23 Play Possum

I saw him sitting on a step by the pond. The door opening sound must have fallen in his ears. He turned, looked up once with a red nose and misty eyes. When he found out that it was just me nonchalantly averted the gaze.

"Are you ok?" I dropped down my pride and became the one to talk first.


I shook my head in anger and annoyance. "You did it on purpose, right?" I asked.


"Why did you do it, Victor?"

"What else do you want me to do? Go and seduce that innocent girl?" he calmly asked, raising his eyebrows.

"What do you mean by seduction? We never did that!" I said.

"Then what else it is?"

"Victor, you love her. Fighting for love is not a wrong thing. It's an honour!" I told him reminiscing the novel moments. In the novel, he chose to not marry if it was not her. If that is what he would decide, at last, he should at least fight for her to his fullest. He needed to fight more intelligently unlike the last time. That would be beneficial to both of us.

I wrapped up my selfishness under the veil of his love and told him, "You need to think differently if you want to marry her. Sacrifice won't work in love!"

He looked at me for a few seconds with furrowed brows. He didn't look well because of his allergy. He seemed extremely exhausted. He was not crying then. But his eyes were misty because of the allergic reaction. My heart softened since he looked like a manchild with that look on his face. Because of this, I was afraid to talk bluntly as I was scared I may end up hurting him more. He took his time to think then talk again.

"Who told you that I love her?"

I was a bit confused there. 'He doesn't love her? Maybe he is not in love since it is the pre novel period. Eventually, he will fall in love anyway' I concluded.

"You have a crush..."

"No!" he frankly interrupted.

"Still not?" I accidentally spoke my thoughts.

"What does that mean?" he dubiously looked at me.

"It's nothing. About you two, it doesn't matter if you don't love her yet. You'll fall in love soon and will make a great pair!" I tried to somehow grapple the situation showing him a thumbs up with a smile.

Victor didn't speak for a while. Then suddenly, he broke the silence.

"I'm not allowed to marry," he said.

"What... does that mean?" I tilted my head since I couldn't catch the meaning of his words.

"How can I marry anyone when I have already pledged my loyalty to you?" he asked.

"What do you mean? What does it get to do with this?" I confusedly asked him.

"Pledging my loyalty means I'm at your disposal, anytime, anywhere!" he said.

This confession stupefied me for a few seconds. He spoke as if he had always been so obedient so far.

"But you never acted that way towards me!" I expressed my surprise in my words.

"I'm staying here with you and helping you with your stupid plans. That's the proof of my words!" he nonchalantly said.

I frowned since he called my plans stupid. He didn't mind but continued.

"If your father comes to know this, I'll be hanged here. If my king ever knows this, I'll be beheaded in Dagresh."

I was speechless since what he told me was indeed true.

"I'm not doing these because of my spies. I could have escaped your trap a long time ago" said Victor. I frowned even further. Of course, I didn't trust him!

"How?" I asked,

"I know there is no one backing you up in your plans. I could have abducted you to put an end to all these since you're the only one who knew about Dagresh spies" he said leaving me in awe. My eyes widened in shock.

"Then why did you...?"

"For you. At that time I pledged my loyalty, I wasn't aware of these facts. When I came to know..." he paused then looked at me. "It was already too late to harm you with my hands," he said.

It was back to back shock for me. But I didn't want to lose the argument.

"Then are you saying you'll listen to everything I say and act like my puppet?" I asked widening my eyes.

"No!" he gave an immediate answer. "I'll stay with you, protect you, and if required will die for you. You'll always be my priority" he said.

Listening to his words, I cursed Venus inside my head for creating such a complex character. I hated the fact that he sounded so genuine but arrogant at the same time. I can handle anyone who is against me but when it comes to those who show respect and love, I'll become clumsy. When Victor spoke to me about being loyal with the anger I got mixed feelings. I didn't know how to react. Still, I understood he was not willing to do these for me either. It was just his bad luck that he got stuck with me here.

I understood one thing clearly. He didn't want to fall in love with Flora because he had to be there for me anytime. He didn't want to destroy her life since he will not be having a proper one because of me. Even here, I sensed his genuine love for Flora.

"Victor, I'll release you from this promise one day in the future so you can have some personal affairs," I bargained.

He frowned then replied, "Sorry, these promises can't be undone!" My eyes widened since I've realized that should be my line. I've realized that I was speaking in his favour and he was speaking in my favour without even realizing it. I started to feel bad for him.

"I wouldn't act in a way to disturb your life with her. We'll try to separate work from personal life" I tried to convince him.

"I don't want to!" he rigidly replied then suddenly started to sneeze.

"Ok. Leave it. Leave it. Sit down now." I told him since he looked extremely exhausted. He didn't listen to me. I sat down beside him and pulled him down forcing him to sit. This time, he sat down obediently without protesting further.

Victor was sitting silently next to me with his palms on his face seemingly thinking. I didn't know what he was thinking but I understood that he knew that I'm an opportunist. He knew how selfish I am. He knew it better than anyone else. Still, he chose to stay by my side just because of a promise. I couldn't help but feel bad for him.

'Why are you so stupid, Victor? It was just a promise,' I thought but didn't utter a word. He was the same in the novel too. He had a few principles and very few people he care about. He would go to any extent to protect them.

Who does this these days? I've never seen a man like him before. No one can be him, not even Edward. I wasn't sure whether he is stupid or too good. I just ignored these thoughts and patiently continued to sit beside him peeking at his tired face.

Within a few minutes, he dozed off and placed his head on my shoulder. I pushed him away twice but the third time, he directly fell on my lap instead. He placed his head comfortably and continued to sleep.

When I lifted my hands to push him away, I noticed a faint smile on the corner of his lips. This amazed me. I had always seen him smirking at me. I saw him rarely smile at Flora. This was the first time for me to see his smile this close. After that, the thought of waking him up from his deep peaceful slumber didn't arise in my mind. I chose to observe him closer instead.

He looked like an adamant kid with a frown on his forehead, knitted eyebrows, and tightly pressed lips. When I got the chance to see a vulnerable Victor, I instinctively lifted my left-hand index finger and lightly touched the centre of his forehead once. Once I made sure he was deep in his sleep, I poked his forehead too. Since I was so bored, I started twiddling his forehead hair with my index finger. I frowned as I pushed that hair behind to take a clear look at his face. I didn't like that frown on his face so I gently stroked his frown so he could relax a bit. After that, I tried to slowly trace out his debonair eyebrows once. They were soft on the contrary to his nature. I liked this game so I continued to the tip of his pointy nose, not waking him up from his sleep. I pressed it once. 'Why is this man so beautiful?' I couldn't help but ponder. At last, when my forefinger was hovering above his lips ready to touch them anytime, Merlin broke into the royal pond without even knocking.

When I saw him, I was shocked because Victor was sleeping on my lap then. Merlin too looked so shocked for the exact same reason. Though I felt embarrassed I didn't think much about it since I had already claimed Victor as my lover before. So when a blushed Merlin bowed and was about to greet me, I just shushed him placing the index finger I had already raised to touch Victor's lips on my lips. "He's asleep" I mouthed. Merlin just Ok gestured to me then mouthed that Flora already left.

I nodded in acknowledgement and told him to leave in the same way.

Once he left, I let out the breath I was holding in. Though I pretended to be so tough in front of these guys, when it comes to awkward situations like this, I just couldn't help but lose my composure. Though, the way Merlin reacted had already brought a smile to my face for some reason. I shook my head once to shake off those unwanted excitements and I looked at that peaceful face again.

"What a trouble?" I mumbled as I raised my hand again to imitate a punch on his nose. But before I could reach halfway his hand strongly held my wrist midway.

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