Chapter 30 – Something to Believe In
Chapter 30 – Something to Believe In
Alexandria caught herself staring at Prince Phillip for the second time that morning.
When she had first walked into the breakfast room, in her borrowed dress, she had believed that the person sitting casually at the end of the table was Noah. But when he stood to welcome her into the room, Alexandria knew it wasn’t him.
She felt it, or the lack of it. The absence of familiar shivers rushing across her back, told her it wasn’t him.
He formally introduced himself as Crowned Prince Phillip Gregory Marcus Lyonal. She remembered seeing him, momentarily, the night before when she had arrived, but she hadn’t paid much attention to him.
When she realized that King Heralf had mistaken Noah for the son of the Terrafein King, she had believed that the King was mad, or at best senile.
Now she found herself watching Prince Phillip and carefully categorizing every characteristic that made him either similar to or different from Noah.
The resemblance between them was uncanny.
She noticed it when he offered her a chair. She sent him a gracious smile and was met by a pair of dark green eyes.
Alexandria had to admit that Prince Phillip’s eyes were handsome, but they weren’t the ever changing ice blue that she had grown accustom to.
Phillip’s sharp features were similar to Noah’s, but the Prince’s face didn’t have the same familiar imperfections. There was no small scar marring the top corner of his lips, and his nose wasn’t crooked slightly to the left.
Phillip’s short hair was the same blonde as Noah’s, and she wondered if it would have the same slight curl if he grew it out.
Alexandria also compared Phillip’s temperament to Noah’s. Since the first day they met, conversations with Noah had felt natural. Phillip hardly spoke to her, and he seemed reserved or perhaps untrusting in her presence.
Still, Alexandria didn’t feel uncomfortable around the silent Prince.
After thirty minutes of without conversation, Alexandria broke the silence to asked where King Freddrick, and Noah were. He informed her that they had departed to the study five minutes before she had entered the breakfast room.
Memories of Noah’s actions the night before caused her to blush slightly. She hoped that Noah wouldn’t be disciplined too harshly for what had happened.
When Noah kissed her outside the Rramnon Embassy, she completely forgot that King Freddrick was there. The kiss reminded her of the one they had shared in the hallway at the Palace but more passionate, more needy, more personal, more...more every emotion she could think of.
“They should return any moment, your Highness.” Prince Phillip informed, pulling her out of the memory.
“Please don’t call me that,” she requested, “I’m not very fond my title.”
“Neither is Noah.” He stated with a slight smirk, seemingly amused by her words.
Alexandria was puzzled by what the Prince had said. It sounded like he was referring to Noah’s title, but Noah didn’t have a title. Did Phillip mean that Noah wasn’t found of Alexandria’s title? It made sense, and yet she couldn’t be positive. “I don’t understand.” She confessed
“He resists it.” He answered cryptically, “I informed him that he would eventually get use the idea.”
She wanted to ask him what idea, but something told her that he would just give her another obscure answer. So, she decided to change the subject. “Do you know how Noah managed to escape the Rramnon Embassy?” She wondered.
“He had help.” Prince Phillip responded with a pride.
“You?” She deduced.
“It was the safest option at the time.” He explained.
She nodded, “Still,” Alexandria confessed, “Why would you rescue him?”
Phillip seemed to think deeply about her question, but they were interrupted before he could answer.
She hardly noticed King Freddrick when both he and Noah stepped into the breakfast room.
~~~ Change Character Focus
Phillip was glad that he didn’t have to answer Princess Alexandria’s question. He had been quite anxious about what she might ask at breakfast. Still, his father had made him promise not to reveal anything before their return.
She stood anxiously the moment Noah entered the room.
Phillip didn’t miss the reaction.
It was clear that Princess Alexandria had feelings for his brother. Her whole being lit up the moment he walked in. And yet, Phillip remembered the way Noah talked about Lady Annabell the day he was rescued.
It was clear that Noah had great feelings for Lady Annabell.
What did that mean for the Princess?
Phillip watched Noah carefully, hoping for a hint about Noah’s intentions but all he saw was nerves. His brother was nervous.
His father walked stoically besides Noah, not a hint of emotion radiated from him.
The two of them stopped several paces from the table. “Alright, son.” His father began. “It’s time to tell her.”
Phillip observed Noah’s unease. He paled by several shades, and his hands clenched and unclenched at his side. Phillip wasn’t sure what Noah would say, but Alexandria’s face contorted in confusion.
“Noah?” She asked softly. “What did King Freddrick just call you?”
“I,” Noah tried hesitantly.
Phillip knew that even after three days, Noah hadn’t accepted his birthright.
“I,” Noah struggled.
“Tell her.” Their father urged.
“Tell me what?” Princess Alexandria asked, concern mixing in with her confusion.
“Your Highness,” Freddrick announced, clearly tired of waiting.
“Phillip is my brother.” Noah interrupted, his words shot forcibly from his mouth.
Princess Alexandria paled slightly. She looked between Noah and himself, and then asked him. “You’re brothers?”
“Yes.” Phillip nodded.
She looked back at Noah, “But your mother?” She asked unable to finish the question.
“Was also Phillip’s mother?” Noah answered, unable to take his eyes off of her.
Phillip noticed how her hands fiddled nervously with the fabric of her skirt. “Are you Noah’s father?” She asked King Freddrick.
“Yes.” He admitted easily.
Her confusion morphed as she looked at Noah with hurt in her eyes. “But, you’re a servant.” She accused.
Noah sighed, and ran a hand through his hair, “No, I’m not.”
“I,” She tried, but her confusion stopped her words. “You... you’re a...” She rambled as if trying to understand what had just happened.
Phillip knew that neither the Princess nor his brother would be able to say it. “He’s a Prince.” He cried out impassively.
Princess Alexandria struggled to grasp what he had just said. She fiddled with her skirt for a few seconds, as all eyes watched her then, with a quick mumble under her breath, she bolted out of the room.
Phillip was stunned as he watched her rush past Noah. Worry painted his brother’s face, and seconds later he hurriedly followed her. Noah couldn’t have been thinking straight as he rushed after her because as he reached the door, Phillip heard him call out, “Annabell wait!”
He looked towards his father hoping that he could explain, but the man was looking at someone else. The young escort Tilly, apparently managed to walk into the breakfast room, unnoticed, during the prior events. The girl stood quietly in the corner of the room, her confusion mimicking his own.
“It seems I’ve already met her.” His Father said to himself. His words only increased Phillip’s confusion.
~~~ Change Character Focus
Alexandria was battling with herself, as well as her borrowed dress, as she struggled up the staircase. She wasn’t sure where she was headed, but she had to get away from the confusion.
“He’s a Prince.”
Prince Phillip’s words rang repeatedly in her head, but she couldn’t seem to accept them.
It couldn’t be. Noah was a servant he had told her so. She had seen his Masters, she had seen the way that they had treated him, and she had accepted that she have fallen in love with a servant. After everything they had been through together, she hadn’t expected to find out that Noah was a...
“He’s a Prince.”
It didn’t make any since.
She should have stayed in that room. She should have demanded an explanation, but she couldn’t think straight and she couldn’t handle everyone watching her. She needed time to calm her racing heart, and clear her clouded mind.
“Annabell wait!” He called out.
Alexandria ignored the desire to stop. She could hear the pain in his voice that begged her to slow down, but she needed to think. She needed to be alone.
A dark voice pushed questions into her head.
Had he been lying to her the whole time?
Did he really care about her at all?
Why would he have kept it from her?
The questions only added to her frustration.
Alexandria just wanted to return to the time when things between her and Noah made their own type of sense.
Too many things had happened since she last saw him in Alminia. She didn’t hear anything from him for weeks and then found out that he had been kidnapped. She went to save him, spent two weeks on the sea with a seasick escort, and then was drugged and held hostage. Now she finds out that Noah is actually a Prince.
She needed time for everything to sink in.
“Annabell, please.” She heard him call out from behind her.
His voice was closer than before, too close for her liking.
Alexandria noticed an open door near her. She bolted for it. She slammed the door roughly behind her and locked it with a satisfying clink. Something in the back of her head told her that she was overreacting, but she didn’t care.
She found herself in a small room that held several bookshelves, and a solitary reading chair. It wasn’t a grand library, but it was secluded. After a few seconds of silence she could feel her pulse relaxing.
Noah didn’t bang on the door, he didn’t knock, he didn’t even try to open the door, but he did speak. “Alexandria?” He said his voice filled with remorse. “Please come out.”
It was the first time she heard him call her by her actual name. It felt strange to her, and only managed to further confuse her.
She stubbornly sat in the reading chair and ignored his request.
He didn’t repeat it.
All was quiet and Alexandria was left to her own thoughts, but after a while in silence she felt more numb than confused.
Eventually she stood and walked about the small library. She randomly picked up a book and flipped through it. From what little she actually read while scanning the pages, Alexandria was able to deduce that it was a book on tidal and currents patterns around Jodan. The book wasn’t interesting enough to take her mind off of everything that clutter her thoughts, but the movement of her hands passing through the pages did.
She had thought that Noah had left shortly after her stubborn silence, so was therefore surprised when she heard him speaking. He didn’t seem to be talking directly to her, but she was drawn to his words and listened anyway.
“It seems a bit unbelievable, doesn’t it, that someone’s life can be altered so drastically in such a short period of time. After of years of being a servant, it’s hard to believe that I’m...not. It seems too impossible to accept, and no matter how many times I question it, it’s still undeniable.” She heard him sigh in frustration, and imagined him running a hand through his hair. “I never even fathomed that this was possible.”
He went quiet again.
Alexandria wanted to say something. Her heart ached, but her tongue had turned into stone. She couldn’t speak.
“It’s been three days, since everything changed.” He chuckled dryly. “Just three days. How is that possible? How can a whole life change so quickly?” Noah sighed again and then admitted, “I understand why you left.”
She looked up at the door in confusion.
“I wanted to run away from it.” He continued. “I still do. I want to go back to working as a servant for the Twins. It’d be better if I could.”
Alexandria rushed out of the room. She was initially startled to see Noah sitting on the ground with his back against the wall, but that didn’t stop her for passionately saying. “Don’t think that way.”
He looked at her in surprise. “I don’t understand.” He confessed.
She knelt down besides him, and looked at him pointedly. “Those people treated you with spite and indifference.”
“I was their servant.”
“And they didn’t deserve you.” She explained.
He released another dry chuckle, before his eyes found hers. Alexandria instantly realized how close she was to him. She felt familiar shivers rush over her shoulders, and couldn’t stop the smile that spread across her face.
“Thank you.” He said softly.
Her smile changed to a look of bewilderment.
“For coming out of the room.” He clarified.
She looked back at the door of the small library, and then towards Noah. She reached out and firmly grasped his hand. “How did you find out?” She found herself asking, she didn’t have to explain her question. He knew what she meant.
He used a free hand to remove something from around his next, and hand it to her.
Alexandria studied it closely. It was the Sleeping Fox of Terrafeuw, attached with a leather cord.
“My father gave it to my mother.” He explained turning it over in her hand. “He carved his initials into it.”
Alexandria only saw two letters. “F.J.” She read. “Freddrick James?”
Noah shook his head. “Flint Jenkins.” She looked at him confused, so he continued. “The Terrafein Advisors insisted that he change his name when King Griggory passed away.”
“King Griggory was his father?”
Alexandria found herself nodding in agreement, but there was still something that confused her. “I thought that Queen Gwenwyn died twenty years ago during the Rramnon Terrafein War.”
“No.” Noah confessed sadly, “She died seven years ago, right next to me.”
They remained quiet for a moment, as they sat hand in hand in the hallway. “What are you going to do now?” She finally asked.
“Phillip and my father agreed that telling you could prove to be beneficial, but they also believed that this information should remain between us.” He informed unemotionally. “Apparently my existence should be kept secret.”
“Is that what you believe?” She asked as she moved closer to him.
She felt him relax slightly at her presence. Even though she, herself, was still puzzled by the recent events Alexandria knew that she had never felt more comfortable in her life.
“I’m not sure what I believe at this moment.” He admitted.
She interlaced her fingers with his, “We’ll figure this out.” She stated firmly.
Alexandria laughed at his confusion. “I stayed by you side when you told me that you were a servant.” She reminded, “I’m not going to abandon you now that I know you’re Prince.”
He winced slightly when she said the word Prince. “I still haven’t been able to say it.” He confessed.
“You will.” She stated knowingly.
Noah chuckled dryly. “How can you be sure?”
Alexandria placed her head on his shoulder. “I believe in you.” She answered softly.
She felt him stiffen slightly at her words, like he didn’t believe them. She knew that he was still adjusting to his new placement in society, but she remained uncomfortable until he once again relaxed against her.
“Your steadfastness will never cease to amaze me.” He confessed, with a slight squeeze of her hand.
“It’s fueled by you selflessness.” She teased.
He chucked again, but this time Alexandria could tell that he actually meant it.
“I’ve missed your laugh.” She realized.
Noah shifted slightly so that he could look at her. “I’ve missed nearly everything about you.”
Alexandria couldn’t help the shock that found it’s way to her face. “Nearly?” she asked sternly. She eyed him carefully, and noticed a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “What do you mean by that?”
“There’s this one thing that I didn’t miss.”
“What was that?”
Mischief found it’s way into his eyes, and Alexandria’s heart jumped from her chest.
“I did not miss having to save you.” He answered simply.
She felt her jaw drop, but she made no attempt to rectify the action. “You were the one that wrote asking for help.” She accused.
“And you were so quick to rush after me that you ended up getting captured yourself.” All teasing had disappeared from his voice. “Knowing that you had been put into danger, because of me, was one of the hardest things that I had to live through.”
Alexandria wanted to debate his words. She had seen what his masters were capable of doing to him.
Still, the pain in his voice, and the seriousness in his eyes, stilled her chiding tongue.
“Please.” He implored, his voice barely above a whisper. “Please, don’t worry me like that again.”
Alexandria wondered what caused Noah to say such passionate words. She was use to him teasing her, and battling words with her. She had seen him when he was afraid and when he was angry. He had been her strength and she had been his.
What she witnessed on Noah’s face seemed to be a combination of every emotion she had seen him display.
“How long have you loved me?” She asked, not at all concerned by the audacity of her question.
“Two months and twenty-four days.” He answered her so quickly that at first Alexandria believed he was joking with her, but the look on his face stated other wise.
It took her a minute to realize what moment in time he was referring to. “The day we met?” She wondered. “How could you have loved me since then?”
“I wasn’t aware of it at the time,” he confessed, “but I wouldn’t have acted the way I did that first day, if some basic part of me didn’t feel something for you. It wasn’t until your ninth suitor day that I realized what that something was.”
“You saved me from Lord Johnathon that day.” She remembered.
Courage painted her voice. “I want to hear you say it.” She commanded.
He laughed at her stubbornness, but he didn’t refuse her request.
“Whether I’m a Lord, or a servant,” he began, “a guard, or a...a Prince, if you Alexandria are my Annabell, I will forever love you.”