10 10. He's Waiting

Knock Knock

My eyebrows scrunch up in a frown and I feel my body twitch,

Knock Knock

Ugh.

I turn to my side, and argh, my neck is so stiff that it hurts to move. I try to open my eyes, but they were stuck close. The worse way to wake up? When there's goop in your eyes and they've dried your lids shut.

I rub my finger roughly over them in irritation and wring them over with a Herculean effort. Oh god, I feel like a desert.

When was the last time I drank–

'Sir Adian.' A knock follows and even though it's muffled, I can guess that it was Frank on the other side of the door.

I jump up in alert and thanks to that, my head punishes me with a blinding throb, making me bend down on the bed, on my knees.

'Sonofabitch' i hiss and slouch over until my forehead touches my knees. I press my fingers on my temples until it hurts more than the throbbing.

'Oh my. Mother…'

'Are you alri…?' I hear distantly and I groan,

'No' I mumble back, 'Leave me alone.'

But I knew I couldn't do that. I can't just lock myself in. Without moving my body, I turn to my right with the small mantel clock piece is kept,

7:50

Huh? I remove my hand and steady up, looking at the clock again but more closely. Oh, it really is 7:50 now.

Oop. Now 7:51

I missed the dinner appointment.

And I am in trouble.

Yet again.

'This never ends, does it?' I enunciate under my breath in distaste. But still, I haul myself out of the bed in hurried, thoughtless steps leading myself to the wooden wardrobe over the left, almost immediately.

'I hear you!' I yell out as I snatch a random shirt that is in the way from the hanging compartment and I slip it over my head, falling right at my waist. My eyes slither down to my sand-colored pajamas. I had put it on in the morning and had tea in it.

Wait, no. I didn't have tea in it.

I had an enlightening orgasm in it.

I stare at it for a beat longer.

Okay, Max, that is very very gross and you should change your pants.

I look up and open the other door of the wardrobe, looking up and down at the array of folded clothes.

'Sir?' Yet another knock.

'A minute!' I yell and it does not sound elegant. I sound like an Angry red-faced Gordon Ramsay.

Grabbing a random pant, I fling it out of its folding and jump into it.

It's a matter of life and death now.

'Oh, dear.' Frank exhales when I pull open the door with a force. My face is right in front of his and he steps back in shock,

'Oh hi, Frank.' I smile forcibly, my cheeks pushing my eyes shut. Frank regains his composure but his wrinkled eyes are grim with worry and his white mustache seems to be standing up in alarm.

'Dear God, you had me quite worried there.' He whispers, and I watch as the creases on his forehead deepen even more.

'You didn't have to worry.' I wave my hand in dismissal and slowly close the door behind me. He steps away to make space for me in the very spacious hallway.

'Will you have dinner now? Or supper?'

'Dinner…?' I trail off and involuntarily, my hand goes over my stomach. And it growls angrily.

Frank glances down at the source of the sound and merely smiles at me. I speak up curiously,

'Ha...well, has Elian gone back to his room?'

'Pardon?'

'I mean, Elian…' I start walking and he follows beside me, '...he has eaten, right?'

Frank stares at me with a puzzled look, with his mouth ajar but almost immediately after, he brightens up, a canny resemblance to a Shih Tzu dog.

'Oh no, Sir Adian. Master Elian is still waiting for you, sir in the dining hall.'

I blink and my feet come to a stop. Frank passes by me but he looks back at me with a blank look. I blink again with an are-you-serious look.

'He's still waiting for me?'

'Certainly.'

'Since when exactly?'

'Master Elian has been waiting for you since six o'clock.'

That's two hours.

That guy has been waiting for me for that long.

'Sorry, I'm leaving first.' I tap on Frank's solid arm, way too solid for a man this old. I give him a look and dash down the dark-lit hallway.

Elian is probably sitting on that chair, not at all, please. I don't know what he looks like when he is angry but surely, I am about to.

·

'Hoo!' I hoot as I come to a slow stop and it echoes around the high ceiling of the dining hall. The chandeliers are still as gorgeous as ever.

I take in a deep breath, reaching the long end of the elongated table and I rest a hand on the corner, leaning on it.

On my left is the chair. The Elian Chair. And when I look down, he is there. Even while sitting, he almost matches my eye level and his eyes coldly glare at me. Whether it's the reflection of the lit candles on the dinner table or maybe it's his anger, but his dark eyes smolder and his jaw is tense, like he was gritting his teeth.

So, this is him being angry.

Not bad. Not bad.

'I am so, so sorry.' My voice is very breathy, not having to catch my breath properly.

He doesn't speak up, just staring at me a little more. I survey him and his body language as I try to catch my breath, dragging my eyes across. Boy, he does seem quite polished today compared to yesterday's stable boy look. Gold embroidery gleams on the seams and edge of his buttoned black coat, and underneath there's a peek of a straight white collar. A thin lace Western tie wounds around the collar with a gold insignia lapel pin.

I gulp in instinct, somehow I feel like this is what the phrase 'smoking' would look like. I mean, there's steam coming out of his ears and his eyes, still glaring at me. Does he blink? Is this some anger control tactic?

I glance down at the table and his plate is clean, his forearms straight on the surface and gripping his table knife.

A pang of heavy guilt hits me, mixed with the present fear in my stomach. And all my anger and loathing from before is gone. I had no right to be angry at him. Not for...okay he was a jerk yesterday. But I am the jerk today so…

For what it's worth, he did sit through two hours for me and I let him down. He really does have every right to be mad at me.

I clasp my hands in front of myself and I bow my head ruefully,

'I am really sorry. I deeply apologize.'

Elian raises a single eyebrow by the smallest bit and he sets down the table knife, bringing his hand up to rest on his angular chin. A finger rests in front of his chin but he doesn't even speak up, staring at me stonily,

Somewhere I could hear the loud clang of a utensil falling.

'Look, I made a mistake and fell asleep. It was wrong of me.'

'I see.' Elian drawls, his voice is hoarse and he straightens up on the chair. I look at him expectantly, eyes rounded. His hand briefly signals towards the nearest seat, the one I occupied yesterday.

'Take a seat. I informed the cooks to prepare a fresh dinner properly.'

I take a seat and attempt a quick look at him to make sure he wasn't angry or looking angry. But we meet eyes at that exact moment, and he leans back decisively.

'Don't mull over it.' He sharply orders, 'I have my reasons.'

It's my turn to raise my eyebrows and I take up the chance readily,

'Reasons?'

'Yes. You and I have very important matters to discuss.'

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