Chapter 43 - Ultimate Distraction
I make sure that he finishes his milk and places his glass on the bedside table before I say, “Tell me what’s going on, my prince. What’s really bothering you?” He turns back to face me slowly. His eyes are watching me warily. “I know you’re not telling me something and it has something to do with Lady Celeste.”
He doesn’t bother to deny it but I can see it in the look of his eyes and the set of his jaw that he’s not willing to talk about it.
“It’s nothing for you to worry about. I’m going to deal with it,” he answers curtly.
His response pissed me off. “You’re forgetting something. You have a mate now....or am I here just for your amusement? I thought we’re supposed to share our burdens and deal with everything together?”
“You know you’re more than just an amusement,” he says, sounding exasperated.
“Then tell me,” I insist stubbornly.
“Moya Printsessa,” he groans, running his hand through his hair, then he grips the back of his neck. “I don’t want a fight with you.”
“Then tell me what’s going on. Tell me what’s bothering you. Don’t you dare tell me it’s nothing because I can feel it. You’re trying to shut me out.”
“I’m not trying to shut you out,” he says, his voice is rising. “I don’t want you to worry. I just want you to be happy. Let me deal with everything. Let me take care of you, okay?” He’s standing up now, pacing the floor in agitation and frustration.
Okay, I’m getting nowhere. We’re just going to end up yelling at each other and I’ll be none the wiser if we keep this up. I might end up saying things I might regret too.
I sigh and soften my voice when I say, “I am happy. You do make me very happy, my prince. But I want you to let me in. I need you to treat me like an intelligent person instead of a mindless doll who live to shop and look pretty and only good for some fun.
“Please tell me.” I can hear it- that annoying, whiny tone in my voice. He might be stubborn but so am I, and I’m not above begging, whining, guilt-tripping, and annoying the crap out of him into opening up. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to seduce him into spilling it.
I can see the crack in his resolve so I keep pressing. “Let me in, my love. I want us to be partners, to take care of each other. It’s us against the world, remember? Please. Unless you didn’t mean it.”
“You’re not going to give up, are you?” he asks me.
“You know I won’t, so might just as well tell me. I want us to deal with it, whatever it is, together.”
“Have you ever heard of the saying, ignorance is bliss?” he asks me.
“Whatever. I don't want bliss right now. So spill.”
He sighs. He sits back on the side of the bed with his feet apart and his elbows resting on his knees. He’s only in his pajama pants. The delicious muscles of his arms and back bunches as he lowers his head to look at his feet. “It’s complicated.”
“Explain it to me. I’m sure I can keep up.”
“All these archaic rules and our damn pride...”
“We have all night,” I tell him.
He watches me crawl up to the headboard. I make a big show of patting and fluffing the pillows around me before I rest my back against them, making myself as comfortable as possible to listen to his explanation- all night if I have to.
“Very well,” he says. He runs his hands down his face then places them under his chin. I can still see his reluctance, but at least he’s agreed to talk. “I suppose I have to explain to you certain things about the world of the lycan nobilities I grew up in.
“It is rare among the lycan royalties to be mated to their erasthais. Most matings are arranged based on the convenience or the agreement between two powerful families. Mostly to gain more wealth and power- like my parents’. Theirs was the mating arrangement made in heaven,” he says before a quick laugh burst out of his mouth. It sounds bitter and full of derision. He shakes his head before he continues, “Arranged mating ceremonies are the norm. Some of these agreements were made when their offsprings were still in their diapers.”
“Like you and Lady Celeste?”
“No, ours wasn’t made that far ahead. My mother arranged it with her family the year my father expressed his intention to step down and hand me the crown. That was over thirty years ago. I have to claim a mate before I can take over the throne and mother is eager for me to step up and be crowned king as soon as possible.”
“Why can’t you be crowned king without having a mate?” I ask him.
“It is thought that a mated lycan is stronger than the lone one. It’s always been that way. That’s why my parents mated each other- so that my father could step up to take over the reign from his father. Besides, my mother was from a very powerful and rich family,” he explains. “It only made sense. A strong lineage and the right pedigree..like a purebred horse,” he adds with a contemptuous curl to his lips.
I feel his growing agitation as he continues. His hands curl around the hair at the back of his head, tugging it. I have a strong urge to take him in my arms to calm him, but I will myself to stay put and let him continue.
“The number of rebels has risen in Russia in recent years and we suspect that it’s an inside job. Somebody from within the royal family is eager to take over the crown. When we went back to Russia a couple of weeks ago, I had to pretend to have mated Penny for her safety and to draw out the traitor,” he explains. “There was an attack at the palace---”
“You were attacked?”
“Yes, but as you can see, we’re all safe, sweetheart. The point is, after the attack, everybody knows that Penny and I are not really mated to each other.”
“Duh! You and Penny are like siblings. Unless you two are very good actors, a blind person can see that Penny is more likely to kick you in the nuts than becoming your mate,” I tell him.
“Come to think of it, even the adorable Genesis and the ever sweet Serena would gladly kick you in the nuts...” Hmmm....
“Okay, you start to sound like Penny. Maybe we should limit your time with her,” he mutters. “Do you want me to continue or would you rather talk about my nuts?”
“Sorry,” I apologize. “Do continue.”
“Okay...anyway, back to Lady Celeste,” he says. I feel his ire rise when he mentions her name and I tensed up. “I found out that she called Russia and talked to her parents as well as my mother yesterday. That was before she came to our room to remind me of my duty to mate her.”
I’m not liking where this is going. “What did she do?” My voice is almost inaudible.
“She convinced them that she’ll be able to get me to mate and mark her before we’re due to go back to Russia within a couple of days. I don’t know exactly what she told them, but whatever it was, it made them decide to hold a mating ceremony as soon as we get back.”
Mating Ceremony? “What does that mean?”
His fingers are now back to pulling the golden strands at the back of his head. “That means, my love, there's a big mating celebration for me and Lady Celeste waiting to happen at the Banehallow Palace in a few days time.”
“But you’re already mated to me!” My voice is rising. I can hear my own heartbeat and feel the warmth in my chest growing. “They can’t do that....can they?”
He crawls over the bed to sit in front of me. “Listen to me, my love.” He cups my face in his hands and lifts it up so that I’m looking at him. “You’re my mate. Mine. I’ve claimed you. Forever.”
“Did you tell them that? Did you tell your mother that we’re mated?”
“Yes, I did, sweetheart.” He sighs and lets my face go. Frustration etches his face. “Last night, I told my parents about being mated to you, my erasthai. But after the stunt that we pulled the last time with Penny, they refused to believe me. She also refused to accept my explanation of Lady Celeste’s injuries and my reasoning not to bring her home today. It’s like...she’s gone deaf on things she doesn’t want to hear sometimes,” he says in frustration. “Mother just saw that as another insolent act on my part, therefore she made the announcement of the celebration this morning. For me not to go through with it after the announcement is like jilting her at the altar. There will a consequence.”
“Since it would shame her and her family, Lady Celeste will have the right to demand something from me as a compensation. I don’t know what she would want, but frankly, I don’t trust her not to claim something that I’m not willing to give.”
He moves closer and lays his head down on my lap. His cheek is resting on my thighs. “I’m sorry, my Princess,” he says quietly. “I’m sorry that you have to face all this just because you’re mated to me.”
“Well, I’m not because you’re worth it. I’ll go through this and a thousand more if it means I get to be with you.” I sink my fingers into his golden hair and comb my fingers through the silky strands. He lets out a big sigh at my touch as if he’s able to breathe for the first time in a long while and his broad shoulders lose some of the rigidness.
“I promise you, my love, nobody is going to take you away from me. You and I belong together.” His arm curls around my waist possessively.
I keep running my fingers through his hair, willing him to feel my love for him. I smooth the lines between his thick eyebrows. He closes his eyes and his long golden eyelashes fans across the top of his high cheekbones. He breathes in long and deep.
My feelings for this prince is complex. He invokes strong feelings in me; love to the point of pain, anger to the point of violence, and most probably despair to the point of death if I ever lost him.
Most of the time he provides me comfort and protection. I depend so much on his strength. At times like this, I feel protective of him. It’s me who’s giving him comfort. I’ll fight anyone who tries to harm him in any way. Fiercely.
I know that he’s so used to carry the burden by himself, but not anymore. I want him to know that he’s not alone.
His eyelids flutter open and he looks up at me. My big powerful mate with golden hair and the face of a fallen angel. His vivid green eyes unusually vulnerable - the side of him that he never shows the world. “You’re my ultimate distraction. Make me forget,” he says, so I do.
I’m eager to go back to normal today. Well...somewhat normal-ish. I want to get out of the house and forget our troubles, just for today.
The weather is still a bit chilly. After a shower, I put on my new red, plaid mini skirt, a cream-colored, off-shoulder, cable knit sweater, black over the knee socks, and a pair of black boots.
I walk out of our bedroom when I’m done. My steps slow down when I see Caspian leaning against the wall next to the entertainment center of our suite, waiting for me. He’s looking hot in jeans that hug his legs, hips and trim stomach. The simple light blue henley that he has on is tight across his muscled chest. Even his grey jacket is molded to his wide shoulders and arms. Seriously hot.
His eyes travel down my body. He looks like he’s ready to devour me by the time they reach my eyes again. He pushes off the wall and growls, “Are you seriously going out in that? What are you trying to do to me, woman?”
“That.” He points toward my body. “I’ll be murdering pricks left and right around campus if you went out wearing that outfit.”
Overly possessive neanderthal lycans. The outfit isn't even that revealing. I roll my eyes and decided to ignore him as I step away.
“Oh, no you don’t.” I yelp when his arm wraps around my middle before I reach the door. He has me pinned to the wall before I can blink.
“You can’t tell me what to do, you neanderthal you! I might belong to you but I’m also still my own person. This is still my body. I can wear whatever I want. I’m not going to---”
He effectively cuts my words with his lips on mine and I forget everything. His tongue slips into my mouth and I wind my arms around his neck. Ummm...he tastes so good. That wicked sexy mouth of his. He moans deep in his throat and his kiss gets hungrier and more demanding. I swear, his moan is the sexiest sound I’ve ever heard.
I wrap my leg around his waist and grab a fistful of his hair and tug him closer. I can’t get enough of him. That’s when he pulls back, taking his delicious mouth away from me and I groan in protest.
“You were saying?” he says. His voice is husky and he’s breathing hard but he refuses to let me pull his mouth back down on me.
“I hate you,” I growl and he chuckles.
“Oh, Moya Printsessa...” he whispers with a big smile on his face. "Tell me again how this body belongs only to me." He drops a quick kiss on my lips without waiting for my reply. It's obvious from the way that I responded to his kiss that my body does indeed belong to him. I wish I could wipe that cocky, arrogant smirk off his handsome face.
“What I was meaning to do is to give you this.” He slips his hand into his jacket pocket and produces a small dark blue box.
“If you’re going to be prancing around dressed like that, then at least you’d be walking around wearing this too.“ He opens the box and nestling inside are two simple matching platinum bands. “I know we don’t have time to have a human wedding yet. But I want you to wear my wedding ring because I want the world to know that you’re mine in every way. In my mind, you’re my queen, my mate, my wife, my erasthai, my life, my world, my ultimate distraction.
“And I want to wear a ring to show the world that I’m yours. I’ll be anything you want me to be; your mate, your husband, your lover, your protector...”
“My king, my life, my world, my ultimate distraction. You’re my everything. I love you,” I tell him.
“And I love you,” he says before he slips one of the rings into my finger and brings it up to brush his lips against my knuckles.
"So, what you're saying is, you don't really need to attend and graduate from this college?" I ask for confirmation.
“I don’t need to attend this college or any other colleges or universities,” he replies while concentrating on the traffic. His sure elegant hand moves to the gear knob to change gears. He seems to be fond of driving a manual. He’s driving his beloved 1971 Hemi Cuda convertible he named Tracey. We’re on our way to campus. Darius is driving Penny, Serena, and Genesis in another car.
“Constantine, Lazarus, and I have been traveling the world for a couple of centuries now. We’ve graduated and even obtained doctorates from several universities. We studied mainly in Europe before we decided to come to North America for the last few decades,” he explains. We come to a red light and he stops. My stomach clenches as usual when he turns his vivid green eyes on me. “I’m here just for you.”
Oh, swoon! Just like that, my heartbeat skyrocket and I do what my heart wants me to do. I lean over the console and kiss those sexy inviting lips. He curses when the horn blares behind us. The light has turned green. Wow, that was quick.
My mind is still hazy but he calmly sits back and continues driving. “See what you did there, Princess? His voice is sexy and husky. “I know I’m irresistible, but you’re a menace on the road.”
“Oh, Me? I’m the menace on the road? It’s my fault now? You’re the one who’s driving,” I sass back, ignoring his cocky remark. “Besides, it’s not my fault that I’m irresistible.”
He laughs. “So sassy. I am tempted to devour that saucy mouth of yours until you admit defeat, Princess.”
“Yeah, you do. As I said, I’m irresistible. Mic drop.”
He drops his head back against the headrest and laughs.
As soon as he parked the car, he grabs me by the waist across the console and smashes his lips on mine.
We’re interrupted by an incessant rapping on the window. Penny’s face is peering down on us with Serena and Genesis smirking behind her. “Cut it out, lovebirds. You’re getting close to becoming x-rated.”
“She’s just jealous her mate isn’t here to do that,” he mock-whispers to me with a smirk on his face.
“He just left, you brat!” says Penny, giving him the finger. I giggle and press a kiss on his cheek before I slide out of the car.
“Newly mated,” says Genesis, shaking her head like a wise owl, followed by a soft laugh from Serena.
Nobody gets as much attention as Caspian, Penny, Genesis, and Serena around here. When the four of them pass by, people watch.
That’s why my feet aren’t working properly when I walk through campus and into the lecture hall with them. People are watching.
Serena and Penny head to a different building while Genesis, Caspian, and I have the same class. I try to inch further from them as we get closer to our building but Caspian holds my hand captive in his. When we enter the class, he wraps his arm around my shoulders and casually saunters to their usual spot in the center of the auditorium where his normal fans of girls are already crowding in.
*My WIFI isn't working. I was so stressed when they told me to wait till tomorrow to get it fixed. Anyway, my bae, Adam reminded me that I can use my phone as my hotspot to get the connection. Duh! Why didn't I think of that sooner??? (love you, baby!)
So, here's my update for this week. So sorry I missed yesterday's deadline. My longtime readers would know that I don't just miss deadlines for shits and giggles.
I didn't get to work on the chapter as much as I want but I hope you still like it. Next update will be next Tuesday.
Much love, Nicole