This morning I was working at changing over the cots. It seems like every day people came in injured from skirmishes with the black guards. I like the work though. I especially needed it today. Elodie looked over at me.
“What’s she like?” She asked.
“I’m not sure yet,” I answered honestly, “I think she was trying to feel us out, to be honest. It’s like she knows in concept that we’re her family, but in practice,” I shrugged. She nodded and we looked up as the tent parted. Lady Athena walked in, wearing her green guard uniform dress.
“Hello Elodie,” she said, “Lady Marina.” I nodded at her. “Could I speak to you?” I nodded and we walked outside. “I know that we’ve never quite gotten along.”
“True,” I said softly.
“I wanted to thank you,” she said quickly, “for taking care of Martin, and also to tell you that my brother is an idiot, and he was writing to you all summer and he should have told you that he and Lisette were,” she frowned, “whatever they are. I told him to.” I smiled at her. “But he said that I was being ridiculous that it wasn’t like that between you two.”
“It isn’t,” I said, “I mean, not for him.”
“Hence, the idiot,” she grinned. I laughed. “Anyway, I, thank you.” I nodded. “It was an eventful summer.”
“So I understand,” I said softly. “You’re going to be a Countess?” She blushed.
“No,” she said, “I don’t think so. The General doesn’t approve, and Aaron hasn’t asked me or anything, it was just a few kisses.” I nodded. “I wanted you to know that I appreciated you helping, I don’t know what I’d have done if I’d lost him.”
“I know,” I said softly. “It wasn’t anything, really.” She nodded.
“I hope you don’t hold it against Lisette,” she softly, “she’s really amazing and she was so excited to meet you.”
“I wouldn’t,” I said, “I don’t hold it against him, even,” I looked away. “I know you always thought I was silly.”
“To be fair you often made yourself silly,” Lady Athena said, “but having done it a few times myself over the past few months, I’m more sympathetic now.” We sat down and she hugged her knees to her chest. My breath caught in my chest. She was just so impossibly beautiful, so was Tristan at that. It was incredible to think that either of these two people existed, let alone that both of them did. “I hated Aaron when we first arrived. I thought he was just awful, he’s a terrible flirt, and he makes the most terrible jokes at the worst moments.” She laughed. “But he loves her so much, and I think he loves me, but it’s awfully hard to get him to commit to it.”
“Goddess,” I stared at her, “you do sound like me.” She laughed and then we were quiet for a few minutes. “For what it’s worth, I never thought he felt the same way. It’s only he was writing, and I missed you both so much.”
“For what it’s worth,” she said quietly, “if he hadn’t met her, I think he was about to fall in love with you.”
That wasn’t worth much. But I keep thinking about what she said, he was about to fall in love with me.
“I should get back to work,” I said. She nodded and I headed back to the main camp, but I passed Princess Annalise and Viscount Aaron on a field, I think they were sparring but they stopped when they saw me.
“Good morning, Lady Marina,” the Viscount smiled at me. “Lisette say good morning.”
“Good morning,” Annalise smiled at me, “he’s only stopping because I was beating him.”
“You were only beating me because I was letting you,” he retorted. She rolled her eyes.
“Ignore him,” she said, “I wanted to talk to you, but I have to spend the day with the General.” She kissed Aaron on the cheek. “Tonight?”
“I suppose so,” I said.
“Be good,” she pointed at him and walked away. He shook his head.
“She was beating me,” he sighed, “she’s beaten me a lot lately. I don’t like it.” I smiled. “So,” he looked at me, “you’re the Duchess of Brightcoast.”
“I will be,” I said. “You’re the Viscount of Pantona,” he nodded. “In any other time in history we’d have know each other forever. And even in this one if weren’t,” I looked down, “your parents have always been very kind to me.”
“They are very kind people,” he said and we started walking. “You aren’t what we expected, you know, based on the twins.” He stopped. ‘They weren’t quite what we expected either.”
“Annalise isn’t what I expected either,” I said. He looked at me and smiled.
“No, she’s surprising to most people,” he laughed. “She didn’t even know she was a princess until she was seven. The first thing she did was tell me that I had to do everything she says.”
“Technically speaking I think we all do,” I said. He smiled.
“It’s been just the two of us for a long time,” he said, “this is a lot. Even when the twins came it was a lot. Our lives changed completely in a matter of weeks.”
“Your father seems to think she’s ready,” I said. He looked at me, and he looked serious for the first time I’d ever seen him.
“My father and I disagree about a lot of things,” he said, “that’s the main one.” He looked over at her, talking to General Martin. “She isn’t ready.”