I hate waking up early.
When I was in the bakery, working beside my mother (when she was still alive), I never really had to wake up with the rise of the sun. Because of my school, I was allowed to sleep in and take as much time as I needed to wake up (well, there were obviously some restrictions to that rule). School itself was rather easy. I was a straight-A student, something my Dad was never satisfied with. Of curse, a girl couldn’t be getting good grades! Could women do that?
Yes, yes, they could.
Once my schooling was complete and I had two absolutely worthless certificates that would do no good in my community, my Dad set an alarm clock on my bedside table. It was the first, and possibly, the only present he had ever gotten me with his own money from his own bank.
The clock was surprisingly beautiful. It was pink, the same creamy color as the jewelry box in Mohini’s room was. It had two alarms on each side of what looked to be an antenna, the face of the clock wide and large. He poised the object directly in front of me, knowing I always managed to turn on my side by the time morning rose and night fell.
I wasn’t used to waking up before dawn, so whenever the damn clock screamed in my ear, I flailed in my bed, never failing to topple onto the ground no matter how drowsy or how surprised I was.
You don’t know how many times I wanted to smash that fucking clock and toss the pieces into the garbage. I mean, five o’clock in the morning? Seriously? On weekdays, sure, I get that. Everyone is working and looking for a sweet treat to keep them going.
But on the weekends? Who works on the weekends? Definitely nobody in Mukhauta, that’s for sure. The streets were deserted, making the village look as though it was a ghost town.
I savored the weekends, though, even if I did have to wake up early. The sunrise was beautiful, it’s hot fingers gripping the gigantic, luscious mountains gazing down at our town. The sky morphed into a rainbow of colors, the pinks and oranges blending with each other and dripping into the Earth. That was the beauty of Mukhauta, the beauty that everyone looked past; the beauty that they couldn’t see. They were blinded by the glaze of the sun; the mask the sun forced upon the gorgeous sky, pushing the colors into a retreat.
Just like Ra-Rohan, I thought, blushing at my slip-up. I was up in bed, still stretching my bones, Rohan’s preceanse evading me. He left earlier than I did to get ready for the visitor, and already, I was missing him.
I didn’t mind waking up early for him; I knew he’d do the same thing for me. It was only the nostalgia that came with waking up. The nostalgia that pressed against my back as I gazed out the window, capturing the majestic blend of purples, pinks, and oranges. I didn’t know Rohan’s kingdom had a colorful sunrise. I guess I just assumed his curse prevented anything beautiful from appearing in his dome.
I swallowed the tangy bile in my throat, blinking the sleep out of my eyes. Frizzy strands of hair swayed above my vision, teasing me, tickling my nose. I brushed the pieces aside, smoothing my head.
I picked my clothes up from the ground, heat pooling in my stomach as events from the night before flashed in my mind. Rohan. His name was beautiful, just as he was. I was close with Raja, and while I did prefer Raja over Rohan, his real name held a sense of authority and royalty at the same time, suiting him perfectly.
I thought I would be embarrassed over what had conspired between us in the drenched room, in the dim rumpled duvets and the soft kisses. I had never experienced anything like what I had done with Rohan. The feeling was magical, the touches gentle, the sensations overbearing. I didn’t know if I was thinking last night, or if I could even remember exactly what Rohan had whispered to me, but I do know I remember Saira interrupting our moment, saying that Rohan’s visitor had arrived. Thankfully, Rohan instructed her to escort him to his room, quickly returning to my company.
Shockingly enough, Rohan had more control on his desires than I thought he would have. I guess based on Saira’s talk in the gardens, I assumed he’d be a rough, dominant beast in sex (no pun intended). I knew she said he’d ask for my permission, but I thought I had given it to him last night. I didn’t know why he’d stopped, but I couldn’t blame him. He didn’t want to think of his ex, and I didn’t want him to either.
Call me selfish, but I didn’t want Rohan thinking of the woman who had hurt him during our time together. I wanted to be the only person on his mind, the only person he could see, could touch, could kiss. And I was willing to wait for him to get over her, if it meant that I could be that person that he constantly thought of.
I grabbed the clothes laid on my desk, trudging off to the bathroom. The nightgown came off easily, the fabric stretched and ripped slightly by Rohan’s possessive desire the night before.
I glanced in the mirror, catching sight of the memories he’d left me with. I know I’d see him later tonight, but I coulnd’t control the butterflies fluttering in my stomach at the reminder he’d given me, the reminder of what was only the beginning of treats and rewards.
The marks on my neck were a dark purple color, some of them fading into a medium blue. Small indents from Rohan’s bites were prominent on my dark brown skin color, the hue looking much lighter in the purple light of the moon.
Some of the bites trailed down onto my shoulder, but most of the deeper, more prominent ones were on my neck for full display (well, for those who would be able to see). To add salt to the wound, Rohan had taken out a dress that shamelessly showed off my shoulders for the world to see. Not my leg, not my cleavage, but my shoulders.
I didn’t slip into the shower, not this morning. I wasn’t in the mood to get wet, at least, not as wet as I had become last night. Rohan’s scent was still firm on the towel we had used, as well as the walls of the shower. Memories flushed in my mind, swarming my vision of what we could have done...
I brushed the pictures away, scowling to myself. I wasn’t as upset about missing out on having sex with Rohan as I was yesterday. I think over the night was able to come to terms with everything and realize that I’d rather make love with someone who had no fears about our relationship, than with someone who constantly kept thinking about someone else. I knew Rohan would take me soon, but how long would soon be?
Oh well, at least we spent some time together, I consoled myself, dropping the towel into the hamper. Yesterday, I had berated myself for blurting the cringeworthy question, but once Rohan agreed, all of my embarrassment went down the drain. I knew I couldn’t take back last night, what with our wandering hands and our restless lips, but I didn’t want to. I loved it.
The smooth dress slipped on my body as softly as cream trickles down a cake. The fabric fit gently against my hips, the low cut displaying my collarbone and my shoulders. A flush rose to my cheeks at the multitude of marks I caught looking at myself again. How I had missed nearly half of them, I had no idea.
“I hope he enjoyed last night,” I murmured, knowing nobody else was in the room to hear me. “I sure did. I suppose that’s what the euphoria of sex is like, well, the beginning of sex anyway.” Heat coiled around my body, wrapping just as tightly around my core as Chandra’s tail would around a flower stem. The warmth that flooded in me felt crushing, heavy.
I shook my head, brushing my heat away. “Stop acting like a teenager, Radha,” I scolded myself. “Now’s no time to daydream, especially with that contact waiting.”
I rushed out of the open bathroom door, knocking the stool aside from my vanity table. I hastily brushed my hair, the tangles ripping in the brush, hopefully not out of my head.
The curly strands of hair brushed my shoulders, the longer clumps flowing down my back and bouncing against my hip bone. If there was one thing I was proud about my body, it would be my hair. I loved it! Loved the nightly colored locks and the soft, gentle twists.
Rohan’s hair was almost like mine. Both were soft and shiny, but his hair was straight and rigid, just like the lines of his muscle, whereas mine were wavy and curvy, like the sides of my hips.
I didn’t bother forcing any jewelry onto my wrists or clipping any necklaces around my neck. I didn’t have time, anyway. Rohan was probably waiting for me at breakfast, where he said we’d meet his contact. (Well, it was mostly mumbled, as he told me in between kisses).
Breakfast in the palace was my favorite part of the day. It was the time when everyone (except Lucifer) gathered together to share a meal and discuss daily plans. Sometimes, jokes and stories would be passed around, and that’s what made the time we spent there special. During lunch and dinner, everybody ate at whatever time fit their schedule. There was no specific time, unlike breakfast, which was always promptly at eight (well, earlier today, because of the visitor).
The early morning sun was a light purple color, a vast contrast to the dark violet color it blasted during the afternoon. The rays were hotter then too, burning into my back whenever I visited the garden’s later in the day. It wasn’t a nuecanse, though, In fact, it was much better than the sun back in Mukhauta.
I made my way quickly down to the kitchen, Saira’s instructions from day one replaying like a broken disc in my head. If I forgot one piece of her instructions, then I knew for sure that I’d get lost.
Rohan was already seated at the dining table when I arrived, his golden irises scrolling over a dark red book. Damien was there too, observing the goblet of water placed beside his sparkling white plate.
“Oh, hey Radha! How are you?!” He asked, his head shooting up at the screech my chair made.
I smiled at him, avoiding Rohan’s eyes. “I’m doing good, thanks. How are you, Damien?”
Damien beamed, his eyes trailing overtly along my collarbone. “I’m fine. I had a nice night, actually. Very quiet.”
Rohan coughed, and I turned towards him just as he set his book down. I blushed, unsure of what to say to him.
Don’t be stupid, Radha, I scolded myself. You didn’t do anything the night before. All you did was kiss...and shower together...naked...
“How did you sleep, Radha?” Rohan asked, his voice just as deep and barione as the night we first met; just like the night before.
I forced a smile to play on my lips. “I slept fine. Wonderfully, actually.” I winked at him, seating myself carefully on the plush pillow as Saira appeared through the two, very light brown doors. She was wheeling a tray full of pastries, Chandra trailing behind her.
“That’s good,” Rohan mumbled. He was wearing his hood today, so i couldn’t see his eyes, but I was sure he was embarrassed, based on the crack in his voice.
I smirked, reaching over the table to help Saira with the plates. One point for me, I thought smugly.
“Be careful. The roti’s are hot,” Saira warned, helping Chandra into her booster seat. The nagani child quietly allowed her mother to help her, her scaley lips sealed shut. For whatever reason I had no idea.
“Okay,” I replied. I, along with Saira, served helpings of the piping hot breakfast onto the plates around us. Rohan’s soft hands brushed my own, sparks igniting on my skin, just as they had the night before. I blushed, but didn’t acknowledge him.
“Where’s your contact?” Damien asked. “Is he coming?”
“Yes,” Rohan answered curtely, his eyes looking distant, as if he was thinking of something apart from the breakfast that we were having at the moment.
“Why do we all have to be here? Why can’t we go to our rooms like Lucifer?” Damien whined, toying with some of his food on his plate.
“You know perfectly well why I let Lucifer stay out of this meeting,” Rohan began sharply. “As for why I decided you call could join, well, I figured you needed a change of atmosphere, no? I can’t keep you in the dark about all the affairs of the palace, right?”
I beamed. “I think that’s awesome. I’m glad you’re opening up more, Rohan.”
Rohan’s irises skidded to mine, the lines softening. His hood remained on his face, however.
“So, when is he-!”
“Eating without me, hm?” A sleezy, drawing voice questioned, one that had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.
Oh, fuck, no.
I swiveled around in my chair, Gabriel’s dark eyes capturing mine almost immediately. “Nice to see the food’s still hot, Saira,” he continued, his tongue running along his lips in a way that he knew disgusted me.
Anger stirred in a hot pit in my stomach, but it wasn’t directed towards Gabriel. Rohan didn’t meet my eyes, and I wasn’t sure if he knew my relationship with Gabriel or not, but I was practically fuming at the table. I had hoped never to meet with the two-timing, entitled spoiled brat again, yet here I was, about to have breakfast with him and listen to his sleezy, seductive voice (or what he thought was seductive).
I could feel his eyes boring into me, despite my effort to keep my own orbs on my plate. Rohan’s hand slithered under the table, cupping my knee, as if he could sense my discomfort. I flinched, but I didn’t want him to move his hand.
“Thank you for coming, again, Gabriel,” Rohan spoke softly, yet firmly, as if planting his authority in the room.
Gabriel shrugged, his chair squeaking towards mine. “No probs. Where’s Luce? Thought he’d be here?”
“Lucifer is...disposed, as of right now,” Rohan growled. “However, I must introduce you to Radha.”
I groaned, forcefully looking up and plastering a smile on my lips.
Gabriel grinned, swiping his bottom lip. “Nice to meet you, beautiful,” he flirted as easily as he breathed. “Are you his girl-!”
“Yes, yes she is,” Rohan bit out before Gabriel could finish or before I could reply.
Gabriel’s eyes widened slightly, and warmth flushed inside of me. Was it wrong that Rohan being jealous of the man who pestered me to marry him continuously turned me on? He sounded to upset, so angry, yet so calm at the same time. Dominating.
Gabriel nodded. “Ah, right. I understand.” The words slithered out of his mouth like rich cream flowing down your throat. Even Saira cringed.
“Do you have the forms?” Rohan asked, his irises narrowed immensely, an indication that he was geiing irritated. “I apologize for being unable to see you last night, by the way. I was...” the golden lines flickered to me. “...busy.”
Gabriel followed them, a scowl gracing his lips. “No worries. And yes, I do have the forms.” From the satchel attached to his waist, Gabriel pulled out the yellow wrinkled papers, passing them over the table to Rohan’s waiting gloves. “Do you have the money?”
Rohan nodded silently, putting his fork down to accept the papers and hand over a brown sac filled with that I presumed to be the money Gabriel was talking about.
Gabriel smiled, his eyes sliding to mine as he juggled the bag.
I frowned, keeping my lips pulled tightly together. Damien was stiff on his chair, Saira focusing too much on Chandra. Rohan squeezed my knee, his hand sliding up my thigh. I swallowed thickly.
“Actually, before anything else, may I use the bathroom?...Where is the bathroom?” Gabriel questioned, his voice quieter than usual.
“Yeah, you can. I’ll show you,” I replied before Rohan could. I wanted him gone as quickly as possible; I didn’t care at this point if I had to carry him there myself. I didn’t need him poking around the castle either, and I knew out of all of us, I was the most comfortable (insert gagging noises).
Gabriel’s lips tugged into a wide grin, simultaneously rising from the table as I did. “Of course. Lead the way.”
I shot Rohan a nod, an indication that I was fine with showing him. Rohan’s irses remained blank, so I wasn’t sure if he was paying attention to me or not, or if he was angry. I didn’t have time to decipher his emotion, either. Gabriel was already striding down the hallway.
I hastened to keep up with him, just managing to walk side by side with him as we reached the upper floor, the silence and tension thick between us.
With a clenched jaw, I led Gabriel to the door marked with an upside down “U”, a marking Rohan had told me he used for human restrooms. Leaning on the wall, I gestured with my hand towards the door.
“Here’s the bathroom. I’ll wait for you until you’re done,” I explained monotonously.
Gabriel eyed the door for a moment, gripping the handle. Then, quicker than a snack dives, he spun us, pinning me against the wall by the door.
“What the fuck?” I exclaimed. He held my hands above my head, holding them there firmly. His face was inches away from mine, his whiskey breath puffing on my nose.
“I didn’t really need to go, you gullible girl,” he murmured, his lips inching towards mine.
I wrinkled my nose, opening my mouth to cry out to Rohan, or anyone who would be able to help me, but Gabriel was quicker. He covered my mouth with his salty hand, pressing his skin against my lips.
“I’m not as stupid as you take me for, Radha,” he cackled, tracing my jaw with his other hand. I wiggled in his hold, just as I had done when I was kidnapped, but deep down, I knew it was no use. The nostalgia was forceful, harder than the hand pressing on my mouth.
“I’ll make this quick for you, my precious, weak Radha,” he whispered, his hand dropping from my lips, inching towards the slit in my skirt. Anger fueled in me at his words to describe me, but my own words had died in my throat, shock overtaking them. I never thought he would go this far, and despite the constant attempts he made to get my attention in the village, I knew he was no rapist.
His skin made contact with mine, gripping the flesh Rohan once comforted, but before I could cry out again, a shadow passed me, ripping Gabriel away from me.
“What the fuck do you think you are doing, in my house?” Rohan growled, his predatory eyes tering into Gabriel’s suddenly trembling frame.
“I...I...” Gabriel, for the first time in my life, had no comeback to Rohan’s menacing words. Rohan knew that as well. He pushed Gabriel away from me, growling again.
“Good. Now, if you value the money I give you and your life, I suggest you keep your trap shut and-!”
“And what?” Gabriel interjected, a tremor in his voice at Rohan’s murderous eyes.
The latter’s eyes gleamed, cruelty sparkling in them. “And get the fuck out.”
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