Cross To Bear (Book 1)

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|6| Kiss

Maximus POV

“Will you think it over?” the guest who sat far away on the table asked.

For the last ten minutes, I’ve been ignoring him. He just came to try and make a deal with me. Who did this bastard fucking take me for?

“Your highness?” the guest called.

“Hmm?” I hum as I tap my fingers on the armrest.

“D-Did you hear what I said?” the guest asks nervously. I watch his hand move to the cup of wine. Trembling fingers touched the fragile glass. It reminded me of her.

Just remembering how she trembles under my touch makes me want to smile.

“Yes, if there’s nothing else. I will take my leave,” I said, standing up and turning away. The guest called my name, but I ignored him.

I was heading back to my bedroom as I check the time. It’s way past nine in the night.

“Where is Jonathan?” I asked the head maid who was preparing my bath.

“He said he was fixing some stuff in the kitchen,” the head maid explained with a bow. Nodding, I undress.

“Leave,” I wave to the head maid. Laying my head back on the bathtub, I sigh. It’s been a long day with a lot of things happening. I was shrugging off some thoughts as I close my eyes and relax.

Closing my book, I massage my eyes. I was investigating some terrains on the outskirts of the kingdom. We needed more crops, and that place was perfect.

With a glance at the papers on the night table, I decided it’s best to check some other maps. Grabbing my robe, I head to the library.

The hallways were empty, not a soul visible. I turned around a corner when I noticed Jonathan and some other servants coming out of the hallway that took you to the queen bedroom.

Stopping, I hid behind a wall.

“Will she be fine?” the head maid asks Jonathan.

“Yes, just give her some time,” Jonathan explained with a smile. I didn’t even know he could smile like that.

“But she’s not in her bedroom,” one of the other maids said with worry in her voice. Frowning at that comment, I keep listening.

“Don’t fret. The princess must be exploring,” Jonathan waved the excuse.

“But…” the maid interjected.

“No buts Fae. Let the princess enjoy it. She needs a distraction. After what happened earlier, she needs it,” Jonathan sighed. I furrowed my eyebrows. Was he referring to our fight?

With my eyes at them, I watch as they turn on a corner and disappear. Pinching my nose, I head towards the library.

As I reached the enormous wooden doors, I opened them, a creaking sound resonated down the hallway. I needed to fix these damn doors.

Looking around, I notice it’s empty as always. This library has been in this palace for decades. Anyone barely comes over. Full of dust and cobwebs. A boring place but one I like.

It is a place I like to come to, especially when I want some time to think.

Going up the stairs, I find the shelf with the books I need. What I needed now was my favorite spot which was near the fireplace that was always on. I had asked Jonathan to keep this fireplace on, especially since I tend to come every day during the night.

Opening the book in my hands, I head to the couch but stopped when I saw a figure seated on it. Frowning, I step closer. What was she doing here?

She was wearing a white silk nightgown and no shoes. It was the princess who is supposedly my fiance. Scoffing, I roll my eyes and try to wake her up but stopped when I saw her shivering, walking all the way around. I crouch and watch her. She was peacefully sleeping. Her pink lips slightly opened, and her chest was heaving softly. Her chocolate brown hair was a complete mess.

A smile played on my lips as I watched her. She looked so different. Looking at her body, I stop when I see a book opened on her lap. Grabbing the book from her lap, I close it.

My eyes drifted to the book title. A cursed book?

Frowning, I look at her. Why was she reading this? Putting the book near a table, I get up. I better leave.

Glancing her way, I stop and watch her. Why couldn’t I go?

Pinching my nose, I sigh. I looked around and found a quilt as I leaned down and covered her body. I look at her. She turned around for a moment. Scoffing, I looked at her making sure she was covered. I didn’t need a sick woman in my palace. So that was all I was doing, helping her.

Moving my hand to cover her arms, I stop. My hands itched to touch her face. Something must have gotten in me because I lean down and look at her face closely. Moving my fingers, I lift her chin. I watched as her tongue licked her lips.

I gulped as I watched it intently. My eyes were staring at her pink and tempting lips. Cursing under my breath, I lean and kiss her cheek briefly. I stood up quickly and deciding to leave her.

Deciding it’s best to move somewhere else, I find a spot on the window. Trying to distract somehow, I open my book and start reading.

Halfway through the book, I start hearing footsteps. I look up to find the source. Did she wake up?

Curious, I walk up to her. Her tiny body was trying to reach for the shelf. I watch her with a smile on my lips. She grunted as she tried to put the book in its place.

Shaking my head, I walk up to her from behind. Reaching for her book, I pull it away from her hands. Jumping, she tenses up.

“Shouldn’t you be in your room?” I asked her with a smile. She had her back on me.

Noticing she was turning, I put my lips on a thin line. Hovering her body, she lifted her head. Beautiful blue eyes like the sky looked at my red ones. She was so small that I felt like reaching for her and straddling her on my waist.

I watch her like a lion. She was scared of me.

Moving my eyes down her chest, I see how small her breast is. She was like a kid didn’t they feed her?

She didn’t answer me. Instead, her eyes drifted down my open shirt. Her shoulders relaxed as a slight blush spread on her face. My mind started having weird thoughts, especially one I would like to partake. Watching her eyes stop on my hanging pants, I see a slight shiver run down her body. Was she checking me out also?

Her head snapped up abruptly, our eyes interlock. For a second, I felt something strange. I was sensing her eyes on me. I tried to close the space between us, but she backs away. Hitting her back on the bookshelf. She was uncomfortable.

I wanted to smile at her behavior. It was alluring.

As I tried to open my mouth to tell her something, a sudden slamming has her jumping. I looked over my shoulder. That’s downstairs. Did someone walk into the library?

Frowning, I wait for someone to go up the stairs. But I got distracted when I felt something soft on my chest. Looking down, I find Amari holding herself from my chest. It was more of hiding from anyone who sees her. Amari kept getting closer as her eyes stayed fixated on the stairs. I watched her amusedly. Inhaling her scent, I grit my teeth. She smelled divine like fresh mint. Suddenly she lifts her head. Stunned, I watched her. Unconsciously I had lowered my head. She was so close to me; I could kiss her.

Feeling warmth, I put my arm on the other side and lean closer to her. I was feeling way too tempted to kiss her. But why?

Reaching for her face, I remove a hair strand that covers her blushed cheek. My eyes never left hers. Licking her lips, she stares at me. Was she feeling the same way?

Gulping hard, I muster my will to control myself. I couldn’t do anything. She was just someone they sold to me. A broken body. Someone ugly. So why was I feeling so comfortable around her?

Thinking, I don’t notice her move her finger to my chest. Softly she caressed the scar that was on my chest. Her eyes with curiosity and sadness?

I frown for a second but shook the thought away.

“What happened?” Amari suddenly asks as she traces the scare from side to side. I stayed stunned, unable to answer her. “What happened to Maximus?” she whispered this time. Hearing her say my name made me feel stranger than what I was already.

Why couldn’t I answer her?

Groaning internally, I reach for her hand and stop her movement. It was making me feel strange, and I didn’t like it. Squeezing lightly as a small warning, I closed my eyes and opened them back. Amari looked at me worriedly.

Bringing her hand up, I kiss it softly. I need to restrain myself. Tenderly I kiss every knuckle. Her hand was cold but soft at the same time. I watch it with amusement. Did a woman’s hand feel like this?

Feeling her yank her hand away, she apologizes and leaves running. I quickly turned and was about to stop her but shut my mouth and just watch her.

Hearing the door slammed, I groan, annoyed.

“What the fuck was that?” I shouted. Walking back to the fireplace, I laid down on the couch and groaned again. I threw the blanket over and closed my eyes, falling asleep.

“Sir?” I hear a voice calling my name. Groaning, I sit up and look around. Where was I?

Remembering I slept in the library, I look behind and find Jonathan with a concerned look.

“What?” I snap.

“Nothing, sir. You just had us worried. We couldn’t find you,” Jonathan explained as he looked at the floor.

Getting up, I stretch, my neck and back crack.

“What time is it?” I asked, rubbing my face.

“It’s past noon,” Jonathan mumbles, making me growl his way.

“What did you say?” I asked, surprised but mad. Why did I sleep that long? “Why didn’t you wake me up earlier?”

“W-we couldn’t find you,” Jonathan said, “It was Princess Amari who told us you were here.”

What? I looked at Jonathan.

“She told you?” I was curious.

“Yes?” Jonathan said, lifting his head questioningly.

Scoffing, I started descending the stairs when I stop halfway through. I saw Amari.

With eyes wide and a shocked face, Amari looks my way. She was staring up at me as I looked down at her from the stairs. My eyes moved down at her body. She was wearing a green dress with white ruffles on the bottom. Her hair was in a messy bun, and slight makeup decorated her beautiful features. As our eyes met, a little blush spread on her face.

“Good afternoon,” Amari whispered with a bow.

“Afternoon…” I mumble.

Two maids were next to her. Why was she here again?

Looking at her, I find a map book in her hands. Frowning, I look up at her. Her eyes no longer on me but the book.

“Your majesty,” Jonathan said from behind, “We need to go. You have a meeting.”

Nodding his way, I descend the stairs and leave the library. I could feel her gaze on me as Jonathan closed the doors.

“What did Amari do today?” I asked, fixing my cloak.

“The princess?” Jonathan asked, surprised, “Not much. Eat, be in her room, and well, you saw her in the library.”

“Yes, and I think I gave the order for her to stay there and not eat?” I barked.

Jonathan cringed, realizing his mistake.

“True, your majesty,” Jonathan apologies, “I shall go and get her.”

Without another word, he excused himself.

“Is something the matter?” I asked the head maid who was looking at me.

“N-No, your majesty,” the head maid said, bowing her head.

“Good, come with me,” I ordered.

I head down to the throne room, where some of the councilmen are standing outside chatting. Annoying. I knew why they were here.

“Call Amari over. Make sure she’s dressed well,” I order. The head maid nodded and left without a word.

Noticing me, the men turn around and bow in respect.

I ignored them and stepped into the throne room. Taking a seat on my throne, I cross my legs and look down at the men. Everyone silently took a seat and waited for my word. But I preferred to stay. For this show, I needed that stupid princess. It was a reason they were here for her. They were all curious to know who my supposed fiance would be, and for that, I would need my pawn to make her presence be known.

Hearing someone clear their throat, I look to the side.

“Your majesty, if I may. I feel you are waiting on something?” the councilmen said. Smirking, I lean my face on my hand.

“Yes, is something bothering you?” I questioned him.

“Oh no,” the councilmen said, smiling. Thin lips, I watch him. He had a devilish grin on his face. “I was just wondering why the king didn’t mention his so-called fiance before.”

“Why?” I said, laughing, “Do I need to tell you every little detail?”

“Of course,” another member of the council said, chuckling. “Remember we have a word on this, my king.”

My brow twitches as I grip the armchair. Taking a deep breath, I quickly glance towards the door. Why was she taking so long?

As one of the councilmen was going to say something, the doors open wide. Stomping the floor, I watch Amari walk in. Her head held high and with a scowl on her face. I growl as I warn her with my eyes. Amari ignored me and stood in the middle of the room.

“You called my king?” Amari asked, bowing.

Everyone went silent as they watched her.

“Yes,” I said, clearing my throat, “Come over here.”

Standing up, I offered my hand to her. Amari lifted her head. She flinched as she looked at my hand. With worry, she climbed the stairs and carefully took my hand. Pulling her, I leaned and whispered in her ear.

“Fucking change that face and play along,” I whispered, kissing her cheek and smiling.

All eyes were on us.

Amari leaned on my chest and hid her face. I could feel her trembling.

“Sorry, she’s shy,” I said, smiling.

Walking us back to the throne, I took a seat and pulled Amari on my lap.

“As you can all see. Princess Amari is from the neighboring kingdom. She is my fiance and your queen,” I explained, “It was a surprise. If it offended you feel free to leave the room.” I said, growling.

Some of the council flinched at my words. They were uncomfortable.

“Now, why I kept it a secret is easy. As you know, the ball is in a week. So I will introduce her to everyone. It means you have to keep your fucking mouth shut!” I growled, “Do I make myself clear?”

“YES MY KING!” everyone chanted.

“Very well, any more questions?” I asked, eyeing everyone. “Good, now leave.”

As I watched everyone leave, I turn my attention to Amari. Her head low, and her hands toyed with the dress. She was wearing a black dress revealing her shoulders. Some of her scars were visible, but her hair covered them.

“Why did you take so long?” I asked her. Amari flinched. “I asked you a question!”

“I… I didn’t know what to wear,” Amari stutter.

“That is not for you to decide,” I hissed, “look at me when I’m talking to you!” I said, gripping her face and lifting it.

“You’re hurting me,” Amari whispered.

Squeezing tighter, I lean closer to her face.

“When I called for you, you better come over. And remember, you have a role to play,” I growled, pushing her face away. “Now off, go back to your room.” standing up, Amari runs down the stairs.

“One more thing, don’t let me find you in the library. I think you have no permission,” I hissed. Amari nodded and left. “Jonathan?”

“Yes, sir?” Jonathan said, bowing.

“Prepare a dress for Amari. Make sure it’s the best,” I said, rubbing my chin, “And investigate if her father is doing anything.”

“Yes, sir,” Jonathan mumbled as he retired.

The ball was close, and I would plan to introduce Amari, and for that, I know some of the kingdoms would send their assassins. And Amari would be the prey.

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