Little Known Fact #26 – ADRIENNE: Best of Them
Below is my favorite scene out of ADRIENNE. I was pissed off right along with Adrienne while writing this scene (can you tell?). I love this scene, and it’s always the first scene to come to mind when thinking about ADRIENNE, because it shows that Adrienne is equal to Malik in temperament and power. And that she won’t let him do whatever he wants and rule over her.
This was definitely my “you go girl!” scene. 😛
***** EXCERPT ******
Adrienne smiled coldly. “I know what a harem is, Keeper. But thank you for attempting to explain.” She moved her gaze from the Keeper to Malik. “I didn’t know my husband,” she said, her voice dripping ice, “had one. When did you plan on telling me?”
She didn’t wait for his answer. “For days you came to my room and bombarded me with all types of information about your past and this kingdom. Never once did you mention a harem.” She laced her fingers together in front of her and leaned forward in her seat. “Come to think of it, I was cooped up in my room for four days with nothing but my personal guards and my maids for company. For all the babbling they did, I never once heard anything about a harem. Gardens, foods, the bazaar—yes. A harem—no.”
The five people she mentioned were stationed at the bottom of the throne dais, and each one looked uncomfortable. “Why is that?” she asked no one in particular.
When Mushira would have spoken, Adrienne held up her hand for silence. The woman’s mouth closed with a snap. Adrienne didn’t want to hear any excuse Mushira would give her. In the end this all went back to Malik. Either he told her entourage not to mention the harem, or they felt the need to hide it from her and aid Malik’s suit.
The Keeper chose to interject more news. “The ladies also wanted me to relay their…uh…displeasure at being made to stay in their chambers during the wedding and reception.”
Malik gave the Keeper an icy glare the man blatantly ignored.
“Their chambers, Keeper? Where are the harem girls kept? I assume in the palace?” Adrienne asked calmly.
“The room directly below the royal chambers, Majesty, Queen Adrienne. There is an access staircase in King Malik’s chambers—er, your chambers—so the women can come and go without having to trek all over the palace.”
“Ah.” Adrienne nodded and sat back. “The door to the staircase wouldn’t happen to be hidden behind a tapestry of dancing women, would it, Keeper?”
“That would be the very one, Queen Adrienne,” the Keeper said.
Adrienne turned her attention to Malik. She didn’t just turn her head—she turned her entire body. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Feyr slink out from between them with his tail curved around his body.
Her words were quiet, controlled, and dripped with every bit of the anger she felt at the situation. “Get rid of it.” If this were a cartoon, there would be a bonfire behind her and her eyes would be glowing red.
The crowd gasped.
“What would you have me do with the women, my lady wife?” Malik asked.
“Short of killing them, I don’t care. But either they go—and by go I mean out of the palace—or you’re never touching me again. Is that clear?” She struggled to remain calm. She didn’t want to show the people of the court how angry this situation made her. But she couldn’t stop herself.
“I can’t believe you never had the decency or the guts to mention you had a harem. No, I have to find out from the goddamned harem keeper!” Adrienne pointed at the man. The Keeper shrank back with a worried look. “And, to add insult to injury, the people I thought were becoming my friends didn’t bother to mention it, either. I can only assume they decided to wait on you. Since it hadn’t come up before the wedding, you would think one of them would’ve thought a harem was something important to mention to me, your wife!”
Khursid, Qamar, Indivar, Flavian and Bayard all went to one knee with their heads bowed. Nimat and Hani started crying, while Mushira looked close to tears. Adrienne ignored it all and asked, “Is there anything else you’ve failed to mention that might make me angry? Might as well do it now. You can’t piss me off more than I already am.”
Adrienne didn’t know what angered her more—that no one had bothered to mention the harem, or that it was directly below the chamber she shared with Malik. Had the harem girls heard her screams of pleasure at Malik’s hands and been jealous? It would explain the Keeper’s presence.
Malik wanted to see how his subjects responded to Adrienne’s outburst but didn’t dare look away from her. Her anger scorched along his skin. It would be an easy thing to shield himself from her emotions, but he deserved the pain, since he had deceived her.
He said softly, “I shall have the harem disbanded and the women relocated by nightfall.”
One woman in the crowd of onlookers fainted. Never before had anyone seen Malik concede…on anything. There was no other movement.
“There is nothing else, my lady. You are right. I should have mentioned the harem earlier or disbanded it before I thought of bringing you here. I am sorry I caused you pain.” Malik didn’t bow his head or lower his eyes from Adrienne’s gaze. Pride wouldn’t let him, but his eyes showed his apology was genuine.
Adrienne whipped around in her seat and faced front again. She couldn’t look at Malik so she stared at the far wall. Tears stung her eyes but she fought them. And, damn it, she would win. These people had just seen their new queen lose her temper. They wouldn’t see her cry.