It was as if time was standing still as the King continued to study Sela’s face.
The chameleon had uncovered Sela’s entire life and now that information was in the possession of the King. His initial instincts had been right. She was there for a reason. Happenstance was not part of his world and the bizarre events surrounding her mysterious arrival were just as he suspected.
He knew who she used to be. He knew it was her intention to infiltrate his operation. He knew that her intention was to bring him down. He knew that the “pretend accident and loss of memory” was being executed with an Oscar-winning performance. He knew that she had been trained well and although not being a man who was easily impressed, he admired her performance.
He knew that he was being played but he also knew that he was the ultimate player…and he always won.
The King, not yet willing to put all of his cards on the table, decided to play with Sela, much like a cat plays with a mouse before the kill. He wanted to see her reaction. He wanted to see defiance in her eyes. He wanted to see desperation in her eyes. He wanted to see fear in her eyes…but he saw none of those. His thoughts were interrupted when Sela, with hopeful expectation took his hand and said “you know who I am?”
He smiled as he lied and said “your name is Kelly Jordan.” Sela frantically began a barrage of questions. “Is anyone looking for me? Do I belong to anyone? Where am I from? How did I get here?”
The King interrupted her and said “you need to take it slow. It’s a lot for you to take in right now. One step at a time.” Sela pleaded, “but I need to know.”
The King walked over to the window and as he looked out, said “I will tell you this. No one is looking for you. It’s almost as if you are a ghost.” Sela began to cry but the King was not touched and smugly controlled his anger when he thought, “this is all part of her game.”
The King did not suffer fools nor was he going to be easily swayed by the pretentious tears of a beautiful woman.
Still crying, Sela surprised him when she walked over and put her arms around him. “Thank you,” she said. “Thank you for rescuing me.”
The King had forgotten the tenderness of touch, even if it was coming from a traitor who was feigning loyalty and gratefulness. His companionship consisted entirely of women for whose services he paid handsomely. Should one of them betray him, they paid dearly, or so it was said.
Still, the warmth of her body made him question the information for the briefest of moments. He knew that she had overheard conversations and had witnessed certain conveyances. Only once had she questioned him and given the slightest impression that she was interested, when she asked him if he was perhaps a wealthy heir. That, he now reasoned, had been part of her cover and the question had been answered with a smile.
They were both playing a game and it was going to be a matter of who played it the best. The King silently commended Sela for her great aplomb. A lesser, more trusting man might have taken her at face value, but he was not one of those men. He was an astute, suspicious man who had an empire to protect and he would protect it at all costs.
Now he was going to play the game with the expertise of a master craftsman and the “new” Kelly would have to guard against his fatal checkmate move.
He knew what he was going to have to do. The question was what, how and…when.
After dinner, they went out onto the veranda as they had done for the last several months. Kelly wanted questions answered and the King encouraged her to have patience.
She looked at him and said “you know my name. Will you tell me yours?”
The King looked at her and said “my name is Ellis Carrington Winchester.” Again, he studied her eyes. Was there going to be a reaction? Would she show a micro-expression of already knowing or would she be able to detect that he was lying? He hadn’t told her what her real name was. Was he telling her what his real name was?
To be continued_______________