Go To Chapter VII
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Rip lingered in the shower longer than normal. This was the shower in the bathroom attached to his room, not the shower in the men's locker room, so he was somewhat assured of privacy. He felt like he desperately needed to calm down and figure out how to not blurt out everything that had happened the next time he saw R.J. He started banging his head on the wall.
“How could I be so stupid!” He muttered in anguish. He's going to think I'm a pervert and he's going to hate me!
The door opened, forcing Rip to abruptly stop creating a racket on the shower wall.
“What's that noise, and what's taking you so long? I've already eaten breakfast and gotten ready for morning sparring,” R.J. informed him.
“Oh just shoot me now!” Rip whispered so softly that R.J. had to mentally rewind the sentence a couple of times to figure out what was said. Suddenly, Rip gasped in sudden understanding. “Jenna!”
Of course! I should get more serious with Jenna! If I do, I'll forget all about R.J.!
“What about Jenna?” R.J. asked, using the toilet since he was in the bathroom and the sound of the water running made him have to go.
Rip peeked around the edge of the curtain. Images of what he had done last night entered his mind causing him to turn red and groan in longing. He forced himself to answer R.J.'s question.
“Jenna's waiting for me to spar with her. She's also been hinting that I should ask her out. I think I'm going to do that.”
“Why?” R.J. wondered curiously, flushing the toilet.
Rip hopped back to avoid the suddenly scalding water. “Because I like her and she's easy to get along with. I know she'll have my back in a fight and well... everyone thinks we've been going out for years anyway, so why not ask her out?”
R.J. was silent, he didn't know what to say. That was all true, but he had a feeling that Rip wasn't telling him everything. His most burning question erupted without warning. “Is there anyone else you like? More than Jenna, I mean.”
Rip decided to turn the water off so that he could avoid the question, but it only bought him a couple of seconds. “Uh... I'm gonna be late for sparring.”
“Yeah, okay,” R.J. replied in disappointment. He left the bathroom so that he could think. He was so confused right now, and normally talking to Rip helped clear his head, but Rip refused to actually talk to him about the confusing topic.
Rip exited the shower and got dressed in record time. He rushed off to find Jenna. Going out with her will fix me. I'll fall in love with her, and we'll eventually get married and have kids and...
Rip took a deep breath. And then I'll live with her instead of R.J., and I won't think about him like this anymore.
R.J. followed Rip at a normal pace. By the time he got to the sparring room, he saw Rip dragging Jenna towards the almost never used hallway. … The same hallway that turned into a corridor that led to the Prison. It was just 50 feet away that R.J.'s dad had been shot and killed in an attempt to hurt Rip.
Rip kissed Jenna urgently. This was the first time he had initiated a kiss, and Jenna was beside herself with happiness. She wrapped her arms around Rip's neck, and pressed her body into his.
R.J. watched them with a dark expression. It took him a minute to realize why it hurt so much to see them kissing. I'm jealous! Not jealous in a 'you're stealing my best friend' kind of way, but jealous in a 'that's mine!' way.
“Sorry to interrupt,” R.J. stated loudly so they would definitely hear him, “but I need Rip's help for a minute.”
“No problem,” Jenna replied. “Should I tell your mom that you two won't be at sparring?”
Rip shrugged but R.J. nodded. “Yeah, this might take a while.”
“Okay, see you later,” Jenna waved and left.
R.J. wanted to take Rip onto the roof where they likely wouldn't be interrupted, but realized that there were security cameras up there. Taking Rip to their room seemed like a bad idea, so he decided to bring him into a private conference room; dragging him by the hand. Once alone R.J. punched Rip across the jaw.
Rip was confused and his expression clearly showed it as he rubbed his jaw.
R.J. continued. “I didn't realize that you were the type to run away when faced with a dilemma rather than stay and fight!”
“Wait... What are you talking about?!” Rip demanded.
“Jenna! You're only with her because you are too scared to admit that you'd rather be with someone else!” R.J. explained emphatically.
Rip felt his heart stop. He pretended like he still had no idea what R.J. was talking about.“Who?”
R.J. roared in frustration, and then decided to just make it absolutely clear so that there was no misunderstanding. He took a deep breath, and then kissed Rip.
Rip was too stunned to do anything for a minute, but then his feelings for R.J. took over and he melted. He wrapped his arms around R.J. tightly, and backed him into the wall. He felt ravenous, and demanded a kiss so deep that he thought he might get lost in it.
R.J. felt his heart pound erratically. No wonder I've been silent and moody lately! I haven't wanted to admit to myself that watching Rip with Jenna made me angry! I wanted to kill her for touching him! He tugged on the back of Rip's shirt, trying to meld their bodies together so that they could never be separated again.
“Uh … Nevermind, I'll use a different room!” The door shut so quickly that it thundered as if it had been slammed.
“Oh my god!” Rip wailed, feeling as if he had just been shot, and was now dying. “My dad walked in on us!”
“What do we do?” R.J. asked.
“I don't know! Everything is happening so fast!” Rip exclaimed, sounding like he was about to cry. “Why did you kiss me anyway?”
R.J. got very quiet, and looked at his feet. “Because... Well... Why did you do what you did to me?”
Rip blushed redder than ever and stammered. The urge to cry got harder to fight, but he managed to hold back. “I, uh... I was drunk and...”
“Don't lie to me!” R.J. yelled angrily. “I know you've kissed me before!”
Rip finally lost it. He pressed his head to the wall to hide the tears streaming down his cheeks as he quietly begged. “Please don't hate me! I couldn't stop myself! I'm trying hard not to feel this way about you, but I...”
R.J. stroked Rip's hair, and then pulled him so that Rip's head was resting on his chest rather than the wall. “Hey... I'm not mad, and I don't hate you.”
It took him a moment to gather up the courage, but he finally forced himself to continue. “Rip... you're the only person in my life that I felt I could truly trust. You are the only one who has been there for me since the first day we met. I betrayed you and you forgave me! I would do anything for you...”
Rip slowly stopped crying; calmed by R.J.'s honesty. A frown pulled his brows together. “But … that sounds like … like … you're only trying to be nice to me. Like you're only trying to pay me back, or something.”
R.J. shook his head. “No! It's not like that at all! When I see you kissing Jenna, I want to jump in and start a fight!” He kissed Rip again to remind him that he was the one who had finally gathered the courage to do so just a few minutes ago.
Rip was completely relieved. “I was so afraid that you would hate me for being weird... perverted... dirty...”
R.J. shook his head.
“So...” Rip wondered. “What do we do now? I really don't want to tell everyone and then turn on the TV to find out that it's on the evening news.”
“I agree!” R.J. stated fervently. “Maybe we should just keep this to ourselves.”
“But what about Jenna?” Rip wondered.
“Of course we'll have to tell her,” R.J. replied, obviously jealous at the idea of Jenna kissing Rip ever again.
Rip squeezed R.J.'s hand with a smile. “Come on, let's go do that.”
They walked to the door, and then opened it just a crack so they could peek into the hall.
“Um, I wonder if we should go find my dad or avoid him for the rest of our lives?” Rip asked quietly.
As it turned out, Henry was waiting for them – leaning up against the wall next to the door – and heard the question. “I'd say avoiding me for the rest of your lives is probably going a bit too far.”
Rip jumped. He stifled a shout of surprise, and then pressed a hand to his rapidly beating heart. “Dad...”
Henry gestured for them to step back so that he could join them in the room. “I canceled the meeting I was going to have so that I could talk to you two.” He shut the door behind them, and then stared at them silently for a moment.
Henry held up a hand. “You don't have to explain. I'm pretty sure I have a good idea of what's going on. I just want to let you know that I'm not upset. Shocked, yes, but not upset.”
Rip was honestly speechless. R.J. gave a small smile, fidgeting nervously. “Thanks... Mr. Plantagenet...
Henry gave him a puzzled look. “Haven't we gotten to the stage where you call me dad yet? Or at the very least Henry.” By this, he was referring the the fact that he and Renee had cared for and all but adopted R.J. for the last three and a half years.
R.J. chuckled, and nodded. “Thanks, Henry.”
“Come here,” Henry insisted, pulling both boys into a hug. “You two could never do anything to make me want to stop talking to you. So please don't feel like you have to avoid me just because you're going through an awkward and embarrassing time.”
He paused to chuckle. “Of course, that doesn't mean I want to hear all the little details that are better off remaining private!”
Rip and R.J laughed in agreement.
After that, Henry was back to business as usual. “Since you've already skipped morning sparring, you should both go gear up. Remember, you're scheduled to go on patrol with me in 20 minutes.”
Rip wanted to protest that they were old enough to go on patrol by themselves now, but Henry held up a hand with a knowing smirk.
“And before you can even argue, I should also let you know that you're going to be practicing your driving so that you can not only pass your driver's test, but the rigorous and demanding Heroes driving test too,” he informed his son.
Rip immediately grinned. “Yes sir!” He beckoned to R.J., and they ran off to the gear room together.
That evening, when they returned from patrol, Jenna was waiting for Rip. She had been answering the phone all day, so they had talked from time to time, but they hadn't had a chance to actually talk. She practically ambushed Rip the moment he stepped out of the patrol car.
“Come with me!” She insisted, dragging him to where she had his hoverboard waiting for them. She hopped on, and then waited for him to comply. He took a deep breath – glancing back at R.J. and his dad – and then stepped onto the board in front of her.
“Where are we going?” He asked as she snuggled up to his back and wrapped her arms around his waist.
“To the park or anywhere really, I just don't want to be interrupted again like we were this morning,” she told him.
Rip flew them several feet up, and then in the general direction of the park. “Um, Jenna?”
“Yeah?” She asked almost breathlessly, certain that he was finally about to ask her out.
“I need to tell you something important.” He stopped them so that they were hovering over a tree and high enough up that no one could really hear them. Well, not unless they happen to fly by on their own hoverboard. He carefully turned around so that he was facing her.
She held onto him tightly so that she didn't wobble and knock them off balance. “Tell me what?”
“I think I'm in love... with someone else...” Rip confessed.
“What?” Jenna asked in confusion.
“Listen, I really like you, and I consider you one of my best friends, but I really think I love someone else. I figured I'd better tell you now before we went any further.”
“Who,” Jenna demanded, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Who is this other person that you love?”
“I don't want to tell you who,” Rip replied evasively.
Jenna huffed almost derisively. “You say I'm one of your best friends, but you won't even trust me to know who has stolen your heart!”
“It's not that! I just... I just don't know anything for sure yet. I only figured it out this morning...”
“This morning...” Jenna murmured. Her eyes got round, and she gaped in stunned realization. “R.J. …”
Rip nodded slowly in confirmation.
“Oh...” Jenna murmured softly. “I see that so clearly now. You two were always very close, and when we started hanging out more, R.J. seemed resentful. He's the one who interrupted us this morning because he was jealous. Why didn't I realize that sooner?”
Rip shrugged. “How could you have? We didn't realize it!”
“Please don't dump me on live TV!” Jenna begged. “I know it's selfish, but I'd rather let the city go on thinking we're together. We never were together, so nothing has to change, except... I guess I'll have to stop kissing you.”
“I don't want the entire city to know what's going on either!” Rip agreed. “But you're right; you can't kiss me anymore.”
Jenna was still crying, but now she buried her face in his chest. “I think I've loved you since I first saw you, but... looking back... You've always been more interested in R.J. than in me. I think somewhere deep inside, I half knew this was going to happen.”
“I'm sorry,” Rip apologized, trying to comfort her with a hug.
“You know what?” Jenna asked suddenly, wiping the tears from her eyes. “My mom said something to me not too long ago that makes a lot of sense. She told me that I seemed to be slacking off as a Hero in training. When I was at home, rather than practice my skills, I'd lay on my bed thinking about you. She was worried that I was just pretending to be a Hero so that I could be near you.”
Jenna shook her head with a small laugh. “I got so angry at her for thinking that! But in a way, she was right. I was letting you distract me from what I really want in life. I've wanted to be a Hero since I was old enough to point a toy gun at an imaginary bad guy! Maybe this is my wake up call; telling me to focus on what I really want before I lose track of it completely.”
“That's an interesting way to look at it,” Rip said, impressed with how well she was taking the news.
“Can you bring me home now? I need to cry, eat a gallon of ice cream, and then take a hot bath,” Jenna informed him.
“O... kay,” Rip replied in concern. He guided them to her house, and then disengaged the gravity so that she could hop off.
“I'll see you tomorrow for sparring,” she stated with a small wave, and then ran all the way to her bedroom.
Rip floated home, not in a rush to get back. It's going to be bed time soon, and then what?
His mom was just setting dinner on the table. She pulled Rip into a hug. “Your dad told me what happened. I want you to know that I'm not disappointed, and I'm not going to love you any less if you decide that girls just aren't for you.”
“Thanks mom,” Rip sighed in relief, and then returned her hug with a tight squeeze.
She laughed. “Hey! We're Heroes! We spend most of our time defending good guys from bad guys, and the rest of the time we're defending the rights of all people to live freely. How could we turn our backs on everything we believe just because you're our son?”
Rip didn't say anything. He hadn't had any time to think about it at all, but if he had, he probably would have realized that his parents would be okay with it. The rest of the city, however... Well, even though it was supposedly acceptable to be gay, there was still harassment and judgment. Enough to be cautious about going public with the news.
They ate dinner in silence at first, and Rip felt awkward. Finally, Henry started telling jokes about their day. After that, it felt like a normal family meal, and Rip mentally sighed in relief. Even though they had said they were okay, it hadn't really felt like it.
Then – much too soon in Rip's highly nervous opinion – it was time for bed. Rip could see his parents notice the nervous tension that suddenly sprang up between him and R.J. Henry glanced at Renee, who shrugged, and then muttered in her husband's ear so that they couldn't hear her.
“It's not like we have an extra room for R.J. to stay in. I guess we just have to trust them to do what's right for them. Besides, it's probably already happened.”
Henry nodded in reluctant agreement, unable to argue any particular point. “Uh... good night boys.” He said and then gestured for his wife to follow him.
She smiled, and gave each of them a hug first. “Remember to set your alarm, you have early morning phone duty,” she reminded R.J.
“Good night,” she wished them, and then followed her husband to their room.
“I'll be damned if they're the only ones having fun tonight, Mrs. Plantagenet,” Henry whispered in her ear, making her giggle.
Meanwhile, Rip and R.J. were still in the dinning room, too nervous to go to their room.
“So... uh...” Rip finally managed to say. “What happens now?”
R.J. looked at his feet. “I won't actually be 16 for another month, and I was kinda thinking that we'd wait until then before doing anything serious. That way...” R.J. hesitated, not sure how to say this.
Rip smiled, already knowing what he was going to say. “That way we'll have had a month to get used to the idea of going out, and if we still want to do it then, we won't have any regrets.”
R.J. nodded in agreement. “Because if we just went ahead and did it tonight, and then felt weird in the morning... We could ruin our friendship.”
“That's exactly how I feel!” Rip felt like a weight had just been taken off his chest. “Now there's no pressure; we can just kiss and we both know that the other isn't expecting anything more.”
Their nervousness changed to excitement. Suddenly they couldn't wait to get to their bedroom! They smiled at each other as they walked. It seemed to take forever, but finally their door was closed and they were pretty much guaranteed privacy.
Rip placed a hand on R.J.'s jaw and neck. “Are you sure this is okay?”
R.J. nodded. They leaned into each other, their mouths joining as if made to be together. As soon as one kiss ended, another took it's place.
Rip tugged R.J.'s shirt off, and then let R.J. return the favor. They also removed their pants, but left their boxers on as a clear signal that they weren't going to go too far.
R.J. resumed their kiss, but now he was the demanding one. He backed them towards Rip's bed. Rip hadn't expected the bed, and they ended up tumbling onto it. Both laughed, shifting until they were cuddled up together.
“As much as I would love to kiss you all night, I do have to get up at 2AM for phone duty.” R.J. stated.
“At least you can go back to sleep when your done,” Rip pointed out with a wry smile. “I'm scheduled to go on patrol with dad at 8 AM. Which means I have to get up by 6 for breakfast and morning sparring, and then go straight to work. All I really want to do tomorrow is snuggle up in bed with you.”
“Me too,” R.J. murmured, kissing Rip again.
They held each other tight and kissed until R.J.'s alarm on his cellphone went off.
“Oh crap!” R.J. shouted in astonishment. “I've got to get ready for my shift!”
“Already?!” Rip asked incredulously. “I'm sorry, I should have let you sleep!”
“Don't be,” R.J. chuckled. He kissed Rip once more, tempted to linger in bed with him longer, but forced himself to get up.
“I feel like I should keep you company,” Rip admitted guiltily.
R.J. shook his head. “Don't. As you said, I can go back to bed later, but you need at least a little sleep before you go on patrol.”
Rip nodded as R.J. went to take a quick shower, spending a good half of it taking care of a need that had been building all night. As he got dressed, he noticed that Rip was fast asleep. He grinned, and lightly ruffled Rip's hair.
“Aww, you look like a cute little kid when you sleep... Richard,” he whispered. A quick little kiss later, R.J. left the room.
“Good thing I only have to go downstairs,” R.J. muttered to himself, certain that he'd probably not make it if he had to drive somewhere.
Jack just so happened to be the person already on phone duty. “Coffee?”
R.J. nodded fervently. “Yes, please!”
Jack laughed. “I thought teenagers had no problems staying up all night!”
“Ha!” R.J. snorted. “I'm usually too exhausted to stay up until midnight even. It's just, tonight, I didn't get any sleep at all, and now I really wish I had!”
Jack grinned suspiciously. “Oh really? What were you doing?”
R.J. blushed, took the mug of coffee from Jack, and turned to add sugar and cream to it. “Nothing.”
“Riiiight!” Jack stated, but then decided that he was too tired to heckle R.J. any further. “Well anyway, I'm gonna take off. I want to catch some Zs before my daughter wakes me up. … She's adamant about never missing a morning sparring session!”
“Go ahead and get some sleep. I've got this,” R.J. assured him.
Jack took off with a friendly wave.
Unfortunately, there weren't any calls to occupy R.J.'s attention until after 6AM, which meant that he had to exercise and drink an entire pot of coffee just to keep from dozing off.
Jack returned with his daughter Gracie just as Jenna arrived. They were both early for sparring, and R.J. wondered if they had even eaten breakfast. He checked his watch, and realized that Rip was more than likely just pouring cereal into a bowl at that very moment.
Jack whistled in mock disapproval. “Damn! You look terrible! Staying up all night really disagrees with you!”
“Ha ha,” R.J. replied sarcastically.
“If you want, I'll take over phone duty so you can get some sleep,” Jack offered.
“Nah, I've only got a little more than an hour left,” R.J. declined. “I think I can manage.”
“Want me to brew you another pot of coffee?” Jack asked.
R.J. shook his head. “I'm afraid that if I drink anymore, I'll be too wired to sleep!”
Jack laughed and then headed to the locker room. Gracie had long since ran off to get ready. This meant that Jenna was alone with R.J.
She regarded him silently for a couple of moments. Her eyes were slightly red, and R.J. realized that she must have been crying all night. She also looked like she was fighting the urge to kill him. Her entire demeanor had darkened the moment Jack had mentioned the R.J. had been up all night.
R.J. decided to say something before she exploded and started screaming for all to hear. “Jenna... You know how the media has assumed that you and Rip were going out for years?”
“Yeah,” she murmured quietly.
“Well, now you seem to be assuming something happened that hasn't. Rip and I are brand new, you know? We don't quite know how we feel yet,” R.J. tried to explain.
Jenna nodded. “I understand that, I do... I just can't help feeling like I'd like nothing better than to kick your ass!” She exclaimed quietly so that no one else would hear her.
“Okay,” R.J. agreed. “I get off phone duty at 8, just as sparring ends. We'll wait until the room clears out, and then we'll spar. Just you and me.”
Jenna smirked. “That's a great idea! I'll be waiting...” She walked away, certain that she would win the match.
R.J. got phone call after phone call, which made the end of his shift arrive surprisingly quickly. None of them were serious, but even so, he ended up talking on the phone until almost 8:15.
Renee took over the phones, since she always had phone duty after sparring. A call came in immediately – which she answered – a frown wrinkling her brow as she noticed R.J. follow Jenna into the sparring room.
Adrenaline raced through R.J.'s veins, making him feel wide awake. Jenna bounced lightly as he warmed up. She was already sweaty from the morning, and kept hitting her fists together in a boxing maneuver.
The moment R.J. signaled that he was ready, Jenna attacked him. At first, they planned to play by the rules of sparring, but the rules went out the window about a minute later. Jenna seriously wanted to kill R.J., and at the moment, he felt like he'd happily return the favor.
They were evenly matched, so they managed to block most of each other's blows, but since they weren't playing nice, when they did connect, it did damage. Both of them soon looked like they had been on the wrong end of a vicious gang brawl. After a half an hour, both were panting heavily from exertion, but neither was willing to call it quits.
Jenna found an opening, and threw R.J. to the ground. She landed on him, and then punched him in the face repeatedly.
R.J. had officially run out of energy, and welcomed the impending blackness of unconsciousness.
“Jenna!” Renee shouted in disbelief as she finally got a chance to come check on them. “Stop!”
It was hard, but Jenna forced herself follow orders. She rolled to the side, and lay panting as the rage faded. R.J. hadn't passed out yet, and seriously wished he had. Jenna unexpectedly started giggling.
“I guess I won!” She said.
R.J. laughed. “I guess you did.”
Their laughter got harder and harder, and Renee watch them in utter bafflement. They sounded fine, but they looked terrible! Squaring her shoulders, she decided that this was an excellent time to use her first aid skills.
To her relief, nothing was broken, but the bruises indicated that they were both going to be in serious pain for a couple of days. There might even be internal bleeding. She sighed, and pulled out her cellphone to call Jenna's parents.
“Hi, it's Renee... there's been a situation. It seems Jenna and R.J. had a disagreement and decided to settle it with their fists when no one was looking. I think it would be a good idea to bring her to the doctor just to be sure she's okay.”
Jenna's mom agreed to come get her right away, and Renee then called for someone to cover her phone shift so that she could bring R.J. in. Surprisingly, both were now asleep.
Two hours later, Renee chatted with Jenna's mom on the phone, and was relieved that neither of them was seriously injured. Just seriously bruised! They both looked worse than ever with swollen eyes and puffy lips; not to mention black and purple marks all over their body.
“Care to explain what that was all about?” Renee asked as she drove R.J. home. He was awake, but only because he was waiting to get into his bed.
He shrugged. “Just... we just had to fight and get it out of our system.”
“Do I have to keep you two separate from now on?” Renee wondered.
R.J. shook his head. “Nope. I think we'll be fine from now on.”
R.J. was asleep the moment he hit his bed, and hoped to stay that way until tomorrow morning. However, Rip woke him up shortly after his patrol ended at 2PM.
“Oh my god! Are you okay? What happened?” Rip demanded, shaking R.J. awake.
“Ask your mom,” R.J. slurred sleepily.
Rip shook his head, and snuggled up to R.J. “I'll ask her later. Right now, I need a nap!”
R.J. nodded his head, mumbling in agreement.
Shortly before dinner, Renee and Henry decided to check on R.J. to see if he felt like eating. They stood in the doorway staring at the sleeping boys.
“Aww...” Renee purred at the sight of them cuddled up, asleep. “How adorable!” She pulled out her cellphone, and snapped a quick picture.
Henry chuckled. “That's going to be blackmail later, isn't it?”
“Oh yeah!” Renee agreed.
She sat on the edge of the bed, and gently shook them awake. “Rip... It's almost time for dinner. R.J., do you think you'll be able to eat?”
Rip moaned because he was damn near starving. “Food!”
R.J. moaned because he hurt, a lot. “Pain...”
“I tell you what, I'll get you some pain killers, and then I'll have Rip bring some food after they've had a chance to kick in,” Renee suggested.
“Sounds good,” R.J. agreed.
Rip sat up and then rubbed his eyes. With red cheeks, he subtly checked to make sure he was still fully clothed, and then slid off the bed.
“So, mom, R.J. said you'd tell me why he looks like he lost a fight with a champion boxer.”
Renee shrugged, leading Rip out of the room. “All I know is that he and Jenna beat each other up. She looks as bad as he does, but thankfully they'll both be fine in a couple of days.”
“He fought with Jenna?” Rip asked incredulously. “Why would he do that?”
Henry chuckled, following them. “I can think of one reason.”
Rip rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Idiots...”
For R.J.'s birthday, he asked for a small party. He didn't really want to invite anyone other than Rip and his parents, but Renee insisted that – if they were going to throw a party anyway – that they invite all the Heroes. This meant that R.J.'s party was about a 1/3 the size of Rip's. R.J. had never wanted to make a big deal out of his birthday, usually wanting to simply go see a movie, but this big little party seemed easy enough to handle.
Once again, Henry and Renee gave permission for a smaller after party for just the guys, but both Rip and R.J had learned their lesson the first time. They wisely drank only a little bit here and there. By midnight, the guys were all ready to pass out, but Rip and R.J were actually sobering up.
R.J. cast Rip a curious look, and Rip nodded. Rip took off while R.J. thanked everyone for the party. Guys kept trying to delay his departure by pressing more drinks into his hands, but he set them all down and insisted that he was exhausted. Finally, the two boys were alone in their room.
Rip decided to speak first. “You said we should wait until your birthday to be sure that we really wanted to do this... I'm sure... Are you?”
R.J. nodded, deciding not to say anything at all. Instead, he simply kissed Rip, and kept on kissing him until their natural hesitation melted away.
Afterwards, they lay in a heap, holding hands. Rip bit his lip in confusion, and looked into R.J.'s eyes.
“Hey... why do you call me Richard when you're cumming?”
R.J. blushed. “Uh... Well, everyone else calls you Rip, and so – in a way – Richard is a special name.”
Rip laughed. “That's true! Even though the media uses my full name from time to time, they have actually caught onto my nickname too. … I like it when you call out my name,” he finished in a sensual murmur.
“Can you...” R.J. hesitated, inexplicably embarrassed. “Just when we're alone... Can you call me by name. My real name I mean.”
Rip smiled, giving him a little kiss as a reward. “Sure... Randy...”
R.J. could not believe how happy he was just then. He squeezed Rip tight and then blurted out, “I think I love you!”
Rip laughed. “Then we're even, because I think I love you too.”
“Let's do it again!” R.J. suggested eagerly.
“I was hoping you'd say that!”
Go To Chapter VII
Go To Chapter VII
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
A while back, I found an awesome picture and saved it to my computer, and then I forgot about it. Today I was looking through my pics just because, and I ran across the pic I forgot about. I was just floored!!! After I saved it to my computer - much later, I had already forgotten all about it - I wrote a story with the main character named Shahi. So when I saw this pic, I felt awestruck! In my opinion, this picture could actually be of my character, except I always pictured her with longer hair.
Then, since I was looking through my pics, I decided to change my background on my computer. Here's what I chose :-) Maybe you sense a pattern, heh heh...
Then, since I was looking through my pics, I decided to change my background on my computer. Here's what I chose :-) Maybe you sense a pattern, heh heh...
They emerged from the warm ocean water and let the tropical breeze dry their naked bodies for a moment before walking towards their clothes and the blanket they had waiting for them. Phillip firmly held onto their wriggly daughter so that she couldn't slip out of his hands and fall onto the sandy beach. Cedric got one of her nappies and then fastened it on her securely before setting her in between them as they lay on the blanket. They didn't want her to accidentally get sand in sensitive and hard to clean areas!
“Lita is such a natural swimmer that I thought she was going to try and live on the ocean floor!” Phillip exclaimed. “It's a good thing I had a short rope tying her to me in case she slipped out of my grasp!”
“I noticed!” Cedric responded. “She must think she's part fish!
Lita amused them for a while as she played with the sand at the edge of their blanket. She was just shy of one year old and could crawl, but she still looked tiny for her age. It fascinated her to see fistfuls of sand fall onto the blanket and then be kicked off.
Cedric sighed. “We're running out of money... I think we might have to go home soon after all.”
Phillip shrugged. “We could always try getting jobs.”
“Doing what?” Cedric asked incredulously.
“I could easily be a bodyguard. There are plenty of wealthy families on this Island that would happily pay for a strong and well trained swordsman to guard them.”
Cedric tossed his head side to side in reluctant agreement. “Especially with the high risk of pirates or thieves pillaging.” Cedric referred to the fact that this Island – with it's rich fertile soil and bountiful harvests – attracted both wealthy men hoping to increase their business ventures and dishonest men who had no problems trying to take the wealth for themselves.
Cedric sighed. “I suppose I could too. I may not be on the same level as you as a swordsman, but I am proficient in fire magic. I could easily protect someone from a pirate attack.”
Lita yawned, completely unconcerned by their conversation. A moment later, she curled up in the middle of the blanket, and fell asleep. Both Phillip and Cedric took this as their cue to turn onto their stomachs and take a nap as well.
“I thought you hated war,” Phillip remarked.
“This isn't war really. It's simply protecting something important to someone for a price,” Cedric explained.
“Pardon my intrusion,” a man said as he and a woman emerged from a path through a thick jungle-like area of vegetation. “I couldn't help but overhear your conversation as we strolled this way.”
The woman was dressed as a wealthy woman should be, and carried a parasol to protect her skin from the sun. She blushed, averted her eyes, and held one hand to her cheek in embarrassment at the sight of them.
Neither Prince felt the need to cover up since they weren't showing anything other than their naked backsides. Cedric raised himself onto his elbows so that he could see the couple better.
“Did you say that you're both bodyguards looking for work?”
“We did,” Phillip answered, twisting his torso slightly to look at them.
“It just so happens that my wife and I were discussing hiring bodyguards, but all the good ones are taken. We can't pay as much as some, but we can offer room and board in addition to your pay... Though, by the looks of it, at least one of you has a wife and this babe to shelter too...” the man explained.
“No.. no wives, just the two of us and this baby,” Cedric informed them.
“I... see...” the man murmured, looking slightly embarrassed himself now. Unexpectedly, he started to laugh. “Well, I guess I needn't fear that my wife's eye will be caught by your looks, or rather I should say that you won't be tempted by hers!”
Phillip cast Cedric a smirk that plainly stated I wouldn't say that! But he kept his mouth shut. Cedric sent Phillip a questioning look that asked should we accept their offer?
Phillip nodded. “How fortunate we are! This is the first time anyone else has come to this beach since we arrived on the Island. We rather thought that it was undiscovered.”
The wife laughed softly. “That's because this is part of our land, and we'd been away for some time.”
“Sorry,” Cedric apologized. “We didn't know.”
“That's quite all right,” the husband assured them. “It's fortunate for us that you found this place. It's almost as if we were fated to meet. Now, if you'll excuse us, we'll continue our walk along the beach so that you can get dressed. After that, I'd like to see your skills.”
Cedric nodded in agreement and then watched them walk away.
“I guess we'd better get dressed then!” Phillip sighed reluctantly.
In their two years of marriage, Phillip had often practiced his skills, but Cedric hadn't. He rather hoped that he would forget all knowledge pertaining to war. Even so, he could always feel his magic bubbling inside as if it were just waiting to erupt.
Almost a half an hour later, the potential employers were sincerely impressed by both of them, and gladly hired them. They were shown the way to the secluded mansion, and given a decently spacious guest room – one of several that were intended for less important guests. The bigger guest rooms were reserved for the wealthy or the titled. They had to retrieve their belongings and pay what they owed at the inn they were staying at, but soon they were settled in nicely.
The moment Lita was asleep for the night, Cedric pushed Phillip onto their new bed. “I'd say this is cause for celebration.”
Phillip lay on his back watching Cedric climb on top of him. “Plus, we need to mark this bed as part of our territory.”
Cedric pushed Phillip's legs apart and then got into position to enter him. Phillip chuckled. “Oh ho! Skipping straight to the main course I see.”
Covering Phillip's mouth with his in a demanding kiss, Cedric roughly entered Phillip in one long thrust. Phillip grunted, but they had been lovers long enough by now that he was prepared for anything.
The entire bed shook as Cedric thrust as rapidly as he possibly could. He was in the mood to just pound into his lover for as long as he could last. Far too soon, he buried himself deep and pumped Phillip full.
Phillip chuckled, panting lightly. He pushed Cedric off of him, and guided his head down to his lap. “You finished before I could, so now you have remedy that.”
Cedric really just wanted to curl up and go to sleep, but he opened his mouth obediently. Using one hand to keep Cedric's head in place, Phillip repeatedly thrust as far down Cedric's throat as he could go. He grunted softly at how good it felt.
At the last moment possible – when Phillip had to decide whether or not to coat Cedric's tongue and throat or not – he pulled out and gave it a moment for the urge to go away. Cedric smiled at him, stretching out on his side with his back to Phillip. He smacked one of his “cheeks” invitingly.
The second Phillip felt that his stamina had returned, he curled up behind his husband and bit his neck. “I love you.”
Cedric turned his head to kiss Phillip. “I love you too.”
Using one hand to stroke Cedric's shaft, Phillip slowly pushed his way into Cedric's body. Cedric moaned happily. Rocking their bodies together felt heavenly!
“Uh!” Phillip let a groan escape him before biting Cedric's shoulder to muffle the noise he made during climax. Cedric was quaking, and the hot feel of Phillip pumping him full set him off again. He let out a soft breathy shout; his shaking intensified for a moment.
A moment later, they melted together. Phillip held Cedric in his arms, and Cedric tangled their fingers together. Both loved falling asleep while their bodies were still joined.
“Good night,” Cedric mumbled.
Phillip returned the wish with his mouth closed so that it sounded like he was humming. They were both asleep a moment later.
More than a year later, the plantation owners that they worked for threw a party to celebrate their outrageously prosperous harvest. Cedric and Phillip had guarded it until it was sold to the merchant vessels. After that, it was up to the merchants to protect.
In thanks, they were invited to the party. Despite being valuable and decently well paid employees, the Princes had become something very close to friends with their employers, and were mostly treated as such. George and Mary almost never ordered them around like they did the rest of their servants.
At the party – which began with dinner and would progress to idle chatter and card games in the parlor – the conversation inevitably turned from the ever present pirate – and local Island thieves – threat, to current events around the world.
“That damned Great Demon Kingdom is at it again!” A vocal male guest nearly shouted. “First they invaded one country, killing most of the inhabitants before conquering them outright, then they conquered two other Kingdoms in short succession.”
“I still have a hard time believing that the one Kingdom sent their Prince to marry the Demon Prince! I think I would rather have died first!” A young man in his early twenties stated overdramatically.
The young lady across the table from him giggled. “But the other Kingdom gave up the most beautiful Princess the world has ever known...” She sighed at the sheer romanticism of it.
“Anyway,” the first man subtly demanded that everyone's attention return to him. “That wasn't enough for them! They then completely crushed another country when it tried to fight them, and now!”
Several people murmured sympathetically. It was well known that a fifth country was currently being invaded by the Great Demon Kingdom.
“They're ruining trade!” A matronly woman added. “Most of the products we export are too frivolous to sell to a country desperately trying to win a war!”
“I disagree,” a quiet man spoke up. “I always get excellent prices when I sell to the Great Demon Kingdom.”
“I too must confess that I trade with the Great Demon Kingdom,” George stated almost shamefully.
The Matron slammed her palm onto the table, startling everyone. “That's because you've never been on the losing side of the war! My family barely escaped with our lives before we fled to this Island!”
A couple guests murmured and nodded in agreement.
“What would you have me do?” George asked helplessly. “Send my bodyguards out on a suicidal attempt to assassinate the Demon King? I'm a businessman, and I have to think of my own best interests first!”
“Here here!” Most of the people agreed with him.
Phillip and Cedric exchanged looks, but didn't say anything.
The Matron looked suddenly deflated. “I know that, but still...” She shook her head, unable to stop feeling like anyone who dealt with the Great Demon Kingdom was in league with them.
“Do you think that the Demon King will ever be satisfied with what he has?” The young lady asked.
Cedric was not the only one to shake his head, but he was the first to bravely state his thoughts for all to hear. “A man like that... I doubt there is anything on this planet that can satisfy him.”
The young woman was obviously not willing to give up on hope just yet. She turned to Cedric in order to respond to his statement. “But what about the missing Demon Prince? Assuming that he is still alive, wouldn't he be able to stop his father?”
Cedric and Phillip exchanged another look. They both shrugged, unable to think of anything to say.
The young man across from her shook his head. “No! What father listens to the advice of his son? We must shout and rebel before they take notice of what we have to say!”
His father glared at him from a few seats away. “What a thing to say in public!”
The young man rolled his eyes and Mary giggled.
“He may be right! I know I certainly felt that way when I asked my father to let me marry George. I had to beg for weeks, and when that failed... we simply eloped...” Mary explained.
George squeezed her hand with a loving smile.
The attention seeker that started the conversation burst out with his opinion once more. “Bah! What makes any of you think that the Demon Prince wants to stop his father?! He's the Demon Prince! He almost certainly plans to follow in his father's footsteps when the time comes!”
Phillip couldn't quite suppress a snort of laughter. He quickly turned his head to the side and held a fist to his mouth as if covering a cough.
The attention seeker took offense anyway. “You find that funny?”
Phillip should his head. “No... It's just the last I heard, the Prince of the Great Demon Kingdom is actually a pacifist. The theory is that that's why he ran away and hasn't returned.”
Cedric pressed a hand to his forehead as he shook his head. A couple more comments like that, and people will probably guess who we are!
The attention seeker smirked and waved a hand in Cedric's direction. “See? Even your friend cannot believe that you'd be so gullible!”
It was Cedric's turn to pretend to cough in order to cover his laughter.
Just then, a maid walked into the room with her hands raised so that everyone could see that they were empty. Behind her was a group of 20 men, all wearing a black uniform.
“Pirates!” The younger ladies all screamed, fanning themselves to combat the sudden urge to faint.
George leaned toward Phillip and Cedric almost frantically. “Can you protect us from this many invaders?”
Cedric heaved a grave sigh, and then nodded. “We can.”
“If everyone would please calm down!” The man in charge of the supposed pirates ordered. “We are not Pirates!”
The men spread out to surround the table so that no guests could escape. Once they had the room secure, their leader continued.
“We have been sent by his royal majesty the King of the Great Demon Kingdom –”
“The war has come here?!” The matron half asked half stated fearfully.
“No ma'am! We're simply here to retrieve our Prince and his husband,” the commander finished explaining.
Cedric took a deep breath and stood. “I command you to leave at once!”
“I'm sorry, my Prince, but we cannot. Your father has made it clear that if we fail in our mission, we will die,” the commander stated.
“You may die anyway because I am not going back!” Cedric emphasized his point by gathering fire from some of the candles into his hands.
The commander responded by doing the same. “Prince Cedric, Prince Phillip... if you two really want to risk hurting all these innocent civilians, be aware that our King does not care who we have to kill in order to bring you back.”
By this time, Phillip had gotten to his feet so that he could provide his husband with back-up. He placed a hand on Cedric's shoulder to let him know that he would support Cedric's decision no matter what.
Cedric exhaled in defeat and sent the fire back to the candles. “Fine, just let us gather up our belongings.” Aside from being a pacifist who didn't want to hurt anyone, he had just made a promise to protect these people.
“Of course, my Prince!” The commander agreed readily, also releasing his gathered fire now that it was no longer needed.
Cedric looked around at all the shocked faces – everyone was gaping at them! Finally, he settled his gaze on George. “I'm sorry to have brought this trouble into your home. We'll be going now, and I promise that you won't have to worry about any further attacks on this Island by the Great Demon Kingdom.” He bowed slightly to show respect, and then exited the room with Phillip and a handful of soldiers following him.
In far less time that they would have thought possible, the Princes were boarding a ship with Lita in Phillip's arms. Soldiers carried the few bundles of their belongings, and they were given the biggest cabin on the mid-sized ship – the captain's cabin.
They watched the Island grow smaller from the deck, feeling like their freedom was shrinking with it.
Since they carried no cargo – which was obvious by how high the ship sat on the water – no pirates attacked them, and they arrived in the Great Demon Kingdom in practically no time at all. A short – in their biased opinion – escorted carriage ride brought them to the palace, and far too soon, they were “home.”
The entrance hall had been cleared of everyone except the Demon King, Phillip's father, and several guards (who were there only to ensure that the hall stayed clear).
Both of their fathers looked them over closely, taking note of the small child walking between them holding their hands. A puzzled frown stretched across both Kings' faces.
“Da! Lita up!” Lita demanded, tugging on Cedric's hand. He bent to lift her in his arms.
“You're looking well,” the Demon King remarked. “Tan and vibrantly healthy... I must admit that I'm dying to know which one of you gave birth to the girl?”
Cedric laughed. He didn't hate his father. In fact, they had always gotten along pretty well. He simply hated his father's ambitious nature. “Neither!”
A gasp from the top of the stairway at the end of the entry hall captured all their attention.
“It's you!” A gorgeous woman stated in recognition. She placed a hand on her heart and her voice betrayed the fact that she was near tears. “You have no idea how happy I am to know that that poor child lived after all!”
Both Cedric and Phillip waved to her. Phillip smiled as he told her, “Your prayers were answered. She now has parents and a wonderful life.”
“Well...” Cedric amended. “She did. I rather fear that her life will be a bit less wonderful now.”
The exquisite Princess daintily rushed down the stairs stopping only when she stood before them. “I felt just anguished that I could not care for such a tiny and precious infant. My longtime fear was that she had died after all.”
Suddenly, the Princess giggled. “And to think, my future husband sat before me just moments before I was informed that I would be sent here as a bride. Which one of you is Cedric?”
“That would be me,” Cedric held up a hand in a half wave, and then tapped Phillip on the chest with the back of his hand. “And this is my husband Phillip.”
The Princess giggled again. “I must confess that my imagination ran wild with all sorts of horrible assumptions about you. I was certain that the Prince of the Great Demon Kingdom would be... Anyway, I'm so relieved! Any man as selfless and caring as you must be is bound to be a good husband.” She held out her hands to Lita. “And look, I already have a child to dote on!”
Lita decided that she liked the pretty woman, and leaned into her hands.
“That's amazing!” Phillip exclaimed. “Lita rarely lets anyone else hold her!”
“Lita?” The Princess asked.
“We named her after her mother... Lita Berforte,” Cedric explained.
“Lita Berforte!” The Princess exclaimed in shock. “I'd heard rumors that something terrible had happened to her, but no one knew exactly what. Her father the Duke just disowned her one day, and now the entire Berforte family refuses to admit that she ever existed!”
“The short story is that one of her uncles raped her, and then when it was obvious that she was with child, her father threw her out onto the streets,” Phillip began.
“We met her the night she died. She was starving and in desperate need of shelter, so we took her in,” Cedric continued.
“Then the baby came too soon, and she died giving birth. The Berforte family refused to care for the babe,” Phillip added.
“And then I refused to take her into our care at the temple,” the Princess murmured sadly.
Cedric nodded. “So, we decided to keep her.”
Lita suffered through a tight squeeze from the Princess, and then started struggling. “Da!” She insisted, trying to leap into Phillip's arms. He took her before she could drop to the floor. She immediately banged a fist against his mouth.
“Looks like she's hungry,” Cedric interpreted.
“I'm fairly famished myself,” Phillip replied.
“Let's all go have our first lunch together as a family,” the Princess suggested.
They nodded, and walked away, the Princess slipping her hand into the crook of Cedric's arm. As they'd disappeared, the two King's gaped at each other in disbelief.
“Well, I feel rather useless,” the King of the Great Demon Kingdom muttered.
“Hrmph! At least your son spoke to you!” The other King grumbled. They silently and mutually decided to follow their children and at least listen in as they likely regaled Cedric's wife with all their adventures.
“Oh! So that's how you got so tan! You lived on an Island... That sounds wonderful...”
Phillip laughed. “Little Lita is quite the fearless swimmer! She dives into the ocean with no regard to the possibility of sharks or other predators that might want to eat her.”
Cedric grinned. “We had to tie a rope to her so that she couldn't lose us!”
“Swim?” Lita demanded in response to their statements. She sat on Cedric's lap while they ate, but climbed into Phillip's so that she could tug on his shirt insistently. “Swim?!”
“No swim,” Cedric denied sadly.
“Swim!” Lita turned around and banged her fist on the table.
“Hey!” Phillip shook her gently. “None of that now!”
Lita pouted, but sat in his lap.
“You swam in the Ocean?” The Demon King asked incredulously.
Cedric nodded. “I rather enjoy it too.”
“The water is so... full of life!” Phillip exclaimed. “And the colors!”
And the warm sun on our naked bodies, Cedric thought but did not say. His knowing grin was more than enough to tell Phillip what he was thinking, and Phillip chuckled in response. He nodded his head slightly in agreement.
“You know...” Phillip's father remarked, interrupting their silent communication. “I was certain that you two would be over this 'honeymoon' phase by now.”
“Me too,” Cedric's father agreed.
Both Princes were silent for a moment; neither dared to look their fathers in the eyes.
“It's called love,” Phillip told them. “And it's not a phase.”
Cedric nodded in complete agreement.
“Well, regardless, you both have responsibilities you need to attend to,” Phillip's father insisted firmly.
“Starting with Princess Alanna,” the Demon King added. “She's been waiting almost two years for her husband to come home.”
Cedric glanced at his wife – knowing without having to be explicitly told that he had been officially married to her despite not even being here. His eyes returned to his father. “I know.”
“And I have a bride in mind for you as well,” Phillip's father informed him. The only reason that he hadn't been married in absentia as well was that the bride's father insisted that she have a chance to meet with him first and decide if they would get along.
“I see...” Phillip murmured. He wasn't upset or sad, but he honestly didn't know how to react to that news.
Princess Alanna smiled at him. “Don't worry, I've met her and she's simply lovely!She has a pure heart and will make a good wife. … She's here also waiting for you to return...”
The Demon King moved on so they couldn't dwell on the potential marriage. “And then when you've both had some time to hopefully conceive heirs, I'll be sending you two off to lead our armies to victory.”
Phillip nodded, knowing better than to argue. It was part of the marriage treaty that saved his Kingdom from being conquered by force. “I am certain that no one can withstand us.”
Cedric looked heartbroken for a moment, and then seemed to gather his resolve. He slammed his fist on the table loudly. “No! I refuse to be a part of this war! Do you have any idea what the rest of the world thinks about the Great Demon Kingdom? They think we are all monsters! They think we destroy everything we touch!”
Princess Alanna looked away to hide the fact that she also knew exactly what others thought.
“I do not care what others think of us!” The Demon King roared. “I am building a great Empire that will stand strong for thousands of years!”
“Is that what you think you're doing?” Cedric asked. “To me it just seems like you cannot contain your greed, so you reach out and take whatever you want without any regard for those whose lives you are ruining!”
“Cedric!” His father roared in shock and fury. “You had better stop this foolishness now, or – ”
“Or what, father?” Cedric challenged. “You'll have me killed too? Good luck obtaining an heir once I'm dead!” He stood up and took Lita from Phillip's lap, and then stared at his husband intently.
Phillip smiled at him, impressed that he'd finally stood up for himself. “You don't even have to ask, what ever you want, I'm yours to command.”
“I say we run away again,” Cedric stated.
“Nonsense!” The Demon King yelled. “I'm having you both confined to quarters!”
Guards closed in on them in response to the King's unspoken command.
“Do you want vanguard or rearguard?” Phillip asked, standing now. He knew that he would have to obtain a sword from a guard as quickly as possible.
“I'm carrying Lita so I'll take rearguard,” Cedric replied, shifting her into one arm so that he could gather fire into his free hand.
“Have you both completely lost your minds?!” Phillip's father demanded. “It's madness to think that you can fight your way out of the palace!”
“Am I not the greatest warrior our Kingdom ever produced?” Phillip asked him rhetorically.
“Save your willingness to fight for the battlefield!” His father insisted, stepping a bit closer to them to subtly remind Phillip that it was his duty to be obedient and follow orders.
“You two seem to be under the mistaken impression that your marriage is anything other than a political contract!” The Demon King stated menacingly. “If Phillip breaks any of the terms of the contract, I will be within my rights to nullify your marriage and send my armies to his Kingdom to burn it to the ground!”
Phillip was obviously torn by the prospect, but he took a deep breath and focused on Cedric. “My loyalty is to you above all else. Whatever you want, I'll do it.”
Cedric slumped slightly and released his fire so that it couldn't accidentally hurt someone. “I know... and I can't let anyone else be hurt just so that we can selfishly be together somewhere far away.”
Lita sensed his sadness, and placed a hand on his cheek. “Da? What wrong?” At two years old, she could talk, but still usually in short phrases.
Cedric rested his head on her small shoulder. She was too young for him to try to explain things, but he felt trapped and helpless. There seemed to be no way that they could escape their duty to fight and conquer the world.
Phillip placed a hand on his shoulder. “Are you sure?”
Cedric nodded. Guards stepped as close as they needed to to gently push Cedric in the direction of his chambers. He was supposed to be confined to quarters after all. Another guard tried to take Lita away so that she could be brought to the royal nursery.
Phillip punched that guard out. “Don't you dare try to touch my daughter!”
Both Kings looked like they longed to have a healer tend to their throbbing headaches. Phillip's father unconsciously rubbed his right temple.
“I'm tired,” Cedric announced. “It's been a long day. We should rest for a bit.”
Phillip nodded. “It's time for Lita's nap anyway.”
Lita had already snuggled into Cedric's chest and fallen asleep, comforted by his heartbeat.
Princess Alanna stood up to follow them. As Cedric's wife, she was supposed to be by his side. Besides, she far preferred her husband's company to that of his father. Not to mention that her belongings were already in his chambers, and she had officially been staying there since her arrival – after the marriage had been made official.
They left the room silently, surrounded by guards in case they tried to make a run for it after all.
“I don't know what I'm going to do with that boy!” The Demon King cried out in frustration.
Phillip's father stroked his chin in thought. “It seems to me that he has the power to compel deep loyalty from others. You may want to reconsider sending him to the front lines and effectively handing him a tool to use against you someday.”
The Demon King thought this over carefully. The two of them had become friendly rivals since the merging of their Kingdoms. They got along well – both being inclined to make war and build an Empire – their only real problem was that they continually bickered over who would be the better Emperor.
“It's not all bad though,” Phillip's father added with a wry grin. “Your son seems to get along nicely with his wife. I'm willing to bet that you'll have plenty of heirs in no time!”
“Maybe then they'll stop doting on that foundling of theirs,” the Demon King hoped.
Back in Cedric's chambers, they were grateful that their luggage had arrived. Phillip quickly located Lita's favorite blanket, and covered her up after Cedric placed her in the middle of his enormous bed. They lay on either side of her wondering what to do now. Obviously, running away was not such a good option after all.
Princess Alanna watched them uncertainly. She fiddled with her fingers nervously. Then she started fiddling with her hair. Cedric finally took pity on her.
“Relax!” He laughed. “We're not going to suddenly tackle you into bed with us!”
“I don't know about that!” Phillip stated suggestively.
Cedric laughed with genuine humor. “Wouldn't that just ruin all my father's carefully laid plans! He'll think they're his valuable heirs but we'll all know that they're really yours!”
Princess Alanna whimpered. Convent life hadn't prepared her in the slightest for this possibility!
Phillip grinned at Cedric. “We should send for a child's bed from the Royal nursery so that we can get Lita out of our bed.”
“I'm pretty sure that there's a massive cushion in here somewhere that we can lay her on.
“My Prince!” Alanna burst out in protest. “I must object! I... I... I...” She had no idea how to explain what she was feeling at the moment!
Both men laughed at her assumption, but decided to tease her a bit more.
“Don't worry, we won't hurt you,” Cedric assured her.
“We promise to be very gentle with you,” Phillip added with a knowing grin.
“But! But!” Alanna held her breath for a moment to quell the rising panic, and then sighed in defeat. She looked to the floor, and murmured, “Very well. If my husband commands it.”
Cedric immediately knew that he had gone too far. He climbed out of bed and faced her so she could see that he was being serious. “I would never command you to do something like that if you didn't want to.”
She looked down once more. “I don't know anything at all about the marriage bed except that I must do whatever you want me to. I hear whispers and innuendo around the palace, of course, but I have no real knowledge other than you will plant a child inside me. I'm so nervous that I pray you will just get it over with so I don't have to wonder and... and fear it any longer!”
“Perhaps I should leave you two alone for a bit,” Phillip suggested, understanding that his presence would just make the Princess' anxiety worse.
The way the Heir's Chambers were built, there were two main bedrooms and several smaller bedrooms in addition to a large sitting room. This was much the same as the King's Chambers, and allowed for the heir to have his own room, a room for his first wife – or in this case husband – and then rooms for any other wives or lovers he may eventually have.
Royal and political marriages were often complicated!
In any case, Phillip could easily take Lita into one of the other rooms for the rest of her nap to give them some privacy. Cedric thought this over indecisively.
A knock on the main door to the Chambers startled them all, even Lita, who woke with a tiny grunt of displeasure. A moment later, a messenger entered the main room, looked around to make sure that they could see and hear him, and then stared at nothing as he announced. “Prince Phillip, your father demands your presence. He says it's time to meet your bride-to-be.”
Phillip sighed reluctantly, scooped up Lita, and sent the messenger off to tell his father that he'd be there in a moment. He shifted to the side of the bed slowly as if trying to delay the inevitable. Cedric walked to stand in front of him.
“Should I pray that she likes you and wants to marry right away, or should I pray that she hates you and demands to leave?” He asked.
Phillip chuckled mirthlessly, standing up. “I really don't know.”
“I love you,” Cedric murmured huskily, staring at Phillip's lips.
“I love you too,” Phillip replied, leaning over to kiss his husband. They both opened their mouths and had a light sparring match with their tongues.
“I still say we just run away,” Phillip said a moment later, holding Cedric close.
“If only it were that simple,” Cedric replied, resting his head on Phillip's shoulder. “Go on, before your father comes barging in here to drag you to meet your bride by the ear!”
“He would too!” Phillip laughed. He held Lita up to Cedric so that he could give her a kiss.
She was used to the two of them squishing her between them as they hugged or kissed, and had been silent so far. Now, she cooed happily that Cedric was finally paying attention to her. She waved to him as Phillip carried her out of the room.
Cedric watched them go, and then held out a hand for Alanna. “Come here,” He beckoned.
She had been watching them with mixed emotions – curiosity, jealousy, even awe at the strength of their love... – and now her nervousness returned full force. She took a deep breath, and then joined her husband where he stood next to the bed.
“I'm not going to just get it over with. I'm going to show you why you do not need to fear the marriage bed,” he informed her.
He brushed a strand of hair out of her face, and then tilted her head until she was looking at him. His kiss was soft, gentle. He didn't want scare her because she was already trembling.
Alanna didn't know what to do, so she let her hands rest on his chest, and then tangled her fingers in his clothes as she relaxed and parted her lips just a little. She had watched them kiss, and was curious to know what that felt like.
Go To Part IV
Go To Part IV