LOVE BEYOND MONARCHY CHAPTER 6
Continue from Episode 5
I’ve never once in my life woken up with a smile on my face. I always thought that was something only done in movies. Not true. I’m grinning from ear to ear. Henry is asleep, head still on my stomach, exactly where I last saw him. We talked for as long as we could last night, which was precisely twenty minutes before we both passed out.
It’s dawn, the day is dark, cloudy.
I look from the window back to the quiet body beside me. His body isn’t covered by anything. I stare at him, unabashedly, feeling only wonder. His body is like a sculpture, like something you’d encounter in a museum. Something that was created by imagination.
He’s perfect. Everything about him.
I hear my stomach growl, after a moment of ogling. I press my lips together, when I remember that I didn’t eat dinner last night, too nervous to. I slide closer to the edge gently and he moves, without waking, resting his head against the mattress. Climbing out of bed, I marvel at how my knees buckle, my thighs ache. I am used, happily used.
On the back of the door, there is a robe. I walk over to it, removing it from the hanger. As I tie it around my waist, I turn back, seeing Henry still asleep in the same place. I open the door quietly, on a search for water. And a piece of fruit or something. I shut the door, walking down the hallway. When I turn the corner, I nearly screech to a halt, wide-eyed. Royce, Angie, and that guy that was lying on the coffee table are sitting at the long dining table, breakfast in front of them.
Royce smirks, leaning back. “Well, well, well.”
I pull the robe in tighter, tucking my hair behind my ear. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know anyone was awake yet.”
“Ang and I wake before the sun everyday. We’ve already gotten a run in. Henry is usually with us, but after last nights excursions, I don’t expect he’ll be up for
I feel the blush creeping up to my cheeks . They heard . Angie rolls her eyes, gesturing me over. “Ignore him. He’s got a massive hangover, it makes him cranky. Come over, dear. Have something to eat.”
“Maybe I should change first…”
“Nonsense. Come, sit.”
Okay … I walk over to the table, taking a seat. I hold the robe down, making sure it doesn’t part at my legs. There is someone in uniform beside me within seconds.
“Good morning, miss. What shall I have made?”
I blink, pressing my lips together. “Wha-what is there?”
His face doesn’t move. The coffee table guy chuckles, holding up a newspaper. “Anything. They can make you anything.”
I look back at the butler. “Coffee, please. And eggs?”
“Scrambled, poached? Scotch?”
He nods, turning. I clear my throat, uncomfortably.
“So, Miss Tyler… may I call you Mia?”
“Of course, C-Countess.”
“Angie. Royce and I detest formalities. That’s probably why half the royal family hates us.”
“They do not hate us, Ang.”
“Royce, are you forgetting-”
A picture catches my eye on the front page of the newspaper coffee guy is reading. I tilt my head, trying to read the words. As I catch onto the first couple of them, my heart begins to race.
“I’m sorry,” I utter, pointing at the newspaper. “C-Could I see that front page by any chance?”
Coffee guy nods, pulling the front page from the pack of them, handing it over to me. His eyes watch my reaction knowingly as I turn it over, staring at the picture on the front. I gape slightly, finding it hard to breathe.
“You didn’t know?” Angie asks, after a moment. I shake my head, looking to her in horror. She frowns after a moment but recovers, shrugging. “It’s no big deal. These things- well, they happen. You didn’t know.”
I set down the newspaper, resting my hand over the picture of Henry and his newly-announced fiancée as I stand up. Every muscle in my body is aching with rigidness.
“I am going to get dressed.”
Royce shakes his head. “No, it’s alri-”
I walk from the table, hurrying until I’m behind the wall, hidden from them. I place my hand to my lips, horrified. I just spent the night with a man who’s about to be married.
Married . I sat here in front of his friends, and everyone knew! I shake my head.
“Poor girl,” I hear Royce utter quietly. “She thought she had a chance.”
I feel my heart, a wild thumping thing, suddenly turn cold. Ice cold. I push myself from the wall, storming down the hallway until I see the room leading to a kitchen. I push open the door and the entire room turns, shocked.
The butler steps forward. “May I help you with something, miss?”
I nod, breathing in deeply. “Yes. I need you to get me something.”
I’m leaning over the table in the bedroom, scribbling my name across the Non-Disclosure Agreement when I hear the bed move behind me. I’m already dressed with my bag on my shoulder.
I close the pen, dropping it down. When I turn, Henry is sitting up slightly, looking confused. Confused, tired… and perfect.
His blue eyes flicker to the desk. “… What is that? Where did you get those papers?”
“Your staff.” I chuckle low, shaking my head before I turn. “Goodbye.”
“Mia!” His voice is stern, commanding. It stops me to a halt.
I look back at him, trying to reign my temper. “I signed your damn agreement. And I never want to see you again.”
His eyes widen as he presses a hand to the mattress, to stand up. I hold my hand up, stopping him.
“Just stay there. I’m leaving.”
I’m about to explode. My rage holds no bounds. “Tell me… does the name Annabelle Weston mean anything to you?”
His eyes close momentarily in regret. He holds up his hands as he throws his legs over the mattress onto the floor. “Mia, just- wait. Let me get dressed… we can talk about this.”
“Why? I don’t need to.” I turn, clasping onto my bag. “We never said what this was. I understand I didn’t ask if you were with anyone. I didn’t ask you- about yourself at all and-” I grab the door but he grasps my hand, pulling me back to him. I look anywhere but at him, in all his naked glory.
“Mia, it is an arranged marriage. I was going to tell you. I barely know Annabelle.”
“And that changes the fact that you cheated on her? No!” I snap, pulling my arm from his grasp. “You are going to marry her! You are des-despicable. I-I thought-”
“What did you think?”
He grasps my arms once more, holding them at my chest. “What, Mia?”
I want to tell him that I thought we had something. That this wasn’t just a fuck but I can’t bring myself to admit that to him. I shake my head. “Nothing. I don’t know what I thought.”
“You thought that this was something true. You thought that I was a kind man, a kind prince, like a fairytale?”
I grimace, angrily. “Don’t belittle me, Henry.”
“I’m not trying to! I’m trying to tell you that I am far from the fairytale. I do things that many would frown upon. I have had many women in my life, purely sexual relationships, but dammit, Mia, last night was different!”
I stare at him, wanting to believe him. “You are engaged, Henry. Anything you say holds no meaning to me now. You lied.”
“I never lied!”
“You withheld the truth and that made it a fucking lie. I have been nothing but real with you! I have-” I shake my head, looking down. “It doesn’t even matter. I need to leave.”
“Mia,” he breathes. “What you’re feeling, I’m feeling. Remember last night. Remember what we had together!”
” I remember!” I shout, inches away from his face. We stare at each other, wide-eyed. I let out a breath of uncertainty. “I fucking remember last night! I remember this morning- when I woke up happier than I’ve ever felt. All of that, all of this was a mistake.”
“It was not.”
“Let me go, Henry. Now.”
“Please!” I shout, unmoved. His stare falters slightly but he does let go of my arms, backing up slightly. He rests his hands on his hips, looking down at the ground. Turning, I reach for the door, pulling it open. I hesitate, despite myself, apart of me wondering if I’m possibly making a mistake.
My better judgment wins however and I step from the room.
“Mia,” he utters, calmer this time.
I shut the door.