I watched the two of them dance sloppily until Gran walked up to us again.
“Where had you been?” I asked her. “It didn’t take that long just to get a slice of cake did it?” She shooed away the question and looked at Finn and Zeke interact. Zeke had relaxed a little bit.
“I was talking to King Silas.” Gran said. “And he thoroughly apologized for the actions of his father.”
“And?” Zeke asked, butting into the conversation.
“I asked if his father regretted anything.”
“And?” I asked this time. Gran was silent for a few minutes before she said anything.
“I can’t wait for that scum-bag to drop dead.” I bit my lip and looked away. Gran didn’t notice. He would die tonight and his death wouldn’t be a natural one. Gran wouldn’t hate to wait long. I looked out at Bo again, trying to ignore the thing that would happen. The thing that got closer and closer to now as each second passed.
The song was another jittery and happy and one that just begged to be danced to. He was holding hands with the child, and was bent over. The child was jumping from side to side and he was merely turning. I looked over to Gran. She was now talking to Finn. I looked to Zeke as silently asked him to go and dance with me. He nodded once and we both, mutually walked to the dance floor.
We made our way to the middle of where everyone was dancing, faced each other and started to jump around, facing each other. We were no different from that little child Bo was dancing with. But, we were both much older and more spastic. It didn’t really seem to matter.
“What is dancing?” Zeke shouted over the music to me.
“It’s pretty much spasming.” I said.
“How can some people make It look so… clean and organized?”
“And dainty.” I added on. “The world will never know.
“If by the world, you mean us and by never know you mean until we dance with other people.” I nodded.
“I like your way of thinking.” We jumped up and down, nodding our hands, kicking our legs out. I tried to ignore sheath in my shoe as I jumped, which was, quite hard. Then the music stopped. Zeke and I looked at each other wide-eyed and then we looked at he orchestra, who was all looking into the crowd expectedly. The crowd looked around expectantly. Suddenly, someone who seemed practically flawless walked through the crowd, parting us as she walked. She then, went and stood in front of the musicians, her back towards them and was facing the crowd. She then started to sing. The musicians started playing and the dancing began again. The song was lively and distantly recognizable. Zeke immediately started singing along. I stared at him blankly. It all seemed too familiar but I just couldn’t name it.
‘And it all just seems to familiar,
the pain the break the fall
But rising up from the ashes of the world
A phoenix flies, unfamiliar’
Suddenly I recognized the song. It had come out years before and was one of the wackiest-yet catchiest songs. Everyone knew it. Zeke and I belted out the lyrics.
BECAUSE PENGUINS CAN FLY
IF THEY WANT TO
AND SO CAN CATS AND FISH
IF THEY WANT TO
AND YOU CAN DO IT
GET OVER IT
IF YOU WANT TO’
We sang until the song was over and the next began. The next one was also one we knew and we danced wildly until it was over and we were out of breath. I looked towards Zeke who was already heading out of the crowd and towards the walls. I followed him, staying in the path he made before it closed up and I would have to push through people.
Zeke was leaning against the wall when I made my way out of the crowd. I stood next to him and glanced out into the group, involuntarily looking for Bo. The dancing had helped take out the stress. I looked around the room for Bo. When I couldn’t find him, I pushed myself off the wall, but then I saw him. He was alone and was looking at me. His lips parted as if he wanted to say something but he didn’t want to shout over the crowd. He pushed past the group as well towards me. My heart beat faster. The apology. I sighed. Then, he was standing in front of me. He blinked as if he didn’t know what to say. As if he saw me and then rushed over with out thinking. Which, knowing him, he probably had. Bo huffed.
“Do you want to go dance?” he asked quietly. It took me a moment to respond. It would be awkward…but we needed to talk. I nodded and walked off with him, forgetting Zeke on the wall. Together, we walked past people, trying not to touch them. It was just our luck that as soon as we found a place to dance, the song was a slow one. We awkwardly looked up at each other. Bo extended his arms, but before he touched me, we met eyes and he silently asked for permission. I nodded and let him place his hands of my waist. I reached up and put my arms around his neck. We didn’t speak, but instead, swayed stiffly and awkwardly. That continued for an entire song.
When the next song started, Bo seemed to work up enough courage and he spoke. “Thank you.”
“For what?” I asked slowly.
“Apologizing.” I took a deep breath.
“I felt-feel really…bad.” I finished lamely and cringed.
“Me…me too.” Bo said. We swayed awkwardly. “ Look, I am really really really really really sorry. And you know what? You were right,” He admitted, almost sounding defeated, but not willing to go that far to say so. “I didn’t think about it that way. And I understand why you yelled at me. I probably would’ve yelled at me too. And I didn’t think of the other side and I’m sorry you felt or feel or whichever one it is…or was. I’m not sure which one anymore or I’m not sure if id ever had any idea. I didn’t think of you when I said yes and I’m sorry if that affects us, whatever we are.
And I hope we aren’t distant like my father and Maro- who barely talk and I fully apologize for everything. The fact that you have to do a…horrible deed, and,” He sucked in a breath. He was rambling. “You don’t even have to do it if you don’t want. I don’t want to force you into anything. We can find someone else and do it later, where there are less formally dressed people and nice food. I mean who cares if a tyrant lives on a few more days, no one will really be disappointed since they don’t know!
“And I am really am sorry, and I fully-completely understand everything you said to be back then and there-at the pillar. Even if you did use that horrible metaphor or simile or whatever the heck that was. I understand it was a ‘in the moment thing’, and that you did mean it to be inspiring but truthfully, it was a horrifying statement and was kind of confusing. And I hope you don’t sink or die, because that would be sad and.. really sad.” He said, turning serious, “I really like you.” He stopped rambling, breathing deeply from either the confession or the fact that the words had been strung together and he hadn’t really paused to take a breath. It took me a moment to respond, all the things-mostly nonsense, he had said, coursed through my head and slowly sunk in.
“I’m going to be honest.” I said, “ I don’t know what to say.” I admitted, flabbergasted. He looked at me, eyes wide and apologetic.
“Do you forgive me?” He asked, promptfully. I looked at him, sucked in a deep breath.
“Yes. I’ve forgiven you for quite some time now.”
“Really?” Bo asked, sounded more like normal Bo. “’Quite some time’?”
“A few hours.” I said. Bo raised his eyebrows. “Maybe less.” I amended.
“That’s more like it.” Bo said, but then looked at me meekly, “Are you absolutely sure?”
“Yes.” I exhaled, sounding annoyed. Relief flowed inside of me, through my veins, making me feel alive.
“Thank God.” Bo exhaled, sounding even more relived than I felt. “Can we stop being so formal?” He motioned with one of his hands towards our stiff dancing.
“Wait till the end of the song.” I said, my eyes closed as we still swayed awkwardly, yet less so. “It’s a slow song.”
“There are other ways to dance to slow songs-you know that-right?” Bo asked, “Instead we can…”
“I’m in a groove,” I said, “Don’t stop me now.”
“If by ‘groove’ you mean stubbornness and by ‘don’t stop me now’ you mean laziness, then I suggest you change your ways. Bodyguard should be flexible.” Bo said, then hurriedly corrected himself, suddenly blushing. “In their ways. You know, of…”
“Just stop.” I said, removing one of my hands from his neck and I pressed it against his lips to shush him. “Don’t ruin the moment.”
“Were we having a moment?”
“It could’ve been one.”
“Too bad it wasn’t.” Bo said, carelessly.
“Yes, too bad.” The song ended. We removed our limbs and stared at each other.
“I’m glad we made up.”
“I still feel awful for just yelling at you.” I said.
“I missed breakfast because I was scared of you.” Bo said, my eyes widened and I jumped back, my hands covering my mouth.
“Oh my god! Really?” I said, starting to feel horrible again.
“No.” Bo said, I took a deep breath to calm myself before I hit his arm, annoyed. “It was other reasons. Once more my excellent father has tried to persuade me to cold-heartedly murder my siblings.” Bo said and said sarcastically, “I love my dad.” I chuckled and opened my mouth to say something but was interrupted before I began by Finn, who walked up, pushing past other dancers with Zeke following behind him.
“Kissed and made up?” He asked, sounding much more light-hearted than before. “That’s good.” He said, not waiting for a response.
“What’s this I hear about kissing?” Zeke asked, coming to a halt next to Finn. I smiled.
“Are you here to scold me?” I asked sarcastically.
“No. But here is some advice: Make sure it’s with someone much higher than your ranking, and keep it a secret. Thus, it can be more fun, sneaking around and all that plus, you might get some benefits.”
“Is this from experience?” I asked, eyebrows raised. “What have you done in the week I’ve been gone?”
“Many things.” Zeke said, grinning wickedly.
“Enough, you two.” Finn said, intercepting our conversation. “No more sibling bickering or whatever nonsense this is. I came over here to tease my younger brother,” He paused, then felt he needed to clarify, “Bo, and I have not done that yet. Priority first.”
“That’s not fair.” I said at the same time that Bo said, “ Finn!”, astoundedly and Zeke said something much worse. Finn cracked a smile.
“I’m sorry.” I said no less than a moment later, “That wasn’t fair. I was just thinking of Z’s affair advice and…” I never got to hear what Finn gathered out of Zeke’s affair advice or even why he called Zeke Z, when a hand clamped down on my shoulder and yanked me around, hurting my shoulder. I was then face to face with a broiling with anger. Roxanne. Her nostrils were flared angrily and her eyes ablaze.
“How dare you.” She grounded out. “You killed my best. It was your fault.” I blinked at her, my face growing increasingly hotter with both surprise and fear.
“What?” I managed to get out, quietly.
“Nonie. Nina. Whatever. She is dead because of you! Shortly after you left,” She pointed one of her nicely manicured fingers at me, menacingly. “She was taken away by King Isaac and offed! Killed! Murdered! I have known her for years! She has and had done nothing wrong!” Roxanne’s lips were pursed in a scowl. “Until you go and talk with her and carry plates and whatever nonsense! And then he came for her! She is gone! SHE DID NOTHING WRONG!” I gulped and watched Roxanne stalk away, her fingers grasping her clipboard behind her tightly.
Nonie, that nice girl, barely older than I-was dead. She was gone. She was dead. Never to smile or do anything again. I turned around to face the three. Justice. Justice was needed. I scowled, kneeled and took the dagger out of my boot. All three of them: Bo, Zeke and Finn, jumped back from me, eyes wide and arms and eyebrows up in surprise.
Dagger clutched tightly in my hand, I stomped through the crowd of people. Most of them didn’t even notice the weapon in my hand. I pushed through people with my other arm, quickly passing Gran and Silas, who was talking to her. I felt their eyes follow me as I pushed my way into the room with the food- the throne room.
My eyes wandered the room, looking for the little prick known as King Isaac. I saw him, he was standing generally in the middle of the room, Maro close by him along with some others who also looked like they were protecting him.
I turned my thoughts off, any screams of sanity or realistic thinking, just gone. Inside my head was pure anger. I slipped past one of the people surrounded him and saw him. He was leaning against a pillar, his creepy and thin-lipped little smile apparent.
I brought the knife down.