I wasn’t happy. There was no other way to describe how I was feeling. It was bad enough that I was being sent home because my brother wanted to regain some sort of control, but to be joined by a man I didn’t trust was a step too far. I could tell by the Queen’s tone that her decision was final. There would be no compromises.
I turned away from the rest of the group, wanting to go sulk in private. I could feel eyes staring at me as I walked away.
“Alex?” My brother’s voice followed me. “Alex don’t be like that.”
“Don’t be like what Sebastian?” I continued walking until I could no longer see the rest of the group.
“Don’t be angry with me and pull that face. I know you disapprove-“
“Then you can’t expect me to not be angry at you,” I argued back. “It’s not the fact that you discharged me from my position, but it’s the fact that you did it in front of all those people. My friends. What do you think they’ll think of me now?”
“I’m sure they won’t think any less of you-“
“They’ll think that I’m a spoilt brat who gets an easy way out of this because her brother is in control.”
“If you think they believe that then you clearly don’t understand them very well,” Sebastian retorted, his tone suddenly stronger and slightly irritated. “If they’re really your friends they wouldn’t think that.”
“How do you know what they think?”
“I’m not having this conversation with you now Alex,” Sebastian said, turning away. “You need to calm down and then I will talk to you.”
“That’s right,” I shouted after my brother as he walked away. “Run off just like you always do. You can’t face up to anything.” I gave a shout of frustration and kicked at thin air. Why didn’t I have a say in any of this. I was feeling just as powerless as I had the day Sebastian left to go to war. I loved my brother a lot, more than words can say, but he was so determined to have everything his own way. He’d always been like that.
I stared into the darkness where my brother had vanished, half expecting him to reappear again, wanting him to say he was sorry and ask me to forgive him. It wasn’t going to happen.
“Alexandra?” A new voice came out of the darkness and I saw a figure approaching. I stiffened as I recognised Hurst’s face.
“What do you want?” I spat.
“I think we need to talk.”
“I don’t have anything to say to you and I can’t think what you would want to say to me.”
“We’re going to be together for a long time Alex and I don’t want us to be uncomfortable around each other. It would be bad for both us and your brother.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I lied, not wanting to deal with the situation at that moment.
“What you said back there. You said you didn’t want to travel with me and I want to know why.”
“There is no reason. I just don’t feel comfortable travelling with someone from Handrin. You are the enemy after all.”
“But I’m on your side. I don’t want this war any more than you do.”
“Not wanting the war and being on my side are totally different things. You could still want to repress us and not want to have to fight to keep us in line.”
“But I don’t want that.”
“Of course you would say that,” I snorted.
“Alexandra,” Hurst said advancing on me, “we’re about to start a journey that could be highly dangerous for all of us. You know what will happen if we get caught. You have to trust me. Our survival could depend on it. I’m not asking you to get on with me but I need to know you trust me.”
“I should get back to the others. I might be going back to Iberia but I still want to know what’s going on in Handrin. I want to know how much danger my friends are going to be in.”
“You can’t avoid me for forever Alexandra,” Hurst said as I brushed past him. “If we don’t sort this someone could get hurt.”
I ignored him and continued walking. Hurst was right. I didn’t trust him, I didn’t want to have to trust him. It scared me.