Chapter 23 - Our Forever
Three Months Later.
Ayla Romanov’s P.O.V.
“Ayla! Come on!” I hear Asher yell from downstairs, making me huff in frustration.
“Hold on!” I shout back, putting on my heels.
“You’re taking forever!” He groans, using his speed to appear in the doorway of our bedroom.
“You have forever with me, so quit whining!” I snap, grabbing my coat and putting it on. “I told you I wanted a shower after my training session with Vito. You didn’t exactly tell me we were going out for dinner tonight!”
He rolls his eyes, taking my hand once I’m finally ready. We walk downstairs and out to the car waiting for us, the driver closing my door once I got in. Thankfully, Asher has told me that we’re going to a fancy restaurant where both blood and actual food are served for vampires and people passing through this realm. He helped pick out a royal blue dress for me and a pair of black heels. I paired it with gold jewelry and a black clutch, leaving my hair down in soft curls.
We drive towards the city and it doesn’t take long for us to reach the modernized building filled with supernatural creatures walking in and out of it. Stepping inside, I’m greeted by classy decor with dim lighting and a sultry atmosphere. Everyone looks up at our entrance, Asher and I waving to them before we are guided to our private table. By now, everyone has heard of who I am to Asher and that I will be their Queen someday soon. Word about what happened to me also traveled fast while I was recovering during these past three months. Numerous gifts and offerings were sent to the castle as soon as it was announced that I woke up.
“This is lovely.” I smile as we’re given the menus, gesturing to the view of the sea.
“I hope you like the food too.” He winks, putting his chair next to mine as soon as the waiter leaves.
“Ash!” I chuckle in disbelief over his actions as he drapes an arm across my shoulders. “You can dial down the over-protectiveness now, I’m fine.”
“I’ll always be protective when it comes to you, little butterfly.” He murmurs huskily, my breath hitching as he presses a loving kiss to my neck.
“Stop it!” I whisper-shout when the waiter comes back to take our order.
Asher grins cheekily before telling him that we’ll need a few more minutes. I shake my head in amusement before opening the menu, glancing over the numerous dishes. Peeking at Asher’s menu, I see that it’s a list of drinks of various types of animal blood. When the waiter comes back, Asher orders first before I order the seafood linguine with red wine, both of us picking the chocolate cake to share.
We talk throughout our dinner and end the night with the delicious dessert, leaving the restaurant with our hands intertwined. I shiver at the cold, looping my arm through his as we make our way towards the car. Hopping in, I ask the driver to turn the heat up before cuddling up to Asher. The partition is put up before we drive out onto the main road.
“I don’t think I can warm you up, dragostea mea.” He chuckles, wrapping an arm around my shoulders. (My love)
“The feeling I get when we make contact is enough.” I mumble, closing my eyes as I rest my head on his shoulder.
“And what do you feel?” He whispers, brushing his lips against my cheek.
“A million sparks and tingles that warm my body right up.” I grin, staring up at him. “I feel safe, protected and loved.”
He smiles handsomely, pulling me up by my chin to press a sweet kiss to my lips. “I love you, Ayla.”
“I love you too.”
“Wait, where are we?” I frown when the car stops and Asher opens his door.
“Come on, take a walk with me on the beach.” He holds his hand out which I take eagerly.
Before me is the roaring sea, white sand sparkling under the moonlight as the water rushes onto the shore. Seashells litter the soft sand as I run onto it as soon as I kick my shoes off. Laughing happily, I close my eyes and inhale the scent of salt, the wind running through my hair. I hear movement behind me and turn to Asher.
Only to find him down on one knee with an open ring box.
“Ash...” I whisper, my eyes widening in surprise.
The moonlight illuminates him, emphasizing his angular features. His warm brown eyes are swimming with nervousness and fear as he kneels before me. He smiles and shrugs halfheartedly, taking my hand and brushing his thumb across my knuckles.
“We’ve been through a lot but ever since the day I found you in my kingdom, I knew I would never let you go. I’m so glad that the fates paired me with you because you are the best thing that has happened to me. You make me feel alive, safe and loved. I’m the happiest when I’m with you. And I want to promise you that I’ll dedicate the rest of my days to keep you smiling, to always comfort you when you’re down, to protect you and keep you safe, to love you with everything in me.”
I’m crying at this point, covering my mouth to stifle my sobs.
“Ayla, will you marry me?” He asks, eyes shining with emotion.
“Yes!” I half laugh and half sob, wrapping my arms around his neck when he stands.
His lips come crashing down on mine, fiercely passionate. The kiss is sweet and full of promise before he pulls away and wipes my tears. Taking my hand, he slips the ring on my finger. There’s a rectangle diamond in the center surrounded by small round ones, sitting atop a gold band. I fall in love with it immediately, whispering that it’s perfect.
“First, I’ll marry you. Second, you’ll be crowned as my queen. And then we can have our happy ever after just like in all those sappy, romance novels you read.” He teases, wrapping his arms around my waist.
I slap his chest lightly, glaring up at him in a playful manner when he rolls his eyes. We walk along the shore for a little longer and he eventually tells me that he’s been carrying around the ring for months but never found the right moment to propose. He doesn’t want a long engagement and plans to make me his wife by Sunday this week. I agree easily as there’s truly no point in waiting.
Eventually, we get back in the car and return to the castle. He helps me out of the black Mercedes and we walk up the steps, the guards saluting us as we step through the double doors. We make our way towards our bedroom, the castle silent as it’s around two in the morning. I stare at the portraits on the wall and suddenly, an idea pops into my head.
“Does this mean I can change all this around?” I twirl my finger in the air, gesturing to the furniture.
“What’s wrong with it?” He frowns when I scoff, pulling away from him.
“What isn’t wrong with it is the question!” I exclaim, crossing my arms. “Everything is dark and depressing!”
“I like it.”
I gape at him, wondering if he’s serious. “I’m not marrying you until you agree to let me change things around here.”
“Darling, it’s a castle. I don’t think it matters.” He smirks, the amusement in his eyes growing the more frustrated I get.
“I am not living in this creepy, gloomy place that’s filled to the brim with antiques!” I huff, stubbornly tilting my chin.
He chuckles, pulling me into his arms again. “I’m kidding, you can do whatever you want to our home.”
I’m taken aback by how easily he gives in before smiling up at him. “Really? You mean it?”
He nods, laughing when I squeal in excitement and yell about five thank you-s in his ear. I pepper kisses all over his face, expressing my gratitude. Picking me up bridal style, he carries me into our bedroom and kicks the door shut with a devilish smile on his lips.
“Ash!” I yelp when he throws me on the bed, pouncing before I can even sit up. “Oh!”
He smirks when I moan breathlessly at the feel of his lips on my neck. Pressing his lips to mine, he rips the dress off me which makes me groan in disapproval. He pulls away and grins cheekily at my bemused look, promising to buy me a new one. But I quickly forget what I’m mad about when he takes off my heels and starts placing hot, open-mouthed kisses on my bare skin.
His fingertips tease the skin beneath my lacy, white bra before they flutter down to my panties. He hooks a finger inside the waistband, pulling it before letting go. I moan in pain when the material slaps against my skin harshly, the sound swallowed up by his lips crashing down on mine again.
He’s just about to pull them off when the door slams open, hearing him snarl furiously as I pull the blanket over me to hide my body. Sage has her eyes covered, asking if we’re decent. I stammer out a “yes,” after I put Asher’s t-shirt on, my cheeks burning in embarrassment. Asher looks ready to kill his sister for interrupting us.
“She said yes!” Sage squeals, running over to see the ring he gave me. “When’s the wedding?”
“At the end of this week.” I reply happily, holding out my hand.
“There’s so much to plan! Let’s go, I know this great wedding planner and boutique.” She tries pulling me off the bed, glaring at Asher when he refuses to let me go. “Asher!”
“She’s not going anywhere, you interrupted us! Plus it’s two in the fucking morning, get out!” He seethes, shoving her away.
“Well, it’s only right that you two wait until you’re married.” She smirks devilishly, making his eyes widen. “Right, Ayla?”
“Fuck no!” He growls, shaking his head vehemently.
“I was asking Ayla, not you!” She sneers, a mischievous glint in her eyes.
They both look at me; Asher in despair and Sage grinning cheekily. “I don’t mind, it’s only six days.”
“No!” He cries, glaring murderously at his sister who is cackling like a madwoman.
As soon as he takes a step towards her, she disappears out of the room using her speed and the door slams shut behind her. Turning to the sound of my laughter, Asher huffs in anger. My chuckles die down when I meet his frustrated gaze, a sigh escaping my lips as I stand and make my way over to him. He doesn’t hug me back when I wrap my arms around his waist, resting my chin on his chest as I look up at him with pleading eyes. He pouts and looks away with a huff at the sight of me.
“Ash, it won’t be that bad.”
“What’s the point in waiting?” He frowns, making my smile drop.
I pull away and shrug slightly, a bright blush on my cheeks as I fiddle with the hem of his shirt. “I like the idea of waiting.”
Sighing heavily, he takes me into his arms and presses a lingering kiss to my forehead. “Then we will wait.”
“Thank you!” I smile brightly, pushing myself up to peck my lips.
“Te iubesc.” He murmurs, kissing me tenderly. (I love you)
He chuckles when I ask him to translate before trying to copy what he said, but I don’t quite get it right. I bite my lip, rolling my eyes playfully when he tells me that it’s wrong. He pronounces it slowly for me, waiting patiently until I get it right. Nuzzling my neck, he groans as he nips my skin before inhaling deeply.
“Fuck, how am I supposed to resist you ingerasul?” I shudder in his hold, my breath hitching at the undertone of heavy desire in his voice. (Little Angel)
I agree silently with him. It’s going to be a difficult six days, that’s for sure.