Tiara was waiting in the palatial anteroom along with other few people wanting to visit Kristopher. The other few people also included the Chief Courtier along with his dwarfy assistant. After a few minutes, a guard came from inside and insinuated something to the busy receptionist in denial.
The plump receptionist took her eyes off the papers she was shuffling and announced perfunctorily, “The time for meetings is done for today. Visitors are requested to find their way tomorrow. Timings remain the same.”
The Chief Courtier, disgruntled, got up sulking and walked out in anger mumbling all sorts of taunts. While everyone started leaving with weary faces, Tiara stood there amidst the frantic, observing the receptionist, the guard standing by the door to Kristopher’s speciously magnanimous hall and the people leaving. Ideas after idea stroke her mind impelling her forward to the receptionist. With a pretentious calm look on her face, not taking her eyes off the half open door, she asked the woman, “I am Tiara Adams, one of Prince Kristopher’s closest friends and there is something very important to talk about.” The receptionist nodding in dissent opened her mouth to deny her entry into the hall. In a moment, her mouth froze open while Tiara rushed past the guard into the hall.
Kristopher was slumped back in his chair with his feet on the table, which descended onto the floor on seeing Tiara. “Tiara,” he said with a bewildered look, “You can’t enter like this. I am not open for any talks now.”
The guard uttered in fear, “Shall I take her out of the room, sir?”
“Get out of here you moron” he shouted in rage and turned his angry face to Tiara, “And what’s the matter with you.”
“Don’t play dumb Kristopher. You know what the matter is – better than anyone ever can.”
Trying to control his fury, “Just tell me what it is. Don’t play around” he said.
“Since you fancy pretending so much, let me talk you through it. When was the last time you’ve seen Virginia?”
Kristopher gave an exasperated look and opened his mouth to speak as if to strew the matter with ridicule while Tiara not giving him a chance to, questioned, “Huh? When was it? Do you understand what you are up to at all? You better not mess with Virginia – the best girl anyone could ever love. Oh, how you ruffle that flower in your evil hands” She said with a disgusted angry look. “What for? For she loved you? For she yearned to marry you? Or was it for she spent months together dreaming a family with you? What had she done that you are acting this way with her? She must’ve written a million poems for you by now… only to know you aren’t interested in replying to her with one. I pity that poor thing that thinks you are reading them…” she stopped to take a breath. She turned her teary eyes away from him, brought her hand to her eyes and continued, “That poor thing… do you feel any sort of concern for her?”
“Sit down Tiara. Sit down you. Let’s get things clear now.”
Pushing his hand off her, that tried to sit her, “That would be great of you. Let’s get things clear here and now. Renea Mccullough is a whore. That whore who cheated how many men into love. This time it’s you. That evil…” Kristopher cut her through with a loud growl. “For God’s sakes woman… I do not feel anything anymore towards Virginia. Call me all those colorful names you want. I can’t feel her love no more. You don’t understand that, do you? I am with Renea now and that’s the end of this matter.” he said in a wild frenzy, “We are planning to marry too… So clear your mind of any notions of me seeing Virginia again. Does that suffice you Mrs. Adams?” Repenting instantly what he just blurted, he brought his hand to his face.
Tiara was taken aback. She collapsed into the sofa behind her. She brought her eyes to him, “W-w—w—w-what? W-w—what did you just say?” In utter astonishment, she muttered as if to herself, “This defies comprehension. What the hell did you just utter? There is no way in hell I am going to let you utter such. You will kill her.” Looking back at him, she said with angry tears in her eyes filled with fear, “You will kill her.”
“Look Tiara, Viry is a good…”
“Dare you call her ‘Viry’, you insidious bastard.”
“Tiara”, the prince shouted in defiance stepping forward, “take control of that abhorable tongue of yours you…”
“I think I’m done here.” With the anger burning live on her face.
“Yes, you are. You so are. And let me tell you your presence here is the least wished for now. So make yourself exit before I…”, Tiara exited in disgust before the prince reduced the sentence to mumble addressing her exit, “I call the guard in.”
The evening sun was scorching crimson on to the typewriter as she sat in her balcony and typed away seriously. A few birds greeted her from the air on their way back home from their day’s play, worms warm in their stomachs.
“Those worms are dead nevertheless.” Her mind said. “And probably none of those birds wants to fly in that stupid tandem with their leader in the front. Maybe all they want is a free, unrestricted flight.” Beauty was hard to seep for her by now.
Tiara entered the balcony, “What…” she said, pretending to be hesitating, “are you writing?” the hesitation was to find out how Virginia was doing. And the birds flew out of her eyes’ reach.
“When a woman loves a man, they have gone
To swim naked in the stream
On a glorious July day
With the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle
Of water rushing over smooth rocks,
And there is nothing alien in the universe.
Ripe apples fall about them.
What else can they do but eat?
When he says, “Ours is a transitional era,”
“That’s very original of you,” she replies,
Dry as the martini he is sipping.”
“Awe, Viry, you don’t have to do this.”
“So, is that it? His plan? Leave me behind and move forward?”, Viry asked calmly, ignoring Tiara’s comment upon the poem.
“Whom are you talking about, Viry?”
“Tiara…” she took long gasp before saying his name, “Kristopher, who else.”
“I’ve not spoken to him, Viry.” She lied.
Breaking the scene, Miss Gisela Smyth, Virginia’s aunt entered the balcony with bright exclamation on her face, “Tiara Adam! What a pleasure it is to see you. But I have to chastise you for your scarce. Gone are the days when you used to spend most of your day here, aren’t they?”
“Nothing such Miss Gisela. It has ever been a pleasure seeing you. How is your health?”
Miss Gisela spoke in a typical English aunt way, stressing her neck back and sounding as if mocking, affably though, “Look at my girl Tiara, Viry. She’s enquiring of my health. I’m doing fine just as ever Tiara baby. You wait here. I’ll get us three some tea for a conversation.”
Grabbing Miss Gisela’s absence, Viry asked her again, “What did he say?” There was an unusual calm in her face while she asked this. What commotions were rumbling inside is an enigma.
“Nothing Viry,” she replied. After a long silence, “Are you angry with me?” Another bout of long silence. The sun was descending. “To whom were you writing that poem,” she asked to break the silence, as stupid as the question was.
“The poem?” Viry asked looking into the abyss.
“Viry, don’t tell me its for Kristopher.”
Viry turned her gaze away from the missing birds in the sky to Tiara. And of course said the only thing her friend wanted her not to – the only name she wanted herself not to say! – “For Kristopher!”
“Are you angry with me Viry?”
“For visiting Kristopher.”
Miss Gisela interrupted again; this time with some tea and biscuits. The three then indulged in a modest little rapture. Viry, after many weeks has shown her cute smile – for reasons unknown though. Tiara couldn’t help smiling in aroused happiness seeing her friend.
Later, when Tiara rose to leave, Viry couldn’t refrain from calling her.
Tiara turned around in curiosity, “Yes, Viry?”
She said with her eyes locked to Tiara’s face, “I can never be angry at you.”
It was a rainy day and someone knocked on Tiara’s door. She put the newspaper aside and opened the door to the rumbling that the raindrops spawned and to a kid soaked in rain. In his hand was a wet envelope. He didn’t speak.
“What is it young man? Who are you?”
The kid’s spirits naturally rose with joy at the word ‘young man’. “Miss Gisela had sent me on an errand to you”, he said raising his hand that held the envelope.
“I assume the purpose of the errand is to give me this envelope.”
The kid or young man as he liked to be called replied sincerely in affirmative. She opened the envelope with the kid before her and skimmed through the matter. But no. She had to give it another good reading; not to understand which she already did, but to digest and presage. Her expression changed serious and she gasped tiredly throwing her hands down. She looked at the raindrops that were hitting the ground outside for a few seconds and replied to the kid waiting for direction. “Say to Miss Gisela that I say yes”, she said in a desultory and dejected way.
With barely any comprehension of what had happened, the kid ran back perniciously away in the rain.
Tiara opened the letter gathering strength to read for one last time.
To Tiara baby,
As you must’ve already known, the Prince has formally proposed to the mayor to wed Renea McCullough. Do not get surprised when I say the wedding date is day after tomorrow itself. The Prince for reasons unknown wanted to put the wedding ceremony in low key. And you know how close the chief courtier is to me. He had sent, yesterday, a formal invitation through a soldier cadet to me. Can you believe? They have sent a soldier cadet to invite me. Now you can’t expect an old woman to go alone to the wedding: to the palace ceremony lawns. So this old woman decided to take you, my baby, along with her. Meet me tomorrow in the evening and we shall plan the day next. Isn’t it a real honor to go to the wedding ceremony of our beloved prince?
With love as ever,
The Roses and the Tulips freshened the morning air with their faint fragrance while the Lilies glinted the sunshine on their dewed petals. A honeybee levitated all around an orchid oblivious to what was happening on the ceremony lawns of the palace. Miss Gisela along with Tiara just arrived at the place. Miss Gisela, like every other guest enjoyed to the utmost, the royal welcome. Various flower petals were dispersed from the top on to the guests and all had been served the Mango Tart before entering the function: a gesture of honor and respect. But of course, something quite opposite and awful was going on in Tiara’s mind. She could surmise from all that was happening and also her feelings that what awaited wasn’t as sweet as the Mango Tart. It could also be as sour as Renea McCullough, the bride; or as many consider, a c*nt.
The mayor had arrived from the palace just then and all rose in respect. Tiara’s head spanned. It was as if the whole world around her was going into abyss. All she could remember then, were her friend Viry’s immoderate happiness the first time she kissed Kristopher, her ideas about her future with him, the millions of poems she wrote to Kristopher and the hours she spent selecting the best to read them to him in the evening that they spent on the wet sand of Poppy sea beach. And then she thought about the tears she had shed and wails she had wailed when Kristopher ignored her. But she talked gaitily when she knew he was marrying Renea. She was perfectly nimble and agile in her talk after she knew she lost Kristopher forever. Something was wrong. Something wrong was lurking behind the labyrinth of puzzling circumstances Tiara was put in.
While Tiara was eclipsed by these dreadful thoughts, a lot had happened before her on the wedding dais. The bride and the groom arrived to a great cheer from the crowd. All raptured raising their glasses that held 380 year old wine in them. The priest had read the prayers and then was the time for the bride and groom to exchange a few poems. What pursued then stupefied Tiara to devastating levels.
For part one, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (part I)
For part three, THE SUN DOESN’T SET FOR GOOD – SHORT STORY (Part III) final