25. Dismissive

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I pretend to wipe my mouth with my napkin to think of an answer. It was not common for a noble mans daughter to be able to read, whereas a princess on the other hand should be able to. I try to sound casual. "I had been so fascinated by the art of reading and writing as a child, that my father had given in to teaching me how to do it."

"He must've been an important man, if he knew how to read and write," the King says, expecting me to answer.

"Not really, but he had a lot of land which led to a lot a financial work, meaning that writing was a must," I lie, not sure if the King believed me.

„Either way if I catch you reading something without my permission again there will be consequences." Ashamed I nod but don't say anything.

The conversation takes an end there as the King continues to down his drink. "I worry about your health," I say after a while wanting to change the topic.

"Why's that?" The King mocks me, clearly intoxicated already.

"Your drinking habits are alarming, King Theodore."

"Tsk."

Did he just "tsk" at me??

"It's not within your discretion to disapprove of my behavior." His mood is sour similar to a freshly plucked lemon. And the weather seems to be moody as well as a strong wind repetitively shakes the glas panes in its frames making some clattering noise.

"I would say it is, as your bonded," I murmur without thinking.

"I told you I don't really believe in the bond... anymore that is," the King says coldly.

Pretending not to be hurt by his words I choose to ignore what he just said. "May I see your tattoo, your highness?" I ask politely.

"Why?" The King asks annoyed. I doubt anything I say can bring forth any emotion besides annoyance. "I haven't seen it." I state simply.

"You don't believe me, isn't that right? Wouldn't be the first time you distrusted me." A bolt of lightning lights up the whole dinning hall for a split second, surprising me in the process.

I shake it off and continue, "I do, but I'd think of it as only fair, that I got to see yours too."

"Whatever." The King says before placing his chalice back on the dinning table and rolling up his right sleeve. I peer over interestedly. A small part of me, wants us to have a different tattoo, and another small part wants us to have the same one.  The pitter-patter of  heavy raindrops falling against the windows is now the only sound in the hall.

When his sleeve is rolled up, I notice a bandage around his, tanned underarm. He starts untying it and there it was. The exact same triquetra as mine, no doubt about it. I hold up my right wrist and lean over to hold it next to his. Strangely we had it both on our right wrist, at the exact same spot. It is unusual, for two mates to have them at the same spot. It didn't matter where the symbols on ones body were as long as they were the same. I'd never seen anyone have them in the exact same spot on their body. In thought I turn my arm and slide my fingers over his tattoo. Truly strange. My eyes wonder upwards again and I realize that me and the King are almost face to face. Looking straight at each other.

I lean back quickly, seemingly being the only one who felt awkward just now.

"Why- um," I clear my throat. "Why is there a bandage over your symbol?"

"Because I don't like to look at it." The King rolls his eyes, finished his cup in one gulp and gets up abruptly.

"Why are you being so dismissive? Im just trying to speak with you," I get up and turn towards the King who is swaying past me heading for the door. Ignoring me he continues along the long table.

"Hey!" I follow in his footsteps my shoes making a click clack sound in the process. Another lightning flash lights up the room, when the King abruptly turns and grabs my chin. A loud thunder fills the room as I'm startled by his sudden movement towards me and I take a step back, bumping into the dinning table making something fall over. Probably a chalice. He steps towards me, so closely that I'm now leaning backwards over the table. What is he doing, I can't back away any further.

We're face to face and another flash lights up the room. I can feel the warmth radiating off his face before he grabs ahold of the side of my face again. It isn't painful but firm.

"You annoy me, little Alice." The King whispers, his cold blue eyes staring into what feels like my soul. Suddenly his lips are pressed onto mine and the smell and taste of alcohol fills my senses. My heart skips a beat and my mind goes blank. Then his soft lips let up and he slowly eases his hand off my face. My head is spinning as I search the Kings face for any possible explanation for what just happened. His face is expressionless but he searches my face for something as well.

Unbeknownst to me my breathing is rigid and I'm frozen on the spot.  The King then leans out of our -whatever that was- and turns. His steps become more quiet as I watch him opening the big doors, and leaving me standing there alone.

I try to process what just happened as it would have been the last thing I would have expected from him. He kissed me. He. Kissed. Me!

I hide my face with both of my hands wide-eyed, thinking about what had happened. The blood came rushing into my ears and cheeks. What in gods name? He'd gone and done it. He'd gone and confused me by drunkenly kissing me. My plan to let him know that I understand him better now has faded.

I back of the table and turn to see Arthur and another servant girl looking at me in astonishment. Right, they'd been here the entire time.

"G-goodnight." I nod at them awkwardly before speed walking out of the hall and wandering after the King.

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