Finn placed the forks next to the plates as I- across the table from him, set down the spoons. "What did you want to say?" I asked.
"I wanted to ask you how you were doing." Finn said amiably. "You were... pretty..." He thought about a good word for a moment, his eyes looking up at the ceiling in concentration. "Mad this morning." I laughed. "What?" Finn asked, his eyebrows knit together.
"You chose the word mad." I said, "There are a thousand other words to pick, why pick that one small insignificant one?" Finn shoed away my comment with a swipe of his hand through the air.
"Whatever." He said. He finished setting out forks and then started on the knives, circling around the table. I waited patiently for him to finish with the knives. "Also, I wanted to wish you good luck." He said.
"What time is it?" I asked, trying not the let panic seep into my voice.
"Closer than it was this morning." He said. "It starts after around five-ish. Its three-thirty." I gulped. I had spent to much of my day ranting about Bo. I exhaled. Finn looked at me, squinting. "Do you want a coffee?" He asked.
"I had one this morning." I said.
"I know," Finn said, "I gave it to you. Do you want another one?"
"Sure." I said and turned around looking for Roxanne to tell her that I was leaving. She was already scurrying towards us.
"King Finnigan." She said and bowed her head briefly in respect. "How does the room look? Does it satisfy everything you hoped it would be?" I bit back a giggle.
"Of course, Roxy. It looks great." Roxanne looked at Finn for a moment before she looked at me and then at him again.
"Do you need this girl?" She asked. Finn nodded.
"I'm afraid I do. I'm sorry to take away your help, though." He said.
"No worries." Roxanne said, looking at the papers on her board, she scratched something out with a pencil. "She wasn't our only volunteer help," "But she was our only volunteer...ex-competitor, I suppose that's what you are now. Or what was it you said earlier? Body guard!" Roxanne turned to me "And you've been very helpful.This party and its committee thank you." I smiled genuinely at her. "See you tonight!" Roxanne said, waving her fingers in a goodbye. "Have a lovely read of the day King Finnigan!" Finn and I walked out of the rooms and I started to laugh. Finn glanced at me from the corner of his eye as if I were crazy and he didn't know what to do.
"What?" he asked cautiously.
"Finnigan." I giggled, "I forgot it was your name, and now 'Finn' just seems so normal, Finnigan sounds ridiculous compared to it."
"It is ridiculous." Finn grumbled. "Why one had to add the 'igan' at the end. It's just more to pronounce, and besides I'm pretty sure whomever named me had no intention of calling me Finnigan all the time. I mean who would do that to a small child? Come here, Finnigan, I have your...reading lesson. Hither Finnigan, it's time for supper." He said, putting on an elegant air and a somewhat post accent. I chuckled. "I hate the word supper." Finn scowled.
"That was random." I pointed out. After a moment I said: "I hate the word novel."
"It is a rather awful sounding word." Finn said. "Nah-vel. Rather nasally."
"The bad thing is that once you start saying that word, you can never stop. Sometimes it just comes out." I said, " I hate it."
"Hatred is good sometimes." Finn said, "Just not when directed at or towards me. But other than that- Oh! And not at my brother, Bo, or for a matter of fact, my other brothers too, but hatred is good, Liv. You just need to direct it more carefully."
"I thought this was just a chance to drink coffee." I moaned as we entered the Dining Hall. "Its a therapy session."
"I never said it was just for a drink." Said Finn, "But it was nice of you to think of it that way. No, this is going to be one of the best, deepest and most meaningful conversations that you will ever been in. This conversation will change your life." I groaned.
"But my life had changed already." I protested.
"Well this is going to change it even more, if you life change went from a zero to a 180 then this conversation with bring you back to a 360."
"Doesn't that mean it'll just...circulate? You're saying I'll start where I began. So this conversation is going to get me nowhere really. Just back to the beginning?"
"You lost me there."
"You just said..."
"Never mind." Finn interrupted. "This will be the best conversation of your life. No more analogies or whatever."
"That wasn't an anal..."
"Or whatever." Finn said firmly, though there was humor in his voice. I pushed one of the kitchen doors open and Finn stepped in and then walked across the commotion, talking to everyone he passed, calling them by name until he was in front of the fire place, where he plopped into the same chair he had been in the first time I had been in the kitchen. "Sit, Livia." He said. I held up a finger for him to tell him to wait a moment and I walked to Pietra. He glanced down at me.
"I'm sorry." I said, "For acting so rude to you before." He shooed it away. "And your advice helped. A lot." I said. Pietra smiled, patted the top of my head and turned back to the person who he had been talking to. I then walked over to Finn and sat in a worn, red chair. "I'm ready for the best conversation of my life." I said. Finn smiled at me.
"I hope I wasn't over exaggerating. " He said, "That would be embarrassing."
It was a very good conversation. Much better than I had expected it to be. We sat for about an hour, talking, and slowly drinking our drinks until they were empty and then we each drank a cup of mint tea. The entire conversation, I had my fingers wrapped around the mug and the drink close to my face for the warmth, even though I wasn't cold. We talked about anger, and my family, which was also his family now. He talked about growing up and then we talked about my anger again, until I brought up his anger and asshole-edness from a few days ago. Then he tried to compare them, which failed epically, though was a nice try. We then talked about how ironic mint tea was since it sounded like minty.
We talked about the castle, some of the past rulers. About art and rugs and then we seemed to both run out of things to talk about so we told horrible jokes- both the funny and the unfunny. We talked about colors, lamps and so many other things that it was amazing that we had talked about them all in an hour.
When the hour ended, I stood up, yawned and reached my arms in the air. I felt energetic, from the coffee. Finn got up too, thanked Pietra for allowing us to "crash" in the kitchen for an hour and then we left, walking out of the Dining Hall toward my room.
"Are you nervous- for the party?" Finn asked.
"Not for the social reasons." I replied, "But for other...obvious reasons." Finn was quiet.
"Are you nervous? You have a lot and better reasons to be nervous." I said. Finn was quiet.
"Do you know what you're going to day to them? I asked, talking about my family. Finn shook his head sadly.
"They're not going to hate you or anything." I said.
"I wasn't worried about hate." Finn said quietly.
"That's good." I said, "One less thing to worry about."
"Theres a boatful of things to worry about." Finn said, "And that is not one of them."
"As I said," I said, "Good." Finn didn't seem to hear me. After being attentive for an hour straight, I guess he felt like he needed to zone out a little bit. Which was alright. We entered that hallway with all the new bodyguards rooms. My hallway. The hallway that I would most likely live in for the rest of my life. With seven other girls. Forever. Until a new batch of girls would come in, whenever that was. I shuddered and Finn didn't seem to notice. We reached my door. I turned to face Finn.
"See you in an hour?" Finn blinked and focused.
"Yes. Hope you don't look too bad." He said, "Because it would just be so embarrassing for the rest of us."
"Oh yes. And not at all for me." I said.
"Correct," Finn said, "More for us and less for you. All you have to do is be confident and no one will question it, but once you leave oh boy..." He fake shuddered. I smiled and lightly hit his arm.
"Hope you don't look worse than me." I turned the knob.
"That's impossible. I look to good on a regular basis to look bad anytime. I mean look at me!" He motioned to himself, "This is me with minimal effort. Imagine me with effort."
"Swoon worthy." I said sarcastically and stepped into the room. "See you later."
"Not unless I see you first!" Finn said. I rolled my eyes and then closed the door behind me. I walked into the bathroom, and filled the tub. I left the door to the room open so I could look out there as I took a bath. I rinsed my hair and then leaned back in the bathtub and thought of the party. I would have to stand by Bo, of course, but what would I say to him? Would I barely talk to him? Seem formal or casual?
There was a knock on the door that opened into my room. I closed my eyes and hoped for it to go away, which it didn't. Instead, it knocked again. I grumbled, stood up in the tub, the water dripped off of me, and I stepped out, careful not to slip on the floor. I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around myself before I walked to the door. I opened it slightly, trying only to let whoever was the knock-ee to see my shoulders and towel. Outside stood Izaiah, looking sheepish. He was blushing, his cheeks quite red.
"Hi." I smiled tightly, trying to keep a blush from appearing on my face, which no doubtably, would be brighter and more obvious than Izaiah's quite obvious blush. He was already dressed in what I guess he was going to wear to the party-which was a formal party. He was wearing a black and white suit, his shirt unbuttoned a few buttons.
"I'm here to give you this." He said and held out an odd shaped leather pouch. I moved my arm to clench the towel better as I reached out my other arm and took it.
"Thanks." I said and looked down at it in puzzlement before I looked back up to Izaiah, but he was already gone. My eyebrows knitted together in confusion as I closed the door and looked at what he had handed to me for another second. It was long and almost triangle shaped. It took me a moment to figure out what it was. A sheath. For a knife. For the knife. The one I would kill with. I tossed the sheath to the bed and went to the bathroom. I brushed out my hair, let out the water from the tub and then I walked back in the room and to the dresser. I opened it and with one hand looked through the clothes in there. I saw a dress or two. One was lavender and loose, the other seemed to be black and tight. I pulled them both out and held them out in front of me with both hands. The black one seemed more appealing aesthetically but the lavender one just seemed to...call out to me.
I gently laid the dress on the bed, and put on my under clothes. I then slid the smooth dress on and inhaled. It was soft and airy. I looked in the mirror on the wall. Surprisingly I looked good. Usually, It wasn't a color I would really like or go for. I was going to slip on some black shoes when someone knocked on the door again.
I padded barefoot to the door and opened it again, expecting to see Izaiah. Instead, Maro stood, wearing a black dress with a white line through one of the shoulders. Everything about it seemed sharp. It was very...Maro. She looked at me, almost inspectingly. She pulled something out from behind her and held it out to me. I looked down, my hair falling around my face.
It was a dagger. A real, metal and shiny, sharp dagger with a silver colored hilt. I stared at it. "Take it." Maro said. Nervously, my heart pounded as I took it. It was heavy but felt...almost good. Natural. But also not. It was a thing designed to hurt other things.
"Thanks." I murmured, looking down at it in awe.
"Do you remember what we learned yesterday?" I nodded. "Everybody guard needs a weapon." She said gently after a moment. "This is yours. Good luck."
"Thank you." I said again, louder but none the less heartfelt. I felt somehow free holding it but I also felt like I was holding my death sentence, which I was probably also holding. This magnificent and beautiful dagger would be used tonight. It was a curse and a blessing. Maro passed a moment and looked at me.
"Livia, I don't know what you will be doing or what you are thinking, but whatever it is-good luck." I looked up at her surprised. Had I been that obvious yesterday? I thought about yesterday. Angrily running across the room and kicking things. Yes. Ranting. Yes. I had been obvious.
"Thank you ." I said for the first time. Maro nodded in recognition and then left. I closed the door and stared at the dagger in my hands. Slick and shiny and as lovely as a murder weapon could be. I stared at the knife for a few minutes, my heat beating evenly and calmly as I embraced my fate.