Enigma – episode 8

Chapter 8
What now? He thought. His astonishment increased when the driver of the first car got out and hurried to open the back door and Alberta stepped out. At the same time several guards got out of the other
car. Alberta approached him.
“Alberta, what are you doing here?” he asked She swept past him and into the house, then turned back to him. “Where else would I be but with my husband in his home?” Her gaze went around the room. “And it appears to be a very nice home.”
“What about your parents? Do they know you’re here?” At that moment the driver appeared in the doorway with two suitcases.
Alberta motioned him in,side. “Would you like to tell me what’s going on?”
“There’s nothing going on. I’m where I belong – with my husband.” She said “And your father has given his blessing to you being here?”
She quickly looked down at her hands in her lap. “Not exactly. Right after you left, my mother insisted I see the physician and get a complete check-up.”
“And everything is all right?” he asked urgently.
“Oh, yes, after I had my check-up, I had a discussion with my mother.”
“You did not tell her the truth, I hope.” “No, I kept my promise to you and didn’t tell her the truth. But after talking to her, I realized I needed to speak with my father once again, so I went back to his office to talk to him.”
She laced, then unlaced her hands in her lap, looking down once again. “He was still very angry … more angry than I’ve ever seen him in my life.
“Then you shouldn’t be here.” Mike stood. “You need to go back.” The last thing Mike wanted was to be the cause of a permanent break between daughter and father.
“I will not go back. My place is here with you.” Once again she raised her chin and eyed him with a steely resolve he’d never seen before.
“You are Princess Alberta and you belong at the palace,” he exclaimed.
“I am Alberta Nasir and I belong wherever you are,” she countered.
“I am an outcast, Alberta. I have been banished from the palace grounds. I have lost my job.” “Then you will find a new job,” she said briskly.
The next morning, knock on the front door. Frowning, Mike got up from the sofa and went to the front door. He was surprised to see two armed palace guards. Mike recognized them both, although he knew neither very well. “Yes?” He looked at them expectantly.
“Mike, we are to esc-rt you back to the palace,” the eldest guard said. Alberta joined Mike at the door and grabbed his arm, a beatific smile lighting her face. A bad feeling filled him as he stared out the window at the approaching palace gates.
His instincts were scre-ming that something was wrong – something was terribly wrong. If King Enoch had changed his mind about Mike’s banishment, he wouldn’t have sent armed guards to esc-rt him back to the palace.
Alberta sat next to Mike in the back of the car, her heart filled with a new joy. Her father was going to relent. She was sure of it. He would relent and apologize to Mike and everything would be wonderful.
“You must decide what frightens you more … your father’s anger, or being without the man you love.”
Franca’s words had played and replayed in Alberta’s head and after
Surprisingly little thought, she’d known which frightened her more.
The car pulled up in front of the palace and Alberta and Mike were esc-rted in,side.
To her surprise, they were not taken into her father’s private office where they had spoken to him that morning, but rather into the grand chamber – the room used for official business and to greet visiting dignitaries.
For the first time since the two guards had appeared at Mike’s house, a sense of disquiet swept through Alberta. Perhaps her father had not relented after all. The guards took positions in the back of the room, leaving Alberta and Mike alone before the dais and the throne from which King Enoch Kamal ruled his country.
“I can’t imagine what’s going on,” she whispered to Mike, who stood at attention as if prepared to face a firing squad. “I don’t understand why we were brought in here,” she said, her anxiety growing by the minute.
At that moment her father entered the room.
When they had met with him earlier he had been dressed casually, but now he was dressed formally, Alberta’s stomach tied itself in knots as he took his seat on the throne. His gaze meeting neither hers nor Mike’s, Franca entered next and sat in the smaller chair next to his,
“Guards,” King Enoch bellowed.
“Please bring in our visitors.” Visitors? Alberta turned around to see two Calista officials between the two Aristo guards.
What on earth was going on? The tension in the room was positively air-stealing. “Father?” Alberta looked at King Enoch worriedly.
“These men are here to speak with Mike.
Mike, this is Inspector Abel and Inspector Abraham from Calista Royal Security,” King Enoch said. “Mike?” The shorter of the two spoke. “I’m Inspector Abel.” He was a swarthy looking man with little eyes and instantly Alberta didn’t like him.
“Yes?” He eyed the two men. “What can I do for you?” “We’re here to ask you some questions about Lexis,” Inspector Abel explained.
Lexis? Alberta’s thoughts whirled. Was it possible that Lexis was pressing charges against Mike for the incident last night in the restaurant?
If this was the case, Alberta desperately hoped the wh0le thing didn’t spin out of control. “What about him?” Mike replied. The two inspectors exchanged glances with each other. “What exactly is this all about?” Alberta asked. She focused her question to the taller of
the two, Inspector Abraham.
“We understand that you and Lexis had an altercation in the Glass Swan Restaurant yesterday evening,” Inspector Abel said.
“We did,” Mike answered. “He insulted the princess and I felt he needed to be taught some manners.” He looked from one to the other of the inspectors. “Has Lexis decided to press charges? Is that what this is all about?”
“I’m afraid Lexis won’t be pressing much of anything. He was found dead this morning in his guest house,” Inspector Abraham exclaimed.

To be continued

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