Chapter 36

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A lump formed in his throat, Benji could already feel his voice going hoarse. The drive back had been on edge as if a single word spoken could crash the entire place down. All he could do was fiddle his hands, Benji's mind drifting back and forth and in and out of consciousness. Jorge, however, didn't feel the giant weight looming over himself. Maybe it was because he himself wasn't the prince of Spain. Or maybe because the shorter boy wasn't afraid of his own father. Nevertheless, his thumb and index finger just continued twisting the gold band that clung to his scratchy skin, almost leaning on it for comfort. The silk-like shiny gold tied Jorge up into a firm knot, holding the boy together. It was at this point he finally realized the connection. The metallic bracelet that was slung to his wrist had the same demeanor and attitude as the band laced on his ring finger. It was adorable, actually, how much thought Benji put into it. 

Benji, whose head and upper body was plastered onto Jorge's lap finally fell out of complete consciousness, his eyelids shutting silently in the dark truck. But the other boy still reached for his hand, interlacing their fingers to find Benji's ring as well. He did but didn't let go of Benji's palm. It just felt safe. 

Camilla, who must've snagged her phone before she left, scrolled through the news aimlessly, Fiona looking over her shoulder in interest. A hitch in her breath sounded, and her eyes grew beady. Fiona noticed too and grabbed the cellular device out of Camilla's hands. 

"What?" Jorge questioned, noticing the two girls becoming flustered in the corner. Without an answer, Fiona just climbed over to Jorge, showing him the bright screen, illuminating the entire storage unit.

It wasn't just any plain news article. Benji's name was plastered all over it, along with what felt like hundreds of photos of the two. Ranging from in the booth, all the way to the final flash on the hill. 

They knew. 

A tightening feeling sprung in Jorge's chest, his hand still enveloped in Benji's and squeezing so hard his knuckles were white. The other boy woke up at the sudden pressure in his palm, and after reading the article drifted into the same state as Jorge. Everybody was silent, thousands of words being said through the crisp noiseless atmosphere. 

"Jorge, you need to leave." Was all Benji could muster out. His gaze didn't meet Jorge's, his neck was turned farthest away from him. He must have made a noise of confusion and utter disbelief, as Benji continued speaking. "You can't stay at the palace. It's not safe." This time, Benji just stared into the other boy's eyes, his gaze long and hard. 

Jorge gulped.

"I'm n-not leaving." He sputtered, letting go of Benji's grip. Although there wasn't anything he could do. Benji had the option to religiously throw him out of the palace, no matter the reason. So he just ignored the taller boy's convincing, the audio going in one ear and out the other. 

Was he ashamed of Jorge? It would make sense why he was so quick to throw him out after getting caught. But the band on his finger was enough to keep him sane. 

Benji had a reason, right? 

But before he could question the reason, the back door of the storage truck opened up, increasing the fear in all four of them. 

Surely the King knew about everything by then. 

Who knew what his reaction would be. 

~

heyo good nite

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