Cross To Bear (Book 1)

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|4| Problems

Amari POV

I was standing in the middle of the room as I watch the servants put my things down. My hands tremble as I recall what happened a while ago. I needed to be alone to get my mind straight. It was a nightmare and one I wanted to escape.

“You shall be ready for dinner,” the butler, whose name was still unknown to me, said and bowed, leaving me all alone.

Finally, shutting the doors, my legs give out, and I fall on my knees. Trembling hands covered my face as small tears slid down my face. How could I have been sold? What kind of father did I have?

Everything was still fresh on my mind. The supposed king of Etuicia was a dragon? Was that a sick joke? I knew mythical creatures exist in our kingdoms, but dragons shouldn’t exist. How come then?

Sobbing, I dried my tears with the back of my hand. What have I gotten myself in?

Was I supposed to marry that thing? That monster, the same man who called me ugly? And asked me to undress in front of everyone?

Laughing hysterically, I stare at the marble floor. My face is a complete mess: runny nose and puffy eyes. I indeed was horrible.

Feeling tired, I lift my head and look around. The bedroom I was in was enormous. Was this my new bedroom?

Standing up, I start looking around the place, a poster bed with white silk sheets and a night table laid in the middle of the bedroom. There was a small tray with candles and candies in the middle of the bed. The bedroom walls were grey, and long white drapes were hanging from the ceiling and windows. This place was gloomy as hell. Fixing my dress, I start walking around the room. On a corner, a white vanity table with some stuff laid beautifully decorated. A dark-gray couch laid near the fireplace. Pillows and a white fur carpet laid nicely. That looked like a corner I would spend my time on. I had a walk in the closet, a huge bathroom, and a bookshelf.

That captures my attention. Why did I have a bookshelf?

Sniffing, I walk over to the bookshelf. Giving it a quick look, I find different types of books and stories, a little bit of everything laid well organized. I smiled as I saw a romantic book.

“Later Amari,” I mumble to myself as I turn and head to the walk-in closet.

Peeking in, I find rows of dresses and shoes. Why was all this here? Did he order them?

Not only dresses but jewelry as well. Gasping, I observe the most beautiful necklaces I have ever seen. I never had jewelry that belonged to me. So, this was breathtaking. Turning to the side, I found some pouches and some nightgowns. Touching them slightly, I smile. They were pure silk; how comfy might they be?

As I keep opening and closing drawers, I stop when I open my undergarment drawer. Rows of different bras and underwear laid before me.

Crooking my head, I pick one up and stare at it in shock. A black sexy piece of undergarment made me scoff. Are they serious right now?

“I would prefer if I was butt naked,” I mumble, making someone laugh.

Yelping, I turn and look at the entrance. A maid with red hair smiled down at me.

“Hi, I’m Fae, your maid,” Fae said, bowing her head. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

I look at the girl named Fae. Her warm smile and cheerful voice reminded me of Mayah.

“Hi,” I said, smiling softly, “Please call me Amari.”

Shaking her head Fae turns serious.

“Apologies but that I can’t do,” Fae said with thin lips, “You’re the king’s fiancée, future queen of Etuicia.”

I cringe as she says those words. Me as a queen? If only they knew how broken I was.

Averting my gaze, I simply smile at her. Closing the drawer, I stand up.

“Is there anything I need to do?” I asked Fae.

“For now, just rest and get ready for dinner. But you still have a few hours for that. How about a bath?” Fae asked, clasping her hands.

“No… I umm, I will do it alone,” I said, raising my hand, “No need to help me.”

Fae frowned as she looked at me, confused.

“But I’m here to assist you,” Fae said innocently.

“And I’m grateful for that. It’s just that I can for now. No need to help me in my bath,” I said awkwardly. I couldn’t let her see my body. All I’ve been through only Mayah knew.

It was just knowing how I looked that made me feel disgusted. King Maximus said it himself how awful I am.

Smiling back at her, Fae keeps staring at me. I could see she wanted to ask, but I decided to ignore her and go back to the room.

Grabbing some of my clothes, I let Fae know I will bath myself. Fae looked skeptical, even worried for a second. But I told her that she could help with my stuff.

Walking into the bathroom, I turn the lights on. Glancing around, I noticed the whole place was white marble. A long mirror stood on a corner near the faucet, three long windows, and a small stool. Setting my things down, I turn the water on the bathtub. This bathroom was more significant than anything I’ve seen. Making sure no one is around, I start taking my dress off.

Letting it drop to the floor, I embrace myself. I felt disgusted from earlier. I didn’t want the king’s touch on my skin. Just remembering made my skin crawl.

Once I had taken everything off, I headed to the bathtub. Kneeling, I put my hand softly inside the water, testing if it was warm. I get in. My fresh wounds ached as my body touched the warm water. Gripping the bathtub edge, I pant. They hurt badly. Letting out a breath, I finally relax.

It hasn’t been long when I hear a knock on the door. Turning around scared, I ask who it was.

“Your majesty, the king is here,” Fae said nervously.

Panicking, I looked for a towel to cover myself up, but the door slammed open before I could cover myself. I cringed at the abruptness. I lift my gaze and find the king standing on the door frame. With hands in his pocket, he looks at me. His lips were in a thin line, and his eyes moved up and down my body. I embraced myself feeling exposed before him. He was making a displeased face. Scared, I lower my gaze. I didn’t know where to look.

Clearing my throat, I hear a shuffling sound a few steps from where I stood. I lift my eyes and peek through my lashes. Blushing, I avert my eyes. He was undressing before me. Scattering clothes everywhere, he calls Fae over.

“Bring some wine and some clean clothes,” he ordered as Fae bowed and left the room.

I stood in the middle of the bathtub. I was panicking as the king walks over.

“Sit, don’t stay like an idiot there,” Maximus said, annoyed.

Nodding quickly, I sit back down. Splashing water on the floor.

I could feel his gaze on me. Awkwardly, I turn my back to him. Why was this so uncomfortable? And what was he even doing here?

Hearing a splashing sound, I look over my shoulder. Was he getting in the tub?

I didn’t dare look back. One because he was naked and I’ve never seen a naked man and two because it was uncomfortable.

“Turn around,” he ordered, making me nod frantically and do as he asks.

As I move around, I stop once I feel his legs on my side. Gripping the towel, I keep my head low. The bathtub was big enough for at least four people, but he took almost all the space. Making myself little, I stay on my spot. His legs grace my thighs.

Fae was back. Setting the golden tray down, she excuses herself and closes the door. The silence in the bathroom was already uncomfortable. But his presence was making it worse. There was this strange aura, like oppression in the air.

Gulping hard, I see him reach for the bottle of wine and serve himself a cup.

“Listen carefully to what I’m going to explain to you. Don’t make me repeat myself. Are we clear?” Maximus said with hate.

Nodding, I hugged my legs.

“I didn’t hear your answer,” Maximus said as he put his arm over the tub’s edge, “I asked you are we clear?”

“Y-yes,” I mutter.

“Good. I hate girls who can’t follow simple instructions. Now, listen. You are here because they sold you to me. Your fucking father is trying to prevent war, but he’s wrong in one thing he did. Do you know what it is?” Maximus asked as he took a sip of his wine.

“No?” I whispered, looking at him. His red eyes met my blues for a split second. Nervous, I look away.

“He fucking send you. Like seriously, what was he even thinking?” Maximus spat with a scoff, “He thought he would please me with a woman like you? You don’t even make my dick tingle.”

Averting my gaze, I look at my reflection in the water.

“Hope your dick falls” I mumble, covering my mouth. Looking up, I find Maximus’s eyebrows furrowed as his blood-red eyes looked at me with anger.

“I didn’t give you permission to talk,” Maximus whispered dangerously. “When I asked you something, you talk; if not, you shut that fucking mouth up, or I will shut it up for you.”

I bit my lip as I gave him a firm yes and lowered my gaze back to the moving water.

“There are also more things I should tell you, but for now, there are only two other things you need to know. One of those bastards you met earlier didn’t know I had taken a fiancé. So, I expect you to act as one. And second, you will be crowned soon as my queen. So your training will start next week,” Maximus explained, looking out the window, “I expect you to give your best if you don’t want to get punished.”

Flinching, I look at him in shock. Was he serious?

“Yes, you fucked up in anything, and I will punish you,” Maximus said, pulling my arm, “So I do hope that for your sake, you keep yourself composed and behave as the rightful queen. There’s no room for mistakes here, and there is no room for fucked up women’s, are we clear?”

“Yes,” I said, pulling my arm.

Scoffing, he lets go and stands up. Eyes wide, I cover my face. Was that his dick?

“Have you never seen a dick before?” Maximus said, laughing, “I bet you’ve seen enough dicks, so don’t be surprised by this. Oh, has no men ever fuck you with a long snake-like mine?”

I stayed quiet. I was speechless. Of course, I’ve never seen one.

Hearing a clattering sound, I feel Maximus stopped and look at me. His intense eyes bore a hole on my face. Peeking through my fingers, I look at his face. His raven black hair tousled in a wet mess all over his shoulders. And his red eyes glared at me.

“You, don’t tell me you’ve never fucked a man before,” Maximus suddenly asked as his eyes widened. Blushing harder, I sink into the water. Laughing aloud, Maximus looks down at me. “What else should I know from you?”

“Nothing,” I mumbled, not daring to look up.

“Better who the hell wants to know about you. Now start getting ready. Dinner is in an hour,” Maximus said, grabbing a towel and calling for Fae.

Combing my hair, Fae stares at me through the vanity mirror.

“You’re ok, your majesty?” Fae asked, smiling.

“Yes,” I said, giving her a tight smile, “Is it time already?”

“You still have some time. I advise you to be before the king arrives,” Fae explained.

Nodding, I fix my dress and leave the room with Fae.

Fae guided me around the palace. There were a lot of servants working around.

It amazed me to see this many people. Everywhere we pass by, they would bow and greet me. I smiled back at them.

As we reach two dark wooden doors, the guards open them, and we walk in. I stopped in my tracks and looked around the place. It was not what I expected for a dining room.

Dark gray walls and gray drapes made the room look dark. A chandelier hangs from the dome-like ceiling, illuminating the room. But it still looked dark. It was uncomfortable and eerily scary. I didn’t know why this place was so gloomy, but one thing I was sure of. I would never walk out here during the night, especially alone.

A servant greets me as he politely pulls the chair for me to take. Giving him a quick thank you, I sit.

The dark wooden table for at least ten people laid in the middle of the enormous room, rows of dishes and drinks filled the entire table that they arranged nicely with flowers and golden vases. I looked around the place and noticed some paintings hanging on the walls. Crooking my head, I stare at a house portrait. I stared intently at the picture as I saw a shadow pass by the round mirror over the fireplace. I frown, looking back at it; I stop when I find Maximus staring back at me. Surprised, I stood up and bowed. He scoffed and took a seat on the opposite end. Thank gods he was far away. Offering some wine and juice, I smile and wait for the food to get served.

Maximus didn’t say a word and only started drinking. Playing with my hands, I quietly wait. Hearing two other doors opening, I start smelling food. My mouth watered just by the smell.

Setting a plate of food down, I look at it. Why was there too much food?

“Eat,” Maximus ordered. Picking my spoon delicately, I start eating quietly.

After a couple of spoons, I was full. I couldn’t bear eating more. I wasn’t used to overeating. Especially since I barely even ate while I lived with my father.

“Eat more,” Maximus said sternly.

“I can’t,” I mumble.

“You are going to eat,” Maximus repeated.

“But I can’t,” I uttered a bit loud.

Slamming his hand on the table, I cringe. Everything clattered around me.

“You fucking eat if I order you!” Maximus said, “Now eat!”

“I-I really can’t,” I whispered with trembling lips, “I’ve never eaten this much.”

Why couldn’t he let me go? I was already full. Gritting my teeth, I keep my eyes down. I wasn’t lying.

As I hear a scraping sound, I raise my head, eyes wide, I lean against the armchair. With long strides, Maximus walks over and grabs my arm. He was yanking me to stand up.

“You are going to eat, and that’s fucking final!” Maximus growled as his red eyes turned darker, “EAT!”

Pushing me back to the chair, I fall and grip the armrest.

“I’m full,” I stutter again. Why was he stubborn?

Grabbing the plate, he throws it on the floor.

“If you’re so full as you say, you won’t be eating. Jonathan!” Maximus yelled.

The butler from earlier came in with his head bowed.

“Take her back and lock her in her room. She’s not allowed to eat,” Maximus said, glaring down at me.

I lifted my head and tried to argue back. But my mouth shut as I noticed his face darken.

Standing up, I follow Jonathan. Maximus didn’t spare me a glance.

“Fucker,” I mutter under my breath as I cross the doors to the dining room.

“Did you just say something?” Maximus asked, barely a whisper. A shiver ran down my spine as I tense up. Closing my eyes, I curse myself.

“I asked you, something woman!” Maximus said, yanking my arm. Stumbling, I fall on my knees.

“You’re hurting me,” I whimper as his grip tightens.

“I will hurt you for real,” Maximus said as he drags me.

Screaming and struggling, I try to loosen up his grip. My heart beats up as an ominous feeling starts creeping over my body. What was he going to do?

Everyone in the halls ignored us. They just stopped and moved to the side, bowing their heads. What was wrong with these people? Was no one going to stop him?

Feeling my tears slide down, I continue struggling.

Kicking two doors open, Maximus throws me on the floor. I yell as my back hits on a coffee table. Yanking my hair, Maximus growls.

“You think I wouldn’t hear you if you called me fucker?” he mocks. “You mere trash. What makes you think I wouldn’t do anything to you?”

“P-Please,” I croak as tears spill on my face.

Slapping me on the face, I let a cry out. My cheek burns as I feel it bruise.

“Disrespect me, and I will slap you harder next time,” Maximus said as he lifts my chin, “Don’t even think about cursing me or anything. You just don’t have an idea who you’re messing with, Amari. So behave, and this is my last warning.” He said, letting go.

I sobbed as my face hurt.

A loud knock has Maximus snapping and asks what they want.

“Your guest is here,” Jonathan’s voice came through the door.

Growling loud, Maximus glances at me and spits on the floor.

“Useless,” Maximus spats angrily. I stayed on the floor, holding my cheek as the doors opened.

Watching his back, I let another silent sob out. I couldn’t believe I had cried in front of him. Not even when my father spanked me or tortured me, I cried. So why now?

Jonathan looked down at me. Hearing him sigh, he walks over and offers his hand.

“Let me help you, your highness. I will take you back to your room,” Jonathan said sympathetically. Reaching for his gloved hand, I stand up carefully. My hair was messy, and I could feel the blood in my mouth.

Smiling sadly at him, Jonathan guides me back. What did I do to deserve this?

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