I don’t think I’ve ever seen Marina rush through undressing me so quickly before. I have a feeling that I am about to be 30 gold pieces richer. I wish I could laugh, or tease her about it, but she’s vibrating at such a high frequency, and all I can think about is that Tristan is going away.
It’s been less than a year and the idea of life without him feels unbearable. I try sleeping, it doesn’t happen, so I do something I haven’t done since I was very small. I go to the basin that’s been set up in my bedrooom. I swept the small amount of water out, and grabbed the vial of sea water from the North Sea that Duchess Norvine gave me.
I’ve never done anything this selfish with magic before. Anselm would have been furious, and it feels somehow, dark, and wrong. I swallow and pour the water into the basin and focus, swirling it.
“Please, let me see her,” I said softly. The image of a beautiful young woman, with long golden hair appeared. She was brushing it and humming to herself.
She was wearing a red night dress.
“I’m trying Caro,” a male voice comes from outside and she turns, her eyes narrowed. I know the voice.
“Are you, Alex?” She said and stood up and walked to a door, looking out onto a terrace and courtyard.
“Yes,” he rolled his eyes. “I could have set you up in Dovetail a year ago, you know.” She frowned.
“Only until your grandfather and uncle died,” she hissed. “I don’t want any part of merchant life and you know it.”
“Tristan’s your man then,” Alex Dufrey muttered. “His wife will have to enter the guard and so will any children. If this works out you’ll be good and out, I promise.” Her face softened then.
“And he’s really coming?” She asked. He nodded.
“Leaves in the morning,” he said. “You could say thank you, Carolina.”
I smashed my hand against the water and fell against the bed. I don’t know why I thought it would make me feel better. It didn’t. I felt worse. She was using him to escape. I hated her. I hated Alex DuFrey. I hated Tristan. I hated Eric. I hated the stupid gods. I hated the crown all of it.
I started sobbing. I thought about the what if. I thought about if I was Lisette. Would I have even met Tristan? Would I have stayed in Pantona, married William and lived quietly and content running the inn? Or would I have run away with Harran?
It didn’t matter of course. It was a stupid game. Tristan and I had played it for too long and it had broken both of our hearts. It might break Eric’s. It might break the beautiful Carolina’s.
We couldn’t know how much wreckage our pretending would bring.
I cried then, for I don’t know how long and but they were bitter, angry selfish tears, I cried until I hear a horse leaving the palace and ran out to the balcony watching Tristan speed away on Elian. I hear the door creak and realize that Lefty has slipped out and Marina comes and joins me and hold me while I cry more.