“How long did you wait, Piper? A week? Two? It couldn’t have been long.”
He sounds like he’s jealous. Or was that an illusion? He doesn’t care about me and is just mad at me.
Maybe the latter is more logical.
His dark eyes burned into me, leaving my heart in scorched tatters. Never in a thousand years would i
have thought Nicholas would be so vicious to me.
“It wasn’t like that.” I said, to try to defend myself.
He crossed his hands over his chest. He wasn’t going to listen to me,
“Why even come here?” he asked me.
“My application was selected…”
“Why even apply? Were you trying to get to me?”
“No,” I said.
“Maybe you regret your child’s father. Maybe you want me back.” He laughed once, bitterly. “Like you
have a chance.”
The words sliced into me as surely as if he’d been holding a knife. He had changed since I’d known him.
years ago, he’d been kind and patient. I’d given him my heart and he’d gently cradled it. So many
nights, we’d laid under the stars, trading kisses and stories.
Once, when he’d spent all night looking at me, I had told him, “You’re missing the
He’d replied, “I can see it in your eyes.”
The man before me now was nothing like the one I had known. The man here was arrogant, indifferent. and imposing in how he carried himself.
Breaking up with him had never been something I wanted to do. It hurt me still, thinking upon it, so I had tried to push it to the back of my thoughts
Thad so many other things to focus on like work, and caring for Elva, that I could successfully distract myself from the pain of his loss.
Being faced with him now and seeing what he had become, brought all those feelings crashing back into Tome so hard, they stole my breath away.
He was so different now that I couldn’t help but wonder if I was misremembering the past. Maybe he’d never been kind. Maybe I had been too naïve then,
Well, I wasn’t that young, innocent girl anymore.
“Believe whatever you want,” I said, adding some bite to my own voice. The hurt made it easier. “Being
here is a mistake, and I intend to correct it.”
“Good,” Nicholas said, so coldly that a chill ran along my spine. “You are the only woman who ever dared to break up with me. Piper. I’ll never allow the same mistake to happen again.”
He turned and left me, then, walking out into the sitting room, and then out into the parlor. I thought he might slam the door behind him, as enraged as he was, but instead, he gently closed it.
Elva continued resting, undisturbed.
I wanted to hate him. So much.
But he hadn’t slammed that door. He might be a cruel, insensitive bastard but he liked children. He’d been kind to Elva. He didn’t take any of his misconceptions about me out on her.
I wanted to hate him, but I couldn’t.
I sunk to my knees beside the couch where Elva slept.
In a different world, maybe Elva would have been our child. If we had stayed together, maybe he would have revealed his secret in time. Maybe the three of us could have been a happy little family.
It was a nice fantasy.
But it wasn’t reality. My reality was very far from these golden fixtures and expensive gowns,
I was wasting time, staying here. I needed to go home and look for another job, as soon as possible.
Sighing, I rested my head beside Elva’s on the cushion. I was so drained, from the trip, from seeing Nicholas again, from… everything.
Too quickly, my own eyes slid closed.
Excuse me Excuse me, miss?
I blinked open my eyes.
The nervous official hovered over me. I beg your pardon, miss, but the King Luna, and princes have arrived, I suggest you hurry to the parlor at once
“Oh uh.“I rubbed the sleep from my eye. “Wait, there’s been a mistake.
When I looked up again, he was already disappearing out of the room. He left the door open
“Mommy“” Elva sat up on the couch, watching me with curious eyes. “Is it time for more pretty dresses?”
I gave her my softest smile. It is. We have to be quiet though, okay? No one can talk when the King and
Luna are talking.”
Standing. I pulled Elva into my arms and camed her against
Out in the parlor, the royal family was standing atop some type of stage The King stood at the center,
with his Luna on one side. The three princes flanked his other side:
The King looked older than he did on the bills in my purse. He was pale with hollowed out cheeks, but he
held himself well and his voice camed far, like he was accustomed to public speaking
“Ladies!” he said, calming the crowd and gaining their attention “Congratulations on having been
selected for this monumental event. We are very pleased by your presence and look forward to becoming more acquainted over the coming weeks.”
The Luna leaned in and whispered something in the King’s ear.
“Ah, of course. We will be conducting an introductory conference here in a moment. I would now ask that only selected ladies stay to participate.”
His eyes traveled over the crowd, but he stopped when his gaze landed on me, with Elva in my arms
Every eye in the room followed the King’s gaze straight to me. Whispering began, hushed voices totally surrounding me
| bounced Elva on my hip. I smiled at her to keep her from noticing my nervousness. She seemed to know anyway, her brow crinkling.
Young lady, step forward please,” the King said.
Not daring to disobey, I did as he asked and walked to the base of the stage.
He looked at me curiously, tilting his head. I didn’t know if he was waiting for me to say something so h dd:
Forgive me. Your Majesty. I think there’s been some kind of misunderstanding.
How do you mean the king asked His tone was soft and patient. I startled, having expected him to
“I’m a young mother. My friend submitted my application without my knowledge. I’m so sorry for wasting
The girl in the sparkling pink dress huffed a harsh laugh. “She doesn’t even have a wolf.”
The murmurs started again, even louder than last time.
“A moment,” the King said. He turned away and waved his family closer.
They each spoke in turn, too quietly for any but them to hear. Nicholas crossed his arms. Julian waved
his hands animatedly. The third prince, Joyce, merely nodded. The Luna spoke, expression reserved.
The King agreed with whatever she said and turned around.
I didn’t want to hear their rejection.
“I’ll pack at once, Your Majesty. I’ll be gone within an hour.”
“Wait,” the King said.
Each of the three princes looked at me.
Joyce, with a quiet curiosity.
Julian, with a smirk of amusement.
And Nicholas, with such a cold face, the temperature in the room seemed to drop ten degrees.
“Walt,” the King said again, though I hadn’t moved. “I insist that you stay here. Your child, too.”