Images danced through Romelle’s mind, the girl reliving the recent past with the technicolored haze of dreams. Mirrors seemed to be everywhere, catching hold of her, reflecting her image back to her so that she could see she was still wearing the purple gown of Allura’s bridesmaid. People were talking, but their voices came from a distance, echoing around her unintelligibly.
She could see herself walking down the aisle, feet stepping carefully to avoid stray petals on the rug. Allura soon followed her, she could tell by the look in the Drule prince’s eyes, the man almost stepping off the platform to hurry forward. Only Sabbath’s hand on Lotor’s arm prevented the prince from moving, the black haired Drule having the presence of mind to stop his superior from making a mistake.
The image seemed to swirl, Romelle finding herself on the dais, Sabbath staring at her from several feet over. Try as she might to ignore him, his gaze burned a claim into her, his eyes stripping away her badly erected defenses. Her fingers tightened on the stems of the bouquet she held, Romelle staring at some point beyond Sabbath, pretending not to be aware of his looks.
And then the wedding was over, and by misfortune’s chance, she ended up seated next to the Drule. She’d blame her cousin for the seating arrangements later, for now she merely pasted on a happy smile, trying to focus on Allura’s joy.
The odd echo of sound continued, images distorted as various people stood up to give speeches. The only thing she could truly be aware of was Sabbath’s fingers, the Drule stroking patterns on her arm. She shivered at that touch, goose bumps being raised, a tell tale sign of how affected she was by him. Her body was betraying her, openly showing what she wanted to hide, Romelle reaching for her drink with shaking hands.
Another flash forward, Romelle seeing herself make a break for it, escaping the table and the suffocating presence that was Sabbath’s nearness. He hadn’t tried to follow her, just stared at her with a lost look on his face. For a time she busied herself with the other girls, chatting them up as they waited to see who would ask for a chance to dance with them.
Romelle didn’t know how long it took Sven to approach her, the time was flashing forward again. But she seized on the opportunity he presented her, Romelle hoping to further distance herself from the Drule. For all the charm Sven exuded, he couldn’t take her mind off the man who most days followed her everywhere in the castle, Romelle having to lean in close just to focus on the pilot’s words.
A growl sounded when she touched him, a chill going down Romelle’s back to hear it. The noise was wild and dangerous, holding the fury of a tiger who had been poked one too many times with a stick. She didn’t have to turn to know whose throat the sound came from, and then fingers closed around her arm, the grip like steel as she was jerked away from Sven.
It wasn’t just the pilot Sabbath sought to steal her away from, the growling Drule dragging her out of the party, no one from the reception trying to stop them. Even she did not put up a good enough protest, merely squeaking out ineffectual protests, stumbling as she was roughly led out into the hall, then deeper into the castle.
The dreams became more fractured, Romelle spying frozen moments, of arguing with Sabbath, exchanging heated words. They fought all the way through the castle, ending up in Allura’s garden. She couldn’t hear the words they said, but on some level she remembered, and shivered, remembering how angry both of them had been. She had never been the focus of Sabbath’s anger, and some part of her that wasn’t covered in false bravado grew scared at the fierce look he showed her.
She could remember breaking away from him, slow at first, just sweeping past him with her head held high. He grabbed at her arm again, Romelle hissing in protest, somehow managing to jerk free though it cost her. Without a backwards glance she was running from him, determined to make it back into the castle, to the light, and to where the guards were.
His shadow fell over her, Sabbath catching up, hands reaching for her. It was then that Romelle sat up with a loud gasp, her heart beat thudding loudly in her ears. Still caught in the memories the dream had replayed for her, Romelle just sat there in bed, pulse wild, and eyes huge, staring shell shocked at the wall across from her. She barely even noticed that the walls were painted a reddish brown color, so different from the smooth gray marble of the storage room she had been bunking in.
Nor did she notice right away that it was no cot she lay in, but a large bed, one that could conveniently fit two, possibly three people across it’s mattress. The room was dimly lit, and it was then that she realized the windows had been boarded up. The only light was through the slants of the boards, sunlight trying it’s best to shine through the thin cracks.
“Where am I?” She whispered this out loud, her voice a lonely sound in the quiet of this room. Shaking her head, she brought a hand to her hair, patting it down nervously. She noticed the absence of pins, as though someone had thought she’d find a use for them, and removed them from her person. She wondered what else had been taken, and found her shoes gone, Romelle wondering why. But at least her clothing remained, the girl grateful for the thin jacket that molded to her arms and waist.
Shivering, she inched off the bed, wincing as the floorboards beneath the multicolored rug creaked in warning. She tried to step lightly, not wanting to alert anyone that she was up, but the sounds of the floor seemed to mock her every step.
Squinting, she walked past furniture, hand held out to touch the wall. Sliding her hand across the surface, she found a light switch, and debated activating it. When she at last chose to turn it on, she gasped again, staring at the homey surroundings. The furniture, and curtains were all colored to compliment the reddish brown color of the walls, and the rug on the floor had bright bits of blue amidst more sedate colors.
An overstuffed chair was in one corner, a lace coverlet on top of it’s cushions. There was shelves with books on them, and she found the remote to the holo screen, which had been smashed to pieces, and rendered inoperational. There was two doors, one open and leading into a cozy looking bathroom. The other she had to pass by a desk, and she felt alarmed to see framed pictures on it’s surfaces, the photos showing what had to be a happy family.
The people in the picture didn’t look like the type to kidnap a princess, and she felt trepidation in her as she wondered what had happened to them. Another thought hissed furiously in her head, telling her to worry about herself first and foremost before being plague with fear for a family she had never met.
Tearing her eyes away from the pictures and the desk, she walked the last few steps to the door. Romelle gripped the handle, and prayed for a miracle, turning it and finding it was unlocked. Her shock was apparent, Romelle easing the door open and peering out into a hall. It was dimly lit here too, the sole window boarded up to block out the sun or prying eyes.
Uneasy, she began to creep down the hall, Romelle gripping her skirt in one hand. The other was pressed against the wall, the girl feeling for a light switch as she walked. There was other doors lining the hall, some open and revealing rooms that also had their windows boarded up. She saw what had to be the child’s room, stuffed animals sitting on a small bed, staring out at her.
Her panic was mounting, her heart in her throat as she tried not to moan or worse yet scream. She found herself walking faster and faster, until Romelle was running down the hall, past the doors and heading for what she hoped would lead to the outside. And then, a shadow stepped in front of her, body moving so fast it was almost a blur as it leapt out of one of the rooms.
Romelle couldn’t help it, she screamed, bumping into a broad chest that was covered by a leather vest. A hand was put out on her shoulder, steadying her. Romelle screamed again, reaching out to lash out at it, finding she was stumbling backwards when free. She hit the wall, aware she was breathing funny, and then became aware of the scent of a healthy man’s sweat. It smelled somewhat familiar to her, Romelle trying to figure out why this scent didn’t register danger with her.
A light switch was activated, the darkness receding to the soft glow of the hall’s light. She gasped for the umpteenth time, knowing her jaw had dropped open, leaving her to gape foolishly at the sight before her. He stood in all his powder blue skinned glory, black leather vest showing off the muscles in his arms. The garment didn’t quite fit him, allowing a glimpse of his stomach, and how low hung his blue jeans were on his hips.
His hair which was still braided, seemed to meld seamlessly against the color of the vest, she almost couldn’t tell where one began and one ended. She stared at the muscles revealed by the skimpy top, before remembering to jerk her wide eyed gaze to his face. His golden eyes seemed to glow in the lighting, the Drule staring at her with an unreadable expression.
“Sabbath!” She finally exclaimed, feeling her pulse in her mouth. She didn’t know if she felt relief to see him, wondering if he was a better alternative to what she had been imagining her situation was. And then she noticed the chains hanging in his arms, and swallowed down whatever she had been about to say.
“I didn’t expect you to wake so soon.” Sabbath said at last, regarding her from several feet away. He made no explanation for the chains, Romelle found her eyes glued to them, the girl licking her lips nervously. Was it her imagination, or was Sabbath’s gaze drawn to the movement of her tongue across her lips? The thought left her leery, the girl trying not to shake, and trying to find her anger.
“Where are we?!” Romelle demanded as imperiously as she could manage, giving a haughty toss of her head that she did not feel. “Where have you taken me?!” Sabbath shrugged, that seemed all the answer he was willing to give. “This is kidnapping you know!” She was perilously close to stamping her foot in tantrum, trying to narrow her eyes into a glare at him.
The effect was ruined by how shocked she was, Romelle unable to muster up an angry face. “I demand you take me back to the castle right this instant!” She added, and Sabbath stepped towards her. “I mean it!” She added, and found herself gliding back against the wall. “This is a crime you know…”
“It is a crime to want to spend time with one’s mate?” He had no inflection to his voice, just asking that question.
She found she colored for no reason, Romelle quickly protesting. “I am not your mate!”
“Your scent says otherwise.” Sabbath said, and she managed a frown.
“Scents can be deceiving. I can easily change how I smell just by bathing or using perfumes. The nose can be fooled.”
“Mine cannot.” Sabbath insisted, and Romelle shook her head no. Something like a faint glimmer of a smile turned the corners of his lips, Romelle turning horrified at his words. “If you need proof, I will wash away all perfumes and oils from your skin, and then smell you.”
She didn’t know if he was serious or teasing, and either way the thought did not appeal to her. “No thank you!” Again she took another step back, noting how for each inch she tried to put between them, he came closer by three. “And stay back!”
“That is an order I will not obey.” Sabbath said, and narrowed his eyes at her. “Nor will I humor any requests to leave, to be returned home, to see your cousin or your friends.”
“So what….I am your prisoner now or something?” She demanded, finding a glimmer of anger sparking beneath her fear.
“Or something.” He agreed, and covered the final inches to her. He leaned into her, a breathy sigh escaping him as he inhaled the scent of her hair. She wanted to jerk back, but the wall was behind her, leaving her with no options to escape his nearness.
“Something….? Something what?” Romelle asked, hating the breathless quality to her voice. It was all because of his nearness, she could feel the heat of his body, feel his breath ghost along her scalp as he took in deep breaths of her scent.
“A guest…” He finally said, pulling back enough to look her in the eyes. “You are going to be my guest for an indefinite period of time.”
“A guest that you intend to chain up?” Her question seemed to surprise him, Sabbath glancing down at the chains in his arms. It was as though he noticed them for the first time, staring at them in consideration for a few seconds.
“A guest needs to stay put.” He answered at last. “There are things I must get to make both our stays more comfortable. And I cannot trust that you won’t run off if my back is turned…”
“I suppose I am to be grateful you only intend to chain me up when you need to what? Go shopping?” Romelle was sarcastic then, succeeding in glaring at him. When he did not respond, she exploded, her anger making her forget all the fear and panic she had experienced since waking up in this boarded up house. “You arrogant, overbearing cave man! What’s next, dragging me to the bedroom by my hair?!”
He looked startled at that, but Romelle didn’t give him a chance to respond. “You really are a savage! An unrefined brute! Taking what you want, my feelings be damned! Is this how all you Drule are with your women?! Do you people even know what the word no means?!”
Sabbath turned moody, almost petulant in the moment. “I don’t know…there usually isn’t a problem between mated pairs. The women usually accept their males upon sight! There’s none of this struggle, this heart ache, these complications you offer.”
“Excuse me for being complicated!” Romelle snapped, liking feeding her anger. It was better than being afraid, better than worrying what he intended to do with her. She glared, the silence stretching between them, enough that she began to worry. Why wasn’t he talking, why wasn’t he doing something besides staring at her with that blank expression on his face?
Cautiously, she tried to peer past him through the rest of the hall, wondering which door led to the outside world. It became apparent Sabbath didn’t like that she took her attention of him, he was suddenly reaching out with one hand to snag hold of a handful of her hair. She gasped, and jerked back, Sabbath’s hand following her
movements, to stay stroking through her blonde mane.
“Soft…” Sabbath murmured, something like a smile dancing in his expression. “Such softness is meant to be handled with care, not grabbed and dragged about.”
Romelle didn’t know what to say to that, just staring as he petted her hair. The more he touched her, the more the smile threatened to come out, Sabbath losing that eerie blankness of his. She wanted to run, but he was too close for her to even seriously contemplate making a break for it.
She licked dry lips, finding her voice, and breaking the spell that her hair held over him. “What do you want….no what do you expect of me?” His smile faded, Sabbath turning deadly serious in the moment. “What do you hope to gain by bringing me here like this?”
“You.” His answer was simple but not without complications, Sabbath raising a hand to her face. She gasped and flinched back, and he frowned, but did not stop himself from touching her cheek. “Everything…all or nothing….one way or another we will resolve this attraction between us.”
“There is no attraction!” Romelle insisted, even as she trembled at the stroking of his fingers.
“You lie!” Sabbath actually growled when he accused her of that, Romelle going wide eyed to hear it. It wasn’t anywhere as malicious and angry a growl as the one he had done in the ball room, but it still brought her breath up short to hear it.
“Fine, it’s a one sided attraction, all on your part and all in your head!”
“No. You feel something for me, or you wouldn’t have let me have you that time we were trapped.” Sabbath insisted, another growl escaping him.
“That was a mistake….”
“That remains to be seen.” He interrupted her, his thumb now caressing over her bottom lip. He stared at her mouth as he rubbed at it, and she wondered what he saw when he looked at her. “You burned for me Romelle…the way a mate should. You wanted me then…a part of you must still want me now.”
“You’re overly confidant for someone who has no proof!” Romelle pointed out, and his eyes seemed to darken at her words.
“That’s why we’re here…to get proof one way or another.” He was suddenly pressing on her lips, forcing her to part them for him. His finger slid into her mouth, Romelle making an outraged sound as she close her lips around that thick digit. She told herself her intent was to bite him, but at the tsking sound he made, she hesitated. He stared at her with his finger in her mouth, Romelle growing more and more aware of the salty taste of his skin.
And then he began to move it, thrusting it lightly in and out of her mouth, his movements obscene. She felt the length of his finger tickle over her tongue, her lips still pursed around it. She wasn’t sucking on his finger, but she was close, enduring his teasing with no attempt made to bite him.
Sabbath’s own mouth parted on a sigh, she realized he was enjoying teasing her with his finger. Her eyes must have warned him then, her quickly jerked his hand away from her face, Romelle’s teeth snapping closed on empty air.
He tsked, and touched her cheek once more, finger still wet from her mouth. He said nothing, and for that she was grateful, Romelle sure she would have screamed at whatever he might have said.
“Don’t ever do that again.” Romelle warned him, her own voice doing a mimicry of the Drule’s growl. “Or next time I’ll bite your finger off.”
“My hellcat still needs to be tamed.” Sabbath said in reply, earning another glare from Romelle. Especially when he chuckled, as though it was inevitable that he would succeed in that endeavor.
“The only one that needs taming here is you!” Romelle snapped, eyes blazing with anger.
“So angry….” Sabbath murmured, still stroking her cheek. “But for all your mustered bluster, you’ve yet to show me one ounce of hate.” Her jaw dropped at that, Romelle unable to muster up a response. “You’re very angry with me, but you don’t hate me anywhere as much as you should.”
“Trust me, I can manage the hate.” Romelle told him. “And if you keep me here…”
“You’ll what?” interrupted Sabbath, and he gave her a mocking little laugh. “You already made it clear you won’t spend time with me in your cousin’s home. At least here, you have no choice. You’ll have to get to know me.”
“I think I know enough.” She retorted angrily. “You’re a criminal. A kidnapper and a killer. Who knows what other misdeeds you intend to add to your list of crimes!”
“If I’m a criminal, it’s because you’ve driven me to this point!” She gasped at that, Romelle not liking that he would put the blame for his actions on her. Sabbath’s eyes blazed, the gold a heated fire as he glared at her. Not even her gasp softened his expression, Sabbath dropping the chains on the floor to reach out to her with both hands.
“You’ve wounded me again and again….” He told Romelle, gripping the upper portions of both her arms. The grip was light, but would turn steel in an instant should she struggle, Romelle holding herself still.
She didn’t try to deny she had hurt him, Romelle knew what effect her words in that room had had on him. Sabbath stared at her, and then was pulling her closer, forcing her up on tip toe and against his body. She knew she had to look alarmed, especially when he lowered his head towards her, brushing his lips over hers so that every word shivered into her.
“With your thoughtless words and actions. You’ve broken my heart Romelle, left me with shattered pieces I had to glue back together. Not once, not twice, but many, many times.”
“So how come you haven’t gotten the message and given up?” She asked, that intimate way of speaking forcing her lips to move against his. It was like a kiss, and yet not, words being whispered between them.
“I love you.” He sounded pained as he admitted it, staring at her with a broken look in his eyes. “Like I’ve never loved, never wanted before in my life. It’s a love you don’t get over, ever.”
“But I don’t love you.” She whispered back, shivering as the broken look was replaced with red hot determination.
“Not yet, you don’t.” Romelle could only gasp at his words, staring at him shocked. His words were stated with a promise, a confidence that scared her. Sabbath sounded so certain that he could force her to feel love for him. And staring at him now, seeing how determined he looked, she couldn’t help wonder if there was a chance he’d prove himself right.