Piper couldn’t think I was running away from her, despite that being exactly what I was doing.
I’d never let her know she had any power over me still.
If she knew, she’d likely use it against me. I continued to suspect that she was only here for nefarious
Her presence couldn’t have been a coincidence, despite what she said.
Mark caught up with me in the driveway near one of the royal family’s cars. He’d been my Beta a long time. There weren’t many things I didn’t tell him about.
“She’s not like how I pictured her,” Mark said now. “When you mentioned her before, I thought she might actually have cloven hoofs and a tail. A devil, for sure. But meeting her, she seems…. nice.”
“Don’t be deceived.” Like I had been.
I couldn’t let Piper get her hooks into me again. Yet even as I thought it, I could feel my dormant. attachment to her pushing against the outer edges of my heart, trying to make its way back in.
Mark seemed pensive, like he wanted to say more but held himself back.
I didn’t like that. He was my Beta, but he was also my friend and confidant. He was the only person around me anymore with whom I could talk to without having to wear the mask of the perfect prince.
“You can speak your mind,” I told him.
He nodded. “You’ve been different since she’s arrived. Almost more… open, I suppose.”
I disagreed. I still hid my true thoughts away from the world.
Mark was adamant though. “No, seriously. Around her, your emotions come out more easily. You’re more present in the moment, instead of just standing there going through the motions.”
Hleveled him with a flat look.
His expression became sheepish “You told me to speak my mind.”
“You can, I said. “That doesn’t mean that I have to agree.”
See for yourself. Next time you are around her, watch how fast your emotions trigger, especially when dompared to when you are with literally anyone else.
That couldn’t be true. I wouldn’t allow it.
I refused to fall into Piper’s trap again. She’d just leave again.
But Mark wouldn’t lie to me. For him to say these things, meant he had to be seeing them.
Piper was dangerous to me, if she was making my emotions more clear.
I was a prince. I didn’t have time for frivolous entanglements like love. That wasn’t an indulgence I had
allowed myself since I hid my identity to attend the Academy.
I knew then, what I had to do. Even if it made me feel sick.
That evening, I made my move. With Mark’s reluctant help, we had dwindled down the perfect candidate for what I planned to do
Her name was Lilliana. She was petite and soft–spoken. Her demeanor was flawless, she never looked or
acted out of place. She seemed a bit demure for my tastes, but then, this wasn’t about love.
This was about what would be best for the kingdom.
She’d be a good Luna, I reasoned. I ignored the way that thought made my stomach knot.
As the girls arrived for the banquet that night, I approached Lilliana.
The rest of the girls immediately hushed, watchful.
I held out my hand for Lilliana’s. She gently placed hers in mine, touch light as a feather.
“Lilliana,” I said
“Your Royal Highness,” she replied.
My words caught in my throat a bit, I had to clear it to force them out.
“Would you do me the honor of accompanying me on a solo date?”
She had no outward reaction of emotion. Her face remained ever–calm.
Of course, Prince Nicholas I would be honored”
I was a prince My duty was to my kingdom, and nothing else. Certainly not my heart.