Raw, desperate hatred for the animal they called "Hadrian" swept through Amadeo's veins. It took only one glance to know what had transpired between his love and his rival. And even if his eyes had been blinded, making him unable to see evidence of Cassandra's unfaithfulness, her heartwrenching sobs would have told him.
"So. The King arrives to claim his merchandise," Hadrian snarled, gesturing toward Cassandra. "Go on. Take her. Not that you'd want her, after all she's done."
"I know what you've done to her, Hadrian." Amadeo spoke slowly, controlling his tone. He would not - could not - lose control. "You are not welcome here. You ought to leave, Hadrian."
"She seemed more than willing to accommodate my requests. I thought you wanted her to make the choice." Hadrian's eyes darted from Amadeo to Cassandra, and back again. "I think it's clear which one of us she's chosen."
Cassandra spoke up. "I didn't say I chose you, Hadrian, I - "
"You didn't say those words exactly, but you did say - oh, what was it? I believe you said you were only pretending to love this lovesick King. Isn't that right, Cassandra?"
Amadeo's heart bled as he waited for Cassandra to deny the words. Yet he already knew that Hadrian's claim was true. Cassandra shook her head, but did not argue with what Hadrian had said.
"You're pretending to love me, Cassandra?" Amadeo asked, and the words were enough to rend his soul into pieces.
"I don't know...I don't know which one of you I'm pretending to love."
Hadrian's eyes glinted with malice.
Amadeo's eyes filled with tears.
"Leave me alone with him," Cassandra said, looking up to Hadrian. "You've already gotten what you came for. Leave me with him, so I can figure this out."
Hadrian shrugged. "The method in which you pretend to love the King isn't important, so long as he doesn't sway your mind, Trinket," he said, kissing Cassandra's forehead.
Amadeo noticed that Cassandra winced as Hadrian's lips touched her skin.
"Don't be too long," Hadrian warned Amadeo. "I want my little vagabond back, when you're done with her."
Hadrian began to walk away, but Amadeo's voice rang out and stopped him. "I want you to understand something, Hadrian. I will never, ever be 'done with her.' There is nothing she or you could ever do to convince me to step aside."
He took a step forward.