Tristan and Lisette are eating with Duke Lestat and Lady Marina, which I guess will become normal. I’m curious what Lady Marina’s reaction will be when she finds out about them. Poor thing.

Meanwhile, I sat through a desperately awkward meal with The General, Aaron, and The Count and Countess. It was almost completely silent until Aaron finally spoke up.

“I thought,” he cleared his throat and looked at me, “I thought perhaps once things are settled I might go back to Pantona in the spring.” I stopped and smiled at him.

“I don’t think it’s up to us,” The Countess smirked. “It will take getting used to being at the whim of the crown again.” Aaron snorted.

“Aaron,” The Count cautioned.

“I’ve been at Lisette’s whim since I was four, I don’t think it will be much to get used to,” he shrugged. I smiled. “What do you think, Lady Athena? About the spring.” Martin dropped his silverware, loudly.

“I like the spring,” I said, “but me going to Pantona would be a great disappointment to my grandfather. He’s always begging me to go to Dorin.”

“You might be better off going to Dorin,” Martin said. I glared at him.

“We enjoyed having Athena at Pantona,” The Countess said, her clear blue eyes meeting his.

“Oh, honestly,” The Count sighed loudly, “Aaron, yes, of course, a wedding in the spring at Pantona would be wonderful, I seriously doubt Lisette would object on any score, except she’d probably miss you both.” I pressed my lips into my mouth. “Athena, we would of course welcome you into the family, in fact, the prospect is thrilling.” I was trying not to giggle. “Thomas, Olivia, if you two could please stop thinking these two need to reenact your own history I would very much appreciate it. I am nothing like either of our fathers, and I have no intention of making my children miserable for my own ambition.” He stood up and stormed out.

“Excuse me,” I said and stood up and walked over to Count Caleb. “Thank you, for that.” He looked at me and laughed. “I didn’t think you’d disapprove of me.”

“No,” he said softly, “I very much do not.” I looked at him. “But somehow when the subject of the lot of you comes up, The Countess and General feel the need to pick at old scabs.” I nodded.

“Are you ever jealous?” I asked, thinking of pretty Kathy Sampson, who I would have to see regularly. Or Aaron’s reaction to my past. He looked at me and smiled.

“No,” he said softly. “Not for a long time.” I nodded. “Aaron wouldn’t even think to be, it’s not in his nature.” I smiled.

“No it isn’t,” I said softly. “My grandfather is going to be disappointed.” He laughed.

“I doubt it,” he shook his head, “when he arranged your parent’s marriage I think this sort of thing was exactly what he had in mind.” I sighed.

“It makes Tristan nervous,” I admitted, “me too, but don’t tell him. Grandfather having easy access to her.” He sighed.

“Don’t tell anyone but I worry about it too,” he frowned. “I have a little more faith in your uncle and aunts, but not much.” I nodded. “You don’t need to worry about these things, Athena.”

“No offense your grace, but it’s my job to protect her, so I think I do have to,” I said. He laughed and then we saw Lisette and Tristan walking back over. “Excuse me,” he nodded. “Hello you two, who did it go?”

“I’m tired,” Lisette frowned, kissed my brother and then waved and headed to bed. I smirked at him.

“That well?” I said.

“I told you so doesn’t suit you, Thena,” he frowned. “She’s going to hate me.”

“You deserve it,” I said. “You didn’t mention once in those letters you wrote her that you’d fallen in love with a princess.” I hissed out the last part. He winced.

“It didn’t seem like,” he frowned, “I didn’t know how she felt.”

“You’re an idiot,” I said. “You can congratulate me, though. I’m engaged.”

“Hm,” he nodded. “Did Martin stop sulking then?”

“No,” I grumbled as we walked along and I kicked the road. “But it isn’t up to him. You’ll write to Grandfather?” He nodded. “Do you want me to talk to Lady Marina?”

“Do you think it will help?” He said. “I don’t like the idea of her being angry with me. We’ve always been,” he stopped, “I’m an idiot.”

“Yes,” I smiled at him, “you really, really are.”


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