Princess's Secret Baby(2)

By: Carol Marinelli



Zayn had thrown Jasmine’s lover out into the night and Jasmine had made the decision to follow him. Their mother, to this day, had Zayn almost eaten alive with guilt over the repercussions.

Leila’s fingers revealed the screams that had filled the palace when the terrible news had hit that a car accident had left the young princess and her lover dead.

With not a word uttered, Leila exposed the truth of that night, with her musical talent.

‘Khalas!’ Her mother stood and screamed for her daughter to stop; she screamed for salvation. Farrah grabbed at the harp and sent it clattering to the floor, and as Leila’s stood to retrieve her most beloved possession, it was then that her mother said it—‘I wish that it had been you!’

Leila’s golden eyes met the furious gaze of her mother’s, willing her to retract, silently begging Farrah to break down and take back what she had just said, but instead her mother clarified her words past the point of no return.

‘I wish it had been you who died that night, Leila.’

Now Leila drew in a breath, now she fought back.

‘You fail to surprise me, for you have wished me dead from the moment that I was born.’ Leila’s voice did not waver nor did it betray the agony of the truth behind each word that she spoke. ‘You have never wanted me. Even as I nursed at your breast your milk tasted sour from your resentment.’ Leila knew that might sound an illogical statement, but as far back as she could remember Leila had known that she wasn’t wanted.

‘It was the maids who fed you,’ her mother, blameless to the last, said. ‘It must have been one of their milk that was sour with resentment. They always complained you were such a greedy baby.’

Leila wished there was no gravity; she just wanted to leave the earth, to be lifted to space, to disappear.

Yet her feet stayed on the ground.

As she somehow must.

‘Sadly for you, Mother, I didn’t die that night. I’m alive. I have a life and I have already wasted far too much of it trying to win your love. Well, no more.’

Her mother said nothing and Leila turned on her heel and walked past her father, who sat with his head in his hands. It hurt that he had done nothing to intervene. Yes, Leila understood that his brain was still addled with grief even all these years after Jasmine’s death, but his silence in this argument spoke volumes.

Her jewelled slippers made no sound on the marble floor as Leila swiftly walked and there was a notable absence of her mother’s footsteps running behind her.

Hurt heaped on top of hurt as her mother made no attempt to follow her youngest daughter and try to take back those cruel words. Leila wanted her mother to tell her that she was mistaken, that she was loved.

Leila passed the family portraits in the long hallway as she made her way to her suite. Always she walked quickly at this point, always she did her best not to look at the paintings that hurt so very much, but surely nothing more could hurt her now.

Leila slowed down and came to a halt and turned.

There on the walls of the palace was her history. There, for all to see, was the truth that Leila had always known and tonight had been cruelly confirmed.

The first painting that she examined was a large family portrait. Her parents were sitting in far happier times; her mother was holding Zayn and smiling as she gazed at the baby who would one day be king.

Leila adored her older brother. Zayn loathed injustice and had stepped in over and over for Leila. Growing up he had done all he could to shield her, and his protectiveness towards his youngest sister had only increased since Jasmine’s death.

Her mother blamed Zayn for what had happened to Jasmine too.

He carried not just the grief of losing his sister, whom he had been closer in age with than Leila, but he carried the blame for her death. Leila’s heart broke for him too.

Did she wish that Zayn was here tonight though?

No.

For there was nothing that Zayn could do to protect her from this.

He could not force their mother to love.

Leila’s eyes moved to the next portrait and there was Jasmine—wearing her famous cheeky smile that her mother so often spoke about.

It wasn’t a cheeky smile, Leila thought with a shiver; it was manipulative, for she had been on the receiving end of it often.

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