As promised here is another excerpt from The Fallen Crown. This particular scene takes place after Tony takes over the kingdom and his relationship with Odessa is currently on pretty rocky terms. Before this they had an encounter that ended with them screaming at each other which was quite different from their relationship prior to him leaving to train with the UN. This scene is perhaps one of my favorites because it shows how human both of them are and how broken Odessa really is.
At some point, he must have drifted off, because he was roused from his sleep by a soft knock on his bedroom door. Sleepily, he stood and walked to the door, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He opened the door and Odessa stood there. His eyes widened and he automatically opened the door wider. She stepped into the expansive room and the room felt filled.
Her arms hung slack by her side and her teeth nibbled on her lower lip.
“What are you doing here?” he questioned. The question came out harsher than he intended and her eyes darted down to her shoes. He blew out a breath and ran a hand through his hair. A small smile appeared on her face and he smiled as well.
“I just thought we needed to talk. Hopefully, this time without letting our emotions run wild,” she whispered hesitantly. He nodded and took her hand, leading her out into the sitting room. She walked through the large room and settled onto a chair, her legs draped unceremoniously over the side. She motioned to the seat across from her and he walked over to the seat. He attempted to smooth down his unruly hair and straighten out his wrinkled shirt.
His eyes scanned Odessa and her causal appearance. Her baggy sweats and shirt hid her small figure, but her eyes were bright again, making her look alive. He leaned forward and placed his chin in his hands.
“What do you want to talk about?” he asked.
“About everything that happened.” Her eyes hardened the longer he openly stared at her and he straightened.
“I hadn’t heard from you in months and then you showed up at my wedding with guns blazing. I thought you wanted what was best for me. You held a gun to my head and threatened to kill me-” her voice rose with every word and he continued to shrink farther and farther into his seat “-You speak of how you want everyone to be equal and then you tell me that I have to marry you to live. You’re just as bad as the nobles. You think you saved me from a marriage, but you just forced me into a new one.”
By the time her speech was done, her chest was heaving and he felt sick. He had no words to answer what she had said. Everything about that she said was true. Her steely eyes remained trained on his as he said nothing to her.
“What, you have nothing to say?” she sneered at him. They held each other’s gaze for a moment as he searched for words to say.
“I don’t want to deny what happened. You have every right to be mad at me,” he admitted and turned his gaze from her. He leaned forward, trying to organize his defense.
“That’s all you have to say?” she asked unbelieving.
“What do you want me to say, beg you to believe a lie. I care too much about you, even though I tried to fight it. You’ve got to believe that. I’m not sure what I’m suppose to do,” he shouted jumping to his feet. His chest was heaving as he stared at the girl he loved. “I’ve tried to stop caring about you. I don’t want to love you because I seem to always mess things up, but I couldn’t help not loving you. I thought I was doing the right thing. I want both of us to be free so I can be with you.”
For a moment her eyes softened before she looked away, twisting her hands in her shirt. He knelt down in front of her and stilled her hands. Her fingers grasped his tightly and he held her gaze. He cradled her head with his other hand and they kissed slowly. He tentatively pulled her closer, savoring the moment. When they separated, Odessa looked dazed as her fingers touched her lips, but the moment was short lived. Her eyes hardened again and she shoved him away, getting to her feet. Their gaze met and her eyes flashed angrily.
“If you had said that two moon cycles ago, I would’ve believed you, but I don’t even know who you are anymore. You’ve become this bitter person bent on revenge although you say it’s freedom.” His heart plummeted at her words and he couldn’t breathe. “I will marry you to show that you are a merciful ruler, but only to help unite the country again, even if it is under a new government. I care about my people, and I don’t want any more bloodshed.” She stood a few steps away with her back towards him. “Perhaps one day my Tony will return to me.”
Of course, she wouldn’t enter the marriage willingly, but the diplomacy that was ingrained in her had shown through in her decision. Her last comment filled him with the same fresh hope that he felt last night. He reached again for her hand and she turned towards him. Her teeth nibbled on her lower lip and her eyes were glassy.
“Let’s make an agreement,” he suggested and she nodded.
“To make this work, we need to be open with each other. No secrets.” Her nod was slightly more hesitant this time, but he felt relief seeing her nod in agreement.
“Perhaps we can be friends in time,” she murmured and he nodded.
“I’d like that. I want you to trust me again.I want what is right for us and for this country.” She squeezed his hand and walked towards the door. She paused in the doorway and he found her arms wrapped around his middle. He sucked in a breath, surprised that she initiated the contact.
Hesitant to touch her, his arms hung at his sides, but he sucked in a breath and carefully hugged her back.
“I hope we can be friends,” she whispered. “I really need one especially after Carter.” With that, she left the room and he shut the door behind her.