Chapter 10: Lexy and the Unexpected Guest
I tapped the tip of the handle of the sword and kneed the guy right here no guy wants to be kneed. And we took off down the hall. I was not in any way shape or form in shape, but god damnit, I sprinted because my life depended on it.
“Turn here!” Seth all but yelled.
I made a sharp turn, but the guy was hot on our tails. Our only choice was to find a room without him seeing or blocking off one.
I was doing my best to make it back to the one I had been given, but part of me felt like that was also a trap. Everyone would know that that was my room. And on top of that, I had no idea where Jake had taken off with Annabeth, but I was trusting that it was somewhere safe.
I felt Seth reach for my hand, and I let him hold onto it, solely for the purpose of so we didn’t get separated. Also, he knew his way around the castle better that I did so I was more than happy to let him take the lead.
He must have had the same idea as I did because he pulled me through an entry way, sharply. I bumped the wall but I kept moving. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought I would be running through as castle being chased by a mad man trying to kill me.
“Lexy!” A voice made me stop dead in my tracks.
Seth’s hand flew from mine, and I felt chills down my whole body.
He was standing in the corner, the shadows hiding most of him, but he stepped out when I froze.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Have they hurt you?” He asked, moving closer to me, though his voice sounded so distant and detached.
“What?” I stumbled backwards. “No. Why would they do that?”
“He was just chasing you.” He gestured to the man in the doorway breathing hard.
“It was a test,” I replied, feeling very overwhelmed and sick to my stomach. “About loyalty, and our ability to protect Annabeth.”
“Well, you can come with me now, where you belong.” He said the words, but there was no feeling in his voice. It was indifferent and almost cold, something I had never heard him sound like before.
He took another step forward, and I took another step back.
“Come on, Lex,” He coaxed. “Why are you being like this?”
“You abandoned us… You left them to die…” I stuttered.
“It was a necessary risk, and I take it by the way you said that they are still alive. We can go get them and be a family again.”
My ears were ringing. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
“A necessary risk? THEY COULD HAVE DIED!” I shouted angrily. And then I heard why he was really there.
I lowered my voice with the accusation, “You just want me on your side because having me as an enemy is bad for your cause. You know I am a threat, and you’re scared of me.”
He made face before saying, “As if I would ever be scared of my own daughter.”
“Then tell me you love me,” I challenged.
“Of course, I love you. You’re my daughter” He responded almost automatically, but his face was blank and his voice was empty.
I fought the tears that threatened to fall. I fought the anger that was simmering in my soul. I fought every ounce of my body to remain in control.
“Of course, I love my dad too,” I responded, but the bitterness was evident even to my own ears. “But I cannot go with you. Because I also love my sisters, and Annabeth. And they need me right now. And if I thought, for even one second that I could fix you, maybe my choice would be different. Maybe I would try and bring you back to the dad I know and love. But whoever you are, you are not him. And I don’t know how to fix that.”
“Okay,” The Queen’s voice suddenly cut through to us. “Get him out of here. And so help me, Eric, if you ever cross into our lands again, there will be hell to pay.” Her voice was cold, and it sent chills down my spine.
The guards grabbed my dad, but he had enough dignity left to not scream and make a scene.
“Are you okay, dear?”
There was only one acceptable answer, and it meant lying through my teeth.
“I’m fine,” I responded.
“Good. Where’s Annabeth?”
My stomach clenched. I wasn’t sure where she was.
“She’s with Jake,” I replied carefully, “He got her to safety, and we will meet back up in our room.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t a trap and you trusted the wrong person?” She interrogated.
“No,” I replied honestly. “But I trust Annabeth.”
The Queen seemed satisfied with that answer, and she shooed Seth and I off to my room.
I didn’t hesitate to leave either. And I sure as hell didn’t look back. I had so many emotions and felt so beyond overwhelmed, I had no idea how to even handle it.
Seth seemed to know I didn’t want to talk because he stayed just a couple steps behind me.
I threw open my bedroom door and made my way straight to the bathroom. I couldn’t help it, I needed to vomit.
“Oh Lex,” Seth murmured as he walked in.
He immediately made sure my hair was out of my face and rubbed my back till I was done, then handed me a towel to wipe my face.
“Are you okay?” He asked, his worry obvious.
I waved him off. “I’m fine now. Thanks.”
I stood up, but I still felt shaky.
“Are you sure?” He questioned, but I sent him a death glare, and he stopped asking.
“Is Annabeth in her room?” I asked, ready to ask my own question.
“I don’t know,” Seth stated uncertainly. “I didn’t check, I followed you.”
I stood up, ignoring the unbelievable amount of shakiness I was feeling.
“Well, don’t just stand there, let’s go check,” I pushed past him.
“Lexy…” He didn’t move, other than to reach for my hand.
“Stop.” I replied sharply. “I don’t know what you think is going on between you and I, but I don’t need you to take care of me. I don’t need a savior. If you wanna be my friend again, fine. But I still don’t trust you completely. I don’t know your story, and truthfully, I don’t really care anymore. I have too much else on my mind to really give a damn about anything else. So you can either stand by me, and help when I need it, or you can get lost and just leave me alone because I can’t give you what you want.”
“You don’t know what I want,” He said quietly, pulling me a little closer. “You don’t know how much I’ve missed you. And how much I’ve regretted leaving the way I did. You were my best friend. And I owed you more than what you got.”
For the first time, I felt truly angry. I don’t think it was actually at him. It was at everything. I was frustrated. My dad was someone I didn’t even recognize, and he was the one person I was supposed to. But the truth was that the only person I recognized was the one I wasn’t supposed to. The one who had left and was now back, standing right in front of me, and when I looked at him, I still saw him as the little sandy haired, blue eyed boy I had known as the one who had been by my side since I could walk. But I shouldn’t have cared. I kept telling myself, he had disappeared before, and he could again, but my heart didn’t want to listen.
“You’re right, you did,” I responded finally. “But it’s too late, now were both in a situation we never thought we’d be in. Now, I need to go find Annabeth, are you coming or not?”
Seth sighed, but gestured for me to lead the way, and I didn’t hesitate to do it. I was learning quickly that if I wanted something, I was the only one who could get it. I couldn’t rely on anyone’s protection. I mean, the castle sure as hell wouldn’t protect me, many of them wanted me dead, and I was well aware of that. I couldn’t rely on Seth sticking around because he hasn’t in the past. And I couldn’t expect Annabeth to in the long run. She was a Princess and sooner or later that was going to be enough. So, whatever I was, whatever I wanted to be, I needed to figure it out, and fast.
“Your mind is racing,” Seth commented as we walked through the small hallway that led from my room to Anna’s.
“It never stops,” I told him.
He paused, but then continued to move behind me as I opened the door to Annabeth’s room.
“Annie?” I called out. “Annabeth?”
I scanned the room with my eyes, and Seth did a walk around, but she wasn’t here.
Once I realized that she for sure not here, I moved to her door, locked it, then headed back to my side, slamming the in between door, frustratedly.
“Damnit!” I shouted.
Seth opened my door slowly and moved in as if he wasn’t really sure what he was supposed to do.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” He said as he sat down on the bed. “Jake is really good at his job. I’m sure they’re somewhere safe, and are just waiting things out a little.”
“I should have never left her side. That was dumb.” I was yelling at myself, I had no one else to blame for such stupidity.
“No offense, Lex,” Seth sighed, “But she’s in better hands with Jake than she would have been with you.”
I turned to face him, stopping my pacing immediately.
“Excuse me?” I snapped. Seth looked like he regretted his choice of words immediately, but I demanded a follow up. “What the hell does that mean?”
He threw his hands up in surrender. “I just meant, Jake knows things. More than you do about this world. You only found out about it days ago. You wouldn’t know about the secret passageways, or other safe houses, or who to even potentially trust. You don’t know much yet, you’re new. And that’s okay. You’ll figure it out soon, but you can’t expect to have it all figured out in 4 days. There’s still so much you don’t know.”
I shot him a glare, but I knew he was right. I had this strong desire to learn everything. I knew it came from being blindsided about this world in the first place. Because I had to protect my family and knowing everything was the only way to do it.
“You’ve gone quiet,” He commented after a few minutes of silence.
“I’m just thinking,” I replied.
“Want to elaborate?” He questioned.
I turned away from the door I had been staring at to look at him.
“I need you to train me,” I stated seriously.
“What?” He looked taken aback.
I let out a sigh, but I still felt very amped up.
“I need you to train me. You know this world better than me. You grew up immersed in it. At least you seem to be. But I have a lot riding on me. I have a family who needs me to be at my best. I have a best friend who needs my help, and is just feeling, well, lost. I know that I can handle it. I need to know everything. The history of these lands, alliances, the prophecy. I need to know how to fight and defend myself. I need to be able to do it all.”
“That’s a lot, Lex. You shouldn’t be putting so much pressure on yourself.”
He was being hesitant. And that surprised me. The boy I had known was never hesitant. He would have never shied away from an opportunity like this. But then again, I wasn’t the girl I had been even four days ago. Everything had changed.
“Either you train me, or I find someone else who will,” I negotiated.
Seth rolled his eyes, and I knew I had won.
Another silence fell over us again and I turned back to stare at the door that was locked. That I had locked. And sitting there was Seth, I didn’t feel afraid. I felt a little anxious that I wasn’t sure where Annabeth was, and that I couldn’t be with my sisters in this time of uncertainty, but I wasn’t afraid of dying in that moment which was a first in days. And truthfully, I wasn’t actually scared to die. I just felt that there was more I was being called to do.
“So when do you want to start?” Seth questioned.
“As soon as possible,” I replied in surprise as he moved and joined me on the floor.
I knew there was a comfy bed, and even a couple chairs I could be sitting in, but none of them felt quite right.
“What do you wanna start with?” He questioned.
“I don’t even know where to start,” I told him uncertainly.
“Hey, look at me,” He whispered, touching my face gently. “With me, you don’t have to be uncertain. You don’t have to put on that brave face that you have to have on for everyone else. With me, it can be just us and whatever it is you’re feeling. Because Lex, I know you. I’ve known you for a long time. And I know your scared. And I know you feel the pressures amounting to more than you think you can handle, but I’m your friend. I have always been your friend. With me, you don’t have to pretend to be anything you’re not.”
I looked at him as he read me like a book. I looked at him as he exploited my moment of uncertainty for a moment of vulnerability. But looking at him was like being 6 again. I felt so many things, but most of all, I felt safe. And that was something I wasn’t sure I’d feel often anymore. But with Seth, I knew I was the safest I could ever be.
“Okay,” I whispered back finally.
I wanted to lean in and kiss him. And I could hear that he wanted me to too. But I was hesitant. Was this really the right moment?
I couldn’t help the small laugh that escaped my lips.
Seth looked extremely taken aback, and it made me laugh harder.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I waved my hands in the air apologetically. “It’s just I was thinking in my head, like is this really the best time to be kissing, like with everything that has happened, and then I was like wait, everyday is going to be like this for the rest of forever, so what difference does it make and I just,” I tried to explain, but I couldn’t stop laughing.
I was lucky Seth still knew me after all these years though, because he cracked a smile at my idioticness and just rolled with it.
Suddenly though there was a knock at the door, and the mood immediately shifted from laughter to seriousness.
“Lady Alexandra?” A voice called out that I recognized to be the Queen.
“Yes?” I responded breathlessly as I moved closer to the door.
“Is Princess Annabeth in there with you?” She questioned.
I panicked for a split second. I didn’t know what the punishment for lying to royalty was, but I was going to do it anyway.
“Of course,” I paused trying to get some of my fake confidence back. “And she is very mad at the way she has been treated today by everyone here. She is the Princess and she deserves respect, no matter anyone else’s opinions of her choices. She will decide in the morning if we will be leaving or staying. Perhaps she is not who the prophecy has spoken about.”
I heard an audible gasp from what must have been some servants who were accompanying the Queen, but I refused to open my door to actually see.
“I see,” The Queen responded, sounding a little unsure of herself. “Well I will see you both at breakfast in the morning.”
I stood at the door and listened till I heard the footsteps fade off into the distance.
Seth looked like he wanted to speak, but I put a finger to my lips to tell him not yet. There was still someone on the other side trying to listen in, and I could hear it loud and clear. And I didn’t feel comforted by it at all.
So, I gestured to the giant chair in the corner, and Seth helped me move it to block the door.
“Why did you lie?” He finally whispered, once the door was blocked.
“Because if what you say is true, and Jake is keeping her safe somewhere, they will find a way back here. If not, we face that in the morning. And we go from there.” I whispered back.
“Your plan is to just wait till morning?” Seth looked at me in disbelief.
“Yep.” I responded, moving to Annabeth’s side again.
“You really think that’s the answer?”
“It’s the best I’ve got,” I answered simply, pulling down the covers to Annabeth’s bed, and Seth started a fire in the fireplace.
“We could go look, what if they went back to the safe house and are there waiting for us?”
“They aren’t.” I told him.
“How do you know that?” He asked.
“I can hear her thoughts,” I told him as I now climbed into bed.
“She’s with Jake and they are fine, and that is all I hear. Where they are, I have no idea, but her plan is to come back. And until she does, I’m going to sleep because I am exhausted. And training starts tomorrow.”
“It does?” He inquired.
“Yes. Early. So we can start figuring everything out.”
“You mean, so you can figure things out?” He clarified. “Because I already know what’s going on. And I’ve been training my whole life.”
“Do you know everything?”
He looked at me with a frown.
“No, of course not,” He replied.
“And do you have a plan on how to help Annabeth and the Royal family in general against my family?”
“Well then, I do mean both of us,” I replied simply. “Now, you can go sleep in my room in my bed or in the lounge chair over there,” I gestured to a chair I hadn’t put in front of Annabeth’s door. Why I didn’t lock up her door as well as my own, I didn’t know, but I felt comfortable with there not being anything blocking the door.
Seth grabbed a blanket off the bed and made his way over to the chair. But to my surprise, he didn’t feel as comfortable as I did, and moved the chair in front of the door and locked the door.
“Just in case,” He mumbled, and I smiled slightly. But I was already drifting off to dream land. A place I really did not want to be.