Enceladus 3: The Heat

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Chapter Six

“Princess!” I whipped my head around and spotted Talia coming from the servants’ quarters that were behind the Chancellor’s and Constable’s offices. I grinned. Instantly, my mood was better. She had two boxes in her hand, presumably filled with her personal belongings.

Her boxes were nearly spilling out her hands. I took one from her when she got to the stairs. With my telekinesis, I lifted the other box from her arms. “Thank you.” She stopped and looked into my eyes. I could only guess what they were silently communicating because she blushed.

We walked to her new room which was two doors away from mine, next to Cassiopeia’s old one.

Talia opened the door and I was pleased at how big it was. To the right of the door was a vanity, similar to mine. Next to that was the closet. Not a walk-in closet but Talia didn’t have many clothes. On the other side was a desk, like the one that I never once used. In the middle of the room against the wall, was a bed the same size as mine.

“This is nice,” said Talia.

“It is,” I agreed, putting her boxes down. I put my arm around her waist. She leaned into it. “So what do you say about just you and I having dinner, tonight?”

She pulled back from me and kissed me. I supposed that was her answer. I put my hand on her face and her arms embraced me. I sunk into the kiss.

“Want to visit Lynx with me?” I couldn’t keep my eyes off her lips.

“I’d love to.”

We walked down four rooms past mine to get to Lynx’s. “Hey, Lynx, you remember Talia, right?” He was actually dressed for once and had eaten all of his breakfast.

He nodded. He was sitting at his desk, leaning back in the chair. His laptop was open on a blank document. Enceladus had computers that were identical to Earth’s.

“She is now my lady-in-waiting.” His desk was facing the bed so I motioned for Talia to sit on it with me but she wouldn’t.

“Are you guys dating?” He wasn’t looking at us but he must have noticed something. That was a good sign. His observational skills had always been superb.

Both Talia and I blushed. “Well . . .” I began. “We haven’t really talked about it.”

He nodded again and sat up some. “You should. Date, I mean.”

I glanced at Talia and she was smiling warmly at him.

“I came by to tell you that freezing the core worked. For a little bit.”

“Great,” Lynx said.

“Prince Lynx, do you like games?”

He shrugged. “Ôpï.” Ôpï was a card game, unlike any I had read about on Earth. It was Lynx’s favorite.

Talia told me that she’d be right back.

“We kissed,” I told Lynx, like a giddy child, after she left.

He almost smiled. Almost. That counted, right?

Talia came back before he could say anything, if he was going to. She had a deck of cards. She held them up as a question to Lynx.

He shrugged again. Talia took that as a yes and started dealing cards—ten each.

“Want to play, Princess?” She knelt down beside Lynx’s desk.

“I’ll watch,” I told her. I was awful at card games.

So I watched them play and wondered why I had never thought of doing this. I had read to Lynx, told him stories and kept him updated about the outside world. I even sang to him once. Once. But I never thought of playing his favorite game. I mentally smacked myself.

Lynx was playing with enthusiasm. He didn’t have any facial expressions but he was showing interest in something other than his bed. I was happy.

When lunchtime rolled around, I went downstairs to get them some food. Though, I wasn’t hungry. When I came back up, they were already playing round two.

I felt such a swell of emotion for Talia. I took Lynx’s vanity chair and gave it to Talia.

They didn’t even stop to eat lunch, just ate between deals.

Hours later, they had finished and I suspected Lynx was exhausted from the exertion of energy. He had spent months doing nothing, barely thinking. Today, he had played cards for hours.

Talia and I left just before Lynx fell asleep. We were walking back to my room when I stopped and turned towards her.

“Thank you for doing that today,” I said.

“Of course, it was my pleasure, Princess.” She took my hand in hers.

“It was very kind. I think it helped him. I never thought to do that, of course.”

Talia smiled at me and my heart soared. “I hope it did help him.”

For months, I had wished for something that would help my brother and help myself. I wondered if that thing was Talia.

Then I felt guilty for not telling her about the second meeting with my father. I didn’t want to ruin dinner, though.

“Give me an hour and meet me on the roof for dinner,” I told her, kissing her on the cheek.

I ran to the kitchen. I would tell her about my father tomorrow.

The kitchen staff greeted me warmly. Apparently I hadn’t killed any of their family members. Forty.

I brushed the thought out of my head. “I would like to make dinner for my lady-in-waiting,” I said to them.

A woman stepped closer to me and bowed. “Talia? That is her job, Your Highness.”

“Well, I know, but it’s a special occasion.”

She smiled knowingly. “Okay, Princess. My name is Gianna. What would you like to make for her? I’ll show you to it.”

The rest of the staff dispersed after bowing to me. They already had dinner made and had to set it out. “Something with låpënô.” A låpënô was an animal on Enceladus that looked a lot like a pig, only instead of a corkscrew tail, it had a straight one. Also its skin wasn’t as pink as a pig’s and the meat didn’t taste the same at all. So maybe not too similar.

“You could make låpënô qôn,” she suggested. Låpënô noodles, in other words.

“That sounds delicious . . . Although, I don’t know how,” I admitted.

Gianna laughed. “I will guide you through it, Princess. Dessert?”

“I’m thinking æb. I know how to make that. And do we have any fresh kïn?” Wine.

She nodded and we started making the noodles. The noodles weren’t as hard to prepare as the låpënô. I had to cut the meat perfectly and cook it in a pan with all the right seasonings. Our ovens were nearly the same as those on Earth. Where we differed was the stoves and stove tops.

Gianna was very patient with me and I didn’t know if that was because I was a Princess or because she was naturally patient. Or because she was afraid of me . . .

When it came to make the cake, I made it on my own, sliding it into the oven. I was worried I would be late, with the cake cooking. The låpënô was already made.

“Princess, if you need to get ready, you can go do that. I’ll keep an eye on your cake,” Gianna offered.

“Oh, thank you so much. For everything.” I almost flew up to my room. I glanced in the mirror in my bathroom and laughed out loud. I had food particles all over my face. My hands were covered in flour. I needed a shower.

I stripped and showered as quickly as I could. I combed my hair while looking in my walk-in closet. I didn’t want to wear a ball gown for obvious reasons. I was surprised when I found a knee-length strapless red dress. I shimmied it on and grabbed some dress flats. I yanked a blanket off of my bed and ran back down to the kitchen.

Gianna had taken my cake out of the oven. “Thank you, thank you.” Gianna laughed and helped me load all the food onto a food cart once we set it into dishes. She supplied the wine glasses and silverware. She put the bottle of wine on the cart as well.

I found a handful of tall candles and thanked Gianna once more. I knew I was late so I used my telekinesis to lift the cart and left the kitchen.

I struggled to keep the cart from spilling everything as I made my way up the stairs to the roof.

I arrived without dousing myself in the food and Talia was already there, staring into the black sky. The roof didn’t have any lighting but our Enceladian eyes were well adjusted to the dark.

My mind put down the food cart gently.

“Princess,” she bowed, greeting me.

“Lady-in-waiting.” Then I bowed towards her. Why’d I have to be so awkward? I blushed but Talia only laughed.

I laid out the blanket and set the candles all around it, plus two on the food cart. I lit them with a flick of my wrist. “Tonight I prepared for us: låpënô qôn, æb and there’s some kïn.”

“You made this?” Talia asked, surprised.

“I did.” I grinned.

“Wow, a royal cooking something for herself.” The second the words came out of her mouth, her face contorted in regret.

All I did was laugh and tell her to sit. I wasn’t offended. My brothers and sisters used to be huge brats who wouldn’t do a damned thing for themselves. That was only half false now.

I kissed Talia on the cheek and poured her some wine.

Her dress was also short like mine but had long sleeves and was satin purple. “You look great.”

“Thanks,” she blushed.

I sat next to her and handed her one of the dishes of noodles.

Not so nonchalantly, I watched her take her first bite.

“Mmm, this is amazing, Amelia,” she told me.

I grinned. “You really think so?”

“Yes, I do. You made this all by yourself? No help?”

“Why is that so shocking?” I put my hand to my chest in fake shock. “But actually Gianna helped me a bit. All she did was tell me how.”

“Ah, Gianna.” Talia smiled and I bit into the food. It was good. “How did the freezing go today?”

“It went good. I feel the difference in temperature, do you?”

She nodded. For a few minutes, we ate in silence.

“So we should maybe talk about what we are,” said Talia.

“Yeah . . .” I agreed.

“I mean, are you ready to . . . date?”

I didn’t hesitate for long. “Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“I am.” I smiled at her. “I really like you and want to give this a shot. A real shot.”

She grinned, her hazel eyes sparkling, her face flickering from the candles. I leaned in and kissed her, careful of the bowl in my lap. She kissed back eagerly.

When it was over, I said, “There. That talk wasn’t too bad. Dessert?”

Talia nodded and I handed her a slice of æb. “Now this, I already knew how to make, of course; it’s sweets.”

Talia laughed at me and took a bite. “Wow. This is great. Just like our head cook made it.”

I beamed and took a bite myself. I had successfully made dinner and dessert. Good job, Amelia.

When we finished, I laid back on the blanket and Talia did the same.

I lifted my arm to point at group of stars. I was about to name what constellation it was when Talia wound her hand in mine. “You are breathtaking, Amelia Ladus.”

My eyes watered as I propped myself up on one elbow and looked down at her. Her eyes were full of passion. I leaned down and kissed her. It was slow at first then grew hungry as I settled between her legs. Her arms circled around me tightly.

We kissed and kissed. I ran my hand up Talia’s left leg that was around my torso, lifting her silky purple dress up. She shuddered, in a good way, I hoped. She didn’t stop me when I moved my hand up higher so I decided yes, in a good way.

Her skin was so soft. My mouth moved to her neck and she let out a soft moan. Her moan sent electricity down my spine and before I knew it my lips were on her chest. I ran little kisses down to her stomach and stopped. I looked at her under the candle light. Her face wondered why I’d stopped but her eyes were purely desire filled.

“What’s wrong?” Talia asked. She had to prop herself up to see me.

I smiled. “Nothing. You’re gorgeous.”

She grabbed my face, pulled me up and crashed her lips into mine. I lifted her dress higher and higher until it was right underneath her breasts. I stopped kissing her to see if it was okay; she decided it was and took it off for me.

Kill the one you love. The words echoed through my head and startled me. What the Hell?

I tried to push them out and kiss Talia but it didn’t work.

You will eventually.

I got off of Talia and turned my back to her.

Forty.

“Amelia . . .” Talia put a hand on my shoulder. “It’s okay. We can stop.” When I didn’t say anything, she spoke again, “What’s the matter?”

“I’m sorry.” I hated how my voice sounded. It was thick with guilt and regret. Way to kill the mood.

“Sorry for what?” She moved and knelt in front of me. Her dress was still in a pile on the blanket.

“For hurting you.” I shut my eyes so I wouldn’t have to look at her. Forty. Forty. Forty.

“Amelia, you didn’t hurt me. What are you talking about?” She placed her hands on my knees that were folded against my chest.

“I will hurt you. My father told me.” You will . . .

“Look at me.” Talia’s voice was soft but firm. An order.

I opened my eyes. Her hazel eyes bore into me and I found myself not able to look away.

“You won’t hurt me. You won’t hurt me. You won’t.”

Looking into her eyes, I could tell she believed it. She really did. I didn’t feel like arguing anymore. I simply nodded.

“Come here.” She brought me into her bare arms. The warmth radiating off her skin was comforting.

I let my eyelids fall. “I’m sorry I ruined the moment.”

She laughed lightly but I still felt it in her chest which was covered in a slip. “It’s okay.”

“You’re probably thinking I’m not actually ready to date.” I hadn’t meant to say that.

“Amy-” She never called me Amy. I suspected she didn’t know what to say.

“It’s fine if you don’t want to do this.”

“No, I do. I do.” I couldn’t see her face but her voice was persuading enough. “Why don’t we go get some sleep?”

I nodded my head against her chest. She stood and put on her dress. We headed inside the brightly lit castle, leaving our mess on the roof. We made our way down the stairs and stopped on my floor. I opened my door.

When Talia looked in, she gasped. “What happened?” She stepped around the broken glass from my mirror. Makeup and vanity contents littered the floor.

I grimaced. My whole room was a mess. My bed too. “That’s a story for another time. I’m tired.” I moved to my bed and tried to straighten it.

Forty.

As soon as I was done fixing my bed, I collapsed on it. I felt Talia moving on it behind me. Then one of her arms went under my neck and the other laid on my torso. It was nice. She was pressed up against me firmly, comfortably.

I fell asleep easier than I had in months.

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