Flash Fiction Friday – 4. A BOWL OF CEREAL

On the first day, High Lord Weiron had his servant secure a spot in the inn to try the new breakfast everyone talked about. The novelty differed enough from traditional dishes for people to line up on the street. It pleased Weiron to see other Lords, flanked by their own guards, among the common people. It made him feel less out of place. At tasting the bowl of cereal, he felt like a fool to get caught in the propaganda to try the disgusting dish.

On the second day, he returned. Waiting in line without his guards and servant, he nearly left several times. But when he saw her face, smiling as she pointed him towards an open chair, his doubts disappeared. The bowl of cereal still tasted awful, but the sight of her improved it.

On the seventh day, the line had shortened. As she led him to a seat, she said: ‘you must really like this dish,’ and a glint in her eyes turned his stomach into a pavilion of butterflies.

On the fifteenth day, she smiled broadly as she saw him. ‘My lady,’ he said, flourishing a deep bow, ending in him holding out a bunch of flowers. She chuckled. ‘I am afraid I am not a lady, my Lord.’ She gave him a quick curtsy before accepting the flowers. He drank in the sight of her delighted face, but dared not speak his thoughts out loud. She could be a lady, if she only loved him back.

On the thirtieth day, the queue had disappeared. The novelty had weaned off. After placing the bowl of cereal in front of him, she lingered. ‘My patron believes you keep coming back for me. I insist you merely truly love the cereal. After all,’ she lowered her gaze to the floor, a flush appearing on her cheeks, ‘a high lord cannot possibly return the love of a woman like me.’ As they locked eyes, Weiron felt lost for words. At that moment, the door burst open. The fellow’s frantic sight locked on her. ‘Annaiyla, enough hiding,’ he screamed. The man covered the distance in a few steps, and dragged her outside before Weiron could respond. By the time he managed to run to the door, they had disappeared in the crowd of people.

On the thirty second day, she still hadn’t returned to the inn. Weiron didn’t finish his cereal. ‘She ain’t coming back, son,’ the innkeeper said, with obvious reluctance. Weiron nodded and listened as the man told Annaiyla’s tragic story, ending in her abusive marriage. 

On the sixtieth day, Weiron smiled as his servants put two bowls of cereal on the table. Annaiyla laughed delightfully at the surprise. She still looked tired—one night’s rest hadn’t been enough. Through political—and other, more savvy—means, he’d been able to free her. Weiron hoped her mental scars would heal as she found her new life in his mansion. If she wished to stay. 

On the three hundredth day, cheerful bells announced Weiron’s happiest day. His face might split in two, but he couldn’t subdue the wide smile as they became husband and wife. Weiron hugged her closely before twirling her around, his face nuzzling her neck as she leaned her head back to shout in joy.

**************************

This story was inspired by the prompt: high lord, a bowl of cereal, romance, given to me by @WeiramonS on Twitter.

I’ve never written romance before, and it was especially difficult to do it in this short format, but it was a fun little challenge. I also spent way too much time on editing it, pheeew. I hope you like it!

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