Chapter Seventeen: Progress

2The first person to speak at the meeting was Bernard. “Mimsy is going to have a baby.” Guinevere couldn’t tell if he was happy or not.
“That’s fantastic! How are you dealing with it?” No point in beating around the bush… Guinevere knew he wasn’t fond of children. Maybe he’ll like this one since it’s his. She hoped for Mimsy’s sake he was going to be supportive.
“To be perfectly honest? I’m terrified. I absolutely can’t stand children, but I love Mimsy…so I will be here for her and the child.”
“That’s a relief to hear.” Guinevere trailed off, and remained silent while the men congratulated Bernard. She wondered if Van Gould would bring up the topic of her having an heir. It had been a while since he last mentioned it, but maybe he’s mellowed out since I moved him.
“Gwen, darling-” Caleb brought her from her back from her thoughts. She looked at him with a smile. “You spaced out for a couple seconds, are you okay?”
“Yeah, just thinking about what we’re going to talk about today. Everything is going well with the shop, there have been no reports of violence…everything is going well. Maybe I’m tempting fate by saying it’s going a little too well. I’m expecting the other foot to drop any moment.” Guinevere laughed wryly. It was the truth — ever since her interview with Agnes, violence has dropped and the vampires were being accepted into human society. It was what Guinevere wanted, and now she didn’t know what to do or what she wanted.

“Then just take this peaceful period and relax. You deserve it, and I’m sure your mind will thank you for it later.” Guinevere rolled her eyes at Caleb’s smirk. “It would be a shame for the queen to go mad, you know.” His tone was playful, but she knew there was a underlying concern in his words. She had felt stressed lately, and needed a mental break.
“So, your majesty, have you and young Caleb given any thought about a wedding date?” Van Gould took the silence as a opportunity to ask. Of course he would be the one to ask.
“Not even one thought. We’ve been too busy trying to set up a date as a couple.” Guinevere didn’t try to hide her annoyance: She rolled her eyes and her tone oozed with contempt at the question.
“I didn’t realize it was a touchy subject, sorry to ask about it, Your Majesty.” Van Gould bowed his head before sitting back in his chair. He’s just trying to rile me up, I need to keep a cool head and not blow it.
“I didn’t mean to snap, I apologize. I have all the time in the world, so why rush into a marriage with a guy I barely know? That seems counterproductive to my safety. He could be an assassin for all I know.” Deep down, she knew Caleb was innocent and wouldn’t hurt her but she needed to get her point across that she didn’t want to rush marriage. The three men looked at her with realization, then it faded into guilt. Naturally. “I guess you three were too busy thinking of yourselves and solidifying your position that you didn’t stop to think ‘oh maybe there’s an actual reason she doesn’t want to marry other than being stubborn.’ but what else could I expect from three very ambitio-?” Suddenly, she was feeling feint: her head felt light and dizzy. “I’m going to go sit om the couch, I think I’m coming down with something.” She stood and looked at the men. “Talk among yourselves.”

7She sat, ignoring the whispers of concern from the men. She would have to ask Yuki if she was coming down with a cold or something — it was the only logical explanation for her sudden illness. She placed her head in her hands and pressed her eyes with the heel of her palm. She could feel a headache setting in and she felt like vomiting. She felt weight next to her and a comforting arm around her shoulders. “Did something change in your diet?” Caleb whispered, his lips pressed against the side of her head.
“I drank from Yuki before the meeting, not Sam. Sam was occupied with my aunt and I always drink from a human before these meetings.” Guinevere whispered back. She felt him stiffen beside her. She looked up at him.
“Please, don’t drink from her anymore. S-she was your father’s favorite.” His voice was low, cautious, and filled with worry. “He was very ill before he died — no one except me knew it.” Guinevere reached up and caressed his cheek for a moment.
“I believe you. Thank you for looking out for me. You’re the only one I feel I can trust here.”
“Despite my ambitious reasons, I do care about you. You need to rest…do you want me to tell them the meeting is over?” Guinevere pondered this for a moment. I’m comfortable, I don’t want him to leave yet, but I don’t want to keep the others down here.
“Yeah.” Caleb gave her a quick peck on her cheek before leaving her side.

8Guinevere walked with Caleb to the front door after regaining her strength. He protested about leaving tonight, but she said it would be very inappropriate for him to stay the night, and that it would be scandalous and Mimsy would never shut up about it.
“Your birthday is next week. Let me take you out.” He grabbed her hands and kissed the tops of her fingers gently.
“How can I say no when you’ve been nothing but sweet to me?” He stood completely straight but his grip remained on her hands.
“I really do care about you Gwen. You deserve niceties and sweet gestures. I think the other men have lived so long that they’ve forgotten how to be gentlemen and chivalrous.”
“To be honest, Van Gould has always been a snake. I remember how bratty he was as a child. He acted like the world owed him something.” They both laughed.
“I can imagine it. You’ll have to tell me more baby Van Gould stories. It’s weird to picture him as anything other than a grumpy old man.”
“I’ll tell you more on my birthday then.” Caleb smiled and kissed her cheek.
“It’s a date then. I should get going before Lilith worries. Good night, Your Majesty.” He bowed deeply before leaving out the door. Guinevere felt swept off her feet. I can see this marriage working out.

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6 comments on “Chapter Seventeen: Progress

  1. LadyLobster says:

    Hmm, I can’t help but feel like this is the calm before the storm…unless Caleb really is everything he seems? Still, there’s too much going on behind the scenes for nothing but smooth sailing. Hopefully Gwen is prepared! The sudden illness is suspicious…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. cshaner says:

    Hmmmm I cannot imagine Yuki is making herself poisonous to her Queen but it’s possible she’s eating or drinking something that both Guinevere and her father were allergic to!!

    We haven’t seen Guinevere drink from Yuki before so this could be something!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Caleb seems charming enough. I still feel a little worried. And sudden illness isn’t a good sign.

    Like

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