“What now, Torrin? How do we...”
“I’m here as the Lillaen’s personal servant. They don’t leave for another three days.”
“As a servant? How...”
“We’ll figure it out, Calla.” Torrin kisses me softly. “We’re soul mates. Nothing can keep us apart.”
I kiss back, my body burning with desire. “How much time is left?” I whisper against his lips.
“Not enough.” he replies. “I should go.”
I sigh, kiss him one more time, then let him stand. He smiles at me, then pulls on his clothing. I grab a nightgown from my armoire and pull it on, then pick up the pink pearl gown and drop it into the laundry chute.
“Sleep well, flower. I will see you at breakfast.” Torrin says as I climb into bed.
We smile at each other in the darkness, then he opens the door and is gone.
“Calla, wake up! You’re going to be late for breakfast!”
I bolt up, sending the pillow that I’d fallen asleep clutching flying through the air. Pepper picks it up from where it has landed by her feet and tosses it with the three other pillows on the bed. “Hurry up, get dressed! Goodness, Killian must have kept you busy last night.” She grins, eyes twinkling.
After what happened with Torrin, I’d completely forgotten about Killian’s proposal.
“Oh, stars, Pepper! He proposed.”
Pepper gasps, hands flying to her cheeks. “Killian proposed?! Last night?”
I nod, and she squeals. Then she grabs me and tugs me out of bed, shoving me towards the washroom. “Tell me about it!”
“I love you, Calla Lily Tullier. You are my starlight. Will you marry me?”
“I...told him I’d have to sleep on it.”
Pepper blinks at me in the mirror as she runs the brush through my hair. “Well, what will you tell him today?”
“Nothing can keep us apart.”
“Calla, I would seriously consider accepting.”
“I asked you out here...to make a confession.”
I belong to Torrin.
But how can I hurt Killian? He is a good friend.
I take a deep breath. “Well...”
“Ah, Calla! So pleased you could join us.”
“Sorry, Mother. I’m afraid I overslept a bit, I was unusually exhausted.”
“Hm. Well, I hope you managed to think about some things while you were sleeping so heavily.” Mother’s eye flick towards Killian, who is openly gazing at me with wide eyes.
Do they expect me to announce my decision here at the breakfast table?
“Calla, love, have you an answer to last night’s question?” Killian asks smoothly.
Oh, stars. I hoped this could be a private confrontation.
“Yes, Killian...I do have an answer.”
Torrin suddenly comes into view, escorting the Lillaens to their seats. My heart simultaneously jumps and melts at the sights of him, but I force my eyes away quickly, keeping a calm expression on my face. I slip a forkful of eggs into my mouth, stalling.
“And what is your answer, Calla, dear?” Mother intervenes, clearly impatient.
I look up. Torrin’s eyes meet mine, clearly confused. I look away, focusing my attention on Killian. His eyes are wide, nervous. His fork slips out of his fingers, clattering against the table and making us all jump. He flushes slightly. “Pardon,” He slides the utensil onto his barely-touched plate and looks at me again.
I can feel Torrin’s eyes, and I can feel Mother’s eyes...and one more pair, belonging to no other than Calhan Lillaen. While his parents are respectfully keeping their attention on their breakfast, Cal is paying close attention to the conversation.
“Calla?” Mother says, voice sharp.
I close my eyes.
Take a deep breath.
And the room suddenly shatters.