I took another step. “I don’t want anyone to get in trouble.”
Mark’s eyes went wide again. He looked to Nicholas.
Nicholas’s jaw was clenched, a hard line. He stared at me like he wanted me to take back my words.
When I didn’t, he said, “No one will get in trouble.”
“Thank you,” I said.
He seemed even more annoyed by my thanks, eyes hard.
Mark quickly excused himself.
Nicholas also backed to the door. “If there is anything else you need…”
“Wait,” I said. I glanced over my shoulder, at Elva’s legs kicking out from the comforter.
Nicholas followed the length of my gaze but didn’t otherwise move an inch.
I approached him. Voice soft, I said, “Elva has a few health issues. Lately, she’s been suffering from
Julian had made it seem like acquiring a doctor for Elva would be a simple task, but now, facing
Nicholas and his dour expression, I felt nervousness bubble within me.
“She needs a doctor –”
“She’ll have one.” His reply came with no hesitation.
Despite our differences, he was still a good man.
Not everything changed over the past three years, then. The thought gave me comfort.
Thank you,” I said.
He nodded, then left me.
When Nicholas and the soldiers had gone, I returned to Elva and found her fast asleep in her blanket Jon. It had been a long, tiring day, and she was still recovering. She needed all the sleep she could get.
Garefully, I lifted her from under the chair and carried her toward the king–sized bed. She stirred some while Blowered her down, but the minute her little body touched the plush mattress, she sighed and fel
I sat on the edge of the bed and watched her for a while.
I still wasn’t set on staying here, but… if she could get a regular doctor to check her over, and without the burden of medical bills… how could I deny her that?
Julian had been right. I didn’t have a chance at actually winning the selection. If the royal family only wanted me here for good publicity, was there really any harm in me staying and benefiting from their
It seemed a fair trade.
Brushing a few stray hairs away from Elva’s face, I remembered that I hadn’t told Nicholas or Mark about Elva’s many allergies. I needed to let them know, so they could make the arrangements.
With Elva safe and sleeping soundly, I crossed the room and stuck my head out the door. I heard the
echo of some voices. One sounded like Nicholas, though I couldn’t tell what he was saying.
I followed the sound of his voice to a servant’s room at the end of the hallway. The door was half–open.
“This is outrageous! You can’t ask me to cater to the whims of a woman with such loose morals!”
I recognized that voice as Lena, the head maid.
She continued, voice sharp with anger, “Now we are allowing illegitimate children, born in sin, to
gallivant around the palace?”
“Lena…” Nicholas sounded tired.
Thirty years I’ve served this royal household. Thirty years I’ve been a faithful servant to a family that upheld the purest of virtues. That reputation cannot now be stained. You must expel that woman from this palace.”
My heart pounding in my chest. I inched closer, desperate to hear his response.
What would he say? Surely he wouldn’t defend me, but…
The way she was talking about me was too cruel. I wasn’t a stain, and neither was Elva.
The King has made his decision,” Nicholas said, and a part of my heart broke. That was no answer, 11 was a deflection.
Did Nicholas truly believe what Lena was saying? Was he only holding back because the King had made his cholon?
elvid is inouent and will be cared for Nicholas continued. Ensure this run
My breath caught. Nicholas remembered her name.
“This is absurd,” Lena grumbled.
“Your opinion is noted,” Nicholas said. “Now do it.”
Too late, I realized he was coming toward the door. I scrambled away, but I wasn’t quite able to escape
when he saw me.