Tristan met me as the sun was going down and took my hand. He kissed me softly and we pressed our foreheads together.
“You were trying to tell me something,” I said, “before, when Thom-General Martin came in.” He sighed and frowned.
“Yes, I was,” he admitted, “I told you, in Pantona, that there wasn’t anyone else, that,” I smiled. “I think I was blind to something.”
“She loves you,” I said softly. “Marina, Lady Marina,” he nodded. “And you?” He shrugged. “You feel the same?”
“No,” he said, “no, it’s only,” he frowned, “I shouldn’t have, I never told her about,” he sighed, “it doesn’t matter. Shall we go?” I nodded and we moved quickly towards where my family was.
My family. Not Olivia and Caleb and Aaron. But my uncle and cousin. My blood, my mother’s blood, my family. And I knew walking in that she was going to hate me.
“Ah, your highness,” my uncle, Lestat, Uncle Les.
“Lisette,” I said softly, after he bowed and stoof up. “Please, I don’t want to be,” Marina looked at me and frowned. “I can’t imagine you called my mother your majesty.”
“Only when teasing her,” he smiled. “Well, then,” he said, “Lisette, and you met Marina earlier.”
“Of course,” I said. She smiled softly at me. “I’m glad to know you finally. I hope we can be friends.”
“I hope so too,” she said, “hello Sir Tristan.”
“Lady Marina,” he said softly. I hadn’t seen him this quiet in a while. But I liked dinner, and looking at my uncle I had the same, well not the same, but a similar feeling about how I did when I saw Thomas. He could tell me about my mother.
“What have you been doing?” I asked Marina finally. She looked oddly at me again. “In Dovetail?”
“In Dovetail?” She repeated. I nodded. I’d talked about Pantona, and my life at least a little. “Very little. Since we got here though, I’ve been very busy. I’m learning to heal, and it turns out all of the nothing and studying I’ve done it’s helped me here.”
“So many hours in the library,” Tristan said, “here we all thought you were hiding from us.” She wrinkled her nose at him and stuck out her tongue and I swallowed. Maybe he didn’t love her back, but there was an easiness between them, something that I’d never seen in him.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Dovetail,” I admitted. Uncle Les smiled and sipped his wine. “Did you always live there?”
Another memory and story from that. I wanted to hurl myself at Tristan, to claim him, there. He was mine, we’d made promises, whispered and shared parts of ourselves she would never see.
But I knew I was being ridiculous. Tristan said he didn’t return her feelings, I had to trust him. As we discussed battle strategy, I noticed something else change, the way he was looking at me and then I felt the final shift. She saw.
I excused myself and left quickly, I wanted her to see me, but I knew it that moment that she wouldn’t. I could explain later.
“Are you alright?” Tristan asked as we got back to my tent and walked inside. I nodded. “You don’t seem alright.”
“I am,” I said and kissed him. “Make love to me.” He grinned and we fell back against the bed. It was restless, and quick, fitting how discomforted I felt. After, he took a lock of my hair, one of the curls, and twirled it around his finger.
“What are you thinking about?” He asked. I rolled onto my stomach and kissed him. “So we’re of the same mind then?” I giggled.
“Perhaps,” I said softly. His hands slipped around my waist and pulled me close again. “What you said, about me and winning this fight, you meant that?”
“I’d follow you to hell,” he whispered, “into the darkness and back, I wouldn’t even be able to help it, I don’t think.” I pressed my forehead against his. “Lisette.”
“Please don’t ever let me be anyone other than Lisette, with you,” I said softly, “I’ve felt so much today, and I want to be Lisette, in every moment that I can be.”
“Of course, love,” he said, “if I can be Tristan, the merchant’s son.” I nodded and we kissed again. He was everything I wanted.
“Good then,” I said. “I have too much to think about, and I don’t want that to be a part of us.”
“Lisette,” he said, “you were upset tonight?” I sighed and rolled onto my back.
“I was a lot of things tonight,” I admitted. “I was upset, and jealous, and worried.” He looked at me.
“Jealous?” He said. I nodded. “Of Marina?” I looked at him. “Lisette, she’s nothing,” I stopped him.
“No,” I said, “no, she’s wonderful, and beautiful and ladylike and you know her and she knows you.” He kissed me.
“Perhaps,” he said softly, “but I love you, and am loved by you, and I think that might be greater.” I sighed and pressed my forehead against his chest as we both fell asleep, him first, his deep childish sleep.
I dreamt that night of the palace at Dovetail, I was watching as a woman looked out over a balcony, holding a bundle. It was my mother, I realized. A man joined her, with eyes, exactly like mine and short cropped red hair. I smiled.
“How is she?” He asked softly. My mother smiled.
“Wonderful,” she said, “asleep. So you shouldn’t speak to loud.” He laughed softly.
“She’ll sleep soundly. She was named crown princess today,” he said and slipped a silver r bracelet around my wrist. My mother laughed.
“So she is,” she smiled, “they all agreed then.” He nodded. “Even if I have others, and boys?”
“Yes,” he said, “it’s settled. There wasn’t much of a fight, honestly, only Brayton resisted at all.” She nodded. “I don’t know what’s gotten into him.”
“He’s angry with me,” she frowned, “I don’t know why, but he is.” My father kissed her forehead. “I thought this was what he wanted, he always said that he wanted to study to be a mastero, and now he can!”
“I’ve given up trying to please him, Marie,” he sighed, “he’s going to be unpleasant for the rest of our lives, just as he was odd until now.”
I wanted to scream at them to heed his anger, to try something, anything, to at least be aware. I knew I couldn’t, past visions didn’t work that way. I woke up and breathed deeply.