Better Worse 18

I was seated at one of the many tables, having slipped off my shoes so as to give some comfort to my hurting toes. No one had seemed to notice, too drunk or too tired to pay much attention to their surroundings or any one individual. Not even the bride and her groom. Not after the reception had extended for so many hours. It was more than was usual, the festivities extending well into the night. I knew why the party had lasted as long as it did, my parents hoping to give me time to prepare myself for the feat waiting me at the reception’s end.

I can’t say I was looking forward to retiring to my bedroom. Not with Lotor as my companion. Not that I expected much to happen, not after the way he had spent the last few hours ignoring me. We had barely exchanged any words, and save for the first dance of the night, we had avoided contact with each other. I had spent more time dancing with my uncles, cousins, and father than I had with my own husband. The animosity between Lotor and I was becoming more and more apparent, especially with the way he was drinking.

My father had tried to put a curb on Lotor’s wine intake. But the prince wouldn’t be stopped so easily. He was sneaking around, lifting half finished glasses off of people’s tables. He wasn’t making a nuisance of himself just yet, but it was clear the only way he thought to tolerate this day and the coming night was to be thoroughly drunk out of his gourd.

I can’t say I blamed him. If not for my own condition, I too would be drinking and heavily. All in an attempt to numb my feelings, and the nervousness I felt. Instead I had to face the full force of my emotions, my worries and concerns over what could possible happen. The quicker the party drew to a close, the more worried I became. And I no longer could dance in an attempt to distract myself, not with my feet hurting as much as they did.

Sometimes one of my family would come to sit with me. It was predominately the women, each one kind and ready to impart words of wisdom for a happy marriage, and an even happier bedroom. Some tried to alleviate any concerns I might have, whispering solicitously to me how the pain was really not so bad, and that it would only be the one time. These tried to prepare me kindly for sex, while others were so drunk they couldn’t help but giggle like schoolgirls, being a bit more lewd in their frank talk than was proper.

I was most grateful for the time my cousin Romelle sat with me. Innocent as I had once been, she had no real knowledge to tell me about sex save for what she had read in books. She was a dreamer, still believing in happy endings, and the power of love. I could only hope she would never be as crushed as I had been, even as I knew her chances for a love match for her marriage would be small.

Eventually we could no longer put off ending the night. Many of our guests had already left, trickling out in droves with mumbled apologies. The wedding presents had all been opened, nearly all the offered food and drink gone. Only the closest of my family remained, and even they were looking at the clock impatiently. I’d sigh, and put my shoes back on, then rise to stand from my seat. My gaze would seek out my parent’s, and I would given them a confirming nod.

My father is not the type to drink heavily. He had indulged in only a cup or two of wine. And even that had seemed more than usual, but perfectly understandable given how he felt about Lotor and this marriage. His expression had been strained all night, eyes worried one instant, angry the next. He hadn’t like Lotor’s drinking, any more than he liked the thought of my sharing a bedroom with the Drule prince.

But he knew appearances had to be kept up. So with a forced smile, he clapped his hands together, drawing the remaining guests’ attention to him. “Ladies. Gentleman. We have all celebrated hard and long into the night.” A half hearted murmur of reply from the guests, showing how tired they all were. “But like all good things, even this must come to an end.” No one protested. I’m surprised no one bolted for the exit at the first hint that the reception was over with. “Diana and I thank you for coming, as does Allura and Lotor.”

All eyes turned to me. I didn’t even look for my errant husband, forcing a smile at my family. “Yes! I thank you for making the time to share in this day with me. Your support is something I shall carry into my marriage to give it strength.” Their support was something I strongly needed, feeling weak and unsteady as I gazed at my loved ones. “Thank you..” I said in a lower tone of voice, feeling tired and overcome with emotion.

“The guest rooms are available to you all.” My mother announced, knowing not many would want to travel at this late an hour. “Please feel free to make use of them when you do retire.” With that, she took hold of my father’s arm, smiling one last time at me. And then she and my father were leaving, walking out of the ball room. I knew what appearances expected of us next. Lotor and I by all rights should leave the ball room together. I looked around for him, and found him standing by one of the ball room windows. A moody expression was in his eyes, one of the stolen glasses in his hands. When he met my gaze, he merely smirked, raising his glass to his lips.

That was a clear enough dismissal for me. I neither wanted to retire to the bedroom with him at my side, nor spend time arguing with him in an attempt to get him to leave with me. I flashed him a disgusted look, then turned my back on him. I would walk out of the ball room with my head held high, not giving a damn what the servants and the rest of my family would think.

Nor did I break down in tears. I was more relived than anything to have escaped Lotor’s presence. Everything he did, and didn’t do only hurt me. Whether he talked to me, or ignored me. It was all just proof of the misery that awaited us, the sad state of our marriage. We weren’t friends, we weren’t even pretending to be civil to one another. It may not have been a love match, but even political marriages tended to get off on a better foot than ours.

I don’t know how I could bear a lifetime of such misery. How could I endure without love, without even happiness? And could I really do as my Aunt Orla had, and devote myself to loving my children? Could that possibly fill the void left within me, soothe the creature inside me that craved love, even after I knew how twisted and manipulative men could be?

I wanted to be able to throw aside all need for love. What use was yearning for that which I could never have, that which Lotor could not, would not give me? And yet I was a fool, a part of me, twisted and distorted, still yearned for him. Still woke up aching from dreams that remembered the night I had been so happy with him. But the dreams hurt almost as much as Lotor’s betrayal, and all because I woke to a reality that was far different from that of my sleep filled mind.

I did not allow my body to sag with how disappointed and weary I was. I continued to walk proudly to my bedroom. Even out here on this floor, there were guards. They were there for my protection as much as to ensure Lotor did not try to escape. But my room was empty of the maids who usually helped me get ready for bed. And all because they had assumed my husband would be the one to help me out of my clothing.

I let out a sad, bitter laugh, unpinning the veil and it’s flowers and pearls from my hair. I carefully laid it across the surface of my vanity, wondering if it would be worth trying to preserve it and my gown. Neither the veil nor my wedding dress had been the type I would have picked if there had been more time. Nor did I feel any particular sentimental attachment to them, nor any desire to save them for a potential daughter of mine to wear.

I’d strip off my gloves, and stare at the plain gold band around my finger. I’d actually caress the cold metal with my fingertip, feeling an involuntary shiver go through me. This ring symbolized I was taken, tied to Lotor just as surely as the child I carried bound us together. It just didn’t seem fair, my whole life changed, my whole future ruined. Angrily I would struggle to strip off my dress, no longer taking care with the gown. I didn’t care if it wrinkled or got torn, stuffing it into the bathroom’s laundry hamper. It barely fit with that long train of it’s, and I took twisted satisfaction in stamping it down with my fists.

I’d take a quick shower, and then dress myself in one of my nightgowns. It was not a sexy garment. I wasn’t setting out to entice Lotor, nor did I own any such daring gowns or lingerie. Nor did I plan to order any, any time soon. I wanted to be comfortable, and the familiar pink and purple night gown was just that. With it’s bodice completely covering my breasts, the fabric circling close around my neck, to it’s ankle length skirts, it was down right prudish.

Lotor hadn’t returned by the time I finished drying my hair. I wondered if he planned to stay out all night. That suited me just fine. Nor would I stay up to greet him should he deign to pay a visit to my–our bedroom. I was not about to lose anymore sleep wondering and worrying about my missing husband. Just as I was sure he wasn’t even concerned about me and my feelings on this awkward and awful night.

It wasn’t that easy to fall asleep. I’d actually toss and turn, one minute the covers on me, the next kicking them off. I couldn’t get comfortable at first, but that was surely my own misery that made me feel that way. I don’t know how long I tried to force myself to sleep, but eventually my mind would give in. At some point allowing me to slip into dreams, and not all of them were happy.

As was so often the case, I dreamt about the last two and a half weeks. From everything from the night I had been so happy loving Lotor and being loved in return, to the fears I had combated, worrying about what would happen should my secret shame be discovered. Even the fears over the threat of war tormented me, leaving me to moan tortured out loud.

The dreams were unstable, running from one moment to the next, and back again. One moment I was in pain, cursing Lotor, damning him for his tricks and manipulations. Then the next I was loving him, the dream feeling so real I wanted to cry. There he kissed me, mouth eager and moving all over me. My lips, my skin, anywhere that was exposed.

I could only sigh in response, wanting to believe in the dream, wanting to attain that fleeting happiness reality always tore away from me. I’d try to lose myself in the dream, mouth parting to his insistent tongue’s prodding. My own tongue would rise to meet his, passionately dueling them together, sending fire through me. My arms would wrap around his body, the dream feeling so real. I could almost feel the heavy weight of his body on mine, feel my breath being stolen from his kisses.

Somewhere fabric tore. I think I might have gasped, but that sound was muffled by Lotor’s kiss. And then I felt it. His lips caressing down the front of my body. The warmth of his mouth as he greedily closed his lips around one of my nipples. The fast suction he exerted, it was enough to tear me out of the dreams, a loud cry of surprise escaping me. There was no second of disorientation, the feeling on my breast too real, too intense for it to be a dream. I blinked rapidly, and stared, finding Lotor on top of me. His large hands were gripping my waist, his mouth firmly fastened to my breast.

I couldn’t help squirming under the pleasurable assault. It felt better than I had remembered, better even than my dreams. My nipples stiffened completely, the hard points aching for attention. I couldn’t stop the moan that escaped me, even as I glared furiously at Lotor. He glanced up at the sound, purposefully laving his tongue over the nipple he had sucked on. A shiver went through my body, and then I saw him smirk. My vision colored red, I was so angry!

I reacted on impulse. I immediately set out to box his ears, pounding my fists on the sides of his head. He jerked back with a cry of pain, and I shoved him the rest of the way off me.

“Just what do you think you are doing?!” I demanded, realizing he had torn open my nightgown’s bodice. I immediately gripped it close with one hand, the other fist ready to strike Lotor should he come near me.

“Funny, shouldn’t that be my question?!” He demanded in retort. His words were slightly slurring, Lotor having had enough wine to be drunk. I realized then his breath even smelled faintly of the wine, but the look in his eyes? That was not some incoherent drunk that looked at me. It was all predator, lustful and dark. It made me shift further away from him on the bed, but I never lost my glare.

“You’re my wife Allura.” Lotor began, but his tone wasn’t steady. He still had a hand to the side of his head, rubbing where I had struck him. But my fists hadn’t cooled the lustful fires within him, as evidenced by his words and the look in his eyes. “Why shouldn’t I kiss you?”

“You were doing more than just kissing me!” I refused to blush, maintaining my glare at him. My breast was wet where his mouth had been, nipples traitorously hard.

“That I was.” He agreed, and reached for my ankle. I quickly avoided him, not wanting to be hauled beneath him once more. “You taste sweet Allura…as sweet as I remember.” It wasn’t much as far as flattery goes, and it certainly wasn’t enough to make me give in to what he had planned. His eyes narrowed at me, his words taking on a heated, commanding edge. “Come here. I want to hold you.”

I picked up and threw a pillow at him, having the satisfaction of watching the surprise as it hurtled towards his face. “You’re insane if you think I’ll let you do anything with me!” I was already scrambling off the bed, Lotor moving to follow me. He had taken off his tuxedo jacket, revealing the white shirt beneath it. It was partially unbuttoned, revealing the smooth line of his chest.

“You’re my wife.” He repeated. “There are certain obligations in the commitment you made to me.”

“You know damn well why I made that commitment! And it wasn’t for you!” He was forcing me to back up, desperately trying to stay out of his reach.

“Nevertheless, you made it all the same. Now come here and let me taste you!” Lotor ordered.

“NO!” I had to fight from screaming it out. I didn’t want to draw the guards in, didn’t want to alert them to the unfortunate problems of my marriage. “I will never let you have me! Never again Lotor! You ruined all hope of us ever having a normal relationship, a healthy marriage, a civil one, when you lied and manipulated me!” He growled in response, the sound chilling to hear. He looked very much like he was considering lunging towards me, and I tensed in preparation to spring to the side.

“What am I supposed to do then?” Lotor demanded. “I haven’t had sex in over a week’s time! Your father has made it expressly clear that any other lovers are barred to me. How am I supposed to satisfy MY needs?!”

“Use your hand!” I retorted tartly, and more than a little smug. He turned even madder to hear that, and suddenly was lunging for me. I let out a muffled shriek, dodging to the side. But I didn’t stop moving once out of his way, making a run for the bathroom. He was slow, his drunken state making him that uncoordinated. I’d have time to actually lock the door, leaning against it in shaking relief.

I’d nearly jump out of my skin when he began pounding on the bathroom door. “Allura!” Lotor roared. “Open this door!”

“Go to sleep Lotor!” I retorted.

“Open this door or I’ll break it down!”

“You can try!” Came my reply. The bathroom door was a thick, solid piece of metal. It was reinforced and fortified, made to keep out intruders should the unthinkable happen. It would take more than a single Drule to break it down, as evidenced by the way it stood up to Lotor ramming it. I backed away, still clutching at my torn nightgown when I heard it. Lotor screaming in pain. But I didn’t dare open the door, not trusting a trap from him.

The screams would continue, and then new voices would be added. It was the guards stationed out in the hall, having rushed inside the room. Lotor continued to bellow, and was surely writhing on the floor. I could hear him letting out curses, but he was otherwise ignored.

“Princess Allura.” A guard had knocked on the door. “Are you okay?”

“I am fine.” I said, sounding calmer than I felt. “It was just a misunderstanding.”

“Some misunderstanding.” I heard one of them say.

“Princess….would you like for your…husband, to spend the night in the dungeons?”

I thought it might do us both some good to get more distance. Certainly I didn’t want to be alone with Lotor until he sobered up. “Yes, that’s a good idea. Thank you.”

“No problem, your highness.” Came the answer. The guards wouldn’t be able to immediately remove Lotor from our bedroom. They weren’t about to touch him while his skin was coursing with the volts of electricity. And Lotor was so drunk, he didn’t seem to know enough to calm down and let the anger work out of his system. He’d continue to bellow and shout, cursing one minute, calling my name out in an angry tone the next. But eventually it grew quiet, save for Lotor’s pained moan.

I’d crack open the bathroom door, just in time to see Lotor being half carried out of the room. I let out a shaky sigh of relief, fighting the urge to burst into tears. I was scared by what had happened, both by his insistence that we have sex, and the fact that he had become so enraged that the device had triggered to subdue him. Even more I was devastated by how it had felt to be in his arms, to be kissed and touched by him. I had thought it a dream, but it still didn’t lessen the impact any of it had had on me. I was still affected by Lotor, my body traitorously wanting him.

I wouldn’t go to sleep for a long time that night. I’d actually avoid the bed, falling asleep in one of the room’s overstuffed chairs. But before that I’d think. About everything that had happened, the feelings I had felt, how Lotor seemed intent on using me just to satisfy some primal urge of his. I even thought of the scandal this was sure to cause, the people of the castle ready to gossip about the fact the wedding night had erupted into violence, and ended with the prince in the dungeons. Never had I imagined a disaster of quite this proportion, and I could only hope once Lotor was sober, he would act in a much more reasonable manner.


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