A half hour had passed since Alexander and Imelda had bid their farewells and set off for their journey to the wishing well. Annalise felt a heaviness in her heart as she walked around the gardens, delaying the moment that she'd have to set step into the castle to look over Adrian. She had promised the Prince that she would take care of his best friend, and she intended to keep that promise yet the last note at which she'd ended her conversation with Adrian had her feeling nervous.
With a sigh, Annalise unfolded her arms from her chest and dropped them to her side. Hiking up her dress, she climbed the steps that led to the side-entrance of the castle. What would she say to him? He'd made his point clear that he'd fallen for this other woman, and in all honesty, it didn't bother her as much as it had a few hours ago. But how was she to take care of a past love without reigniting the flames that had existed then?
However, when Annalise walked into the sick room, a wave of relief washed over her. She was not alone. The doctor was seated by Adrian, doing a general check up but a frown contorted his features.
"Is anything wrong?"
The doctor shook his head and sat back on the chair, running his hands through his hair in tension. "He's taking longer to recover than expected. It's almost like something is slowing his body down."
"I feel fine," Adrian piped up, squirming uncomfortably on the bed. He winced when he accidentally jostled his shoulder but forced a smile to his lips, as if trying to prove his point. As much as he tried to give them the impression that he was healing, Annalise could make out the sweat that had broken out over his forehead once again, and the paleness of his cheeks. "I just feel a little cold, that's all."
The doctor mumbled something to himself and then stood up, giving Annalise a nod in her direction before walking out of the room. With a heavy internal sigh, Annalise plopped down on the empty chair.
"You don't look good at all."
"I'm fine," he repeated, his eyes fixating on the wall. Anything but her. "So where are Alexander and Imelda? What was that letter about?"
"Zahra left the castle without warning."
She saw the alarm rise up on Adrian's face as his eyes swerved to meet hers. T twinge of envy spread through her as a result. "Why? Is something wrong?"
"No. She just wanted to go back home, to check on her mother. Imelda wished to find her sister but Alexander refused to send her alone so he chose to accompany her," Annalise lied swiftly. Luckily enough, Adrian believed her and he nodded, settling back down on the bed.
"That's...good to know. A part of me worries that Alexander may have gone and done something utterly stupid while I was unconscious."
A smile twitched on Annalise's lips, a humorless one. Little did he know.