Sarah rose with the sun, her anxiety and what she could feel of Jason’s had banished sleep. Dressing in her borrowed clothing she made her way down the two flights of stairs to the dining room. Jason was already there, pacing the length of the table. He stopped when he saw her.
“Sarah.” Only a faint smile at the corners of his eyes betrayed his true feelings upon seeing her.
“Phoenix.” Sarah responded with similar formality.
They met by the door and exchanged kisses to the cheeks. Today, Sarah reminded herself, she had to be proper; no friendly jousts of wit with Jay, or unwonton affection. Today, she was just his Friend, who, having nothing of her own, was marrying him for logical reasons. Though, she reflected, there certainly was truth in that last statement.
Jason’s hands still held hers, though he had stepped back. Looking at him Sarah surmised his mind was racing with similar thoughts. At last his eyes met hers. He smiled.
“Once we know the King’s verdict we can request a date for our betrothal.”
“Request a date?” Sarah was puzzled.
“Yes,” Jason dropped her hands and returned to pacing. “We will request a date from the Grand-Pairents.” He paused a moment and looked out the window. “Gods willing, it will be soon, but,” he resumed motion, “my last betrothal was a disaster so it is quite possible they could refuse...”
“What?” Sarah asked, a bit of hysteria creeping into her voice.
Jason turned to her and took up her hands. “I am sorry Sarah, I do not mean to worry you, but,” he seemed hesitant to continue. Sarah glared at him. “But, I follow the Gods’ will as best I can, yet I seem to misinterpret them at every step.”
Sarah’s head now throbbed at the additional mentioning of the Gods. Jason must have noticed for he stepped forward to embrace her. His cheek rested against hers as he whispered.
“I am sorry, for I do hope this is what the Gods want, but I cannot help feeling a sliver of doubt.” He stepped back to look her in the eyes. “Nor can I help thinking there are more tasks to be set before us.”
Sarah nodded. She had the same sort of feeling, deep down in her gut. Something told her she knew, but for the life of her she couldn’t think how she would know.
“My goodness,” Margaret’s voice startled them. “You two are up early.”
They turned to face Margaret who was standing in the door. Jason kept hold of one of Sarah’s hands.
“Well, are you going to help with breakfast?” The woman looked expectantly at Sarah.
“Yes of course,” Sarah felt her cheeks heat up. In her anxiety of the morning she completely forgot that helping in the kitchen was one of her duties.
“You are making breakfast?” Jason asked curiously.
“Helping.” Sarah smiled over her shoulder at him as she followed Margaret into the kitchen.