In Product of Love part 6: The Arbor Meeting, Adrianna and Dereck meet in the north arbor. What will happen? Haven’t read any of Product of Love yet? Here is the first chapter of it: https://www.victoriamayburybooks.ca/2020/02/15/the-product-of-love-gills-backstory/ Happy reading!
Product of Love Part 6: The Arbor Meeting
Adrianna paced underneath the canopy of the trees. Why was she here? She knew she should be deciding whether or not she would marry the son of the most powerful mage in the city but instead she was here waiting for a man that she barely knew yet felt like she’d known him for a lifetime.
The wind rustled the leaves overhead and set off a windchime that tinkled a clear and beautiful melody. Adrianna listened to the melody as it drifted along the breeze and began to hum along with it.
Suddenly, there was the snap of a twig behind her. Adrianna spun around with a smile pulling on her lips. She froze when she saw a flash of silver hair and amber eyes.
“Hello? Do I know you?” She called out to male mage before her.
The mage’s eyes crinkled slightly as he spoke. “It has been awhile, Adrianna, but I wouldn’t have thought you’d forget me so easily.”
Adrianna’s mind whirled as she tried to remember where she’d seen this mage before. She shook her head shyly. “I’m sorry, sir, I don’t remember meeting you. I’ve been studying for the work placement exam, so even if we had been introduced I wouldn’t have remembered.”
“Well then, let me re-introduce myself.” The mage’s eyes turned cold as he did the customary bow from his waist. “I am Toshi Dai, son of Yoshiro Dai of the Dai family. I’ve also been called –“
“The strongest mage of Delgart.” Finished Adrianna in a hushed tone. “Yes, it has been awhile, Sir Dai.” As she stepped closer to the mage, she saw a shock of yellow hair coming around a tree. Adrianna’s heart began to pound, she couldn’t let Toshi find Dereck here, he’d. . . . Her breath caught in her throat. He’d kill him.
Toshi eyed her much like a cat eyes its prey. “How did you find me?” Adrianna forced a small smile on her face as she took another step closer to him.”
The Dai smiled in a proud way as he answered, “I have many benefits with my father being the head of the board. These benefits may include access to the security cameras of the arbors.”
“Do you find watching the trees peaceful?” Adrianna grasped at things to say as she saw the shock of yellow hair again, this time closer.
“No, but I have been trying to find you and it has come to my attention that you enjoy the arbors for some reason.” As he spoke, his eyes narrowed ever so slightly. “I have heard of the choice set before you, Adrianna. Being accepted to the board of mages at such a young age is a prestigious award.”
“Do you truly believe I have the wisdom to aid in leading this city?” Adrianna moved back from the encroaching Toshi. “I would rather teach music, unfettered and without the duties of a wife.”
As she waited for her words to sink into the mage, she scanned the trees behind him, straining to see Dereck’s hair. The mage’s amber eyes hardened at her words as he seethed.
“I will have you, Adrianna. Whether you decide to play with your little harps or take your rightful place by my side on the board, it will only be a matter of time.”
Adrianna straightened her spine as she reflected her mother’s stern tone. “You forget your place, Sir Dai. You are not my king, do not act like it.”
At that, she turned away from him spitting out one more thing. “If you wish to have any chance at “having me” as you so put it, leave the arbor immediately.” She waited, unsure how the mage would act, but to her surprise, he left without a word.
Adrianna felt the tears on her cheeks as she shuddered. What had she done? The Dai family did not take kindly to be insulted or being told no. She leaned against the tree as her mind raced. How would she fix this mess?
“Who was that?”
Dereck’s gentle voice jolted Adrianna from her dark thoughts. She wiped her eyes as she answered bitterly. “My future husband, apparently.”
“Apparently? You’d think you’d know who you’re getting married to. Maybe that is a Dasicain thing.”
“No,” Adrianna sniffled, “We do that here too, but I’m just a special case.”
“How so?” His green eyes glowed with empathy that for some reason made Adrianna feel worse.
“My parents are on the board of Mages that run the city and everything within it.” She sniffled before continuing. “The board had decided that I’d be best for the city as the newest board member, but I’d rather work in the musical department. My parents knew of my love for music so pulled some strings to give me that as a choice but, there was a condition I had to comply with. I have to marry that mage, who is the closest thing to royalty in this city.”
Silence covered the arbor as Adrianna wept silently until Dereck broke it.
“Why don’t you just leave?” He asked quietly, his eyes exploring the foliage around them.
Adrianna shook her head hoplessly, “That would dishonor my family and besisdes where would I go?” She turned to look at the human before her.
“Come with me?” He grinned at her, his eyes flashing with excitement. Adrianna laughed at the absurdity of his idea. She studied his face for a second and then stood up in shock.
“You’re serious aren’t you?” Her amber eyes widened with the thought of being free but then common sense returned. “No, we barely know each other and I don’t know anything about living outside of this city.”
Dereck shrugged. “Just a thought. I’ll be here for three more days.”
“And then what?”
His shoulders dropped as if a heavy weight had been placed upon them. “Then, I move my uncle back to my farm. The taxes here are too steep for him to keep up with payments.”
Adrianna stared in silence as the human’s words sunk in. “If I was on the board –“
“But I –“
“No, Adrianna,” Dereck’s voice was firm. “Even if you could convince them to reduce taxes, we would already be gone before you could implement it.” His toned softened as he continued. “I won’t be the reason you choose the job you hate.”
“I hate both options, Dereck.” Adrianna shrugged as she looked him straight in his green eyes. “Just have to decide which I hate more.”
“Well, what instruments do you play?”
“Just answer the question.”
“Harp, piano and flute. Do you play anything?” Adrianna asked, feeling embarrassed.
“I can sort of play the trumpet.” Dereck grinned. “Normally, there are too many interruptions to get any practice in.”
“Must be busy, owning a farm.” Adrianna commented, trying to be coy but failing.
“Well, business has been booming these past few years. I actually came here to take a break from it all.” He leaned against the tree. “I also happen to have a harp and a piano at the farm.”
Adrianna chuckled, “Is that a hint, Mr. Preslar?”
“And if it is, Highness?”
She turned to look at him, raising an eyebrow in the process. “Then perhaps I’ll need to come and make sure they are up to snuff.”
“Would your husband let you?”
Adrianna made a face at the thought of Toshi being her anything. “I’m not marrying him. He isn’t my type.”
Dereck’s eyes flicked back to her face from studying the trees. “Oh? Is his hair not silver enough for your taste?”
“No,” She chuckled. “He is too tall for me. I’d prefer someone my height.”
At this, Dereck inched closer to Adrianna. “Someone like my height?”
Adrianna smiled coyly, “Maybe.” She turned to look at the sky. It was a kaliediscope of oranges and reds with cotton candy clouds. Realization of how late it was hit her like a pile of bricks. “I need to go, you need to go, before the guards coming.”
“Already?” He looked at the sky as a frown creased his brows. “Will I get to see you tomorrow?”
Adrianna looked at the human’s hopeful eyes and sighed. She shouldn’t. “I don’t know.” She finally managed to say. She heard the sounds of footsteps coming near them. “You need to go now.” She pushed him away back the way he came.
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