Faolen couldn't sleep that night. His body was still humming from his moment with the prince earlier, and energy was pounding through him. It was late, and he should already be sleeping, but he wasn't tired.
Cullen would kill him if he knew what he'd done, of course. Faolen had been too forward, he would say, had gone too far to ascertain Aran's feelings. But hearing his friend's voice chastising him in his mind didn't—couldn't—make him regret his decision. Aran had kissed back, which was almost more than Faolen had even hoped for.
But that taste had left him wanting for more, and how was Faolen supposed to sleep when he could only imagine ignoring Aran's half-hearted protests and taking their kiss further? He couldn't. He wasn't even sure that he really wanted to.
There was a knock at his door, and he sat up abruptly.
Maybe it was the prince, unable to sleep for the same reasons he was and hoping for some relief. "Come in!"
He grinned, but the expression faded as quickly as it had come when the door opened to reveal a slight boy with auburn curls. Faolen couldn't be sure in the dark, but he looked like the boy who had been guiding them around for the past few days. A servant, not a prince.
The boy bowed. "I'm sorry. I heard some noise in here and was concerned. Are you unable to sleep?"
"Uh…I suppose so. Why?"
"Is there anything I can do to help you?"
"I doubt it."
The servant nodded slowly. "If you're sure. I'm only sleeping in the next room if you need anything."
Faolen watched him leave before falling back against his pillow. What noise had he made that would send someone to his room? He was awake, but he hadn't thought he was being all that loud.
He rolled onto his side and stared at the stone wall instead of the ceiling. The change didn't make him any sleepier, but he was more comfortable for the moment. Hopefully that didn't mean he was in for a whole night of tossing and turning in bed. He needed proper rest.
Rain could still be heard tapping against the roofs, walls, and windows of the barracks, though, so it was entirely possible that he wouldn't need the sleep for a fight the next morning. He could always hope.
He yawned and shut his eyes. At the very least, he was warm and comfortable. That was a pretty good substitute for sleep, wasn't it?
Faolen woke to the sound of raindrops against his window and sat up slowly. He could still see dark rainclouds outside, and considering that he hadn't been woken, he could only assume that the tournament had yet to resume.
He stretched his arms over his head and stood up to loosen up the rest of his muscles before going in search of breakfast. He wasn't sure if the prince would be interested in another sparring session after what had happened before, but there was no harm in being limber, just in case.
He reached over to touch his toes when the door to his room opened again. Faolen stood up quickly to see the same servant from the night before standing in the doorway, looking about ready to run at the slightest provocation.
Faolen gave him a smile. It was easy, and he was hoping the poor boy could relax. There was no reason for him to look so panicked.
The smile didn't do much, but the boy gave him a forced smile in return. "Good morning," he said. "It was getting late in the day, and no one had seen you yet, so I was sent to see if you wanted breakfast."
"No tournament today?" he asked, just to make sure.
The boy shook his head. "No. The weather is still too poor. Perhaps tomorrow. The rain does not seem as fierce as it was yesterday."
They looked at each other silent before the servant cleared his throat and said, "Um, about breakfast…"
"Oh, of course. Yes, I would be much obliged if I could have breakfast."
"Then I will retrieve it for you now." The boy disappeared out the door with a short bow and Faolen looked at the open doorway for a moment before leaning down again, pondering his attitude.
Maybe he hadn't been scared. Faolen had never really had a servant before, despite Cullen's protestations, so for all he knew, he was acting entirely normally. If that was the case, he hoped it wasn't Aran who made him act that way. For someone who had, by all accounts, been a sweet, docile child, the prince had grown up unusually bitter and irritable.
But terrifying servants had to be a bit much, even for him. Faolen wasn't sure he could even convince himself that Aran was responsible for such a thing. Perhaps his father; the king was the type do terrifying everyone beneath him, even his own son.
He had never met the man in person, so it was entirely possibly that such an opinion was ridiculous, but Faolen had heard more than enough stories about it. Cullen refused to even listen to anything about the man any more—and Faolen couldn't blame him for it.
Maybe one day, Aran would make things better.
A/N: I don't even know about this chapter. I really, really, hate it. On the other hand, the rain stops next chapter! Yayyyyy. Questions: um...Jeez. Just tell me what you thought about the chapter. What you think about the story as a whole. Come on guys, I need feedback. It motivates me.