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Pop The Question

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"Are you married?"

The Prince blinked, thinking that perhaps he had misheard, but Farah's patient, expectant look remained and reassured him that he hadn't. "Of course not," he said automatically, surprise in his voice. "I won't wed until my succession to the throne." He hesitated, considering his next words, but it was his turn to ask a question... "...Are you?" he inquired. For some reason, he couldn't bring himself to meet her eyes as he asked, so he feigned a glance along the street as though trying to determine where they ought to go next.

"Yes. And my husband will surely storm this city in search of me soon. He's quite the jealous and protective type, so I suggest you be on your best behavior." She smiled over at him, but the look faded when she caught his expression. "...I'm joking," she said slowly, puzzled. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing," said the Prince quickly, looking ahead again. Farah went on watching him, but then at last also turned away.

"No, I'm not married," she went on. "...Suitors are a rarity in times of war." He heard nothing after I'm not married; at that, the uncomfortable tension in his chest uncoiled and he exhaled somewhat heavily.

You're pathetic, you know that? The Prince barely resisted an annoyed frown, slightly startled by the snide voice that had actually remained silent for the last half hour. Decidedly ignoring it, he turned his attention back to Farah as she went on to inquire about his taste in literature.