The sound of his laughter was music to my ears. I laughed with him as we laid tangled in the sheets. The sun was shining through the windows, casting rays of light through the gap between the curtains. The dust that was floating in the air, danced happily in the sunlight. The sun was shining high in the sky, telling us that we were well into the morning.
I traced my fingers across his chest, gently tracing lines and shapes across his soft skin. As I traced his laughter began to quiet. I looked up at him, his eyes met mine. They shined with happiness as his eyes searched over my face.
“What?” I smiled. I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks.
“Nothing.” He shook his head. “I don’t want to ruin this moment. We can talk about it later.”
I could feel the shift in his mood. My stomach began to coil at the thought of us moving ten steps back through the bloody trenches.
“It’s okay.” I tried to keep my voice light. “What is it?”
“I wanted to talk about what happened last night, but it can wait.” He shrugged as he wrapped his arm tighter around my body, pulling me even closer against him.
Not wanting to beat around the bush, I pushed the subject. Whatever he wanted to say, or know, I would rather say to him now than when I have to face the shit storm that my life had become.
“I’d rather just talk about it now.” I tried to swallow the lump that had formed in the back of my throat. “It’s better for me to talk about it than it is for me to let it boil inside.”
I felt his body tense beneath my touch. I could feel the wheels spinning in his brain as he tried to find the right words to say.
“I came here to talk to you.” I started. “I wanted to tell you what I had learned. How everything that had happened between us makes sense.” I looked down at my hand as I continued tracing shapes on his chest.
“When I was walking back here I kept hearing noises, but I could never see anything.” I took a deep breath. “He came out of nowhere. He wrapped his hand over my mouth and dragged me down the steps by my hair.” I curled my hand into a fist as my fingers began to shake against his warm skin.
“Did you see his face?” Rupert’s voice was quiet.
I gently shook my head. “He was in his changeling form. He had reddish yellow skin. There wasn’t anything about him that felt familiar.”
“What did he say to you? Did he tell you what he wanted?” He asked as he ran his fingers through my hair.
I nodded my head. I placed the words he had said to me in my head, as I tried to piece together how I wanted to tell Rupert.
“He threatened my life, your like and my families life if I didn’t do what had been promised when I was a child.” I tried to keep my voice calm and relaxed as I spoke.
“That promise being the marriage between you and Valerian?” He asked, his fingers slowed to a stop in my hair.
“Yes.” I said it so quietly that I wasn’t sure he had heard me.
I felt his whole body freeze before it began to shake. His hand that was in my hair curled into a fist causing him to pull my hair. His skin grew hot beneath my touch. I squeezed my eyes shut as I winced at the unexpected pain I began to feel within myself.
“Rupert?” I whispered his name as I tried to reach back to remove his hand from my hair.
“You shouldn’t have come.” His voice held no emotion.
I sat there for a moment, letting his words sink in. I squeezed my eyes shut as I pushed myself up. I pulled the sheet up over my chest, and looked down at him.
“What?” I didn’t recognize my own voice.
“You’re promised to someone else.” He didn’t look at me.
“That doesn’t matter.”
“A contract between two kingdoms are always upheld.” He swung his legs down to the side of the bed as he sat up. He grabbed his pants off the floor and pulled them over each leg before he stood up.
“A bond between life-mates is stronger than a stupid contract.” I could feel my anger rising.
“A bond between life-mates won’t matter to the Carnelian Kingdom.” He moved to grab his shirt. He pulled it on, his hair fell into his eyes. He watched me as he ran his hand through his hair, pushing it back from his face.
“I don’t give a fuck what they think.” I stood up from the bed. “This isn’t about them, this is about us.” I dropped the sheet. His eyes moved from my face and down my body before his violet eyes met mine.
“Grace and Kallum will figure it out.” I shook my head before I picked up my leggings and slid them over my legs.
“Valerian’s kingdom is ruthless, they get what they want. Always.” He picked up my ripped shirt and threw it at me. I grabbed it out of the air, my body shaking with anger. “What was promised to them, they will get. You will marry him.” He stepped towards me, his gentle voice now gone. His tone was dark, matching the look he was giving me.
“You should go.” His voice was low.
I stood there staring up at him as I struggled to comprehend the words he was saying and what he was doing to me, to us. I felt like my world was spinning, the walls were slowly caving in. I aggressively pulled my blood stained blouse over my head. The satin fabric was cool against my skin, my nipples hardened against the semi sheer fabric.
I stepped towards him, my chest was pressed against his. I glared up at him, my gaze burning into his. He didn’t step away from me.
“If I walk out that door, I’m not coming back.” I whispered, I could feel my throat closing in as my emotions began to spill over. “If this is what you want then you can look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t want me. That the last fifteen years of your life, looking for me was pointless and a mistake. That you would be able to live watching me be with someone else.” With each word I pressed my index finger into his chest. “Tell me and I’ll walk out that door.”
I stood there, my green eyes burning with fire as I looked him in the eyes. He stood there, silent watching me.
“Tell me you don’t want me or take these clothes off me and fuck me against the wall to prove to me that you do.” I stood up on my toes, my lips brushed against his with every angrily whispered word. “Because I’m not playing this game anymore.”
I felt him suck in a breath, his eyes narrowed into a glare before his lips parted and the words I didn’t expect to hear came out of his mouth. “I don’t want you.”
I swallowed, and stepped away from him. I stood there, staring at him, hoping he would change his mind. He said nothing.
I could feel the tears building against the bottom of my eyes. I pressed my lips together in a tight line and nodded my head.
“I deserve better than you.” I said before I turned and grabbed my cloak off the ground. I pulled open the door and walked out not sparing a glance back.