Demetriou Demands His Child(71)

By: Kate Hewitt

‘I don’t want you to be unhappy.’

‘Then I shan’t be,’ Rina said, and brought a hand up to Kedah’s face and cupped his taut cheek. ‘After all, I have so much to give thanks for—I have a beautiful son and a wonderful home...’

‘So don’t you cry again,’ Kedah said, and those gorgeous chocolate-brown eyes of his narrowed. He removed his mother’s hand from his cheek and looked right into his mother’s eyes. For one so very young, he spoke with command. ‘Ever!’

‘Kedah, there you are...’

They both turned to the sound of the royal nanny’s voice, and he did not understand why the nanny stammered and blushed as she apologised to Her Royal Highness for losing sight of her young charge.

‘I’ve been looking for him all over the palace.’

‘It’s fine,’ Rina said, handing Kedah over. ‘We’ll say no more about it.’

A little while later his father and the King returned, and life went as before.

Kedah continued to be boisterous, and yet from that day there was a defiant edge to his antics. From then on those brown eyes narrowed if anyone got too close. He kept his own counsel and he trusted no one.

A few years later his brother was born and that signalled happier times, for Mohammed was a model child.

Weary of the wilder young Prince, the King insisted he be schooled overseas, and little Kedah attended a boarding school in London. He somehow knew that he held a secret that, if ever revealed, might well destroy not only the people he loved but the kingdom his family ruled.

And as he matured Kedah knew how dire the consequences would be for his mother. If her infidelity was exposed she would be shamed, and the King would have no choice but to divorce her and separate her from her sons.

But secrets had ways of seeping out through even the most heavily guarded walls. Servants gossiped amongst themselves as children played at their feet, and royal nannies eventually married and indulged in pillow talk of their own. Rumours spread wide when they were carried on desert winds—and returned multiplied, of course.

And as Kedah grew, and returned to Zazinia during term breaks, the portraits fascinated him for a different reason.

Perhaps what was being said was true and he was not his father’s son. After all, he looked nothing like any of them.

But his doubts were not because of the rumours that refused to fade with the passage of time—Kedah knew what he had seen.

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