Christian walked back to the Hag’s Head where he and Amos had tied their horses. Amos’s horse was still there so Christian knew that he hadn’t yet gone back to the Palace. He checked inside the Tavern and found no sign of him. Christian was starting to become angry. Where had Amos gone? And why hadn’t he told him that he was leaving? Christian mounted his horse and looked down either side of the road. He had an idea of where Amos might have gone and if he was correct there would be hell to pay when he found him.
He turned his horse onto the street and started towards Isolda’s Spa. It was the only place other than the palace that Amos would have gone and within walking distance from the Tavern. He’d just turned the corner when he saw one of the palace guards riding towards him. “Great.” He said under his breath as he brought his steed to a halt.
“Majesty.” The Guard addressed him as he rose up beside him. “I’ve been sent to bring you back to the Palace.”
“In due time.” The Prince told him. “I’ve lost my steward.”
“I’m afraid I must bring you back now, Sir.” He took hold of the reins to the horse and Christian gave him an agitated look.
“I believe I can control my own animal.” He said gruffly.
“Of course, Sire.” The Guard released the horse at once and bowed. “But I must implore you majesty, to return to the Palace. You father is most incensed.”
“What of my man? I have reason to believe he’s snuck off to Isolda’s Spa.”
“I’ll send someone to retrieve him.” The Guard assured him.
“Good. And when he’s found, remand him to his quarters until I’ve had a chance to lecture him for running off on me.”
“As you wish, Sire.” The Guard turned his horse and began down the road towards the palace. Christian followed.
Once at the palace Christian was led through the main hall to his fathers study. He walked inside and found his father standing beside the fireplace watching the flames rise up and lick the burning wood. The King turned, seeing his son, he dismissed the guard and motioned for Christian to enter the room. Christian sighed in frustration then walked into the room and dropped himself down into a large padded chair, slinging one leg over the arm.
“Was the armed escort really necessary?” He asked, imprudently.
Guillame glared at him, quite vexed. “You’re insolence is not necessary.” He growled.
“Forgive me father but I detest being dragged back to the palace like an unruly child.”
“Then do not act as such!” Guillame yelled. “When a King gives orders he expects those orders to be obeyed. How are my subjects meant to trust that I can rule this land when I can’t even rule my own house?”
“Well I’m here now. What do you want of me?”
“What I want is for you to do as your told. I expected you to be present this after noon when I introduced your bride to be to the court and yet you, her future husband and future King, were no where to be found. You embarrassed me in front the counsel, you embarrassed me in front of my people, and you embarrassed me in front of your future in laws. What am I to make of this?”
Christian began to fidget with one of the tassels on his vest as he pretended not to hear his father’s rant. “Make of it what you will. I just decided to skip the festivities for something more worthy of my time.”
“And what was that?” Guillame asked, staring coldly at the Prince. “What important matter was so pressing that you intentionally skipped your own engagement party?”
Christian shrugged. “I went for a ride in the forest.”
Guillame was dumbfounded. He could scarcely believe what he’d just heard. The ludicrous of the Prince’s response further fueled his anger. “Am I to understand that you deliberately disobeyed me so that you could fritter away the time roaming around in the forest for half the day?”
“No, after that I went for a drink at the Tavern. It was most enjoyable. A mush better use of my time than spending the evening playing kiss ass to a bunch of puffed up cows.”
Guillame stormed over to where the Prince was seated, slapped his leg off the chair, and locked eyes with him. “Boy, it’s time you grew up and took your place. You have duties to this house and duties to this Kingdom.”
“Yes I know.” Christian sighed. “Duties. I’ve been hearing about my duties since I was a child. It’s all you ever talk about.”
“Apparently you’ve not been listening.”
“Oh, I’ve been listening. I’m just sick of hearing it.”
Guillame shook his head as he threw his arms in the air in frustration. “Why do the Gods torment me so?”
“Don’t blame the Gods father, the blame is yours.”
Guillame turned and scowled at the boy. “How dare you.” He sneered.
“Face it father. You’re always telling me to grow up, be a man, do as I say. You put so many rules and regulations on me that I’m starting to feel smothered. I can’t blow my nose nor take a shit without your knowing of it. You’ve dictated every aspect of my life since the day I was born and now you tell me I’m to be married and to whom. Should I not have at least a say in gaziantep escortlar the person I’m to spend the rest of my life with?”
“I do these things to prepare you for the day you take the throne. The crown you’ll inherit is a heavy burden to take on. I just want to know that when I’m gone you will be ready for the responsibilities of ruling this land.”
“Maybe I don’t want that burden.” Christian shocked even himself with such a declaration but it was too late to take it back. It was out there now, hanging between them like a sharp spear. Guillame almost seemed wounded by his son’s confession but his hurt look quickly turned to something of total outrage.
“Have you lost your mind entirely?” He bellowed. “You’re a Prince. The first born I might add. You don’t have the luxury nor the privilege of choosing your fate, it is your birth right!”
“Well if it means not being able to live my own life then i don’t want it!” Christian stood and yelled at his father, growing bolder and angrier by the moment. “I’ll renounce the throne if that is what it takes but I will not be forced to marry someone that I don’t love!”
Guillame stared at the Prince, the look on his face one of complete shock. For a moment Christian thought his father might actually hit him across the face then suddenly Guillame burst out with a long, bellowing, howl of laughter. “Is that what this is all about?” He asked his son. “You want to marry for love? Boy, do you think I loved your mother when I married her? We barely knew each other. My father had arranged it the same as I’ve arranged a bride for you, and so it has been for centuries. Being a royal means having to make certain sacrifices. We do not marry for love, we marry for title, for land, for nobility. You want your wife to be a suitable fit for you, someone who can rule at your side, and someone who the people will respect.”
“At the expense of ones own happiness?”
Guillame placed his hand on Christian’s shoulder. “Happiness and love come later. You’re mother and I are perfectly happy together. She has her affairs and I have mine. Discreetly I might add, so it shall be with you and your wife, but there you have it. She has provided me an heir and so her duty is done. Once your heir is born you need not visit your wife’s bed again if you do not wish to. Have your mistresses, or your whores. Bed any of the servants for all I care so long as you keep your trysts discreet and produce an heir, that’s all I ask of you.”
“But what if I want to marry for love?” Christian looked at his father seriously for the first time since entering his study. “What if I meet someone whom I’ve fallen in love with and I choose to spend the rest of my life with them?”
Guillame raised an eye brow, “Is there such a person?”
Christian shrugged. “Perhaps…” He was careful not to reveal too much too soon.
Guillame stroked his beard thoughtfully. “And this girl whom you claim to love, is she of noble blood?”
“I don’t know.” Christian confessed. “In truth, there is little that I know. We’ve only just met.”
“You know nothing of this girls family?”
“I know that they are dead. That is all.” Christian was leery of revealing the fact that the one he was in love with was a man though he knew in time he would have to tell his father. The present moment however, did not seem the appropriate time to bring it up.
Guillame shook his head. “Rubbish. You will marry Jivete. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.”
Christian took a deep breath, looked his father in the eye and spoke sternly but with great trepidation. “I will not.” The words came out like the soft spoken whimper of a child but there was conviction behind his words.
Guillame looked at Christian and the calm look on his face turned into an ugly scowl. “What did you say to me, boy?”
“I will not marry Jivete.” Christian said again, this time raising his voice a bit more.
Guillame went to him and took a hold of his hair, pulling his head back. “Now you listen to me. You will marry Jivete, and you will produce an heir to your throne. This girl you’ve met is a nobody. An orphaned child with no family name, and no future. She is beneath you and can not, will not, be your Queen!”
“But father, I love…”
“Enough!” Christian shivered when he saw the rage in his father’s eyes. “I forbid you to even see this girl again. Tomorrow you will go before Jivete and before Lord and Lady Donovan, you will apologize for your recent behavior, and you will ask for Jivete’s hand in marriage.”
“And if I refuse?”
“Then I will have you taken out to the stables and given the lashing of a life time!” Guillame shoved Christian back causing him to stumble, nearly falling over the chair. “I will have order in my house and I will have your obedience or so help me I will beat the willfulness right out of you!” Guillame walked back to the fire and stared down at the hearth. “There will be no more discussion on the matter. You have your orders. Now leave my sight.”
“I said leave!”
Christian bowed. “As you command your majesty.” With that he turned on his heels and stormed out of the room, slamming the door closed behind him.
Guillame sat in his chair and picked up the glass of wine that he had neglected since Christian had arrived and took a sip as he went over the conversation in his mind. Who was this mystery girl that his son claims to have fallen in love with? From where did she come, and what were her motives? He quietly drummed his fingers on the arm of the chair as he thought it over. This girl could present quite a problem if Christian were really that serious about her. He had to find out more about her and most importantly, he had to find out what her intentions were with the Prince. Guillame was not about to let some gold digging tramp sink her claws into his son. If that were the case, he would have her dealt with immediately.
Christian bolted through the doors of the main hall and pushed his way passed anyone that dared to stand too close to him. He marched through the crowded room as the servants scurried about, trying to avoid his assault. He hastily entered the corridor and headed for the stairs, taking them two at a time as he made his way to the apartments of the upper servants. He stopped outside of Amos’s quarters and for a moment he considered knocking then stopped. His anger at his father giving way to his annoyance at having been left in the Tavern without so much as a word by his personal steward.
“You better be here.” He hissed into the air. Christian flung the doors open and barged into the room. “Amos!” He shouted angrily. “Amos, where the hell are you?”
“I’m here.” Amos said as he rose from the sofa where he had been sitting. He looked concerned as he watched the Prince make his way across the room. “What’s wrong?” He asked.
Christian stopped a few feet from him and glared at the man. “What the hell do you mean just getting up and walking out on me the way you did? Where did you go?”
Amos took a deep breath and tried to conceal his anger. “I thought that you and your new friend might have wanted some privacy so I choose to excuse myself.”
“And it never occurred to you to tell me that you were leaving?”
Amos shrugged. “Would it have made a difference?”
“I didn’t give you leave.” Christian pointed out, ignoring Amos’s question. “Do you realize what a fool I looked like, searching the Tavern for my servant, having no idea that you had even gone? I’m not some pompous cow or a clerk that you can just abandon on a whim, I’m the fucking Prince for Gods sake! Not only did you leave me wondering what had happened to you, which I do not appreciate in the least, but you also left me without an escort when the damned palace guards came up on me! You’re damn lucky I don’t have you whipped!”
“I apologize for my actions.” Amos bowed to Christian but Christian just waved his hand as he plopped himself down in one of the chairs before the fire.
“Spare me your false devotion, I’m not in the mood.”
“False devotion?” Amos narrowed his eyes. “How dare you assume my devotion to you is false, you arrogant little shit! I’ve devoted my entire life to you! I’ve been by your side in everything you do, I’ve stood by you for better or worse and trust me when I say worse because there are times when I’ve seriously wondered where your faculties have gone!”
Christian turned to stare at him. He gripped the arms of the chair so tightly that his knuckles turned white. “You have balls speaking to me in such a way. Whose lost his mind now?”
“I’ve not lost my mind, just my patience.” Amos sat down in the chair beside Christian. He leaned his head back so that he was staring at the ceiling and sighed. “You were so invested in that boy. I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to leave or I might have said something we both would have regretted.”
“I see.” Christian turned his head and studied the fire. “So, you do not approve of him anymore than my father does.”
“Your father?” Amos looked up in surprise. “You told your father about him?”
“Not in so many words. He thinks I’ve fallen for a common woman with no familial ties.” Christian ran his hand through his hair as he tried to calm his nerves.
“Have you?” Amos stared at him, hard. “Have you fallen for him?”
Christian didn’t look at Amos, he just continued studying the fire. After a long pause he finally nodded. “I have.” He said simply.
“My God Christian, you know nothing about him.” Amos shook his head. He could hardly believe what he was hearing. He was worried that the Prince had developed some affection for Alexander but he honestly thought it was more lust or just a strange infatuation with a mysterious youth that would soon fizzle when the Prince came to his senses. To hear him say that he was actually in love with the boy was worse than he’d feared.
“Hy heart knows all it needs to know.” Christian told his friend. “From the moment I saw him in the forest something stirred inside of me that I couldn’t quite comprehend. I’ve never in my life felt such a strong pull to one person, its as if there was a part of me that had been missing and when I saw him, I was suddenly made whole again. I can’t explain it, I just know that I need to be with him. I don’t think I can survive without him.”
“You need laid.” Amos rolled his eyes. “Come with me to the spa. Have your fill of the delicate young flowers there. Once you’ve found release you’ll forget that boy.”
Christian turned and looked at Amos with a knowing grin. “Is that where you went tonight?”
“Maybe.” Amos smiled. He could still taste Kian on his lips and he remembered the feel of his sex sliding into Kian’s warm and inviting little ass. He was a bit annoyed at having the guards remove him from Kain’s sleepy embrace but he figured it had only been a matter of time before he was found out. He was foolish to actually believe that Christian wouldn’t have come looking for him, or sent someone in his stead. As Christian had pointed out earlier, Amos was a servant, and he had abandoned his master without permission. Such an act was rarely tolerated.
“I might have known you’d abandoned me to fulfill your carnal desires. I suppose I can’t really fault you though. My problem is the way in which you’d left me. If you had asked I would gladly have granted you permission, at least then I would have known where you were.”
Amos grinned. “Were you concerned for my well being?”
Christian glared at him then rolled his eyes. “I was concerned because your behavior reflects poorly on me. My father already thinks I’m a screw up. What must of he think of me now? How can he expect me to rule his Kingdom when I can’t even keep one servant in line.” Christian understood at that moment what his father must have felt lecturing him tonight. He was lecturing Amos in the same manner.
“You think power over another person is what makes you a King?” Amos asked him.
“No.” Christian shook his head. “But having the respect of your people and servants is key when planning to rule an entire nation.”
“I meant no disrespect.” Amos told him. “I was just upset.”
“Still, I give you far too much freedom. I see that now.”
Amos signed. “Now you sound like your father.”
“My father is a wise man. Albeit a bit stringent and at times unyielding.”
“And is that the kind of King you wish to be as well?”
Christian frowned. “Certainly not, but I do expect a degree of deference.”
“Do you wish me to fall to my knees and exalt the ground you walk upon?”
“Don’t be curt. I would not wish that from any man but you are my servant, though lately you act as though we are equals.”
Amos was suddenly hurt by Christians words. “You’ve never treated me as a servant before.” He reminded the Prince.
“You’ve never given me cause to before.”
“So the moment I dare to show an ounce of independence you strike me down?”
Christian raised an eye brow. “Do not forget your place Amos. Your function is not to show independence but to obey.”
Amos opened his mouth to speak but then turned his head and sulked. “I don’t know what’s happened to you Christian, but your not the man I know. That boy has caused this change in you and it’s most concerning.” He stood and walked out of the sitting room into his bed chamber where he flung himself onto his bed, folding his arms behind his head.
Christian watched in amazement as Amos walked away from him. Suddenly he’d had enough. He rose from the chair and stomped into the bed chamber and right up to where Amos was laying. Christian grabbed him by his arm and pulled him off the bed and onto the floor where he landed on his knees with a sharp pain.
Amos grimaced then turned his stare to the Prince who was glaring at him, pissed off. “Bastard!” Amos yelled in disgust. “Why the hell did you do that?”
“Because I’m tired of this attitude! And do not blame Alexander for my actions. You’ve brought this all on yourself.”
Amos got to his feet and stood in front of Christian so close that their noses were practically touching. “I blame that boy for everything!” He hissed. “We should have left him stranded in the forest. By now things would be back to normal and if luck have it that little whore would be worm food!”
Christian’s eyes widened as he stared at Amos, completely dumbstruck. His heart began pounding furiously in his chest as his hands began to shake. He raised his fist with all intentions of punching Amos when he saw his friend wince and back away from him. Christian had never in his life struck Amos and he didn’t really want to now but he was so infuriated by what he’d just said that he was beside himself and uncertain of how to respond.
When Amos saw Christian lower his fist he felt a bit of relief but Christian was far from being calm. He had daggers in his eyes and Amos realized too late that he had finally over stepped his bounds though he still couldn’t bring himself to apologize for what he’d said because he meant every word of it. He did in fact blame Alexander for Christian’s unusual behavior and for coming between them. If he’d had it his way he would have sent the boy straight back where he’d come from.