Thirty Three

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Arden.
•••

   I was done hiding in my room. After my talk with Levi last night, I had no excuse to hide. I couldn't stir up any more suspicion.

   I hold my breath as I enter the dining hall. I don't want to sound like that person, but I could swear everyone's gaze turned to me.

   The heat of everyone's eyes burned in all directions. I guess I was dumb to think that no one would notice my absence. I feel the hottest gaze, burning my right cheek. I turn my eyes a little, catching the eyes of another.

   Will.

   Another thing I was avoiding. He doesn't break my gaze as he stands up and walks in my direction. I can't tell what he's feeling. Anger, worry, both?

   Definitely both.

  He doesn't greet me with a hello, or a smile. He grabs my wrist, and pulls me out of the room. Not too aggressive, I could of easily pulled away if I wanted to, but I knew I had to face the inevitable.

   He leads us out of the dining hall, outside. I was sure he was leading us to the lake, but he stopped half way.

   My cheeks heat up, when I catch him looking at the spot we were in only a few nights ago.

   His attention turns on me. "Tell me."

   "Tell you what?" I ask looking anywhere but his eyes.

   His hand catches my chin, and forces me to look at him. "Tell me that you were hiding from Levi, because you felt guilty. Tell me it wasn't you avoiding me."

   "Why would I avoid you?" I ask. Yea Arden, play the oblivious card he definitely won't catch on.

   He lets out an annoyed scoff. Ok, maybe I shouldn't have played that card. "Are you going to pretend that the other night didn't happen?"

   What are my options? Yes, I would love to pretend that night didn't happen. Then I wouldn't have to feel so guilty. But I can't say that, I need to stick to my fathers plan. Maybe he can sway to our side. If people saw that their prince chose us, they would think twice about whose side to fight on.

   "I just..." I let out a frustrated groan. "I think you're too good." I say to him. And those words were true. "I think that you're so good, and I'm not." The annoyance in his face vanishes. "You're a good person." And I'm not.

   "But I'm not." He says. "I'm not as good as you think I am, as I wish I was. I'm selfish."

   I look at him confused. "What?"

   "God, you have no idea how selfish I am." He says, stepping closer to me.

   "How are you selfish?" I try not to let the closeness of his body affect me.

   He takes a step again, so close that our body's are now touching. I have to look up to meet his eyes. "Because if I had to pick between you..." he stops. "Between you and literally anything else, i'd pick you."

   I know what he's trying to say. He's saying that he would test his morality for me. If he had to pick between saving someone else, maybe everyone, he'd save me instead.

   And that's exactly what my father wanted.

   "Will, I..."

   "Please tell me you don't regret it." Oh, but I did. But I needed to stick with the plan I remind myself, so I'd never tell him that.

   But instead of lying to him with words, I lied with a simple action. A kiss.

   A kiss, that lead into so much more.
•••

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