I lay in bed with Lucian while watching the clouds outside the window. He was sleeping while I was trying to figure out what the clouds looked like. One of them looked like a butterfly while the other looked like a scared ghost.
A scared ghost? That was funny but I didn’t laugh or smile.
When I was younger, every time I felt sad I would watch the clouds. They would move, mix together and look like some funny creature that would make me laugh. I guess it didn’t work anymore. Despite being happy that I was finally with Lucian I was still sad somehow.
Earlier he had told me to tell him everything, but as I started telling him I saw too much guilt and pain in his eyes, so I stopped.
“Why did you stop? Tell me.” He said.
“Lucian, me telling you everything won’t help you at all. It will only add to your confusion. It’s better that you take your time and remember on your own. I will help you.”
He looked at me hesitantly for awhile. “Alright, but just tell me one thing.”
“What do I mean to you?”
I was surprised by the question. Of everything he could ask, of everything he probably wondered, I was surprised that he asked that particular question. Even if he didn’t remember he still cared. He cared of whether he meant something to me or not.
“You mean everything to me. I loved you even when I hated you. I trusted you even when I doubted you. I was scared of you yet I felt the most safe with you. It doesn’t make sense right? But then again nothing made ever sense with you. Even when I disliked you, doubted you and feared you I still fell in love with you. Do you know why?”
He just looked at me. “Because you are Lucian, man of light, my light. You have brought so much brightness into my life that I was unable to see anything else. I could just see your light and your love and I can still see it now.”
A tear fell down his cheek and I wiped it away with my thumb. I didn’t realize that I was crying too before he wiped a tear away from my face as well. Then he drew me into his arms and hugged me tightly.
“I am sorry I can’t remember.”
“It’s alright.” Maybe it was for the better. I feared that if he remembered he wouldn’t forgive himself. Still, some part of me, the selfish part of me wished that he would remember. I didn’t want to be the only one remembering all the precious moments we had together.
He drew me closer and as I lay in his arms he had gone to sleep quickly as if he hadn’t had any sleep for days. And there I lay watching the clouds, happy and sad at the same time until he woke up again.
He squinted his eyes at me, “How long did I sleep?”
“Not very long.” I smiled. “You seemed really tired?”
He nodded. “I have been unable to sleep since…” He stopped as if he was about to say something he shouldn’t. “…for a long time.” He then proceeded. “But strangely everytime you are with me I am able to sleep well.”
“I am glad.” I smiled.
“Hazel, it’s not safe for you here. I will find a way to take you out of here.”
“You don’t have too. I can leave myself, but…but can’t you come with me? I don’t want to lose you again.”
I knew he wouldn’t agree but it was worth trying.
“There are things I need to take care of.” He said.
“Do you really have to? Can’t you just forget everything and start anew with me?”
He put his hand on my cheek and caressed it with his thumb. “I wish I could. But I feel like going crazy if I don’t punish anyone.”
I could see it in his eyes. Anger, betrayal, guilt, pain and vengeance. I should let him do what he wants if that gives him even the tiniest bit of relieve, so I just nodded. “Alright.”
“But how will you leave?”
“There are people I trust that can take me out of here.”
“Are you sure you can trust them?” He asked.
“Then why didn’t you leave before?”
I was waiting for you, I wanted to say but that would only add to his guilt.
“I couldn’t reach them but now I can.” I lied.
Pierre was losing his mind these days. First the guard had told him he had seen Lucian then several other guards and maids thought that they had seen Lucian and now the whole kingdom was talking about how his brother could be alive.
But it wasn’t only the talking that had been bothering him, it was the nightmares as well. He had dreamt of Lucian, towering over his sleeping body, putting his hands around his neck and strangling him. The dream would feel so real, that when he woke up in the morning his neck would feel sore and he would find fingerprints on it.
He was probably just being paranoid, but even tonight as he tried to sleep he could feel someone in his room, hiding in the darkness and waiting until he fell asleep so that it could harm him. He began to sweat and his heart thumbed inside his chest. He wanted to call the guards inside but he was afraid that rumors about him being scared of the darkness would spread in the castle. A king could not show fear so he swallowed the lump in his throat and curled in bed shaking and waiting for the night to end.
“Your highness. Are you ill? You don’t seem well.” A maid asked the next morning as she helped him get dressed.
Pierre slapped her across the face. “I am fine.” He yelled. “Stop talking and do your work.”
He was boiling over. He was supposed to get married and strengthen his position as a king, not have sleepless nights because of some baseless rumors.He needed to get married soon so he went to meet Alexander to set a date for the marriage.
Alexander was sitting at the table in the dining room, having his Lunch. When Pierre walked inside everyone stood up and bowed except for Alexander. He continued to eat without even looking up.
There was something about Alexander that Pierre didn’t like much. He seemed very arrogant.
“I hope you are enjoying your lunch.” Pierre said to get his attention.
Alexander put his fork and knife down slowly on each side of the plate then grabbed the napkin and wiped his mouth.
“I am.” He looked up and then he arched one brow. “You don’t look well.”
“I am fine. Thank you for your concern.”
“Oh…I am very concerned. I keep hearing rumors about your brother, that he might be alive. How can I let you marry my sister with such rumors circulating?”
Pierre cursed inwardly. He needed this marriage and these rumors were ruining all his plans. “I thought you were a man who didn’t care about rumors?” Pierre said.
“You thought right. But this is about your brother you see, the one who is said to be the devil’s son. By the way…, I am really curious. Why do they call him that?”
Pierre tried to think, but he couldn’t remember exactly when people started to call his brother the devil’s son. When he was little he just remembered his father warning him to play with Lucian and when he got older he just hated his brother. He always seemed to get all the attention whether it was from soldiers because of his fighting skills or from women because of his looks. Even his own wives and mistresses couldn’t help but stare at him everytime he walked into a room.
He hated that man and he couldn’t count how many times he wished his brother was dead. But everytime he and his father sent him to war, hoping that he would never come back they always got disappointed. Not did he just come back but he came back with victory and as a hero. People seemed to like him despite fearing him and despite the rumors. He couldn’t stand that man and his guts.
“You know people just want something to gossip about.”
“Don’t underestimate gossip. It can cause a lot of damage.” Alexander said standing up. “You need to take care of this mess before the marriage and if your brother is really alive then…”
“He is not.” Pierre cut off anger building inside.
“I wouldn’t be so sure if I was you.” Alexander threw the napkin on the table then strode out of the room.
Lucian, that man, why was he still hunting him? Why could he just never disappear?!
Grabbing the table cloth he threw everything off the table, his face turning red with fury. Some guards and maids came running into the room witnessing the mess he caused.
“I will kill whoever talks about Lucian. Do you understand?!” He yelled.
He turned to the guards. “Behead anyone who talks about him!” He said before stumping out of the room.
As he walked through the halls everyone looked at him as if he was crazed. They kept whispering and staring. He wanted to kill all of them but he would just prove that he was indeed deranged.
He went inside his room and found his wife Elsa there. “Get out. I need to be alone.”
“Your highness, I need to tell you something.”
“Not now. Leave!”
Pierre stopped. “What about him?”
“He says he saw his uncle. Lucian.”
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