I watched him from the shadows. My handsome mate stood strong in a crowded room of hungry female piranhas. The beautifully tailored clothes secured his strongly built frame. Dark green eyes pierce the soul of his female dance partners. Chiseled sturdy jaw proved to all men and woman he spoke business.
My eyes follow the female's hands down his sturdy appendages and a boiling rage surged inside my heart. I have no one to blame, but myself. All the aches and pains are wholly my fault. An appalling mistake nearly eight agonizing years ago, not only turned my life upside down, but the whole kingdoms as well.
The coldness of the brick wall cools my body down from the burning heat of jealously. How I craved to feel his callused fingers gracing my smooth skin. At the age of eighteen, my body yearns to feel the warm touch of a males caress. A certain male dancing and laughing away with beautiful woman in front of my own eyes.
A single tear escapes, sliding down my cheek before a hand swipes out to catch it. "Go to him Claudia. Tell Caden who you are and how unbelievably remorseful you feel for running off." My brother Taylor whispers into my ear. He has been my rock these wretched years. "He will forgive you in time, you have to know that." Squeezing my shoulder he gives my head a kiss before turning away, leaving me to my miserable thoughts.
Two years older than I, Taylor protects me from the harshness of our lives. Being born a servant isn't harsh now days, but it has its demands. Taking orders is a key part of surviving a severe punishment. A kingdom fails if its servants disobey and disrupt the daily routine. My family haven't felt the harshness of the Kings orders, but I've seen it happen to others.
The criminals get what's coming to them, eye to eye sort of speaking.
We do not have to be servants to the royal family, it's more of an honor. My family has been under the ideal care of the royal family for centuries. Not knowing other jobs, we have no need to leave the castle and seek employment elsewhere.
For the past year, I've had the honor of cleaning the royal wing with my mother and three other woman. Mine and my mother's duties consist of cleaning four bedrooms; Prince Caden's, and his three guest rooms. Cleaning Caden's room is the easiest out of all four. He sleeps, showers and changes clothes. No sneaking off with woman to have a quickie in his room. No that takes place in one of his guest rooms. Breaching those doors, I force myself to become impersonal. If I don't, I break down crying.
The devastation of the rooms tells a story of the heated night two lovers spent, touching, kissing and caressing. The first time, I walked into the first room, I broke down sobbing on my mother's shoulder. We sat for an ungodly amount of time. I had heard he spent his nights with woman of his ranking, but to see the aftermath of that lovemaking is nothing I could have prepared for. My mother had to call upon my father and brother to help with the rooms, otherwise we would have received no pay for that day.
After that first encounter, I shoved all emotion out the window. A blank slate became my work life. No laughing, or telling jokes with my mother. I walked in, cleaned the room, prepared it for the night ahead and left. That is what my mornings have consisted of.
My afternoons are a bit livelier as I get to hang out with my best friend Nikolai. Twelve wonderful years of friendship has solidified our souls together. There isn't a reason in the world where we would lie to each other. He knows my deadly secret and I fear for the day, he has to stand in front of his Prince and explain his betrayal. I for one am not looking forward to that.
In my heart I know he will find me, it's not if, but when.
Nikolai forced the truth out of me one year to the date of that unspeakable night. I can still remember the fright in my tiny ten year old body as I raced out of the ballroom. Closing my eyes, I replay the night that changed my life.
Twirling around my mother in the exquisite ball gown, she had placed me in moments before. My dark black hair placed magnificently on top of my head.
"Claudia sweetheart, you must remember this is a ball, not an afternoon with your brother." Spinning me around, she stares into my bright blue eyes. I had my mother's beautiful eyes and I couldn't be prouder. "This is Prince Caden's birthday ball, you must be a perfect Princess. Do you hear me? No running around, laughing out loud or speaking out of turn. Remember the reason you are allowed to attend this ball."