"Adrian said that I ought to watch out and make sure you don't do anything stupid where I'm concerned," Sara said, jutting her chin out in defiance.
He did? He honestly did? Adrian, you fool! Clearing his throat, Alexander tried to calm his anger. "Did he, now?"
"Yes. He said - " and there, the prisoner stopped short. She blushed and looked away.
"Pray tell, what did he say?"
"Well..." Sara crossed her arms and looked away. "He said that if you did anything stupid, he'd feed you piece by piece to the crocodiles. But I'm sure he was simply jesting."
"I'm sure," Alexander replied, trying to keep the bite from his tone.
"I shouldn't have said anything."
"No; you did perfectly well in saying something. I honestly appreciate it. I do have a habit of ruining perfectly good things." The words were meant to have been spoken lightly, but Alexander realized how melancholy they sounded.
How dare Adrian say something like that to Sara? He did it to spite me! I swear, sometimes I could wring his neck..
"Only with myself," Alexander replied, snapping out of his thoughts and offering Sara his elbow. "I'll escort you back inside. Being outside in the dark isn't particularly safe for a lady."
"Oh? You think I'm too weak to handle a ruffian on my own?" Sara challenged the prince.
Laughing, Alexander shook his head. "On the contrary, actually. I believe that you are perfectly capable of handling a ruffian - don't look at me like that! I'm serious. The thing is, though, despite how my father treats his wife and the members of his harem, I just...I don't know. I believe women are something to be respected and protected. Not because you're weak, but because I think the female species as a whole deserves to be treated like the treasures you are."
The entire speech had come forth from Alexander's lips without a thought, and the prince found himself slightly embarrassed at having bared so much of his heart. Clearing his throat, he looked away, expecting Sara's hand to fall from his elbow.
But instead, Sara's grip only tightened on his arm. "You shouldn't be embarrassed. Honestly, I think that's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard a man say."
"You can't be serious."
Sara smiled and removed her hand. "You're right. I'm being entirely too sentimental." And with that, she strode away.