Taking a seat away from me, he ran his hands through his hair, exasperated.
"Is this the reason for your attitude?" He questioned after a brief silence.
"Answer me Rian!"
"Are you jealous?"
"Rian" I yelled, scolding a bit too loud....."For heavens sake just answer the damn question"
"Yes I love her. I love her Aris.... just as you're in love with Troy...." he answered bluntly, cold and a raised tone without mincing words.
I gasped beyond belief, breathlessly hoping I never heard the confession which had instantly caused my heart to ache.