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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mirror of Dreams - Chapter 16

16



To my surprise – and strangely my disappointment – the Royal Lords declined to meet with me after lunch. Apparently, the only real questions they had for me had been answered that morning when I fiercely declared that I would do whatever it took to fix the Kingdom. They just wanted to know what my immediate plans as Queen were, and I'd answered that too.

Therefore, I would meet and mingle with them at the party. In anticipation, I chose a shimmering and slinky Lady Leeza creation that took even my breath away. She and Lady Sophia both had come into my room to coordinate outfits. We all chose the same dress in different colors. Leeza wore the transparent, sparkly dress in white, Sophia wore it in silver, and I wore it in gold.

I stared at my dress in appreciation. I really had to hand it to Lady Leeza! I have no idea when she had time to make all these dresses considering that she was always busy experimenting on something or torturing someone.

She caught me trying to figure out how the dress was made, and smirked. “It's one of my magical talents. So long as I have the materials on hand, I can basically create an entire dress in mere minutes with just my imagination and my magic!”

Ah, so that explains it,” I murmured almost jealously. I looked in the mirror and decided that I wanted my shimmering body powder from home. “Will you two wait here a few minutes for me?”

They both nodded, so I simply walked over to mirror and kissed it. After that, I rummaged through my dresser drawers until I found my small case of body powders. They always added a bit of flirty fun to an outfit when I was going to go out dancing.

A frown puckered my lips as I wondered if there would even be dancing at the party. So far, most parties only had harp music and very little dancing. I hadn't been part of the planning, so I had no idea if this would be any different.

My door opened without warning, making me gasp in surprise.

What's going on now?”

Ian!” I cried out happily. “I didn't think you'd be back so soon!”

Soon for me, maybe,” he replied with a smirk. “How long has it been for you?”

Only a couple of days,” I told him. “I just came back to get something.” I held up the case as proof, and then noticed that my brother was standing behind Ian watching me with a look on his face like he was trying to figure out whether or not he liked my dress.

Ian sighed. “I know it may seem quick, but I decided that I needed to go back. I want to visit the Kingdom my parents died protecting and see if it's even worth it.”

I nodded my head in understanding. “Lucky for you that I plan to go on a tour then. You can come with me, and we can figure that out together.”

He smiled softly in relief, coming over and taking my hand. “Let's go.”

See you in a bit!” I called out to my brother, who was leaning against the door frame. He waved back, looking sad to see us go, but knowing that really, we'd be right back from his perspective.

After kissing the mirror, I heard a duet of delighted gasps. “Lord Ian!”

He chuckled appreciatively. “Ladies...” He set the bag he'd brought with him on my bed, and then went to kiss their hands. “What's the beautiful occasion?” He asked, stroking their dresses in the hip area with one hand on each of them.

A party,” I answered for them to cut the flirting short. I took the gold shimmering powder from the case, and lightly applied it to my face, shoulders, cleavage, and the part of my legs that were exposed by the slit that ran up each side of the skirt. The bottom was calf length, so I suppose that the skirt could be considered a long loin cloth. It looked damn good on me, if I did say so myself!

The maids had piled my hair atop my head in curls adorned by jewels. All in all, I did look Queenly... provided that one wasn't expecting their Queen to look like Elizabeth the First or Victoria!

Sophia elected to use the silver body powder – which, applied correctly, simply made her skin appear to glow – and Lady Leeza used the gold powder like I did. With her red hair braided into a crown, white sparkly dress, and shimmering gold powder, she almost looked like an angel! Oh the irony!

Ian watched us with a lusty grin. He caught my hand at one point and pulled me close so that we were eye to eye. “Ever since you've come here, you have this habit of wearing dresses that make me want to throw you on the bed and jump on you!”

I chuckled. “I'll take that as mission accomplished!” Kissing him on the lips, I then pushed him away. “Maybe later, but right now, I'm kind of excited to see what Lord Antony and Lady Sophia have planned.”

We kicked Nathan out while we dressed, but he can probably lend you something to wear if you want to attend the party,” Lady Sophia informed him, and then she gave him a kiss that I'm sure he'd not soon forget.

Lady Leeza sighed, sounding a bit miffed. “Now I feel like I have to try and kiss him better than that! But I'm not into pleasing men...” She twisted her lips side to side as she thought this over, and then smirked innocently as she leaned forward to kiss him.

I was torn between warning Ian and not, but his expression told me that he didn't buy her innocent act. Accepting her kiss anyway, I wasn't surprised when he pulled back abruptly and wiped blood from the corner of his mouth. He wore a look of: I should have known!

Lady Leeza smirked at him again, this time looking purely evil. Then she held out her arm to me. “May I escort you to the ballroom, Your Majesty?”

I accepted with a gracious smile. Lady Sophia slipped her hand into the crook of my other arm, and the three of us walked together in a way that was guaranteed to turn heads and create a shortage of space in one's pants! We stopped just long enough to ask Nathan to be a dear and help Ian out.

He didn't look happy about the prospect, but he gave his word that he would be nice. Satisfied, I kissed him, and then we went to the party. We were fashionably late, of course. Everyone else had arrived and waited with bated breath for me to show up. To my disappointment, I didn't hear music as we neared the ballroom.

Announcing Her Royal Majesty, Queen Kaitlynn; Her Royal Majesty the previous Queen, Lady Sophia; and Lady Leeza, daughter of the Royal House of Bannara.”

All eyes were definitely on us, and not just because I was the Queen. In the ballroom, a throne had been set on a dais just for me, so I escorted my ladies over to it and then had them stand on either side of me as I sat on the throne.

Now what?” I muttered to Lady Sophia under my breath. She smiled and beckoned to the oldest of the Royal Lords.

They'll all come greet you, and then... we'll dance!” She promised with an enticing grin.

Yes!” I hissed softly in happiness. I decided right then and there to greet everyone as quickly as possible. When the first Royal Lord knelt in front of me, I called him by name – that Lady Sophia whispered in my ear just beforehand – thanked him for visiting me, and then kissed him softly on the lips. He blushed, thanked me for doing such a good job so far, and then backed away.

This repeated over and over until I had greeted and kissed every Lord and Lady in attendance. My plan to fluster them seemingly worked! Finally, Lady Sophia gestured to the musicians who were waiting off to the side. They started on a beautiful piece of music reminiscent of a waltz.

Deciding that I didn't care if they played the 1812 overture so long as it was something – anything – to dance to, I got to my feet and beckoned Lord Antony over to me. “I need you to show me the steps to this dance,” I whispered urgently.

He bowed and held out his hand for me, looking reluctant when I took his hand. “To tell the truth, I'm not sure I remember the steps either, but I'll do my best.”

The rest of the night passed in a similar manner. I danced with anyone who asked – or agreed – to dance, but no one seemed certain of the steps for each of the dances the musicians played. I realized that the musicians themselves often missed notes, as if they we very rusty. It grew disheartening except for when Nathan danced with me. He had practiced with me recently, and so we danced fairly well together.

Even so, I only danced with him once or twice to be fair to everyone else. Just when I was starting to wish I hadn't suggested a party after all, Ian stepped onto the dais next to my throne and called out for everyone's attention. I couldn't help but be happy to see him looking all dashing in clothes borrowed from Nathan.

I'm sorry to interrupt, but could everyone please clear the floor? I haven't had a chance to dance with my best friend all night, and she's looking decidedly mopey about it!” Ian teased, winking at me. “So what do you say Kaitlynn? Will you dance with me?”

Always!” I blurted out giddily.

He grabbed my cyr wheel that he had stashed nearby when I wasn't looking, and carried it onto the now cleared dance floor. My dress wasn't made with spinning in mind, but it wasn't so long that it would trip us up, and it was likely to be easy to tuck between my legs if I had to to keep it from smacking me in the face.

He stepped onto the wheel first, beckoning to me with a tilt of his head and a flirty grin. I stroked the side of the wheel until I reached his hand, and then gripped the wheel next to his hands and stepped on. He started the spin, choosing a slow pace to begin with.

We spun, rocked, and swayed, getting ever faster and more daring in our tricks. We still mostly followed a routine, but it was changed a little to draw it out and make it last longer. I was so grateful that he had read my mind and known exactly what I needed to cheer me up.

When we were done, we simply stopped the wheel and stared at each other as if full of passion and needing a bed, but it was part of the act. Our audience burst into an astonished and loud clapping. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lady Sophia step up onto the dais and wave until she got everyone's attention.

Oh my!” She drawled in admiration. “Our dearest Queen certainly knows how to dance, but I don't think any of us here tonight would have liked the dance half so much without handsome Lord Ian at her side. For those of you that haven't heard – and I realize that this is probably everyone – Lord Ian is the son and heir to our beloved Holy Man, Harold; may he and his wife rest in peace.”

This news was met with gasps of astonishment followed by the demand to know if it was true. When first Lord Antony, then Lord Gregory, and then finally I confirmed that it was true, people rushed forward to meet Ian and shake his hand. He took this in stride for a while, but soon grew overwhelmed and begged to be excused. I took his side and quickly excused the both of us so that we could take a break.

Nathan followed us, trailing behind far enough that he hoped to not be an intruder if we didn't want him there. When I felt that we were away from prying eyes, I took Ian's hand. “Are you okay?”

Yeah,” he murmured. “It was just freaky to have so many people want to meet me like that.”

I understand,” I replied dryly, giving him a look like: did you not see me kiss everyone?

He chuckled wryly. “I suppose you do.”

What do you want to do now?” I asked him, willing to do whatever he wanted.

Let's go dance once more – without the wheel – and then we'll say goodnight to everyone properly and not as if we're running away,” Ian suggested.

What dance do you want to do?” I wondered with a smile.

Just leave that to me, I think I can quickly talk the band into playing something suitable,” Ian stated with a goofy grin. “I hope.”

In agreement, we headed back to the ballroom, Nathan holding the door open for us. He snuck his hand into mine when we stopped in the doorway for a moment, and I squeezed it and gave him a loving smile before reentering the ballroom.

Ian quickly talked the musicians through how to play a simple tango, and when the music began, I laughed and shook my head. He wanted everyone to think we were together considering that I'd had my legs wrapped around him while spinning, and I'd wrap them around him again during this dance. But I didn't mind. People always thought that we were together!

I let him lead me through the thoroughly sexy dance, feeling lust fill me until I'm sure everyone wondered if we'd be going to bed together very soon. If they cared to ask me, the answer would be probably not. When the dance ended, I gave the crowd several flourished dancer's curtsies as Ian gallantly bowed.

I am sorry to end this evening so abruptly, but I find that I am very tired and wish to go to bed,” I explained tactfully. “Please, feel free to continue dancing and having fun. I sincerely hope that you all enjoy yourselves.”

After that, we left the ballroom again, only this time, when we reached Nathan, Ian kissed my hand before placing it in Nathan's. The three of us walked until we were free of prying eyes before we stopped for a moment.

I remember how to get to the room I'm staying in from here, so don't worry about me,” Ian informed me.

I kissed him on the cheek. “I'm glad you came back.”

He stroked my cheek and smiled at me just a tiny little bit. “I'm glad I came back too.”

Love ya!” I called out as he walked away.

Love you too,” he return with a wave of his hand without bothering to look at me.

I smiled up at Nathan, who looked grumpy again. “Love him, huh?”

I rolled my eyes as we continued walking toward our bedroom. “It's not the kind of love you think. In my world, friends always tell each other that, and you can tell it's not meant to be romantic love because the word I is not said. I did not say: 'I love you Ian.' Instead, I said: 'love ya!' There's a difference.

By this point, we had arrived at our door, and a flirty guard winked at me. I smiled at him for one second before returning my attention to Nathan. Nathan thought what I had told him over, and then pulled me into our room and shut the door.

So... if you absolutely had to say one of those phrases to me right now, which one would it be?” Nathan wondered a bit too intensely.

I sighed. “Nathan... that's not fair. If I say either, you'll think I'm just telling you what I think you want to hear.”

Nathan snorted very softly. “To be honest, I want to hear either so much that I don't really care which one you say.” He then flinched as if taken aback that he had admitted that so bluntly.

I felt my heart melt and stroked his cheek with a hand. Almost whispering, I confessed my fear. “If I say it out loud and then we end up breaking up – ever! – I don't think I could stop crying until the end of time.”

Rather than say anything else, Nathan kissed me, continuing until I threw my arms around him so that he could sweep me off my feet and carry me to bed. Our lovemaking took a couple hours and left us both gasping in astonishment. Only he ever had the power make me swear I was floating up among the clouds! I snuggled into him and drifted right off to sleep. Dimly, I was aware of him kissing me on the forehead before he went to sleep too.

When I woke up a shocking four hours later, I stretched and simply watched him sleep for a long time. He looked irresistible, so I kissed him until he groaned in a sleepy warning to leave him alone. Laughing softly, I slipped out of bed.

When he was asleep, he looked like a certified angel, but when he was awake, he often looked sad. Even before he found out about my cheating ways, he always looked sad when he thought no one was looking. I sincerely wished that he kept a journal too so that I could find out what pained him so.

Without warning, a song burst from me.

Oh, why you look so sad? Tears are in your eyes, come on and come to me now... Don't be ashamed to cry, let me see you through, 'cause I've seen the dark side too. When the night falls on you, you don't know what to do, nothing you confess could make me love you less. I'll stand by you... I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you, I'll stand by you – Ah!” I ended with a startled gasp when I realized that his eyes were open and he was looking at me.

Nathan, you scared me!” I said, pressing a hand to my chest and panting as my heart thumped.

Sorry,” he murmured apologetically. “It's just that you had sort of woke me up when you kissed me, and then when you started singing, I was just listening, thinking that you were just singing, but then I realized that you were singing to me and I wanted to make sure I wasn't dreaming.”

I looked down and smiled softly. “Well... I was singing to you. It's true. No matter what, I'll stand by you. If this Kingdom does actually get pulled into war again and there's nothing I can do to stop it, I'll be by your side fighting, because there's no way I could let you go off to fight without me!”

He lifted his head off his pillow to look at me just a bit better. His smile was wry, and he looked tempted to shake his head. “Well... considering that you seem to be at least as good as Sir Barrett, I guess I'd be lucky to have you fighting by my side.”

I smiled at him, gazing into his gorgeous green eyes.

Come here,” he beckoned softly, prompting me to lay down next to him again. Kissing me, we started over, and this time when we were done, I managed to sleep until only an hour before I would be asked to wake up anyway.

Getting out of bed, I went to the chest full of herbs and things I had bought in town not too long ago. I mixed them up according to one of the recipes I had copied down from the old journal, and then grinned – inordinately proud of myself!

Putting the mix in a jar, I then tucked the jar into a small bag I could sling over my shoulder. Then I took a bath and got dressed in a pair of yoga pants and a tight cami. Feeling ready to start my day, I made my way to the dining hall to wait for breakfast.



***



The tour that I insisted on taking took some time to set up. This was mostly because I had to decide on places to see and finalize the little details. It took more time than anything to get Lord Gregory to agree that I would only have Ian, Nathan, and Sir Barrett for companions and protection. Only the fact that Nathan and Sir Barrett were the best of the best finally convinced him.

That and I had to agree to meet up with Lord Antony and Lord Gregory from time to time. They planned to alternate coming out to towns I planned to be in with reports I needed to make a decision on. That way, things wouldn't back up too badly in my absence.

All in all, it wasn't as big a pain in the ass as I thought it was going to be! I was even starting to look forward to my trip!

Go To Chapter 17 

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