Under Dancing Stars II
Guys, thank you for the positive feedback! Never would have thought that so many people could be interested in this story. Tagging @dayanna-hatter, @dreamingofazriel (same lol), @searchingforbellarke (also same), @whydoyoucareaboutmyusername, @watermelonwiggle17 and @a-court-of-misery-and-foreboding . If anyone else wants to be tagged, just message me!
Have fun with the chapter. It’s still sloooooow but big things are coming. For now, enjoy Cassian being bitter.
Chapter Two: That one damned kiss
“Benedick: O God, Sir, here’s a dish I love not! I cannot endure my Lady Tongue. (exits)
Pedro: Come, my lady, come, you have lost the heart of Signor Benedick.
Beatrice: Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gave him use for it- a double heart for his single one. Marry, once before he won it of me with false dice; therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.
Pedro: You have put him down, lady; you have put him down.”
- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
When Cassian woke up again the next day, his first thought was that something seemed different- that he carried an unspoken sentiment in the back of his mind, some truth he’d forgotten, some truth that was the reason for this nervous excitement low in his stomach-
The thought was there before he could stop it. Nesta.
She was back in Velaris. Back at court. Sleeping, at this very moment, somewhere in the castle- probably close to Feyre’s rooms… perhaps on the same floor as him right now, and that meant-
But it meant nothing. It didn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter.
Cassian cursed lowly while he sat up in his bed. Nesta was his first thought in the morning now, it seemed.
He’d thought he was past this.
He looked around, still feeling groggy- he’d drunk too much last night, for whatever reason- and realized only after a few moments that the giant longcase clock next to the door already showed half past nine. He was too late for the breakfast. Rhysand and his father had invited the king’s closest friends and advisors to a lavish brunch in the royal quarters, and everybody would be there- the Inner Circle, the king’s closest friends, the royal family.
Nesta would attend as well. Not that Cassian cared.
He jumped out of bed, hastily putting on some clothes while simultaneously trying to tie his hair back behind his head. Or should he leave it open? He drove a hand through it, examining his reflection in the mirror, and then cursed again. It did not matter what he looked like. It did not matter what anyone at that breakfast thought about him. He was not trying to impress anyone. Anyone.
Especially not Nesta.
When Cassian finally arrived in the royal eating hall, the breakfast was already in full swing. Three great tables had been pushed together and almost collapsed under the excessive amount of food they carried. Around thirty people had to be there; Cassian spotted Rhysand first. He was sitting next to Azriel, both of them howling with laughter at something that was probably either dirty or very stupid. Or both.
“Cassian”, the king called out when he entered the room and walked towards the empty spot next to Rhys. “I thought you were not going to make it.”
Everyone at the breakfast table turned around to look at him. Except one brown-haired head at the other end of the room: Nesta continued to eat without acknowledging he’d entered or that there even had been any disruption of the meal.
“Forgive me”, Cassian answered. “I went to bed too late last night.”
“Not exactly a good habit for a young man like yourself”, a different voice scoffed. Nesta did raise her head at that: it was her father, Lord Philip Archeron, who had spoken. “Is that what the youth does nowadays? Drink and dance themselves unconscious every night?”
Cassian did not take offense at the words as he sat down next to Rhys. Lord Philip was one of the king’s oldest friends and known to always speak his mind, harsh at it may be. As the future father-in-law to Rhysand, he sat right next to the king today.
“Is that not what we did when we were young, Phillip?”, the king laughed. “Let the young people be.”
Cassian’s own father, Lord Taras, set his glass down. He was placed on the king’s other side. “I do not see, Archeron, in which way this would concern you”, he said coldly. “Other than to discredit, once again, my family’s name.”
“Are we there again with the conspiracy theories, Taras?”, Lord Philip asked heatedly and leaned forward. “I am not the one whose children lack the manners to appear at breakfast on time.”
Everyone at the table leaned forward as well. A little drama was always welcome. Lord Philip and Cassian’s father hated each other; whenever they were close, they started to fight, mostly in a very ugly manner. Cassian sank back into his chair. He hated seeing this.
To his relief, the king slammed his fist on the table before his father got the chance to reply. “Phillip! Taras! I will not have you ruining this morning for all of us! I don’t understand why my two closest advisors can’t get along.” He turned towards Cassian’s father. “Taras, the Lord Philip is the father of your future queen.” He nodded at Feyre, who had paled visibly during the hostile exchange. “I ask you to respect him accordingly. And Phillip!” He turned towards him. “You’re one of my oldest friends and I will soon call you family- to my great joy. But if you and Taras can’t find a way to make peace with each other, I will find a way for you, do you hear me?”
The king fell back into his chair, clearly upset. “Now, don’t you all look at me like that!”, he barked. “Eat, eat!”
Everybody automatically grabbed their knives and started talking loudly again as if nothing had happened.
“I can’t believe they are still doing this”, Mor muttered to Cassian and grabbed the coffee pot. “They’ve known each other for ages, and they still don’t get along.”
Cassian stabbed the pork on his plate as if he wanted to kill it all over again. “I just wished they would not fight in public”, he grumbled. “Lord Philip is Feyre’s father, and I love Feyre. She’s Rhysand’s bride. It’s awkward for me because people will think I share my father’s opinions.”
Mor stayed silent, and Cassian had to think back at what he’d told her yesterday- how he and Nesta had always been pitted against each other by their fathers when they were children. How come that he’d never felt a similar sentiment towards Feyre or Elain? They were daughters of Lord Philip, too.
Without even wanting too, he looked once again over to Nesta. She sat next to some old war generals, and she looked tired and a little flushed. From both sides, people were talking to her. She just stared straight ahead.
Cassian had the sudden desire to walk over to her place and punch those generals in the face. Didn’t they see that she didn’t want to speak to them?
Feyre, who was placed across from Cassian, caught his attention and smiled at him. “Those two. They will never get along.”
“Yeah”, Cassian mumbled. “I guess.” He was still occupied with the question why he’d never quarreled with Feyre or Elain. Obviously, the thought alone was ridiculous: no one in their right mind would every say anything unfriendly to gentle Elain. (Feyre was a different story.)
He’d not been honest with Mor yesterday, then. He’d never been mean to Nesta because of some feud between their fathers. He’d been mean to her because- because-
Gods. Here he was, thinking about her again. He really had to stop. Cassian forced himself to listen to some story Azriel was telling and tried to shove Nesta out of his damned thoughts.
But he could not help it- his gaze always slid back to her.