“Even if the truth is that I love Calvin even though I know I can never be with him?” I asked.
She pursed her lips and nodded. “I know it seems cruel to put him through the pain, but wouldn’t you want to know if it were the other way around?”
I hated her for being right. “Yes.” I sighed.
She put her hand on my shoulder and looked at me hard, pulling her brows together. “I know you don’t think there is any chance at a future for you and Calvin, but does that mean that you should both be in pain right now?” She asked. “I mean, even if everything works out and you and Rose are free of all of this, wouldn’t it be better to at least enjoy the time you have together instead of both breaking from the inside out?”
“You’re a very smart girl, Octavia.” I told her and she smiled, tilting her head.
“I know.” She grinned then giggled.
I shook my head at her smiling, then glanced around the room again, the sadness coming back to me. “Can I have a couple of hours alone, and then you bring me Logan?”
“You want to do it today?”
I nodded. “Yeah, before he hears about the whole competition and everything.”
“Ok.” She smiled softly. “You’re doing the right thing.” She whispered.
“It doesn’t make me feel any less shitty.” I replied, guilt coming back to swallow me whole.
Calvin P.o.v ✔
I watched her carefully, trying not to look like I was watching her at all.
She leaned back in her chair and I could see the obvious discomfort in her face, but being the strong woman she is, she hid it well from everyone but me. I know her too well. I’d recognize the way she is holding her eyebrows just slightly higher than usual, and she is biting the inside of her cheek. It’s what she does when she is putting up a front.
She glanced so slightly my way, and now her façade is falling apart. Her warm cheeks began to darken, and I could see the buildup of moisture beginning to form in her eyes. She took a shaky breath, giving away her ill ease, and I jolted in my seat, ready to go to her. To protect her from these awful people who want to watch her suffering. If they loved her as a true queen, they wouldn’t torment her so, but they do. They like the idea of her, and the fieriness they are able to get from her. She amuses them. I want to rip out the eyes of every person in this room, but before I could do anything reckless Octavia gave me a warning look, keeping me in my seat, before she turned to Rachel herself, holding her gaze and keeping her centered.
I listened quietly as the meeting droned on and on, but finally I couldn’t bear to listen to this anymore. They were ruining the plan I had so carefully crafted. I was supposed to have been protecting her, and protecting Rose, but I can’t get anything right. More interesting stories available
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I hadn’t even considered that the council would decide to reinstate Rachel as queen. That obviously won’t work, and neither will me taking Lexton as my wife. I already have a wife, and I will never take another. Until my last breath on my last day, Rachel will always be my queen. I just have to come up with something…anything.
“If we are done here, I have places to be.” I snapped, gaining the council’s attention. Reminding them that the person who put them in power is still in the room.
Marco dismissed me, but not before taking one last shot at Rachel’s confidence.
“We will need to see the competition actually be a competition.” He said. “Make it look good…” He was making sure to twist the knife on Rachel. Pointing out to us both that if we are lying, then he will make us as uncomfortable as possible, and even if we were telling the truth, Rachel was going to have to watch me date Lexton all over again. I turned slightly, ready to permanently shut Marco’s oversized mouth once and for all, but then she stood.
Rachel slowly lifted from her seat, then she faced the room of tormentors and smiled. Her beautiful, perfect smile to everyone, making sure not a single person missed out. “Of course we will give them a good show.” She said confidently.
I was torn nearly in half in my emotions of both being monstrously proud of her for not only taking the last word from Marco, which I know he hates, and for showing the whole room that she wasn’t someone to rattle so easily, but also slightly struck with worry at her words. She couldn’t possibly mean that she wants me and Lexton to be together? That isn’t even a possibility. Lexton is still in Castrum de Petra, but I very rarely see her anymore. I haven’t in years. She herself will likely be highly unhappy with this little arrangement. Although she did want me at one time, she has never, ever, wanted to be the queen here. She only chose to stay here because she simply had nothing to go back to. She had been in an orphanage when she was stolen, and now there was no one, not even a last name for her to take, so of course I had offered that she stay here, but I’d never imagined that something like this would come about.
I followed behind Rachel as she strode down the corridors like she owned them with Octavia close behind me with the group of guards. I tried to just be happy for a moment in the wake of Rachel’s scent wafting around me, pulling me into its warm embrace, but I couldn’t get over that Rachel had been the one to even suggest this dammed idea.
I can’t yet think of what might have worked out better than her just accepting the role of queen and trying to find a way out of it later, but suggesting this? It just doesn’t make any logical sense. Not unless…
The doors of the elevator closed. Cromley was standing quietly at the front right corner, Rachel and Octavia standing in the center, and I found a place in the back left corner.
Rachel slung her head down, catching her face in her hands before tears sprang free, and her sharp gasp filled the small space. I reached, but Octavia had beaten me to her. She held her in her arms, comforting her like I wanted to be. I cursed her silently for being able to touch her while I’m cold and alone, but then I thought of Rachel suggesting that I find a new queen and I felt utterly crushed again. Why had I let Octavia convince me of this fantasy where I am what Rachel wants? If that had been true, she never
would have suggested such a thing. She’d want me to only be hers, not to share me with some other girl, that she now knows would be Lexton of all dammed people.
Octavia tried to comfort Rachel, but she lashed out, pulling away from her. “No! Don’t you see? If I stay here and I am forced to be queen again, then what happens to Rose? We could never bring her here after everything now, the council would have me killed for hiding that information, and it would inevitably lead to the truth about my departure.”
I turned my face towards the wall. I couldn’t stand to see the grief on her face and I didn’t know how to fix any of it. At this point, had I known that things would swing this way, I should have had Rose brought here after all. I would have just had to pretend to have no idea about her. I was so sure my plan was going to work, and now I have ruined both of their lives. Again.
“I know, but we-.” Octavia tried to say but she stopped.
I could feel that Rachel was looking at me, but I couldn’t stand to look back.
“Our only options now are either me being queen, and never having my child back, which I cannot live with, or Calvin has to marry Lexton.” She said shakily, the tears gone, realization of her dyer situation sinking in. I stared at her, trying to covey my apologies, but nothing would come out.
I hated that I had done this. I hated it all. I felt like a complete failure in every sense of the word in every aspect of my life. The council I created has risen up against me, the daughter I have will never know me, and the woman I love will never be anything but disappointed in me.
Rachel reached for me, but I turned away. I didn’t deserve to be touched by her.
“Calvin.” Octavia said my name in her scolding tone, but Rachel shook her head.
“It’s ok.” She muttered. “I understand him being mad at me.”
I couldn’t believe the words that had just passed from her lips.
“Mad at you?” I repeated, my voice harsher than I had intended. How could she possibly believe I was mad at her, or that she’s even given me a reason to be angry? Did that mean that she hadn’t meant that she wanted me to marry someone else? Does she still care like I had thought only moments before those words slipped out of her mouth?
I wanted to smile at myself, but the doors opened wide and I walked out to wait for her at her door, giving us both a moment apart to gather our thoughts. How could I have forgotten such an integral part of who Rachel is? I’ve known from the first few moments of meeting her that she had zero control over the things that came out of her mouth, especially when under pressure.
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I looked up, watching her walk towards me carefully, her expression guarded. Her blue dress swayed around her legs, and her golden blonde curls bounced at her side as she walked towards me, the epitome of beauty all encased in one 5’4 girl. Before I knew it she was standing right in front of me, her crystal blue eyes peering up shyly into my darker blue ones.
“Rachel, I…” I didn’t know what to say. I was too caught up in her to think clearly. Instead of talking I tried to clear my head and put my hand on her door, but as soon as I did, I realized what I was doing. I was about to open the door to our room. The room that holds so many precious memories of this beautiful woman when she was once mine. Memories of happier times that are now painful to revisit when I don’t have her in my arms, her skin against my skin.
As I thought of it, her hand found its way over to mine on the door. Her skin was velvet against mine and the familiarity of her touch encompassed me with an overwhelming euphoria like no other. I couldn’t resist the urge as I slowly lifted her small hand to my mouth and pressed my lips against it, loving that she didn’t even seem like she was considering taking her hand away. It was like she wanted to touch me as badly as I wanted to touch her.
“Calvin,” My name on her lips killed me with pleasure. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…” I stopped her pointless apologies as I placed her hand to the side of my face, closing my eyes, imagining all of the times she’d touched me like this years ago.
“Please, Rachel.” I whispered to her. “Don’t apologize to me” I told her. I don’t deserve it. Not until I find a way to free you and reunite you with our beautiful little princess.
I will find a way. I slid her hand back down and held it out in front of my face, carefully bringing the tips of each of her fingers to my lips, kissing them tenderly. I stared down into her eyes, and I hardly
contained my smile when I noticed it had been a solid twelve seconds since the last time she had taken a breath.
“Breathe.” I whispered and she obeyed. It was proof to me that Octavia really had been right, which means she’ll be telling me she told me so soon, but Rachel is definitely still affected by me. It may only be physical, but that is a start. I smiled, but hated that she was the one feeling bad about our current predicament. “I know that you have no control over your…” Just saying or thinking the word wasn’t enough. Not when her mouth was right there in front of me and her eyes were practically begging me to kiss her. I held back, wanting to wait until I am positive that it is what she wants, and not just what I am thinking in the moment, so instead I reached out, brushing my fingers against her full pink lips and practically crumbling to the floor as they parted and she sighed a slight moan at my touch. I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering to all the other sounds I have been able to make her make when I touched her body. She used to love it when I would-.
“That has definitely not changed over time.” She whispered breathily.
“What?” I was confused, trying to figure out how she had known what I was thinking, and curious if her mind had taken her to the same wayward thoughts that mine had.
She looked down shyly. “My lack of control over my mouth.” She explained and I wanted to die at where I had let my head run off to. “I never learned.” She smiled up at me and I couldn’t help but to smile back at her.
ANYTHING FOR RACHEL