I looked at myself in the compact mirror Nix had given me. My skin was flushed, my cheeks were bright red but I was no longer glowing. I sighed in relief. I snapped the compact mirror closed and removed myself from the stall.
I ran my hands under the cold water of the sink, hoping to cool my heated skin down. I glanced at the small clock that hung between the two oval mirrors over the sink. I let out a soft groan as I saw the time. I had been sitting in the stall for over an hour. In that time I had heard countless women come in and out of the bathroom. Many of them came in alone but a few had come in as a group and gossiped the whole time.
Nix hadn’t come back to see me, I had hoped she was able to find Rupert. I had struggled to keep my thoughts and emotions at bay while sitting on the toilet. I didn’t understand Rupert’s sudden affection. Everything that had happened was overwhelming. Rupert had done things to me that I never in a million years would have expected him to do. The hardest part to understand was where did that leave us now? Would he rather pretend that nothing had happened? Would he want things to just be normal like he had said on his way out of the room?
I collected myself and made my way back into the ballroom. Music played in soft tones while chatter filled the air. Many people had found their place at a table, while others enjoyed the tempo on the dance floor.
I looked around for Nix. Her navy gown and braided hair was nowhere in sight. I moved along the tables until I came across a server carrying a tray full of champagne flutes. I happy grabbed one before I looked out at the crowd of people. I spotted the Queen sitting next to the King by the orchestra. Their table was up on a small platform to give them the view of every table and face that joined them in their celebrations. I quickly moved my eyes away as the Queen's gaze moved my way.
My gaze caught the open french doors that lead into the gardens just off the side of the castle. I made my way towards the doors. The slightest breeze that was blowing through was welcoming against my skin. I stood at the top of the stairs and looked out at the garden. The shrubs and gazebo were wrapped with beautiful white lights. They shined brightly against the dark sky. The lights made it seem more magical, more welcoming. I smiled as I walked down the steps, excited to see what else was in the garden.
I walked down the path and saw a small bench off to the side. I made my way over and sat down. I folded my dress over my knees to keep it from falling open. I looked around the garden, like me a few people had come out to escape the warm air inside. A few were alone, walking slowly along the winding path looking at the plants that were illuminated by the lights that were wrapped around them. Others had come out with their partner or friends and had made themselves comfortable on a bench to talk in hushed tones. As I watched each person I looked to see if any of them were Nix or Rupert. Unable to find them in the ballroom, I was hopeful that they would be out here instead. They weren’t. I sighed as I looked down at myself.
Maybe I should just leave. I thought.
Nix and Rupert were nowhere in sight. I wasn’t comfortable enough to spend hours alone in a room full of people I didn’t know, or that sparked visions to pop out of nowhere. I got up from the bench and made my way back down the path towards the castle.
“Nice dress.” A chill rolled down my spine. I felt my shoulders tense at the comment, but I didn’t stop walking. I pretended not to hear him as I climbed the stairs.
I heard his quick footsteps as he raced to catch up to me. I stopped on the step as he cut in front of me. My hair stood at the back of my neck.
“Where are you going?” His dark appearance made him blend in with the darkness of the night. “You at least owe me a conversation.”
I scoffed as I glared at him. “I owe you nothing,” I said through clenched teeth. “Excuse me.” I tried to step around him, but he blocked my path.
“You know, at such a formal gathering it’s considered rude to not speak to the Prince,” Valerian smirked.
I laughed as I smiled sweetly at him. “I thought that we went over this last time. You may be a Prince, but your title means nothing in these lands.” I clutched the skirt of my dress in my hands before I quickly sidestepped up and made my way into the ballroom.
I moved quickly across the room, carefully moving to avoid bumping into anyone as I tried to make a quick escape. My eyes were locked on the front door, eager to make it past the last of the guards and into a carriage to take me home.
“Ariella! Darling, there you are!” A small hand gripped my arm, I spun back, surprised by the contact.
“Nix! Where have you been?” I looked at her, my eyes were wide. My body relaxed into her touch.
“I went to find Rupert.”
“Is he okay? Did he leave?” The thoughts that were floating in my head were quickly washed away at the mention of Rupert’s name.
“He’s fine, don’t worry.” She smiled. “Besides there’s someone who’s been asking about you.” She looped her arm around mine and pulled me back into the middle of the room.
I hesitated for a second before I fell into step with Nix. I had been running from Valerian and I hope that wasn’t who had been asking about me. I looked at the people around us as we walked through the large crowds. Many stopped to look at us as we made our way by, others simply ignored us and continued on with their conversations.
As we made our way closer to the band I saw who we were heading towards. My heart jumped into my throat. My palms became sweaty, my head felt light and dizzy and I could feel my throat closing in as I tried to breathe.
“Nix,” I whispered. “I-I can’t speak with the King and Queen…” I looked over at her in a panic.
“Relax. It’ll be fine, nothing to worry about.” She smiled.
There’s everything to worry about. I thought as we stopped in front of them.
“Nix!” The Queen smiled. “You were able to find our new member to the community.”
I looked at her, she was beautiful. More beautiful up close than she had seemed in my visions. Her eyes were bright. They shined with happiness, joy, love. She was happy in her life, despite the grief she faced every day with the loss of her daughter.
“This is Ariella.” Nix waved her hand towards me.
I forced myself to smile, I gave a small curtsy and let out a deep breath. I forced the nausea that threatened to spill from my lips back down.
“It’s a pleasure,” I said, my voice was rough.
“The pleasure is all ours.” The King said as he wrapped his arm around the Queen. The King opened his mouth to continue to say something but was cut off by the sound of his name being called.
“Kallum, Grace.” The sight of Valerian made my knees weak in fear. I wanted to run, to throw up, to escape the evil that surrounded him.
“Oh Valerian, dear!” Grace opened her arms to give him a small hug like he was her own son. “I thought you were leaving!” She smiled up at him. “I’m glad you stayed. I would love for you to meet our daugh- I mean a new member of our community.” She turned back to face me.
I felt Nix wrap her arm around mine and let out a small quiet hiss as Valerian’s gaze moved over us. I frowned in confusion as I listened to Grace’s words.
“Oh yes.” Valerian ran his eyes down my body as he licked his lower lip. “Grace, I have already had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Ariella during my travels through town.”
Grace turned back towards me, her eyes were filled with happiness and joy. The smile on her face matched those emotions held in her eyes.
“Oh, how exciting!” She clasped her hands together.
Everything about this interaction had me wanting to throw up on Valerian’s shoes. I took a small step back, trying to give myself more room to breathe.
“You should spend a day with Valerian. He’s a great tour guide!” Grace said. Her eyes flickered to behind me, her smile slipped from her face before she caught herself and put it back on.
I felt a hand come to my back before it slid around my waist. The warmth that pooled over my skin by the contact and the smell of ash and spice met my nose. I leaned into his touch, knowing exactly who had come behind me.
“Rupert!” The King's voice boomed in surprise. “Such a pleasure to see you as always my son.” He reached out and clasped his hand around Ruperts.
“Always great to see you Kallum. I hate to interrupt but I owe this lady a dance.” He said.
I looked up at him, his hair that was once slicked back was now out of place from his fingers running through it. I gave him a small frown as I tried to remember any conversation I had with him where we talked about dancing. His violet eyes flashed down at mine, a small smile played on his lips. My stomach twisted at the sight of him. I let out a small breath before I smiled back, realizing what he was trying to do.
“Shall we?” I asked as I reached out to grab his hand. Warmth spread through my arm. I turned back to Grace and Kallum. “It’s been a wonderful night. Thank you for putting on such a beautiful celebration.” I quickly said my goodbyes before Rupert pulled me away from them.
I gave one last glance over my shoulder. Kallum held a smile as he continued to speak to Valerian whose eyes were still on me. His eyes were narrowed in a glare, his jaw was clenched as he stood with his hands in his pockets. I glanced over at Nix who smiled happily after us. She caught my gaze and gave me a quick wink before grabbing the attention of the Queen.
I turned back to Rupert. I quickly pulled my hand from his and speed past him.
“You okay?” I heard him say.
I could feel the numbness bubble up my throat. My tongue felt numb, my throat felt fuzzy. I cupped my mouth closed with my hand as I made my way down the steps outside. I stumbled through the grass, the heels of my shoes sank into the soil with each step. I collapsed behind a tall bush and spilled the contents of my stomach onto the ground.
“Ariella?” I heard Rupert come up behind me.
“Don’t.” I said as I heaved. I felt his fingers brush through my long hair as he pulled it back from my shoulders.
“It’s okay.” His voice was soft. I leaned back into him as I wiped my hand over my mouth.
“Let’s go home.” I whispered as I kept my eyes down, embarrassed that I had just thrown up in front of him.
Rupert said nothing as we made our way home. I kept my gaze away from him, wanting to keep the silence. I was afraid of what might be said after the events that took place tonight.
I accepted his hand as he helped me out of the carriage. I looked up at the house, the lights by the door were turned on but the rest of the house was dark. I felt him behind me was we walked into the house. I pulled my dress up from my legs as I leaned against the wall. I pulled on the clip at my ankle as I untied my shoes. I kicked them off, my feet rejoiced in happiness with the release of pressure.
I glanced over at Rupert out of the corner of my eye. He was watching me, his hands were tucked into his pants pockets as he watched me move. I moved my eyes from him and made my way down the hall. I reached up my back to try and pull down the zipper of my dress. I awkwardly moved my hand across my back as I struggled to grab a hold of the zipper.
I groaned in frustration as I walked into my room.
“Why couldn’t you be nice to me Nix?” I cursed as I mumbled to myself.
“Here.” Rupert’s voice was right behind me.
I turned back, my eyes wide, surprised that he had followed me to my bedroom.
“What are you-” I cut myself off as I felt his fingers pull on the zipper. My dress fell off my shoulders. I pulled my arms from the sleeves and let it pool against the floor at my feet.
I stood there with my back turned to him, in just my black lace panties and bra. I looked at him over my shoulder. His bright violet eyes shined as they roamed over my body. My stomach clenched as his hand reached out and touched my bare skin on my back. I closed my eyes and leaned into his touch.
His fingers felt rough against my soft skin, but his touch was electric. Warmth spread through my body as his fingers moved across my skin. I felt his other hand grip onto my hip. He pulled me against his body. I gasped in surprise from the sudden movement. His fingers on my hips danced beneath the fabric of my underwear. His fingers moved across the skin on my hip, moving ever so slowly towards my most sensitive parts. His hand that was once on my back as now at my front. His large hand cupped my left breast. He moved my flesh in his hand before he pinched my erect nipple. I moaned at his touch, my body was on fire and my mind was a blank canvas.
My hazy eyes watched as his glowing hands moved over my body. I pushed myself against him, desperate to feel every inch of his hard body against mine. I heard him suck in a breath before he dipped his head into the crevasse of my neck. His teeth nipped at my sensitive skin. His fingers moved against my nipple, pulling and pinching. I could feel my body shaking against his touch, my skin was on fire.
His hand that was tracing against my hip dipped into the front of my underwear. I gasped as I felt his fingers put pressure against my most sensitive parts. My body shook, my legs grew weak as an orgasm shattered through my body. His touch left my body as my fuzzy mind became to clear. He spun me around to face him, his eyes were the brightest I had ever seen them. He pushed me against the bed, I fell back, my hair fanning out against the mattress. I watched him with hooded eyes as he pulled his jacket off and moved towards me.
I ran my hands up his chest as he moved over top of me. My eyes caught his. His eyes flashed an emotion I did not understand. He quickly captured my lips with his. His kiss was delicate at first, but quickly turned into an aggressive heated kiss. His lips dominated mine. I pulled on his emerald tie, desperate to feel him against me. I fiddled with the knot at his neck before I pulled the tie off of him. I moved my hands down his chest, while his lips explored down my jaw and neck, I pulled at his shirt. Eager to remove it from his body, the buttons popped off his shirt as I ripped it off his shoulders.
I opened my eyes and watched my hands move over his smooth skin. A small patch of light brown chest hair sat in the middle of his chest. I ran my fingers over it before they moved down his muscled chest and over his toned stomach. I moved my thumb over the small line of hair that moved from his belly-button and disappeared into the waistline of his pants.
As I explored his body, his hands pulled against my bra. My breasts were ripped from the cups that secured them in place. His hot mouth moved from my neck down my chest and over my sensitive breasts. I gasped as his tongue rolled my nipple in his mouth before he gently bit down on it. I lifted my hips and ground against him as his hands and mouth explored my body. I gasped as I felt his hand cup my vagina. He moved his index finger down my wet slit before he settled on my clit.
“Rupert,” I moaned as I pulled on his hair.
His mouth moved back over mine as his fingers played. I heard him groan as I bit and pulled on his lip. I opened my eyes and watched as his mouth moved back over my jaw and down over my neck. I blinked in surprise as I saw the golden glow surround his whole body. I moved my hands over his arm, his light skin was reflecting green.
“R-Rupert.” I whispered, unsure of what was happening.
He didn’t respond, he continued to nip and kiss his way down my neck. I pulled his hair, his face moved back over mine. His golden violet eyes flashed to the green snake eyes that I had only seen once. I gasped, shocked at what was happening.
“What are you doing to me.” His voice was rough as he spoke. His mouth latched back onto mine before he bit down on my lip. I groaned loving the pain that he caused while his fingers continued to pleasure me. Fire was burning inside me, my body was beginning to tingle as an orgasm built up inside me. His mouth left mine and went back down to my neck. His teeth nipped against my shoulder blade.
The heat that was building in my stomach exploded like a firebomb. My body exploded with heat as my orgasm caused my body to shake against Rupert. I called his name as each wave moved over me. My mind was blank as my eyes clouded over. Yellow sparks covered my eyes behind my eyelids as my orgasm continued to shake through my body. Rupert’s hand never stopped playing as I came all over his fingers. I felt his breath against my neck, before pain shot through my body.
I groaned as the unwelcome pain moved through my neck. I pulled on Rupert’s hair, desperate for his teeth to release.
“Rupert.” I cried as the searing pain took over my body, leaving the pleasure that I was feeling seconds ago behind.
My mind stayed foggy, my sight slowly began to fade as the pain Rupert was causing me was overwhelming my senses. The golden spots behind my eyelids changed to white before they completely faded into black.