The princess knew Silver-tongue wanted lots of freedom, and gave it to him. While he was busy doing his own thing, he would not notice what she was doing. At the onset of winter she broke off the relationship with Silver-tongue completely. As expected Silver-tongue would not acknowledge or accept that the “relationship” was over. At first indifferent and cold about her leaving, Silver-tongue believed he would win her back with his customary words and false promises. Previous attempts at ridding herself of him had failed. She had still loved him, and taken him back on the basis of his promises, none of which were kept. This time her decision had been cold and calculated. She had implemented a planned withdrawal culminating in a complete break. Silver-tongue couldn’t bear to think HE would be the reason she would walk away. He needed to believe he was perfect and God-given. The fact that she would remove him from her life was an assault on his ego.
Not long before moving day she got to know another school parent, a solo father. At first she had looked at him with disinterest, thinking he strutted around the school mothers like a rooster in a yard full of hens. He had a hard look about him. She’d seen him picking up his daughters from school wearing overalls unzipped to his navel, and thought he was trashy. In hindsight her first impressions were correct, but his two daughters were adorable. He was raising them by himself, as their mother had died of a heroin overdose in Sydney. Their children became close friends, bonding like sisters, and soon they were brought together like magnets. On their first meeting she was surprised to find he was friendly and likeable, although he told her that he did not like the King or the King’s subjects. She was amused upon hearing that, and hid her reaction, although she laughed about it on her journey home. “He is in for a surprise then when he learns who I obey” she told the King. “When he learns who you sometimes obey” chided the King. The man became her friend, which suited her. His friendship was a salve to her wounded heart, and he had offered to help her move. She introduced him to the King.
Her new friend, who she dubbed “the Minstrel” from playing the guitar, was soon sitting at the table in the seat that Silver-tongue had occupied. He had a wicked sense of humour which was refreshing after Silver-tongue’s heavy and humourless presence. Laughter came back into the house.
One afternoon, Silver-tongue came around thinking she had picked his assignment up from the college where they both studied part time. He was surprised to find that she had not concerned herself with it. It was out of character for her to not cover for him in his absence. After all, she was his study partner. His eyes narrowed as he looked at the huge pile of wood that had been chopped and neatly stacked against the house. He had only chopped wood for her once – for show when her ex-husband had come over from Australia to visit the children. He knew she chopped the wood each day after school, a chore that took up time. Who had chopped all this wood? He was afraid to ask as he knew he would be shown up for not lifting a finger to help. She knew what he was thinking and stifled a grin. It was nearly 3 o’clock. “Aren’t you getting the children from school?” he asked. “No, Evan is” she answered, with a mocking smile. He did not like her answer. “Who is Evan?” he demanded. She looked at him coldly as she answered “He is not someone you need concern yourself with. I told you a month ago it was over between us. I meant it. Now go away.”