Cross To Bear (Book 1)

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|7| Eden's Ball Pt. 1

Amari POV

It’s been a week since I saw Maximus. I was thankful that I have been busy with my training for the ball. Maximus had ordered some teachers to explain to me what happened during this event.

The event was called The Eden’s Ball. They named it after the garden of Eden.

That night was a lot different. Creatures, kings, queens, and supernatural as well as humans gather. The event got held by the first dragon born on earth. He especially made it so other royals could meet their lovers. It was supposed to be a romantic event. But for the last decade has been turned into an orgy type of event. It has lost its meaning.

I honestly didn’t find it entertaining. Because it meant I would have to mix with other people. I wasn’t comfortable with that.

As the week went by, my lectures became stricter and tiresome. I had to learn many things required for the event, especially since I would get introduced as the future queen of Euticia.

I also got word that my family got invited to the ball. I was not happy at all, especially since my father would come.

Hearing my teacher telling me it was time to rest. I stood up from my place and decided to head for a walk in the garden.

I was smiling at some servants as I head outside. Thankfully Maximus hasn’t told me to stay in my bedroom. I was already feeling suffocated just being locked in my office to study.

Sighing loudly, I rub my temple, and a slight headache forming.

“Your majesty?” I heard someone call. Turning around, I find Jonathan carrying a big basket.

“Oh hi,” I smiled.

“Are you ok?” Jonathan asked. I frown at his question.

“Yes? Why do you ask?” I asked him, confused.

“Nothing…” Jonathan mumble. Excusing himself, he leaves me alone.

I shrug off the weird conversation we had. Turning back to the garden, I decided to look for a spot to rest. After this small rest, I would have to try the dress for the ball on.

Finding shade under an apple tree, I sit and lean against the trunk. Sighing, I close my eyes. Unexpectedly dozing off.

As I feel some movement, I yawn and lazily open my eyes. It was dark and cold. Too tired to keep my eyes open, I lean my head to the person carrying me, feeling a warmth that made me comfortable.

Realizing that a person was carrying me, I snapped up and almost fell from the person’s grasp. Yelping in surprise, I circle my arms around the person.

Stopping, I pant nervously. The person didn’t move, but I could feel his body tense up. Glancing at the person, I gasp and let go of his neck.

“Maximus?” I said, startled.

With a serious look, Maximus glanced my way. His eyes show no emotion as I frantically find a way to get down from his arms.

“P-Please put me d-d-down,” I stutter, lowering my head.

Growling softly, Maximus, let’s go. I groan as my buttock hits the marble floor.

“Ow! Why did you do that!” I retorted. I lifted my head just to see Maximus cleaning his hands.

“Filth,” Maximus mumbled as he threw me the piece of cloth. Stunned, I watched him leave. What was all that about?

Finally reaching my bedroom. I open it quietly. I find Fae making my bed.

“Oh, there you are, princess,” Fae said smiling, “Did the king bring you over?”

“King?” I said, confused. Was she referring to Maximus?

“Didn’t the king carry you back from the garden? Almost everyone saw him,” Fae said excitedly.

“Uh, no,” I mumble, turning around.

“Oh, your wound is bleeding again!” Fae said as she stopped me. I winced, feeling her hand move on my back. Was it the drop that hurt me? “Allow me to clean it.”

I sat on the bed as Fae worked on my wound. The wound I got from Maximus’ fight was taking longer than expected to heal. Because there was an old wound, this one made it more prominent, and now it was taking time, especially since every little movement would open it again.

“You need to be careful,” Fae said as she pats my shoulder. Thanking her, I ask her to leave me.

It was past midnight, and I was still awake. Closing a book, I sigh and rub my eyes. Why couldn’t I fall asleep? Deciding to get some fresh air, I walk to the balcony. The cold night breeze made me sneeze instantly.

Taking a seat, I open my book again and continue reading. But my small concentration didn’t last long. Hearing a strange sound, I look up. What was that?

Listening intently, I look around. Nothing happened again, so I shrugged it off. But then I heard the same moan again. I frowned as I closed my book and stood up. Was someone in trouble?

Standing up was my worst mistake. As I lean down on the rail, I gasp and cover my eyes. Listening to the moans intensify, I peek through my fingers. Covering my eyes back, I gasp loudly and turn away.

Right next to my bedroom was Maximus fucking a woman. Why were they having sex outside? And why was Maximus with another woman?

I hurried back in and shut the door. I was shocked by what I saw as I start feeling nauseous. I covered my mouth.

I try to breathe and calm down.

I was feeling bothered by what he was doing. Unable to hold my nauseous stomach, I run to the bathroom and start throwing up.

I was standing up as I hold myself from the toilet. Reaching under the faucet, I wash my face.

I looked at my pale face in the mirror. What was wrong with me? It was his life. I have nothing to do there.

The following day, I head to the dining table. Maximus was already eating as I arrived. Saying my good mornings, I took a seat and started eating quietly.

Since arriving, I have had a routine of eating every morning and night with Maximus. It was the usual. Eat and stay quiet. We would never divulge in any sort of conversation, and that was fine for me. But today, I was feeling sick just seeing him.

“I will be excusing myself,” I said, standing up. I had barely eaten.

“You haven’t eaten breakfast, Amari,” Maximus said without looking my way. I glanced at him. I needed to leave.

“I have to try the dress for the ball. It would be best if I eat little,” I said, lying. Honestly, I just wanted to stay away from him.

Looking my way, he nods and continues eating, finding that my opportunity to walk out of that place, I excuse myself once again and leave. Once out, I sighed. My hand on my chest as I relax. Deciding it would be best to do what I said. I head to the dressing room.

I was knocking on the door when someone answered. Jonathan opened the door. A smile spread on his face as he greeted me.

“Please,” Jonathan said, offering me to come in.

I look around the room. It was like my bedroom but without furniture except for a vanity table on the side and a divider.

“You must be the princess,” a woman with long raven hair said. I glance at her.

Piercing green eyes look down at me. She was courting respectfully.

I smile at her and answer her question. She kept looking at me from head to toe.

“Good, I’m Devika. I’m your dress designer and will be your assistant for the next month,” Devika said.

“My assistant?” I asked, frowning.

“Yes?” Devika said, looking at Jonathan.

“Didn’t the king tell you?” Jonathan asked.

I raised my eyebrow at him.

“He didn’t. Well, no problem, dear. I shall help you adapt and let you know what your role will be,” Devika said, crossing her arms and rubbing her chin, “And I will help you with that.” she pointed out.

Crooking my head to the side, I stare at her, confused. Without a word, Devika stood behind me and pushed me over the mirror.

“With this,” Devika said as she pointed to my scars.

I just stared at them without any emotions. As I avert my eyes. Devika lifts my face.

“Why are you acting like that?” Devika frowns.

“Like what?” I asked, bored.

“Like you don’t care?” Devika asks. I was annoyed by her question.

“There’s nothing to care about,” I mumble as my eyes meet my scars. Pink skin were past injuries laid on my pale skin. “I don’t care about them.”

She was noticing that I wasn’t going to budge. Devika asked me to undress.

Holding myself from the wall, I shut my eyes and curse as one of my wounds hurt.

“Sorry,” Devika said, wincing.

“Enough,” I said, moving away. For the last hour, Devika has been trying different dresses. Every dress was a fail, mainly because they had a corset.

Every time I tried one, my wound would bleed.

“How about this one?” Devika said wryly. I looked at the dress she was holding.

“This differs from the others,” I said, frowning.

“Yes, but maybe it looks good?” Devika said, suggesting. I looked at the long black dress she was holding. Long sleeves adorned with diamonds on the sleeves and an open back. It was simple but with a long tail.

“No,” I said, “My scars will be visible.”

“Not really,” Jonathan suggested as he handed me some water, “Devika will cover them.”

“How?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I’m a witch,” Devika said, smiling.

I dropped the glass of water and backed away from her.

“Amari?” Devika said, reaching for my arm.

But I yanked my body away from her touch. I tense up. Both of them looked at me, confused. My body had reacted to her. Just hearing the name made me fear her.

“Princess? Are you alright?” Jonathan asked.

“Yes!” I snap as my body trembles.

I gripped the robe that covered my body.

I tried to calm down as my hand moved to my chest, and I took deep breaths.

“Jonathan, could you give us a moment please,” Devika said as I looked up at her.

“NO!” I yelled as I looked between them.

I was so afraid that I was about to run away.

“Ok, ok, but calm down, Amari. I just wanted to ask you a question,” Devika said, raising her hands. Her green eyes look at my frail body. “Amari, can I ask you something?”

My eyes snap at her. I didn’t know what to do.

“It’s just a question. Jonathan is here,” Devika said as she smiles warmly.

“W-what do you want to ask?” I stutter nervously.

“Amari, did a witch hurt you?” Devika asked, making me cringe.

My mind was registering still that she was a witch, someone who cursed me. Her kind was responsible for my soon-to-be death.

“Amari?” Devika mumble.

“Huh?” I said, looking at her.

“I asked if a witch hurt you,” Devika repeated calmly.

I started feeling sick. What I wanted was to go back to my bedroom and lock myself up.

“Princess? You, come sit down,” Jonathan said, offering me a chair. I slap his arm and back away until my back hits a door. Looking over my shoulder frantically, I ran in and locked the door.

“Amari! Opened the door, please,” Devika said as the door rattled.

Getting scared, I panic.

“I won’t hurt you!” Devika said.

“SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!” I yelled, covering my ears.

Crouching near the toilet. I sob. It was her fault.

I was going to die. Everything was their fault. I had no love, no family, no mother, just because of that damn curse.

As tears slid down my face, I feel that my breathing is becoming erratic. I was looking for something to hold on to when I start seeing black. As I move, I hit my head on something and pass out.

“Princess?” I heard a woman’s voice say.

Groaning, I open my eyes but close them back.

“Princess?” another voice whispered.

“What happened?” I asked as I sat up. My head throbbed.

“Oh, the goddess, you’re fine. You had us worried,” Nora said.

I looked around. Flinching as my hand touches a wound on my head.

“Where am I?” it confused me. It was dark. When I looked around, I find Jonathan, Fae, Nora, and Devika in my bedroom. Locking eyes with Devika, I involuntarily back away in bed.

“Calm down!” Nora said as my eyes met hers, “Breathe princess, breath!”

Moving my eyes back to the armchair. I see Devika with a hurt look.

“How long have I been out?” I asked.

Everyone exchanges look. Worried crossed Jonathan’s face.

“You’ve been out for two days,” Jonathan mumbled, taking me by surprise.

“What? Two days?” I asked. If my guess was correct, today was the event. “Oh, no!” I said, panicking.

“Calm down, princess,” Jonathan said, grabbing my shoulders.

“Calm down? I have to be ready! Maximus will get mad!” I said, standing up.

“Whoa!” Nora said as they held me. Feeling weak, I grab Jonathan’s arms.

“Don’t worry,” I heard Devika say, standing up, “Maximus said you could stay. I told him it was my fault that you got into an accident,” Devika explained, crossing her arms, “Even though he was angry, he understood.”

“No, you don’t understand,” I argue, “He will get mad.”

“He won’t,” Devika smiled.

“No, he will,” I whispered, lowering my head, “Get my dress, Jonathan.”

“What? No, you’re not going like that!” Nora argued.

“I am! And it’s an order!” I snap. I never intended to use my queen command, but I had to. I know that Maximus had agreed, but internally he was furious. He would take out his anger on me.

Everyone in the room stays stunned. Panting, I look at them. As everyone moves. I sit back in bed. Devika just sighed as she left my bedroom.

By the time I was done, it was already past midnight. It worried me I would be late. But I didn’t care; I had to be there.

“You look beautiful, princess,” Nora said, clasping her hands.

“Definitely,” Devika murmurs happily.

I stood in front of the mirror, staring at myself. The long black dress accentuated my thin body nicely. It made me have curves because my breast wasn’t significant. I had no chance with this dress on. Turning around, I stare at my back. Just as Jonathan mentioned, Devika used illusion magic and made my scars disappear. Because of that. They tied my chocolate hair up in a bun, leaving my back and neck bare. I felt exposed in this dress, especially from the back. The wide-open back reached the line of my buttock.

I turned around and found Jonathan holding a black box.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“This is something his majesty brought for you,” Jonathan explained as he revealed what’s inside the box. Eyes wide, I stare at a thin white gold necklace with a diamond tear pendant and a pair of earrings similar to the necklace.

“It’s beautiful,” I whispered in awe.

“Yes, now turn around, dear,” Nora said.

Watching her over my shoulder, I see Nora grab the long necklace.

“This will go like this,” Nora said as the diamond hangs on my bareback.

I watched with curiosity as the diamond gleamed on my back. Putting the earrings on, I turn back around. I stare at my reflection, surprised at how beautiful and different I looked.

“You have a nice face. It was a good idea to leave it almost natural,” Devika said.

Honestly, I was surprised to see the difference makeup could make. Even though I barely had come on, I still looked different. Devika and Fae helped with my makeup.

The only thing they applied was a soft pink blush. They did my eyeshadow, which was something natural with a slight wing at the end, and I wore a red lipstick that made my freckled face look like a doll.

“You look like a doll,” Devika said, smiling. I just stared back at her.

“I think I should be going,” I said, clearing my throat.

“Yes, yes,” Jonathan said as he helped me walk out of the bedroom.

As I was heading down the stairs with Devika, Nora, and Jonathan, I feel a sudden stop. Almost bumping into Jonathan, I look at him confusedly.

“Is something the matter?” I asked, confused.

Jonathan was blocking my view as I move to the side. I found someone I didn’t expect to see.

“My king?” Jonathan said, bowing.

What was Maximus doing here?

Maximus’ stood at the end of the stairs. Leaning against the rail with his eyes closed and arms crossed. Hearing Jonathan’s voice, he looks up.

His eyes move to me. I was seeing him inhale sharply. What was that?

“We thought you had left King Maximus,” Nora said, bowing her head.

“No, I was waiting,” Maximus said as his eyes scanned my body. I was gulping nervously. Jonathan moved to the side as I grip the small purse in my hand tightly.

“You can leave,” Maximus said as he starts going up the stairs.

Lowering my head, I look at the ground. My nails were digging into the purse, seeing his black shoes right in front of me. I wait patiently for his words.

“It was a bloody time you got down,” Maximus said, leaning, “You will pay for making me arrive late.”

Grabbing my hand, he grips it, making me wince in pain. Dragging me down, we walked out until we reached the carriage. As the coachmen open the door. Maximus helps me get in and then shut the doors.

Sitting across me, I nervously grip the dress.

“Listen carefully. Now that we are late, the excuse will be that we were doing something intimate. Even though...” Maximus said, looking at me intently. “I don’t find you appealing at all. You will lie. Saying it was your fault, understood?”

I nodded quickly.

“I asked you a question, Amari!” Maximus growled.

“Yes, yes!” I stutter, “It’s my fault.”

“Bloody hell it is!” Maximus retorted.

“Once we arrive, stop trembling and change that face. I’m not happy with you,” Maximus hissed.

I could feel his stony stare. Taking a deep breath, I try to calm my nerves down.

Feeling the carriage stop. I look outside the window.

“We are here,” Maximus said. Looking outside, I see an enormous building. Distracted, I feel a yank on my arm.

I yelp in surprise.

“Remember what they thought you. You don’t leave my side, and you refrain from answering questions,” Maximus said, looking at me sternly, “Your job is to act as my fiance, nothing more. Unless I tell you to answer, you do. Are we clear?”

“Yes,” I said, staring at his red eyes.

“Oh, and I hope you are ready to dance,” Maximus said as the carriage door opens.

“Dance?” I said, stunned.

“Yes,” Maximus said as he offered me his hand, “I’m the king and host of this event. We just arrived at the perfect time. The first dance is about to begin. So I hope you don’t embarrass me.”

Would we dance? But I had never danced. Gripping his hand, I get down the carriage. Lifting my head, I nervously look up at the sky. The moon reflected down at us.

I just hope I don’t fuck things up.

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