I was having a hard time with Cassius question. It took me off guard, basically because I’d always thought the answer was: “Of course I would like to return to my family.”, but now that I think about it, I would only return to a house with a workaholic mom, a sister that is in college, and an absent father. But these were selfish thoughts.
There were still my friends, more importantly, Hannah. She was the person that had my back in everything and had supported me in very complicated phases of my life. And I had done the same for her. Her brother had died in a car accident the same year my father cheated on my mom. We had our backs, and it was us against the world.
“Lib, be selfish. Think in yourself, not in others or what they want. Would you go back?” He interrupted my thoughts by asking again.
“I would go back if I had the chance to do it.” I said sure of my answer.
“Why?” He had a look on his face I couldn’t point out what it was; if it was disappointment or betrayal.
“Would you go back to your family if you had the chance?” I asked him, putting him in the same position.
“No.” he said harshly looking into my eyes. “They think I’m dead, and it’s probably the best if I keep it that way.”
“What if it wasn’t? What if your mother misses you like hell? What if you still have the chance to grow along with your brothers? What if you have the chance to amend wrongs with your father?” I asked trying to make him understand the sense of his decision.
His expression was hardened and he just shook his head.
“That’s why I would return if I had the chance.” I said softly.
He looked confused. “I need to make some wrongs right, even if they are not mine.” I took a deep breath knowing what was coming. I was going to open to him as I had to no other, except Hannah.
“My father cheated on my mother and moved far away from my mother, my sister and I. I loved my father more than anything in the world and he just disappeared. My mother was left depressed and she became addicted to her job. I never had a special relationship with my mom as I had with my father, but my sister had. She tried everything to take her out of that trance, even I tried everything I could. She was the only thing I had left.” A tear was threatening to fall and I slipped it away quickly with the back of my hand.
I cleared my throat before continuing. “I got sick and it seemed it was grave, and that finally took her out of her trance. Everyone thought what I had was serious, but no doctor knew what I had. My mother was set in to save me, but then I came here, and I don’t know how is she. I’m worried out of my mind about her and my sister because I know my disappearance is freaking everyone out.”
“I wake up every morning thinking that my mother...” My voice broke and I took a deep breath. “She needs me, more than I need her. That’s why I can’t afford to be selfish.” My voice was quiet and soft, my gaze fixed on the ground.
Silence engulfed us and I slowly move my head to look at Cassius. He was watching the fire intently with a frown taking over his handsome face.
I took his hand and he looked at me.
“I know you want the same thing as I. Don’t make the mistake to think about the “what if’s”, because someday you are going to regret your decision, and at that point, there would be no turning back.” I gave his hand a squeeze trying to show my support.
“Anyway, you know I will support whatever your decision is.” I said softly.
“If I decide to go back, you need to promise me something.” He said suddenly. A smile made its way to my face, knowing that I changed his mind.
His eyes averted from the fire and his gaze was on me.
“Promise me that you will go with me, that we will be together.” I was about to reply to that but he put his hand up to let him finalize his idea.
“I know that you are thinking about what will happen when you return to your world, but like you said, I do not want to regret not doing anything to have you when you leave and be the rest of my life thinking what it would have been like to be with you. To hold you in my arms. To kiss you. To make love to you.” He said the last things in a husky voice that almost had me fainting. At that point, he was close, very close.
Upon hearing his words, my face was red like a tomato, nervousness, and embarrassment taking over me in an instant. I let my short hair fall on my face to cover my red face.
“MAKE LOVE!? HOLY JESUS CHRIST. THIS SHIT ESCALATED QUICKLY.”
Honestly, I didn’t know what to think, because he was right. I was going to regret it for the rest of my life if I said no to him.
“Please, give me the chance to show you that it will be worth it.” He said in a low whisper. I looked up to see his face very close to mine, looking at me with his intense gaze that made my legs weak. My heart was pounding against my chest and it felt like it was going to explode any minute.
He cupped my cheek and his gaze went to my lips. My breath hitched and my brain wasn’t processing anything. My gaze went to his lips and in an instant, he closed the distance.
The kiss was intense, not soft at all. Both of us had been waiting for this moment for a long time. It was fervent, needy and hard. His lips moved against mine non-stop, and I didn’t want it to stop. I kissed him back with equal fervor, getting closer and closer in the doing. Our bodies were pressed to one another, I was on top of him straddling him, both of my hands caressing his neck while his arms were around my waist. How we got to that position, is a mystery.
Finally, we needed air, and we separated to catch our breath. His forehead was against mine and he had a crooked smile on his lips that turned my lips into a smile too.
“Is that a yes?” he asked hopefully.
“No.” I said simply
His smile vanished and confusion took over him in an instant.
I laughed and shook my head. “I’m joking! Of course, is a yes.”
He let out a breath of relief, but then a smug smirk took his face.
“Even if you said no, I was going to do it anyway, it’s not like you didn’t enjoy the kiss so, sooner or later you were going to say yes.” He said smugly, his cockiness up in the sky.
“What makes you think I enjoyed the kiss?” I asked with an arched brow.
He snorted. “You didn’t like it, you loved it.” His voice was husky as he looked again at my lips.
I shrugged nonchalantly and looked at my nails. “Nah, not the best kiss I had.”
“Best kiss of my entire life!”
He squinted his eyes and glared at me. “Liar.”
“Believe what you want.” I was about to stand up, but his hands grabbed my waist and pushed me down to sit again. His face inched closer to mine and I composed myself so it wouldn’t look like I was nervous.
“Liars get punished, you know?” he whispered against my earlobe. My eyes went wide and a shiver ran down my spine. Suddenly his hands started to tickle my sides and my laughs echo through the forest.
“P-plea-se! S-stop!” I tried to say between laughs
He tickled me harder and my stomach started to hurt.
“F-fine! Bu-ut stop!” I said with no change at all.
I grabbed his hands so he could stop tickling me and just when I had them off my body before he could start again I spoke fastly.
“I was lying, the kiss was the best kiss of my damn life, fine?” I said without breathing, releasing a sigh of relief when he didn’t tickle me again.
A smirk took over his face and once again he put his arms around my waist to hold me in place. He pressed my body against him and put his face in the crook of my neck.
“The best kiss of your damn life, huh?” he asked huskily against my neck. I nodded nervously, my breathing becoming ragged once again.
He started kissing my neck with feather kisses until he reached my jaw. He stopped and his gaze was on my lips. “That was only the start.” He mumbled against my lips before kissing again.
The kiss was slow, soft, as if we had all the time in the world just to kiss. One of his arms moved to my back and his hand went to my hair, caressing it with his fingers. I put both of my arms around his neck and got closer to him. His tongue teased my lower lip and I opened my mouth to give him entrance. His tongue played with mine, kissing me like no other man had ever done. He slowly laid down on the grass, and my hands went to his chest. We kissed for what it seemed two seconds when he suddenly moved away.
I frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“Lib, I’m having a hard time controlling myself, so I suggest you stop before I take you here and now.” He said with his voice strained. That’s when I felt a hard thing poking my thigh.
My eyes went wide and I scrambled off him to his side. My face was probably all the shades of red in existence.
I coughed and mumbled a ‘sorry’ fast. I was too embarrassed to say something clearly and to his face. I laid my head on his chest and bit my lip.
I looked up and he was watching me with a smile. A true and significant smile.
“Did I tell you that you are the best thing that has happened to me ever?” He mumbled caressing my cheek.
For the thousand time that day, I blushed.
“Did I ever tell you that you’re such a pain in the ass, but at the same time, also the best thing in my life?” I asked him quizzically.
He rolled his eyes. “Do you want me to tickle you again?”
“Hey! I did say a compliment, you know?” I said with a smile on my face, hoping internally that he didn’t tickle me.
“Well, then you suck at complimenting.” He said chuckling.
A moment of silence passed and I could hear Cassius heartbeat through his chest. A small smile made its way to my face remembering how he said his heart beats for me.
He let out a sigh suddenly. “We should get going. Today was a long day and I’m pretty sure you’re exhausted too.”
I nodded, my body starting to be aware of all the events of the day and how the events of the day had left me exhausted.
We stood up and after we extinguished the flames of the bonfire, we walked hand in hand to the cabin. When we got there I was ready to collapse on my bed when Cassius grabbed my wrist and yanked me towards his bed.
“You are sleeping with me from now on.” he said, capturing my waist with his arms.
I smiled. “If you had invited me before, I would have been all over you a long time ago.” I winked seductively.
I off his arms and laid down on the bed, pulling the covers quickly over me. Cassius got under the covers as quickly as me and grabbed my waist once again.
“So you’re all over me?”
“Sure, whatever.” I rolled my eyes playfully with a smile.
“So, you were serious about the whole going back to your family?” I asked cautiously, holding his hand while my thumb drew circles over it. This seemed to relax him and he sighed.
“Like I said, as long as you are with me, everywhere. And you’re right. I think after all of these years it’s time I go back and make amends.”
I smiled and kissed his hand. I was proud of him, of how he listened to me instead of shutting himself and putting walls.
Even if he had said no, I would still be proud because the important thing is that he listened, something he doesn’t do often.
“How is your family like?” I asked him curiously still tracing circles on his hand.
“They are...special, each one in their own unique way.”
I looked at him expectantly so he could tell me more, and he did.
“My father’s name is Tristan Montforde, and he is a very stoic, fearless and powerful, man. He has high respect from all the kingdoms because of all the things he has accomplished. His intelligence sometimes is overwhelming. His head is always thinking for a better way to confront things, and that’s what makes him successful. People tend to be scared of him because of his imposing way of speaking and his size does not help him much either, but when he is with my mother, he changes completely. He treats her with so much love and adoration, sometimes it surprises me he is the same rude and imposing king that everyone fears and respects. He has a soft spot for her.” He chuckled.
“Since all of his children were boys, he raised and educated us with very strict rules. There was no liberty to enjoy our childhood, at least for me and for Leo. I don’t know what happened to Peyton, he was three years old when I left...” He muttered the last part and I squeezed his hand slightly for support.
“Anyway, my mother, Mirabelle, was the one to spoil us. She was so caring and loving and always prioritized our well being, even if that meant going against my father’s word. They always had the same fight; my mother supported and protected our wishes and ideas, while my father dismissed them and try to ‘man us up’. My brother Leo was more supportive of my father, while I was more supportive of my mother.”
I listened to him, concentrating on his descriptions and story of his family, which they didn’t seem too different from my family of two years ago.
“Leo and I would constantly fight because of our differences, but I cared for him anyway, and I still do. He was too mature for his age and just like my father, he is too non-negotiable and fixed minded.”
“How old was Leo when you left?” I asked, trying to converse a little before the sleepiness took me entirely.
“He was eleven.” He said before yawning.
I started to make the maths, and Leo had to be 21 at that moment and Peyton 13, almost a teenager.
“We should sleep.” I muttered with my eyes already closed, the sleepiness to heavy to fight.
“Goodnight Lib, sweet dreams.” he muttered as sleepy as I was.
His arm around my waist moved until I was pressed against his back. I smiled in content, feeling the most happiness I had felt in a very long time, and fell asleep.
I opened my eyes to see that I was engulfed in a deep hollowed darkness. My body was laying on the cold ground, shivering and sore. I stood up and tried to look at my surroundings better, but it was too dark to see anything. I knew this wasn’t a dream, it felt too real to be one, yet nothing made sense. But what I certainly did know, is that I wasn’t safe. My brain was on high alert, my fists clenched and the hairs of my neck arose.
A manly chuckled resonated through the darkness and I turned my head in every direction.
“What is so funny?” I mustered the courage to say to the unknown person. The silence was his answer and I was starting to get angry.
“Show yourself!” I demanded, not quite scared as before.
“You are so naive.” A voice said, but it was covered. It had a certain vibration, like the one’s villains or superheroes use to cover their identity. My head spun in every direction once again to see where the voice came from.
I swallowed nervously. “Who the hell are you?”
“You are living in your own perfect world, free of preoccupations, and too blind to see what is going on.” He said not replying to my question.
I kept my silence and waited for the man to keep talking.
“War is coming, and you are going to be stuck in the middle of it. You, my dear, are the key to this war. Mages finally will take what it’s right for them, and the nine kingdoms will be ruled by magic.” The voice said oddly calm, but I didn’t take it calmly.
My heart rate skyrocketed and my fear was worse. I was talking to a mage.
“What do you want?” I asked in a whisper, trying to understand what was going on.
“I want humans to suffer. The whole Montforde family slaughtered and their heads on pikes.” He snarled with hatred, his voice echoing through the darkness.
I swallowed and tried to keep my composure. Fear was not helping and neither my instincts. I wanted to run away as far a possible, but I kept my feet right where they were.
“I can feel your fear, Liberty. Not for your life, but for the eldest Montforde.” He said mockingly. And he was right. If something happened to Cassius, God helps me, I was going to kill this guy.
“What the hell do you want from me?” I asked fiercely, hiding my fear from his sight.
He laughed sinisterly. “Impatient, aren’t you?”
“Fuck off!” I snarled at him, tired of his rather-not-to-the-point answers.
“Patience, my dear. We have enough time on our hands to discuss your fate. You are going to have an important role.”
Suddenly I felt a presence behind me and my breath was caught in my throat. I closed my eyes and he whispered into my ear.
“And the best part? You won't even see it coming.”