“Did you guys fight?” Gina asked when Heaven came back to her room.
“He is angry with me. I thought he would come around, but he keeps being bitter. He doesn’t even give me a chance to explain.” Heaven complained.
“What did you fight over?”
Heaven was about to reply when she realized she hadn’t told her friend anything about what was happening with her and Zamiel. She had been afraid that everyone would judge her for being with the man who abducted her and hurt her family and friends.
He even hurt Gina. How was she supposed to tell her?
“Ohoh, you have that look again.” Gina said.
“What look?” Heaven asked.
“The look when you are hiding something. Come one. You know you can tell me anything. I am not my brother.” She smirked.
“You might not like me after I tell you.”
“Nothing in the world can make me dislike you.” Gina assured.
Heaven looked at her friend for a moment. She knew Gina was the least judgemental person on earth and she had never fought with her or stayed angry with her.
“Alright, I’ll tell you everything from the beginning.”
Heaven told Gina everything she could. How it first started with the dreams to how Zamiel marked her and wanted to kill her. She told her he was actually alive and not dead and how the mark faded away. She even told her about her encounters with him, what the witches did to him and his family, and that he now was fighting the urge to bite her. Heaven didn’t leave any details out. She wanted Gina to understand why she did what she did.
Gina listened carefully, her eyes widening sometimes, her expression changing throughout the story. Once she finished telling the entire story, Heaven let out a deep breath. Her heart accelerated as she waited for Gina to say something.
“How could you….?”
Oh, no! Heaven thought. Now her friend would hate her.
“How could you keep all this away from me?” Gina asked, demanding an answer.
“I was afraid you would be angry. Are you not angry?”
“Heaven! Don’t you trust in our friendship enough? You have been going through all this alone when I could have been there for you, stupid girl.” Gina scolded.
Tears of relief fell down Heaven’s cheeks. It felt like a mountain was lifted off her shoulders.
Gina came over and hugged her. “Don’t cry. It’s alright.” She assured. “I am glad you told me. Besides, I was the one who suggested we go there, so it’s all my fault.”
“No, it’s not.” Heaven shook her head. “It’s my fault.”
“Never mind who’s fault. What happened has already happened. Now tell me. Do you like this man?”
Heaven had to think. She wasn’t sure what liking in this case meant, but she worried for him, thought of him, maybe even missed him. He made her feel a certain way. She couldn’t quite explain it.
“I don’t know. I thought it was the mark at first, but I keep thinking about him even now.”
“Heaven mating is beyond the mark. The mark itself can’t do much if there aren’t any feelings involved. I am sure what he is fighting is more than the urge to bite you. He is fighting his feelings for you because that will affect his urge to bite you. Had he known you longer and his feelings for you had been stronger, he would not have been able to fight the urge one more day. Fighting the urge the first and the second time is not the same.” Gina explained.
Heaven didn’t have much knowledge on how the mark worked, but she never cared to know before. Now she needed to learn everything about it.
“What do you mean? What is the difference?”
“The first time can be controlled to some extent because both must consent to it before it happens. The second time is almost impossible to control because you already belong to him. The reason he had been able to control it is probably because the feelings are not fully there yet. He hates witches and therefore he doesn’t trust you, yet.” Gina continued.
“He is far from trusting anyone.” Heaven said.
“I don’t think so. I mean, he is fighting the urge to renew the mark. He feels something for you. But is the reason you wanted to allow him to bite you only because you pity him? I think you like him more than you realize.” Gina was thoughtful.
Heaven recalled the moment he drew her into his arms. It felt so natural, as if she belonged there. Her heart had fluttered at his closeness and despite how horrible he looked, he was beautiful in her eyes at that moment.
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“I don’t know.” She said shaking her head. She was afraid to admit.
What if she admitted, and he left her?
Gina studied her quietly. She knew her all too well, so she said nothing. She just smiled.
Heaven was still surprised. She thought her friend would tell her to be careful or warn her not to be with him, maybe even scold her, but she seemed rather accepting and happy about it.
“I need to go back home.” Heaven said standing up. “There is a lot I need to learn.”
“Of course. My friend is becoming a Queen.” Gina smiled.
“It’s nothing to be excited about.” Heaven muttered.
Gina frowned. “Why do you say so?”
Heaven sighed. “Because I need to rule for the right reason. I just… wanted to rule over my life.” She shrugged.
“Well, that is a good start. You can’t rule over other people’s lives if you can’t even rule over your own. Once you feel confident enough to rule over your life, only then can you find a reason and a purpose to rule over others.”
Gina was too wise for her age, and Heaven always appreciated her friend’s advice. “I need you by my side, friend.” Heaven smiled.
“Always.” Gina smiled back. “Now go and rule over your life.”
Heaven went back to the castle, feeling more confident and at ease. She was glad for the wonderful people in her life who supported her no matter what. Holding her head high, she went into the meeting room. As usual, she listened and observed carefully the way her father led the discussion and the way he announced his decision.
It was with absolute finality and confidence. But she could see that he listened carefully to their debate and took what they said into consideration. Heaven realized that state affairs related to economics were the area where she lacked most knowledge. She would make sure to study it more.
As soon as the meeting ended Heaven hurried to look for Lincoln. He was speaking to some soldiers in the hall when she found him.
“Your Highness.” He bowed.
“Lincoln. Can you find me a tutor? One who is very skilled in economic affairs.”
“Of course, Your Highness.”
“Thank you. Could you also arrange for me to meet General Kian?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
General Kian would be a good person to learn from about the people in this kingdom. Lincoln would also be a good source of knowledge, so she decided to follow him for a while and ask him questions she had. Lincoln was patient and provided her with the information she needed.
“Your Highness, you are overexerting yourself. You can’t learn everything in one day.” He told her.
“I just want to find to find the right reason to rule.” The comments made about her still hurt her.
“In my opinion, there is no right ruler or right reason to rule. Rulers don’t choose to rule, they are born into that position. There are only good rulers and good reasons to rule. His Majesty wanted to rule because he wanted to protect the people he cared for, not because he wanted to be a ruler. You need to find a good reason for you to rule.”
A good reason? What could that be?
Before she knew it was already time for lunch. Heaven went back to her room while her head imploded with more questions than answers. This would not be easy, but it was definitely fun. She learned a lot of new things and she wanted to know more.
As she walked into her room she was surprised to find Zarin inside, sitting on her sofa.
“What are you doing here?” She asked.
He stood up from his seat and looked at her. “I came to apologize. I am sorry.” He said.
“Which part are you sorry for? The part where you called me selfish, or that you just left every time without letting me explain, or the part where you have been ignoring me?”
“For all of it.” He said. “But you did wrong too.”
“Yes, which I apologized for and tried to explain had you listened.”
For some reason he seemed surprised by her anger.
“I am sorry.” He said with a frown. “I just didn’t want you to make a mistake.”
Heaven sighed, trying to calm herself down. “Zarin, as a friend you don’t need to agree with my choices. I don’t agree with you sleeping around with women, but I never left you or ignored you for it. As for what happened last night, I apologize again. If you let me, I would like to explain.”
Something changed about the way he looked at her. Heaven couldn’t tell if it was a good or a bad change.
“I’ll listen anytime you need me to.” He finally said.
Heaven shoulders dropped in relief. Her friend was back.
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