|5.| Between Hate And Love
Memories of such a day are what I least want to remember. I hate him. I just want to get my hands on him and kill him. Never had I felt such a thirst for blood. Was it wrong for me to think like that? I thought I was going crazy. When have I ever thought about such things? Not after all I’ve been through have I ever thought of killing someone.
I washed my face with trembling hands. The door to the room opened, and I heard Maximus asking Michael for me. I couldn’t believe I was pregnant. Maybe he was wrong?
I heard footsteps get closer as I grabbed the towel and dried my face.
“Amari, are you alright?” Maximus asked as I brought myself to smile at him. “Say something.”
“My throat is sore,” I lied as I pretended to feel bad. Maximus smiled softly, approaching me. His hand reached for my face, but I flinched once his hand touched me.
Maximus inhaled as I backed away from him.
“Sorry, I still feel strange,” I said, turning away from him. I couldn’t look at him. What was I supposed to do now?
Michael mentioned I wouldn’t be able to know who the father is until I’m three months. I’m almost two months, so that gave me a sort of relief that possibly Andrei wasn’t the father. On the other hand, it made me sick just thinking that he could be the father of the child I carry. And if it comes to that, I would have no choice but to get rid of the baby.
“Amari?” Maximus called. I jumped and turned to look at him. “You should go to sleep. You don’t look that good.”
I nodded and, squeezing the towel, went back to bed. Michael was still around. He eyed me carefully. I know he was having a hard time, especially after I begged him not to tell Maximus or Azriel about this. I needed to know first before doing anything.
“It’s best if you have some medicine and you’re not allowed to go to the bathroom alone. A servant or Maximus shall accompany you,” Michael sternly voiced out. I gazed at him; he couldn’t do that to me. “Maximus is your mate, so it would be best if he joins you during bath time.”
“I don’t need him,” I said softly, gripping the bedsheets, “I can manage, thank you.”
“Amari,” Michael sighed. There was a plea in his voice as I looked at him. My eyes sting with tears, sniffing; I used the back of my hand to clean my face.
I could feel Maximus staring down at me. A million questions were written all over his face.
“Amari, you almost drown,” Maximus whispered as I closed my eyes and tried to be patient.
“Yes, I told her she should rest better. I gave her some medicine for that,” Michael said. I glance sideways. He wasn’t looking my way, but I could see he hated lying.
Earlier, we had agreed to tell Maximus I fell asleep because it tired me. But would Maximus believe us?
“Well, I should let you rest. If anything happens, call me,” Michael said as we nodded. Hearing Jonathan tells him something, I fix the bed and lay down.
Maximus remained standing. His eyes on Michael as he left the bedroom.
“Tell me what happened, Amari,” Maximus said as I felt my heartbeat fast.
“What?” I try to sound confident.
“Tell me the real reason you almost drown!” Maximus’s voice was raised, but not too much. “You know how scared I was for a moment?” I stared at him with tears. His head down as his lips trembled.
“Maximus, it was an accident,” I tried to say, but he held his face as he shook his head.
“Lies, I’ve been noticing that you’re not sleeping during nights. Instead, you look tired and sometimes scared, like something is making you afraid during the night. Is that what happened on the tower?” Maximus asked as I shook my head desperately.
“It’s not that,” I said, toying with my trembling fingers. How could I explain to him without saying what was happening?
“Then tell me, please. I’m trying my hardest to understand you, but I’ve never been able to read you. So please enlighten me and tell me what is happening?” Maximus pleaded.
I smiled wryly and just stayed silent. I felt terrible, but I had no choice but to hide it.
“Amari, I am waiting. Or would you prefer to tell Azriel about this?” Maximus suddenly said. I lifted my head in surprise.
“You are seriously bringing Azriel into this?” I asked, feeling offended.
“Yes, I am,” Maximus sternly said. He was glaring at me, “He is your mate, and even though I hate this, I had to tell you. Also, I feel you are more comfortable with Azriel than with me.”
“Forget it, I just want to rest,” I said, turning my back to him. I heard him sigh and sit next to me. Then, without another word, I fell asleep.
I sat at the dining table eating some fruit while Maximus read some papers. My eyes move around as everyone brings and takes stuff. I wanted to be all alone, but I had no way. Since the morning, Maximus has been taking me all around the palace. Even to a meeting he had, which I felt like a lamb for sacrifice. I could feel everyone was awkward because of me.
“Eat more,” Maximus ordered. He didn’t look up, his eyes moving around the papers he held.
I looked down at my plate, and I barely had fruits to eat. Gulping down, I grabbed the orange glass and drank it on the go. My stomach wasn’t liking it, and I was about to throw up.
Letting out a breath, I stood up and excused myself.
“Where are you going?” Maximus asked as I gripped my dress tightly.
“Maximus, I need some space. Can I take a pee?” I retorted. He just stared at me and then sighed. Pinching his nose, he nodded.
I hurriedly flee the dining room. I needed an urgent bathroom. Running down one hallway, I remember the guest rooms were closed. Opening a door, I shut it and lock it. I needed some privacy. Heading towards the bathroom, I take several deep breaths. I felt nauseous.
“Breath, Amari, breathe,” I said aloud. Then I felt a throbbing pain that made me sway and fall to my knees. I groaned, holding my head. Finally, the pain and nausea were too much for me.
I crawled towards the toilet as I covered my mouth. Letting everything I had for lunch, I throw up. My head felt heavy, and the pain was making me cry. All you could hear were the retching sounds of my ferocious throw-ups. Five minutes later, I finally could calm down and breathe. I felt so weak.
‘You are fighting me.’ the voice I didn’t want to hear said from behind. I kept my head low. I couldn’t handle another problem. ‘Amari, no Queen Amari.’
I frowned at his words.
I felt a presence behind me. Getting up, I slowly held myself from the toilet and wall.
‘You know all I’m asking is for a simple job, kill him.’
“Who the fuck are you talking about?” I turned and looked at the full-length mirror. The same man stood behind me. But this time, he was not smirking like he always did. Instead, his eyes moved up and down my body.
‘Cursed queen and cursed blood are flowing in the body of someone who got cursed to die once she turned eighteen. Now the curse is gone, but something else might kill you. So do as I say and kill him.’
“Who are you fucking talking about?” I angrily asked, tears sliding down my face.
He approached me. His blue eyes locked with mine as his hand reached for my neck and face. I could feel him holding me, squeezing lightly.
‘Heed my words, my queen. If you don’t want to die, kill him. I don’t need to tell you names. You will easily do it without my help. Just wait because when the time comes, you will strike. But remember, if you don’t do it, he will kill you in his place.’
“Stop it,” I cried as he finally smiled, but this was a usual smile. I could have sworn there was even sadness on it.
‘Kill him, Amari.’
“Please leave me ALONE!” I yelled, covering my face.
‘I can’t.’ he said as his hand lowered to my belly. ‘I see, now I see. This will be easier, my queen.’
He rubbed his hand, making me feel disgusted.
‘You are wondering who I am, right?’ he whispered as his eyes stayed on my belly. ‘I am you, and you are me. You can call me your dark side, but I would prefer if you call me your king.’
“Are you the one who cursed my mother?” I blurt out as tears and snot fall over my pale face. He stopped moving his hand and instead stood straight, holding my shoulder. Giving out a chuckle, he looked at me and leaned down to peck my cheeks.
‘Yes.’ he hissed.
“What is your name?” I asked, knowing he was in a mood to talk.
His eyes met mine, and for a second, he looked away.
‘Cruor.’ and just like that, he disappeared.
I stared at my reflection in the mirror. It was only me, but the feeling was still there. He was not a spirit. He was something evil and dangerous. Walking over to the faucet, I closed my eyes, and images of blood and dead bodies appeared in my mind. I opened my eyes and gasped in fear.
I nervously started washing my face. I needed to clear my mind from everything.
‘You have to.’
‘Yes, do it.’
‘Blood, we need blood.’
I crouched and held my head. All the voices making my head throbs in pain.
‘She can kill him.’
‘Oh yes, do it.’
‘You will kill him.’
‘Blood will strengthen you.’
“Stop it!” I cried. I felt I was losing my mind, “STOP IT!”
Standing, I rushed down the hall.
‘Kill him, or we kill you.’
I quickly rushed down the hall. My heart pounded rapidly against my chest. A cold sweat broke on my forehead as I ran down to my room. These could not be happening. My mind was a turmoil, a complete mess of everything. Feeling the same hazy feeling, I shake my head and try to ignore it.
“Leave! Get out!” I said, hitting my head.
‘You will become ours.’
‘Yes, another one.’
I was running without looking. And that was my mistake, not seeing where I took a step.
Letting out a scream, I roll down the stairs of the palace. Several of the servants screamed and yelled for help as my head hit the marble floor.
I cried in pain. My head hurt so much I could barely see straight.
“YOUR HIGHNESS!” I heard Jonathan called, but my mind was on something else. A pain that felt like my limbs were getting turned had me wailing. My hand quickly reached for my lower abdomen. I tried sitting, but my vision started becoming dark. I let out some cries of pain.
Maximus’s voice finally came into view, but I started losing consciousness. Feeling hands holding me, I tried to sit, but I couldn’t even move.
“CALL MICHAEL NOW!” Maximus growled as I felt his touch. “What the fuck happened, Amari?” his angry voice didn’t go unnoticed.
I looked for him and held him in his arms.
“I’m sorry!” I cried as my back started throbbing. Then, picking me up, I let out a scream.
“DON’T!” Michael yelled from somewhere. Maximus stopped moving and just held me in his arms. “What happened, Amari?” he asked.
“I-I fell,” I tried to explain, but I couldn’t. Maximus growled my way, shutting me.
“Fell?” Maximus growled as his hand squeezed my arms. I let out a wince.
“ENOUGH, MAXIMUS!” Michael ordered, “don’t you see she is hurt?”
My mind moved to one thing in particular. I gasped as I held my abdomen. Something warm trickled down my thighs.
“What?” I heard Maximus mumble in disbelief. Michael cursed.
“Bring her; I need to check her quickly,” Michael ordered as Maximus stood up with me.
Maximus hurried with Michael to one room that was close by. I groaned in pain as he set me down on the bed. Michael started undoing the knot of my skirt as his hand moved over my belly.
“Call Jonathan here,” Michael told Maximus, who just growled and walked to the door. “I have to tell him.”
“No, please,” I pleaded as something ran down my face.
“You have a wound on your forehead. Lay down, Amari,” Michael said, touching me, but I slapped his hand away.
“No!” I cried, “Please, I’m begging you don’t tell him!” My voice trembled as I choked on my last words.
“Amari!” Michael angrily called, “I won’t make the same mistake again. Something similar happened once already. I don’t want that to happen to him.”
I felt confused about what he was talking about. Then, wincing from the pain, I held my head and finally laid down.
“You called?” Jonathan said as his eyes scanned my body. He was stopping where a small amount of blood was forming. “Princess,” Jonathan whispered as a smile spread across his face.
“I need your magic,” Michael said, distracting him, “Please help me.”
“Of course, Michael,” Jonathan said, turning their attention to my belly. I looked to the side and saw Maximus with a frown. I started panting as my head started spinning again.
Feeling my head fall back, I faint.
I drank the cup of wine as my feet paced for the hundredth time, the same spot. My eyes moved back and forth between Amari and her belly.
Two hours ago, Amari fainted, which had Michael panicking. We still didn’t understand what was happening. Why all this was happening, I thought that maybe once we were back, she would be happy and calm, but all I had seen is a mess. We haven’t even been here for a week, and everything was a complete mess. Maybe being away from Azriel was affecting her?
I was so confused and worried that I saw his ashen face when I asked Michael what was happening. I almost faint myself.
Michael told me Amari was pregnant. So she was pregnant, and she didn’t tell me?
According to Michael, they found out yesterday, but it still got me mad she tried to hide it from me. But why? I tried asking Michael, but he didn’t give me an answer. Instead, he insisted on me asking her. What if I wanted to know? Should I ask her now?
I shook my head and kept drinking. Hearing a knock on the door, I looked and found my assistant with some papers. I held my hand and walked over to him. Closing the door from behind, I asked him what he needed.
“Your Majesty, we have the invitations for the masquerade ball ready. We just need your authorization to send them,” he explained as I groaned. Massaging my temple, I grabbed the papers and signed them.
I had forgotten the masquerade ball was going to be soon. With everything happening, I knew I was missing something of importance.
The masquerade ball was an annual event for every empire. This year I was the host, and I only had three weeks to prepare everything. That was the reason I came back. I had a lot of work pending, and I wouldn’t be able to be with her.
“If there’s more work, please bring it over here and bring my stuff over. Some clothes also, please,” I ordered as my assistant nodded.
“Do you need anything, your highness?” Jonathan asked, walking towards me.
“Just get me some food and clean clothes for Amari,” I said, sighing.
“She will be fine,” Jonathan mumbled, making me raise my head. He had a soft smile, reassuring me of all my doubts. “We could help her. So you may relax; they are all fine.”
“All fine?” I frowned. “You mean Amari and the baby?”
I won’t lie; it worried me. I didn’t know who the father of the baby was. It could be mine or Azriels’.
“Oh yes, didn’t Michael tell you?” Jonathan asked, crooking his head. I shook my head and waited for him to continue. “Princess Amari is pregnant with twins. And if you’re worried, they possibly are yours. I know the genes run in you so that you may be at ease.”
I stared at him in shock. Was he serious?
“Michael didn’t mention it,” I explained. Michael wouldn’t have kept that a secret, right?
I know I could trust Jonathan. He was a mage and a good one, just like Michael. The only difference was that Michael was older.
“Yes, I felt it. They are still small, but I could feel the two tiny hearts. Her highness is having twins. I can bet on it,” Jonathan smiled.
I nodded slowly and turned back to the room. Opening the door once again, I find Michael standing in the window. He looked tired. My eyes moved towards a sleeping Amari.
“Michael?” I called from behind. He just looked at me over his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, she will be fine,” Michael answered, which had me shaking my head.
“The babies, how are they?” I asked as he frowned. He looked confused.
“Babies? There’s only one,” Michael explained, but I once again stopped him.
“Jonathan just told me there are two,” I smiled softly. Michael seemed surprised.
“I see; I will check on her again. But if Jonathan says that, then it’s possible. I’m losing my touch after all,” Michael chuckled, “but still. Maximus, something is going on with Amari.”
“I know,” I sighed tiredly, “I asked her, but she doesn’t tell me a word.”
“What about with Azriel?” Michael said as small tightens forms on my chest.
“I bet he doesn’t know a shit,” I said, making him laugh.
“When will he come over?” Michael asked.
“Maybe in three weeks. He said a month, but I had forgotten the masquerade ball is soon,” I sighed, taking a seat on one armchair, “he will be pissed.”
“Why? Because she’s pregnant?” Michael scoffed, “she could have been pregnant with any of you two. It’s not like she is mated with only one person.”
“I know, and I understand that, but will he?” I argued back. Michael just sighed and sat opposite of me.
“Listen, Maximus, both of you would be with Amari for a reason. I don’t know why, but as mates, you guys have no words on it. It’s Amari who will choose and if she chooses both of you. You stupid old fuckers will need to learn to share. Like it or not, she is the one with the control here,” Michael said with a pointed look.
I groaned and nodded obediently.
“Now, have some rest. I will stay here until she wakes up,” Michael waved his hand as he chanted something. I cursed under my breath when my eyes started shutting down, making me fall asleep.