Guinevere hadn’t been to the Pit since it was redecorated. She did away with the red lounge and the red love seat and replaced them. The red lounge was reupholstered with a yellow fabric, and the red love seat was replaced by two floral high-backed chairs. She had yet to replaced the table with the round table she desired, and the current chairs needed to be “less red.”
This meeting, Guinevere wanted to start with changes in the seating arrangement, then she would lead into her big announcement.
“Lord Van Gould, would you please switch seats with Caleb?” The men started to murmur but she held strong. “Settle down gentlemen, and please. The sooner this happens, the sooner I can move onto my announcement, and the sooner we can all go our separate ways. I assure you, you’ll want to hear what I’m going to say.” She watched as the two men reluctantly stood from their seats: Van Gould was fuming beneath the surface, and Caleb was apologetic to the other man. Once they were both in their seats, she was satisfied and smiled.
“Actually, before my announcement. I would like to say thank you, to all of you for allowing me to break down the barriers between us and the humans. I feel like it went well, and I’ve even made an affluent friend. A friend I believe we have in common, Caleb.” An eyebrow rose ever-so delicately on Caleb’s face. “Gunther.” Realization hit Caleb. He nodded with a shy smile.
“Yes. His family and mine go way back. He’s a good man and has believed in vampires for a very long time.” She was pleased to hear the story matched with Gunther’s.
“Your Majesty, what is this announcement?” Van Gould snapped, he was growing impatient. Guinevere rolled her eyes and sighed. Now or never…
“It’s something that has been wanted from me since I first stepped into the Pit as queen.” Bernard looked to Van Gould, confused. He shook his head, equally confused. Guinevere inwardly smirked at the exchange but carried on.
“I want to formally announce, I will be getting married.” Guinevere was blown away by how loud three men could be. They demanded to know things:
“Who is this man?”
“Does he have a title?”
“Is he a vampire?!”
“Is he respectable?”
“Do we know him?”
The questions overlapped, and seemed unending. She stood and pounded her fist on the table with all her might — without breaking it. “SHUT UP! If you would let me finish you would have all your answers!” Van Gould, Bernard, and Wogan looked like guilty children that were caught misbehaving. Caleb didn’t take part in the questioning and remained calm. He remained still while he watched the scene unfold. Funny how the youngest of us is the most behaved. She turned her attention to Caleb – her eyes met his with an apologetic look. His eyes responded with confusion. “I want to marry Caleb.”
More outrage from Van Gould, concern from Bernard, and just general questions from Wogan. Guinevere didn’t know how much longer she could handle these three men. She placed her head in her hand and rubbed her eyes. The regal and noble mask was slipping, exposing her inner rage. The three men stopped talking and listened with concern. “I’m done. I’m done with these questions.” She started quietly, the rage was building in her core. “Can I do nothing right in your eyes? I’m giving up my strongest belief to make everyone else happy!” She looked up from her hand. She was on the verge of tears. “If you can’t be happy and compromise, I’m done. I will dissolve this fucking government, abdicate myself…just to get some semblance of normality. I want you all to think long and hard about this, because I will have my answer before I leave up those stairs.”
“Your Majesty, if I may suggest, a resting period? To let everyone get used to the idea of our marriage. Then when we come back, they can give their answers. If you don’t find them to be agreeable, dissolve the League and rebuild. Just don’t abdicate or everything you achieved will be for nothing.” Caleb, again, was the only man in that room that seemed to understand what she needed. She wiped the beginnings of tears and nodded.
“Thank you Caleb.” Her gaze scanned the other men, scrutinizing them. “You three should thank Caleb for saving your jobs until the next meeting. And you’ll thank him again if I’m happy with your answers.” Now her eyes were fixed on Van Gould. “You seem to forget who I am, Lord Van Gould. You may not respect me as your queen, but at the end of the day…I am your grand master. The only grand master. I can crush your bones into a fine powder with minimal effort, if I was pushed far enough. Let that sink in while you think of your answer.” She stood with a shaky smile, slipping back into the persona she was used to. She turned on her heel and walked up the stairs, leaving the men to whisper. Once she was out of view, she punched the stone wall: She left behind a hole, as well as her built up anger.
Guinevere heard footsteps chasing after her, so she stopped and turned to see Caleb. She knew why he followed her, it didn’t take a genius to piece it together after that announcement. She decided to listen anyway, to try and figure out his true feelings on the matter.
“Did you truly mean what you said in the Pit? About marrying me?” She simply nodded.
“Of course. You’re the only logical choice. You’re a strong and formidable vampire. You’re attractive, single, and we have a similar mindset and goal. Plus! You have a title, and have a good reputation with vampires and humans.” Caleb was lost in thought. Understandably it was a lot to take in.
“Fair point, Your Majesty. Are you sure about this though? You were dead-set against marrying unless it was for love.”
“I’m tired of fighting with Van Gould, so yes. I’m sure about this. We have eternity to fall in love. That is if you’re willing.”
“No offense ma’am, but you would be foolish to think I would turn down an offer like this. If you haven’t learnt by now, I am a very ambitious man…I didn’t rise to my position because I was young and knew about the modern human world. Your father chose me, because he knew he was going to die and you would be queen. I accepted knowing I would be in a position to marry the future queen if need be. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe, but you don’t seem to be shying away.” This was all news to her. She had no idea her father knew he was going to die that long before his actual death. She had no idea this was the reason her father chose Caleb. It put things into perspective just how much her father planned ahead in the event of his death. He wasn’t a stupid man, just a foolish and weak one. She looked at the ground, solemn and lost.
“I have no choice Caleb.” She felt a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“You always have a choice, you just always choose the moral and just way. You could easily do away with Van Gould and your problems would vanish, but that’s not you. Beyond the wrathful and angry goddess, you’re merciful and you have compassion. You try to hide everything you are but I can see through it.” Before she could stop herself, she threw her arms over his shoulders and around his neck in an embrace. Sure, he’s ambitious…too ambitious. But he has a kind soul. Can I trust him though, that’s the question.
“Before we marry, there’s something I want.” She whispered.
“Anything you want, my lady, the world is yours.” His lips moved against her neck, sending chills up her spine.
“I want to take it slow, and actually get to know each other. I want to make sure we’re compatible outside of politics.” She pulled out of the embrace, much to his displeasure. “Once I’m sure we’re compatible, we can marry.”