"WHERE did you get that dress?" His majesty bellowed at Nieneve across the room.
"A dress makers in town your majesty." She replied hurriedly, her eyes wide. His face was twisted in a fury she had never experienced, even from her brother, and she felt Leopold tense beside her.
"Which dress makers!?"
There was a slight hush over the hall and the King's face seemed to turn a darker red than it already was.
"Whore!" He screamed and jumped to his feet. The girl at his side was yanked up on the chain and choked briefly. Nieneve's eyes were large, shocked, and angry at the same time. She saw the pain of the young girl and immediately hated the man who had killed her father even more than she already had. She opened her mouth to reply but Vyper was already on the move, hurrying to the King's side and whispering in his ear. The King's face got less red as his hand talked to him.
"The King apologises. The dress maker you speak of is the one that made the Queen's dresses, and it brings back memories. He hopes you will forgive him." Nieneve saw that the King had not spoken at all to Vyper, and knew that it was the political apology needed to smooth the situation. A lady could not take offence if the outburst was caused by the loss of a lover.
"I accept the apology and I am sorry for offending his majesty. The loss of a loved one is always painful."
"Please all be seated for the feast." Vyper announced and everyone hurried to their seats. No one was looking at the King; they didn't dare. Nieneve took her seat and did not look up from her plate until the servants had begun serving food and everyone had begun to talk.
"You were lucky." Leopold muttered, digging in to the plate of food in front of him.
"How so?" Nieneve replied, although she knew perfectly well how lucky she had been. A mood swing like that could have led to her death.
"Anything that reminds my father of my mother makes him uncommonly angry. Me being the prime example." He chuckled bitterly.
"That must be hard for you." Nieneve did not look at him. His move on the dance floor had left her annoyed. She was sure he was not as gentlemanly as he appeared. Her guard was up now, but she kept her outer appearance light and innocent. It would be best if he believed she was just another woman to be looked on as only an outer appearance. At least until she figured out his real personality.
"I have never really had a father. You cannot miss what you have never had."
"I believe it may be possible. If one is given a clear example of the thing one is missing."
"A clear example?"
"Such as any of the fathers you have seen while you have been growing up. Or your uncle perhaps?"
"Analysis of how children grow up is a field of interest for you is it?"
There was a cutting undertone in his speech.
"When the child in question is to be my husband perhaps."
"I hope I do not seem like a child to you."
"Not at all."
"Excellent. A child would not make a good lover."
"Of course." His eyes were smirking. Nieneve took a sip of wine and looked at him innocently, swallowing slowly and smiling. She saw his eyes waver.
"We should get to know each other a little better before the marriage don't you think?" Leopold suggested as the main meal was cleared and dessert was laid out.
"I believe that is generally the idea." She replied with another smile and a sip of wine.
"Perhaps we could walk around the gardens?" He suggested. Nieneve smiled but inside she knew he meant to get her on her own.
"Tomorrow morning, before dinner? I would like that." She smiled and turned to the servant serving her food. "Thank you."
"Away." Leopold gestured, annoyed, as they same servant bowed and then attempted to serve him his dessert.