Since she turned to speak to the man on her other side, Tasim couldn’t see her face. But instinctively, he knew he’d wounded her deeply.
Guilt wrapped long fingers around his throat. Trying to ignore it, Tasim conversed with the woman on his right, trying to push the guilt aside. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t go away. In fact, when he glanced back at Luna, he glimpsed a flash of her forlorn expression. In that moment, the guilt tightened its fingers.
Allaena, he didn’t want to feel sorry for her!
Thankfully, the dinner came to an end and the engaged couple stood up, hand in hand and beamed at the crowd.
“There is dancing and dessert in the next room, if you all would like to come with me,” Elon announced. There was an almost unanimous surge of excitement as most of the guests followed the couple. Tasim rose as well, even stood back, politely holding the princess’s chair. But he didn’t follow. He kept back, observing the crowd as they made their way into the adjoining ballroom.
Correction, he watched the princess. Her spine was stiff, her shoulders tight, and she didn’t walk with her normal grace and elegance. There was a jerkiness to her gait that made him feel as if he’d kicked a puppy.
Muttering under his breath, Tasim tried to shake it off, following the crowd into the next room when all he wanted to do was to grab Luna and drag her off somewhere so that he could talk to her. He wanted a bit of privacy where no one could observe their expressions or overhear their conversation.
And yet, even that desire didn’t make much sense. Why in the world would he give a damn about her feelings? It was ridiculous!
Tasim looked around, noticing that the dancing had begun. Immediately, his gaze found Luna. He gritted his teeth as he watched her swirl across the floor in the arms of someone else. Turning away, he stalked down the hallway to the suite of rooms that he’d been assigned. It was only the first day and already he could tell this was going to be a long week!
A knock sounded on her door and Luna turned, wondering who would knock this early in the morning. One darkly handsome face popped into her mind, but she pushed the thought away. There was no way that Tasim would come to her room for any reason.
“Come in!” she called out.
A moment later, Ella stuck her head in. “Good morning!”
Luna grinned and turned around. It was hard to dislike someone that was so joyously sweet.
“Good morning! How are you doing?”
“Great!” Ella replied, punching the air triumphantly. She added a little spin, giggling as she watched her skirt flare. “Just a few more days, and I will be marrying the man of my dreams!”
Luna laughed and sat down on her bed. “How many hours to go?”
Ella smiled and threw herself onto the bed too. “Don’t tease me. I’m not going to apologize for being happy. And I can’t help it if I get silly when I’m deliriously happy.”
Luna smiled gently at her future sister-in-law. “You make him happy too. I’ve never seen him like this, Ella. So, thank you.”
Ella rolled onto her back and shot her soon to be sister-in-law a pointed look. “Care to explain what happened between you and my brother last night?”
Immediately, Luna’s mood dropped and she moved over to her dressing table. Very carefully, she aligned each of the tiny bottles and knickknacks, focusing with all her might on making sure that the comb and brush were set at a perfect angle. “I don’t know what you mean. Your brother is a strong leader. I respect him and–”
“Don’t even try it,” Ella interrupted with an amused snort, moving over to stand behind Luna. Their eyes met in the mirror and Ella couldn’t stop grinning. “You two were snapping at each other throughout dinner last night. And Tasim couldn’t stop glaring at you during the dancing. So what gives?” she asked, sitting down in one of the chairs by the window.
“Nothing gives,” Luna replied. “Your brother–”
“He loves broccoli,” she interrupted. “Is that why he piled so much of it on your plate?”
Luna stared at Luna for a long, stunned moment, then laughed, but it was a harsh sound. “No. No, he did that because I mentioned that I hated it!”
Woah! She hadn’t meant to be that vehement. Glancing sideways, she realized that she should have been less…irritated. After all, the incident had been minor and happened over twelve hours ago. “Don’t worry about the broccoli,” Luna said to Ella. “I took care of it.”
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