Chapter Two

Tomorrow was the Sebastiani quads birthday and hopefully she'd be allowed to attend since the King had invited everyone but most especially the children so the adults really didn't have any business going there.

"Who am I kidding?." She groaned and shook her head. "I'm not going anywhere."

Celestina Samuels had had it out for Joni ever since she set foot in her husband's home and though the girl had never really done anything wrong to offend her, she just simply disliked her and hoped that one day Joachim would get tired of her and finally throw her out.


Two days later

Joni woke up before the second cock crow and stretched her stiff muscles before she stumbled to her feet, gathered up her makeshift bed and went to drop it in the broom closet by the kitchen.

She was always the first to wake up in the house and would have done almost all her chores including preparing breakfast before her step mother woke up. It had been that way for years and she was used to it so it was nothing to her anymore.

She'd heard about the birthday party from Lauretta as usual and thankfully her ears hadn't bled from her gloating because she didn't have much to say except that she'd eaten and drank enough at the party and gifts were shared for everyone in attendance. 

She hadn't met any of the Princes and Princesses which Joni was secretly glad for because she wouldn't have heard the last of it.

She quickly and quietly swept inside the house, cleaned the house and then went outside to sweep the compound. After she was done, she went back to the kitchen to prepare breakfast and realized that the meat she'd seen in the pot of stew she'd prepared the previous evening were all gone and she let out a shocked gasp.

"What the...". She picked up the pot to see if she was imagining things but she wasn't. "Raymond!". She fumed. "That imbe...",

"Why are you talking to yourself?". A deep gruff voice inquired from behind her causing her to whirl around. It was only her father.

"Good morning father." She curtsied.

"Morning." He mumbled. "Have you gone mad? Why were you talking to yourself?".

"I was... I was praying sir." She replied.

"Praying." He repeated. "Anyway, is breakfast ready? I'll be leaving soon."

"Er... The rice is on the fire." She informed him.

"Did you just put it?". He barked.

"I've been busy sir." She mumbled.

"Busy? Doing what?". He demanded.

Joni decided that was a rhetorical question and didn't bother answering him. If he didn't know what she'd been doing then that was his problem.

"I hope for your sake that it doesn't take too long or else you'll see another side of me." He threatened and stormed out of the kitchen muttering under his breath.

"What else can you do except beat me father?". She muttered under her breath. "That's all you ever do. I take it and move on."

She eyed the whole place in disgust and shook her head. Education was her only freaking way out of this hell hole and thankfully she was on scholarship so they couldn't stop her from going to school. Not if they wanted to get on the King's bad side.

Education was of paramount importance to the royal family, most especially the King which was why majority of the children in Mercia were on scholarship. 

Parents either didn't earn enough to send all their children to school or some fathers were too stubborn to send their children to school so the King took it upon himself to create a scholarship fund for them up until after they leave the university and then he had jobs lined up for them as well. 

It was a dream come true for children who had no hope of ever going to school. Jonina knew she'd be eternally grateful to the King for giving her a way out and in return for her gratitude, she studied hard to be the best student in school. She had an award that her stepmother had jealously thrown in the fire to show for it.

She served her father his breakfast and went to wait outside. She sat on a bench under the pear tree and began to sing silently to herself until her father's loud voice calling for her echoed through the house and she sighed.

"Here we go." She sang and walked into the house.

The sitting room and dining room was an open floor plan. From the sitting room, you could see the person eating at the table and only a door seperated the kitchen from the dining room.

"Yes father?". She responded.

""Why is there no meat in my food?". He demanded.

"I don't know sir." She said.

Joachim stared at her incredulously. "You do not know?".

"Raymond ate it." She blurted out.

"How dare you?". A hand smacked her upside her head from behind. "Dad don't mind her." It was Raymond.

Raymond and Lauretta were Celestina's twins. They were the evilest pair of twins she'd ever known and most times she felt that one day Raymond would blow his top and just end her life. He hated her that much and she didn't know why. Not that she cared in any way either.

"I know." Joachim said. "She's looking for someone to put the blame on. Not to worry, I'll leave you in your mother's hands because I'm late for work." He swiped the plate of food off the table and the ceramics broke into pieces. "Useless girl." He hissed and stormed off.

"If you ever in your miserable life rat me out for doing something again... I promise that you won't live to tell the tale." He growled in her face. "No one will notice that you're gone and even if they do, no one will miss you because you're nobody!". He spat in her face. 

Joni wanted to lash back at him so bad she felt her whole body begin to shake with anger but she wisely held her tongue and turned her back to him. 

"Fool." He pushed her making her stumble.

"Hey! Watch it!". She growled turning on him.

"And what will you do?". He pushed her shoulder. "Talk idiot." He spat when she said nothing.

"I'm not an idiot." She snapped.

"Aren't you?". He snorted in derision. "You ugly thing." He pushed her head and walked away chuckling under his breath.

"One day, someone will beat you up Raymond and you won't be able to fight back." She thought angrily. "Everyday is for the thief and one day for the owner."


"Hey Mom, do you think dad will let me go out if I ask?". Leonidas asked her.

"Sure." She smiled. "Where do you wish to go?".

"Well... Everywhere actually." He said. "I'd like to meet people and see places. I never really got the chance to do that in America."

"I would love to go with you but I'm very busy with these documents." She gestured to the papers on the glass table. "It's not easy being the president of a women's meeting."

"It's okay. I can go by myself." He said.

"Your dad is in a meeting with the kingmakers but he should be done soon." 

"Liese told me school resumes next week. Do I have to go as well?". He questioned.

"You don't have to if you don't want to." She replied. "I know you've been homeschooled all your life but if you ask me, I think it'll be better if you go to school like your brothers and sisters. It's fun... Sometimes." She rolled her eyes.

"Yeah I guess." He looked skeptical.

"That's just my opinion though. You can do whatever you want."

"Dad will probably want me to go." He muttered. 

"I doubt it. If anything, your dad didn't like going to school as well." She smiled. "He claimed it was boring."

"I know it's typical of children to ask their parents how they met and all that but I'd like to think that you and dad's love story was the typical bad boy meets the good girl and they both fall in love. Right?". He grinned.

Anna laughed. "Yeah." She nodded. "But it was more than that because your dad really wasn't a bad boy. He was... just a boy who needed his parents and they weren't there for him. So it was more of the lonely Prince and the good girl."

"Did his parents approve of you?". He asked.

"Well, his father wanted him to marry someone else and he didn't want to so... we ran away."

"What?". He was shocked. "You and Dad eloped?".

"Yeah. It was that or I'd have lost him forever to another woman." 

"Were your parents mad?". His eyes widened like saucers.

"No." She chuckled. "They were very happy when we came back and they were very excited when they saw you guys."

"How old were you and Dad when you eloped?".


"Wow." He breathed. "Cool."

"His parents finally accepted me and though we didn't get our happy ever after almost immediately but we got there. Now here we are seventeen years later." She grinned. "Life is good."

"I hope I'll be able to find someone who is as good as you." He said. "I mean, Jax was telling me all about the cute girls he's gone out with over the years and I had nothing to say. I don't even have a friend."

"Which is why you have to go to school so you can make new friends. Who knows, you might even see a girl you like."

"I hope so." He looked down at his hands.

The door to Anna's study opened and Andrei walked in looking very exhausted. He walked over to the sofa and plopped down on it with a sigh.

"Hola familia." He greeted.

"Hey. You look tired." She remarked. "How was the meeting?".

"Okay. Glad it's over." He groaned. 

"Hey dad, is it okay if I go out?". Leon inquired.

"Alone?". He frowned.

"Well yeah." He nodded. "So can I?". He looked hopeful.

"You can go by yourself with at least three guards." 

Leon frowned. "Three? Three is a crowd dad. Two is just fine." 

"Okay but make sure you have your phone on you and be back before dinner." Andrei told him and closed his eyes.

"Yes dad, thanks." He stood up and left.

"You should take a nap if you're so tired sweetheart." Anna told him. "I'll take care of everything for you."

"You're the best." He winked at her and drifted off to sleep.

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