Queen of His Heart

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♚〡TWENTY-FOUR

Evangeline never felt like the type of girl guys fawned over.

She knew she wasn't horrendous, per se, but she had characteristics that weren't the western world's standard of beauty. She considered herself pretty, but never beautiful; never the girl who was chosen, and certainly not a Queen.

She was okay with being average. She came to terms with it. She always made herself feel better by saying well, the gorgeous wouldn't be gorgeous without the ugly.

Her skin more often than not was ashy, her eyes were a dark shade of brown, and her hair was unruly. Her skin looked sun-kissed; it was what so many people tanned to achieve, yet somehow she always thought her complexion was lesser than those who obtained it artificially. Evangeline was always the girl to say, complexion does not equate to beauty and standards of beauty are not finite, but still, she couldn't ignore that voice in her head that said you just aren't as pretty.

Now, her eyes she hated. She disliked their color, having been compared to wet dirt. She didn't like how her eyes didn't brighten from sunlight, but she was thankful for her almost-perfect vision.

And her hair? She didn't hate it, but her curls weren't bouncy without product. They were stagnant, frizzy waves that cascaded down her arms.

Overall, Eve thought she was completely and unarguably average.

But Adlaric? Adlaric was the epitome of masculinity, surrounded by a thick layer of gentleman. His stature was one of a god; he was around six feet five inches, which was well above Eve. His torso was strong and his arms stronger. He looked heavily built and he was. His mind perfectly mirrored that of his physicality; he spoke multiple languages, could do advanced math in his head, and could outwit even Woolf herself.

His appearance seemed completely natural to him. Although his skin was pale, Evangeline didn't mind because she enjoyed seeing his veins on his forearms and hands. She had never seen him undressed, but she was sure underneath all the suits and Gabbana, was a well-sculpted figure. He was a living Adonis.

His jaw was sharp. His eyes were dark. His lips were kissable. His hair was trimmed and nightly, and when he decided not to shave, it led a trail around his jaw and lips. The only thing that marred his face was a small scar on his forehead, but even that was drop-dead gorgeous.

Evangeline never thought she'd be the type of girl someone like him would want.

But here he was and there she sat, her heart soaring at the thought of being completely his and he hers. Her hand reached and wrapped around his strong shoulders, pulling his head closer to hers. She bit her lip and nodded, affluently. She smiled when she saw his startling white teeth.

"You thought your world would be the story I didn't want to live through, but you were so wrong, Adlaric; your world is the only story that makes me live."

Adlaric yanked on his chains again, causing bits of wall to fall around them. Eve put her hand on his bicep and looked into his dark eyes.

"Stop," she whispered, running her fingers over the metal cuffs. She gasped softly when she saw the burn marks around his wrists. She turned to face the door to see it had closed at some point. She stood up and walked over. Upon hearing Adlaric's growl, she turned back around.

"I'll be back," she promised. "I have to get those cuffs off, they're burning you." Eve opened the door and jumped when Dimitri stood right outside.

"My Queen," he greeted. Eve bit her lip.

"Can I have the keys please?"

Dimitri nodded and went into his pocket revealing one silver key.

"Thank you," she whispered, shutting the door again. Eve looked at the key in her hand as she walked back to Adlaric. She knelt back down and unlocked the cuffs letting them fall to his side.

Her hands went down his arms and to where the cuffs were.

"Does it hurt?"

Adlaric shook his head. "Evangeline, may I hold you?"

Evangeline shivered at his deep voiced and nodded slowly. He swallowed and took her into his arms, resting his back against the wall while she rested her head on his shoulder.

"Does it hurt? Honestly, I mean."

"Not nearly as much as the thought of you leaving."

"How long will it take for it to heal?"

"Look down," he said. Eve looked at his wrists again and gasped when she saw that he was completely healed.

"Can you walk?" Eve asked. Adlaric smirked and stood up with Eve in his arms. Evangeline giggled, though shocked. "I'll take that as a yes."

Adalric put Evangeline on her feet again, and together they walked to the door.

•••

Minutes later, Evangeline and Adlaric were at the hotel the Royals had been staying at.

Evangeline wasn't sure how to act. She had a few boyfriends, yes, but they were never serious. Eve never felt this way about anyone else and it scared her. What if she messed up?

"I-I don't know what to do or how to do this..." She trailed off.

Adlaric turned around and set his jacket on the bed. He untied his tie and nodded as he laid it beside his jacket.

"I'm really bad with guys," she continued. "E-especially you. You make my heart race and my hands sweat. You're so pretty looking and I-I don't know how to handle that." She stopped once she saw Adlaric smirking.

"Pretty looking, huh?"

Evangeline blushed and walked toward him. "Is there a book on this mate-thing?"

"How about this," Adlaric said starting to unbutton his shirt. Eve's eyes instinctually followed his hands. "I'll court you like humans do. It would make this process easier. I'll take you out on dates, buy you flowers, write love letters. Anything you want. We can move as slow or fast as you'd like."

Eve was far too occupied watching his shirt slip off to pay attention to what he was saying. She enjoyed the way his muscles moved and shifted with his arms as he shrugged his shirt off. Evangeline had seen men naked, and she has been kissed, in some cases, she even initiated contact with the opposite (although sometimes same) gender.

But never in her life had she been so completely– unexplainably –enamored by another individual. She's always wanted to be the girl who finds true love, but she never expected to feel like the girls in her stories felt. Suddenly, with her lip between her teeth, she realized that the prospect of love was so unachievable because how could one feel what one never had? Love like that in books wasn't impossible. Love like that required patience. Love like that was the kind that naturally formulated and could not be artificially crafted; an untouchable and unforeseeable connection that sprouted in blossoming and wilting gardens.

She loved him, undeniably so, but why? What made her feel so raptured by this gentle King. At the moment, what captivated her the most, was how perfect his body was. He was literally a walking, talking, breathing, eating, God.

Adlaric said her name again to which her gaze snapped to his after promptly oogling his magnificent structure.

"What?" She asked.

He gave a lazy smirk. "I asked if you wanted to take a shower."

Evangeline blushed and looked at her feet.

"Not with me, of course," he clarified.

Eve let out a sort of scoff chuckle and scratched her head. "Yes, please."

•••

After Adalric had led her to the bathroom and left her with a towel, she had undressed and turned on the shower. She preferred her temperature somewhere between hot and scolding; when the temperature was around the same as the sun, she entered.

And when she came out, she groaned at the absence of clothing. She opened the door and peaked out. She smiled slightly when she saw Adlaric, sitting against the headboard with his laptop on his lap and his legs in front of him. He made no move to suggest that he knew she was peering out at him.

"You're staring."

She jumped at his voice. He startled her. "I'm sorry."

"Evangeline, what is it?"

"I don't have clothing. Do you have something I could wear?"

Adlaric shut his laptop and stood up off the bed. He walked to his drawer and took out a shirt. He returned to her and handed her the fabric. Eve took the moment to look at his pajamas, or rather, lack thereof. He had plaid red and black cotton pants on, but he still neglected to wear a shirt.

He really hated clothing, she assumed.

Eve took the shirt from his hand and shut the door again. She slipped the cotton material over her body and dropped the towel. Fully covered, she put her towel in the laundry basket and walked out of the bathroom. When she neared the bed, she tangled her fingers together, hesitantly.

"I can smell your question, moya koroleva."

She bit her lip. "What does that mean?" Adlaric looked up at her for a moment before she talked again. "I have to go downstairs to the shop. I need a toothbrush and hairbrush, and a few other things. I'll be back soon, alright?"

"Evangeline," Adalric interrupted. Evangeline continued to go to the door. As she neared it, Adalric became increasingly more unsettled. When her hand touched the knob, she jumped at his growl. It wasn't threatening or to install fear, it was simply to make her stop for the briefest moment. Eve was more confused than anything as she turned around, wide-eyed.

Adlaric was at the door in milliseconds, his hands on hers and the other on the door.

"Pardon me for my outburst, Evangeline," he said, his eyes returning to their normal color. "But you must understand that you are mine and my other side takes that connection with you very seriously."

"Meaning?"

Adlaric took a breath and closed his eyes. "Meaning," he said, opening them again. "It is difficult for us to let you go downstairs in that, especially when I am not by your side."

Evangeline looked down at the blue shirt she was given. It ended halfway down her thighs and the sleeves of it hung a little lower than the bottom. She looked more like a child wearing mommy's clothes than anything else, but she understood somewhat. She had no underwear on underneath and from what she read, some men could be very territorial. Of course, in most relationships, this could quickly become toxic, but for Adlaric he was half wolf and half man. Their relationship wasn't a relationship; it was a mateship, and a mateship was crafted from the soul.

And if mateships were formed from our deepest desires, was this what Evangeline desired? She didn't know, but she wanted to find out.

"I went to a wolf sanctuary once. I don't mean to offend you, but they said Alpha wolves look after their mates and their mates look after them. Both are very territorial. Does me walking out there upset you because there are other males down there? It makes it even worse because I'm dressed in this way."

Adlaric nodded.

"Does it bother you even when I am dressed? Does me walking outside around men drive you insane?"

He nodded. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

And then she understood. Adlaric didn't want to be possessive or territorial. He didn't want to force her to submit. He didn't want to change who she was. He wanted to change who he was. He wanted to change how he felt because he knew how he felt was wrong. He knew how he felt was animalistic. He controlled his animalistic tendencies because he hated himself for having them in the first place. It wasn't Adlaric's job to make Eve a fortified Queen; it was her job to teach him to love the side he hated. She was almost sure the parts he hated most about himself were the parts that made her fall in love with him.

"Never apologize for how you are, Adlaric." She smiled and walked away from the door. "I do need a few things, though. If I get dressed in my old clothes, will that make you feel better?"

"I'll go. Just write a list of what you need."

She grabbed the complementary pad and pen from the side table and wrote down all she needed.

As he left, she reflected on her favorite Disney movie "Beauty and the Beast." Everyone assumed Belle left the Beast for her father and left her father for the Beast. Everyone assumed the Beast changed into a prince because of the unconditional love Belle had for him. A monster cannot love, Evangeline had been told.

But briefly, Eve thought differently. Belle left for herself and she returned because she wanted to. Her actions were always justified by her unadulterated self-love. Perhaps, had Belle taught the Beast to love himself, the story would have not ended the way it had. Belle loved the Beast, of course she did, but Evangeline wondered how the story would have turned out if the Beast loved himself. If he not only accepted, but encouraged his thick hair to grow longer and his claws to become sharper. Maybe his own self-love could have transformed him into the prince and Beast he wanted to be.

But Eve didn't want Adlaric to change. Adlaric was meant to be both beast and man. She wanted to see what would happen if Adlaric learned how to love himself.

You all asked for an update so:)

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