The King Without a Queen - Book cover

The King Without a Queen


2: Chapter 2

The following day, I found myself craving ice cream. Despite the October chill in the air, I couldn't shake the desire for something sweet and cold. I decided not to bother my mom, who was still exhausted from rearranging the rooms until two in the morning. I had offered to help, but she insisted I would only make things more difficult. I couldn't argue with that.

I pulled on a hoodie and a pair of light blue jeans before slipping out the door, careful not to make a sound. As I walked, I couldn't help but wonder how long it would be before we moved again. I loved my mom, but sometimes I wished I could just stay in one place and let her go on without me.

Making friends was nearly impossible when you were constantly on the move. Long-distance friendships were difficult to maintain, though I had managed to keep in touch with a few people. My studies suffered as well, and I was already falling behind. The thought of the future terrified me, as I couldn't imagine myself surrounded by successful people.

I tied my shoelaces and continued walking toward the ice cream shop I remembered from before. I hoped it was still there.


The door opened with a jingle of bells, announcing my arrival. I looked around, relieved to see that the shop hadn't changed much. It felt familiar, and I loved that. However, I noticed the curious stares from the people inside. I suddenly felt like a stranger in my own town.

Taking a deep breath, I approached the counter to place my order. As I did, I realized that everyone in the shop was staring at me, their expressions a mix of disbelief and curiosity. I knew our town was small and close-knit, but their reactions made me feel like an alien. I couldn't shake the feeling that I was missing something important.

I shook off my paranoid thoughts and scanned the room for an empty seat. Instead, my eyes landed on a familiar face—Beatrice. I stared at my old friend, and her eyes widened in recognition. I offered a small smile and walked over to her.

"Hi," I said.

She blinked, momentarily dazed. "Hi? Yeah. Sit down."

I took a seat. "God, I really can't believe it's you, Phoebe."

I laughed. "Better believe it."

She had changed so much. If not for her gray eyes and brown hair, I might not have recognized her. She studied my face for a moment before smirking. "You look...old."

I rolled my eyes. "How old are you, again? Thirty?"

She cleared her throat. "For your information, I'm going to be eighteen next month."

I grinned. "I'm already eighteen."

We caught up with each other as we walked toward my house, so engrossed in our conversation that we didn't notice the man who began walking beside us.

"Are you new?" he asked, his voice sending a shiver down my spine.

I met the stranger's intense gaze and felt an overwhelming urge to bow down. He exuded an aura of confidence and danger. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Beatrice quickly bow her head in his direction.

When I didn't answer, Beatrice spoke up. "Yes, she is." Her voice was blunt, but I could hear the fear and respect in her tone.

I blinked. "Oh, yes."

He seemed satisfied with our answers. "Great. I'm visiting this town too," he said, locking eyes with me once more. The urge to bow down intensified, and I quickly looked away.

The way he said "town" made me want to run and hide. It felt almost sinister.

"Great," I replied.

"Alright, see you both."

And then he was gone.

I let out a sigh of relief and turned to Beatrice. "Who the hell is he? I don't want to judge someone I just met, but he's so creepy!" I whispered.

Her eyes widened, and she shook her head. "Uh...he's just a little intimidating."

I nodded uneasily, wanting to ask more questions but stopping myself when I saw the fear in her eyes.

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