Elle was sound asleep when the door burst open and in came Damien with a hurried stride. He rushed to the closet without a glance at her and the door closed behind him with a loud thud. She turned on her side and covered her head with a pillow. She was aware of the door opening again and shutting behind her but she did not put in enough efforts to open her eye. By Lord, she was exhausted.
There was a rustling sound behind her preceded by heavy footfalls.
"Wake up, darling. We need to leave." Lord Damien's voice seemed to be far away from where she slept. But then the pillow over her head was pulled away and he was stroking her cheek to wake her up.
Elle groaned and turned on her stomach, her naked back open for him to gawk at. He knew she wanted to rest but he couldn't risk leaving her in the castle. Mate bonds could be overwhelming. He could sense all her troubles and worries, feel her insecurities and her needs, but somehow her body would know that he was sharing her emotions. That put on a fog of negativity on the bearer of the bond if not confronted and consented. Both of which he hadn't done. She would be robbed of her sense of peace, which would be replaced by a hollow space, a feeling that something was not right and we'll.
Damien bent over her sprawled body with his hands on her waist, then he nipped where her mark lay, gaining him an arousing gasp from her. Her half-mast eyes looked at him with doubt and desire. Desire which he too shared, doubt which left him unsettled at his heart. He hadn't done the right thing, she had the right to know, the right to choose and consent. And he had taken that away from her. It was a burden that drowned his heart in guilt, inch by sad inch till he wanted to apologize and ask for forgiveness.
"Wake up, baby, we have to leave." He curled his hand around her arm and tugged her up with him into a sitting position.
As he looked down at her, a slow grin spread over his face. She looked adorable with her mouth in a pout, her eyes half closed as she struggled not to fall asleep, her hair was all over the place as it always was, and was it drool on the corner of her mouth?
Lord Damien stood up and to the bathroom, taking a new towel from his stack he wetted it and moved out again. Thankfully she hadn't fallen back on the bed again. He sat beside her, holding her by the chin and gently wiping her face with the wet cloth. Tossing the towel aside he brought his face down and pecked her on her mouth.
He would have indulged into waking her up properly, but the matter at hand demanded his attention. He was just as quick to get up and scan through the gowns that he had asked to be delivered into his room for Elle. Picking up a mauve gown he turned around and went to the now yawning Elle perked up on the bed.
"Hands raised, my sweet."
she stared back at him as if he had spoken a foreign language, her head spinning by following his hurried movements here and there throughout the room. He opened the lace at the back of her gown and pulled her hands up to dress her with the gown. He never really cared about corsets and sheaths, besides, the lesser she wore, the lesser he would have to undress when he wanted her naked.
Once her arms and head were through the openings of the gown he pulled her up to a stand and let her lean against his body. Holding her hair on one side he pulled at the laces at her back to close the gown and tied them the way he used to do with his Amara. A perfect bow. Lord knew Elle deserved to be pampered and cared for.
"Where are we going, Lord Damien?" she whispered and looked up at him with groggy eyes.
"Neeyah claims to have seen the Fae's dead. We are going to confirm if it was indeed the fae prince or someone else."
The work talk did a thing r two to lift the fog of grogginess that hung over her and her mind started working again, back on the track that it always worked on.
"The woods?" she questioned.
"Th woods by the mountains, baby." He dipped down and on impulse kissed the mark he had give her. He doubted if he would ever get over him having claimed her, or her being his but that's how things were.
Taking her hand in his, he pulled her out the door but then realized she wore no loafers and was walking barefoot. He called out for a maid to bring a pair of shoes for Elle and continued to his office.
Back in the office, he saw Orion still working with Neeyah on the exact location of the dead body. He had no desire to take the child with him where a body might still be. Fae blood was never touched by animals, thus there were high chances that the body was uneaten and definitely decomposed. Baby Neeyah needed to stay safe.
In his office, Damien went to the drawer where he kept a couple of daggers for safety. Pulling out two, he kept one for himself and went to Elle taking the second. She was a fighter herself and although he preferred her never having to fight in the field, he had an idea that she would never leave that decision to him. Taking the dagger he slipped it tip first behind the lace of gown so it was kept at her waist by its hilt.
"Are we ready to leave?" Damien asked Orion.
"Indeed we are," Neeyah replied instead.
"Babygirl, I think I have made it clear that you are not coming with us." Orion looked agitated now, as if they had went over this more than enough times already.
Then she looked at Orion with those ancient adult eyes of hers that always creeped him out for they were too mature to be a child's eyes and spoke in that tone which was too calm and wise to be a child's and said, "I have seen enough death to befriend the reaper, and trust me, he and his deeds shall ne'er again be too overwhelming for me. I shall lead the way, Orion. You can nae cage me in this haunted castle."
With that she hopped out of the chair and walked to the door with her chin tipped up, waiting for others to follow. As if she owned the place she just walked out.
Damien looked at her back, the child with an old, wise soul like hers was not at all something that should be walking the earth. No, she was indeed an abomination, but he had come to realize that she would be family and cutting her word or cutting her way was utterly inappropriate,
A maid brought in a pair of shoes and they were then placed before Elle, she got all flustered at being treated like that. Stumbling a step or two back and only when the maid bowed to Lord Damien and took his leave did she caught her calm enough to slip on the shoes.
They stepped out together, him, his Elle and Orion.
Neeyah was leading the path.