She shrunk before him.
His large hands were clenched into tight fists by each side of her face and his eyes glared at her intensely.
He took in the way her bottom lip trembled before her pearly white teeth snapped over it, tucking it inside of her mouth and away from his line of sight.
The sight of her biting her lip made his chest rise and fall rapidly. He was struggling to contain himself.
She inhaled shakily, he knew his close proximity was making it hard for her to breathe and even though that thought made his chest want to puff out proudly, his closeness was not on purpose.
He did not have the intent to get this close to her when he had seen her standing here, he just wanted to be close enough - but now, their faces were just inches apart, and the same thoughts he had on the battle grounds were resurfacing and it made his jaw tick.
She noticed the way his jaw clenched, making it sharper than ever, and suddenly she realized that there was an empty spot above his head with eyes that widened in shock.
His golden crown was not on his head and his thick dark hair was allowed to wildly fall and she took in its length with lips that were slightly ajar.
The length of his thick locks that curled at the ends nearly grazed his bare shoulders, and had he known he would stumble upon her, he would have hid it like he usually does.
“I did not know your hair was long.” Clarice absentmindedly stated, her voice barely audible as it was just above a whisper - yet he heard her.
Cerberus narrowed his eyes, he did not know how to respond.
Her cheeks tinged pink when her eyes caught his again before she awkwardly cleared her throat, “I apologize, I hope that was not rude.”
He turned his head to the side - making her eyes linger on his side profile - he had wanted to hide his smirk.
She took in his five o’clock shadow and how defined his features were before she found his eyes quickly snapping back to hers.
“What are you doing in here?” He growled out, changing the mood entirely.
It was easy for him to do so.
He always went from up to down in an instant. He could never keep his emotions stable for long.
Clarice swallowed roughly before lowering her gaze slightly, trying to blink away her sudden anxiety.
He noticed and his eyes narrowed thinly, he analyzed the length of her by leaning downwards more.
He had to basically break his back to get to her level, but he did not mind it.
“I apologize, I had just come to ask you something. I do not mean to intrude.” She told him softly, her voice a lot calmer than it had been in the dining room this morning.
He chuckled darkly making her eyes fly upwards.
“You do not mean to intrude? Yet you barge into my chamber rudely when you could have waited for my presence in the throne room.” He mocked in frustration making her heart sink.
He hated when his privacy was invaded. Especially the privacy of his own chamber.
This was the one place he could be alone and unbothered in the castle and he intended to keep it that way.
“I apologize, I-”
“You said that already.” He stated in annoyance while glaring intensely at her making the tension in the room thicken.
She cleared her throat, “Well, I do not think that you believe in my apology. I did not mean to barge in, I knocked but you had not called out to me, so I-”
He stopped her nervous rambling with a low growl that made his broad chest rumble, it sent shivers down her spine that nearly made her eyes flutter shut.
“So you decided to enter anyway like the mannerless pup you have countlessly proven yourself to be without my permission.”
She gulped while lowering her head, his words hit her like a truck and made her stomach churn.
Everything the King had told her thus far had been intentionally hurtful and he knew it.
He could not stop himself. She made it so easy to pounce on her.
“I really am sorry.” She whispered honestly, while twiddling with her fingers.
The fists he had clenched by either side of her head had tightened at the sound of her fourth apology until his knuckles were almost white.
“Quit apologizing like a pup and speak up. What is it that you had wanted?” He growled out making her eyes close.
He noticed as her aura suddenly shifted and darkened.
He watched as her back forcefully straightened and her head snapped up, with her nose nearly reaching the ceiling and he tried so badly to hide his smirk.
“First and foremost, I want you and your men to quit addressing me as pup! I am most certainly not a pup!” She all but yelled out at him making his eyes narrow.
He had wanted to rile her up and get a reaction, but he did not like getting yelled at so disrespectfully.
He let out a warning growl and she smirked - the look in her eyes made her look like someone else.
“Does the sound of my yelling anger you, your highness?” She asked darkly, her voice sounding a lot deeper than normal making his jaw clench.
“Do not test me pup. You do not wish to see the outcome.”
She growled, “again? What is the interest in calling me that? A pup, is a baby! I am not a baby! How long do I have to try and prove that?!”
He sensed her frustration and her anger, and he instantly knew that this was an everlasting problem that had grown inside of her way before they had even met.
He smirked, “in my eyes you are a baby.”
Clarice nearly flinched but composed herself and narrowed her eyes that were slowly turning as red as her hair.
“If that is true, then why do I bare your mark on my neck?” She asked, her voice sounding sensual without her even trying and the way she leaned back - showcasing the two punctures in her soft skin - made him forcefully rip himself away from her with a thundering growl.
Clarice did not even flinch at his sudden display of anger, she stayed put - with her back leaning against the door and her mark showcased whilst she smirked.
“What happened your highness? Do you hate the reality? Has it sunk in your head that you marked a pup?” She teased making him rub his face in agitation.
Cerberus was feeling so many things.
His body was on fire and her scent was not helping.
Ever since he had marked her he could not contain any sinful thoughts or hold himself back from the pull and judging by the way her heartbeat echoed in his ears he knew she could not either.
“Watch how you speak to me pup or else-”
“Or else what? What could you possibly do that could beat locking me up? Choking me? Starving me? Depriving me of the outside? Nearly killing me?”
Cerberus grit his teeth while glaring at her, the way she looked at him shook him to the very core and enraged the beast that stirred inside of him.
“That was my men.”
“That was all you. You are their King. You could have stopped them had you so badly wanted to, yet you allowed it all to happen. You are all pathetic. Especially you.”
She did not give him time to unleash his anger at her before she opened her mouth again.
“You call me all these names. Belittle me. Belittle our bond. Yet you were the one that sealed it. You plunged your teeth into me. Not the other way around.”
His hands clenched by his sides and he knew she could see his skin paling and the way steam practically flew out of his ears whilst he listened to all that she had to say.
His chest heaved up and down rapidly as he tried to contain both his and his beasts anger.
Yet he knew she could tell by the deadly look in his eyes that he was close to unleashing everything he was holding back.
“Do not test me further.” He gritted out when he noticed her readying herself to say something else.
She raised a brow before chuckling dryly, “you make everything you say seem like a warning. Why? What will you do? Lock me up ag-”
He could not hold it back.
His body was burning and his lungs felt like they were constricted and her sudden courage made it hard for him to just stand there and listen.
So, before she could even finish, he used his speed to nearly fly towards her and enclose his bright red hand around her thin throat.
Her eyes widened but she did not fight him. Even when he lifted her up from the ground - with his large hand still situated around her neck.
He could feel her gulp and it excited his beast. Made him crave for his teeth to sink into her again.
They were face to face, and the veins on his arm bulged when he squeezed her throat tightly, but not enough to strangle her.
“You do not know who you are testing.” His voice was hoarse and low, barely above a whisper but she heard him. Right away.
She looked at him through hooded eyes before smirking, “You are the male I am officially mated to, so I know very well who I am testing.”
He had not expected that answer yet he still chuckled darkly, the air around them getting thicker and hotter.
“Oh sweetheart, if only you knew who your life is signed to. You would run for the hills.”
Her brows furrowed, “I think I have a very good un-”
Cerberus instantly cut her off. However, this time, not with words or a squeeze of her throat.
But with his lips.
They slammed directly onto hers, successfully knocking the wind out of her.