I sighed, stretching out my body and wincing at the stiffness of it. I was sore from head to toe, but Paeris' warmth against my back made me smile. His breath was soft and even against my neck, tempting me back to sleep, but the soft morning light that filtered through my window made my body restless. I had always been a morning person, even through my rebellious tween stage.
About now is when I would normally be going for a run. I knew the idea of running around outside alone was out of the question now that Lorelei had made a nasty appearance. I refused to call her my mother - that monster would never be anything more to me than a nuisance.
I shifted out of bed slowly, peppering soft kisses over Paeris' cheek before lifting to start my day. I stretched against the dark bruises that had formed on my wrists and the ache that still lingered from the night before, digging through the wardrobe and frowning at the lack of fitness wear I had available for me. Dresses of all colors and fabrics shown back at me, a couple of white suits sticking out from the other materials. I sighed.
Traveling to the bathroom, I splashed cold water on my face and gasped at the chill on my warm skin. I eyed the strange liquids covering the edge of the bath again and rolled my eyes. I felt like a stranger in my own room. I wondered if this life would ever feel like my own, if things would ever change.
On the hunt for reasonable clothes, I dug through the drawers of the bathroom, finding towels and loofahs and moisturizers in the first. The second seemed to hold primarily toiletries. I sighed, scrubbing my face with the palm of my hand. This was pointless.
How was I supposed to do this Ruler thing if I couldn't even dress myself?
I smiled as I padded back to the bedroom, loving the way Paeris' hair shone in the morning light. While Cage's hair was ebony and I had always loved his little crown of curls, Paeris' hair was like beautiful stalks of straw that almost looked like a halo.
Sighing to myself, I turned to the mysterious doors next to the bathroom and gasped as I looked inside.
Shoes of every color and type lined the edges of the walls of the huge room, shelves upon shelves of jewelry lined an entire wall while against the other wall stood three massive dressers made of the purest oak I had ever seen. The far wall held a mirror, glistening in the light as if beckoning me into the room further. I never could have imagined owning even close to this before. I now understood how Allie had seemed to struggle with going away from all this.
Apparently, this was what my life was now: pretty things, parties, and definitely having whatever I wanted to wear, but never stepping out of line. Perfect hair and makeup and behavior was to be expected. What a miserable life of rules and duties.
As I looked into the closet though, I couldn't help but smile to myself like a kid in a candy store.
As I went further into the room, digging through the dressers and gasping to myself as I found the perfect outfit for jogging, I couldn't help the nagging feeling in the back of my head.
You don't belong here. This is too good to be true.
And the whisper was right, it did feel too good to be true.
I ran through the large hallways of the castle, taking my jog as an opportunity to also see parts of my new home that I hadn't gotten to see until now. I was shocked by what they deemed necessary in such a giant building: the kitchen was ginormous, the hospital wing even bigger, and of course, the library took my breath away with all the books and smell of old ink and dusty pages. I would have never left that little corner of heaven if it weren't for Paeris finally finding me leaning against one of the bookcases with an apple and a book in my hand.
"Morning." He said happily, rubbing his neck as of it were stiff, though the slight pink of his cheeks told me he was embarrassed to face me after the night we had. I wanted to kiss his cute face, but I didn't want to push into this awkward scenario too quickly.
"Paeris, you didn't tell me the library was like this."
His eyebrows knit together as if he wasn't expecting for me to jump away from that topic so quickly. I had learned to adapt quickly with my life, never second guessing my journeys.
And oh, that was a great journey.
"I.. do you.." he cleared his throat awkwardly. "I thought we could do some research today. More hands on." I shot him a suggestive look, causing him to smirk and shake his head. "I know you learn actively and I want you to get a handle on all of this before you get dragged into all the Council stuff." He said slowly, clearly forcing himself to move on as I had.
"Oh. Yeah, sure." I replied, a touch of disappointment in my tone. Honestly, I would have rather stayed in bed with him all day, but digging in to these books sounded glorious as well.
"Are you ready to go then?" He asked slowly, taking in my outfit as he held out his hand to me.
"Are you?" I asked, wrinkling my nose at him. Paeris was dressed in black slacks and a maroon dress shirt with white dots.
"What's wrong with my outfit?" He asked, exasperated.
"While I have to admit, you look amazing, it definitely doesn't seem like a 'researching' type of outfit. Typically, if I'm going to curl up with a book, it's in sweats and a nice cozy sweater." I said truthfully, shrugging my shoulders at him. His eyes twinkled with amusement.
"Ray... I meant go and actually talk to people. It will be easier for you to understand and control your elemental powers if you learn from each faction how they do it." He said, rubbing my shoulder fondly. "You already know how to shift, but we can visit my father for lunch if you would like." He offered, peeking down at me.
I nodded. Realistically, he was right.
"Does that mean you get to show me how to use all my love powers later?" I asked flirtatiously, causing him to smirk a little.
"I would love to show you aspects," He kissed me quickly, as if he didn't want me to get any ideas. "But I think you should learn the major stuff from Laurel. She's the master."
I'm sure she is... I thought bitterly, though I nodded at him slowly.
"First, lets go to the farm houses. I think Keya would be a good first teacher."
I had to agree. Keya was actually one woman I had enjoyed meeting yesterday.
"Just tell me I don't have to learn from Faelyn, please!" I whined, taking Paeris' hand in mine, letting him lead the way. "And if I'm going to deal with Laurel today, I probably should change or she will rip these clothes off me and do another makeover, I just know it."
Paeris shot me an agreeing smile and lead me back down the hall I came from.