Chapter Nineteen (Edited)

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I stand at the window of the room I share with Mother, reflecting over the words the man told me. Years of always being clueless left me with a sense that their could be a chance for Devina to be alive. Maybe that was just me being naive, but I still hoped. Though after taking actions on situations that was left ignored for a long time, I realize that their are some questions to which I don't want to know the answers for. It's easier to think that Devina is alive then to know that she is truly gone forever, no matter how childish that may be of me.

I hear a knock on my door to see Noah standing in the doorway, looking at me shyly. He seems apprehensive to come in as if he wants to hold me in his arms, but doesn't know if that will be over stepping boundaries. Boundaries where neither one of us are sure where it starts and ends.

"Noah, please come in," I say gesturing forward.

He walks over to me and stares out the same window I am. I was so lost in thought I didn't even get a chance to admire the beauty that the lovely forest radiates. "Beautiful," I hear Noah whisper.

"It most certainly is," I say back, turning to see Noah staring at me with cool eyes. Eyes that make me feel as if I am swimming in the deepest part of the ocean, yet I am completely safe and warm.

"How are you?" he asks tentatively, while reaching out for my hand, helping bring me back to reality in the gentlest of ways.

I place my hand in his as I sigh, "I am alright." I wish to spill all the emotions inside of me, but scared of the consequences of seeing how Noah would react. And not knowing if I start saying one thing that it may lead to another that I am not quite sure if I am ready to say out loud.

"Do not worry, Sera. My men are questioning the prisoner for more answers. I will find out what happened to your sister and I will make sure that it will never happen anyone again."

I nod my head and smile, unable to express my gratefulness for him with words. I squeeze his hand hoping that will be enough to show my thankfulness and turn my head back to the beautiful scenery allowing myself to enjoy the moment I have with Noah.

"In other news," he says with a lighter and more cheerful voice, "I just signed the papers to ban the law of the job assigning. People will be free to choose any job they like."

I fully turn to Noah and grab both of his hands while jumping, unable to contain my excitement, "Noah, that is amazing! You have no idea how many children worry about that absurd test every year. The people are finally getting a taste of their freedom that they lost before."

Noah looks at me with a smile, but sad eyes, "I honestly didn't know how bad it was. Was it really that horrible for you?"

I stop jumping and look at Noah debating on whether I should explain the dreadfulness that coursed through me when finding out I would work in the castle. But if I were never assigned to the castle, I wouldn't be here making a difference with an amazing man by my side.

"I can't complain. It brought me to you, right?"

Noah's eyes soften at my words, making his smile grow bigger. I turn back to the window trying to cover the blush that is making its way across my face. "Fate works in mysterious ways," I whisper just loud enough for Noah to hear.

I feel his fingers wrap tighter around mine. I can feel his eyes on me, but I continue to stare out the window where the leaves dance and the flowers sing. A small smile makes its way to my face and I can feel his gaze intense and focus on the happiness stretching across my face. I feel the warmth of the sun shine and I feel the strength of Noah's soft fingers ground me to earth. Like I'm in between worlds, but I can enjoy both.

"How would you like to have a picnic with me today? There is a beautiful spot that only a few know about and I would love to show you it," Noah says to me.

My smile automatically widens and I turn to Noah nodding my head vigorously.

Noah smiles then stops my head nodding with a kiss on my forehead. "I'll be by your room in an hour for us to leave," he whispers, leaning his forehead against mine.

"Okay," I whisper back as he pulls away. Leaving me in my room to twirl around and wait for this hour to pass so I can be back in Noah's arms. The negative thoughts escaping me and allowing me to enjoy the moments that I share with him.

***

I stand as Noah lays down the checkered cloth in the middle of a beautiful meadow. Flowers surround us and the aroma they produced are intoxicating. Noah sits the picnic basket down and reached for my hand to help lower me to the ground.

Noah seemed nervous, which made me want to laugh and kiss him at the same time.

...Wait. Kiss him?

Noah opens the basket to reveal raspberry financiers, knowing they are my latest favorite food since eating here at the palace. "I would say we should save these for dessert, but as King I think that rule is stupid," Noah says while handing me the sweet desert to which I can barely contain my laugh .

I take a small bite, letting the raspberry filling explode on my taste buds. I moan unable to contain my appreciation for the sweet, "This is delicious."

"I'm glad. You would be surprised to know that I made them myself."

I gasp, "You made these? By yourself? You must teach me how to make them one day, now that I know you are quite the chef."

Noah laughs as he looks at my surprised face, "Well, I did have a little help from Agatha. She used to make these for Bertram all the time, so I would call her the expert."

"Bertram? The man who brought me to my room on my first day? Why would she make these for him?" I ask.

"They are married."

"They're married?!"

Noah laughs at my response, then hands me another sweet as I finish my first one. I have a feeling we are never going to make it to the main course because I will have stuffed myself full of these by then.

We sit and talk for what feels like hours, while eating the raspberry financiers. I find myself laughing so hard that tears are falling from my eyes. Now that we are out of the castle, it seems our conversations can wonder to things that can make us laugh and take us away from any stress that holds us down.

I feel another laugh bubbling up inside me, trying to compose myself to no avail. I suddenly feel lips pressed against my cheek and then quickly retreat. My laughing stops and I look over to see Noah with a blush on his cheeks, much like a young school boy.

"I'm sorry," he automatically says. "That was childish of me. I promise it will not-"

I lean over pressing my lips against his, interrupting him. I have never kissed someone before, so I have no idea what to do at this point, but I hold myself there hoping he will take the lead from here.

Noah stills in shock, but quickly responds to the kiss and gently placing his hands at my waist. Him not daring to move another muscle in case I were to disappear.

I slowly pull away and look at Noah, three words coming to my mind. "Noah, there has been something I have been needing to tell you." I take a deep breath, trying to find the courage I have been searching for.

"Noah, I-"

"Sir," someone interrupts.

I turn my head and see a guard standing, looking pale as snow.

Noah sighs and frustration, not happy someone has interrupted our moment, "What is it?"

"There has been another intrusion, but it's worse this time. It is an army."

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