When someone tells me they saw my wife dangling off the balcony on our tied bedsheets like some kind of jailbreak prisoner, I almost don't believe them. Then, I remember this is Annie we're talking about-- my extremely free-willed, feisty, sharp-tongued, rebellious wife. That woman surprises me every day. Lately, I've seen her kind of moping around, what happened between us really broke her. I have to admit it, hearing Annie climbed over the two story balcony gave me mixed reactions. For one, I was terrified that she injured herself and I'm elated she didn't. Secondly, I was kind of... happy. I was worried for a second there that I had lost my spirited wife, the wife that exchanged words with Vanessa and put her in her place. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about it, but I'm glad it's a sign that my wife is somewhat back to her normal self.
That still sounds too good to be true. I wasn't messing around when I told Annie I didn't want a divorce. I didn't then, and I don't now. I don't think I ever do. With every day that passes since she quite literally barged into my life, I discover more and more about myself. I'm a better person when she's around, and I don't think I'll ever be able to let her go. I don't love her, I simply can't, but I selfishly won't let anyone else either. Annie's mine and I plan to keep it that way.
Last night's punishment rings true in my mind and I remember the way her skin flushed and the sound of her pretty little voice beg me to stop as I made her cum over and over again with the vibrator on the highest setting on her pretty little clit. I have to subtly adjust myself under the table at the thought. I want to fuck her all over again, but now sadly isn't the time for that. Now, I have to be diplomatic with my father because I want that crown, and I'm determined to get it. At this point, there's no reason why I shouldn't get it. I've done everything asked of me, I've picked a perfect wife and future queen, and I've made excellent relations with our neighboring countries and other allies. For the first time in my life, I'm not the playboy prince, but the responsible royal everyone's eyeing for the crown and it feels good.
Hits sits at his desk--the one I'm looking at to be mine. It's large, made of polished mahogany, and it sits in the center of the room--like a throne. It's very regal and shows his royal power, and I want it. When I was a kid I didn't care much for the crown, it was some stupid title filled with way too much responsibility, but now, I desire it. I want to rule this country, I want to help my people and lead them to a prosperous time. I know I have Annie to thank for that. She's inspired me in more ways than one.
My father smiles at me warmly. "I am very proud of you, son, but I am a little concerned."
I frown and open my mouth to respond when he raises his hand, telling me to be quiet. I do as he asks, damn I can't wait until I have that power.
He rises from his chair and walks over to the window. "I am proud of you for choosing such a wonderful wife. I must admit, I was worried for a brief moment when I heard she was a maid in the palace, but she doesn't act like one. Annalise has the poise and sharp wit of a ruler, and I have no doubt she'll make a wonderful Queen."
Did he just...?
"That being said, I have some doubts. While your candidacy for King is looking brighter and brighter every day, I cannot rule out Michael."
My frown deepens, I can't believe that after everything I've done, he still won't forget about the idea of giving it to my brother. Still, I don't dare speak after my father has clearly commanded me to be silent and listen to the rest of his speech.
He nods at seeing that I'm staying quiet. "While you and Annalise are a prime choice, you have the public's approval, the history of good deeds, your wife's charity... Michael and Cassandra have the one thing that you don't."
I know where this is going, and sure enough his next words confirm that.
"They have the necessary heir and the spare. I know it's archaic, but that's the way this works, it's the way it has always worked--since the beginning of our great nation." He walks back over and retakes his seat across from me. "I hope you understand that this isn't a decision I am taking lightly. It's a lengthy process, and all avenues need to be considered to the fullest potential. I've seen the progress you've made. I know how much effort you've put into this, but I have to consider everything."
Of course he does. None of this information is new to me, but for some reason, hearing it coming straight from my father's mouth doesn't feel good. These are truths I was already aware of, but listening to him speak of them, makes me worried.
My father nods at me. "Now, I know you must have words to add to this, and I of course would expect you to, so I give you the opportunity to...shall we say... convince me."
I respectfully bow my head. Even though we aren't as formal as people think, I still want to show my good breeding. "Thank you, Father. None of this is new to me--as I'm sure you're aware-- and I understand all of your concerns. I also would like to assure you that Annie and I plan on producing the necessary heir and a spare. We are actively trying to secure the future of the bloodline and Annie has an appointment with a fertility specialist next week." I lie, but now that I think about it, that isn't too bad of an idea. As much as I'd love for Annie to get pregnant later, it seems we've run out of time. My father is nearing the time to name his successor, and he won't do that unless he knows the future is safeguarded.
He smiles and nods. "This is just what I wanted to hear. Between you and me, I don't think Michael is ready for the crown, he's too young. Cassandra's great, but she doesn't have as much charisma as your Annie. The public hasn't fallen in love with her as they have with your wife. The King and Queen must not only be well liked, but they also must be revered and respected in order to lead a prosperous nation."
"I completely agree." I can't help but grin. "So what I'm hearing is..."
My father chuckles and shakes his head. "Yes and no. I cannot tell you for certain, but lets just say that it's looking like I'm to lean in a certain.... direction." He smiles and stares at me and just like that I know.
I walk back through the palace after meeting with my father feeling like I'm walking on air. Palace maids and staff bow to me as I pass them, they give me the right of way and ensure that none of them impede my travels. I have quite the reputation around here, before Annie I would fire anyone that looked at me funny. Now though, I'm far more lenient, and today I'm in too good of a mood to yell at anyone let alone fire anyone.
Or, I thought that was true, before I ran into a certain someone.
"Oh, Daniel! How nice to see you! I thought that was you."
I stop dead in my tracks and turn around, my skin prickling. "Vanessa." It's safe to say that my tone was nothing close to cordial. Sadly, I can't just walk away from her, even though I want nothing more than to do just that, royal etiquette requires that I at least acknowledge her presence. After doing that, I turn back on heel and keep walking in the direction I was originally heading.
Sadly she doesn't take the hint--shocker-- and does a little run to catch up with my longer, purposeful strides, her high heels clacking on the marble floor. I resist the urge to roll my eyes at her or openly tell her to fuck off-- those aren't the behaviors of the future King-- and nod to acknowledge her. I don't say anything after that.
She frowns and fails to hide it behind a smile. "I see you brought your wife home."
If she's trying to make conversation, I'm not going to budge. I nod again.
She furrows her perfectly plucked brows and purses her lips. "I'm glad to see her back where she belongs, what did you have to do to keep her by your side this time?" She grins. "Did you threaten her life? Or what about that dumb puppy's?"
I subtly slow down, staring her down. There is no possible way she knows the contract that we have together. How could she? She's clearly bluffing, trying to see what I'll reveal. Too bad I already know all of her slimy techniques. They won't work on me. I shrug. "I don't know what you're referring to, Vanessa. My wife was simply away on holiday, visiting her family."
She rolls her eyes, a behavior I would be tempted to correct if she were still mine. She isn't, and she never will be again if I have anything to say about it. "Cut the shit, Daniel. You and I both know that everything isn't all it seem with you and that mutt."
I stop and grab her elbow, ceasing us both from continuing down the hall. Her eyes briefly widen, but I see desire in them and I drop her arm, completely disgusted. "If you ever disrespect my wife again, I'll be sure to have you excommunicated and exposed for the liar you are." I growl.
She scoffs. "Like you the proof to expose me. If you did you would have done it already. We both know you have nothing but empty threats."
I shake my head. "My threats aren't empty." While the threat about exposing her lies was a complete lie, the rest isn't. When I'm King, I'll have the power to remove her from the royal family--permanently. As of right now she's lucky it isn't the first thing on my to do list. "I would be careful how you speak and act to me in the future."
Vanessa bursts out laughing. "You think that little foreigner of yours is going to score you the Regency, then you're sorely mistaken."
I don't dictate that with a response because she's dead wrong. Annie is the sole thing that has granted me the crown. Without her, I wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell. Based on the look on her face, she knows it too.
"You and I both know Michael is far more suited to be King. He's more responsibly than you are and ever will be. You don't deserve to sit on that throne and she doesn't deserve to sit, let alone stand beside you." She seethes.
I've about lost my temper, I think in this moment in time I'm almost to the point where I'm about to do something to this witch of woman that I'll surely regret, when another person bounds the corner and I force myself to calm down.
My brother's wife, Cassandra walks towards us, her youngest son, Alain, sitting on her hip sucking his thumb. Vanessa snickers at me before turning to her friend. Great. Cassandra is solely under the thumb of Vanessa. She's nearly lifeless, she'll do anything Vanessa says.
She smiles at me and pushes a piece of her brown hair behind her ear, away from the two year old's grabby hands. The vision makes me think of Annie standing before me, our little baby in her arms with my dark hair and her pretty blue eyes. It inflicts that same feeling that Annie does in my chest and I find that I'm even more confused than ever. I never really wanted to be a father, but now that I'm picturing Annie holding our son, I find I want it now more than ever. Before I can analyze these newfound thoughts and feelings, Cassandra turns to me.
My nephew smiles at me and I find myself smiling back and ruffling his chocolate hair.
"Daniel. It's lovely to see you. How have you been? How is Annie doing?"
I turn to her. "I've been well and so has my wife. How have you been, Cassandra? How is my brother?"
She smiles. "We've been well. Alain has been keeping me up a little bit lately but other than that it's been business as usual."
I nod. This is a little strange. Michael's wife usually doesn't talk to me. She tends to stand behind my brother and smile. She was always the wave and smile type so I'm not sure why she's openly conversing with me. It has put me a little on edge and I can't help but have my eyes slide to Vanessa to see if her scheming grin is on her face. Surprisingly, I see nothing but a pleasant smile as she teases Alain. Poor Alain doesn't know there's a literal she-demon in front of him.
"I'm sorry to hear that, I hope you're both getting enough sleep." There's nothing I want more than to be free of this bland conversation. An image of Annie's perfect ass as I thrust into her slick heat and fuck her from behind flashes in my mind as she's helplessly handcuffed behind her back. Correction--there's one thing I want more. "I'm sorry, I have to get back to Annie."
She nods and laughs at bit. "I-well we get sleep here and there. Picking up hours as we can. "It's funny you mention that. Actually, I was looking for her."
I can feel my brows raise. "You were?"
She nods again. "I was. She's my sister in law so I feel I should get to know her." Cassandra shrugs sheepishly. "In fact, I should've gotten to know her earlier."
I guess she's right. She should get to know Annie because she's going to be sticking around. I've decided. We aren't going to divorce. She's going to be my wife and the mother of my children because....
I don't know why, but she elicits such a feeling inside me that I know I just have to find out more. I can't abandon what ever we have.
"I'm sure she'd appreciate that." And I know she will. Annie doesn't have many friends here, no one but her maid friend--Aline-- and William--who I don't condone-- so she definitely needs more.
"Is she free right now? I was going to invite her tea in the parlor."
I would assume so. I told her to stay put until I returned since I wore her out so much last night. The memory makes me grin but I hide it behind a cough and a nod. "She is. I'm heading back there now. I'll tell her to meet you in the parlor?"
She nods one last time. "I would like that very much. I have to drop off this little bambushki first." She nuzzles Alain with her nose and he giggles, grabbing at her hair with his little hands. I once again can't help but think about Annie with a kid like that and now I want it to be a reality. I want what Michael and Cassandra have.
I want the life that I once criticized them for having.
And that thought scares me.
I say my farewells to both the ladies and head back to Annie. By now she should be awake considering it's nearing one in the afternoon. I definitely put her the proverbial wringer yesterday, but she shouldn't still be sleeping. I nod to the guards protecting her. After she left I made sure to handpick the best people to watch over when I was unable to. I meant what I said. It's dangerous, and I can count the number of people I trust inside this palace on one hand so I want to be sure she's safe at all costs--even when I'm not with her.
I enter the suite and hear the sound of some catchy 80s pop song and the melodic voice I've come to love singing right along to it. Annie's in the kitchen area, wearing my dress shirt, singing and dancing as she cooks a grilled cheese on the stove. Oh, and did I mention she isn't wearing any pants?
I come up behind her and wrap my arms around her waist, pulling her close to me and kissing her neck. She jumps and makes an adorable 'eep' noise that I savor before melting into my embrace. She whacks me with the spatula. "Daniel! You damn nearly gave me a heart attack!" She protests.
I grin. "Careful Little American, or you won't be the one doing the whacking with that spatula." I palm her ass cheek and give it a little squeeze, causing her to go up on her toes and gasp. I spin her around and push her against the counter, away from the hot stove, which I turn off as I slide past it, and press my lips to hers, savoring her taste. Something sweet, like honey, purely Annie. She moans and softens to me once more. "I missed you." I murmur against her lips.
She pulls away. "What's gotten into you? I just saw you." She giggles and bites her lip, it's a quirk of hers I'm coming to love.
I also realize with a sudden clarity as I stare into her blue eyes--those sparking eyes the color of the ocean that show nothing but adoration-- that her quirk isn't the only thing I'm coming to love. I take a step back from her, like I've been scalded, because in a way I have. She raises a brow and I see the love flash to concern in her eyes but I don't have an answer-- I'm too freaked out.
I stutter out something about having to go see a diplomat and that she has to meet Cassandra for tea in the parlor and I head back out the suite. I practically sprint down the hall until I come to a little alcove displaying an expensive oriental vase. I lean against the wall and slide down it, hands in my hair, until I'm sitting on the tile.
Everything that has happened, ever little feeling, thought, emotion, since Annie flashes through my mind like a movie. The obsession, the desire to always be near, the fact that no matter how hard I try, I can't get her out of my head.... I come to a sobering realization.
I love her.
There's no other explanation for why I never want to leave her, why I want her to be my wife forever and the mother of my children, why I want her by my side always. Fuck. How could I have been so goddamned blind? I was so quick to categorize this unfamiliar feeling as sexual obsession, but it's more than that. It's affection, tenderness, devotion.
I love Annie, and I don't think I've ever been more terrified in my life because now that I know I love her, I can also lose her and I've come to realize that's my greatest fear.