Disclaimer: The characters and settings of this story belong solely to the lovely and talented Ms. Elizabeth Haydon.
A/N thank you to all who have left me reviews to my stories so far, I can't tell you how much I love to see that I have gotten a new review. I am sorry that it takes me so long to get another story out, but I'm one who likes to have it all completed before I begin posting. Thank you for your support and I welcome all who read my stories to give a review. I'll never know how to improve without feedback.
p.s. thanks for the great suggestions secret slashyness, I will most likely go back to Promise and rework it with your's and others suggestions once I finish with my next, and I think, final Rhapsody story.
p.p.s. I must also give a special thanks to my super awesome Beta and best friend. She really knows how to fix my incredible amount of mistakes and smooth out the rough edges. Also she has helped in various parts that I am just stuck on and can't seem to get out of. She keeps me honest with the characters and catches me when I start to ramble, much like I am now. So with out further ado, here is my next story…
Grunthor looked stunned as he looked from Rhapsody to Achmed, from Achmed back to Rhapsody and then back to Achmed once again. The king seemed rather embarrassed about this whole ordeal, but to Grunthor, he seemed happier than he had ever seen him before.
Finally, the Sergeant Major broke the silence, "Well, it's about bloody time!"
Rhapsody giggled and nodded her head while Achmed rolled his eyes and paced of a few strides before turning back to his friends.
"Yes, it does feel that way," Rhapsody replied. "And yet, I still have some things that I need to work out." Turning to Achmed, she said, "I'm going to retire to my room for the evening, I shall see you in the morning. Good night, Achmed," She said as she gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Blushing, the king mumbled his good night as well. Then Rhapsody turned and wished Grunthor a good night as well before leaving the room.
There was a moment of silence while the two men looked after the woman who had just left. It always felt like someone had extinguished a pleasantly warm fire whenever she left a room. Finally Achmed let out a sigh as he turned and walked over to the table to pour himself a drink.
As he sat down with his glass, Grunthor asked, "Sir, if ya don' mind my askin, what 'appened?"
"Honestly, I'm not too sure."
"Well, looks like ya finely got all ya wanted, the Duchess, your own kingdom, an' no more water boy."
Achmed leaned back in his chair with a grin playing across his face. It was true; everything finally seemed to be falling into place for him. But, as much as he hated Ashe, it was still a great loss to the world. He had been a very powerful person and with his death there would undoubtedly be unrest within the Cymrian counsel. And an even more depressing thought, their moot was to be held in the next few months. If there was one thing that he absolutely loathed, it was playing host to those stuck up, self-righteous arse-rags.
Grunthor seemed to be following the king's train of thought. "Sir, we're gonna need to start preparin' for that moot."
Sighing Achmed replied, "Yes, I know. We are also going to need to work on an even tighter security net this time. With the death of one of the rulers, there's no telling what might happen. Any major event with these people seems to spark all kinds of trouble and this is no trivial thing, even if it was a long time in coming."
"For some o' us anyway. But Oi figured as much."
"Good, then I will leave that up to you. I am going to have my hands full for a while with figuring out how this new arrangement is going to work," Though Achmed sounded relieved that things were as he had always wanted; a note of irritation was entering his voice. True, he had always longed to have Rhapsody for his own, but now when it came down to it, he was realizing that she was going to be even more difficult to deal with as a lover than a friend and sister. If he had thought that she was no picnic to work with before, now was going to be even worse. But, if that's how it had to be, than that is how it had to be. There was no other option in Achmed's mind now. From here, there was no turning back.
It was several weeks later that Rhapsody announced that she must return to her duties. "I have been gone for far too long during a very fragile time. With the death of my husband and my son stepping in until this moot coming up, when they can elect a new Lord, there are going to be a lot of emotions to smooth over on the counsel. Also I have neglected my duties with the Lirin for an even longer time. I really must be going to the Lirin court to tidy up a few things and then move on to the Cymrians till shortly before the moot. I trust you are going to be able to handle most of the hosting arrangements as usual, Achmed?"
"Yes, don't I always?" he replied with a hint of irritation.
Bestowing a brief peck on his cheek Rhapsody said, "Thank you. You always know how to please a girl." She added with a wry grin, taking pleasure in seeing his pale skin blush slightly.
"Well, you better get goin' before you wind up stayin' any longer," Grunthor observed.
Achmed shot him a malice filled glance as Rhapsody and the Giant shared a knowing smile.
"Goodbye Grunthor, I'll see you in a couple of months," She said as she disappeared into the giant's arms for a farewell hug.
Rhapsody turned back to Achmed who nodded for her to lead them out. Following her out, he pulled her into a deep embrace after rounding the corner of the doorway. As gently as ever he kissed her perfect lips with a tenderness that the world would never believe possible of one so callus.
"I love you," was all that he said.
"I know, and you know that I love you too. Goodbye Achmed, I will see you soon. I shall think of you during my Aubades, for I know that is when you shall be thinking of me." With that, she pulled from his embrace and turned to leave.
"Rhapsody," he called after her.
Pausing, she turned. "Yes?"
He seemed at a loss of words. He hated this emotional thing; he had no idea what he should be saying at this point.
Returning to his side, she leaned up to him and kissed him one final time before saying, "I know." With that she turned and walked out, leaving Achmed to stare after her until she was out of sight. Then he took a moment to collect himself and straightened before returning once again to the throne room to go over the security plan with his Sergeant Major.