Angel stared at me with the same dull look as I slammed the door behind me. I stared into the fire in disbelief. There was only one reason she could use to explain this.
"Why did you do that?" I asked.
"It's my hair," she snapped and I frowned. She had never spoken to me like that before. "I can do with it what I want."
"That's not good enough," I said, grabbing her elbow before she could leave the room.
Her eyes were cold. I had never seen her like this before. She threw the scissors on the nearest chair and, to my utter shock, she slapped me. I let go of her, touching my cheek and trying to think of what just happened. She slapped me again.
"Angel, stop it!" I yelled, grabbing her wrist firmly.
"Let me go, David!" she yelled back and she started to cry.
"What is wrong with you!?" I demanded.
"Oh, I don't know," she began scathingly, still trying to wrench her wrist out of my hand. "It could have something to do with my doubts about this werewolf thing. Or maybe, just maybe!, it's because you have been lying to me about my inability to bear children!"
I dropped her wrist. "Tiberius told you?"
"You should pick your places of conversation more carefully," she snapped. "Especially when it's time to take your medicine."
I sighed. Tiberius had lied to me.
I pointed at the fire. "Why did you really cut your hair?"
"Why do you care?" she asked, sitting down on the bed and crossing her arms and legs obstinately.
"Because I love you!" I yelled, pounding my cane on the floor. "Why are you grieving so much that you would do that!?"
Her lower lip was trembling but she didn't let her tears fell.
"Because I have lost a child I never had the chance to even conceive, David!" she said. "I will never get the chance to feel a baby grow inside of me! I will never know what's like to feel it kick! I will never experience the pain of childbirth! Over the years I told myself I'd get over it; that I would come to accept it. And I did. Until today."
She turned away from me and I sighed, sitting in the armchair by the fire. I sat on the scissors and got them out from underneath me. There were still a few pieces of hair stuck to them. It had been a rough cut. I stared at my feet, feeling guilty.
"I'm sorry," I muttered finally. "I should have told you sooner. I didn't want to upset you."
"And you thought drawing it out would have helped?" she whispered. "I'm sorry I didn't ask you how you felt, David," she said. "I was afraid of what you'd say."
I sighed again. "Come here," I said, holding out my arms. She looked at me. "Please?"
She gulped then sat stiffly on my lap. I wrapped my arms around her waist and kissed her shoulder. I rubbed her stomach with my thumb until she relaxed and leaned into me. I kissed her neck, just below her ear, and she slowly put her arm around my neck and began to cry. She pressed her forehead to the side of my head and I held her tightly.
After we had both cried for a while, I cleared my throat.
"Sit up straight and turn around," I said.
She looked confused but did as I said. I pulled her beautiful hair back so I could see what I was doing. She had cut it so short it reached her shoulder blades. Carefully, I evened it out, brushing her hair with my fingers until I was sure I had gotten it all.
"There," I whispered. "Now it's even."
She turned again in my lap and kissed me. I sighed and pulled her close as she cried some more.
"I don't like fighting with you," she muttered and I laughed a little.
"I don't like fighting with you, either."
"Do you forgive me?"
I kissed her lips. "Of course. And I'm sorry I didn't talk to you sooner about your infertility. I thought I could handle it."
She caressed my cheek and shook her head. "Things like this are impossible to handle on your own, David. I had my mother. Now I have you." She took my hand and put it over her heart. "And you have me."
"I see that now," I said. "Do you forgive me?"
"Yes." She wrapped her arms around me and I rested my head on her breasts. "We should go back to dinner. They're probably wondering where we went."
She got off my lap and helped me to my feet.
"Your mother is going to be upset about your hair," I said as we walked down the hall.
"I know," she sighed.
Tentatively, I held her hand. She smiled a little and held it back as we walked carefully down the stairs. When we got back to the dining hall, Miranda dropped her knife and fork.
"What did you do to your hair!?" she cried, running over.
I limped back to my seat to let the two women talk. Roland was staring at me but I avoided his eyes, eating quickly. Angel joined me a few moments later. Miranda left, though. I wasn't sure where she had gone but Roland got up to follow.
"Is your mother okay?" I whispered and she shook her head.
"No. She is very mad at me."
She put her hand on my knee as she ate, looking sad. The air around the table was melancholy. Even the kids weren't talking.
"David, Angel," Amelia said from the doorway. "You've been summoned to the throne room."
We both sighed and got up, walking across the entry hall. Roland and Miranda were standing at the base of the stairs leading to the thrones. Both of them looked furious.
"Really?" Roland demanded when we stood in front of them. "You think this is how you deal with your problems? By cutting your hair and gossiping about each other?"
I felt like we were children being scolded for not doing our chores.
"It's not like that, Father," Angel said.
Miranda glared at her. "Why in the world did you cut your hair? You know how I feel about that!"
Angel hung her head. It had never occurred to me how Miranda felt about a woman's hair. Roland was glaring at me.
"Look, we talked it through," I began.
"More like yelled it through," he interrupted. "We could hear your voices. You worried the children enough to where Sally was in tears and we had to come up with a comedic story to cover the noise!"
I gripped my cane. "Do you and Queen Miranda never argue?" I challenged and he closed his mouth.
"As your king and queen," he began but Angel snapped her head up.
"You're not just our king and queen," she interrupted angrily with a stomp of her foot. "You are also our parents! You would forget that while I was a child, too! For the love of God! Give us advice as parents, not as royals!"
Roland clenched his jaw and Miranda's hands turned white from gripping them tightly. I held Angel's hand while we all stood in silence.
"Yes, we fought," Roland said finally, his voice quiet. "Yes, we yelled at each other. Yes, we spoke with our personal attendants about one another. And do you know what happened?"
"We almost separated," Miranda finished and I stared at Angel.
She looked as shocked as I was.
Roland managed to loosen Miranda's hands enough to hold one. "It happened during the second year of our marriage," he said. "You had just been born, Angel. Goodness. I don't even remember what the argument was about."
"The curtains," Miranda whispered with a bit of a smile. "They were blue and you wanted pink." He chuckled. "A woman will sometimes go through a sort of depression after giving birth and I was no exception."
"She cut her hair," Roland said and Angel stared at her mother who was avoiding her eyes. "Not from the argument, of course, but from the depression she felt on a daily basis. During the argument, I said many things I shouldn't have and-"
"You weren't the only one," Miranda interrupted and he squeezed her hand gently.
"I woke up the next morning to find all her belongings packed," he sighed, tears in his eyes. "I panicked. I couldn't think where she had gone. I found her in the nursing room, crying with you in her arms."
"We reconciled," Miranda finished. "Since then, we have done our best to not raise our voices at one another. It's hard to do and sometimes we still yell. Angel, David, anger can do so much damage if you don't keep it in check."
Angel wrapped her arms around her mother's waist and Miranda returned the hug. I ran a hand through my hair and Roland gripped my shoulder. Depression after giving birth leading her to cut her hair after a simple argument.... I couldn't imagine what that would be like. It had broken my heart, seeing Angel's beautiful hair in the fire.
We all stood in silence for a while until the door opened. We turned and saw the kids peeking in.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"We want to play," Bryan, Jr. said.
"Children!" I heard Christina yell. "What did I say!?"
I laughed. "It's okay, Christina. Would you like to join us?" I asked my family and they nodded.
The kids cheered but Sally looked nervous.
"Did I do something wrong?" she whispered and I picked her up.
"No, Sally," I said as Angel kissed her forehead. "Angel found a bug in the bed."
"Ew!" she said and squirmed out of my arms, running after her brothers and giggling.
I held the string of the kite so one of the kids could run. The wind from whatever storm was coming lifted it into the air. As I watched it float and passed the handle to Kevin, Angel held my hand. It reminded me that, no matter what fight or problem Angel and I would face, we'd work it out one way or another.