Love Knots

Chapter 14

Entering his rooms after he and Wyatt parted to clean up for dinner, Ambrose went to his desk and opened it, pulling out a small device similar to a type writer with a lot of keys. It was one of his first inventions upon his appointment at the palace and used to communicate with the staff and servants in the palace as a way to avoid physically going and hunting them down when you needed something or hoping one would appear when you needed them.

Setting it on the table top of his desk, he activated the switch that would direct his request to the palace kitchens and began to type:


Advisor’s Quarters

Dinner for 2 as follows:



Wheat Berry Soup with White Beans and Rosemary


Main Course

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo



Chocolate Mousse



Pinot Noir

Serve as soon as possible. If no answer, enter and set up quietly. Forward instructions to maid service:

Candlelight dinner and fire requested.


His instructions and preparations for dinner complete, Ambrose headed off to take a shower.

*          *          * 

Reaching his rooms, Wyatt closed the door and stripped off his shirt with a groan, his muscles sore from the workout with Ambrose. Tossing it aside, he headed to the wardrobe, taking out a clean change of clothes, laying them out on the bed before heading back and digging out the small sack of apples from the bottom and setting it carefully on the bed.

That done, he proceeded to strip on his way to the bathroom, turning on the water and making sure it was good and hot before stepping inside with a groan of appreciation as his muscles began to ease their tension and stiffness. Even so, he didn’t take too long to enjoy it, washing quickly before getting out and toweling off.

Partially dressed once more, he returned to the bathroom, wiping the fog and steam from the mirror examining himself briefly before taking out his straight razor and touching up his shave. When he was done, he headed back to finish getting dressed and picked up the sack of apples before heading out the door.

He paused in the hall when he heard hushed voices behind him and froze nearly to Ambrose’s quarters, groaning softly when he heard the unmistakable voice of his son.

DG!” Jeb’s voice, even at a whisper echoed through the high ceiling hallway, bouncing off the marble floors and columns of the foyer he’d passed.

There was no answer other than a low whistle and he slowly rolled his eyes closed, praying for patience.

“Why, Mister Cain,” DG practically purred as he opened his eyes to see her circling him like a vulture. “You’re looking pretty sharp there. Where are you off to?”

Wyatt swallowed. “Dinner,” he replied, keeping his voice under tight control.

“Come on, Deeg,” Azkadellia said appearing by Jeb’s side.

“Yeah, DG,” Jeb added. “We’re going to be late…again.”

DG smiled. “The dining room’s the other direction, Mister Cain,” she said. “Or have you forgotten?”

Wyatt sighed, trying to rein in his temper. “I have other plans,” he said after a moment, meeting her eyes warily.

“And that wouldn’t have something to do with our dear Ambrose, now would it? We haven’t seen him or you in three days now…” DG said, circling him slowly.

Wyatt glanced over to see Jeb swallow thickly before retuning his gaze to the younger princess. “It might,” he replied, relieved for once that at least DG couldn’t get everything out of Jeb or she’d know he’d at least have seen them when they went to inspect the new Tin Men.

DG hummed softly. “Well,” she said and exhaled softly. “You’re no fun… I wouldn’t call you all dressed up but…” she paused and looked at him knowingly. “Is that a hint of cologne I smell?”

Wyatt swallowed. “So,” he replied. “Is it a bad thing to want to be presentable?”

“Come on, Deeg,” Azkadellia spoke up again. “Leave him be… Who cares what may or may not be going on between them? Isn’t it enough that you harass mom and dad and me?”

DG, Wyatt could see though, wasn’t listening.

“Hmm,” she said noticing the sack in his arms for the first time. “What’s this?”

Wyatt moved the sack, holding it away from her grasp. “None of your business,” he replied. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…” Not waiting for a reply, he stepped around her and continued on down the hall toward Ambrose’s rooms.

“DG!” Jeb called from behind.

Wyatt groaned, knowing without looking back as he kept to his quick pace that the younger princess was following him, and from the sounds of hurried steps, so were Jeb and Azkadellia.

*          *          *

Ambrose sighed softly, turning his head slightly to the side as he toweled his curls from the shower and debated over whether or not there’d be a point in actually completing his attire with shoes and socks. After a moment of deliberation, he tossed the damp towel aside and resumed his seat on the bed, pulling them on.

He smiled as he thought about the last few days and how some clothing always seemed to be shed, and really, what point was there in even putting it on? But shoes were rather easily discarded and it wasn’t like Wyatt would be walking the castle halls barefoot either.

When he was finished he headed out to his sitting room and smiled finding it dimly lit with a fire burning merrily away in the fireplace. A small, wrought iron table from the balcony had been brought in over which lay a white table cloth. Two red taper candles set in the center, their wicks lit as well, adding their own luminance to the room. The matching chairs, also from out on the balcony, he was relived to see had been covered with thin padding on the seat and back to shield against the chill.

And, just as he had asked, everything was in ready. Silver domed lids covered the plates on each side, keeping the food warm beneath for when they were ready, the wine glasses, though empty, sparkled in the candlelight, the wine chilling where it rested in a bin of ice close at hand. Looking around on a nearby table, he saw two more sets of covered dishes and relaxed with a grin. Yes, dinner tonight would be perfect.

*          *         *

Wyatt exhaled heavily and spun on his heel, causing DG to stop short. “Why are you following me?” he asked in annoyance, glaring down at her.

“What’s in the sack?” DG returned as Azkadellia and Jeb caught up.

“I already told you, it’s none of your business,” Wyatt said nearly growling.

“DG, come on,” Jeb said, putting a hand on her arm. “Let’s go.”

DG shook it off in annoyance. “No,” she said, looking up at Wyatt in defiance. “We haven’t seen Ambrose in three days, and I want to make sure he’s alright.”

“He’s fine,” Wyatt answered.

“Then what’s in the sack?” DG asked. “Why all the secrecy?”

Wyatt sighed and shook his head. “Something I probably should have just taken to the kitchens, alright? Are you happy now?”

DG blinked. “Well… we can take it there if you like.”

Wyatt ignored her and turned, moving the short distance to Ambrose’s door and knocking. He wasn’t surprised when the trio followed.

*          *          * 

Ambrose smiled and went to the door, opening it, and Wyatt had to hand it to him, if he was surprised to see the quartet at his door, he didn’t show it.

“Hello, Wyatt,” he greeted with a smile before turning to DG, Azkadellia and Jeb, greeting them in turn.

DG arched a brow and caught Wyatt’s eye. “Wyatt?” she asked.

“What?” he countered, stepping inside so that he’d not block the door if Ambrose chose to shut it or not. “We’re adults here; how awkward would it be referring to each other by titles all the time? Besides, we’re not working today.”

“Well, not exactly,” Ambrose added.

DG arched a brow as she took in the scene around them before returning her gaze to them with a knowing look. “Oh, really?”

Ambrose cleared his throat and moved to blow out the candles, and turn on some lights. “Working dinner actually,” he answered. “But you know how the staff can be when you aren’t clear on your instructions and only ask for dinner for two.”

“Uh huh,” DG said slowly watching him as he made his way around the room.

Behind her, Azkadellia whispered something behind her hand to Jeb and he nodded with a grin casting a sidelong glance her way.

“What’s this?” Ambrose asked as he came back and Wyatt handed him the sack.

“The reason they’re here,” Wyatt replied with a nod toward the trio.

Ambrose blinked before opening the bag. “Oh, are these the rest?” he asked, holding the sack so that it’s contents was still hidden.

“Yeah, that’s them,” Wyatt replied.

Ambrose looked up with a grin, working the top of the sack down with both hands. “I was wondering when I was going to see them. Thank you.”

Wyatt nodded.

“Oh, but Wyatt, there’s so many! I couldn’t possibly eat them all before they spoil!” Ambrose said, pulling out one of the ruby red apples.

DG’s jaw dropped. “Apples!” she asked. “All of this was about apples?”

Ambrose looked at Wyatt and then back at DG wondering if he’d missed something.

Azkadellia and Jeb covered their mouths and tried to control their laughter.

“Your present?” DG asked looking from Ambrose to Wyatt. “What you did was apples?”

Wyatt smiled and laughed out right seeing the stunned look on her face. “Well, of course it was, what else would it be? You knew he liked apples. That’s where I’d gone when I left, I didn’t just leave for no reason, you know.”

Ambrose waited a moment, looking between DG and Wyatt and then to Jeb and Azkadellia who were still laughing. “So, um…” he said quietly at first. “Why are you here?”

Wyatt smiled and nodded toward the sack Ambrose still held. “They volunteered to take that back to the kitchens for us,” he said with a slight smile when DG looked at him agape. “Take what you want out of it and then they’ll be on their way.”

“Hey!” DG started to protest, moving closer but Azkadellia pulled her back with a hand on her shoulder and a nod to Ambrose. 

“Is there anything in particular you’d like them to do with it, Ambrose?” Azkadellia asked, smiling sweetly as she held DG back and ignoring her sister’s glare.

Ambrose blinked and Wyatt nodded to the sack. 

“Oh!” Ambrose exclaimed, turning his attention back to the sack and taking out six apples and handing them to Wyatt. “Yes, let’s see… apple pie of course, and apple butter… that’s good on toast. Some apple sauce and apple cookies are always nice. Some apple juice and apple cider – Oh! And some apple wine. That’s lovely.”

Wyatt arched a brow at some of the list. “Apple cookies?” he asked. 

Ambrose blinked at him. “You’ve had pineapple cookies, haven’t you?” he returned.

“Yeah,” Wyatt answered. A few months ago, his answer would have been no, but that was before he came to live and work in the castle. 

“Well, they’re pretty much the same thing except with apples,” Ambrose replied, holding out the sack to Azkadellia. He paused and inspected the size of the sack. “Hmm,” he murmured, wrinkling his brow. “Are you sure there’s going to be enough?”

Azkadellia reached out and took the sack with a smile as she and Jeb once more tried to control their laughter, this time at Ambrose’s enthusiasm for apples. “If there’s not,” she said. “I’m sure the staff can send someone to pick up some more.” 

Ambrose relaxed with a smile and nodded graciously. “Thank you,” he murmured.

Azkadellia laughed softly. “You’re welcome, Ambrose. Come on, DG,” she said steering her sister toward the door. “Let’s let them alone for their business… Ozma knows we need these two working together right now.” 

DG sighed and sulked, crossing her arms over her chest but didn’t fight as Azkadellia and Jeb steered her out the door.

“Good night, Dad,” Jeb said smiling as he pulled the door shut.

“Good night, Son,” Wyatt replied wearily and nodded setting the apples on the table and closed his eyes as the door clicked shut behind them.

Chapter 13 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Tin Man ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 15

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