I wasn’t surprised that Elena couldn’t smell my change in scent when she walked into my bedroom. My room had smelled like Viktor ever since he left. The smell had begun to fade, its intensity rising as I used Viktor’s body wash in my baths.
My Dad had called everyone into the living room, Shannon and I included. Each Royal was present followed by, Uncle Jaspar, Dad, Shannon and me.
Bryton Duboi gave me a hard look, one that held just a fraction of sympathy. Geoff Halifax looked haunted, like a Father who had lost his only son. Elena was playing the part of grieving Mother, not daring to show her real face in front of my Dad. Even Annalise Halifax had her own mask of sadness, though not nearly as convincing as her Mother.
My heart hammered in my chest. I stood off to the side with Shannon, hoping my scent wouldn’t waft around the room. There were already many scents lingering to begin with, hopefully masking my own for the time being.
Viktor’s P.o.vThe mark on my neck stung against the itchy fabric of my shirt. The pain reminded me that what happened wasn’t born from my imagination.I could have never anticipated someone like Princess Arabella, or her decision to accept me. Guilt swirled in my stomach, an emotion I had experienced little. The small Princess was making me feel things I had only heard about, but never experienced.I felt true fear for the first time in her presence. Fear had been a distant memory, present in the mind of child-like Viktor. My name had been different back then, but I had also been a different person. Fear was a constant companion as a child, but it was beaten and torn from my body until nothing remained. I had felt fear in its rawest forms at the Princess’s Birthday Gala. Her life had been hanging by a thread, threatened in her need to save my life.She knew nothing of my past, nothing of the things I’ve done and yet she still acce
Arabella’s P.o.vI let Viktor’s voice lull me to sleep, staying connected to him until the darkness had taken me over.‘Goodnight, little Princess.’ Viktor murmured, the last thing I heard before sleep claimed me.I shot up in bed as my Dad’s voice flooded through my mind.‘Bella, are you awake?’ Dad’s voice rang out.‘I am now.’ I grumbled, wiping the sleep from my eyes. Shannon was still curled up on the couch, only her mess of curls visible from underneath the blanket.‘Geoff Halifax has decided to hold a funeral pyre for his son.’ My Dad informed me, ‘This should be easy enough to complete. We will be holding it tomorrow night. The Royal’s will stay leave after its completion.’‘And are we prepared for our dinner tonight.’ I winced at the harsh light streaming through my curtains.‘Everything is prepared.’ Dad n
“What a special human you must be.” Nikolai Aslanov gave Shannon a friendly grin, one I could tell was fake. Shannon must have been able to tell too, as her eyes hardened at his words. “Is the Halifax family not attending dinner? I was under the impression they were residing here for the time being, same goes for the other young Royal.”“Erik.” I pointed out, pressing my lips together gently.“Yes, Erik.” Nikolai smiled at me, as though the two of us were old friends.“Geoff and Elena Halifax are in mourning.” Dad grunted; his voice laced with sympathy. “Their son recently passed.”“Is that so?” Nikolai’s eyes widened in false surprise; his voice laced with the emotion. He was an expert alright, yet I could still see the curiosity in his gaze. “And how did that happen in a house with the Alpha King?”“He took his own life.” I pressed my
“Big brother?” My jaw dropped. The mask I had precariously placed on my face was shattered, long forgotten. I couldn’t tell if Nikolai was lying or not. There wasn’t an ounce of deceit on his face, nor was there any other emotion.“It seems you know little about your mate.” Nikolai shook his head regretfully, “What a shame. If you were mine, nothing would be kept from you. You would never be left in the dark.”“If Viktor’s your brother, why isn’t he in line for the throne?” My eyes narrowed at Nikolai, ignoring his last comment.“Viktor—as you know him by, hate’s being in charge of others.” Nikolai smiled grimly, “Viktor’s skill is ending lives. He never possessed the tasks necessary to rule.”“There are plenty of Royal’s skilled at ending lives.” I murmured; my eyes locked on Nikolai’s. “They use others to do the
“I never told you about that.” I scoffed, “How did you know?”Caroline’s eyes widened, her lips fumbling over words. She knew she had been caught, with what I was unsure of. Everything ran much deeper than I had anticipated.I felt like a child, trying to play a game clearly designed for adults. Just when I thought I was finally gaining the upper hand, something happened. A new twist was thrown into the mix.Instead of backtracking, Caroline’s face contorted in anger. Any friendliness or companionship had faded from her face. Her light eyes were dull and lacked warmth, her lips turned up in a sneer.“Princess Arabella.” Caroline sneered, flipping her hair behind her shoulder. “Born the luckiest girl alive and doesn’t even know it.”“I don’t see what that has to do with anything, Caroline.” My voice conveyed the confusion and hurt I felt. Caroline looked nothing like
Two Days LaterNikolai Aslanov had been true to his word. Even though I knew he was responsible for the attack at my Birthday Gala, he found evidence against Elena Halifax. This evidence cleared Viktor’s name, letting him finally come back to me.I was unsure why Nikolai wanted to give Viktor and I a chance, but I didn’t argue with it. It was clear Nikolai expected Viktor and I to fail, hoping I would come to him after the fact. Nikolai Aslanov wanted a chance with me, yet he had a funny way of showing it. Trying to have me killed on my birthday wasn’t the best gesture.Viktor was able to return with August in two days. Viktor had turned around the minute I gave the news. He was naturally suspicious of Nikolai Aslanov’s motives, not that I could blame him. I could feel Viktor’s jealousy for his younger brother as I told him that Nikolai wanted a chance with me. I told Viktor what Nikolai had told me, that they were brothers. I asked
One Month LaterI stood in front of my floor length mirror, my eyes narrowing suspiciously at the dress that flowed down my body. A nearly endless sea of deep green silk rolled down my body, my hair rippled down my back in dark waves. Dad wanted to call the stylists for today’s events, but I refused. My stomach was a cocoon of nerves and knots. The last thing I wanted was a team of people fluttering around me. I had Shannon do my make-up, her steady hands putting my eyeliner on effortlessly.“The dress looks amazing.” Shannon nodded, giving it a long look as I stood in front of the mirror.“You’re only saying that because you picked it out.” I chuckled, giving her a playful eyeroll.“And I did a damn good job.” Shannon huffed, fixing the straps of her own dress.A wave of calming energy washed over me as Viktor stepped out of the bathroom. His chocolate hair was tousled, begging to have