Amadeo returned to the castle with a broken heart.
After quietly thanking his guards for their accompaniment, Amadeo headed to his personal chambers, where he stood by the window and blankly overlooked the expanse of the castle grounds. His hands gripped the windowsill tightly...but not as tightly as beautiful Cassandra gripped his heart.
I almost had her. I almost had her! She almost believed in my love for her! Why did she run? What did I do? Why can't she just open her eyes and see that I don't care who she's been...
There was a knock at the door.
"Come in," Amadeo called out hoarsely. He was fatigued, not only in body, but also in spirit.
"Your Highness," came Xandria's gentle voice.
Amadeo turned and, despite his sadness, managed a soft smile for his beloved adviser. "You don't have to be here, Xandria. I'm in a rather melancholy mood."
"I take it she didn't respond well to the kindness you demonstrated to her?" Xandria stood beside Amadeo and lovingly placed her hand on his shoulder.
"She ran away."
For several minutes, Amadeo and Xandria stood by the window, absently taking in the goings on in the castle. At the late hour, few were out and about, but the activity was enough to partially distract Amadeo. If she ends up coming to the palace, she would stay in the quarters just across the courtyard...it's a perfect little place for her. Unless she marries me, of course, and then...
"I thought I showed her." Amadeo shook his head. "I thought I showed her how much I care for her."
"Perhaps she saw, and it frightened her. Something tells me she doesn't know much of what love really is." Xandria fell silent for a few moments, pain evident in her eyes. "You know, Amadeo, it's going to take more than one try to win her heart."
Amadeo gave a soft chuckle. "You underestimate me, Xandria."
Smiling, Xandria raised her eyebrows. "Oh? And how is that, my dear?"
Amadeo clasped his hands together decisively. "I intend to spend the rest of my life, trying to win her heart."