Chapter Fourteen

Out of Control

Diamond rested against the wall and intensely watched Serena sit on the green, tuft grass, chatting amiably to the man next to her. Lucas appeared bored, letting his eyes roam and take in every detail around him, until his eyes met his own. He glared, and the man simply looked away, his lips curling into a smile.

Smug satisfaction reeked from him. He was delighted over his displeasure. Diamond felt his blood boil; his need to shout filthy words and to smash a few things in reach was tempting but he restrained himself. Not for his sake, but for her own.

He did not want to make a second mistake. The first was the dagger, unintentional on his part. He did not know what he was thinking when it had happened, but in no way did he want another unrestraint behavior added to her list, if she had one.

Diamond relaxed, only a slight. It was enough to restrain him from strolling toward their area and pull Serena away from Lucas. But if he did march his way toward her, he will have to listen to her defensive remarks toward Lucas, and possibly hear a few negative comments reflecting his behavior.

She would say, "Diamond, he is a kind fellow," or, "Diamond, release me," or, "Diamond, you're overprotective!"

Her many excuses would force him to comply and release her to the abomination; to a burnt man with little to nothing to offer in return for his stay at his home. She would defend him, a man she knows little about, only because he had saved her life.

But than Diamond would be lying to himself that Lucas was more than nothing; an abomination; a burnt man with little to nothing to offer. He was a person with power and control, enough to make Diamond terrible in his knees.

Lucas was a man one should not meddle with. No—no one should mess with the man. Lucas, the burnt man, played the game well, enough to fool even the woman in front of him.

xx

When did he first felt the pull; the obsession; the high lust toward Serena? Was it the moment he laid eye on her?

Helpless and alone, she had endured enough trails from the labyrinth and had failed to see the obvious trap in front of her. He had not expected to save her on impulse. He had never cared for another life, aside from his brother. But one look in her sky-blue eyes, he had felt the tug in his heart stir. Even now his heart stirred when he looked at the woman innocently swinging without a care in the world.

Damn that Darien. He knew he would fall in love with her innocence. How she reeked of it. He wanted to taste her skin; take a bit of her purity and rub it on his tainted flesh.

He did not know what Serena was to Darien before but he did not expect her as his wife. Denial had taken him first, lasting until they had arrived to the inn, and then confusion had toyed with his thoughts. Why would Darien, their king, marry her?

It could be that she was a liar. But she did not smell of lies. Out of her mouth the truth pour out. And who in their right mind would call Darien their husband? Only a fool would, but this woman was no fool, but another chess piece to the game.

Diamond turned his head a little. He imagined hearing his king's voice, whispering in his ear, "Doesn't she look divine?"

Darien would refer to the scene outside, where his wife sat on the swing, kicking her legs forward and backward. Lucas was nowhere in sight.

"Why did you let her go?" Diamond would ask.

His mind made up a response, one that could be taken as Darien's real answer. "If I had not released her, we would have never had made a deal."

"Don't you miss her?"

"If I said yes, would you believe me? Either way, with your incredulity, you will take my answers as lies."

Diamond looked away from the window to the end of the corner where he envisioned Darien sitting on a chair. He would have a leg rested over the other, his fingertips would be touching each other and his elbows would be resting on the armrest. He would seem smug, a light smile touching his handsome features.

His clothing would be different; after all, this was his fantasy. Instead of black, he would be dashed in a dark shade of blue and light-colored trousers. His dark hair would be messy as a piece of hair would fall over his eye. He would seem menacing, as he was in reality.

Even in his fantasy, he could not imagine Darien any other way. He truly left a sinister mark in his path that one could not forget.

"If you were real, I would change my deal."

"You know that I'm nearby. You can always tell me. But then you would be admitting defeat. It would be uncharacteristic of you."

"I can't go through with it."

"Are you sure your conflict is with me or with yourself?" Darien spoke back. But was it really him or his thoughts that he was battling with?

"I don't know," he spoke aloud, the silence shattering around him. It eventually grew quiet, back to its original state.

He looked toward the window, watching Serena lean her head back, facing the sun, where the branches blocked the sunlight from touching her face. The last time he had looked out the window in admiration, Emerald had caught on to his lust.

"What has caught your attention, my husband?" He remembered her saying. He had the opportunity to look away and hide his lust but he had wanted her to look. He was done hiding his true feelings.

Emerald had looked out the window, watching as Serena read a book, lost in her own little world. She had appeared perplexed at the sight, not understanding why Serena held his concentration, but then she had noticed the look in his eye. Whatever she had seen, whether it was lust, love, or intrigue, she had seen what he had wanted her to witness.

She had laughed a little, clearly unable to digest the inner turmoil she was experiencing. But then in a quick reaction, she had awakened her rage.

"She needs to go."

"No, she stays." He remembered his voice. He had sounded eerily calm, perhaps even satisfied that he was arguing with his wife.

"No, she must go!" Her voice had risen to a shrill shout, enough to catch the maid's attention nearby.

"She is the queen," he had said.

He had pushed the last restraints she had to control her rising rage. "I don't care if she is the queen! She has to go!"

He had looked at her, noticing her flushed face to her rising chest falling every second, only to rise again. Then he had stared into her eyes, noticing the tears that were about to fall. But she had held them back, not wanting to collapse. Her anger had served her as a distraction to forget the tears in her eyes.

"Why?" he had asked, provoking her.

She had easily had fallen into his trap. "Because I will not stand for an affair! I am your wife! Do I mean nothing to you?"

She had asked the question he had so longed to answer. This was the perfect time, he had thought to himself, to tell her the truth.

"No."

Her face had fallen at the one simple, yet powerful word.

He had continued, much to his delight. "In fact, you are disposable."

Perhaps he had revealed too much of the truth. He should've left it at no. But then he would've never had enjoyed her crestfallen face in learning the powerful truth.

He became distracted from his memories when a maid rushed in the parlour, bowed her head quickly, and placed her hands in front of her stomach.

"My lord, there is an urgent matter you must attend. It is your wife. She is out of control."

At last, he knew his wife would overreact. Languidly, he stepped out of the parlour and took his time to climb the stairs. There was no rush; no need to react in haste to control his wife's jealous state. He had the time in the world to assess her behavior of late.

The moment his wife had discovered his feelings, his wife had plotted a way to rid herself of Serena. No longer did she care about Darien's intention with his wife. No, she simply wanted to return to her normal, dull life, minus Serena.

Acting sweet toward the queen, she had wanted to lure her away from his home to a casual stroll. But he knew his wife quite well, and the games she played. Casual stroll, he laughed at that, startling the maid behind him. He glanced behind him and pondered: Did she consider him a lunatic as his wife?

The look in her eye spoke it all. Yes, she did.

He resumed his pace toward his bedroom, where surely his wife shouted and threw things to the wall. It was the only conclusion he had toward the sound that rang as a loud pound. The maid held her breath, afraid of taking another step.

Was fear that easily provoked that shattered one's will to keep going? He looked behind him and had his answer.

Emerald, his once beautiful wife, no longer appealed to him. Ever since she had returned without Serena that day, he found her repulsive. Even as he remembered the past event, he could not help but curl his fingers into a fist.

He had searched everywhere for Serena, even through the night with only a lantern as a light. He had found her at last, taken care of by a stranger. But he became a stranger no more once he knew who he was.

"Diamond, I thought you would recognize me."

Lucas served as a shadow to the real guise.

He jolted from his thoughts and scowled at being frightened. The room was in a mess when he entered. Pieces of broken vases scattered the ground in a pattern; each broken piece sat on a wet stain; and a few rested in between the stems of the flowers.

He moved his eyes away from the floor to the disarray of the bed. The sheets were cast to a side where they bundled at a corner of the bed. The pillows sat against a wall, one drenched in water from a broken vase.

He then noticed her favorite necklace with the three green gems ripped apart and scattered around the floor in pieces. If she had torn her favorite necklace apart, then there was no doubt in his mind that she indeed had fallen into lunacy.

He finally looked at her standing in the middle of the room, her nails curved and tainted with blood. Her hair was a mess; her face bore scratches. No doubt the blood on her fingertips explained the scratches on her face.

She took a step forward, her arms bended with the nails curved toward her.

"Diamond, why don't you love me?"

He glanced toward the floor and noticed the broken bottle of wine.

"Diamond, look at me."

She cupped his face, wiped his hair out of his vision, and stared into his eye. He could smell the red wine in her breath.

"Why don't you love me?"

He refused to respond. She shook him for a response, forcing him to restrain her as her nails curved dangerously toward his direction.

"Why don't you-you love me!"

Should he remind her again, in this state no less, why he did not love her? He saw no harm in it; she could not hurt him, not even if she tried in her drunken state.

So he said it, once more, "Because you lost my interest. I hold nothing for you, not like I do for her," and fought to control her when she went ballistic.

She shouted in his face, "Unhand me!"

Twisting and struggling, she tried to escape from his iron grip. Instead, he twisted her around, back against his chest, arms crossed and held by both his hands. She panted heavily; her hair falling over her face. She could not fight against his strength; he overpowered her.

When was the last time he had her in his arms in this position? He could not remember. Perhaps it was the third year when their marriage began to fall apart that he held her this way, but in a sweet embrace. Perhaps it was the day he had discovered that she could not bear children, and the meaningless sex played a vital role to their marriage.

Nevertheless, he lost his love for her. It wasn't the same as it was before when he used to smile and cherish her and gather her into his arms as he would whirl her around. Back then, he was happy. He could've left her and married another woman as an alternative. But he felt half-responsible for their misfortunate.

She struggled a bit. He tightened his hold around her.

"Let me go!"

He did as she commanded, exhausted of the events happening in his life. And with a twirl on her heel, she slapped him across the cheek. Sometimes it was best to let the anger subside, to forget of the pain, and to forget about his grieving wife shattered over their failing marriage.

But he could not let this moment slide. Not even if he tried hard enough. For once he simply wanted to show her how frustrated he was inside. He felt his blood boil; his anger growing. Emerald had slipped out of the room, stomping her way to the stairs.

He followed after her. She stumbled, unable to find the path to the stairs. Before she took another step, he grabbed her wrist and dragged her back to the room. She fought and scratched his face, acting like a wild animal fighting its captor.

Slapping him in the face the second time, he released her as she ran toward the stairs. He followed her; his rage uncontrollable. With her fingers on the rail, she gripped it for support and took a breath.

"I'm going to tell her! I'm going to tell her the truth about everything!"

He dashed toward her before she took that step down the stairs. With a hand on her wrist, he tried to pull her back, but she fought, like she always did, not wanting his touch around her arm. If she told Serena the truth then he would lose his time with her.

He loved the queen.

He could not afford to lose her.

That's why he had decided to let Emerald go. She stumbled back, and rolled down the stairs. He loudly heard a crack, unsure of what bone had snapped, and watched as she lay lifeless on the floor, her body twisted in an odd angle.

The maid, behind him—he was unsure when she had arrived—gasped and covered her mouth with both hands. He glanced toward her and noticed that most of the residents in his home had witness Emerald's death.

And at that moment he no longer believed that Emerald was the one out of control, but him. For he strode toward them and silenced each one, making sure the truth stayed hidden.