Rise of a Queen

By: Rina Kent


My gaze follows him as he slowly approaches the scene, his attention set on the knife Tom is holding to my throat.

He might’ve shown up, but it’s too late. Margot and Tom have no care for the consequences of their actions. That’s what happens when you live only for revenge. It becomes your start and your end. Everything else is collateral — their own lives included.

They don’t care if they die at the end of this.

“Let her go.” Jonathan’s voice is clear, hard, and leaves no room for negotiation.

Margot stands in front of him. “This has nothing to do with you, Mr King. Leave and we won’t hurt you.”

Jonathan’s guards follow after him, their tall, broad frames filling the entrance. Some of them have guns, but they’ll make no difference to my fate, considering that Tom’s knife is already slicing through my throat. A hot liquid trails down my neck.

Jonathan’s face turns into granite as his stormy eyes fixate on Tom. “You’re going to die.”

“Not before her.” Tom’s voice is as expressionless as his face. It’s like he lost the ability to feel when he was young.

“Go,” I whisper in a barely audible voice at Jonathan. “Aiden and Levi need you.”

“Shut up, Aurora.”

“I’m lucky I found you again — or you found me. Y-you gave a different meaning to my life and taught me how to rise above myself, and I’m so thankful for that, Jonathan.”

“Stop saying your goodbyes,” he snaps.

“Try to compliment the boys more often. They don’t show it, but they love your approval. Try to forgive Ethan. I know you need his friendship as much as he needs yours. Take care of Layla, and tell her I love her and I’m so lucky to have found her.” My voice breaks at the end as tears fall unchecked down my cheeks. Blood soaks the hem of my jacket and I try to ignore how I’m shaking all over. How tiny shocks of fear wrap like thorny wires around my heart.

No matter how brave my words are, I don’t want to die.

I fought with death for eleven damn years. Why does it get to win now, when I’m so close to beating it?

Jonathan approaches me, his jaw clenching under the stubble. Tom tightens his hold on the knife and Jonathan stops in place, his lips thinning into a line.

“You’re not going to die,” he says with so much conviction, I almost believe him.

I almost think that I’ll come out of this chair and I’ll be able to hold him again. I’ll be able to tell him what I haven’t been able to all this time.

“You’ll watch her die.” Margot levels him with her haughty glare. “Just like Maxim.”

“My men are on their way to Shelby.” Jonathan’s gaze drifts from Margot to Tom. “If you don’t remove that knife right now, I won’t hesitate to kill your father, Tom. So what’s it going to be?”

“He’s in prison,” Tom says. “He’ll finish Maxim off after Aurora dies.”

“I’ll finish him anyway.” Jonathan’s posture is calm, despite the tension in his shoulders. I don’t know how he remains so calm under such circumstances. I’m on the verge of a breakdown.

“Small price to pay.” Margot smiles. “Do you think death scares us?”

“Then you leave me no choice.” Jonathan steps aside, and a part of me is glad that he’s putting his life first. His family and many people’s livelihoods depend on him.

I ignore the bitter taste sticking to the back of my throat and try to gather the influx of thoughts scattering through my head.

“Jonathan…” I murmur. “I lo —”

My words are cut off when something punctures the kitchen’s window. The knife that was previously held to my throat clutters to my lap and the body behind me disappears. There’s a loud thud and Margot shrieks, the haunted sound echoing in the space.

My eyes widen as I make out Tom lying on the floor, his eyes staring up at me — or rather, at nowhere. A hole settles in the middle of his forehead.

Margot falls to her knees in front of him, sobbing and calling his name. There’s no answer. No movement.

Holy shit. I think I’m going to throw up.

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