Credits to MR.LEE'S for the poster!
         When I had arrived at her chamber, I was told by one of the maids that Theo was preoccupied with a guest and that I would have to wait. I snickered at the thought of waiting. So, I glared at the maid, who was intelligent enough to quickly unlock the door for me. I could already hear deep moans and groans upon stepping inside the vastly decorated golden room. Theo was too indulged in pleasure that she did not even sense my presence. However, her male companion, who was below her, had turned his head towards me. His pupils had expanded and his teeth bit on his bottom lip. When I smiled at him and even waved with my fingers, he instantly pulled Theo aside and covered himself with the white bed sheet.

            “Darling, what did you do that for?” Theo grunted while crawling towards him.
            She was about to pin him onto the bed again, but the muscular man had mumbled, “Th-th-there is someone at the door.”
             Theo glanced at me before scoffing, “Do not mind her. She is just here to spoil our amusement.” Tugging at his arm, she suggested, “Let us continue.” She grazed her tongue along his cheek and to his ear, where she took the time to nibble at them.
            “S-s-stop,” the man now stammered.
            “I know you like that.”
            “I-I-I cannot!”
Off the man sprinted in an almost naked manner. In fact, he had even tripped over the thin sheet that covered the latter half of his body and hastily dashed out the door. I just laughed at his embarrassment and his stupidity. If he was concerned with others knowing about his relationship with Theo, then he should not have even entered the room. There were maids that were already circulating rumours, yet for some reason, when he was composed with some form of clothing, he would be able to accept all sorts of stories. When naked, however, he would not be able to tolerate the truth. He had to confront the truth when all the lies, and support had been stripped from him. Naked, he became and vulnerable, he now felt. Rolling off of the bed, Theo reached for her silk night gown, which lay on the tiled, marble floor.
“You really know how to destroy fun, do you not?” she snubbed.
            “I would not have if Trenton had not asked me to see you,” I argued. “He wanted to tell you that he was sorry—“
            “I do not want to hear it,” she cut me off.  
She frantically searched for her opium pipe with trembling hands. She was looking through every drawer, almost tossing everything to the floor just to find her drug. I had never seen her as desperate before, and I had never imagined her to become so addicted.
“Bull! Frieda! Frieda!” she shouted.
            The maid who had initially guarded the door rushed in the room. “Yes, Your Grace?”
            “Have you seen my pipe?” Theo demanded.
            The frightened maid was afraid to look at Theo. “The Count of—“
            “Trent, that devil!” She screamed in fury. “Frieda, I want you to go to the market to buy more opium. Get me a new pipe too. All the goods. Hurry!”
            Suddenly, I had remembered what Trenton and I had discussed.
            “We all know how destructive Theo can be. She does not tolerate change very well.” He had laughed at himself now. “We had even promised to stay together forever. Just the three of us . . . immature, I suppose?” Once I nodded, he had continued to say, “Even with this silliness, I would like to at least care for her.” His eyes had casted downwards and his hands fidgeted with each other. “I-I know of her circumstance with Verrill and his . . . I just want her to cope with this in a healthful manner.”
            “So, what would you like me to do?” I had asked.
            “Watch over her for me, will you . . . please?” I had never seen Trenton so disheartened before, so discouraged. He was looking at me now too intently; he never liked to make direct eye contact with anyone. I saw that lump being gulped down his throat as he progressed to explain, “In the future, I cannot help her anymore. I would have a family of my own, so for the time being—“
            “I understand, Trenton,” I cut him off before he almost choked own his saliva. “I will try.”
            Were my attempts futile? I did not know, but I knew that his seemed to be fruitless.
“Theo,” I advised, “you should not continue this habit.”
            She tilted her head to the right, and placed her arms on her hips. “You know nothing, so do not tell me what to do . . . and go tell Trent to stop bothering me! He should just go screw that cherry!” I could not resist a cackle. My head even flung backwards while I indulged in this joke. “Why do you laugh?” she questioned.
            “What if I told you that he already has?” I snickered.
            I saw her hands hugging her body tensely. I saw her eyes darting. She had to have been disappointed, but I was not entirely sure once I heard her laughing. Whipping her hair backwards, she scoffed, “Men are all the same! All whoremongers!”
            For some reason, I had to defend Trenton. I could not allow this misunderstanding to persist. There was no need for misunderstandings in this case. He was innocent. He was just innocently in love . . . just like I had been before.
“He had to,” I told her. “If he had not, then he would have married the Duchess instead. Would you rather him be with a bloody pig?” Sitting on the edge of her bed, she only sighed. “You wanted him to always be by your side, am I correct?”
            Slowly, I approached her. The method that a person employed to approach a victim or a criminal was critical. Actually, it might have been the pacing that was more important. A systematic set of steps was necessary. Not too slow, but not too fast.  
            “I knew that one day . . . the three of us would separate, but I always thought . . . perhaps, we would not,” she answered. “We would be together forever.”
            I knew exactly what she meant. I always thought Thayne, Adriana, and I would never separate. We were friends, the best of them. We hung out with each other for no reason. She helped me patch my relationship with Thayne. She would always tell me to forgive him because he truly loved me. I still remembered the biggest fight I had ever had with Thayne. I had accidentally mistaken his cell phone as mine, and so the most recent text message he had received.
            Baby, I love you too.
            Then, I looked back at his older messages. He told her he loved her, and that he missed her. He told her that he couldn’t be with her because he had to be at my father’s birthday party. She told him that she could understand his situation, and that she would always wait for him. He asked her not to wait for him because he had to be with me. I wouldn’t be able to let him go, and that he still loved me. He had an obligation to take care of me. After all, I had no one else, but him. She said that she could never leave him, and like she had always promised, she would wait for him for eternity. Even if she were to marry, she said, she would always love him the most.
            I never confronted him. I sought for Adriana’s help. She combed her fingers through my hair and looked at me solemnly. Then, she uttered, “This is nothing, sweetie. He clearly says that he loves you the most.”
            “But he loves her too!” I shrieked with tears bawling from my eyes. “These texts . . . have been going on for months or heck, even years! How could he—“
            “Just trust him,” Adriana reminded, “and forget about this. This was just a fling, and nothing else.”
            “How can I—“
            “I’ll confront him for you, and I promise you that it’ll all be like before,” Adriana noted.
            “How can I know that he won’t contact this ‘Ruth’ again?” I shouted. “How can I even . . . trust him again?”
            “Because, trust me,” Adriana repeated, “he loves you the most.”
            “He loves you, Theo,” I stated. “He does and even if he were to love the Countess, he would always love you the most.”
            Theo planted her head on my chest and collapsed in tears that drenched my dress. I was not sure how long she had sobbed. I just remembered my arms growing sore from patting on her back. I also remembered eyeing Frieda to leave once she had returned from her excursion.
            What Theo needs is comfort, so please . . . comfort her.
            Trenton had been right. He knew her well. He knew her too well. It was unfortunate that she would never realize just how much he had comforted her, and how much he loved her. Love was better off served wordless. I scoffed at myself while watching the raindrops platter onto the window pane. I knew, in my heart, that who loved who the most was a stupid statement to make and a silly question to ask. The most? That meant more than one was loved. I didn’t need that again. I didn’t need to remember love once more.
-------
            Chaotic and ironic.
            That had to be the words to describe Raul and Trenton’s situations. Eleanor’s bump and Paulette’s love for Raul had developed much earlier than I had anticipated. The Duke of Frayedon was absolutely astounded when these two events occurred almost simultaneously, but he was content. Who would not have relished the fact that a daughter of his was to marry a royal Duke? There might have been a chance for Paulette to become the Queen. As for Eleanor, whose actions were promiscuous, she had married well too.
            The Duke of Frayedon, thus, became the catalyst of these two reactions. He pushed for their marriages to be held as soon as winter ended and even on the same days. As I had believed, the King had agreed, probably for two reasons. He wanted to Raul to challenge Cael’s growing authority and he also wanted to reduce the Duke of Minon’s presence at court. The classic killing of using two birds with one stone.
            “Brilliant plan of yours,” Cael commended when he visited my chamber the night of the couple’s wedding.
He had chosen to rest for winters were extremely rough for him. The coldness was too much for his weak body to bear, so Beau substituted for Cael during large events. On the other hand, the King had forced Calla to replace me for the evening’s festivities. I believed that he wanted to prevent me from meeting any suitors; I had to follow his choice of marriage.
            I was perched at the corner of my favourite spot by the window with a novel in my hands. I glimpsed at him, asking, “What plan?”
            As he advanced towards me, the candlelight resting on the window sill revealed his cunning smirk. I leaned backwards, worried what he had in mind, and just when I thought he could not come any closer, he grinned in the same manner.
            “Fear is only present in guilt ridden people,” he whispered in my ear before relaxing on a cushion beside me. “Thank you though,” he added. “My preparations will fall in place accordingly.”
            Curling my feet, I mumbled, “Are you here to inform me of my role?”
            “Precisely.” He leaned forward to interlock his digits and then glanced at me. “Continue to support Raul. Build his ego until it explodes on its own,” he said with the most chilling smile , revealing too much of his teeth.
            “You want him to cause his own demise? You are the Crown Prince—“
            “Which is only a term, a term that can always be removed,” he reminded and grabbed his jacket to leave. “Ah, yes, before I forget, do not initiate schemes without consulting me. Fortunately, your plan was beneficial. If it were detrimental . . .” Again, he took too many steps to face me directly. This time, however, he announced, looking straight at me, “If it were detrimental, then I cannot guarantee that you will always remain my sister.”
            I turned my head to another side and scoffed, “You never guarantee anything, dear brother.”
            He laughed at my reply. “And you do?”
            I watched him leave, knowing that I could never answer his question. Were we too much alike? I was tempted to say that we were different because . . . unlike him, I had a conscience and a heart, but I could not. I could not even argue. If I had compassion, then I would not have lived for so long. I would have been long dead and maybe, someone would weep at my funeral. Now, no one would cry if I were to die. However, people would remember me. Perhaps, out of hate?

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