No Rush


I’d fallen asleep, which I hadn’t thought was previously possible. Someone had gotten a note from Papa letting me know he was safe. I was grateful for that.

“Caro,” I woke up to Tristan smiling softly at me. “Good morning,” I sat up and looked at him.

“Good morning,” I said and hugged him. “You’re safe.” He nodded.

“I am,” he whispered. “Brayton got away.” I looked at him and swallowed.

“So what does that mean, for us?” I asked softly. He kissed me.

“It means I’m going to be very busy,” he said softly. “And your training will be quick.” I nodded. “And I want to get married.” I smiled.

“We are getting married.” I said softly. Tristan shook his head.

“No not,” he sighed, “not in a few months, not after Athena’s finally worn your father down, not when Emily and your mother have fought you to a guild hall wedding that we don’t even want,” I looked at him. “I want to marry you now, I don’t want,” he exhaled, “I want to know that you’re going to be secure, if something happens.”

“Tristan,” I whispered.

“If you don’t want to,” he said, “if you want to wait, I understand, but Marina said she’d perform the ceremony.”

“I want to,” I said, “maybe, wait a few weeks though? So we can send for Emily and my mother?” He nodded and kissed me.

“Alright,” he said, “I’ll send for them,” I smiled and kissed him again. “Thank you, I know you’re giving up so much for this.”

“I’d give up more for you,” I said, “but we don’t have to rush.” He nodded and kissed me. “Mercy is an interesting person.” He snorted.

“That’s a word for her,” he said as I stood up.

“She reminds me of Emily actually,” I said. He nodded. “Was it awful?”

“No,” he said, “I missed most of it, actually, Annalise, Athena and Marina confronted him. There were a few shadows to push back, which Nika and Brea handled.” I nodded. “I was careful.”

“I’m glad,” I said and sat back down with him.

“Athena and Aaron are getting married today,” he said softly, “we should get dressed.” I nodded. “Do you want to go to the house?”

“It is where most of my clothes are,” I smiled, “I can’t go to your sister’s wedding, to a Count no less, in last night’s gown. Emily will never speak to me again.” He laughed. “I thought you might die last night.”

“So did I,” he whispered. “I think it a lot, actually.” I exhaled. “I don’t know what comes next, Caro, I wish I did.” I kissed him gently.

“The wedding will be at sunset?” I asked. He nodded. “Good, I’ll write to Mother and Emily, get it on the next boat to Dorin. You write to Alex and ask that they be sent down on the fastest.” He nodded. “Do we need to give them a gift? Goddess!”

“Caro,” he laughed, “we do not need to give Athena and Aaron a gift. First of all, we have nothing, and could not buy anything that could possibly be of value to them,” I laughed. “But I do need to talk to Lisette and make sure the contract is finalized.” He kissed my forehead. “I love you.” I smiled.

“I love you too,” I said gently. I quickly put my dress on and rushed down through the palace and into town.

It felt different from yesterday, quieter, and calmer, and a little eerie. I got to the house and found my father in the study. He stopped his work and looked at me.

“I’m glad you made it back,” he said. I nodded.

“Tristan and I have decided to move up the wedding,” I said firmly. He stood up and walked over to me. “I’m going to write to Emily and Mother and they’ll come here and we’ll be married once they arrive.”

“I see,” he said, “and I was not to be consulted in this plan?” I sat down and took a piece of paper and pen and began writing, “Carolina, look at me!”

“No,” I said, “since it’s become abundantly clear you don’t want the wedding to happen at all, I assumed when it happened would be irrelevant to you.” I went back to the letter.

“He isn’t going to make you happy,” he said. I stared at him. “You’re an escape for him, and now he’s realizing he can’t escape, and it will make you both miserable.” I looked away. “Andrei made a mistake, Caro, but he cares for you, do you think he’d have come here if he didn’t?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I said, “I don’t want him, and I do want Tristan.” He frowned at me. “I know what you’re saying, I know what you mean even, but it doesn’t matter. It’s over.”

I could see it in the way he was looking at me. He would never forgive me for this. And for the very first time in my life, I didn’t care.

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