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Chapter 24: Trouble Comes Knocking

"My dear husband, I'm glad you asked."

Daphne placed her much smaller hand in his, willing herself not to flinch as he placed his other hand on her waist. There were countless eyes staring at her, waiting for her to make a mistake. She wouldn't give them the satisfaction.

Atticus took a step forward, and they were off. Daphne felt years of dance practice take over instinctively, as she matched his movements step for step, beat for beat, in unison to the melody of the violins. Her dress flared out as she twirled.

As they spun around the dance floor, the lights around them blurred like they were stars. She could fuzzily make out a few more couples joining them when the herald prompted. Slowly, more and more people joined them, surrounding Daphne and Atticus, who were dancing right in the middle.

They were the star, the main attraction. And for once, it didn't feel like too bad of a thing.

Atticus was a great dancer. He moved with expertise, leading them into swirls, dips, and turns. And when the music came to an end, Daphne and Atticus were pressed up against each other. Smiles had unknowingly crept up both their faces, their foreheads slightly shiny with a thin layer of perspiration.

"Quite a nimble dancer you are, Your Majesty," Daphne teased. There must've been something in the air for Daphne felt light, as though she was floating on cloud nine.

"Not so bad yourself." He smiled.

A wave of applause surrounded them but for a brief moment, none of that mattered. Daphne was still riding the adrenaline from their dance, so when Atticus had offered a hand out to her to lead her to a corner, she didn't hesitate and took it instantly.

"Wait here," he instructed. "I'll get us something to drink." When he saw the glint that flashed in Daphne's eyes, he added, "And see that?" Atticus pointed to something a distance from them.

Daphne followed where he was pointing to, only to see two guards positioned right in front of the main door. As she looked around, it seemed clearer and clearer that every exit had been blocked off by Atticus's men.

"Don't waste your breath, sunshine," Atticus said. "Wait for me."

The king quickly disappeared after, blocked by throngs of people that immediately rushed forward to socialize once they realized that the king and queen had momentarily separated. Daphne squinted at the women that had wormed their way to Atticus's side. She might not be in love with that man but it didn't mean that she enjoyed sharing.

The fact that these women were comfortable enough to attempt to seduce her husband in their pitiful attempts at flattery showed that they didn't respect her or her authority. And to add salt to a wound, her husband seemed to be taking his own sweet time with the drinks.

'What a shame,' Daphne thought. 'It would've been a good opportunity to escape.'

"Might I interest Her Highness with a drink?" A voice spoke in a tone much higher than Atticus's voice.

Daphne spun around, alarmed. When she came face to face with a dashing young man, her eyebrows furrowed. Wrinkles appeared on her forehead as she frowned, taking a step back to create some distance between herself and the mysterious man.

"It depends," she said. "Who's offering?"

The man smiled, showing off his pearly white teeth.

"Apologies, Your Highness," he said, placing a hand over the left side of his chest where his heart should be, dipping into a bow. "Eugene Attonson, at your service."

"Lord Attonson," Daphne greeted. "Happy to make your acquaintance."

She didn't recognize the face but the name, at least, Daphne had heard of even back in Reaweth. The disabled son of the viscount family, the boy that climbed to the top of the ladder only because of his older brother's untimely death.

It was hard to forget such a name when all that the maids spoke about were of his rumors. Many gossiped about how it was Eugene that murdered his brother due to jealousy and ambition. However, no one ever found out the truth since the man was hidden well in Vramid, a land no one outside dared to enter needlessly.

"Forgive me for intruding so carelessly but it seemed like His Majesty had left for a period of time," Eugene said. "It didn't seem like he was returning anytime soon, so I took the liberty to bring something back for Your Highness."

Daphne eyed Eugene, then the drink he held out in his hand. He had another identical cup, both filled with what seemed like wine.

The smile he wore on his face seemed genuine enough, but Daphne knew that it was just a basic skill to have when in the ranks of nobility. All smiles had to look sincere, all words had to be polite. However, not everyone would have good intentions.

Daphne took the glass.

"Thank you for the kind thought, Lord Attonson."

She didn't drink from it, though. And Daphne didn't miss the way the viscount's eyes had flickered to look at her drink for a fraction of a second. A sinking feeling weighed down in her stomach.

Where was Atticus when she needed him?

"The drink isn't poisoned, if that's what you're wondering," Eugene said with a slight chuckle.

Her wariness had been obvious and Daphne wasn't surprised that he noticed it. She was, however, shocked that he had voiced out his thoughts. That was what piqued her interest.

"Lord Attonson, you're surely not what I expected you'll be like," she slowly said.

This time, it was his turn to look surprised. "Because I am not Edward Attonson?"

"No," Daphne answered immediately. "Because you're much bolder than what the rumors made you out to be."

Eugene smirked. "Correct me if I am wrong, my queen, but the rumors state that I am a murderer that spilled my own blood just to get a mere title." There was something dark hidden in his expression but it came and went so quickly that Daphne thought she had hallucinated it all. "Is that not bold enough?"

"It most certainly pales in comparison to the disrespect you're showing," a new voice added.

A hand came to rest on Daphne's shoulder, her back pressed against someone else's body. She didn't need to turn back to know that her husband had finally decided to show up to her rescue, though she did anyway.

He sure did take his damn own sweet time.

A menacing glint flitted across Atticus's eyes. Eugene was by no means a short nor small man but when compared to Atticus, the latter seemed like a giant with his bulging muscles and intimidating height.

"How dare you speak to my wife."

saltedpepper saltedpepper

Someone's possessive...

Do let me know if you are enjoying this book so far!

New book available (*¯︶¯*)

Marry My Billionaire Second Husband

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