I gazed at the man who was responsible for so much and I could not help but think whether I’d made a mistake by saying what I did. The pain in his eyes had my heart twisting painfully, making me regret being so harsh.
“Y—You have to forgive me. I ne—need your forgiveness,” he said. I could tell he was suffering as he kept me pinned under him.
“And I needed your mercy, but you never showed me any. You treated me worse than any other woman in the harem. How can you expect me to just forget about all this and forgive you after you nearly killed me?” I questioned.
“My beautiful rose…” he caressed my face. “I do not expect you to forget what I did. I know it will take a long time for you to see past that. However, right now I am asking you for another chance. I’ve been a monster to you; allow me to redeem myself and show you your true place.”
“I know what my place is, my Lord…”
“No. Say my name. Address me by my name, my fierce nymph,” he commanded in a gentle tone.
I looked away as my heart threatened to shred itself to pieces because of Bancroft’s kindness. I did not want to forgive him, not yet. But the way he touched me, spoke to me, made it extremely difficult for me to be furious with him.
“Why? You are a King and should be spoken to with respect.” I couldn’t bring myself to look in those beautiful eyes because I was afraid I would lose myself and forgive him before my soul was truly healed.
“You are going to be my Queen, my beautiful rose. You need not to address me as such. Say my name, my brave warrior; say it and ease the pain in my heart,” he pleaded.
I bit my lip in order to prevent myself from saying what he wanted. No, no, I could not give in right now. I needed to hate him for a few more days so he would realize that he should’ve never hurt me. But I was afraid I would not be able to stay angry with him. Who could resist an apology of a King?
“I am not the right woman to be your Queen. You must look for someone else. You know that I am nothing but a mere—“ he did not let me finish.
“If you finish that sentence, I promise to make you regret every word.” He nearly growled, like the wolves at night.
I glared at him. “Is this how you will treat me when you make me your Queen?”
His eyes softened and a small smile curved his lips. “Being my Queen means knowing your place and your worth, my fiery nymph. And I will not allow you to demean yourself in front of me in such a manner. And if I have to punish you in order to make you understand that you are a Queen and not a lowly woman, I will do just that.”
This was supposed to make me angry, but it ended up making me feel the opposite. For the first time in forever, hope bloomed in my heart and I could see a future; a future where I was with Bancroft and we were happy and in love. I could even see a little girl running as Bancroft picked her up and kissed her, showing the whole world how much he loved his daughter.
No, I must not think this way. I could not give myself false hope and have my dreams shattered in the future. But, would it be so wrong to hope for a future with him? He was here, begging me for forgiveness, and that was all I wanted.
Are you sure that is all you want? What about revenge?
Yes, my revenge. If Bancroft wasn’t begging me for forgiveness right now, I would’ve been adamant about seeking revenge. But this powerful man was begging me for the one thing only I could give him. He was no longer arrogant and cruel, rather he had been reduced to a man who was asking me to show him mercy. All in all, this was my revenge. This was exactly what I desired. Yes, it was not in the same manner, but I had achieved what I sought.
“Say my name, dearest. Say my name and put my heart at ease,” he repeated, kissing my cheek with affection.
“And what if I do not?” I asked. I needed to see just how much he needed my forgiveness and my acceptance.
“Then I shall try other means to persuade you. Sodora cannot move forward without you by my side, and I cannot move forward without your forgiveness and love,” he stated.
No matter how hard I tried to search for the lies in his words, I couldn’t find any. There was no hint of malice in his words, only sincerity. Why was he making it so easy for me to forgive him? This was not fair. He had done so much to me; I couldn’t forgive him so soon.
If you truly wish to be happy, let go of this darkness around you. Embrace the love he is offering you.
Love? Was he truly offering me love? Was this love, to beg for forgiveness and allow the person to grow alongside you? But why would Bancroft love me?
“Love? Why do you need my love?” Mayhap I needed some time to think about all this.
Do not waste your time.
“Because I would die without it,” he answered, kissing me.
“No. You are a powerful man. You can have any woman you want; why do you need my love when the entire Kingdom loves you?” Did I mean more to him than all the other women present here?
“I do not need any other woman. I only need you, my beautiful rose.” He took a deep breath. “I know I have been cruel to you and I haven’t done anything to make you love me. But I give you my word, that I will heal every scar on your body and soul if you promise to love me.”
“What if I don’t promise to love you?”
“Regardless. I have been cruel and have inflicted pain on your body and soul. Even if you don’t love me—“ He looked as if it caused him physical pain to say this. “—I shall love you with all my heart and protect you from all the evils of this world, because I love you, Hildred. My beautiful rose, I love you so much.”
Those words had my eyes filling with fresh tears and I could not help but let them fall as my heart filled with joy upon hearing the words come from the man who was ready to change for me. I never thought a man, especially a King, would confess his love for me. I believed I was destined for a life of pain and suffering and though Bancroft made me suffer, he was also the one claiming to heal me of all the pain he caused.
“No, my fiery nymph, do not cry. Your tears are precious; do not waste them,” Bancroft murmured, moving to the side and pulling me along with him until my head was lying on his shoulder.
But he was wrong. I needed to shed these tears in order to let go of my past vengeance and make a new start with him. I banished the pain and darkness by crying; letting out all the tears until there was nothing left. I cried for my life in the harem; I cried for the pain he had caused me; I cried for my life in Pran; I cried for all the things I begged for and did not receive.
“Forgive me, my beautiful Queen. Forgive me so I can do right by you. Forgive me so I can make you the Queen you are destined to be,” he said, holding me tightly as I cried for all that I’d lost and all that was possibly there in my future.
I was scared to hope for a happy life because hope had only caused me pain in the past. But this man was vowing to make it better, to make my pain go away, and I needed someone to take it all away and give me the happiness I always fantasized about.
“Wh—What if y—you hurt me ag—again?” I asked in between sobs.
“No, my Queen. I vow to never cause you pain and if I do, then you have every right to hurt me in the same manner or worse, if you so wish,” he replied, kissing my forehead.
His words soothed me in ways I had never expected. If he inflicted pain on me, then I would not hesitate to stab him. But for now, I believed I could push my thirst for revenge to the side and give him another chance to redeem himself.
“I shall hold you to your promise.” I told him as my tears subsided and peace settled in my heart. I never knew the feeling of such peace and I wished it never went away. The man who had caused me so much pain was the one who was now bestowing peace upon my soul and that was enough for me to forgive him for now.
“Does this mean you forgive me? Does this mean you are ready to embrace me and all that I have to offer?” Lord Bancroft asked, brushing his fingers on my neck, causing me to shiver in delight. How would it feel to have him touch me everywhere?
I looked in his eyes and nodded. “Yes. I do forgive you. Even though you hurt me in the worst possible way, I am willing to give you a second chance, but that is all I can give you. There won’t be a third chance, Bancroft.”
His eyes widened before a wide grin broke out on his face, making him look more handsome than I ever thought possible. Without another word, he crushed his lips to mine and I was lost.
I was so busy kissing him and relishing in the love he was showering me with that I did not notice him removing my dress, until Bancroft broke away and threw my dress to the side. How did he do that without me realizing it?
My eyes widened when I saw him removing his robes; my desire growing with every layer that was removed until he stood before me. I gasped as heat spread throughout my body as I watched him climb on top of me and remove my chemise.
“You are beautiful. Truly a nymph that has captured me,” Bancroft whispered as his fingers ran over my bare body, making me yearn for more.
“You are the one who captured me,” I replied as he continued to touch me in the gentlest way.
“Yes, I did. And I will never let you go.” He moved his head and captured my nipple with his teeth, causing me to moan out loud as my back arched due to the sudden onslaught of pleasure. Lord Bancroft held me in place as he continued to feast upon my breast, causing a strange ache to build in my nether regions. He removed his lips from my left breast and attacked my right one, giving it the same treatment, wreaking havoc on my senses.
“Oh God!” I moaned out loud, my nails digging in his back. If he did not stop this delicious torture, I was going to explode.
“You have no idea how long I waited for you. How long I waited to touch you, to love you. But now, there is no stopping me. I will have you,” he stated with conviction, his eyes flashing with carnal fire as his hand moved south until it touched me.
I gasped when he slipped two fingers inside me and begun moving them in and out, forcing me to climb up and up until I was ready to fall. However, before I could he pulled his fingers out.
“Calm yourself, my beautiful rose; I shall take care of you,” Bancroft said when he saw me glaring at him. “May I?”
I frowned, confused as to why he was seeking my permission. But when I saw what he was doing, it didn’t take me long to give him permission by nodding my head.
Lord Bancroft smiled before I felt him enter me. I gasped as he stretched me, my insides clenching around him as if they had no intention of letting him go.
It didn’t take him long to bury himself deep inside me, and I couldn’t help but moan at the pleasure that was racing through my blood, making me wish that we stayed like this forever.
I could not believe this was happening. I never thought I would want to be this close to Lord Bancroft as I was afraid of him. But he had pushed aside my fears and put his life in my hands, promising to do right by me. And I was willing to give him another chance. I was eager to see him become a better man and love me like he promised to do so.
Pleasure shot through my soul when he begun moving in and out of me. His rhythm was slow and even, which made me feel as if he intended to mark every inch of my body as he continued to kiss and bite me.
“I finally have you,” he murmured in between kisses.
I couldn’t help but whimper as once again Lord Bancroft pushed me higher and higher, and this time I knew he would let me experience the pleasure which he had only given me a glimpse of previously.
“My dear Queen, I can feel you are close. I can feel your need,” he said as he picked up his pace, pushing me higher and higher until I reached the peak.
And then I fell.
Pleasure raced up to embrace me as I moaned and shook under him. I held on to his arms as I basked in the haze of bliss which was all I could see and feel. Bancroft was everywhere and I could not help but hold on to him as I came down to the present.
I opened my eyes to see him stroking my body and kissing me tenderly. A moan escaped me when he pulled out of me and rolled on to his side before pulling me over to him so that my head was resting just above his heart.
“Thank you, my Queen. Thank you,” Bancroft said as he stroked my hair, lulling me…
Into a dreamless sleep.