Previously: Under the Prince's uncomfortable gaze, Evrial had an embarrassing fall off her horse. Now injured, Cowan takes her on his own horse.
Evrial couldn't believe that she fell. She didn't want to believe. She definitely didn't lie when she said that she would die of embarrassment. For the first time that day, she wished Cowan wasn't with her, but of course he had witnessed the whole thing. She was dying of embarrassment. She was positive she had hidden how excited she was when he offered his horse to her. She knew in that moment how much she meant to him and was ashamed for ever doubting him. He cared and loved her just as much she loved him.
She snapped back to the present as they rode through those gates again. She kept her gaze low and avoided eye contact with the puzzled guards at the top. Yes, yes, why are we back so soon? My stupidity that's why...her cheeks burned. Dalex came out of the stable with a concerned look on his face. Oh gods. She smiled at him, trying to make it as humorous as she could. Maybe it would relieve some of the heat from her red cheeks. She had forgotten that Dalex was one of the professional horse trainers as well. He was probably laughing inside.
"What happened!?" Dalex rushed to her side and helped her dismount, the concern in his dark blue eyes making her flush deepen, "Are you alright?"
She grinned at him and held up her swollen wrist, "I've been better but I'm fine. I must apologize but I have given you an extra task today. Isla twisted her leg on the way down and it should probably get rubbed."
He nodded his head and took the mare from Kristof. As she was left to stand on her own, she noticed that like her horse, she had twisted her leg. She was going to be so covered in bruises tomorrow. She could already feel them forming and her wrist was turning a yellow color. As Dalex walked by her, she said in as much of a cheerful voice as she could manage, "Well, at least I'll be exempt from the kitchen for a while.” He rolled his beautiful eyes and laughed. She smiled as she sent him shaking his head.
Cowan came up beside her and nodded his head in the direction that Dalex had just gone, "Should I be worried?" He said it so quietly but she still looked around to see if anyone had heard. Content that no one had, she shook her head while grinning ear to ear. He smiled, the imperfection of his fang teeth lending more charm to the perfect curve of his lips. My gods, he is attractive. His brown hair was cut close to his head which gave her a good look at his eyes.
Viera strode up beside them, "I hope you will be alright. I am terribly sorry that this afternoon went this way and was cut short but I hope to try again sometime.” Her voice was laced with genuine concern as she spoke and Evrial instantly felt guilty.
"I owe you the apology, I fell and had to be swept back to the castle like a damsel.” She tried to lighten Viera's mind with humor but it didn't seem to be working. She sighed and forced a smile on her face, "I'm going to head in. I need a bath.”
Viera nodded and smiled mischievously, though she couldn't tell why, "Cowan, see to it that she gets to her room. Have one of the other servants draw a bath for her, she is in no shape to do it herself.” If she was feeling better she would have declined but exhaustion hit her like a brick wall. She smiled her thanks and said a quick good-bye to the rest. Does the Princess suspect something? She was acting as if she did but didn't voice it, which made Evrial a little uneasy. She was going to tell Cowan once they were alone in the hallway and see if he knew anything about it.
As if he heard her thoughts, he took her good arm and led her to the door. His mood seemed to have lightened as they stepped into the privacy of the castle and as he closed the door behind her, he checked the hallway to make sure it was clear before kissing her. The sudden kiss startled her and she almost pulled away from his touch.
"Don't do that again, okay?" His smile danced in his eyes and in it, she completely forgot what was bothering her only minutes ago. She linked her good arm in his and they walked down the hallways to her room. He left her briefly while he went to go tell Rachel to get a bath ready for her. This is humiliating, getting so pampered. I'd say they think I’m dying. As much as it was humiliating, she didn't mind having a bath prepared for her, the meal that Mr. Cander brought to her room, or the extra attention she was receiving from Cowan.
She was settled on the edge of her bed and in mid-bite when Cowan came into her room again. Mr. Cander gave him that knowing smile of his and took his leave with a promise that he would return to check on her. Cowan glanced at her with a quizzing look on his face but bade the old man farewell. After he was sure that he was gone, he pointed at the door, "He knows?" She nodded and explained how after her mouth was free of the delicious stew.
He was silent for a moment but shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, Viera knows too so I guess we're even," his words sent her head snapping up and her eyes looking into his for an explanation, "Oh don't get your undergarments in a knot. We're friends and that isn't something that I have kept a secret.” She didn't feel like getting into an argument so she let it pass with a nod of her head but a retort along the lines of: "It isn't exactly something that you've let be known either," ran through her mind.
She was almost done her meal by the time Rachel walked in her room, looking exhausted. Her white apron was stained red with what looked like a sauce, her dark hair usually done up was hanging around her face, which made her skin look pale and sick. She went to her bathing chamber without even a hello and started drawing her bath. A sharp pang of guilt fluttered through her stomach. She thought about Mr. Cander with the extra hassle of a meal, Dalex having to rub down her mare, Rachel with the bath and all the kitchen staff with her absence. How could I be so selfish? Here I am sitting like a princess while the others pick up the work I left behind. Even Cowan had felt that he should take care of her.
"It's ready for you.” Rachel's voice sounded tired, she looked tired. She held her body in such a way Evrial could tell that she was sore. She would have given her the bath but her selfishness told her that her own body was aching with pain. I'll return the favor one day. She thanked her and Rachel left without another word.
"Oh by the hills, I must appear so selfish," the words escaped her mouth before she could think about them, and Cowan looked at her with his brows furrowed curiously, "I fall and I am being treated like a princess while others have to suffer for my stupidity.” She ignored the sharp pain in her wrist as she let her head fall into her hands.
"It's fine. You took a bad fall and you know it. Speaking of which, I am going to get the castle healer to take a look at your wrist,” he must have seen the protest in her eyes as he stopped because he resumed just as quickly, "I know you are in more pain than you want me to believe. I'm not pampering you, I am being perfectly sensible about this. That horse landed on your arm and it is really swollen. With any luck, it isn't broken. Anyway, go take a bath, you need it.”