Chapter 10 - Attack
This morning, Asher doesn’t join me at the table like he usually does so after finishing my food I decide to go and check on him. When I don’t find him in his bedroom, I start making my way towards his office. However, I bump into Vito when I turn the corner, crying out when I lose my balance. He pulls me right up before I fall to the ground, making a loud noise of relief.
“There you are!” He exclaims grumpily, taking my hand and dragging me down the hallway. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you!”
“I was having breakfast. What’s wrong?”
“Fuck, I forgot you have to eat.” He mutters, shaking his head. “Asher is pissed off and since you’re his beloved, we figured you’re our only hope to stop him from going on a rampage.”
Before we even enter the office, I can tell that he’s in there based off his scent. I look up at Vito with wide eyes when I hear glass shattering. He shrugs before opening the door and shoving me in with a “good luck!” Glaring at the closed door, I turn around only for my jaw to drop in horror at the destruction in front of me.
Everything has been turned over and I must step carefully to avoid broken wood and shattered glass on the carpeted floor. Asher snarls in anger, kicking over the armchair. His posture and expression both indicate that he’s exhausted but furious. I call his name, hurrying over to stop him from punching the wall. Grabbing his arm, I force him to sit down on the couch which miraculously survived his anger.
“What’s wrong?” I ask gently, frowning when he only shakes his head and pulls me to straddle his lap.
Running my fingers through his hair, I let him calm down as he breathes in my scent. His face is nestled into the crook of my neck and his arms are wrapped around me tightly. Although we are not bonded, I can sense his distress which makes me eager to fix it. I have a feeling this has something to do with Blithe but I hope she hasn’t hurt anybody else.
“Two more clans were wiped out this morning and the neighboring ones are hysterical, demanding that I do something to ensure their safety.” He finally explains, leaning back against the couch. “That’s five clans in two months alone. I’m trying so hard to track her down but I fear that there won’t be a kingdom left by then.”
“Why not ask for help from other – oh...” I trail off in realization, remembering that the lines of communication have been destroyed. “Have you thought of anything?”
“I was thinking of moving them to a safe house like the rest as they’re hidden and Blithe won’t be able to find them because they were created long ago and are constantly secured with magic.”
“But?” I gesture for him to continue, knowing that if it was possible he would have done it already.
“There’s no room anywhere, the safe houses are already filled up with people she’s previously hurt.” He sighs, rubbing his face tiredly.
I sit there thinking, trying to come up with a solution when it hits me. “What about the guest house here? It looks like it hasn’t been used in a while and there’s plenty of space to put in beds.”
“We stopped using that building years ago but we can definitely try to fit everyone there.” He mutters before turning to me with a grin. “Smart idea, thank you.”
“I can help clean it up and make sure everyone’s settled in well?” I offer eagerly, pouting when he frowns, ready to disagree.
“Alright but get the maids and guards to help you.” He grumbles but I catch a fleeting smile as I kiss his cheek in appreciation.
“I’ll get started right away!” I grin, moving to get up.
“No,” He frowns adorably, pulling me back into his arms. “Just stay for a little longer. I need you.”
“Okay.” I whisper, smoothing away the lines on his forehead. He closes his eyes at the action, a soft smile on his lips. “I know it’s hard not to but don’t worry so much, we’ll get through this.”
“I’m trying.” He replies hoarsely, brown eyes dull and swimming in concern. “But it’s difficult for me to watch our home fall apart.”
“Put your trust in your people, Asher. They’re stronger than you think and when push comes to shove, I’m sure they’ll be more than willing to help.” I assure him, watching as he nods in agreement.
“Thank you.” He pecks my lips as I get off him, accidentally hitting a broken plank of wood.
“And don’t you ever trash your office like this again!” I scold, gesturing to the destruction around me. “Go to the gym or something to take out your frustration!”
He hums, coming up behind me and gripping my hips, preventing me from leaving. “I can think of better ways to relieve my frustration, ones that involve my little beloved.”
I turn, pushing up on my toes so that I can nip at his jaw. Hearing him moan huskily as I press open-mouthed kisses to his neck only encourages me to tease him further. I pull him to me by his shirt, nibbling on his earlobe. His hands on my waist tighten, fingernails digging into my skin. He curses loudly, groaning when I kiss the skin behind his ear. Smirking, I finally speak, whispering into his ear.
“I’d love to help you –” I place a hand against his chest, stopping him from picking me up. “Only if you clean this mess up by yourself.”
Laughing, I run out of the office, hearing his frustrated snarl echo behind me. There is no way he’ll clean it up himself. I can already tell that he’s going to get the maids to do it for him and lie to me. I only hope that my teasing won’t come back to bite me in the ass later.
The guest house building stands behind the castle, grand and tall. Although it hasn’t been used in years, it’s evident that the staff here have maintained it. Corbin unlocks the door and checks inside before calling out to me, the maids and guards following behind as I step in. We stand in a large foyer, two sitting rooms on either side. I find the place to be decorated exactly like the castle as I make my way through the numerous hallways, finding many rooms that our guests can occupy.
In total, we have around fifty rooms. Most of them have their own en-suite bathrooms except the rooms designed for children. The bedrooms are quite spacious, which I’m satisfied with, as it means that should we need to add more people we can do so.
We all get to work in making this place more welcoming for our guests. Because the furniture is in good condition, we don’t have to do much except for cleaning. Three people tackle each room together and in no time, we have the beds made and the rooms dusted and cleaned. We then move onto the sitting rooms and the kitchen.
It’s eight in the evening when our guests start arriving, all of us worn out but greeting them with smiles regardless. Providing our condolences to the people who have lost loved ones, we help everyone to settle in for the night. I’m in the large storage room, looking for more blankets when the door closes with a soft thud. Turning, I spot Asher and walk into his outstretched arms. He arrived right before the guests and welcomed them, offering help and reassurance that him and his warriors are doing everything they can to stop Blithe.
“I should have stopped you, you look exhausted.” He mutters as he cups my face, his eyes roaming over me in concern.
“I’m just a little tired.” I roll my eyes, resting my cheek against his chest. “Let me help sometimes, you stubborn oaf.”
He smacks my bottom with a playful growl, making me yelp in surprise. Chuckling huskily, he leans down and captures my lips. A groan escapes our lips at the contact, heat spreading throughout my body in an instant. Caressing his cheek, I push closer and kiss him back with equal passion. We’ve been unable to keep our hands off each other since our date, our desire growing each day. To my disappointment, the kiss doesn’t last as long and he pulls away, reminding me that we need to get back out there.
“Did you clean the office?” I wiggle my brows, laughing when he refuses to reply and clenches his jaw instead.
“You realize we’re alone now, right?” He smirks but before he can grab me, I open the door and run out.
“Not anymore!” I sing, giggling when he scowls at me.
Smiling softly, he steps out of the room and takes my hand. “You can’t run from me forever, little butterfly.”
“Yes, always within reach but I’ll never be able to catch you. You could teleport away from me in seconds.” He mumbles, turning serious.
“I’ll always take you with me.” I whisper, smiling up at him.
He squeezes my hand with a handsome smile as we bid everyone goodnight and make our way back to the castle. We walk upstairs and towards the floor where both our bedrooms are. Stopping outside mine, he tugs me to him and we stand in the middle of the hallway holding each other’s hands.
“You can always sleep next to me?” He asks hopefully, brushing his lips against my knuckles.
I shake my head gently with a smile. “Not yet, but maybe someday soon.”
He pulls me into his arms, embracing me and making me feel like I’m some delicate little flower that he must be careful with. His warm brown eyes burn with intensity and I close my eyes as his fingertips trail delightfully over the skin of my bare arms. Ivanna and Zoya purr in my mind, wanting me to go further with him. But I stop myself, reigning them in. They sulk in disappointment but compliment him on how handsome and sexy he is, loving his gentle nature.
“I’m a selfish man, Ayla. I want you all to myself and being apart from you at night takes all my self-control.” He murmurs lowly, lips teasing the corner of mine as a shaky breath escapes me. “Although we have eternity together and I will always wait for you, I can’t wait for the day I wake up to you every morning and kiss you to sleep every night.”
“I won’t take long, I promise. Just be a little patient with me, please.” I sigh, kissing the inside of his wrist as he cups my face.
He growls heatedly and captures my lips in the sweetest of kisses, full of promise and longing. “Anything for you, my beloved.”