Monday, July 20, 2015
Mirror of Dreams - Chapter 20
I was greeted by the Priestesses a little less flashily than before. This was probably because I hadn't given any warning to my visit and only those that guarded the door were on hand. I also felt better about the ride to the Temple since the people weren't lining the road trying to get a glimpse of me. They did stop what they were doing and rush closer, but it was more of a: “Oh hey, there she is,” than a: “I've got to take the whole day off and wait here for her to pass by,” type of feeling.
As usual, after I got inside the Temple and knelt on the pillow, the elderly Priestess offered me a cup of tea. I took it happily since their blend was hands down the best I've ever had. I might just consider coming here regularly to chat simply to drink this tea!
“What brings you here today?” The cute blond transparent man asked me.
“My wish,” I stated, which actually startled him.
“Really? I thought you were here to ask my advice on marriage to King Francis,” he informed me.
“Hmm? You know about that?” I wondered, a bit shocked since it had just happened.
“I know you don't believe it, but I actually am a God. I see almost everything – especially when it concerns you,” he explained patiently.
“Ah, so you're a pervert living vicariously through me!” I stated with a grin. “I can live with that. So, before I get around to telling you my wish, I really want to know... What's your name?”
“What?!” He blurted out in astonishment.
“Well... even you just said that you are a God, which means that there are others,” I reasoned with a cheeky smile. “Thus you must have a name. Otherwise that would be like calling me Human.”
“Uh...” he droned on for a few seconds. “Well... if I ever had a name, I've long forgotten it.”
“Really?” I asked in disbelief. “Fine, be that way! I'll just call you Blondie!”
“Wait a minute!” He protested, sounding offended. “That's a girl's name!”
“Would you prefer Hunky?” I asked with an impertinent grin.
“Well, if my choices are Blondie and Hunky, then yes, but can't you pick something a little more dignified?” He wondered. His Priestess look positively scandalized.
“What did my father call you?” I inquired curiously.
“Most beloved God,” he stated, sounding confused that I thought there could be any other answer.
“Uh-huh, well that's not gonna fly with me!” I exclaimed dryly. “Since you claim to be the Almighty, I guess I can call you Bruce.”
“Bruce???” He questioned, more confused than ever.
“It's a movie reference,” I explained with a laugh. “So anyway, Bruce, about my wish.”
He sighed in reluctant acceptance at the name I'd given him, and then shifted in his nonexistent chair. “Yes?”
“After agonizing over it for what feels like forever, I've finally decided that I want to be able to see into my other world and choose how long I am gone and when I go back. It's really becoming a pain in the ass that I can be here months and only gone a second over there! Now that I'll be living with my husband, when he's gone at work, I can just skip all that!”
He looked both amused and curious. “Skip all what?”
“The time that I'm not expected to interact with anyone. Basically, it's getting really hard to handle the stress of going back literally a second after I left. It used to be perfect when I had to worry about my mother wondering where I was, but now, I'm beginning to be afraid that I'll end up living the entire 100 years here and only like five months will have passed there! Can you imagine how hard that would be?! Not to mention, won't I start to look really old?!”
Bruce laughed, sounding truly amused by my aging a hundred years in just five months. “My dear Kaitlynn! You're not going to age any faster than Sophia!”
“What?!?!” I asked, floored by this news.
“Well... Actually that's not entirely true. One of her magic powers is the ability to look younger than she really is. Her body is still aging at the normal rate – more or less – so when it's her time to die of old age, she will, even though she'll still look like she's only 50 or so,” he explained, but still, this meant that I was going to live much longer than I thought!
“Uh...” I had no idea what to say to that! “Okay, setting that aside... How does this work, do I simply say I wish dah dah dah?”
“You wouldn't have to,” he stated with a smile. “But it doesn't matter, I can't grant your wish.”
“Why not?” I wondered with a soft growl of frustration.
He shrugged. “A couple of reasons. First of all, I have no control over that world. At most, I can see into it and manipulate the time difference between the worlds by a few minutes. And by see into it, I mean I can see slightly into the future as well – that's how I was able to see your father's mirror image die before he actually did.”
“Okay...” I stated since I wasn't really required to respond to that.
“But more importantly, I can't give you a power that you already possess,” he said, shrugging his shoulders and spreading his hands wide as if this should be obvious to everyone.
“You can't what?” I questioned, rubbing my ears because I wasn't sure I'd heard that correctly.
“I can't give you a power that you already have,” he repeated slowly.
“But! But!” I protested, having a hard time wrapping my head around this. “But I don't!”
“You do,” he assured me. “You can cross between the worlds from anywhere to anywhere, and you can manipulate the time just a bit as you do so.”
“No I can't!” I roared in outrage. “I've tried!”
He held up a hand to stop me yelling at him, and then smirked at me. “Perhaps, but you didn't know how...”
He looked over to his Priestess, who carefully held up a mirror. The mirror showed a scene from my world – a random one of a stranger singing as he drove his car.
“This is how I look between the worlds,” he informed me. “If I want to see something specific, I simply will it to appear in my mirror. If I want to see the future, I simply will that, but it only works so far... about a day or so, if I'm lucky. When I sent your father across the worlds, I looked for his mirror self, saw that he was about to die, and then carefully searched for the right moment to make the switch. In that way, I manipulated the time difference by a tiny bit.”
“O...kay...” I murmured. I understood what he was saying, but I wasn't quite sure what this had to do with me.
“When your father came to me to ask my advice on his plan to step down and I told him about you being the ideal Heir, he knew that I couldn't just switch bodies like I had with him, so he actually suggested using a mirror as a doorway. I then focused my power on energizing and connecting the mirrors. They work because I activated them, if you will,” he explained, giving me a look like he was thinking: Do you understand now?
“Oh!” I think I actually did! “So, what you're trying to tell me is that all I have to do is activate a mirror and link it to one in the other world, and then I'll be able to travel between them? That's cool! And it totally solves the problem of what I do if I break my mirror! But... how does that make it so that I can control when I return?”
He shrugged. “Once you activate a mirror, you can use your power to see through it. Did it never occur to you to try and spy on your loved ones through the mirror?”
I shook my head. “No! I could never see the other world when looking in either of the mirrors before kissing them, so I figured that that was impossible.”
“Not for you, it isn't,” he murmured. “It's part of your power.”
“Whoa...” I whispered softly. “Is there anything I can't do?”
He heard my whispered question and chuckled. “That remains to be seen, I guess.”
I sat in stunned silence thinking this over for several long moments. To think that I could have controlled this better from the very beginning! It was strange to think about, having so much power inside me.
“Why didn't you tell me this sooner?” I wondered, almost but not quite upset.
“You didn't ask,” he stated as if there was no other option.
I simply sighed as if saying: I figured!
“So... since your word is pretty much law in this Kingdom, can you tell me if you'd have any objections to me marrying someone not from the Ten Royal Lords?” I wondered.
“So you do plan to marry King Francis,” Bruce murmured with a frown.
“No, I have no desire to marry him – even though I am sure everyone thinks that I am here to talk to you about it. Which I guess I am since we're talking about it,” I added with a wry laugh. “Wait, do you think I should marry him?”
“Not if you don't want to,” he stated honestly, looking just a tiny bit relieved. “I cannot see into his Kingdom since I am the God of Rolandia, but I can tell what I have seen.”
“What?” I asked curiously.
“That he's not as... altruistic... as he seems...” Bruce murmured, sounding not quite sure of himself.
“What do you mean?” I wondered.
“Just that I have a good reason to believe that his real motive for marrying you is to bring your Kingdom under his thumb, in affect finally conquering Rolandia once and for all.”
“Oh great!” I muttered sarcastically, and then sighed. “So he's not really our friend or ally after all.”
“Well, I don't know about that,” Bruce responded. “When I read him, he does seem to truly desire peace. His Kingdom is just as weary of war as ours is. I simply think that he would prefer to pacify his people by somehow talking you into more or less surrendering under the guise of a peace treaty. I do not read in him any desire to go back to war if you refuse both his hand in marriage and a treaty that favors his Kingdom. I think you can trust him a little... just not to get married.”
“I see,” I stated as I bit my lip and thought this over. I guess meeting him was a bit too good to be true. I should have realized that he had some sort of ulterior motive. I sighed in disappointment.
“Well...” Bruce prompted. “If not for him, then who did you want to marry?”
“ I want to marry Nathan, but I am pretty sure that I ruined my chance at that for good,” I sighed morosely at that, and then mentally kicked myself for sighing so much. “So, I figure that if I can't have him, and if the Lords insist I marry someone, maybe I can talk them into letting me marry Sir Barrett.”
“Hmm... That's not a bad idea. He is actually of noble birth, he's just not from a Royal House. I am not against the idea. Actually I never said that the ruler had to marry someone from the Royal Houses! They decided that for themselves to keep the rule amongst them. I will admit that I usually agree...” he muttered that last part a bit guiltily.
“Hmm...” I hummed in thought, putting a finger to my lips. “You know, I think I could have a bit of fun with this!”
“And as for Lady Sophia's suggestion that multiple marriages be allowed, well I have never been against that either. The Royal Lords a long time ago made the single marriage law, and if the Royal Lords wanted to change it, they could, not that I think they would...” he dryly muttered that last bit.
“Good to know!” I exclaimed, and for the first time, I got up and left before he disappeared. I turned at the last minute, just as I reached the door, and smirked at Bruce. “Your audience has ended!”
I returned to the palace just in time to go to bed with Nathan. Technically, we were going to bed early, but this was because we liked to keep each other awake for many hours. With him, I knew for certain that there actually was a difference between just having sex for fun and making love with a person that you're truly in love with. Both can be equally as passionate and exciting, but when the heart is involved, it feels like entire mountains move under your bed!
Before we started, I asked Nathan if he wanted to have a cup of relaxing herbal tea with me. Then I pretended to put my diaphragm in. After we were done, we fell asleep, but as usual, I only slept for a couple of hours. I got out of bed and took a fairly long relaxing bath before sitting down to write in my journal.
Since tomorrow I will have to deal with the issue of marriage once and for all, I decided to do something tonight that may make Nathan hate me all the more, but I felt that if I didn't, I'd regret it for the rest of my life!
With that, I grabbed my diaphragm from its case on my bedside table, slipped it inside me, and then went to spend the rest of the night with Lord Antony.
As always, Lord Antony was a divine lover. He greeted me with a tender kiss, then massaged and worshiped me for a good two hours, his tongue reigniting the flames he'd started earlier. He plied me with chocolate and Champagne – getting me tipsy but not drunk – both of which he slathered on my body before licking them up. It was so erotic that I nearly came right then and there!
Now one might think that he was such an attentive lover to cover up a shameful stamina, but when he did finally decide that the time was right to enter me, he lasted pretty much the rest of the night. As a pleasant side effect, by the time we were done, I was able to sleep for a few more hours!
Shockingly, it was the first time in a while that anyone had to wake me up! Which actually kind of sucked... Rather than let us sleep in, people got worried and came looking for me/us. Since it was rare for Lord Antony to sleep in, I personally would have assumed exactly what happened, that we had been up very late and needed to sleep, but no, Lord Gregory is just dense enough that he was concerned that Antony might be ill and had some maids come check up on him.
Now awake, I couldn't get back to sleep, so I decided to just start my day and get it over with. I left Lord Antony dressing in his room as I walked back to my room to wash up a certain part quickly before going to breakfast. Nathan grabbed me by the arm as I walked by after I was done.
“What did you do?” He asked fervently.
“I spent the night with Lord Antony,” I replied honestly, curious as to why he seemed mildly freaked out.
“No, I mean what did you do that you wrote in your journal that I might hate you more than ever now?” He asked, clearly concerned.
I took a deep breath and held it for a few moments. “I promise that I'll tell you later, so can you please drop it for now?”
Nathan sighed in frustration. “Well, what about the marriage thing?”
“Later,” I stated firmly. “Although, you might not want to eat breakfast with everyone...”
“Hmm...” he hummed as he thought this over. “No, whatever it is, I want to know about it. If you're worried that I'll get mad, well, I've had a lot of practice controlling my temper lately.”
“No,” I assured him with a kiss. “I'm not afraid of that. I just don't think you want everyone to see you get hurt...”
“Oh,” Nathan murmured numbly as I walked away.
He followed me all the way to the dining hall where everyone was waiting for us. Even Lord Antony had made it there before us. I somewhat pitied him for staying up with me all night and getting very little sleep. However, he smiled at me in a soft and secretive way that let me know that he was not sorry in the slightest.
I sat down and started with a cup of tea as no less than three varieties of succulent sausages were dished out by the maids. Everyone was quiet at first, and then the tea must have kicked in because it seemed like everyone woke up. Soft chatter passed back and forth until someone finally gathered the courage to ask the all important question.
“So...” Lady Sophia began, trying to figure out how to ask the question politely. “What did our most beloved God say about you marrying King Francis?”
I smiled at her for a moment before smiling at Fritz. “He's opposed to me marrying anyone not born and raised in our Kingdom. After all, I myself am not from here. He thinks that my husband should be a true and devout representative of Rolandia. I'm so sorry Fritz, but I do not feel I should oppose him in this.”
He looked disappointed, but not upset. With a slow nod, he said: “I understand.”
Lady Sophia cast a hopeful glance at her son before smiling at me. “So then... Who did he have in mind to be your husband?”
I purposely remained silent for a few seconds, taking a sip of tea and trying to hide a secretive smile in my cup. “He says that if I cannot marry who I want to, then I should marry Sir Barrett.”
Sir Barrett was so completely not expecting this that he spit out his tea. “What?!”
“Wait,” Lady Sophia interrupted before I could say anything. “What does he mean, if you cannot marry who you want? Does he refer to someone specific, or does he mean in the instance that the Royal Lords insist that you get married regardless of what you want?”
“Both,” I stated firmly. “In the instance that the Royal Lords insist that I get married and I cannot marry who I want, then I should marry Sir Barrett.”
“But why me?” He blurted out in astonishment.
“Because you are of noble birth, you are loyal to the Kingdom, and you deserve the honor and respect of Rolandia,” I informed him with a fond smile.
“How do we know you are telling the truth?” Lord Gregory asked suspiciously. “You could claim that our most beloved God said anything, and it would be hard for us to prove otherwise.”
I sighed patiently and fixed him with a smile that said: Really??? “If I was going to lie about who he wanted me to marry, I'd have just said the one I want and been done with it.”
“And who is that?” Fritz asked curiously, sounding hopeful that I was referring to him.
I forced a smile to my lips as I looked at him but did not say anything. After two or three seconds, I changed the subject.
“So anyway, I look at it this way. I can either wait until the issue is forced on me, or I can take matters into my own hands and set a date now,” I announced.
“Wait,” Nathan blurted out. “Why now?”
I smiled at him so beautifully that I'd swear I had little pink floaty hearts above my head. “Because... Other than getting married, the only thing I have wanted in life is children, and I don't want to wait for them anymore.”
“Sounds like there is yet another baby in your future,” Lady Leeza purred with an evil smirk at Sir Barrett.
“Oh boy...” Sir Barrett muttered.
Nathan was staring at me like he was trying to figure something out. His expression kept fluctuating between suspicion and disbelief. He even shook his head once or twice as if telling himself: No... she wouldn't!
Oh but I would, I wanted to tell him, but didn't because I didn't want to force him to have to do anything he didn't want to by confirming his suspicion in public. Quite abruptly, he leapt to his feet and dashed from the room.
“Poor Natey...” Lady Sophia murmured sadly.
Sir Barrett snorted. “Well I don't feel sorry for him! If he would just admit to what he wants, then he wouldn't be in this mess!”
“He wants something I can't give him,” I murmured sadly.
Everyone fell silent at that. We all focused on eating until Nathan ran back into the room. He thrust my journal onto the table, open to my most recent entry, and then pored tea from my magic pot leftover from last night into my cup.
“What blend is this? I know I've never had it before, but you insisted that we drink it before going to bed. Then you wrote that you did something that would probably make me hate you, so... I'm asking you again, what did you do?”
I could see by the fire in his vibrant green eyes that he was serious. I simply smiled firmly and refused to answer for a long moment, and then I tapped on my journal.
“You've already read in my journal that I faithfully wear my diaphragm because I don't want to risk having children with anyone but you,” I stated, roundaboutly answering his question. “So, yes, this is the special tea that I quite notoriously gave to everyone a few months back.”
“But why?!” He roared angrily. “If you plan to marry someone else, why would you do this?!”
“So that I will always have something of yours,” I whispered, focusing on my plate.
“Damnit!” He roared, daring to pull me out of my chair and shake me. “Don't you think that I might feel obligated to – ”
I twisted my arms around to shake his off and stepped back. I was angry myself now. “That's why I didn't tell you! I didn't want you to feel like you had to do anything you didn't want to!”
Despite the fact that I hadn't finished eating, I flung my braid over my shoulder, turned my back on him, and stomped out of the room. I didn't get far. Nathan raced after me and grabbed me by the arm.
“Damnit! For once, will you just tell me how you feel!” He demanded, looking as if he was about to cry.
“I've told you! I am afraid to lose you!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. Then, only slightly quieter, I added the rest. “But if you don't want me and I'm going to lose you anyway, then I'd rather do it now when I might possibly be able to get over you before I die!”
He shook me again. “Say the words!” He insisted with a growl.
“Why should I? You haven't!” I pointed out.
In the background, I could just barely hear whispering. It seems that Lady Sophia was explaining to Fritz that Nathan and I had already been engaged until Nathan found out about my cheating ways and broke it off. I heard Fritz mutter: “Aha...”
Sir Barrett stood up and pointed at us. “You're both stubborn idiots! If you don't just admit to how you feel about one another, then I'm going to come over there and knock some sense into you!”
“Just stay out of this!” We both shouted at him. We then stared at each other, panting from the emotion running through us. I absolutely could not be the one to say anything first because if I did, I would be using my power as Queen to coerce and trap him. If any part of him at all wanted me, then he was going to have to tell me that.
I think he finally realized this, because he slowly calmed down and got an expression of understanding in his eyes. He let go of my arms and stepped back. For a moment, I really thought that he was going to walk away, but he didn't.
“Fine... If the only thing you will admit is that you don't want to lose me, then I can admit that I will not leave you. Ever!” He vowed fiercely.
“Not even if I cheat on you and keep secrets?” I asked, daring him to try to claim that this didn't bother him.
He sighed, but didn't back down. “To use one of your phrases, that sucks! But I already know that you do it, so I am standing by your side fully aware of your flaws. You cannot do anything to push me away.”
I don't know why, but his words broke open the floodgate inside me. I started bawling so hard that I almost couldn't breathe. Nathan looked utterly baffled.
“Whats wrong?!” He asked me frantically.
“I just love you so damn much!” I wailed, sobbing.
Now he was confused and looked to his mother for guidance. She smiled at him, nodded encouragingly, and gestured to me a couple of times as if saying: Go on!
Very awkwardly, he pulled me close so that I could rest my face on his chest. Then he patted me on the back. I'm sure he was still trying to sort through his confusion and figure out what to do.
Suddenly, he chuckled. “Can you say that again so that I can be sure I didn't mishear you?”
I giggled, which helped calm my sobbing. Grabbing him by his shirt with both my hands, I pulled him just slightly so that we were eye to eye. “I. Love. You!”
He swept me into his arms in what is called a princess carry, and twirled me around in a joyous circle. Before anyone could think to protest, he carried me right out of the room. We were halfway back to our room before I stopped giggling enough to ask him my all important question.
“Wait!” I protested with a laugh. “Why are you carrying me to bed already? It's still morning!”
“I'm not carrying you to bed,” he informed me with a wry smile, like he was thinking: Only you would assume that!
“You're not?” I asked incredulously. “Then why are we going to our room?”
He didn't say anything, but I assume that's because we arrived at our door then. A guard obligingly opened it for us. After we were inside, Nathan set me on my feet and slammed the door shut.
Placing his hands on my neck, he rested his forehead on mine. “I love you too... I just couldn't bring myself to say that so embarrassingly in front of everyone. And now that you're ready to set a date, I'll never forgive you if you marry someone other than me!”
I purred happily. “How about now?” I asked, both teasing and utterly serious.
“Well, now might be a tad soon,” Nathan replied with a grin. “But if we wait just three or four days, I'm sure that my mother and the maids can throw something together.”
“Four days...” I whispered with a laugh.
“What?” Nathan wondered curiously.
I shook my head and looked down, afraid to upset him.
“What??” He asked again, sounding intrigued.
I sighed in defeat and looked away as I flinched. “That's how many days Andrew and I gave our mothers to plan our wedding.”
“Hmm... then I guess that must be a lucky number when it comes to getting married,” he murmured softly. “And you know what? Don't be afraid to tell me things like that. If it concerns you, I want to know everything!”
“I tried to tell him about here, but I really don't think he believed me. He thought I was talking about a role-playing game,” I said with a soft laugh.
“Considering that you were convinced that this was a dream for months, I'm not surprised that he doesn't believe you!” Nathan stated with a chuckle. “To tell the truth, if I hadn't seen you disappear into the mirror with my own eyes, I might not believe in the other world either.”
I shrugged, finding that the other world just wasn't important to me right now. “So... should we go tell your mother that she has just four days to plan a wedding?”
Nathan's eyes got wide for a moment. “Oh man... She's going to be so excited that I wouldn't be surprised if she died on the spot!”
“Or fainted,” I added with a giggle.
I slipped my hand in his and then we slowly walked back to the dining hall. I kept giving him adoring looks, and he frequently brought my hand to his lips for a kiss. We did our best to act normally as we entered the room.
“About time!” Lord Gregory grumbled as if we had been gone for hours rather than the short time it had taken everyone to finish eating. “Are you ready to work now?”
“Sure thing,” I agreed with a purr and a grin. “However, my first order of business is... Lady Sophia, do you think that you could send out invitations for a wedding to be held in just four days?”
“Four days?!?!” She gasped incredulously and pressed a hand to her chest. “Four!!!” She leapt to her feet and immediately tried to run in both directions several times. “I have to have the palace cleaned, and order up a feast, and send out invitations, and!”
Lord Antony grabbed onto her. “Calm down, my Lady. I'll help you!”
“As will I,” Lady Leeza offered graciously. “I'll see to it that the palace is thoroughly cleaned and decorated.”
We all knew that it would be too, or someone would be screaming in terror as they tried to explain why it wasn't!
“And I'll handle the feast,” Lord Antony added. “We'll hire extra help from town.”
I chuckled almost evilly. “While you're at it, spread the word that everyone who wants to attend is invited, and before you protest, what I mean is that anyone who isn't noble enough to actually come into the palace for the wedding can at least come onto palace grounds to attend a potluck style party. It can be BYOB too!”
Lord Antony looked positively scandalized. “Commoners on palace grounds!!!”
“Yes,” I confirmed dryly. I couldn't imagine having a wedding back home in which the guest list was restricted to only wealthy people rather than whoever happened to be a friend or family member. As I saw it, everyone in the Kingdom was technically an extended family member, and deserved to attend my wedding. In fact... “I think that the ceremony should either start or end on the palace lawn. That way, the commoners can see my dress too.”
“That's not a bad idea,” Lady Leeza purred happily. I'm sure she was delighted to have a chance for one of her dresses to be seen by so many people.
Lord Antony sighed in reluctant acceptance. “Fine... But can you tell me what exactly a pot of luck is? And what does BYOB mean?”
I laughed and grinned at him. “A potluck is a community event in which everyone who attends brings food to share with everyone. And BYOB stands for bring your own booze. It's like a potluck for alcohol!”
“That's absurd!” Lord Antony practically roared in outrage, except that he was too refined to do anything as coarse as roar. “People will think that we are too cheap to properly provide for our guests!”
“I'm not saying that we can't provide something – a roast pig comes to mind – but it's actually part of the fun to bring something to share,” I informed him. “Just suggest it and see what happens.”
“Fine...” Lord Antony ground out.
“We're still not going to have enough time to send out invitations!” Lady Sophia bemoaned.
We were all surprised when Lord Gregory – of all people – came up with a practical solution to that. “So send out heralds and messengers to alert the closest nobles. They can all receive their invitation by mouth to save time on writing up proper invitations. Anyone who lives farther out than can be reached by tonight can be invited by messenger bird. In fact, we can send the birds out to the Royal Lords and certain nobles and tell them that it is their responsibility to inform everyone around them.”
Lady Sophia sighed in relief, grabbed Lord Gregory's hand, and dragged him out of the room after her. “Perfect! You're going to help me!”
“But the reports?!” He protested, reaching out as if trying to hold onto them.
“They can wait until tomorrow!” Lady Sophia cried out firmly.
I grinned at Nathan. “I'm surprised that no one thought to try and make us wait a bit longer!”
He grinned at me in return.
Fritz surprised us both by bursting into laughter. “Had I tried that trick in my palace, I'd have been shouted at by my court until I saw reason! Proper weddings take at least six months to plan!”
I grinned at him. “I know, but who wants to wait that long?!”
Sir Barrett took advantage of the fact that practically no one was in the room any more – even Lord Antony and Lady Leeza had left to do as they needed – to come over and pull me into a tight hug. He kissed me on the cheek and rested his forehead against mine.
“I would have loved to marry you,” he confessed. “But I knew that it was highly unlikely. Even if God gave us his blessing, you belong to Nathan.”
I smiled and kissed him softly on the lips. “I'm glad you understand.”
Turning back to Nathan, I took his hand in mine. “Now... I just have to go get Ian...”