“Verlaine, you’ve been helping my mother run the kingdom ever since father died,” I begin as she pulls tightly on the strings on my corset. “I’m not too sure how to do it properly since my education was…neglected for four years.”
I gasp as she gives the strings another strong tug before she ties them tightly.
“Well, Princess Alyessia, tis not as hard as you might think. But I will help you through it, although if you’re anything like your mother, you won’t need my help very much.”
I smile at the compliment and raise my arms above my head as she pulls a dark red gown over me.
“This color looks very nice against your raven locks, milady. Tis also Derek’s favorite color,” she adds with a smile.
I frown and turn away from her. “I believe I made Derek upset this morning.”
“Oh? And how so?”
“I don’t want to lose him, but I’m not sure if I can give him everything he wants right now, it’s all too soon. I missed four years of being his friend, and now he wants me to marry him.”
“So he asked you, then?” she asks as she runs a gold comb through my hair.
“I think so. He asked for me to let him be the stability in my life.”
She nods. “Has he kissed you yet?”
I blush and she nods.
“I figured as much.” She looks over my shoulder in the mirror. “Alyessia, let me share something with you that might help you sort through this better. After you were gone, Derek would sneak out at nights to try and find you. It got so bad that Boss had to start sleeping at his door and barring his window to make sure he didn’t sneak out anymore. Derek threw himself into his training when Boss told him that you wanted to come back and find him the best champion there ever was. He gave up everything for you, Alyessia. He gave up his childhood the day he found out you were gone. After you left, he didn’t have any more friends, there were only training partners. Derek never looked at another girl because he’d only see you. He’s loved you since he was thirteen.”