The silence was everything but comforting. They were back on the road, in the carriage, Elle sat beside Lord Damien and in front of them sat Orion with Neeyah's head resting in his lap as she slept on the seats. It was quite amusing to see the humongous guy that was Orion to curl up in a corner while he let the child take up the rest of the space to sprawl upon. His hand was on her head, his fingers playing with the kid's hair as he continued to stare ahead blankly. No one could've known what Orion was thinking at that moment, but Damien? One could definitely be sure of his thoughts.
He was mulling over everything that he could do to woo Elle. Amara loved Rubies, especially necklaces. But considering that Elle didn't like to wear any jewelry as such, he was in a dilemma, because right now gifts were the only thing that came to his mind. And it wasn't like he hadn't thought of it before. He had considered claiming her as a member of royalty.
All he had to do was provide her with the royal crest and that would be enough to state that she was claimed by a royal. At least that would ensure her safety to a certain level.
Maybe a hairpin would do since that is the only thing that she did wore. Damien turned to Elle, she was still upset. That girl simply did not know how to let go or put things behind her back. Her eyes had that hurt which evoked a very personal, very possessive kind of guilt from deep within him. And then his gaze fell on her hand, the cut on it was healing but still there, the dagger he had given her was strapped to her waist. It looked like an accessory, an ornament that jeweled her just perfectly, and then there was a thing that it matched her fierce soul. She was a fighter through and through. A warrior. A hairpin would do her no good, would it?
Maybe not a hairpin then.
Throughout the rest of the ride, both Orion and Damien got aware of the changing aura in the carriage. The change in Elle's breathing, the way she leaned more on the side of the carriage and the heat that she evoked. Her face was getting a little flushed, her eyebrows drawn together but even then her eyes managed to stay open.
They were nearly half an hour away from the castle.
"A storm is approaching." a small yet firm voice spoke in the small space and all eyes turned to the Neeyah whose eyes were now open. She was staring directly in Damien's eyes.
"The storm would break you to bits, Lord Damien. It's the willow where the storm would take you back to." she sat up, her small feet dangling down as she looked out the small window. Indeed the clouds hung dark and heavy up above. "It's going to rain heavily."
A strange wariness crept down Damien's back as h looked at her small figure, the child looked ancient in every aspect. This was the first time that any of them had heard her speak, and yet even her voice was way more mature than any normal kid's. It was fearless and firm, with a sense that she knew what she was speaking of. And her eyes, those silver things were something one could never identify with a four year old.
"the temple would be destroyed today. A tree will fall on it. Reaper would guard it tonight" the eerie feeling never left any of them since after that.
When they finally did reach the castle, Neeyah was again asleep. Orion picked her up instead of waking he up, something that everyone was thankful for since her out of the blue prediction. No one knew if the temple would really fall, and if it did, no one knew which temple she spoke of.
Elle was burning with a fever, that was the only explanation to why she was so hot and bothered, sweating all over and restless. She could still walk though, and that's what she did. She gripped the carriage door and stepped down, the cold winds outside were a temporary relief for her greedy body. She wanted to drown herself in icy water.
She swayed a little when she got down and suddenly a hand was clamped on her arm. Tingles and sparks erupted where he touched her, an enigmatic calm taking over her. She closed her eyes for a fraction of a second before ripping her arm away from his grip. It was Lord Damien, she knew, and she wanted nothing from him at the moment. She was no slave, she liked him, maybe falling for him, but that did not mean she could dictate everything about her. How dare he! First he offends her out rightly, back in the carriage by gripping her jaw, treating her like a nobody instead of someone he was getting physical with. Maybe it was just her who was emotionally involved? Maybe she did not matter at all?
And then the stunt he pulled at Orion's house, knowing well she did not want any kind of proximity to him. Knowing well she was still angry. And forcing her down like that? What did he think of her for asking her to behave? As if she was a kid with a tantrum. She wanted him to stay the hell away from her. He owed her an apology. Yes he did. And unless he was not gonna apologize, she would forever be relentless. Maybe this was a lover's tantrum, but did it matter?
Over the time he had started to matter to her. And very few really did. And him giving her not just a cold shoulder but then forcing her like that didn't simply hurt her soul but bruised her ego. Had he asked to come near or coaxed her into it, which was expected when one hurts their partner, she herself would've enjoyed it. After everything on their carriage ride, the wolf meet and then discovering Neeyah, she herself needed his touch, craved the comfort that it brought. But he was selfish, not thinking about her hurt, so selfish is what she too was going to be.
Damien gripped her arm again, she was swaying with every step that she took and maybe she did not realize it but she was burning up. Her skin was on fire and her breaths more labored. And yet again she pulled her arm out of his grip with a strength that he knew not where she got from. Maybe from her anger?
"Enough Elle. Stop being so stubborn!" He put an arm around her waist to pull her up in his arms but she was not having any of it. She again shoved him away, he wondered if she was overthinking, if she glorified everything and made it more hateful in her head. Her hormones would surely do that to her mind.
"Well I want to be stubborn. And right now Lord Damien, I don't want to talk to you. Leave me alone."
Her voice was weak, her stance wavering and her fever was rising with every passing moment. It would continue to spike for another day or so, until she is being taken care of by a man. And he was definitely not allowing any other man to do that. A growl left his chest at the thought of another man naked and touching her, skin to skin, with their lips fused.
That was not happening. Not because she overthought everything and prioritized her anger. It really wasn't that big of a deal! Not from his point at least.
He gripped her harder, till his nails dug in her arm. The thunders clashed above their head, the sound of them matching the way they both felt. He looked her straight in her eyes, anger leaking from every one of his pores. He wanted her to see that she was in fact making sense of what was not true.
"Elle, darling, you need to let go. You have no reason to be like this. And you need my help, would you rather have someone else see you through your heat?"
"Yes!" She looked in his eyes, not knowing what his words truly implied. All she wanted at the moment was to get away from him. "I don't want to be in your presence, Lord Damien. At least not till you try to understand my side. I would have anyone else help me but right now."
Damien's blood boiled, his heart breaking away at how steady her gaze was. She meant what she said, she would not let him help her tonight. She really would have someone else see her through the next two nights. His grip on her arm tightened more, her skin breaking and giving way to blood. He pulled her to his chest, letting their bodies touch and their breaths mingle.
"You are hurting me!"
"Think again, Ellie. Let me help you, you need ME." he growled at her.
"Right now, I need you to leave my arm!" she shouted at him, "And no, I think I've done my share of thinking. If I need someone to tend to me, maybe Jane or Aiden can help me out"
They both can help her with the fever, right? It was just a fever from the stress of the past days, how hard would it be to look after her? And they were her friends, they wouldn't mind.
"Aiden, I see. Alright." He pushed her away, "Help yourself. Have it your way."
She fell on the ground, tears streaming down her cheeks, three wounds on her arms from where his nails had dug in, and a strong fever burning her up from within.
She picked herself up and made her way to the servants quarters, swaying heavily with a vision which kept dancing around.
Damien made his way to his quarters, taking a bottle of whiskey to drown himself in, called a maid to his chambers and retired to his room. She would have another man service her through her heat, all because of a small issue which should not have mattered at all considering that he had gotten her naked and fed her from him before. So why did it matter that he had pulled her on his lap?
Let the woman do as she pleased. If she would choose Aiden over him, let her. It didn't matter. She wasn't his mate, or his wife and she had was not titled to his loyalty by any relation. They definitely hadn't discussed the terms of their relationship for that to happen.
Let her be.