Chapter 45 - Banehallow Palace
The amazing rich male scent, the soft comforter, and the warm hard body covering mine feel heavenly but the incessant sound of the alarm blaring is very annoying. I groan, telling it to be quiet. So far it’s not working. Stubborn alarm.
I free one arm out from underneath all the weight and try to stretch it to reach the phone on the bedside table to turn it off. No such luck. My arm isn’t long enough. My mate groans and pulls me firmly back into him.
Why does it have to go off so early though? It’s still dark. The sun isn’t up yet. Stupid alarm. Gosh, the alarm is so stupid...
Wait! Alarm. Holly Mackeral! Airport. Russia. Right! We have a plane waiting.
“Caspian!” I pull my arm out again and grasp his shoulder. “Caspian!” I try to shake him. “Wake up! We have to get up.”
“Umm...Shhh...sleep...” he mumbles, burrowing his face further into the hollow of my neck.
My mate is not a morning person. He’s the one who set the alarm last night. Looks like I’m the one who has to wake him up.
“Caspian, wake up!” I try to push his weight off me. It’s like trying to move a boulder. “Caspian!”
He groans, pushes his knee between my legs, and his hand that’s curled around my breast begins to knead. His lips start to pepper kisses along my neck. “Quincy...” he breathes into my skin before his mouth latches onto it. That actually feels nice. Ummm...Very nice.
My breath hitches. “Caspian,” I gasp.
“What the hell is that noise?” he grumbles, lifting his face up. His hair is all mussed up from sleep and his strong eyebrows come down in a scowl.
Oh, right, plane, Russia. “It’s the alarm,” I tell him helpfully.
A well-defined arm stretches out to tap the phone screen. The muscles flex deliciously. “Now where were we?” He tilts his head sideways and leans down again.
I put both hands up on his chest before his lips reach mine. “Caspian, we have to get up,” I tell him. “We’re flying to Russia today, remember?”
He stops for a beat before he lets out a tortured moan and lowers his head down on my chest. “I’m a prince. I should be able to do what I want. I’d rather stay here with you,” he grumbles moodily.
Not a second later, I know his attention has gotten sidetracked when he mumbles, “Goddess, you are beautiful. Krasivaya.” His fingers begin to explore my ribcage. “Skin so soft...and you smell amazing.” His wet silky tongue sweeps me just underneath my breast. "You taste so good...” Oh, God, this man.
“Caspian, stop. We have to go,” I protest though I do prefer to stay in bed with him the whole day...like we did the day before. We only went downstairs for food.
“A quickie?” he suggests, lifting up his face just enough to look at me with a raised eyebrow and hopeful expression. His hair is getting long. A few golden locks fall over one eye. He looks almost angelic if not for that naughty gleam in his eyes.
I’m tempted to cave in. “No...we have a plane to catch,” I tell him instead, with a regretful sigh.
“No, we don’t. The plane goes whenever I say we go,” he replies. His face shows the arrogance of a man used to getting what he wants. He’s such a spoiled brat sometimes.
He reaches for me again and I roll away, taking the sheet with me to cover my body and he frowns. He grabs the end of the sheet and I let go. “Even so, we shouldn’t keep others waiting, my lord,” I tell him.
His eyes roam my body and he orders, “Come back to bed, Quincy.”
I just shake my head. If he touched me again, I know I wouldn't be able to say no.
He sighs moodily. “See? I’m a prince but I never get to do what I want,” he mumbles as he gets up. I roll my eyes at how extra he’s being this morning.
He strolls to the bathroom without a stitch on him and without shame. His magnificent body is a dream to watch- beautifully sculptured with all rippling muscles and flawless skin.
I know he’s reluctant to go back to Russia. I know he worries about me. At times I can feel the heaviness of his burden so clearly as if it’s my own no matter how much he’s trying to shield me from those feelings.
I worry too. The unknown is a double-edged sword. It terrifies me as much as it excites me. I also worry about Lady Celeste’s next move. It sits like a rock in the pit of my stomach. Only when we’re together, the heaviness melts away. He’s right. We are each other’s ultimate distraction.
The shower starts and soon, the steam comes rolling in from the open bathroom door. The sound of the shower running doesn’t fully drown the sound of his voice still grumbling.
I lay back in bed, trying hard not to laugh at his morning grumpiness. Well, he’s extra grumpy today. “Awww...do you need your back scrub, baby?” I tease.
His answer is to come striding out of the bathroom, buck naked and dripping wet, scoops me up from the bed and carries me into the warm shower with him.
All our luggage and bags are already taken downstairs by the luggage fairies...okay, not really. But they are all gone by the time we came out of the shower.
I’m almost ready when he emerges from the walk-in closet. Our eyes meet in the mirror and he leans against the doorframe with his hands in his pants’ pockets to watch me twisting my hair up into a french braid.
He’s looking sharp and flawless....and regal. His jaw is clean shaven, his golden hair is shiny and styled back. He’s wearing a navy blue, v-neck cable knit sweater over a white shirt and a blue silk tie, dark grey trousers and shiny black leather boots.
“You look beautiful no matter how you wear your hair,” he says as he pushes his broad shoulder off the doorframe to stand behind me. His warm hard body presses against my back and he runs his long, elegant fingers along the strands of my hair before he brings it aside to wind it around his hand like a rope. “But I much prefer your hair down.” He kisses the slope of my neck while his eyes stay locked with mine in the mirror. “All wild and wrapped around my fingers.”
“I know,” I whisper as I reach up to kiss his cheek. He smells like aftershave, a faint trace of an expensive cologne, and his own addictive scent that I always crave. “Now let’s go.“...before I cave in to the temptation again.
It’s only 5:15 am by the time we get to the kitchen. It’s still dark outside but all the lights downstairs are on.
There are some fresh fruits and assortments of cereals on the kitchen island. There are also a big carafe of coffee and a pot of tea at the end of the granite counter, along with sugar, cream, and milk.
Everybody is already sitting at the breakfast table, drinking tea or coffee but no one is having anything to eat.
Jonah and Jorden are also here. This is the first time that I see my two cousins dressed so smartly. I have to admit, they both clean up nicely.
Lady Celeste is sitting on a wingback chair, facing the big window overlooking the well-lit backyard and the pool all by herself. She’s dressed in a peach-colored designer dress and her hair is beautifully done up as always. She’s trying to appear relaxed but I notice her beautifully manicured fingers fidgeting with the strap of her Birkin bag.
Serena and Penny utter a quiet good morning to us and the men just nod their heads in acknowledgment.
I think Genesis is still half asleep. She's muttering something unintelligible into her mug. It sounds like a threat of something violent...if you listen carefully.
“It’s only her second mug,” says Constantine, as if that explains everything.
Caspian pours us both a mug of coffee each. He adds two cubes of sugar and a touch of cream to my coffee before taking the mugs to the breakfast table for us.
There are three SUVs and a limo waiting in the driveway. Apparently, the limo is for Lady Celeste with the driver slash personal bodyguard who traveled with her from the Palace.
The driver opens the door of the first SUV for us. Caspian and I share the ride with Genesis and Constantine.
Again, these lycans don’t know how to drive at an appropriate speed. We go flying through the highway. We are driven straight to the tarmac where the plane is already waiting.
We are greeted by the Captain and the co-pilot at the bottom of the steps. The flight crew seems to be familiar with the rest of the lycans.
I think the crews are all werewolves. Two flight attendants who stand by the door introduced themselves as Anna and Yuliya. They give Caspian a flirtatious smile and he stiffens. They seem confused when he ushers me inside without a word or a smile in their direction.
Penny snickers and I hear her mutters as she walks past him, “Your past is catching up with you, pretty boy?”
I shoot him a look which he avoids looking at. I try to pull my hand out of his grasp but he just holds on tighter. I know I could never win this war with him, so I just let him drag me to the plush leather seats at the very front.
I know he was a player and a flirt, but I never thought I’d see more of them after Helen Jessica Rabbit What’s her name. I guess I should have known that I’d be seeing plenty of them when we get to Russia. Well, as long as they know their place, we’re good. Let’s see how long I can manage without tearing someone’s hair out. This is going to be so much fun! Not!
This plane is even more luxurious than the one we took when we were flying back from my old pack. The interior is lavish and classy. There are eight cream leather seatings with tables that can be folded in front of them. There are two plush curved sofas after that. Beyond the sofas are two bedrooms, a washroom, and a full bathroom.
To their credit, the two air hostesses remain professional and friendly. They serve us breakfast an hour after takeoff and make no attempt to flirt with him again. So, I think we’re good...they got me at breakfast.
My mate, on the other hand, is still in the doghouse, though it’s quite hard to keep him there. Reasonable or not, I’m feeling hurt and I’m punishing him for what I might have to deal with when we get to Russia. The more I try to ignore him, the more he insists on keeping me close.
Some people might say he’s being charming...I’d say he’s being annoying. Like right now, he’s force-feeding me breakfast while explaining the names of the food in front of us. “Come on, open up, my love. I know you’ll like this one,” he says, holding a forkful of something that’s called Sharlotka, some sort of apple cake, to my mouth. He’s already fed me Blini (a cross between a pancake and a crepe served with butter, sour cream, jam, and caviar), Semolina porridge, as well as the usual fried egg, sausage, yogurt, and fresh fruit. The food was delicious and I’m already full but I can’t tell him that because I’m not talking to him, see? This is all part of his plan to get me to say something. This is our battle right here. He’s so hardheaded and devious, and obnoxious. I’m tempted to sucker punch him on the throat. I mean, if I didn’t love him so much, I would’ve.
“Caspian, can we have a minute?” says Constantine, tipping his chin towards the back.
“I’ll be right back, Moya Printsessa.” Caspian leans in to kiss me on the cheek before he follows Constantine to the back of the plane where they huddle together with Lazarus, Darius, and Jonah.
I stand up to join Serena, Genesis, and Penny who are sitting on the sofa.
“What’s up with Her Ladyship?” I ask them, indicating Lady Celeste who is sitting on one of the seats at the front beside Jorden. She seems rather pale and is very silent. Jorden is talking to her quietly.
“She’s scared of flying,” whispers Genesis.
What? The mighty, bratty, annoying lycan is scared of flying? My face must have registered my shock because Penny grins and nods her head before adding, “That’s why she never travels much.”
“The word is, she was in a terrible plane crash in the 60-s and never fully recovers from it, emotionally,” explains Serena.
“Hey, I know how to make this flight more interesting,” says Penny excitedly. Her eyes bright with gleeful menace.
“Penny, don’t!” warns Genesis. I know Genesis is trying to act more mature. It’s her new resolution for this month. Each month her resolution ended up a failure so far. Last month, her resolution was to eat less. That didn’t end very well, according to Penny. Let’s just say, a hangry lycan is not a pleasant lycan. So she’s trying extra hard this time. I can already see the crack, though. I see how her eyes dart between Penny and Lady Celeste and her face falls in curiosity and longing to do mischief.
Serena is trying hard not to laugh. She pats Genesis shoulder in encouragement.
“You’re doing great, Gen,” I tell her in support though I’m dying to know what Penny has cooking in that coocoo brain of hers.
“Awww...you guys are no fun,” complains Penny with a frown.
“Malyshka, you’re not planning to bring the plane down, are you?” asks Darius as the men come to join us.
“Bring the plane down? Psshh...why would I do that?” she says before gazing up at him with an angelic looking smile.
“Sweetheart, let’s go before Beany gets you to be her minion to carry out her devious little plans to destroy the world,” says Caspian as he takes my wrist and pulls me up.
Penny gasps in indignation. “You...I’m not...I’m...what? That’s you! You evil mastermind you!” she shouts at our back.
“Beany, you know I’m a lover, not a fighter. I only make sweet sweet wonderful love, not war,” replies my mate with a wink as he ushers me into one of the bedrooms at the back.
“And I’m a monkey’s uncle,” she answers.
“That you are,” says Caspian. I didn’t get to hear her comeback as Caspian closes the door firmly behind us.
Even the bedroom is very richly decorated. It carries the same plush cream, white and black decor as the front cabin. The lights are dimmed and the windows are drawn.
He strips down to his boxers then drags me to bed and wraps his arms tightly around me. I fall asleep almost immediately. When I wake up a few hours later, I’m not mad at him anymore.
It’s dark and the door opens to flurries of snow at Vnukovo Airport, Russia.
The security here is tight. We are surrounded by big serious-looking men who remind me of Darius once we get out of the plane. Caspian’s hand is clasping mine as we step on the icy tarmac where limousines are already waiting.
It seems that we are already assigned which cars are to take us. We share the spacious limo with Constantine, Genesis, and Lady Celeste.
Caspian lifts me up and settles me on his lap once we got into the car. He rests his chin on the side of my head and wraps his arms tightly around me as if he’s going to lose me if he let go for one second.
I grab the front of his jacket and rest my head on the curve between his neck and shoulder while watching Russia past by in a blur from the window of the car. I breathe in his scent and feel his thumb drawing circles on my upper arm.
After a while, I notice that he’s actually writing something on my arm.
I L-O-V-E U, he writes.
I L-O-V-E-U 2, I trace back on his chest.
T-H-I-S C-A-R R-I-D-E S-U-C-K-S, he writes.
I giggle and reply, I S-U-C-K U.
He suddenly lifts his head up and looks down at me with a raised eyebrow and a wicked smile. “Promise?” he asks.
“Maybe,” I whisper coyly.
"Hell yeah!" he says.
I can feel Lady Celeste’s burning gaze on us, but at this point, I couldn’t care less about her. I’m the one with the Prince’s heart.
Banehallow Palace is impressive, to say the least. It takes my breath away as soon as I see it in a distance. It sits on a huge land on top of a mountain, surrounded white, snow-covered forest. We drive through several werewolf pack’s territories just to get to the road that goes up to the heavily guarded front gate. It’s still quite a drive, going through some more wooded areas and a large field from the front gate to the Palace’s massive front doors.
The building itself is magnificent. It must have been sitting here, withstanding nature of ice, sunshine, and rain for centuries. There are turrets and big windows with eerie looking stone gargoyles on the slanted roofs. There are humongous columns supporting the arched roofed entrance and bronze statues of lycans standing on guard on the front steps. A huge frozen pond with an ice-covered statue-fountain of a woman with the face of a lycan sits in front of the mighty structure.
This is it. I’ve entered my mate’s world. It’s like a different universe.
The guards open the door for us and I feel the change in Caspian’s mood as soon as we enter the Palace. His naughty, playful spirit is replaced by a stiff, heavily guarded demeanor.
We are met by a solemn, dignified-looking man in a stiff black suit. He’s thin and tall, almost as tall as Caspian. His dark hair is parted on the side and he has a pencil thin mustache like that French actor, Jean Dujardin once had. His face gives nothing away.
“Welcome back, Your Highness,” he says with a little bow.
“François,” acknowledges my mate while handing him our thick jackets. “Quincy, this is my PA, François. François, this is my mate, Quincy Romanov.”
François bows respectfully. “Your Highness, King Alexandros and Queen Sophia are expecting you for dinner shortly.”
Caspian’s hand tightens around mine. Something cold and heavy sinks into my stomach. I’m so not ready for this.
Oh uh...we'll be meeting the mother soon. My next update will be next Tuesday evening (est) again. Have a wonderful week, everybody!