CHAPTER 34 - PART 3 – Glinda
“I cannot believe you sent my sister on a wild goose chase!”
I was beyond frustrated with Gregory.
“What did you want me to say, Lin? That there was no magical Wizard of Oz? That it was a ruse made up so that I could come into Emerald City and be close to you without anyone knowing?”
“Why didn’t you just say that you would permit for Dorothy to leave?”
He ground his teeth, “First off, that bitch lied, the third trustee is not Nessa Rose. Second, how was I to know what Dorothy wanted? She had just destroyed the majority of our crops!”
“So, you just refused to see her, and now we are in this mess,” my head was starting to pound. “What are we going to do now?”
“We are going to see your father, which is what you girls should have done in the first place.”
Self-righteous son of a gun, “I did suggest that we go to Daddy, but my sisters were insistent that they could take care of it.”
A vein in Gregory’s forehead threatened to burst.
“Your sisters are three of the most pig headed, stubborn women on the face of the earth. They would walk into hell, barefoot, before asking for help.”
“That wasn’t nice!”
Although he wasn’t wrong, and I too had the stubborn streak of independence.
“We have a mass murder on the loose, Lin. The time for nice has long since passed,” Gregory sighed, blowing out an exasperated breath. “I am sorry, I don’t mean to take my frustration out on you.”
He ran a hand through his tousled blonde curls. Then turning to me sheepishly, he added, “And I am sorry I locked your sister in the dungeon. She just rubs me the wrong way.”
I didn’t want my sister rubbing Gregory in any way. But I kept that to myself.
“You called me,” I said softly, “instead of leaving her there. Thank you for that.”
“Listen,” Gregory’s eyes were insistent, “I know that you wanted space.”
I raised a hand, “No, not here. I’m not ready to talk about it yet.”
The fact of the matter was, that Gregory has been trying to marry me for years now. I think he proposed for the first time when I was eleven. We all grew up together in a way. But my sisters hated him, and there was no end to the nasty tricks played on both sides.
I have always felt a bit disconnected from my sisters. My eldest sister, Mombi, was always so assured and confident. The twins had each other. It was odd, the way they had often communicated without speaking a word.
And then I came. Think about the timid kid, who got so tongue-tied, that they hardly ever spoke and when they did it, was always a garbled mess.
That was me.
Or, I should say, that is me.
Gregory and I initially bonded over the fact that my sisters didn’t like either of us. But over the years, I started to develop feelings for the handsome farmer. He was the Prince of Sapphire City, a vast metropolis, and he didn’t mind getting dirty with his laborers.
I could respect that.
Gregory made sure that the widows and orphans had homes. And he worked day and night to assure the safety of his borders. He was a magnificent ruler.
Because of the conflict between him and my sisters, he had devised a disguise as the mysterious Wizard of Oz. They had no interest in him, and therefore, he could come to Emerald City when his schedule allowed, and we would meet in secret.
Only, Gregory was getting impatient with me. He wanted me as his wife, and as much as I thought I wanted that as well, I wasn’t sure if I was making the right choice giving up my birthright. I could not be a ruler of Oz and the Princess of Sapphire City. One would always suffer, and I wasn’t willing to make anyone sacrifice because of my choices.
We were at a stalemate. So, I asked Gregory to wait for me while I ruled Quadling Country, the southern territory of Oz.
“I know you don’t want to talk about it, Lin,” he said gently. “But we have to at some point. I’ve come to a decision.”
I shiver of fear raced up my spine, “What is it?”
“It is unfair of me to ask you to give up your birthright. I’ve thought long and hard about what I could do to make this better, but the truth is, that maybe we were never meant to be.”
“Are you,” a sob caught in my throat, “Breaking up with me?”
Gregory took my hands and I felt the frisson of awareness that always came to me when he was near.
“I am letting you go,” his words were gruff. “I have no right to hold you back.”
This could not be happening. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever see this coming. Although, I really should have. Gregory, if anything, was fair. And he loved me.
“I thought you loved me,” I whispered, trying to pull my hands away.
He tightened his grip, “You know that I do.”
“Is this because we haven’t slept together?” I was grasping at straws, “Because I will do it. Right now, if you want.”
I could see the shock, hope, and outrage flash across his handsome face.
“Glinda, do you honestly think that I am the kind of man who would do that?”
“So, that is it then?” my voice sounded strangely hollow to my ears. “We're through.”
Gregory’s jaw tightened, and I involuntarily lifted my hand to touch his cheek, but he flinched away.
Never had he shrank from my touch before. He was serious.
I whipped away from him, striding across the grass and away from the horses that had brought with us.
“Lin, where are you going?” he demanded.
But I ignored him, not wanting Gregory to realize that tears were now streaming down my face.
He doesn’t want me anymore.
He doesn’t want me.
Perhaps, he doesn’t love me.
I never told him how much I love him.
I collapsed in a heap on the side of a riverbed, leaning over the edge, I caught my swollen blotchy reflection in the clear water and made a face.
Gregory had thankfully stayed with the horses. I couldn’t face him at the moment. I needed space.
“Why are you so sad pretty lady?”
I tipped my head up to see a water sprite staring at me with a bemused expression.
I grimaced, “I have just lost the one person in the world that really understands me.”
The sprite flipped her hand, causing water droplets to fling across the grass, “What is lost can easily be found again.”
“He doesn’t love me anymore,” I whispered, “I pushed him away.”
“Pull him back,” she cocked her head. “Surely a beautiful girl like yourself should have no trouble getting a man to follow her anywhere.”
I flushed, “I am not sure what you mean.”
Her tinkling laugh brought a small smile to my lips.
“Sex darling, you need to seduce the man.”
“But I have never,” I broke off blushing madly.
“You have the right parts I assume?” she asked pointedly.
“I am a female,” I retorted.
“Well, use those feminine wiles. He won’t know what hit him. I guarantee he won’t be lost for long.”
“Do you really think so?”
The sprite pushed a wave of water at me, drenching every inch of my skin.
“Argh! Why did you do that?” I nearly screamed.
She indicated to my now, see through shirt. My nipples were fully present and had started to bead up from the cold.
“That should help you, now on your way pretty lady. The night draws near, and the temperatures are falling.”
Sure enough, I noticed it had been getting darker. I turned to thank her, but the sprite was gone, and only the small river remained.
“Where have you been?” Gregory’s angry voice interrupted me, and I hopped to my feet.
“I am sorry. I was upset, and then there was a water sprite.”
But I could tell that he wasn’t listening to a word I said. Gregory’s eyes were glued to a specific part of my anatomy that was on full display.
“Gregory?” I demanded.
His eyes flew to mine, and I will never forget the intense look of lust in them.
Maybe the sprite knew what she was talking about after all.