Ajax looked up from the letter as he finished reading it. His unfathomable eyes searched for Charisse. He found her almost immediately. Her silhouette was bent over something on the ground, a flowerbed, and he knew she’d found what he wanted her to look for. She brushed away some flower petals, and found a box. She opened it as Ajax approached her.
“A dress?” Charisse asked, holding the red dress in her hands. “Red…”
“Red is your color,” Ajax answered. “But put that aside first.”
As usual, she did as he told her to. She folded the dress and placed it neatly inside the box again, closing the lid.
Much to her surprise, Ajax pulled her into his arms. He held her in a tight embrace, but didn’t say anything.
“You read it,” she said.
“I did. I’m sorry to have made you feel that way. Do I look sad to you?”
“You do sometimes. And…”
“I heard some servants call you ‘Your Majesty’. Ajax, you…are you…”
“Am I what?” He prompted her to finish speaking, even though he knew what she was about to ask.
“Are you the king?”
“I am.” He didn’t release his hold on her as he said so.
“Then…” She placed her hands on his chest and gently pushed herself away. She knelt before him. “Your Majesty, please forgive me for my insolence.”
“…” Ajax was speechless at her action. He gawked at her for a moment, frozen. Then, he hugged her again. “You don’t call me that.” For the first time, his voice seemed to lose some of its calmness. “Don’t you call me that. Without you, I wouldn’t even be here.”
“You never used ‘Your Majesty’ to address me,” he said. “You are my queen.”
“I was queen?”
“You still are. And you had danced into my palace long ago, in that very dress.”