They walked back down the hall through so many twists and turns Bella worried for a moment the young boy truly didn’t know the way. She swallowed back her concern and was glad she did when they walked through a set of double doors into a gorgeous courtyard. Flowers dripped off the walls in vines, spilled out of flowerboxes and sprouted from the ground as plentiful as grass.
“Wow, this is beautiful.” Bella didn’t garden so she couldn’t even imagine the amount of skill needed to plan such a beautiful spot. She followed Varren to a stone bench and sat down beside him.
“Sometimes when I sit here I think I can feel her,” the boy confessed.
Bella could hear the pain and loneliness in the prince’s tone. “I’m sure she’d be very proud of you.” The young prince was a nice young boy Bella was certain any mother would be proud of.
“You think?” Hopeful eyes looked up at him.
“I’m certain.” Looking around the flower garden, a calm sensation swept over her.
“What did you do today besides going to the market?”
Darn. She’d hoped he’d about forgotten that.
“I met the duke.”
“The Duke of Greel.”
Varren wrinkled his nose. “I don’t like him,” he stated.
“Why not?” Bella knew why she didn’t like the man but she didn’t know why the prince didn’t.
“He always pretends to be nice but when he smiles it doesn’t reach his eyes.”
“You’re a very smart boy.”
Varren nodded. “Yep. Are you married?”
Bella shrugged. “I guess I never found the right one.”
“My parents had an arranged marriage but my dad really liked her. He told me so.”
“I’m sure they were very happy.” The few pictures he’d seen of the couple hanging in the halls showed a smiling pair.
“He’s getting married again.”
Bella’s heart skipped a beat. She frowned at the odd sensation. “Who!” she demanded her throat. “I mean who is he marrying?” she asked in a softer tone.
Verren shrugged. “I don’t know. I heard his advisor telling him it was time to marry again. I don’t think he’s picked her out yet though.” He gave Bella a carefully measured look.
“Well, I’m sure he’ll find someone who’ll be a good mother.” Bella wondered if the young prince worried about relations with a new mom.
“I think me and my brothers should help him pick,” Verren said.
Bella held back her smile. “I think you should discuss that with your father.”
Verren straightened his shoulders in a resolute stance. “You’re right. We should.” He jumped to his feet. “See you later Bella. I’ve got to go talk to dad.”
Bella laughed and watched in bemusement as the prince rushed out of the garden. She wished she were a fly on the wall for that conversation.