“I’m not talking about that. I’m referring to what happened in the pantry.”
“You mean about getting sick? Like I said, that wasn’t your fault.”
Audra shook her head. What was Maxen playing at? He remembered what happened last night. He had to. She recalled the details, and she’d been the drugged one.
“I am talking about when I tried to kiss you.”
Maxen’s expression shuttered. “You must be mistaken.”
Oh, no. Should would not allow him to make her feel like a mad woman. They would talk about this.
“I am not mistaken. I see in your eyes you’re trying to avoid remembering, but you do.” She let out a sharp breath. “From the first time I saw you, I read the emotion in your eyes. I sense your emotions even if you don’t say the words.”
“That can’t be.” He scoffed and peered down at the floor.
“It can be and it is. We have something between us and you recognize it.”
Maxen, a dark red tint blossoming on his cheeks, said, “Yes. You are my queen and I am your subject. I tried to deny the fact we are friends at first, but we are.” He glanced back up at her. “That is all. You are a loyal and worthy queen, a woman true to your husband. You would not try to kiss a man like me… you would not.”
Now she understood. He remembered, but he would never speak the words, lest he put her life at risk. One way or another, it would all be forgotten.
Maxen stood up and helped Audra to her feet. Before they had the opportunity to exchange further words, Travana and Faye strolled in, slowly, their faces wan. Audra chuckled. She must look much the same.
“My lady, we apologize for last night,” said Faye.
“We were unwell,” offered Tra...
... middle of paper ...
...y and then rail at her husband. But unlike last time, Audra was determined to not make a scene. She’d save her tears for her chambers.
“Good evening, my lord,” she said in a brusque, unemotional tone. “I shall see you at supper shortly.”
Audra narrowed her eyes at Owena a fraction before spinning on her heal and marching back to her chambers. Maxen walked right alongside. She made it to her anteroom door before breaking down.
“I can’t, Maxen…” She flung herself into his arms. He walked her into the room, closed the door, and held her.
“This is to be my life now, isn’t it?” Audra sobbed harder than ever as Maxen rocked her in his arms gently.
“I am sorry. I wish I knew what to say.”
“Say that you’re here for me.”
“I am here for you, now and for as long as you’ll have me… as your friend.”
“Yes. My friend…”
Audra remained in his embrace longer than she should have.
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