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Turning in Circles

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Vernon couldn’t think these days.

Perhaps he had never been able to think - but the fact remained that things nagged at him at the corners of his consciousness, and vanished when he turned to take a proper look at them.

It was worse when the Serlast boy wasn’t around. He was one who should be giving his life for the kingdom, but when Vernon turned for him, he wasn’t there either.

The king’s life was getting more demanding - or perhaps he was less able to deal with the demands laid on him. It was one of the two. Probably.

In times like these, one should have a wife to turn to, but he had too many wives. He was turning all the time. If the Serlast boy were here, Vernon could ask him which wife was best for him right now. Darien chose Vernon’s shoes, after all; surely he’d know a thing or two about the king’s wives?

There it was, one of those pestering thoughts, dancing out of his reach.

“Vernon,” a voice said, calm and gentle. He had not needed to search for a wife after all; one of them had come for him. Romelle laid a hand on his arm, and smiled. “Shall we take a turn around the garden? It is the perfect day for a stroll.”

He agreed, letting her help him to his feet. Had he taken his medicine today? Did he need it anymore? He thought he probably might, and so he bade Romelle wait for him, only to stumble into his valet. Had he been waiting all this while for the medicine? He wished things were clearer.

“I would have liked you to have known me at my best,” he told Romelle wistfully, as they wandered through the rose garden.

“You are the best man I have known,” she replied, and there was such openness in her face, such an absence of Alys’s artfulness, that he couldn’t help but believe her.

They had come to a secluded spot, a place where Vernon had stolen kisses from fine ladies in his youth. Such a moment of clarity was overwhelming - more so the feeling of lust which followed. Gently, he took Romelle’s hands, and raised them to his lips.