"I think you ought to talk to your father."
Ramses would have gladly stayed there forever, with his Ariel wrapped in his arms, his fingers twined in her red locks, his mouth pressed to hers, hungry for more, but eventually they parted. Ariel pressed her head against the crook of his neck, enjoying the warmth of his arms around her; had he always been so muscular? She had never noticed before. "Ramses, we need to talk about this?" she mumbled into his skin.
He sighed. "I know. wewe were right. My parents will never approve of this."
"And we can't just go sneaking around behind their backs with this. I've read about this kind of forbidden love; and it only ends in tragedy!"
"That won't happen with us."
"How do wewe know?" She pulled away from him; the tears were coming this time, fast and furious. "Oh!" She groaned. "This is so messed up!"
"Hey, hey!" He took hold of her gently kwa the arms. "Ariel, calm down."
"I can't help it." Her eyes met his. "I do upendo you, so much. I don't want to be parted from wewe ever."
"I'm not going to let that happen, Ariel."
"How can wewe stop it?"
"You trust me, don't you?"
"Yes, with all my heart."
"I'll find a way; somehow. I promise." He stemmed her flow of tears with a kiss. She succumbed momentarily and then broke the embrace gently. "Ramses, I think wewe ought to talk to your father."
"You're joking?" Ramses sighed. "But wewe alisema yourself; he'll never accept this."
"Maybe if wewe just talk to him..."
"Ariel, what did I just say about talking to him? au have wewe forgotten what he can be like?"
"No, I haven't. But," she added, raising her hand before he could inturrupt her in mid flow, "you are his heir and he wants wewe married to someone, doesn't he? If I'm your choice, what can he do?"
"Have wewe banished from the kingdom? Throw wewe in prison? Have wewe executed?"
"I wouldn't put it past him."
"I'm not going to risk losing you."
"You risk that whatever path we take. Please, wewe might be able to change his mind."
"Yes, and scarabs might fly!" Ramses met her eyes. "Alright, I will talk to him."
"I do. I promise. But I don't know what good it'll do."
"I'm sorry." She pressed against him again; her hands on his chest. She could feel his heartbeat. "But I really think it's the best thing to do."
"Alright, Ariel. I'll talk to him now."
"The quicker I tell him, the zaidi time he'll have to calm down."
"I suppose you're right."
Ramses held her for a moment. Presently he whispered "You are my choice, Ariel."
"You mean...?" She raised her head and they shared a look that captured all their emotions in one second.
"Marry me, Ariel," Ramses whispered.
"Yes. Yes!" With a little squeal of delight, Ariel threw herself into his arms. "Of course I will!"
"It's out of the question!" Seti snapped, thumping the arms of his throne.
"Father, please, hear me out," Ramses begged.
"I will not! wewe are a disgrace to the crown of Egypt!"
"Seti, can't wewe just-" began his wife but he cut across her. "You choose a servant girl? A servant girl of no class other than workinng, with no family, no royal ties, no wealth over all the rest?"
"Ariel's my best friend!" Ramses snapped in her defence. "And I upendo her, no matter what her background!"
In the corridor beyond the doorway, Ariel was pressed with her back flat against the wall, listening. Her moyo skipped a beat when Ramses alisema that.
"Father, we seem to have very different ideas of what to expect from a wife! If wewe think I should marry for class and wealth; that's just your opinion. But I'll be happy with Ariel and she with me; how could I be expected to marry anyone else? Do wewe want me to be unhappy?"
Seti flinched. "That's not the point!"
"The point is that I upendo her and I'm going to marry her with au without permission! But I don't want wewe to hate us for it; that's why I'm here talking to wewe now!"
"Get out of my sight!" Seti snapped. Tuya went to lay a hand on his arm but her jerked it out of her grip. "Call the girl, Tuya."
"I alisema call her!"
"There's no need, your Majesty," Ariel said, stepping into the room. "I'm here."
Seti raised a cool eyebrow at her. Ramses reached for her hand and she pressed close to him at once. "Ramses, Tuya; leave us."
"What are wewe going to do?" Ramses asked, looking sharply up at his father.
"Talk, nothing more. Now leave us."
Ramses touched Ariel's cheek, looking into her eyes. "It'll be alright," he murmured, brushing her lips with a feather-light kiss before he was ushered from the room kwa his mother. Ariel turned to meet the cold gaze of the Pharaoh...