Stellan was busy writing letters and taking care of royal matters that he’d admittedly been putting off for too long. He had finally gotten some peace and quiet for the past few days, quiet he’d been craving since London’s hometown. Now, he looked out the window of his hotel room at the twinkling lights of the city and found himself melancholy. The more time he’d spent alone, the more time he had to think.
“Are you looking forward to having some time off?” Stellan finally said, turning to one of his many knights placed around the hotel for safety. Mark was one of his closest friends, and therefore had been stationed in the room with Stellan.
“Yes, sir.” Mark replied stiffly, his words garbled through his helmet.
“I’m sure Vienna and Carter miss you a lot,” Stellan said.
“They do, sir. I receive letters daily.”
“And your wife? How is she doing?”
“Very good, sir. Sierra is with child again.”
“And you’re here with me?” Stellan chuckled. “Tomorrow you’ll go back home.”
Mark nodded before returning to his post. He was a man of few words, and though it had taken a long time for Stellan to get used to it, now the two of them understood each other perfectly.
Stellan looked down at the note he had received, frowning in distaste.
Your Royal Highness,
I must advise you against allowing the army to ally with Miss Marroquin’s. The risk is too high and there is little chance of succeeding. While there is a possibility of gaining a new ally, there is an even bigger possibility of gaining a powerful enemy. I respectfully ask you to cancel the operations and send the army back to the training grounds until further conflict.
Stellan rubbed his the bridge of his nose with two fingers. Of course General Watson didn’t agree with his plan to work with Raina, should she want to. Sam Watson was tough as nails, the toughest general of any army. She was incredibly persuasive, but Stellan refused to back down.
A knock at the door caused him to jump. Mark moved forward at an alarming pace, his armor jangling with every step.
“Mark!” Stellan called. “Stand down. I’ll get it.”
Mark sighed almost imperceptibly before moving off to the side, still in view of the door. He kept a hand on his sword, ready to pounce.
What both men weren’t expecting was a petite, raven-haired woman.
“London?” Stellan said, trying to suppress his surprise. “What are you doing here?”
London shrugged. “I just want to talk to you.”
“Oh! Of course, sorry. Come in.”
Stellan widened the door and let London step through. “Can I get you anything?” He asked. “Room service closed an hour ago, but there’s tea and coffee.”
London smiled at his awkward hospitality. “Don’t trouble yourself. I won’t be long.”
Stellan nodded and led her to the couch. “If I’m honest, I was about to come talk to you.”
London looked at the ground for a moment. “Sounds like we’re on the same page.”
Stellan smiled sadly. “How’s Orla?”
“She’s great, really. Talking a lot more. I’ve missed her.”
“Missed her too much to rejoin the competition?”
Tears pricked London’s eyes. “Yeah.”
A soft silence grew between them, a void that their relationship fell into.
“I think you’re making the right decision,” Stellan admitted. “In fact, I was going to say the same thing. You’re daughter needs you right now, more than this kingdom does. More than I do. She deserves your love and your full attention.”
London smiled as tears spilled down her cheeks.
“But, can I ask you one favor?”
“Will you let Orla be the flower girl at my wedding?”
London laughed in relief. “She’d love to.”
“And, will you cater the desserts at the wedding, too?”
London brightened and threw her arms around Stellan, still laughing.
The two continued to chat for a few minutes. Without the competition hanging between them, London could offer her advice. Every so often she’d pull out a picture of Orla, and the two would be distracted by the adorable cheeks and wild blonde hair.
When night truly and officially came, London stood up. “I should go. I promised Orla I’d read her a book before she goes to bed.”
Stellan agreed. “I’ll see you soon, okay?”
London pulled him in for a hug. “Okay.”
Want to ask me any questions about what goes on behind the scenes? Want to know who my favourite was, or what happens to the eliminated girls? Maybe you’d like to know the writing process?
Ask All Your Questions Here!