So that is it. Finn had silently walked me back to my room. Once inside he had stood at the door for a long moment looking at me.
"I'm sorry." I whisper.
"I know. Princess. You fought for the right to choose your own path. Do not give up on that. I wish you had said your father had already picked a …"
"Don't." Like denying it will help. That's all I have been doing. Denying to myself. Imagining an idea that I had the choice my father said I did. I don't of course.
I will always do what is best for my people. For what is right. That cannot be a selfish choice. I have seen what the french are offering if I were to marry and it is too great for me to turn down. It will bring long lasting job aspects to the country. Which in turn will raise the spirits of my people. Lessening the rebellions.
"Denial is not something that becomes you. You face things head on. You fight for what is right Bella."
"Finn. I will always fight for what is right. For my people. A queen cannot be selfish or reckless." Everything Matteo made me feel that night. It was amazing. Scary. Out of control. Everything I cannot be. "I hate disappointing you."
He pulls me into his arms. I wrap mine around his middle. "I could never be disappointed in you princess. Just in the fact you are not fighting for yourself. You will rule better with love in your heart and at your side. Your country needs that. I cannot say you wouldn't find that with the french prince. I can say he has been visiting over the last year. You have had ample amount of time to speak, to get to know him. But I have never seen you look at him like you do the Italian princes. Or prince."
"Prince?" I move my head from his chest looking up at him.
"You already know which you favour. As do they."
Do I? Finn chuckles kissing the top of my head. Releasing me. I feel slightly more at ease. Only slightly.
"You'll choose what is right. Just don't forget about yourself when you do."
Finn leaves and I pull my gown from me. Ripping the material in my rush. I cannot stand it a minute longer. The tight corset worsened the crushing, overwhelmed feeling around my chest. It's all caving in. Falling apart around me. Finding plain black leggings and an oversized black short sleeved top. I put my converse back on and look out of the open bay window. How many more scars would be added if I fell? How many if I didn't try?
So I do it. Swinging my legs from the window I begin to climb down the trellis. I never do anything alone. Guards always with me. It feels new. Scary but In a good way. Jumping from the trellis. My feet hitting solid ground I walk carefully. Many royals are still in a full swing party. I cried the excuse of a headache to leave. Unable to stand another minute being surrounded and consumed. They want to make me feel welcome. They were generous and kind. Even charming. But nothing. I know in my heart even if Sebastian and I could grow to care for one another. It would never be love. A comfortable acceptance of each other nothing more. A respect but even that I doubt. He wants to be a king. He cannot be at home so they are doing everything in their power to make it happen with me.
Before I even realise where I am going I find myself at the barn doors to the stables. I open the large door with a creaking noise. Flinching and waiting a moment in case someone comes running. When I hear no movement I slip inside. The barn is lit by a dull light. The hard brick floor cool beneath my shoes. I breathe in deeply. Most would not enjoy this smell. A well kept horse stable smells more of hay and horse then anything else. I walk towards the back aiming for Bravo and Zeus. Zeus standing at the far end of his stall so I cannot reach him.
"I don't blame you. I wouldn't want to come to me either." I say moving away from Zeus and to Bravo. The tall muscular black fur horse is standing looking at me. "I'm sorry Bravo." I whisper feeling a warm tear slip from my eye. Why I am saying sorry I have no idea. I've always felt much older. Always behaved like it. In this moment I feel frail and small.
Bravo to my surprise moves towards me. His head coming over the half door and almost knocking me on my ass. I laugh. Then I put my head to his and stroke down his long lean neck.
"Some things never change then." His rough edgy voice with the thick italian accent has my hairs standing on edge.
I step away from Bravo to see Matteo standing looking at me. The top three buttons of his shirt are undone. His straight brown hair no longer swept neatly to one side. Instead looking unkempt like he has been running his hands through it. His brown eyes burning through me. His chiselled jaw and cheek bones are so prominent as he locks his jaw.
"Are you drunk?" I ask looking at how he almost sways on the spot.
"Drunk enough I should have stayed away."
"But you didn't."
"No I did not." He says taking steps towards me. I move back until my back is pressed against the far wall. Not because I am worried about what he will do. More because I am worried about what I will do in his presence. Feeling as I do. I want to throw myself at him. To lock my hands behind his neck and kiss him until I feel nothing but free again. "Is that it?"
"I … i don't understand." He is so close now that I can smell the whiskey on his breath. I can see the way his nostrils flare. The heat on his tanned cheeks. His hands closed me in as they moved to the wall either side of my head.
"You said you had a choice. That you had time to choose a husband. You knew though that in the end, you would do exactly as your father wants and will choose him."
"It is not about what my father wants. You know my people come before everything else."
"That doesn't answer my question. Is that it Bella?" He rolls my name on his tongue and my knees weaken. The intense stare holding me hostage in a way no kidnapping has ever managed to.
"It should be." I whisper looking away from his eyes. Instead finding mine roaming to the hairs on his chest peeping from beneath his open buttons. How i want to run my fingers through it. Loving the way it makes him more manly.
"So you want me. You want to have the two months here where we get off in front of each other. You want me to fall head over heels for you. To beg you in actions to choose me time and time again. Only for you to go home. Become queen and marry the french prince?"
"I don't know." I say after a minute of silence. O how i don't know. With Matteo it is different. I remember always thinking how handsome he and Alessandro were.
Being here now. Of age and with their charm. It has been so different. With Alessandro it is easier to hold back. He is godly handsome but the rest is more of a friendship. Fun in a way I've never had with another. Matteo is so much more confusing. Setting something off inside of me that I do not understand. But i don't think i want to. I want to just go with it. See where it leads me even if that be in trouble. In the wrong direction and towards heartache. I want to …. I want him. Even if knowing having him leads down a path that is not good for either of us.
"You do know." He grinds out.
I glare at him. "I said i don't. I have not accepted anything from Sebastian. Nor has my father."
"But you will. Because everything he has offered benefits your people. Daddy's little princess wants to keep him happy before he passes."
"You …" I reach up to slap him but he is quicker. Taking my hand in his and slamming it to the wall above my head. "Do you know how it feels? To have no mother and a father that has spent a lifetime teaching you that you do what you must. Be that wrong it still must be done. I love him though I know he has ruined our people's lives. I try to make amends for what he has done wrong. I have to do the right thing for them."
"And what about you? What about me?" He presses forward and i suck in a large breath. The bulge in his trousers pressing against my stomach and sending heat cursing through my entire body. How wrong it is that we are both so aroused even as we are angry, upset and frustrated at the situation. "It's been two weeks but it's not as though we didn't already know each other before this. I just didn't know you as the woman you are. What I know now I admire. More than anyone else. You are trying to do the right thing by everyone and that is remarkable. How selfless you are."
"I'm not or we wouldn't be in this position now." I interrupt. He leans down his lips almost grazing against mine as he speaks next.
"Exactly where are we Bella?"
God he knows where we are. This thing between us is almost sparking. I hope the hay here is not dry because the whole place would be set alight. He knows what he is doing to me. The way he is making me feel as his breath feathers against my lips. As his lips are so close to mine. His solid broad chest pushing against my breasts making them ache.
There aren't words to describe where we are and he knows that. So instead I lean that last gap and press my lips to his. Not softly but with every feeling of turmoil racing through me. It is a collision of need. His fingers and mine twine against the wall. His other hand grasping at my hair. My free hand ripping his shirt from his trousers and moving beneath and up. Finally the itch to feel the soft hairs over his chest is resolved. Only making me moan into his mouth. He takes that opportunity to deepen the kiss with his tongue. He tastes of strong whiskey. He isn't gentle or holding back. The alcohol in his system and the out of control feelings overwhelming us both. Our hands that are together hold so tightly I feel the blood loss to my fingers. Though I don't want to let go. Like a float when you've been adrift in the sea. He is keeping me anchored to reality. To the feelings. His hand moving from my hair reluctantly. I think for a moment he may pull away. So I leave his chest for his neck. Crushing him to me harder.
Only to find his hand moving quickly down my back to grasp my thigh and lift it around him. I obey eagerly and jump lifting the other around him. Our noses collide and I feel his lips move into a smile beneath mine. I am being too open. Too easy. But i don't care. I want him to lift me from the floor. I want to feel his hard cock against my core where I need him most. I am rewarded when he does just that. The first contact sends sparks shooting through me. I release his lips and throw my head back moaning.
"Thats it. Move against me, my Bella." God his voice is so rough as he begins kissing and biting down on my neck. I hadn't realised I was using my strong legs to grind myself on him.
Now with his permission and his hand biting into my thigh the other still twined with my own. I move. I move hard and fast so it borders on pain. The pain I feel at the idea of the choice ahead. I am moving like a wild woman but he is moving to. It's messy as we both fight for our own release. I hadn't realised he would be able to come from this.
"Matteo." I cry out after minutes of groans and moans from us both. Nothing coherent until the wave after wave flooded through me seeping through my leggings. An orgasm that doesn't seem to want to end.
Matteo continues to move for a minute before he grunts into my neck and I feel his hips and ass spasm. My legs still tightly wrapped around him. My hand is still around his neck. His on my thigh. The others still together holding onto one another. The picture is beyond intimate and out of control.
My brain starts to come round from the fog of lust. Begins to realise I am making things harder on us both. That this is all my doing. He has had a drink. Did I just take advantage of him? My God.
He must feel the shift because he lowers me slowly to my feet. My knees do not want to cooperate. His hand coming to my cheek and tilting my face back.
"Do not regret this. Not a single minute we share. Promise me that?"
"I'll try." I will not lie to him. How can I promise that when it will be the minutes and hours spent with him, that will leave me in turmoil. That will tear me apart as I have to make a decision.
The ground beneath me feels to be falling away and I can see the two hands to reach for. One with everything my people need. The other with everything I want.