"I think you're going too far with this," Gabelle protested, throwing her hands in the air. "Let me get this straight: you want to go back to Nicu just so you can hunt down some street urchin who probably won't even remember that you made eye contact? This isn't like you, Amadeo. Why are you falling for her so swiftly?"
Amadeo turned around to where Gabelle, Marcos' wife, and Marcos himself were standing, watching him with concerned eyes. Marcos echoed Gabelle's sentiments. "I agree with Gabelle. Why have you fallen so hard for one you don't even know?"
"Because I do know her!" Amadeo insisted.
"How do you know her?"
Pausing, Amadeo shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. "It's...I don't know, honestly. When I saw the pain in her eyes, I felt as though I knew her story completely. She doesn't like the way she's living. I want to show her that there's a way out."
Marcos rolled his eyes. "Listen, Sire. You wanted our honest opinions; we gave them. We don't think you should be chasing around this...harlot."
Inexplicably insulted by the tone of voice in which Marcos had referred to the woman, Amadeo sighed. "I don't expect you to understand."
The silence was tangible. Chokingly so, even. It seemed as though the birds had stopped their song to listen to the roiling conversation. Even the tree branches appeared to be leaning in, as though trying to catch every word that took flight. Frustrated, Amadeo turned and lowered his head. Why? Why do I have these feelings for someone who probably wouldn't even talk to me, if given the chance?
If given the chance...
"I want to give her a chance," Amadeo said, still turned with his back facing his friends. "I want to give her a chance, to see if it's even possible that she could find feelings for me."
"She doesn't even know you! Her city scorns you in every possible way! You could not have chosen a less ideal city to find a wife, my Liege!" Marcos replied, and Amadeo could hear the frustration in his tone.
"Marcos," Amadeo said, turning once more so that he could meet Marcos' eyes. "When it comes to matters of taxes and wars and laws, you never doubt my judgement. When have I ever made a choice that was not in my kingdom's best interest?"
Marcos said nothing. Neither did Gabelle. They simply watched their King with worried eyes.
Amadeo strode past the two and stood at the end of the balcony, hands tightly clasping the railing. He closed his eyes. It wasn't hard to conjure up the image of the mysterious woman's eyes, those eyes that wouldn't stop plaguing him so...