Okay, so I know that it has been a while since I have actually gotten to post a new story but in my defense, I've had some technical difficulties with my computer, all my files somehow ended up deleted, my Word like went away but I got the repair guy to come out and fix everything. So I'm back and ready to hopefully continue to wow you guys.

I love your feedback, I love you guys for hating Emily. I would love to point out Simone Louise Leggett's review because it touched me. The fact that Carter makes the statement that she is alone last chapter, isn't just physical. But it's more emotional than anything because she feels as if Rosie has completely consumed herself with Costa Luna and is kind of ignoring her. But fear not, we get some Rosie/Carter love in this chapter and this chapter is also the turning point for a lot of crap in this chapter, the Emily aspect, Thomas and a whole lot of other stuff. (: You'll love me, then you'll hate me. But, the good chapters always make you love and hate.

I dedicate this one to Amanda because, I made a promise to her that I would try to update soon and honestly, if I had not made that promise, I probably would have waited a little while longer to get this one up. (:


"I used to be love drunk but now I'm hung over, I love you forever but now forever is over" Boys Like Girls

I don't know what I was expecting by smashing the mirror with my fist, if I was expecting the emotional pain to cease or wanting the physical pain to overcome everything else that is currently on my mind, all I know is that the throbbing pain that is currently taking over my knuckles is very noticeable now. The pain reliever that Rosalinda gave to me a few hours ago has confidently wore off, yet, I refuse to take another one. What's that wise saying? No pain, no gain? Hell, I don't know but what I do know is that every time a sharp breath taking pain aches over my body, I stop thinking about the impending doom that is threatening my life and her country and focus on my hand. Maybe it was selfish of me to cause myself my own pain to stop worrying about Rosie's but all I know is that this is the first real time that my mind has truly been at peace since the Director told me about General Kane's daughter.

It is amazing, isn't it? How you can love one person so deeply, so passionately that you are willing to give your life up for them and yet you still fail them? The stories that I have heard, the books that I have read, the television shows I have watched, they all told me one simple thing: love conquers all. It can overcome sickness like in A Walk To Remember, it can overcome the supernatural like in the Twilight saga, it can overcome family disagreements like in the infamous Romeo and Juliet. Our love was just as special as the fictional characters', it was just as true and just as passionate, so why could our love not work out that way? Why couldn't my love for Rosie defeat the threat of General Kane's daughter, why couldn't my love for her completely block out the entire crap that Emily keeps feeding me? These love stories, they don't always get their happily ever afters. I mean, Jamie dies at the end of A Walk To Remember and both Romeo and Juliet die at the end of their play but their love was infinite. It was forever. It was a love that was worth remembering long after their tragedy occurred, would our love end that way? Would we be remembered as the tragic lovers who just couldn't make it work?

We were so much more than we were allowing ourselves to succumb to, you know? I used to be more than this girl who is haunted by the fact that she can not protect her wife from some bitter little girl, I used to be more than someone who lays awake in her warm bed at night curious as to where I was meant to go from here. I wasn't always the girl who worked for the Protection Program, in fact I was very happy working at the Bait Shop, spending time with Rosie every chance that I got but sometimes things change and because of that I changed. I watched some heartless man take my father away from me and I watched the distance slowly begin to effect the best relationship that I have ever had. Joining the Protection Program was the first real thing that I did that actually felt like I was moving forward to my future, then I asked Rosie to become my wife, to wed me and live the rest of her life with me. Loving her, being with her, it was the only right thing that I have ever done. Now, after all the anger and bitterness that is held in my heart, I am going to lose her because I am unable to protect her.

I grip the orange basketball tight within my palms, staring at the basket in front of me. Ironic, that after everything that I have been through recently, I still find myself standing on this court, hoping to ease my anger and frustration. My father taught me how to play basketball when I was seven years old, he told me that it was his favorite sport and that I could be really great at this game because of my speed and size. I thought that he was crazy, because I absolutely sucked at this game but I'm standing here, holding this ball because it is the only thing that I know to do. The only thing that can take my frustration away, the only thing that can actually make me stop thinking for one second and just be. Bending my knees, I release the ball from my hands, watching as it bounces off the backboard colliding hard with the black pavement beneath my feet. I growl with a soft curse, brushing my hair back from my face to find Thomas standing with a half smile on his face as he laughs at my frustrating efforts to forget about Rosie, about my hand, about how everything is going to hell in a hand basket and I am just watching helplessly.

"I do not know much about this sport, Carter, but I think the objective is to get the ball in the net," Thomas points out and I roll my eyes with a snarl at him, to this his response was only to laugh. I don't know why it is so easy with Thomas, but with him, I almost feel as if I was home in Louisiana , having him be my friend was almost like having Ed back in my life.

"Hardy, har, har. I'm just a little rusty on my basketball playing skills, okay? Besides my wife is currently being hunted like she is a piece of meat, Emily is doing a hell of a good job trying to break up my marriage and my hand feels like it went through glass. Oh wait, that's because it did. So excuse me for being no Lisa Leslie," I snap at him, throwing the ball toward him and he catches it against his chest with a laugh. Sometimes I wonder why he chose to live this life, why he did not try to better himself instead of settling for the life of being a servant, yet I also knew there would be secrets that I would never know of.

"Actually I think she retired or something. So, that is a bad analogy anyway. And there is no need to get snappy with me because you are frustrated with everything that is going on in your life. I think that you should trust Rosalinda instead of letting Emily's snide comments get the better of you," Thomas explains, releasing the ball as it rolls in the net with a soft, successful swish. I roll my eyes slightly as I grab the ball, bouncing it on the pavement in front of me as I take in the beautiful scenery of Costa Luna, the country that my wife owned, the country that I was responsible for protecting.

"I'm sorry, okay? I'm just frustrated," I explain, squinting my eyes as I once again release the ball, but like the so many times before, it simply bounces off the rim. I groan in frustration, twisting my fingers in my hair as I turn to Thomas whom suddenly seemed so at ease with himself, so relaxed with everything that was going on, even though he knew that his life was in just as much danger as Rosie's was.

"I know you are frustrated, I assumed that you did not just put your hand through glass for the thrill of it. What I am not understanding though, is why? Why are you letting Emily get to you? Do you not know that this is what she is wanting? She wants you to feel weak, to feel less important because that is when she is going to try to take Queen Rosalinda away from you. You can not let her do this to you," Thomas explains and my heart twists, knowing that he is right but my mind refuses to agree with him. How can he be right when all I can feel is how horrible of a job I am doing protecting my wife and her country? I am the failure that Emily sees me as, why couldn't he see this as well?

"I'm not letting her do anything to me, Thomas. She's right. It's my job, not only as her assigned protector from the program but as her wife to stop something like this from happening to her. I am supposed to go to all lengths to make sure that she is safe, that she is happy and now, I have some spoiled brat, running free through the streets of Costa Luna, threatening her life and there is nothing that I can do about it. Emily is right, I've failed Rosie. And maybe she's also right about how we aren't meant to be together," I explain and the happiness, the pride that once held so tightly in his face is suddenly replaced with anger, with frustration, hurt and sadness. Thomas had always been so well at hiding his emotions, yet now, they were talking more than he actually was. He debates his response as he stares at the ball in his hands before a weak chuckle escapes from him.

"I was in love once, you know? You can laugh at me all you want but I was and I knew that I was going to spend the rest of my life with that girl. Granted, I was only sixteen years old at the time but when you know, you just know. I loved her with my whole heart and I could not imagine being with any one else…ever. She was perfect, beautiful, smart, funny, she had everything going for her. She was everything that I could ever ask for and I was truly blessed to have known such a great individual as she," Thomas explains, sadness looming in his every word. I watch him, the tears in his eyes, the broken heart clearly displayed for every one to see, this was not the man that I had known, this man was clearly in just as much pain as I was.

"Wh-what happened, Thomas?" I stuttered, fearing the answer. His dark eyes quickly collide with mine and suddenly I forget about Rosalinda for a moment, I forget about the impending doom that is raining over Costa Luna, I forget about my throbbing hand but I'm only aware of this broken man in front of me. The man that reminded me so much of Ed, so much of my father, the only person who truly understood exactly how haunted I was and I hate that the tears are present in his eyes now, that he is hurting in such a way.

"It is actually quite funny, really. You see, I loved her with my whole heart and she…well…she loved you," He stops short with a hard laugh, shaking his head as he tries to hide the tears that were currently hiding his eyes, "I was in love with Rosalinda, I was amazed by her, by her beauty and her grace. I always have been ever since we were kids and she dared me to kiss her in the backyard. I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life, I could not ask for anyone better than she. One night, we shared a dance at a local event, she fit so perfectly in my arms, smelled so sweet, touched so tenderly. As we were gathering in front of the palace, I swept her hair back and kissed her. She uh..she pushed me away. Told me there was someone else who held her heart. That someone was you, Carter. It's always been you." He explains so weakly and I curse myself for not knowing this. How could I not know that he cared for her? How could I not see it in his eyes when she explained to me that he was her best friend and her butler? Of course he loved her, it was obvious now and I hate myself for missing all of the signs.

"Thomas," I breathe out, stopping short of saying the words that would only hurt him now instead of help him. Instead I take a step toward him, allowing my eyes to briefly meet his and my heart twists in my chest at the thought of him hurting so badly because of me.

"I do not want your sympathy or your pity, Carter. That is not why I told you this story. I told you because you do not believe in your love anymore, you do not believe in how your heart feels for Rosalinda and how she feels for you. Emily speaks words of anger, of jealousy and they are not true. I know the two of you, I see the way that she looks at you and I know with a fact that she will never look at Emily like that. Nor me. She loves you and I know that you love her. Do not ever think otherwise or Emily will defeat you. The both of you deserve far much more than Emily being your demise. Do not let it come to this," He explains so sweetly, so obvious as if it was the answer I've been looking for all along. He glances at me with his side smile, the kind of smile that tells me that there is more on his mind than he will ever share with me, the kind of smile that makes me feel like a little girl again.

"If you loved her so much, you should have fought for her. I'm sure that she would rather be with you right now than some hot mess of a girl like me who can't even do her damn job right," I bark as he bounces the ball toward me, I take it in my grip, squinting at the harsh sunlight.

"I would not be so sure of that if I were you. You are the one that she would fight off the entire world to be with, you are the one that she chose to possibly lose her country for, you are the one that she is in love with. It does not matter exactly what is going on in your lives because in the end you are the only thing that matters to her. Do you not believe in that anymore?" He asks and I shake my head with a playful smile, releasing the ball as it rolls off the rim. He chuckles, chasing after it, grabbing it tightly between his two large palms and I can't help but smirk a grin.

"I love her," I state and he laughs with a playful smile.

"I know you do. It is just nice to hear you admit it to yourself every once and a while," He smiles and I roll my eyes with a dry laugh. I had never denied my feelings for Rosie, even when I knew that it would cause us trouble with society, with her country and her mother. Yet lately, I am suddenly aware, that I've been pushing the truth away to protect a girl who has never had a problem protecting herself, "let me teach you a lesson in blocking, Mrs. Mason." He taunts, tossing the ball at me, I catch it as a whoosh of air escapes from my lips and I shoot him a glare.

"You think you are better than me, huh? Well, pal, let me teach you how it goes down in the Mason household," I joke with a bright smile, the ball bouncing rhythmically in my right hand, staring him down, hoping to see him break but he only stares right back. I bounce the ball between my legs, pushing myself forward, trying to pass him when his shoulder collides hard with mine. I stumble backward from the force, quickly losing my balance as I suddenly find myself staring up at the open blue sky. Staring up at the clouds in the sky, I realize how truly beautiful the world is with her in it, how even now when my entire world is falling apart, I can only think of her gorgeous smile, I can only count the colors in her eyes. I lay in the complete silence, listening to my heart beat, knowing that it is only beating for her, because my heart is hers. I noticed Thomas hovering over me but all that I can truly see is her, my life with her and suddenly I am realize that I've been running from her, not because I was angry but because I was afraid.

"Carter? Carter? Are you okay? Oh, God. I am so sorry," Thomas apologizes, rushing toward me but I simply shake my head with a laugh as I place my hand in his large palm, pulling me upward. I felt the breeze blow through my brunette hair as I tease with a laugh, pushing his chest slightly. He wrinkles his brow before he starts laughing as well, wrapping his arms around me as I give into his hug much easier now than I did earlier. It is only then that I catch her gaze as she stands beside of the court, her arms resting at her side, an emotion in her eyes that even I can't point out now. I slowly push myself out of his arms as I slowly walk toward her, counting every breath that she draws.

"Rosie, I am sorry about earlier. It's just.." Yet she interrupts me. Rosie never interrupts any one, for she says that it is bad manners and she gets frustrated when I do it. I instantly shut up, my eyes are glued perfectly on hers as I try to understand exactly what is going through her mind at this moment.

"It does not matter. I understand. I would like to give a speech to Costa Luna, to explain to them about the dangers that they are currently being faced with, and I would like for you to be there," She explains and I wrinkle my brow as I stare at her, my mouth slightly open, in complete amazement of my wife at this moment in time.

"I don't..um..I don't really think that it is the best idea to tell them of her. I mean, what if she is in the crowd and decides to attack you? Then what? We don't even know what she looks like Rosie, how are we going to explain to all those people that their in danger because of her? I understand that you feel obligated, really, I do. But I don't want to worry them over something that I can handle," I explain to her and she shakes her head with a soft laugh before she looks past me, her arms folding over her chest.

"I am telling them because as their Queen it is my duty. And you can either stand beside of me as my wife or you will not stand beside of me at all. I am not doing this for me, I am doing this for them. They deserve to know of this, just as I do. Remember your place, Carter. It is not about what is best for us any more," She states before she turns away, heading back to the palace. I groan, twisting my fingers in my hair, staring up at the blue sky, wishing to know the right answer, wishing that the pain that now plagued our every breath would simply just disappear and let us be happy for once in our lives.


It is quiet in upstairs in the palace now, no sounds are being made, even though Mr. Elegante is preparing Rosie with a new gown for the speech she is giving. I sit, waiting patiently in the chair, my hair hanging in messy curls at my shoulders as I chew on the inside of my jaw. There was passion in her eyes, a type of emotion that I have never seen present in her dark brown orbs, something was haunting her and I was sure that I was the core reason for that. I should have known that she was bothered about General Kane's daughter, I should have taken more time to listen to her, to hold her hand, to dry her tears instead of busying myself with Emily's negative comments. She is my wife, that should have mattered more than anything, she should have came first above everything else that was happening in my life. How was it possible that I stood by and simply watched as she fell between the cracks?

I glance down at my hand that is now throbbing with a dull pain, at the scars that I know it would eventually make. I swore to myself that I would never fall back into that dark place that I was in when my father died, that place where no words could be said that would heal the pain that haunted my every aching breath, the place where all I wanted was to lay down and die. Rosie braved that darkness, she waded into that dark place with a helping hand and a smile. She gave light to the darkest nights, she was arms that I found comfort in when my world was falling around me, she was the person that meant the world to me. So, how was it possible that I was letting her slip away from me? How could this be happening to us? How could Emily be slowly breaking us apart? How could General Kane's daughter threaten her every moment of existence? And why, in Christ's sake, was I sitting here, doing nothing?!

A pair of blue eyes quickly find mine and I can't help but to allow the dry laugh to escape from my lips. She stands in front of me in a lovely gown as if she is actually the one who is making the appearance in front of Costa Luna, her hair pinned up and silver hoop earrings in her ears. If only I had not despised the woman so much, I would admit that she looked beautiful. A wicked smile quickly curls at her lips as she raises her eyebrows with a short laugh.

"Look at you. You look horrible. Weak. Pathetic," Emily chuckles as if she held the power over me now, as if she actually achieved something great by pointing out my weakness. I smile with a weak laugh, pushing myself forward in the chair, my eyes meeting hers and I felt the anger rush through my body.

"Yeah? Well at least I don't look like some weak, pathetic, psycho who can't get it through her head that Rosalinda Mason is never going to want to be with you. At least, I don't look like some little spoiled brat who didn't get enough love from Mommy and Daddy so I must take it out on every one else in the world who is actually happy. At least I don't look like a bitch," I taunt with a laugh and the smile slides from her face. Instead this time she only snorts a dry laugh, her eyes quickly fluttering away from mine as I slowly stand in front of her, hoping that she would push me just a little more, hoping that she gave me a reason to tell her exactly what I thought about her.

"Your wife and her country are being threatened by some unknown woman and you are standing here, insulting me? Really? Is that the best you can do? What if General Kane's daughter shows up at this event? Are you just going to stand there and tell her how spoiled and crazy she is? Come on, Carter. Just open your eyes. You are not meant to do this, you are not meant to be Rosalinda or be equal to the thrown. If you would just admit it, things would not have to be as nasty as they are between us," She points out as if it was always that obvious, as if I would admit it that easily just to stop her from telling me how horrible I am. No, she's wrong, I ammeant to be with Rosie and she is not going to convience me otherwise.

"No, you're wrong. I am meant to be with Rosie, you know why? Because I love her, I'm in love with her and that is more than you can say about her. You want her because you know that you can't have her, you like the chase but once you have her, you wouldn't be happy. I'm happy with her and I know that she is everything that I could ever wish for, she is the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with and just because you can't see that, doesn't mean that it isn't true. I love her and you are not going to change that. Things are always going to be nasty between us, Emily, as long as you keep desperately trying to take my wife away from me," I state, my fists clinching at my waist and I cringe at the sharp, shooting pain that now races over my body from my injured hand. She looks at me, a smile curling at her lips as her eyes flood with anger, with passion and I know that she thinks that she is suddenly so much better than I am, she thinks I am a fool for even believing that Rosie could ever love me.

"Oh, honey. I don't have to try to take Rosalinda away, I could have her any day of the week and you know that," She smiles wickedly and I must stop, hold my breath and count to ten before I can even say anything to her. Sometimes, being equal to the thrown of Costa Luna had it's drawbacks, like now, when I wanted to smash her face in for even suggesting that she was better than me.

"You really think so, don't you? You honestly think that she would be with you instead of me?" I ask, the smile fading from my face and a sudden serious expression now taking it's place. What if she was right? My heart told me that I was foolish for even believing so in the first place but my mind just could not understand why Rosie, who could have any one in the world, would ever settle to be with someone like me? What if she truly wanted to be with Emily? The girl who understood everything about being in the royal family, the one who presented herself with charm and grace in front of every one? What if I was going to lose her to her anyway, no matter how hard I fought?

"I know so. I know that you can not possibly love her the way that I love her. I know that she is not happy with you but you are too naïve, to stubborn, to realize that you are only hurting her. You refuse to see that you are not what is best for her, yet I am," Emily states with a bright smile. I chuckle, swallowing the lump hard in my throat as I push myself forward, suddenly finding myself nose to nose with her, our eyes locked intensly and I don't even have to try to notice the fact that she is flinching.

"Yeah?" I ask, my jaw locking tightly, my nose flaring as the tears burn in my eyes. Yet these tears were different than all the rest, they were not tears of sadness, they were not tears of fear like they had been so many times, they were not tears of disgust or anger, but they were tears of hate. How dare she? How dare she judge me without even knowing me? How dare she say that she could love Rosalinda more than I ever could?

"Yeah," She replies with a laugh. I chuckle, swallowing hard, staring her down. What had happened to her that could make her this cold? What could have possibly happened in her past to make her such a horrible person? Why did Rosie not see the person that I saw? Why did she not see the complete disgustingly person that she was? I open my mouth to say something but the clearing of a throat catches the both of us off guard. Standing in the doorway was my wife, dressed in a beautiful light pink sequenced gown, clearly one of Mr. Elegante's new works. Her hair was spiraled in curls at her shoulders, a golden necklace hung perfectly around her neck and I can not control the smile that is curling at my lips.

"Excuse me, Emily, but I would like to speak to my wife alone, if you do not mind," Rosie asks and I watch the hurt appear in her blue eyes but as quick as I notice it, it is gone. Rosie's eyes quickly find mine as she blushes a soft pink and my heart races eratically in my chest for the sensation of her warm skin brushing against mine.

"Of course, your Highness. I will be fielding phone calls if you need me, apparently this impromptu meeting of yours is encouraging the press to become obsessed with knowing everything about the Queen who married another woman. Savages," She chuckles as she excuses herself from the room but I laugh silently to myself at how hypocritical it was for her to call them savages when she was no better than them. My eyes never leave Rosie's as I slowly make my way toward the beautiful woman, grateful for ever having her in my life.

"I'm sorry if I did something to upset you earlier. I noticed that you were upset when you came to tell me about this meeting and I can't help to think that I had something to do with it," I apologize and she sighs, her eyes breaking my gaze only for a short moment and my heart drops in my stomach, instantly missing the deep connection that we shared.

"It was not really you. It is just…I saw you with Thomas. You were laughing with him and I could not help but think of the last time that you laughed when you were with me. I could not recall the time, and it scared me. I could very well possibly be losing my country and it scared me to know that I could be losing you as well," Rosie exclaims with a sad sigh and it breaks my heart to know that she thinks so. I hate myself for putting the distance between us, for pushing her away when it was obvious that I need her more than the air that I breath, yet admitting that I was weak to her was simply not an option. I shake my head as I slowly take her hands in mine, intertwining my fingers around hers and my heart instantly melts at the warmth. What type of monster have I became to put such doubts in my wife?

"Is that what you think? Do you really think that I am happier with Thomas than I am with you?" I ask and she does not answer me, instead she stares absently at a spot on the floor and it was if she was taking my heart out of my chest and crushing it with her bare hands, "Oh, honey. No. No. That is not even remotely possible! I know that it seems like I have spending a lot of time with Thomas lately and that is probably my fault, it's just that you are always busy with Emily and sometimes, it's just easier to admit things to him. He reminds me of my father, of Ed, and I need that comfort sometimes. But I have no feelings for him what-so-ever, I am not happier with him than you, I love you. Baby, I am so sorry if I ever made you think that I didn't." I whisper, tears in my eyes and she simply nods her head with a weak laugh.

"No, I am sorry. I do not what is going on with me lately, I know that you love me, I know that you want to be with me. But just seeing you with Thomas…it sent me for a head spin. I guess, I am so afraid of losing my country, of losing my life but I can not lose you, either. Not to this girl nor to Thomas because you are my life. I'm just…I am just so scared," She mumbles, her voice breaking as the tears fall effortlessly down her cheeks. I sigh, cursing myself for not doing a better job protecting her, for not promising her that everything was going to be okay, yet lying to my wife was something that I refused to do. Quickly, I wrap her in my arms, pulling her body close to mine as I softly play with her curls. She chokes out a cry as she buries her face in my shoulder and everything inside of me twists at knowing the pain that she is in.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. It's all my fault. There should be something that I can do to make all of this better for you but I don't know what. I should have done a better job with protecting you from all of this and now if anything happens to you or this country, it is all my fault and I can't forgive myself for it. I won't. I'm sorry, I am sorry that you are hurting and I'm sorry that I've failed you," I cry and she shakes her head, pulling away from me as she allows her fingertips to tremble against my cheek and I melt into her warm, tender touch.

"This is not your fault. You could not have possibly known that General Kane had a daughter, nor could you have known that she was going to come after me for having him placed in prison. You are doing an amazing job right now, trying to find her, making sure that I am safe and that I am happy. Do not think that you are not because you are doing all that you can and it is enough, trust me. And you have not failed me, you are still standing here, are you not? The only way that you could ever possibly fail me is if you walked away, if you simply left me here alone," Rosie exclaims, her voice trailing off in a whisper and I try to deny the tears that are forming hot and quickly in my tears.

"I'm not going anywhere," I whisper in a cry and she nods her head with a small smile.

"Good because I need you, Carter Mason. I will not always admit it and sometimes I may act like I do not but I always have and I always will. I need you here, with me for the rest of my life and I am not about to let some wreck of a daughter destroy that for us. I love you, that is forever. You can never fail me, you can never let me down, believe in that. Believe in my love for you if you believe in nothing else," She states and suddenly my lips are colliding hard with hers. I can taste the bittersweet tears on her lips as I slip my bottom lip under her tongue carefully, grasping tightly at her waist. She pulls away abruptly with a short, quiet laugh as she heaves hard for a breath.

"You are amazing, you know that?" I smile brightly at her and she blushes a warm, colorful pink. Sometimes I wonder how she does it, how she stays so modest when every one in this country is practically throwing themselves at her. I wonder how she could ever believe that she is not a perfect God sent angel to save all of us from the darkness.

"Thank you. Now, come. They are waiting for us," She holds her hand out toward me and it takes me a moment to gather myself before I slowly slip my palm in hers, instantly feeling the reality of the moment colliding hard into me, like a wave colliding hard into a shore. I glance at her as she smiles weakly at me, we could handle this as long as we had each other, I was sure. Now it was my turn to be the strong tower that Rosie had always been for me.


Every one in Costa Luna was gathered in the plaza in front of the palace, awaiting to hear her speak. I take a long look at all of them, at their faces that held wonder and curiosity. How could we tell them? How could we tell them that their lives are being threatened with every single passing second? How could I admit to my own failure? I notice the young women's faces as they clutch tightly to their child at their side, the little boys that conversed with each other over lizards while the little girls mentioned something about their dolls. I noticed the man that was holding tight to his wife, pride in his eyes. I notice the woman who was holding her baby in her arms, watching us with careful eyes, how could I tell her? How could I tell she may never get the chance to watch her baby grow and change with the following years?

My knees practically give under me as I slowly take the stand with Rosie, she gives my hand a tight squeeze, her eyes meeting mine with a careful smile. I simply swallow hard, nodding my head in understanding as she takes the platform with a weak smile. This was all my fault, this whole destructive news, I was a horrible person for letting this destroy her world.

"Good afternoon every one. I am pleased to see that you all could join me today, I do apologize for the sudden urgency of this meeting, I understand that some of you have previous requirements and I will try to consider a more suitable time next occasion. But this is one of those moments that even I could not plan, I have some news that I must share with you, news that breaks my heart, news that I debated keeping from you but as your Queen, I know that I must prepare you for all scenarios that may present themselves. I can not lead you blindly into this, for it is not fair to any of you," She states so strongly and I watch her in complete admiration, she was so strong, so sure of herself and I can't help but wonder where that confidence goes when it is just me and her in the bedroom.

"A couple of years ago, General Kane chose to seize Costa Luna, I am sure that many of you remember this. Twas the reason that I fled the country, it was the reason that I had to stay with Major Mason, the reason that I met my wife. It has come to pass that the situation is presenting itself again, none of us were aware that General Kane would have such an aggressive family. According to my sources, his daughter is currently trying to seize Costa Luna from us, whilst we are trying to get her into custody, we have not succeeded in our attempts yet. I do not want any one to panic, because I assure you that I do have this under control. I am working very closely with Carter who is in the protection program, we are working very hard to try to catch her, but I must warn you that she may try to work her way into your lives. So, I tell you now, be aware of any one who is not your family. Do not panic, do not make a scene because that may place you in more obvious danger than you are in, yet be careful within whom your trust lies. I am truly sorry, people of Costa Luna. I wish that I could provide you with a much stable environment than what I am," She states, her face so solemn and strong. The people immediately begin to whisper among themselves and I watch the hurt quickly flood in her eyes.

"May I say something?" I whisper to her and she looks at me with a wrinkled brow.

"I do not know what else there is to say, Carter. I have already warned them of General Kane's daughter existence, I have told them everything that I know. I do not see the reason that you wish to speak to them," She whispers back to me and I smile at her, batting my eyelashes carefully, knowing that it would melt her hard exterior that she is trying to keep up for me.

"Trust me, Rosie. That's all I can ask of you now," I mumble back and she only nods her head as she slowly steps aside from the podium, allowing me to take the stand. I look over the clearly frantic people, the people who were now afraid for their lives, the people that meant the world to Rosie. I sigh as I look at her, swallowing hard as I try to keep the tears from falling from my eyes.

"I'm sorry. This is my fault, I should have done a better job protecting not only my wife but the people of Costa Luna as well. It is my job, and I should have known that General Kane's daughter existed, I should have known that she would seek revenge but I didn't. I was so caught up in the fact that I was marrying the person that I have been in love with since I was sixteen years old, I was so happy with her, and I stopped paying attention for a moment. One small moment and that is when she chose to make herself known. I don't want you to blame Rosalinda, I don't want to know that you think that this is her fault, that she has lead your country to this because she hasn't. She has done everything right, it is I that has failed you," I speak so elegantly, so strong and forcibly that I surprise my own self at the lack of weakness that is present in my voice. Rosie's face hardens as she quickly takes my hand, catching my attention from the crowd and I notice the shock that is written on her face.

"Carter, you must stop this! It is not your fault, we have already stated this. They need not know of it, of your weakness. Come, I'll explain to them that you are simply blaming yourself for lack of something to do. You do not have to do this," Rosie explains and I smile weakly at her with a simple nod of my head.

"You're wrong, you see I do have to do this. Because you're right, they do deserve to know of everything. This not only effects you and me, anymore but them as well. I can't pretend like it isn't the truth, I can't lie to them, it's not right and it's not fair. Maybe you are a little biased to believe that it isn't my fault because you are my wife, but the people of Costa Luna may see it another way and I can't hide it from them," I explain and she groans with a whimper simply nodding her head as she once again, joins me by my side.

"There should have been something that I should have done to make sure that this didn't happen again. I watched my father take General Kane into custody, I watched him place him in prison for the rest of his life and honestly, I thought it was over. I may have been very naïve to think so, but I didn't think that Costa Luna would ever be in harm again, I mean, it is a small country and it isn't on most maps. Maybe it was in thinking that I failed you. I should have been aware of General Kane's daughter, I should have known that she would come after Rosalinda but I am doing all that I can as of the moment. The Program is currently providing us with all of the information that they have, they are providing a safe escape for Rosalinda yet again and they are trying to cease this attack. I'm doing all that I know how, all that my father has taught me to do. I promise you that I am not going to let her take this country away from you, nor am I going to let her take away your Queen. My loyalty lies with Rosalinda, it lies with the people of Costa Luna and she is not going to walk in here and take all of this away from you. This is not only my wife's country anymore but it is mine and it is yours and she is not going to do this. No. I won't allow it. I will do all I can to protect you, to protect Rosalinda, even if it means giving my life to do so. I know that I don't deserve it but I have to ask you to trust me now, trust in my love for this country, my love for Rosalinda and have faith that I will seize her before any harm is done to this country," I state, my jaw locking tightly as the tears blind my eyes. The crowd stays silent for a moment before the applaud and I can not stop the smile that is spreading on my face. I chuckle as I step away from the podium, intertwining my fingers around Rosie's who only laughs with a bright smile.

"I am so proud of you," Rosie whispers and I chuckle as I lean over, placing a soft kiss upon her cheek. She giggles softly, more to herself than to me and my heart nearly skips a beat at the sound of the beautiful melody. I watch as she twirls into the palace, entering her room with a quiet laugh and I can not stop the beaming grin on my face. I notice Emily who is standing in the corner of the room, her arms crossed, her eyes fixed solely upon me. I don't say anything to her, instead she comes to me, her blonde hair bouncing with every step and she taunts a laugh.

"Any day of the week, Carter Mason. And you know that. You just wait and see, Rosalinda is going to realize exactly how much of a hot mess that you are and she is going to come running to me, I am going to wrap her in my arms and tell her exactly how much I care for her. You will lose her," Emily states with a smile and I feel my insides twist at the sound of her voice.

"Fuck you," I whisper and she only laughs hysterically before she looks back at me, her blue eyes sparkling with hate and frustration.

"You wish," She laughs before she disappears up the winding stairwell. I groan as I slam my fist hard against the wall, cringing as the sharp pain once again makes it appearance known but instead of crying, or breaking, I only sink onto the stairwell, pulling my knees to my chest as I


The thunder rolls in the sky above us as the rain beats down softly upon our roof. I love thunderstorms, I always have, ever since I was a little girl because there was something precious about them. There was something about rain that made it magical, something that made the entire town glow when the rain droplets stop falling and the entire world is in silence. Rain is the only thing that can silence my mind now, the only thing that can truly put me at ease.

I lay in the bed beside of a sleeping Rosie watching as the sky is alive to the sounds of thunder and the color of fluorescent lightening. It almost reminds me of being home in Louisiana during the summer when we have the worst storms, it reminds me of the time that Rosie crawled into bed beside of me because she was scared of the storm. I smile at the bittersweet memory, my heart still fluttering at the thought of her warm skin against mine, just as it did that night. Sometimes she was just far to precious, far to innocent to know the evils that she has experienced, evils that I should have saved her from. I feel the tears welding in my eyes and I swallow the cry hard in my throat.

I softly raise up in the bed, brushing my hair away from my face as I slip from the bed, tying my hair up in a messy pony tail, as I grab my sneakers from under the bed. Rosie restlessly wiggles herself in the empty bed as her brown eyes softly flutter open. I smile at her as I grab my hoodie from the floor, burying my Ipod into my pockets. She watches me for a moment, before she slowly sits up in the bed as well, brushing her hair away from her face as she listens to the rain.

"Where are you going?" She asks so simply, so quietly that it almost makes me feel bad for leaving her. Yet I also know, I would not be able to sleep nor rest until I knew that General Kane's daughter was in captivity, until I knew that there wasn't a chance that I could wake up in the morning without a wife. I could not lie there and continue to roll, to toss and turn and keep her from getting the much needed sleep that she deserves.

"I'm going to taken a run. I need to clear my head before I can even begin to worry about getting sleep. It's been an eventful two days, I think I just need time to process it all," I explain to her and she does not say anything, instead she watches me with curious eyes as I slip the hoodie over my body, burying my hands into the long sleeves.

"But it is raining. You will get wet and then you will catch a cold or possibly pneumonia. I can not stand knowing that you are sick and there is nothing that I can do to help you. Stay, please? At least until the storm passes?" She asks and I chuckle quietly to myself. I lean down as I place my lips carefully upon hers, taking the moment to mesmerize the taste of her lips against mine, to feel the world come to a spinning stop, the whole fireworks in the sky above me type of feeling. I pull away, leaving my forehead against hers as I place a soft kiss upon her nose.

"I'll be okay, I promise. I won't be long, you won't even know that I'm gone. I love you," I laugh as I turn to leave, I hear her soft voice call out to me.

"I love you too, Carter. More than anything," She whispers before sliding back under the covers and it is just enough to melt my heart, it is just enough to make me wish that I would crawl under the covers with her and tell her how amazing she is. But I can't, I have things to figure out, decisions that I need to make and I know that staying in that bed next to her, I would accomplish nothing.


The rain is pelting against my face but I don't even care anymore, the pain is fresh and it takes away the constant throbbing of doubt and guilt that is washing over my body every time that I think back to the look on Rosie's face that night when I told her. I run down the familiar track, blinded by the rain, by the sharp lightening that traced the hard grey clouds in the sky above me and blinded by the tears that I saw in Rosie's eyes today.

I don't know what I'm going to do, how I am going to make this better for her. I don't know how I am going to make her feel safe again, how I'm going to convince her that even though General Kane's daughter is still out there, that she is safe as long as she is with me. How can I convince my wife of something that even I didn't believe? My father never told me that it would be this hard, yet, my father had never fallen in love with his subject. He had always been loyal to my mother, yet I was also very aware of how the program effected them, how the distance slowly drove them apart. I refuse to allow that to happen to Rosie and I, but little was I aware, it was already happening to us and Emily was thriving for every second that we were apart.

What if she was right? What if Rosie and I were not meant to be together? What if she ends up realizing that she deserves someone who knows how to handle the royal scene, who can make sure that she is happy and that she is safe? It may not be Emily that she turns to but what if she turns to someone else? My heart can't handle not being with her, she is the person who makes me mushy, the person who makes me sound like an overused hallmark card, she is the person who comes with dynamite when I put up my walls to keep her out. She is the only person who I have ever truly been in love with and I honestly do not think that I can handle this life without her.

I pump my legs harder, faster, hoping that if I kept running that I could leave this whole situation behind us, hoping that if I ran fast enough that I could go back to the days that Rosie and I were actually happy together. Now we were plagued by reality, by secrets, by truth and I knew that it was driving us apart, that I was driving us apart. I would give anything to go back to the summers we spent in Louisiana, when she told me that she loved me even if society viewed it as being wrong, I'd give anything to go back to our first kiss, how it nearly stopped my heart and knocked me off my feet. But times were different now, so very, very different. I ran as the tears fell down my cheeks, the sobs erupted from my body as Seether's 'No Shelter' blasted in my ears, giving me a soundtrack of lonely, a soundtrack of hurt.

Today, you seem a little far away

I hate that I don't have the words to say

I bored with all the little games you play

A cage is never going to make me stay

If we don't help ourselves, we'll fall

I find no comfort in this world

I never find my way, in a broken mind

No shelter for me

I never compensate just to keep you mine

No shelter for me

Awake, I need a little comforting

I break, my mind is sick of wondering

I'm yours, I love it when I'm suffering

Too late, I don't believe in anything

If we don't help ourselves, we'll fall

I find no comfort in this world

I stop to catch my breath, pulling the earphones from my ear as I listen to the silence of the world around me, as the rain falls around us. I heave hard for a breath as I double over, allowing the cries to escape from me, allowing the tears to soak my face because I had nothing to hide here, no secrets, no pride. I cried out of fear, out of anger, I cried for myself but more importantly, I cried for Rosie and the fact that I had no idea of what to do to stop the pain that ached her every breath.

"Shame, is it not? You can not even protect your own wife from her worst enemy. Shame on you, really. A complete stranger could do a better job than you," A voice calls out to me, sending chills over my spine. I turn around, glancing through the dark, down pour of rain to find myself alone. I wrinkle my brow as I swallow hard, trying to find my voice, but it lost somewhere between my tears and my breaking heart.

"It is also a shame that you have left her unprotected tonight, any one could just snatch her or cause her physical pain and there would be nothing you can do to help her. Truly, you are not a very good wife considering you left her. But you were right about something today, it is your fault that this happening to her. It is. And it will also be your fault when you lose her to me, the infamous daughter," The voice continues to talk to me and frantically I search through the rain trying to find where and who it was coming from, ignoring the rolling thunder in the drunken sky.

"WHO ARE YOU?!" I screamed into the rain but the voice only chuckles with a sick laugh, causing my insides to twist and my fists form tightly at my side.

"You will lose her because you do not deserve her and certainly you do not deserve Costa Luna either. The country and Rosalinda will fall and it will be because of you, how can you live with yourself? Honestly? She is your wife, damn it. You are supposed to give your life for her and you are out here, doing nothing to help her. It is a shame that she thinks she can not do better than some stupid little bitch who worked in a bait shop," The voice continues to talk and I notice a figure coming toward me, I squint through the rain trying to make out exactly who it is.

"But it matters not. For, tonight Rosalinda will be mine. I will comfort her, I will dry her tears and I will have her. Because I canhave her, any day that I want her because I love her more than you ever will and I can convince her of this. You will lose her to me, Carter Mason. I will make sure of it," The voice states as the lightening creates the color to the figure that has been approaching me. The lightening flickers against her stilled face, against the blueness of her sparkling eyes, of the evil grin that is on her face and my body shivers at the sight of her.

"Emily," I breath out in a short gasp and she only laughs with a shrug of her shoulders.

"What can I say? You were never the smart one, Carter. It is so sad that you have figured out my secret and you do not have the chance to tell any one. You know, I hate blood to be on my hands but oh well. I think you do have this coming, don't you? Besides if I just let you go away, it would be a little anticlimactic and Rosalinda would not collapse in tears into my arms if her wife actually lives, would she? I am sorry that it must come to this, Carter. Truly, I am. But you chose this," She states and the lightening once again brings her figure to live, I notice that she is holding a large bar in her hand, I gasp, as I flinch. Before I can even say anything else to defend myself, I felt the large bar collide hard with my head, I can taste the blood in my mouth, I can feel the red sticky substance trail every feature of my body. My knees give under me as I collapse onto the ground, the bar continuing to collide hard with the parts of my body, but truly I am numb by now. Suddenly, the pain is gone, the rain traces every inch of my body as my heart slowly beats to a stilling silence.

"Rosie," I whisper into the rain as the darkness slowly clouds over my vision. I struggle to regain my consciousness but the darkness continues to over take my senses, I whisper her name once again as I slowly go limp, giving into the darkness as her bright, smiling face is the last thing I can see.


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