In the last episode Maybelle finally opened up to Mike and told him of her tragic past. They share a much-needed embrace and Mike vows that he will do everything in his power to never let anyone hurt her again.
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Mike woke to a knocking at his door. He rolled over, hoping whoever it was would go away. He and Maybelle had talked long into the night and he had only gone to sleep a few hours before. The light from the bottle glass window seemed too bright to his sticky eyes and he pulled the blanket over his head.
The knocking continued. With a groan Mike peeled off the blanket and answered the door. Whoever had the nerve to wake him at this hour was going to get a piece of his mind.
He jerked open the door. “What do you want?” he barked before looking at who was there. He immediately regretted it
Queen Caliee and one of her attendants stood in the doorway. The Queen wore her circlet and robe leading Mike to believe that she was here on official business. Her attendant folded her arms across her chest and wore an unamused smirk.
“I need to speak with you,” the Queen said.
“Sure, give me a moment to put myself together and I’ll be right with you.” He sounded too eager, trying hard to make up for his lack of manners a moment earlier.
“No, now.” She pushed past him and sat in the branch work chair in the corner of the room under the window. The attendant took her post outside the door.
Mike took a seat on the edge of the unmade bed, painfully aware that he was still in his rumpled nightshirt as he faced the Queen.
“I have been made aware of your interest in Mistress Maybelle and I’m here to tell you that you cannot take her from Willow Keep.”
The suddenness of the announcement took Mike by surprise and left him gaping. “Excuse me? What do you mean I cannot take her?”
“The women available to you were the ones that we presented to you. Did you presume you could just waltz in here and take whoever you wanted?”
Mike attempted to answer, to defend himself, but she cut him off before he could utter a syllable.
“I’ve tried to be patient with you and your lack of interest in the dozens of women we’ve made available for you. I hoped that somehow one of them would spark enough interest that you would be satisfied and leave.”
Mike hadn’t gotten over her initial pronouncement. “Why not her? Why can’t she leave with me should she choose to?” An intense heat built up within him as he spoke and he couldn’t hide the anger that he felt. “She’s lonely and hurting. Staying here only makes it worse. Everyday she is reminded of what she has lost, of what you all have lost. Why can’t she be allowed to have some peace?”
“It’s not that. She is one of my advisors and is needed here. More than that, she is my cousin and the next in line to the throne. I simply can’t have her running off with the first he tinker that knocks on our door.”
Mike sighed and ran a hand through his uncombed hair. “Have you spoken to her about any of this?”
“No, and I won’t either. If she thinks that I’m involved she will never speak to me again.”
“You expect me to be the one to tell her that I don’t want her? I can’t do that.”
“Don’t you understand? She must stay here. The safety of this keep depends on it.”
“I refuse to argue with you.” He stood and paced the narrow room. “And I refuse to lie to her either. If I talk to her I will tell her that you refuse to let her leave. She should be allowed to decide her own fate. It’s only fair.”
“Fair has nothing to do with it. If you choose not to comply with my wishes I have no choice but to find a way to get rid of you. I must protect my people and my kingdom.” She stood, straightened her skirt, and headed for the door.
“This is madness!” he shouted. “Without a next generation there will be no more tinkers. And as the only man left I am your only hope for survival.”
“Oh, I would never kill you. But it is not beyond me to imprison you and use you as breeding stock for the rest of your days.” She shut the door hard behind her and Mike heard the lock click into place.
Once again they had trapped him in the small room. He kicked at the chair sending it tumbling over the floor. He wanted to scream and to curse. Just a few hours before he had found a happiness that he had never imagined as he and Maybelle kissed goodnight. In the quiet hours of that early morning she had agreed to leave with him and leave the pain of her past behind.
There was only one thing to do. He had to come up with a plan to escape with Maybelle, and soon.
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