Hunk had broken his left ankle during Lion Training and understandably had been cranky until the knock-out drugs had kicked in. But to make that even worse, Coran and Nanny had gotten into an argument about that and now they weren’t speaking to each other. That had started the tingling in his head.
And Merla had yet to be found, but Keith had an idea of where she was. The question was, did he want to burst into Lance’s bedroom in a righteous rage, or did he want them to finish their sex-session? He wasn’t entirely certain that they were in Lance’s bedroom anyway; Merla would fuck in a sewer when she was on a “sex bender”.
But that wasn’t the point! This was a Palace, not a sex hotel! And Merla was NOT welcome here! But she didn’t care. And she’d left a trail of satiated men and women, all of whom were sleeping with the dreamiest smiles on their faces…
That had changed the tingling to a nagging pressure.
The trigger for the headache was Allura coming back from her shopping trip empty-handed and crying uncontrollably and running straight into the Guest bedroom Keith was going to now and locking the door. Since then she had refused to open the door, even to see the children.
Shopping trip, his ass. Knowing where she really had gone was a simple logical process. Merla, probably for spite, had told her a thing or few about Lia, and she had taken off to seek the heartbreaker to get vengeance. But it hadn’t gone as she had planned. Lia had probably set her straight about a thing or few, and about an hour later, door-slam.
If Allura had just left it alone…or if she had handled it better…but she hadn’t.
Even with all her training, she was not ready to be a queen. But a queen she was, and he was going to set her straight himself.
He hadn’t been awarded so many “good soldier” medals for nothing.
I’m the only one who can train her with complete objectivity. She had a little freedom on Arus, but there’s no rank or rules barrier between her and me now.
As he reached the bedroom the electronic lock beeped as it released its hold – no door was closed to a King, yet another benefit guaranteed by the Viray Treaty – and what he beheld as the door slid open made him sigh. The room looked as though a small-scale windstorm had gone thrown it, and the storm itself, herself, was naked and lying facedown on the bed, sobbing and shaking, and punching the bed.
Her being sad or upset had always made him want to vanquish the source; even now, he was contemplating war. He scowled and forced himself to stop.
“Allura-” It came out as a growl and she flinched. He cursed himself and tried again. “Allura. This ends now.”
She gasped, thinking that he had discovered the awful thing she had done. Was he going to kill her? It would be justified.
How could she have done such a thing? But the bitch had deserved it! Thinking that she could take Lance away from her.
His hands clenched into fists.
“SILENCE!” His voice boomed, and not only did people in the hallway jerk or turn to look, a Palace alarm went off and the door reopened.
He didn’t care.
“This is NOT a playground or arena and we are NOT your willing spectators! Nor will we look away while you behave however you please!”
He couldn’t see it, but he knew she was sneering. This enraged him, but he held it in check. At least she had stopped crying.
“Obviously you don’t have enough duties to distract you from noticing how attractive the Royal Bodyguard is or how other people are.”
Her eyes widened, she flipped herself over and she gaped at him. He knew that she and Merla had…earlier…but HOW? She hadn’t been that loud, had she? As for Lance, that was separate from everything else! Anyway, Keith needed to stay out of it! This was a marriage of convenience, they had separate lives! He had no right, Arusian King or not! She was the REAL power here, he needed to butt out!
“And your status is obviously not enough of a reminder to behave yourself.”
Her instincts were sounding a warning. But she kept her mouth shut. Keith could say whatever he wanted; he had forgotten his own status, but when he was through with this lecture she would remind him who was in charge on this planet.
“You and I are going on a holiday, Allura. Just you and I.”
She winced. All alone with Keith, anywhere? Not good.
“And I will thoroughly train you there. Body and mind. In the principles of the Treaty and into the soldier I was not allowed to make you on Arus. When we return, you will be more…appreciative.”
That did it. Growling, she launched herself at him. But, without even blinking, he turned her, flipped her, and plunked her on her back on the floor, ending that quest before it started.
“You are the true power here, but that does not give you the right to abuse it.”
“How DARE you – you’ve been an absolute ass ever since we got married-”
“I have had to be.”
“Like HELL you have!”
“I can be kind, Allura, but what image would that present to everyone, and to our enemies? The spies they have here – yes, we do have their spies here, just as we do, there – what do you want them to report back?”
“You can be nicer to ME! And to our friends here-”
“You mean those who serve us? They are not anyone’s friends when they are on duty. And a firm hand is always required with you. You were spoiled, Allura. Allowed to do too much too often. You enjoyed privileges that you did not earn. It is my job to correct that wrong. To correct everything.”
“I once asked Lance to teach me about women. But now I understand. You, anyway. So our holiday should be no longer than two months-”
“Four, if you interrupt me again. Three, because you just did. Our children will be safe here. But I will ask Lance to contact us twice a day with-”
“FIVE months! A whole fucking YEAR! How DARE you! HOW DARE YOU!”
She broke free from his grip and tried to kill him. He’d gone too far. Stepped over too many lines. She wasn’t going to allow him to do more damage.
He let her try. There was more going on here than her feelings about his rank and status and she needed to vent them out. He’d prefer the Gym for that, but there wasn’t time to take her there. And besides…
“YOU BASTARD! You absolute, insufferable-”
…watching her like this, so angry, so hurt, so helpless…he was beginning to wonder if…
She went for his crotch and heart. Instinctively, he moved out of the way. He didn’t WANT to die.
…if, after they came back from that training session…she would ask for a divorce.
“I HATE YOU!!”
But he didn’t want to divorce her. It wasn’t the royal trappings, he could do without those. He CARED about her. More than he was supposed to. But that was only natural, he always had. The instant he’d first seen her, that blue-eyed beauty had gotten his attention. Her inner strength had grabbed his heart. And he, more than the other future V-boys, would have died for her. Anytime. Because he, more than they, was hers. Hadn’t he unintentionally proved that time after time?
Her bad-girl behavior squeezed his heart and really messed with his mind. It wasn’t right for her to be like that. He had hoped that Lance would set her straight, but his crush had prevented him from taking the firm action he had needed to take. And so she was still now as she had been for far too long.
You could have been happy together. But you two were not meant for each other. No matter. I will be the one to return you to normal. Because the real you is the one that needs to be out there. And in here. That’s another of the reasons he asked me to marry you. Because you were meant for me. Shit. What a dumbass I’ve been.
He hadn’t been going to Lia just to vent his excess seed. He’d been trying to escape the truth. For far too long.
Ignoring Allura’s many and rapid questions, he shoved her aside and slowly stood up.
And every time he goes on a date I wonder if that will be the night that Lia will tell him about THAT.
He winced. He was addicted to Lia’s touch and he didn’t want to stop taking advantage of it. He would have to train himself, as well. But as he supposed it was with Allura and her own lusts, he doubted that he could truly break the addiction.
“Get packing now, or I will have Maids do it for you. We leave tomorrow morning after Lion Training.”
And he left the room, leaving a confused, frustrated and still-furious Allura to stare at his back.
A quick kiss; then Merla, with a few magic words, disguised herself as a Maid and left Lance’s bedroom.
Stripping the bed, He shook his head slowly. She looked different, but she couldn’t hide the sweat and sex smells. If she didn’t get to the closest bathroom to clean up NOW, people would be drawn to her as though she was a magnet, and then…
“STOP!” This official command from a Guard. “What are you doing in this area…you know it is…off-limits to you…Maids…”
Lance sighed. One wrong move and Merla would be flat on her back. Or, more likely, the Guard would.
“I’m so sorry…I…I will leave right away…” Merla’s voice, which was disguised along with her looks, was literally going up and down. She was likely curtseying over and over again. Probably while checking the man out. Hopefully she wasn’t being too obvious about it. But then again…
“I was lost. I-”
“Silence.” The faint sound of a zipper. “Take care of this and I’ll take care of you, do you understand?”
A fake gasp from Merla.
“But I have to – Nanny said I need to-”
“Never mind Nanny.” The man was struggling to breathe. “Don’t take too long. I have my own duties to do.”
“But – oh! You’re so BIG!”
“Ha ha. Take it all in, baby. Suck it with that pretty little mouth. Ah, yes, that’s it. Good girl. Hey. Let me see your tits.”
Lance tuned out.
“Keith knows where Merla is, I mean was. So what do I do with these bedsheets? The mattress, too.”
The Guard was moaning. Merla was mmmmm-ing.
Lance rolled his eyes.
“Fuck it. I’ll clean them myself. If that doesn’t work, I’ll add ’em to the general ‘Guard Laundry Pile’. Keith’ll never know.”
He hoped Keith would never know. But it was the safest bet. Because of their shifts, which often changed according to circumstances, the Guards could only either sleep, shower, change clothes, have a quick meal, or grab a quick nap. Therefore they tended to have piles of laundry. And because they left their dorm or bedroom doors open, exhausted Guards slept on whichever of the beds was available, which meant that those beds got dirtier and worn out faster than they “normally” would. Keith, still a himself, understood, and said nothing about what it cost to house the Guards. So Lance, also still a soldier, could guiltlessly add his own “pile” to the “Pile”.
But he still wanted to try to clean it himself.
“I’ll ask a Maid to slip me some cleaners after I shower-”
His headset buzzed from one of the nightstands. He hurried over to it and slipped it over an ear.
“This is Lance,” he said, then his eyes widened as he listened.
“They’re what? Tomorrow after practice? Oh shit. No, it’s okay, they need a holiday, yeah, yeah, whatever. Where are they – a secret. Oh. Of course…huh? Yeah they could have told me earlier. What if – oh. No. It’s okay. It just means I have to come back earlier, because he’ll brief me before he goes to bed-”
His eyes widened even more.
I just got an idea. I know what I’m going to do about them and Lia.
Then he blinked, remembering that the other person was still talking.
“-what? Yes he does. And then I’ll brief – yeah, my ‘double’ could use some time off, and I have to talk to him soon anyway – they’ll be gone how long? That’s crap. Oh. Yeah. She wouldn’t keep her mouth shut, would she? Okay. Later.”
This just speeds things up. But it will still work.
He intended to make his and Lia’s relationship public and to tell Keith and Allura about it first, as was proper. But the scheme was in the how.
After tonight, they wouldn’t bother Lia again.