The Crown that Was Never Meant to Be

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Chapter Nine

Angelica returned to Ember's house long before he did, but- thankfully- she found the door unlocked. She slipped inside, sending Ember a silent thank you, and went for Damon's temporary room.

As soon as she poked her head in the door, he waved her in, a small smile on his lips. A hint of weariness flickered in his eyes, but at least he was looking at her.

"Hey, Damon," she greeted, a spark of nervousness blooming in her chest.

"Angel, you don't have to be nervous," Damon said, "I'm not going to snap at you or kick you out or anything stupid like that."

She nodded, and she settled onto the side of his bed. His arms snaked around her waist, and he pulled her against him, likely something Ember would snap at him for, should he find out.

"Damon," Angelica warned.

He rolled his eyes. "Ember can not stop me from holding my mate."

"Your mate can stop you if she thinks you might hurt yourself," Angelica said.

"I am not going to hurt myself by holding you," he snorted, tugging her just a little closer.

"Just be careful, okay?" she asked, leaning into his arms.

"Of course," he replied, kissing her cheek.

A smile turned her lips upward, but it didn't linger.

"Damon, about the whole queen thing-,"

"I'm not leaving you," Damon interrupted, "I'll be whatever you want me to be. I still plan on marrying you, I still plan on being your mate, and I still plan on fathering your children when the time comes."

Her cheeks flushed at that last statement, but her smile returned.

"Even though I might ask you to be king?" Angelica asked.

"Even then," Damon replied, "Nyx was right. These people wouldn't treat me like the Angels did. It would be selfish of me to push you away because of a job."

"I don't see that as selfish," Angelica said.

"I know you don't," Damon said, again kissing her cheek, "It's part of why I love you. You don't find fault in everything I do, and you let me make decisions."

Leaning into his affection, she mumbled, "I love you, too, Damon. I love you for giving me this, for doing this even though you don't want to."

Taking her chin between his fingers, Damon turned her face toward his. Leaning his brow against hers, his breath cold against her lips, he promised, "Angel, I would do anything just to stay with you. Anything. I would break myself just to be there beside you. Sitting through a few court meetings is doable."

Her smile grew, and she leaned in to kiss him. He stopped her, however, with the words, "Not yet, baby. I have something to talk about you first."

"Well, make it quick," she said, "I haven't gotten to kiss you since we got here. Hell, I haven't gotten to kiss you since last night."

"Then I'll make this quick," he said, "You and I have not made our relationship official. Yes, I've claimed you as my mate, but we haven't quite claimed each other as significant others."

"I wasn't aware we needed to," Angelica said.

"Yes, well, I'd like to be able to for sure claim you as mine," Damon replied, "I didn't want to overstep my boundaries."

"So, ask me, then," Angelica said.

"Angelica, will you be my girlfriend? May I claim you as my own?" Damon asked.

Her smile grew, and she nodded. "Yes, Damon. Yes, I'll be your girlfriend, and yes, you can claim me as yours. So long as you'll be my boyfriend, and I can claim you as mine."

"I'm yours," Damon said, "I am yours, and you are mine."

"And I am yours, and you are mine," she agreed.

Gently, lovingly, he nuzzled her. She returned the act of affection with a nuzzle of her own.

"Good," Damon said, his voice quiet, "Now, may I kiss you?"

She replied by pressing her lips to his. His arms tightened around her, and he drew her atop him. He flinched when her leg crossed over his abdomen, and one of his hands shot to the back of her head, keeping her from pulling away. Wrapping her arms around her mate's neck, she deepened the kiss.

They only broke apart when someone coughed pointedly from the door way.

Drawing back from Damon, a sudden blush on her cheeks, Angelica asked, "Yes?"

"You, ma'am, should not be sitting on his wound," Ember said, his eyes narrowed, "And you, sir, should not be letting her."

"To be fair, it was my idea," Damon said.

Ember threw up his arms in exasperation. He then stalked away, grumbling, "What's the point of being a healer if you won't listen to me."

Angelica watched him leave, watched Jewel follow him away, and looked back to Damon.

"He is right, you know," Angelica said. "I shouldn't be sitting on your stomach."

"You could always sit a few inches lower," he replied.

Her blush grew, and she promptly got off of him.

"I am not going to allow you to tear open your wounds just so you can kiss me," Angelica said, pushing away her embarrassment.

"Did I not just say that I would break myself to remain with you?" Damon replied.

"You won't be spending any more time with me if you die of blood loss," Angelica retorted, snorting at him.

He sighed. "Oh, I suppose."

"Good," she said, wrapping her arms around her abdomen, "We're in agreement, then."

"For now," he replied, "As soon as I get out of this bed, however, I can't promise you anything."

"Damon," Angelica said, a hint of disappointment in her voice.

"Angel," he replied, mocking her tone.

She stuck her tongue out at him. He grinned.

"I'm going to check on Nyx," Angelica said.

She turned to leave, but Damon gripped her wrist, yanked her against him, and kissed her. She managed to kiss him back, if only for a moment, before he drew away.

"I love you, Angel baby," Damon murmured, leaning his forehead on hers.

A smile slid onto her lips. "I love you, too, Damon."

"Come visit me tomorrow, will you?" Damon asked.

"Of course," Angelica replied, pecking his lips, "Goodnight, babe."

"Goodnight, Angel," he replied, letting her slip away.

She threw him one last smile before she slipped through the door.
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