I am so so so sorry for the lack of updates. There are honestly so many factors as to why I've been away and I feel so bad for making you all think I've abandoned this as I have not. I've been dealing with family and school and I recently got into a relationship and of course there's the virus so I'm back for good. I'd never abandon this story or all of you! Now that I'm feeling better, I'm hitting the grindstone and I'm going to be cracking out chapters quickly and consistently. I would just like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding. :))
Now on to the chapter~~
My mother stares at me from across the hallway, a satisfied smirk on her face as she takes in the scene of Annie fast asleep in my arms. She fell asleep in the middle of the plane ride, after our conversation, and hasn't woken up since. It's quite impressive actually. She slept through the plane ride, and only made little content sleepy noises when I moved to carry her off the plane. It was quite adorable actually and definitely a moment I'll have to look back on.
"I see all is well?" My mother whispers her question, making sure she doesn't wake Annie.
I nod my goodbyes, hoping she'll let me go my own way. "We're getting there. She isn't happy with me, but she'll get over it." Of course, she doesn't and decides to follow me as I walk down the hall.
She frowns. "Serves you right. I hope she makes you grovel, dear, but I suppose it's a step in the right direction that she's here at the palace."
I nod again. "It is."
"I hope she didn't make it easy for you." She grins.
Oh, if only you knew, mother. I wonder what she'd say if she knew that only a few hours ago I was reddening my wife's ass with a wooden spoon. Would she smack me across the head? I bite back a small grin, "Oh, no. Trust me, mother, Annie put up quite the fight."
Her grin turns downward into a semblance of a scowl and she sighs. "I know you didn't tell her the truth, so why is she here, Danny?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Mother. Annie just wanted to come back after I convinced her."
She gives me a look--t's a look that pretty much says bullshit.
I sigh. "What do you want me to say, Mother?"
"I would hit you if you weren't carrying Annie right now. How can you do this to this poor girl? Just tell her how you feel." She scolds in a harsh whisper.
I can't help but sigh again, completely done with this conversation. It's beginning to annoy and piss me off and I never want to show my mother that ugly side of me. She knows I can have quite the temper, but I try not to have her experience it if I can help it. Thankfully, we've made it to the suite where Annie and I stay. I look at my mother expectedly.
She looks from the door to me and lets out an annoyed breath. "This conversation isn't over, you know that right?"
I nod and give her a small smile. "Of course. Now, if you'll excuse me, my wife's had a tough day and it's time to let her get some proper rest."
My mother purses her lips but nods. "We shall speak later. Tell her I want to have tea with her when she is properly rested?"
I nod once more and she pauses, her eyes traveling down to Annie before she smiles softly and nods back to me before walking with her guards back to her own wing of the palace.
Before I enter the suite I instruct the two guards outside the door to be ever vigilant and to not let anyone but me in or out; This especially includes my wife and Lord Morburn. I don't trust her not to leave again, and I sure as hell don't trust him not to try something nefarious. The guards' spines straighten like bamboo rods the second I even open my mouth. I'm not speaking too loudly, not wanting to wake my wife, but my tone is regal and harsh. Even I can detect the hint of anger and frustration in it. Annie never should've been able to flee from me, and this time I'm going to be damn sure it doesn't happen again.
They nod and apologize for the hundredth time and I have to refrain from rolling my eyes. They're lucky they still have their jobs. If it wasn't for PR and public image, they'd be gone. My mother informed a very angry me a few days ago that firing the two guards directly in charge of overseeing my wife the day after she takes her 'vacation' to New York would have been ill-advised. I begrudgingly had no choice but to agree. If the media caught wind that not only did my wife leave without me, but the two guards tasked with watching her were discharged?
It would've been nothing short of a fiasco.
I inform the two men that we will be retiring for the evening and that we do not wish to be disturbed until the afternoon and the bow and do the Verilian one fist on heart salute before apologizing once more. It's beginning to grow annoying so I nod again and give them a semblance of a smile- Annie says it's more frightening and based on the pale faces of the guards in front of me, I'm inclined to agree - before moving through the suite door and closing it quietly behind me. The last thing I want to do is wake my wife, for a number of reasons. The main reason being that she's completely exhausted and I want her to rest, the underlying reason being that she just looks so damn adorable sleeping--Not to mention quiet, which is something the two of us haven't had since I chased after her disobedient, stubborn ass, in New York.
The disobedient, stubborn ass that's currently bright red and covered in pretty little purple bruises from her mother's wooden spoon.
I can't help but smile at that. Wooden spoons are so handy. They're perfect to apply to a disobedient or bratty submissive when in a pinch and you can find them in almost every kitchen on earth. They're very convenient and not to mention the sting and beautiful marks they leave behind. The gorgeous marks that Annie is currently sporting. I can see a hint of red peeking out from under her loose athletic shorts and I feel my cock hardening in my pants, but I choose to ignore it. Soon. Annie's back in my palace and she's going to be sleeping in my bed, it's only a matter of time until I can sink back into her warm little body. I must be patient.
As expected, her luggage is at the foot of the bed and Baxter's pet carrier is resting on the floor beside it. He yips quietly from inside when he sees his mom in my arms and I shush him quietly so he doesn't wake her. The little beast must be smarter than I thought because he quiets immediately and rests his head on his small paws, seemingly patiently waiting until I can see to him.
Annie smartly wore a tank top and pair of sweat pant shorts on the plane to be more comfortable so I don't have to change her clothes. I'm grateful to this because if Annie woke to realize I changed her when she was asleep, she wouldn't be happy. Now, I'm not saying I'm trying to kiss up to her, but it's best to keep our conflicts to a minimum and her as happy as possible. It's just the best route for everyone.
I lay Annie down on the side of the bed I've been subconsciously calling hers since she left and cover her with the fluffy comforter. She sighs in her sleep and makes a few noises that I can describe as nothing but adorable and then settles in the bed. I'm overcome by seeing her back in my bed- where she belongs- that stupid voice in my head says, that I find myself leaning down towards her face. Before I even know what I'm doing, I've already pressed my lips to the soft skin on her forehead.
"Good night, Wifey." I whisper.
I'm going crazy. Yes, that's it.
She mumbles something incoherent and smiles in her sleep in response.
I chuckle quietly and go over to where Baxter is sitting patiently in his carrier. His ears perk up and his tail starts to wag when he sees me approach. "Ok, now you're going to have to be quiet, you don't want to wake Mommy, she's had a long day." I coo in nothing short of baby-talk.
I frown. Great, now I'm talking to a dog like it's a baby. Between this and the forehead kiss I must really be going insane.
Baxter yips quietly and I open the crate. He runs to my legs and jumps on them a few times, his little tail wagging so hard I'm legitimately concerned it's going to fly off, then runs over to the side of the bed where Annie is snoring quietly.
I shake my head at him and point over in the corner where I've recently had palace staff bring him a large blue velvet dog bed filled with toys. It's comical really, the best looks from Annie, to me, to the dog bed, then back to Annie, seeming to have made his decision.
I roll my eyes and sigh. "You want to sleep with your Mommy, don't you?" I ask the dog like he can answer.
I thought Baxter's tail couldn't wag any harder, I was wrong.
I hold back a groan and pick up the little spoiled brat and put him on the foot of the bed, fully expecting him to lay down, completely content. I don't know why I expected this, it was a completely false prediction. Instead, the little monster trots right up to the small space I left in front of Annie when I laid her on her side and curls up against her stomach. Annie puts an arm around him in her sleep and smiles.
The dog looks at me smugly-- I swear he does -- as if to say oh yeah, Princey boy? What are you gonna do about it? This may be your bed but we both know I belong here more than you do then closes his eyes and falls asleep.
I really am insane. Now I'm inventing the dialogue of an innocent puppy. Either I'm tired or I'm out of my mind. I'm hoping for the former.
While I debate my mental state, I move to my side of the bed and strip down to just my boxers. I debate taking those off too but I think better of it. If Annie wakes up tomorrow and sees I'm naked, not only will she get the wrong idea, but she'll blow her top and even I know it's mean to have to punish her so soon after the thrashing I gave her earlier; Best to give her luscious behind a break.
I lift the comforter and slide in beside her. I lay on my back and stare up at the ceiling for what feels like forever, my mind suddenly at peace for what feels like the first time since Annie left, my hands folded on my chest. I hear her snore softly beside me and I look over and see the outline of her face in the early morning light. She looks so peaceful as her chest rises and falls rhythmically.
For the first time since she left, everything feels right. The bed no longer feels empty as I take comfort in the dip her weight causes in the mattress. It's no longer too quiet as I can hear her sleep sounds.
I take in all of this for a few more moments before I roll on to my side and wrap my arm around her middle, pulling her close to my chest. I can't help but smirk in triumph when I hear the dog grumble his disapproval at having to move or at having me steal his Mother away from him. I'm not sure which, but I wrap my hand around Annie and relish in the warmth of her body against my own. I intertwine my feet with her own and sigh into her hair. It smells sweet and tropical, she must have recently showered.
With Annie's soft body flush against my own, in the bed I've unwillingly admitted we share, I feel like things are all right in the world. For the first time since I've returned to the palace, not just with Annie, but when I came back after traveling the world, I feel like... I'm home.
This realization hits me with the force of a train; If I was drinking or eating I'd surely choke. I consider Annie to be my home. This bed and this royal suite is nothing without her.
It's at this moment when I simultaneously realize two things:
One, I'm way more obsessed than I originally thought, and two, I don't think I'll ever be able to let her go.
I wake up a few hours later before Annie feeling more rested than I have in a while. I refuse to lie, and I begrudgingly won't refuse to admit it, but waking up and seeing her peaceful face... it makes me feel a certain way that for some reason, only my Little American can. Even with her mouth half open, her hair a mess, some of her drool on her pillow, I still feel the same if she walked into the room wearing a sinful lowcut dress.
That confuses me to no end.
Still, it apparently isn't something I'll ever be able to understand, I admit to myself as I reluctantly leave the warm bed. And for some reason, it isn't before I plant another insane kiss on her forehead.
Yet another thing that confuses me.
As much as I want to stay in this bed, curled up behind her, inhaling the tropical scent of her messy hair and feeling her soft body in my arms... I can't. I want to become King, so royal duties come first. Plus, I doubt she'd be too keen to wake up to me wrapped around her like a clingy boyfriend considering she isn't my number one fan right now, so this works out perfectly. Besides, I have to meet with my mother anyway, I will never be able to get away from this talk she's so convinced we must have.
The thought makes me roll my eyes. She can truly be so infuriating sometimes.
I get up and get dressed in a simply suit and sit on the armchair beside the bed to pull on my dress shoes, careful not to wake Annie. She needs her rest. It's been a long few hours for her and she needs all the sleep she can get. Truthfully, I'm hoping she sleeps off her anger because I miss the way things used to be before she had to go and fucking confess to me. I would give almost anything to go back to before the worst night of my life.
Yes. I can safely say that that was the worst night so far.
I hurry out of the suite and close the door quietly behind me, making sure to instruct the guards to not let anyone in or out and to inform me if anyone is trying to enter or leave, including my wife. They go pale in the face like they usually do when they talk to me, but agree to do as I say. Of course they do, it's their job. If anyone here says no to me then they're out of the job before they can even think of taking it back.
Mother is in the sitting room, sipping her exotic tea like she is every morning when I enter. She lifts her head slightly, permission for me to come sit beside across from her and I do so. A usual, her handmaid offers me some tea but I decline. I've never really acquired the taste for that stuff as she has. It's either too bitter or too sweet for my liking. But enough about the tea.
We sit in silence for a few moments. I try my best to stay patient, but much like tea, patience has never been my forte either. I'm about to open my mouth and start the inevitable conversation when my mother audibly sets the teacup down on the fancy porcelain saucer.
I'm taken aback. It's royal etiquette to never make a sound when placing down cookware so I'm a little shocked. She must be far angrier than I thought.
"Danny, you arrogant, selfish, stupid ass!"
I feel my eyes widen and nearly pop out of my skull like those dolls I used to squeeze as a kid. If I was drinking some of her horrible tea, I'd for sure spit it out on to the aged maple flooring. "P-pardon?"
She rolls her eyes. "You heard me. I called you an arrogant, selfish, stupid ass. Now don't tell me I have to add hard of hearing to the list now too?"
For one of the first few times in my life, I have no words, but of course she takes my stunned silence as a cue to continue.
"For such a highly educated individual, you're a stupid ass. Annie is in love with you. You have such a soft, sweet, and precious girl who sees you as someone who can truly do no wrong. A girl who looks at you with such love in her eyes that it nearly makes me tear up because it's exactly how your father looks at me." She takes a deep breath and leans forward in her seat, folding her slender hands in her lap. "Sadly for you, you're asleep."
I raise a brow and grin, rolling my eyes at her outlandishness. "I am pretty sure I am awake. If this was a dream, I'd know." She leans even more forward and whacks me on the forehead with her palm. I straighten my spine and narrow my eyes. "What the fuck, Mother?"
"Stop being a smartass! You are sleeping right now. You're blind to your own feelings, you refuse to wake up and see the truth."
I frown. Not this again. "Oh yeah? And what is 'the truth'?"
She sighs. "That you're in love with Annie. Trust me, you love that girl and for some sad reason, everyone but you can see it." She picks up her tea and takes a sip. "I just pray that you do come to see it before you lose her... for good this time."
My mother's words ring in my ear long after I leave her, like an infuriating earworm that won't leave my brain. Even as I make my way through my business, discussing trade and domestic matters with the Prime Minister and speaking to foreign officials and experts on how to fix the economy, it sticks with me. A delegate from Austria sits before me, explaining our alliance and aid they need and all I'm able to hear is...
"For good this time."
I don't want that. Annie can't leave me. She can never leave me. It nearly destroyed me when she left, for some reason nothing was the same, but her leaving forever? Me never being able to see her again? Never being able to kiss her or feel the warmth from her body? Falling asleep and waking up in that large, empty, bed, alone?
I won't allow that to happen.
Everything is fine. Annie is with me, currently asleep in my bed, in my suite. She isn't going to leave.
But she is, she is going to leave me. She loves me, I don't feel the same. After our contract is up.... she'll leave me...
For good this time.