She didn’t stay with us. She wandered back up to her room, while the rest of us went to the kitchen. I almost wanted to follow her. But I had no reason to follow her. “Oh, I know that look,” said my sister as we snuck into the palace kitchen.
I glared at Daisy. “You know nothing.”
Henry smirked. “I know that look too.”
“He’s smitten,” they said in unison.
Vivian Blackwood chuckled. “I could have told you that.”
“Oh, it won’t matter,” said Jude firmly, “because she’s going to be mine.”
I glared at him. “I already told you, Elliot, you’re not to go anywhere near her. You’re a scandal waiting to happen, and she doesn’t need that.”
He waggled his eyebrows. “Maybe, she wants a little bit of scandal.”
“You know, I thought she was cute,” said Quentin, “sad, but cute. Brown hair, big, sad, brown eyes…”
I glanced at him. Quentin Segar was a tech genius, who had sold his dating app at sixteen. People were calling him the next Zuckerberg. While he at least was respectable, I didn’t fancy the idea of him dating her either.
“She doesn’t need to date right now,” I said firmly, “she needs to get herself together. It’s going to be a difficult adjustment, and anything else will be a distraction.”
Margot snorted. “Oh, please. Marlowe, you couldn’t take your eyes off of her all night. It’s alright if you’re interested. No one would blame you. She’s cute!”
“Then, you date her.”
Margot smirked. “Maybe I will. Has anyone bothered to ask what she’s into?”
“She had a boyfriend,” I said pointedly.
“Bisexuality exists, your highness,” she reminded me and I blushed.
“Suppose she could be,” I grunted.
Jude snickered. “Oh, please. That girl is straight as an arrow.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“She didn’t glance at me once,” said Margot with a smile. “She did, however, have trouble taking her eyes off of you.”
I coughed. “It doesn’t matter. She’s going to be part of the family, and it would be wrong to date her. We’re practically cousins.”
“How, exactly?” Henry asked. “Because, she’s not related to us. She’s related to Delilah. We’re only related through marriage. If you want her, Marlowe, just go for it. I’m certain that you could win her over if you really wanted.”
I clenched my jaw. I did want her. But something about it seemed wrong. She wasn’t from our world. She wouldn’t be a permanent fixture. As soon as she turned eighteen, she would be able to escape from this madness. Who was to say she would even want anything to do with us were it not for her sister?
I didn’t have any right to try to bring her into this world.
“No,” I said, “she deserves to have a normal life, if she wants it. Dating me, it wouldn’t be normal.”
Daisy rolled her eyes. “Mar, you’re being ridiculous.”
“No, I’m not. I’m doing this for her own good. She’s going to be here until she’s eighteen, and then she’ll go off on her own. I doubt if our paths will ever cross again after that. I’m keeping my distance, and you should too.”
Jude snickered. “I believe that is his way of saying back off. Well, I’m not part of your world. So, whether you approve or not your highness, I’m going to give her a shot. She’s beautiful, charming, and would look lovely in between my sheets.”
“Elliot, I will put you in the dungeon,” Henry warned. “You’re a mess. You’re not what she needs. Besides, anyone who wants to date her has to get Gran’s approval and you definitely won’t get Grans approval.”
“Sometimes, messes can make people see things in a whole new light,” he said pointedly.
“But not you,” warned Henry, and I was relieved.
While I considered Jude a friend, I didn’t like the idea of him getting close to Cecelia. I didn’t want anyone close to her. I would have preferred to lock her in the palace for the next few years, but I knew that wasn’t possible.
Mostly, I wanted her to be mine. And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was too much like being Icarus. Flying too close to the sun, and having everything ruined.