After a while of me sobbing gently onto Riley’s shoulder, and him gently stroking my back – saying nothing other than it’d be alright – I’d finally managed to collect myself. I walked over to his bed and sat, not quite sure how to explain what had just happened. “Umm… About that…” I began. He came over and sat beside me. “Don’t worry about it.” He said.
As he leaned closer to me, I had a hard time meeting his eyes out of sheer embarrassment. I hardly ever, and I mean ever cried in front of anyone; I wasn’t happy with my lack of composure. “If you aren’t ready to talk about whatever happened, don’t force yourself. Are you alright?” He asked. I nodded sheepishly. “Then that’s all that matters.” He said.
“Would you still like me to walk you over to the King?…” He began. “No!” I said quickly turning towards him, finally meeting his eyes. “I most definitely would not.” I’d barely had time to wrap my head around the thought of Sebastian being… the prince… The chance of running into him now while the king spoke to me was not something I think I could handle. I’ve shown enough emotions for one day.
“Very well then, what should I tell him?” Riley asked. I ran a hand through my hair and began to brainstorm; saying that I’d forgotten, or didn’t feel like going would make me seem quite presumptuous. I figured a little lie wouldn’t hurt. “Could you tell him I wasn’t feeling well. Just say I’d eaten something that didn’t sit well with me… though I’d hate to make you lie…” I said.
As I let out a sigh, wondering how exactly the King would react to such a statement, Riley reached for me. I wasn’t even sure whether or not the king was already mad at me, would this upset him more?
“Relax.” Riley says while gently resting his hand on my arm. “I’ll take care of it.” I looked down at his fingers and felt some of my stress disappear at his touch. “Thanks.” I said. “You’re more than welcome to stay here if you’d like.” He said. “If you get uncomfortable, there are some spare clothes in that drawer, he said pointing towards the back wall of the room. “I’ll see you when I get back.” He said while getting up and exiting.
I accepted Riley’s kind offer and stayed in his room. I was definitely not up for running into the others and faking a smile. I also borrowed one of his hoodies, as he was right about me getting uncomfortable in those clothes.
I felt emotionally and physically drained; as I lay on his bed I let my thoughts wander… Why had my initial reaction been to cry? It wasn’t the mere fact that Sebastian… or Stefano had withheld information, for I had done the very same thing… nor was it the fact that he was royalty; what girl in their right mind would be unhappy to hear that the guy they were dating was a prince? No… this feeling of humiliation stemmed from the fact that nearly every time Sebastian and I spoke, life in the kingdom was always broached as a topic of conversation.
And I – idiotically – told him everything I thought was right and wrong with the country; wearing my heart on my sleeve, despite it being normally in my better nature to keep my true feelings and emotions to myself. I was so love-struck, I’d essentially poured my heart out to someone who could’ve only been interested in hearing these things to assess how well of a job his family was doing in the eyes of the public. Suddenly those hours of chatting that seemed to be in attempts to know one another out of mutual attraction warped into something tactical and cold. Did he even genuinely care?
I eventually fell asleep amidst all the thinking I was doing. Riley! I thought with a jolt. As I got up, I noticed it was slightly darker both outside and in the room.
The lights that had been on were now off, and it was well past four in the afternoon. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Riley sleeping on the couch.
I’ve been here for over five hours… I tried to get up soundlessly, but the bed creaked rather loudly as I moved. Riley stirred awake.
He yawned, “How are you feeling?” He asked once he finished stretching. I noticed, with a slight blush, as he raised his arms, that he wasn’t wearing a shirt.
“Loads better.” I said, doing my best to avert my gaze from his chest. “How’d it go?” I asked, suddenly curious as to how his interaction with the King went.
“Come on, I’ll fill you in over something to eat.” He replied.
A short while later, we were in the kitchen and I was making some food. On the walk over Riley had told me that the king was more concerned than offended when he told him I wouldn’t be able to come. And at the moment, everyone in this wing, essentially all of the Elite, were over at the castle discussing the start of the contest… With the King, Queen… and the prince. I was grateful for being able to evade that encounter. I figured I’d just have Kala or Riley himself fill me in later.
I ate in silence and Riley opted for just a coffee, saying he wasn’t hungry. Odd, as it was his suggestion to come here. He didn’t say anything else after filling me in and didn’t ask why I was so distressed earlier, he was giving me some space and I liked that.
I was used to my family grilling me about what was bothering me until I broke, but I really would rather not say anything on my mind unless I myself wanted to share. Thinking of my family made a smile unconsciously.
After I’d finished, Riley offered to walk me back, although no one was home and I certainly knew the way. I could tell he was discreetly checking if I was actually alright and not putting on an act. I kept my eyes on him as we walked.
I was grateful to him in more ways than one. Before I could attempt to express my gratitude, he turned towards me as we were nearly at the door.
“Well I’ll be off then, the others should be back soon.” He says. “Oh, right…” I said. “Take care.” He says as he begins to turn away. “Wait!” I say before he leaves, “Thanks… for um, lending me your hoodie.” I say. “I’ll be sure to get it back to you soon.” I was so great at dumping all my feelings to Sebastian, why couldn’t I express just how grateful I was to Riley? “No rush.” He says with a smirk and walks off.
I enter my room and gently fold away Riley’s lent clothes and pull out a towel.
I figured I’d let my thoughts wander some more in a hot shower… Would I be behind if I didn’t hear what I was missing along with everyone else? The guys already expressed interest in Gen this morning… What would the girls think about Sebastian?
The others still weren’t back yet when I’d gotten out, but someone had definitely been in the room.
A piece of paper lay on my bed, and after glancing around to make sure whomever left it wasn’t still here, I walked over to it.
It was a letter from Gen… or should I say Princess Genevieve. It read:
I’ve heard from my father that you were supposed to have met with him this morning, but are unwell. If this is true, I wish you a speedy recovery. If this is not the case however, and your reluctance to meet with him stems from a desire to distance yourself from Sebastian and myself because of the truth about our lineage that we withheld – I’m sorry. If you feel betrayed or angry, I understand, but would rather you not feel this way. Will you give me a chance to clear up any misunderstandings? Meet me in the library whenever you come across this. Whether you decide to make an appearance or not, I’ll be waiting regardless.
I debated going, but my curiosity got the best of me and within ten minutes I was in the library. I wanted to hear what she had to say.
I looked around but the princess was nowhere in sight.
Suddenly the bookcase to my left shuddered and a portion of it opened.
I walked over and peered behind the case into the newly revealed opening – it was pitch black. I took a breath and stepped forward into the darkness…
Thanks for reading! First off, I’ve posted an update, so make sure to check that out~ Secondly, I’d like to know what you thought. This chapter didn’t have much action, but I attempted to let you peer into Irene’s thoughts for a bit so you could understand her character better. The next chapter is much more eventful… or maybe informative is the better word~ There’ll be several flashbacks, and that’s all I shall disclose 🙂 If you don’t read the update, I’ll let you know here that instead of my usual two chapters a week I’ve cut down to one, and I’ll do my best to get it up on Fridays. Take care~