“I don’t think so,” Cas sighed as they discussed his father’s paranoia. “He’s always been like this. Everyone is an enemy until proven otherwise. That’s why he’s so concerned that I don’t agree with him, because if he was right, it would mean that I was siding with someone who wants to dismantle the monarchy. Everything he and our ancestors built would be at risk of falling. The problem is that he’s not right, and he’s going to extreme lengths to hold onto his conviction that I’m the one in the wrong.” He frowned. “The psychiatrist was the one who diagnosed me with Stockholm Syndrome, but I’m pretty sure she only did it because he’s paying her a small fortune to keep ‘treating’ me. Between the two of them, I don’t stand a chance of proving that there’s nothing wrong with me.”
When they pulled up to the hotel and Iris inquired about it, Cas shook his head. “It’s expensive, but it’s the closest resort to the border of the capital. I picked it so we can make a quick getaway if we need to.” He still didn’t have a whole plan put together for that though. He’d brought along his passport, but if he was going to flee the city successfully, he would need to open an offshore banking account and wire enough funds through to live on comfortably for as long as he needed to. They would also need to get a passport for Iris, since he felt pretty certain that she didn’t have one. There were a lot of steps left that would take some time to complete, so he just hoped they wouldn’t have to resort to that for a long time, if at all.
Once the car was parked and turned off, he waited for Iris to put on the sunglasses he’d lent her before he stepped out and opened the trunk. Slinging the strap of the duffle bag over his shoulder, he glanced at her briefly before he took the lead approaching the guard at the elevator door. The man looked surprised at the sight of them, which wasn’t surprising since he’d booked the hotel room under an alias. However, he recovered quickly and bowed, “Good evening, your highness. I take it you’re the one who reserved the executive suite?”
“I did,” he confirmed with a nod, keeping close to Iris’s side. He doubted the man standing in front of them would recognize her in the dim yellow lights of the parking garage while she was wearing sunglasses, but he kept a close eye on him just in case.
Expectedly, the guard attempted to study her discreetly when he stood up straight again. It probably looked to him like the crown prince had booked the room to have a secret affair, so of course he would want to try to figure out who he’d shown up with. Cas couldn’t let him examine her face for long though. He cleared his throat, causing the other man to jump to attention. “Sorry, your highness. Right this way,” he mumbled quickly, swiping a card to access the lift.
The doors opened, granting them access, and Cas stepped past the other man with his hand on Iris’s lower back to guide her forward with him. The guard followed them inside and pressed the button for the twentieth floor. Reserved for VIP guests only, he had to swipe his card one more time when prompted by a yellow light on the display that turned green after the card was accepted. “I have your room key here, your highness,” he said as they ascended to the top floor. Reaching into his breast pocket, he took out another card in a paper sleeve which he handed to the prince. “Only one copy was made though, so I’ll have to request a second one if you need it.”
“That would be great, thanks,” Cas nodded as he took the key. “Just have housekeeping slip it under the door for me when it’s ready.”
“Of course,” the guard bobbed his head respectfully.
When the elevator reached the twentieth floor, the door slid open, depositing the trio into an elegantly decorated hallway. The guard took the lead walking them to their suite, ensuring that the hallways were clear before they rounded any corners for total privacy. At the end of the long corridor, they stopped before a door marked E2050. The guard bowed once more and walked away, leaving them to enter alone.
Cas stepped forward and swiped the room key over the sensor, waiting for the whirr and click that signaled the lock had opened before he pushed the door open and stepped into a massive, multi-level suite with one wall made of pure curtain glass and a sweeping, gold spiral staircase curling up to the bedroom over their heads. “Not too shabby for a hideout, huh?” he mused with a smile, glancing at Iris once more as he set down his bag. “Want to order room service? You and Miles didn’t eat dinner before I picked you up, right?”