Orion couldn't believe what he had just done. He had kissed the prince's wife. He had kissed the partner of the future ruler of Nedréa. He had kissed the girl he had been told poison by the Queen, and he went through with it.
He just looked at Lucia, whose eyes were wide with surprise. She pushed the veil away from her face and just..stared. Orion felt his hands begin to shake. All the shots of ale he had downed throughout the night started to churn in his belly. His gaze moved to her neck, where a necklace sat. A simple pewter chain with a milky crystal attached to it, cut so that it resembled a crescent moon.
He looked her right in the eyes. "Where did you get that necklace?" His tone was shaky. Lucia flinched and took a step back. "..My brother gave it to me..before I left Ledaria." She whispered.
He looked into the tiny glass of amber ale, his fourth one of the night, and dropped it. The sound of it shattering was numb to his ears as he bolted back to the alleyway, spooking a drowsy Maximus. He swayed back and forth as he mounted the saddle. He could see a white blur running towards him through the tears he shed. He blinked, and suddenly Lucia was sat in front of him, holding Maximus's reins as they trotted back to the stable. Had he fallen asleep? He couldn't remember. Just as they were nearing the stable doors, he heard the sound of Lucia's slippers dully thump against the hard packed snow. He dismounted too, though not as gracefully. He pitched backwards into the snow and groaned as the cold seeped into his backside, stinging his skin. Lucia helped him up with one hand. Her hat was in the other.
"..Lucia..I never meant..to..you..you know," He slurred as she settled Maximus into his pen. God, the world was shaking even more now than ever. She became a blur yet again. "...I'm so sorry."
She set a reassuring hand on his shoulder, and took in a deep breath. "We may have had too many ales." She chuckled. "I think..nothing of it."
"G-good.." He could feel the goofy smile splay on his lips again. "..So..we can..be companions, then?"
"Of course." He heard the click of Maximus's stable door. And they were out in the bitter wind again, her arm in his.
He only hoped that the bliss he felt could last until the morning. But that proved not to be the case. The morning sun burned his eyes as it subtly peeked through the curtains. He rolled over on his cot and pulled the mothhole ridden sheet over his head.
Why did ale have to taste so good, but leave him feeling so awful after the fact? It was maddening. After an hour or two of meandering in bed, he finally gained the courage to peer out the window and saw the princess dash into the garden, lean over the gardenias and vomit. He took in a sharp breath and grabbed his wand from his workbench. In a snap, he was knelt by her side, holding back her hair. Once she had rid herself of last night's drinks, she stumbled into his arms and groaned.
"Good morning." He whispered. "I guess the drinks didn't settle well with you?"
Lucia shook her head vehemently. "'I thought..eighteen was the drinking age in this kingdom..I thought I could..give it a try.."
"A poor choice. I didn't start drinking until I was nineteen."
"You still are nineteen, just as Ezra is."
"My point still stands, unlike you, dear Princess."
This relationship..they could stay companions. He was sure of it. But she could never know of his tainted allegiance to the Queen, that was for certain. Keeping it buried away was easy. He had done it for much of his life, it was second nature.
But never with anything this large and fragile.