A week later,

Her relationship with the princess had changed drastically. They were no longer enemies, but friends. The Princess found it difficult to stay in her room, since the day she discovered Cassie’s design book. The maids had been right about Cassie, she was better than all the designers she had hired in the past.

‘Where did you learn to design like this?’ Tayo’s eyes were on the notebook. Her eyes had strayed to a pink butterfly dress with a golden hook. It reminded her of some of the peculiar designs she saw on Fashion TV.

Cassieloved that the princess greatly admired her work. Tayo had come to her room for some measurement. After changing her mind over a hundred times about the particular dress he wanted, she had finally settled on one. Cassie couldn’t wait to make the dress for the princess. Making dresses was something she enjoyed doing.

‘I fell in love with designing at an early age. My father is a fashion designer.’ Cassie informed the princess. She felt sad that her mother had divorced the man and sent him out of the house. Maybe if Tamar was like other good wives who supported their husbands, her dad would’ve been the biggest players in the fashion world

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She hated his job, and had transferred that same hatred to Cassie. But Cassie had persevered; she could be stubborn when her passion was involved.

‘That’s lovely, so what plans do you have? Where do you go from here?’ Tayo shut the book and stared at Cassie’s face. She was done looking through the design book. She wanted Cassie to talk more about her family, especially Elvis and why he exiled himself from the rest. But the princess didn’t want to push it, she wanted Cassie to open up to her willingly.

Cassie averted the princess’ penetrating gaze. She was tired of talking about dreams that would never hatch. She had no money or sponsors. How would she make it?

‘I don’t know about that. Are you ready for your measurement?’ Cassie walked towards her dressing table where she kept a tape. She wasn’t comfortable around Tayo completely, and she didn’t want to talk about herself.

Tayo saw this and decided to respect Cassie’s boundary.

‘Has the King spoken to you yet?’ Tayo changed the topic.

His name had a strange effect on her. She hadn’t set her eyes on Yemi for the past seven days. She had tried waking up very early or sleeping very late. But she was never able to catch up with him.

She loved him. And she missed him. Cassie knew she would go crazy in this palace, if another week passed without her meeting the King. She wanted to apologize for ending up drunk in his sacred chamber.

After Tayo had explained the significance of the first chamber of the King, she was deeply awed that Yemi could let her into his world like that. She was tired of his silence. It was killing her.

‘We both know that I haven’t set my eyes on him.’ Cassie replied.

Tayo smiled, Cassie was smitten by her brother. She was helplessly in love, though she had been fighting it from the beginning. The princess was glad that Yemi felt the same way.

‘Well, we are working on a deal with a foreign company in Russia. Yemi is very hard working and committed to contracts. You may not see him till the deal is fixed.’

‘When will that be?’ Cassie licked her lips nervously.

‘Three weeks,’ Tayo lied, she wanted to have a good laugh and Cassie fell for her bait.

‘Okay,’ Cassie replied in a dull tone.

Immediately she dropped her response, Tayo began to snigger. It was loud and crackling. It annoyed Cassie.

‘Look, I am tired of waiting for him. I love him okay? But I had to pretend. I have been hurt too many times by gorgeous men.’ Cassie rolled the tape around her wrist, and strolled towards the window that opened into the Royal garden.

Most of her mornings and evenings were spent looking down at the garden; she was desperate to set her eyes on Yemi.

‘Now that is the mistake people make in life. Your experiences with men in the past have no bearing for the way you treat an innocent man in the present. You are a beautiful person Cassie, and I don’t mean physical beauty. I am talking of the kind that makes it difficult for people to stay away from you. You have found a man who cherishes you, just be patient.’ Tayo joined her by the window.

Cassie’s body felt warm as she listened to the Princess’ kind words.

‘I just hope he forgives me for wearing that ugly dress and sleeping drunk beside him.’

‘Come on, my brother doesn’t keep grudges…’Tayo trailed off as her phone vibrated in her palms. It was a strange number. The first thought that crossed her mind was that one of the Mask’s men had contacted her. She quickly excused herself and rushed out of the room.

Unknown to her, Yemi had set up a distraction. He wanted time alone with the woman that has captured his heart.

Her back was to the door, while her eyes dwelt on the flowers. She heard a creaking sound, but wasn’t perturbed. She guessed the princess had returned.

‘I am thinking of making a crown of flowers for you, but with fabric. What do you think?’ Cassie licked her lips, excited by this new idea.

There wasn’t any reply. And it made her wonder why the princess wasn’t answering.

‘Did you hear me?’ Cassie murmured and swirled round. She almost died of shock, when she noticed that the King had walked into her bedroom. This time, he looked different. He wasn’t in his regal robes, but a simple denim and polo-shirt.

She froze and rested her hands on the window frames to stop herself from falling. He looked younger and more handsome without all the regalia. His eyes were still dark, but less arrogant. And he wore a friendly smile.

‘Cassandra, I missed you.’ He called her by name.

To be continued…

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