Chapter 7: Who's to Say? - Vanessa Carlton
We were kissing when we made it to my room. My arms were around her waist, hers were securely around my neck. I spared a second to open, close, and lock the door. She removed her arms and started trying to unzip her gown.
I took over for her.
“Do you mind getting the necklace too?”
I let her dress fall to the ground. Moved my fingers to the clasp of her necklace and unfastened it carefully. She took down her hair and tousled it as I placed her necklace on my armoire.
“You’re not leaving me tonight.” I removed my tux jacket and tie.
I eyed her with anticipation as I returned to her.
“What happens if I do?” She looked up at me through her eyelashes as she began to unbutton my shirt.
I lifted her and carried her the remaining distance to my bed without warning. She giggled during the ride and smiled up at me when I placed her on it.
I climbed on top of her. We kissed hungrily, almost desperately. Fed up with how long it was taking to get out of my shirt, I broke the remaining buttons and tossed it aside. She pulled my t-shirt over my head. She unbuckled my belt and pushed my pants down to my hips. I moved them the remaining distance and threw them on the floor. She pulled my face back to hers and kissed me deeply.
“Mmm.“She moaned into my mouth when I pressed myself against her in just my boxers.
I adjusted her legs to get closer. Eventually, we shifted so that Iz was on top of me. As we kissed, I had one hand tangled in her hair and the other was placed firmly on her bottom. She sat up, but remained on top of me. I looked up at her in confusion.
“You were taking too long.” She reached her arms behind her back and unclasped her bra.
“Are you filing an official complaint?”
She tossed it out of the covers and leaned down to me. “Maybe.” She smiled and placed a soft kiss on my lips.
As our fooling around became increasingly intimate, it didn’t take long for our overwhelming need for each other to become too much to handle. We took the necessary precautions and surrendered to our desire.
I exhaled and hid my face in the crook of her neck. I placed kisses there.
“I love you.” I told her breathlessly. She captured my lips with hers. My hand roamed her body.
“I’ll be right back.” I reluctantly left the bed, realizing we were both too tired for more.
When I came back, I found that Iz had gotten my dress shirt from the floor to put on and sleep in. I turned off the lights and joined her in bed after putting my boxer back on. I placed my glasses on my nightstand and put my arms around her. She was pressed to my side, laying on hers.
“I love you too.” She traced patterns on my chest.
“I’m sorry about tonight. Osha was very rude to you.”
She whimpered adorably and buried her face in my chest. “You’re ruining my buzz. I don’t want to think about her or anything else. We just made love.”
“Is that what we call it?” A smile crept onto my face.
She swatted me on the chest.
“Ow!” I groaned amidst my laughter.
“I didn’t mean to hit you that hard.” She kissed the spot.
I yawned, struggling to keep my eyes open.“You are putting up with too much to be with me.”
“And to think, I’m only in this for your body.”
“I’m serious. Why?”
She reached up and ran her hand through my hair. “Because you stood by me when I gave you so many opportunities to run. I even recommended it to you a few times. But you’re stubborn --”
“As are you. You are probably more so--”
“Then you should know I won’t leave you behind.” She kissed me once more and laid back down.
I smiled as she made herself comfortable at my side. “Goodnight, Beautiful.”
“Goodnight, Chest and arms -- I mean, Milo.”
I breathed a laugh. “I know you are joking.”
“Whatever allows you to sleep at night, Babe.”
Izzie wasn’t in my arms when I woke up the next morning. I rubbed my eyes and remained on my stomach.
“Are you awake yet? I hear movement.” Iz called to me. I sat up in bed and found her sitting on my couch, eating breakfast and watching TV.
“I thought you were going to leave me.” I retrieved my glasses.
“I was going to. Then I thought, ‘maybe he’ll wake up and we’ll have a repeat of last night’. There was a knock at the door. I opened it and found breakfast. I lost interest in leaving and you all together.”
I breathed a laugh. “Was anyone with breakfast?”
“Well, yeah, I could tell they were a little surprised when I answered the door, but they were nothing but nice.”
“So you are eating my breakfast?” I smiled.
“Yep, what of it?” She teased.
I chuckled. “I will be back.”
I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth before joining her on the couch.
“I found a new toothbrush in your bathroom. I hope it is alright that I claimed it.” She looked over at me, eating her waffles.
“Absolutely not. That is too much commitment. Your oral hygiene is your business.” I joked.
She nudged me playfully. I ate the turkey bacon off of her plate. “What do you want to do today?”
“You promised to show me your favorite place.”
“That’s right, I did. Are you up for spending the day at the beach. ”
“The sea is my favorite place. Because I assume you want me to select a place on land, we have a cottage down there. That is where I spend most of my free time -- on my sailboat, generally.”
“You sail?“Her face lit up.
“Yes. Not as well as my father or uncle. They were in the Navy, but I have never capsized.”
“Will you be joining the military?”
“I cannot. My vision renders me ineligible. I am going to be the first De Luca male not to enlist in ten generations.”
“You will serve the country in other ways.”
I put my arm around her and kissed the top of her head, having nothing to say in response to her encouragement. I doubted what she said everyday, scared I wouldn’t find a way to do that.
“We’re going to the beach. I like getting to know this side of you.” She added.
“You in your natural habitat. You can have your breakfast back. I’m going to go get ready.” She scooted off the couch.
“Thank you.” I chuckled.
“Do you have any shorts I can put on?”
“Second drawer in my closet. Help yourself.” I pointed to it.
I was eating breakfast and watching cartoons when my room phone started to ring. I scooted closer to the end-table and answered the phone.
“I know it is your day off, but your mother has asked to speak to you.” Wilmer told me apologetically.
I sighed heavily. “Did she mention what she wanted?”
“I am sure it has something to do with the newspaper headline this morning.”
“What --” I spotted a newspaper on the coffee table from the corner of my eye.
I retrieved it. The photo was of Izzie and me outside of the palace holding hands. The headline read: ′Summer Love or Lovely Distraction?’.
“That is not exactly my worst headline.”
I turned the page and scanned for the section he was talking about.
‘Our outspoken heir is tight-lipped when it comes to his new girlfriend. Luckily, her actions speak for themselves. The palace must be far from pleased by his choice in companionship, especially following the news of the King and Queen’s divorce. Time will only tell if she is a momentary impulse or a more permanent fixture in the troubled young royal’s life.’
“They were authorized to print that?”
“Freedom of speech. This is not a dictatorship.”
I sighed. “Is my grandmother with her?”
“Yes. They are both waiting for you in your mother’s sitting room.”
“Thank you, Wilmer. I will be down shortly.” I told him, disheartened as I hung up the phone.
“What’s with the face? Is it supposed to rain today or something?” Iz collected her dress and the rest of her things from throughout my room.
“Not that I know of. I have to speak to my mother and grandmother in a few moments. Go get ready. I will pick you up from your room when I am finished.” I forced a smile to put her at ease.
“Good luck. I love you.”
“I love you too.” I walked her to the door.
As soon as she was out of sight, I missed her, just as I always did when we were not together.
I quickly showered and made myself presentable for them. Instead of what I wore at school, I dressed in palace appropriate attire. I felt like a fraud, but they prefer to see me a certain way. There are some fights that are not worth having.
I walked to the sitting room, politely greeting all the staff I encountered.
“You requested to see me, Mother.” I had my arms crossed behind my back.
She stopped chatting with my grandmother and looked to me. “Yes, have a seat, Milo.”
“You look so handsome today. Does he not look handsome, Henrietta?” She looked to my grandmother.
She sipped her tea. “Just like his father.”
I internally cringed and sat down in the nearest armchair.
“I am going to the beach today.”
“The sun will do you some good. You should take Osha with you. She has missed you. The way you dismissed her yesterday was completely unacceptable. You do not behave in that manner.” My grandmother lectured.
“She brought up Izzie’s eating disorder in front of everyone. I find that more despicable than telling her the truth.”
“I told you before that her past reflects poorly on us, but you did not heed my warning and told the kingdom. Osha said what they are all thinking.” My mother tried to reason with me.
“No, she was being cruel. Why do you care? You do not belong to this family anymore. You should lack motivation to kiss up to her.” I pointed to my grandmother.
“You have no right to speak to me that way! I will always be your mother. I want what is best for you. She is not it!”
“I spoke out of turn. I apologize, but you have not said one word to her. Base your judgment on more than speculation. Father said you wanted to meet her, that you supported my decision to date.” I softened my tone.
“I did until I met her. I did not expect her to be like this.”
“Strange, unladylike, and crass”
“Milo, I need you to understand your predicament. You are the crowned prince of Listonenia. You are one of the wealthiest princes in the world thanks to your mother’s family. You have access to billions. Isabella gave up the rights to her inheritance this year. We have looked into it; She spent the vast majority of what her mother gave her on school tuition. As it stands, she has next to nothing to her name. You are merely a source of income to her.” My grandmother explained with condescension.
“I do not gallivant around discussing my net worth. She doesn’t even know the extent of it, nor does she ask me to buy her things. In fact, she hates it when I do it. Osha is the one you should be concerned with, the one looking to benefit from what you have cultivated for me.”
“Your grandfather would turn in his grave if he could hear you now. We worked too hard for you to throw your life away on some trollop!”
“She is not a whore!”
“VINCENT, STOP BEING DIFFICULT AND ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE!” She roared at me, her face turning red.
“Milo. My name is Milo. I am aware of who I am. I no longer have an obligation to Osha.” I rose from my seat. “I hope that was all.” I bowed smart-aleckly and left the room.
I went upstairs to my room and changed into my swimming trunks, collected everything I needed for the beach, and headed over to Izzie’s room.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, worried.
“I need to get out of here. Please say you are ready to go.”
“Yeah, what happened?”
“I am frustrated. It is nothing.”
She went inside her room to retrieve her bag. I meddled with my car keys as I waited for her in the hall.
“Relax. We’ll have fun today.” She placed her hand on the side of my face and smiled at me.
I stole a kiss and took her hand into mine.