“Let me kiss you, my lovely queen,” Runoi says as he pecks his love on the cheek. His insides are churning, though, for what he’s about to ask her.
But he will do it over a full belly. “Come with me for I have much to say to you, my rose petal. I want to treat you to a special lunch at The Tiki Torch. You know you love the atmosphere there.”
Eyeing him with adoration, Kalani says, “What is all of this, my sweet mate? I love you with all my heart, but I’m quite busy. I have a meeting with Temon.”
Pulling her over to sit, Runoi throws on his charm. “Oh, so you’d rather spend time with that barbaric killjoy than spend some precious time with me? I see how it is now.”
Pumping his arm, Runoi adds, “Look at what you’ll be missing, darling. Need I remind you what a stunning specimen I am?”
“Seriously, Runoi, what’s gotten into you?”
“Nothing at all. I just want to shower you with my love…and my most excellent body later.” He winks knowing the effect it will have on her.
Rolling her eyes, she huffs, “Fine. I’ll reschedule my meeting for tomorrow then.” She kisses him on the cheek, so thankful he still thinks of her like he did back when they were young and he was wooing her amongst all her other suitors.
Unfortunately, no sooner had they finished their lunch, Runoi blurts out his request.
But Kalani takes it exactly as he feared she would. Her eyebrows draw in angrily. “How dare you manipulate me like this, Runoi. You didn’t want to shower me with love. You wanted to butter me up. Well it didn’t work. Absolutely not. You will never leave Tribe Wahine. Is that clear?”
Raising his hand, he backpedals. “Whoa! You’re taking this all wrong, darling. I just wanted us to talk rationally in a private place. I did want to spend some private time with you. This was not about buttering you up. Won’t you listen to what I have to say at least? Do I not deserve that attention after all these suns together?”
Sitting back and crossing her arms, she says, “Fine. I’m listening.”
“Queen Hawika’s situation is desperate. She called for ALL fighting Amazons and slaves. Am I not a slave, my lovely darling? Do I not have muscles that could aid in the fight? Yes, I can cook, but I’ve had a bit of sword training in my youth as well as I am very industrious and can lend a hand in tactical administration. Kandor would listen to my advice and welcome it.”
Setting her jaw, Kalani hisses, “You would get yourself killed. The answer is still no.”
“You aren’t even listening to me. How fair is that?” Runoi spits.
“This is not about fairness, Runoi, it’s about your life. Even Kandor told me to never allow you to join the army. Did you not even listen to him?”
“The situation was different when he left. We are at war now. If the other side wins, I won’t see you or our daughters anymore. Is that what you want, Kalani? Allow me to help and preserve the little dignity I have left as a man.”
Tears welling up in Kalani’s eyes, she shakes her head. Kalani has never had a cross word with Runoi before. This fight stings her at the core.
She’s so upset her mate would even entertain the idea in the first place. And she’s hurt he’d even want to leave. Now she understands Ina’s feelings on the matter. But Horus is a hulking man who would be an asset to the army. Runoi was bred as a breeding slave. They are very different people. There’s no debating this further.
Pointing at him, she declares, “For the good of the tribe and yourself, my answer is no. Drop it Runoi. At once. Do your duty to the tribe and our family. That is your only obligation.”
With that, she jerks the chair back and storms out of the room.
“Good Maker, that didn’t go well at all,” Runoi mumbles to himself. Mixed feelings of anger and helplessness rush through him. How can Kalani not see the desperation of their situation? He is destined to sit back while others fight for a cause so dear to him. It’s unfathomable.
Makana notices something off with her parents. Usually when they’re even five feet away, one of them is either eyeing the other in an embarrassing way or they at least blow kisses. Tonight, they won’t even look at each other let alone speak.
And just now when her mother passed by her father, she glared then looked away.
Catching her eye, Runoi asks, “What is it, princess?”
Sitting on the couch, she pats the space beside her. “Daddy, I know something’s wrong. Did you and Mother have a fight?”
Arching an eyebrow, Runoi says, “Your mother is a very beautiful woman and I love her very much, but she can be so remarkably, infuriatingly stubborn sometimes.”
“I do know how stubborn she is,” Makana agrees. “What happened?”
Shaking his head, he says, “All I asked was to be allowed to join in the fight against the rebel forces. It’s hard for me to sit here and do nothing when others are ready to join in the fight. If our side doesn’t win, our family will be ripped apart.”
“But Daddy, you aren’t a fighting man. What good would it be if you lost your life? That would hurt us worse than if you had to leave. At least then, we’d get to visit you.”
“Makana, there’s an old saying, it’s not the size of the Amazon in a fight but the size of the fight in the Amazon. I have heart enough for this, my dearest daughter. But no one believes in me.”
His words pierce Makana’s heart. He’s right. No matter what happens, he should be given the right to fight if he so wishes it. Obviously, he yearns to help. Maybe she could talk to her mother for him.
Knives slice through Mist’s back and through her stomach. It is time. The baby is about to arrive.
When she tells Temon, he is beside himself. “Are you sure? What should I do?”
But she’s overcome by another wave of pain and she bolts to the nursery.
Hours later, their daughter arrives. “We’ll call you Meadow for you are as lovely as the green grass and beautiful wild flowers!”
Temon cannot believe this day has come. And she’s as beautiful as her mother with her shiny silver hair. But she has his dark eyes.
A tingle of pride flows through him. He’s never felt such love for another person in his life. “You will be well cared for, my dear sweet princess. And showered with all my adoration.”