Chapter 32

"Giddeon, wait!"

He turned around slowly to face the Princess, her breath labored, her eyes filled with furious tears as she ceased running just before him. He impusively wanted to hold and comfort her, yet he refrained from doing so, and held his cool, bland facade.

"You' are leaving?"

"Yes, Your Highness," he replied stiffly. "You heard my explanation, yes? And it is about time that I return to my home country; Falin has completed his portrait and I have business that needs attending in Lycroft."

"Oh," Cassandra lowered her eyes for a brief moment. After a time, she looked up shyly, murmuring. "I shall miss you....will you...write to me?"

Giddeon felt torn, pained. He masked it with blank expression hinted by a slight grimace.  "I fear I cannot," he briskly answered. "With the appearances as they are currently, we cannot continue a correspondence."

A tear slid down her cheek, "So I will...never see or hear from you again? Do you...feel nothing for me?"

Swallowing, he continued, his tone coming out quite forceful and stern in his attempt force it from his own lips, "Your Highess, I am afraid you have mistaken our relationship. I shall give you a similar explanation to what I gave your Father. I serve Alezander and my nation, and respect you as my future Queen with a brotherly affection that will come from your attachment with my cousin that makes you both my family, friend, and ruler."

Cassandra was shocked. Never had he spoken to her in such a formal, unfeeling fashion, and his statements tore at the frame of her heart which had so grown on him, not only with deep love she had for him, but also her friendly affection for him and the warm, close companionship he offered her. 

"What...of everything that has been transpired...between us? Private meetings, conversation, riding?" stuttered the Princess tearfully. She could not contain herself any longer.

"It is only common courtesy, Your Highness," Giddeon had trouble with his own words now, struggling to rein in his 'improper' emotion for her. "I...I am learning of your...person so that I may report it to my Prince."

"The kiss? What of the kiss?" cried Cassandra, her voice rising with anger. "Did you report that to your Prince?"

He had to leave, he had to escape. The Princess was starting to make quite a display, and a few servants were about to appear, not bothering to sheild their curious eyes. "Princess," he lowered his own voice, anxious, stepping closer and putting a hand on her arm. "You mustn't make such a show....I took a liberty with you that I shouldn't have--I am sorry, Your Highness. Obviously you have never had much experience with men; you must understand...."

She shook him violently off of her, "I understand perfectly now, Sir." She backed away, her voice clogged with sobs, "Go ahead and leave! Report to your Prince that I will be more than pleased to meet with him on my next birthday."

With that, she fled from him, disappearing around the corner and out of sight.


The End

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