Chapter 36 - A Message From The Queen
“What are you doing here?” he growls. The lust and hunger in his expression less than a second ago are replaced by rage, turning his eyes dark and cold, and his face menacing. His body is now in a threatening stance.
The woman shrinks back. “Your mother sent me..” she whispers almost inaudibly.
With a loud roar, he picks up a side table and sends it flying across the room. The table shatters into little pieces. There’s a dent in the wall now.
The woman cowers even more and I hear footsteps running up the stairs. Very soon, everybody bursts in to stand behind me.
The woman’s big blue eyes are now glistening with unshed tears and her lips are quivering. “You...You didn’t answer the conference call, so she sent me h..h..here.” Her gaze travels over everybody before it is fixed on me. Hurt and anger settle on her face. It’s evident that she’s still scared, but her jaw sets on a determined line as she watches me and says, “She sent you a message. Queen Sophia wants you to mark me before we go back in a few days or else...”
She doesn’t get to finish delivering the message. A table lamp smashes into a wall just inches away from her head. She screams and hides behind the door. “I am never going to mark you,” he yells before he stalks aggressively and purposely toward her.
“He’s going to kill her,” whispers Penny, sounding excited. Oh, god...and I thought I was crazy.
“Caspian,” says Lazarus warningly from right behind me.
Caspian turns his angry gaze on Lazarus. His eyes dark and wild. They immediately fall on me. Our eyes locked for a long time. Rage and frustration are visible in every line of his body. Wordlessly, he darts over to the open balcony door and jumps out.
I learned that the woman is Lady Celeste. She was sent by his mother, the Queen herself.
After Caspian left, Lady Celeste was moved into a guest room, all the way to the other side of the house, on the second level. Surprisingly, she went meekly without any protest. I guess the prince’s violent outburst really scared her tonight.
We learned that she arrived around noon today, but her clothes are already hanging in his closet. One of the maids is now taking them all off the hangers while another one is collecting her shoes, make-up, and toiletries, packing them back in her luggage.
The woman doesn’t travel light. There are fifteen large bags and luggage altogether.
In his bedroom, Serena is stripping Caspian’s beddings where Lady Celeste had slept in earlier.
“There goes thousands of dollars worth of beddings,” announces Genesis as she watches Serena stuffs the silky periwinkle blue material into a huge garbage bag.
“Is that really necessary?” asks Jorden who’s been watching everything in fascination.
I hear Penny and Genesis laugh. “Oh, yeah! Washing the sheet wouldn’t get the smell off,” answers Penny. “The smell lingers, for us.”
“This whole floor belongs to the prince. He doesn’t allow many people up here. If he came back to the smell of Lady Celeste on his bed sheet, he’ll destroy the whole floor,” adds Genesis.
“He’s been saving this space for his erasthai,” adds Serena, looking at me. “Everywhere we went, he’s always saving his space for his princess. No other woman was allowed in his suite except for us.”
"Are you sure you don’t want any more tea?” asks Serena.
“No, I’m good. Thanks, Serena.” I place my empty cup on the table.
We’re sitting in the great room on the main floor and I can see the space more clearly. It’s high ceilinged and open space. It’s painted in white with splashes of bold colors of hues of reds, blues, greens and yellows from big original paintings and furniture. One room flows to the other beautifully. The decoration is clean lines and modern yet also rich and opulent. It’s warm, welcoming, and comfortable. The back wall is dominated by floor to ceiling glass windows. Even from where I’m sitting, I can see beautifully illuminated two-tiered pools. The water from the top pool runs down to the second one in a cascade of a waterfall. The darkened beach is visible in the background.
There’s only a handful of us left in the great room - Serena, Lazarus, Genesis, Constantine, and I. Penny, Darius, and Jorden have gone to bed.
Jonah left not long ago. Before he went, he asked if I wanted to go home with him but I told him I was going to stay.
I promised Caspian that I won’t run away from him. I’m keeping my promise. We need to talk and clear things up in order for us to happen. I wonder where he is right now.
“The housekeeper has put a new bedsheet on the bed. So if you want to rest, go right ahead,” says Serena.
“This is your home now. Feel free to do whatever you want, Q,” Genesis announces. She has started calling me Q after she heard Jorden calling me Q a few times tonight.
“No, I’m just going to take a walk down the beach if that’s okay.” I feel the need to take a walk and be alone for a bit. Tonight has been very eventful...in more ways than one.
“Yes, that’s not a problem. It’s mostly private beach, so you’ll be safe. You won’t see anybody except for maybe our immediate neighbor if you happen to wander too far to the South. If you go further, you’ll see the pier. The other side is mainly rocks,” answers Constantine.
The backyard is brightly lit. The soft and haunting sound of Serena’s violin follows me as I walk down the stone steps down to the beach.
The moon is bright and I can see the white sandy beach stretches for miles. The strong wind brings the briny smell of the ocean.
Growing up, I always dreamt of living by the beach with my Nana. I wish Nana could be here now. I wish Nana could’ve met Caspian and all of his friends. I like them all. I haven’t known them for too long but somehow I feel close to them already.
I walk for miles, almost to the pier, then I decided to turn back. I think it’s way past midnight by the time I reach our beach again. The house is not as brightly lit but they left some lights on the main floor on. The sound of the violin has stopped. Only the sound of the waves lapping the shore accompanies me now.
The night air is getting chilly but I don’t feel like going back inside yet.
There are a couple of lounge chairs on the beach, so I lie down on one. I always dream of sleeping with the sound of the ocean.
I lift my head when I hear footsteps approaching. A tall figure is walking down the stone path. His dark hair glows in the silvery moonlight. Constantine is making his way toward me.
“Here,” he drapes a cotton wool blanket he’s been carrying over me. “You’ll need this. It’s getting cold.”
“Thank you,” I tell him, pulling the blanket up to my chin.
He lowers himself on a chair next to mine and stares at the sea silently. His expression seems thoughtful. We sit like that in a companionable silence for a long time, just enjoying the wind and the sound of the ocean.
Finally, he sighs. “He’s in a lot of pressure, you know,” he says. “But he’s trying hard to hold on to you.
“My cousin is...well, my cousin is a lot of things. He's spoiled. He’s used to getting his way and he's used to people falling over backward to please him. He’s impatient, stubborn, rude, a little childish sometimes, and he’s not used to asking. Whatever he wants, he simply takes.
“So, thank you for staying. It must have not been easy.” His lips curl up into a little impish smile. He shakes his head, and says, “I’m not even sure if he’s worth the trouble.”
I have to smile to that.
Then his face turns serious again. “He never cares about any woman but he loves you. There’s only a handful of people he trusts, loves, and lets into his life. To those few that he lets in though, he’s protective and loyal to a fault.
“It might seem like he doesn’t care but he carries a load on his shoulders...and he worries. He needs somebody in his corner,” he says. “He needs you more than he’ll ever let on.”
He straightens up. His handsome face is pensive. I don’t know what to say, so I just wait for him to go on.
“With you, he’s trying hard to be patient and become a better man, that’s why you’re not bearing his mark yet. You’re driving him crazy and we’ve never seen him this way before.” There’s a hint of a smile on his lips again. “But I think you’re good for him.”
He turns, but before he walks away, he says softly, “You’re more than worthy of him. We’re glad he found you. Welcome to the family.”
I blink slowly. The moon is still bright and the stars are still twinkling in the purplish dark sky. There’s the sound of the waves hitting the shore and the wind. I’ve fallen asleep out here, on the beach.
A warm hand is pushing my hair back, brushing against my cold cheek.
I turn my face up and blink a few more times until his face comes into focus. His gaze is intent on my face. His tousled hair is blowing wildly in the wind. His skin is flushed. Half of his face is covered in stubble. I lift my hand and touch his fuzzy cheek. The air is cold but his skin is burning hot.
“You’ve been running,” I whisper. My voice is being carried away by the wind and swallowed by the rolling sound of the waves but he can hear me.
“Yes,” he says, leaning into my touch.
“Did it help?”
“A little bit. I could still destroy things around me,” he answers bluntly and sits on the ground beside my lounge chair. He takes my hand in his and says, “I’m sorry I hurt you.”
“You didn’t hurt me,” I reply. I sit up to face him and plant my feet on the sand next to his knees.
“But I wanted to mark you when you clearly don’t want me to. I still want to mark you,” he admits, hanging his head down.
“I do want you to mark me,” I admit. “But it’s a big step,” I quickly add when he raises his head up in surprise. His expression, hopeful. “I want to clear a few things up and I want to know what I’m getting myself into before that happens.”
I can see his eyes light up even in the pale moonlight. He brings my hand to his lips and kisses the back of it like he’s worshipping it. “Anything you want, Moya Printsessa. Ask me anything and I'll answer truthfully.”
“First, I want to know the deal with that woman, Lady Celeste.”
His hand tightens around mine and the set of his jaw tells me that he’s grinding his teeth. “My parents have been pressuring me to mark somebody as my mate and take my place as the king for several decades now.
"My mother, Queen Sophia has her mind set on Lady Celeste, her best friend’s daughter as my mate for as long as I can remember.
“So, it’s an old story; Queen Sophia and the Royal Advisor keep pushing me to mate her and I keep running, traveling the world, in the hope of finding my erasthai, one day,” he explains, looking at me.
His eyes are so intense. I lower my eyelids to stare at our joined hands.
“You’re never once tempted to mate her?”
“If you’re wondering if I ever touched her or interested in her that way, then the answer is no. Growing up, she’d always been a whiny, annoying little kid who followed us around the castle like a lost puppy. Give her an inch and she’ll take a mile.
"After mother announced that I was to mate her, the more I couldn’t stand her. Now I can’t stand even the smell of her,” he explains.
“She’s here now...what are you going to do with her?”
He draws a sharp breath. “I don’t know,” he answers unhappily. “I was supposed to have a conference call with the King, the Queen, and the Royal Advisor the day I found out you were missing...but well, I skipped town before the call,” he smiles. I see the smile doesn’t reach his eyes this time. “I knew there will be a repercussion for leaving here without honoring that scheduled conference call but I didn’t think that my mother would be sending her here with the ultimatum.”
“I’m sorry,” I say, staring down at our linked hands.
“Hey, look at me.” He lifts my chin up so I’m looking back into his eyes. “None of this is your fault, my love.”
He left without taking the call to save me, so I do still feel sorta guilty even though I didn’t ask to get kidnapped and taken back by my old pack.
“Anymore question you would like to ask me, Moya Printsessa?”
“What about Helen and all the other women?”
“What about them? I told you they were in the past.”
“But you were alone with that Helen woman...”
“I was never alone with her. We were outside of that hotel with everybody else waiting for you where she tried to initiate a conversation with me several times but I ignored her. On the plane, she came into the cockpit when I was talking with the captain and I left.
“She’s a manipulative social climber and I wouldn’t touch her again with a ten feet pole. I don’t understand why Lord Archer took her as his companion.
“How can I convince you that I don’t want anybody else? Quincy, I waited for centuries for you. You’re my one chance at happiness. Why would I mess up my chance? Why would I waste my time hooking up with some women who don’t matter to me when I've already found you? I told you what I want and I don’t have time for games.
"I only want you. You’re more than enough for me but I can’t say the same about you.” He looks angry again.
“Are you still concerned about Gideon and Oliver?” I ask him.
He doesn’t answer me. He lets go of my hand and turns his face away. His chest heaves and his eyebrows come down. His lips form a tight line.
I move to sit on the sand with him, in front of where he’s facing. As soon as I get into his line of sight, he turns his face the other way. I try not to smile. My prince is hurt, but he’s way too adorable.
“Caspian.” I cup his face in my hands, trying to make him look at me. I sigh when he refuses to turn his head. He’s so stubborn!
I lift my self up to sit on my knees. We’re almost at eye level this way.
I wrap my arms around his neck and when he doesn’t push me away, I kiss his eyebrow. His skin feels warm on my cold lips.
“When I think of you with other men, I feel violent,” he says. “I want to destroy everything. I want to kill those other men. I want to hurt you...not physically, but mentally like the way I’m hurting, yet I can’t stand the thought of you hurting. The thought of hurting you hurts me even more.
“I want to keep you all to myself because in here...” He taps his head then slaps his chest. “You’re fvcking mine. Mine. You belong to me forever. Just me. It hurts that it’s not what you want.”
“Caspian.” I tighten my arms around him and kiss the side of his face where I can reach him. “That’s what I want. You’re the only one that I want." I take a deep breath and continues, "Gideon...” His hands come up to grip my hips like a warning. “Gideon is loyal to you. I think he’s a good person to keep as a friend but I don’t want him. He’s not a competition for you. No man is.
“Oliver is...well...I promise you, you have nothing, I mean absolutely nothing to worry about Oliver.”
He pulls back to look at me with narrowed eyes. “I heard you said you can’t imagine life without him.”
“Ha! You’ve been stalking me!” I accuse him. “And eavesdropping. My Nana said, eavesdroppers never hear any good of themselves...or about others...or something like that...”
The stare he gives me tells me that he’s not impressed. Well, then...I guess I can’t put off talking about Oliver any longer.
I clear my throat. “I think I should introduce you to Oliver. But you have to promise me something.”
“I’m not making any promises I can’t keep. So no, I’m not promising anything when it comes to your precious Oliver,” he growls.
“Oh, come on...trust me, Oliver is not a competition, like at all! Please, just promise me that you won’t laugh or make fun of me when you see him...and ooohhh...don’t tell others about him.”
I could almost see the wheel turning in his head as he keeps staring at me as if trying to see what’s inside my head.
“Please? Just promise me, no laughing and making fun of me. Like at all!”
Now he’s looking at me like he’s not sure whether to laugh or to stay angry.
Finally, he sighs and nods his head. “Okay, I promise,” he says. His hands that are holding my hips glide around my waist to pull me closer to him. “But if he proves to be a competition, I’ll destroy him,” he whispers against my ear. His voice sounds playful and teasing this time and I melt into his arms. "You are mine. My Princess."
His lips meet mine. Sweet and gentle. Just as I’m about to deepen our kiss, he pulls back and lifts me up to lie me down on the lounge chair. The chair has barely enough room for the both of us but he climbs in and pulls me snug against him. His chest to my back. He pulls the blanket over the both of us but I no longer feel cold. His body shields me from the wind and his body heat is enough to warm me up.
We lie like that in silence, listening to the wind, the waves, and each other’s breathing. I feel the rise and fall of his chest against my back, enjoy the thrill of having his powerful body against mine. Everything feels right in the world when he’s holding me like this.
“If I lost my crown...if I lost everything tomorrow, will you still want me? Will you stay with me?”
There’s something in his voice that makes my heart clenches. I turn my body to face him. He grabs my waist so that I won’t fall off the chair.
“Caspian.” I trace a finger over his bottom lip. “I don’t care about the crown or about anything else. I only want you.
“If we only have the clothes on our backs, we’ll make it work. I’ll put in a good word for you with my manager and we can both work at the cafe. We’ll survive on ramen noodles and sleep on beaches like this and you can keep me warm.”
I feel his lips stretch into a smile before I hear his chuckles. “It’s us against the world?”
“Us against the world. Forever,” I agree.
“Now tell me that you love me.”
What? I draw in a sharp breath. My heart stops beating for a beat before it starts galloping in my chest.
He presses his forehead to mine and demands it again, “Tell me you love me, Princess.”
I take a deep breath and whisper, “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
*I decided not to leave you with a cliffhanger this time =) My next update will be Tuesday again of not sooner. Have a wonderful week!
Btw, I'm feeling all better now. Thank you for all your wonderful and thoughtful comments. You are just so awesome!♥