The screen crackled with static, jagged lines spiking forward to distort the image, the man’s face blurring in and out of focus. What little Allura could make of Coran’s face was worried, his eyes clouded with concern as he looked her over. She wondered if Arus was having just as much trouble as Las Tibayas at maintaining contact, the planets several star systems away from one another.
She stood in front of her view screen, remote in hand, Allura fighting not to fidget her fingers against it. Coran had known immediately something was wrong when she contacted him, even without Allura saying a single word. Now he waited patiently for her to speak, Allura trying to think on where to begin.
She supposed she should start with telling him the truth, knowing this whole outing had been based on a lie. Allura had never been good at lying, always a girl that was honest to a fault. She had let Lance and the others do the lying for her, Allura merely keeping silent as they told Nanny and Coran that they had received a distress signal from some far off planet. Now she almost regretting lying by omission, knowing her care givers would have never allowed her to come to Las Tibayas without a chaperone.
“Allura…” Coran’s mustache twitched as he talked, a sight that should have made her smile. “What is it child? What’s the matter? Is the situation more dire than expected on Raheil?”
Truth be known she didn’t know what was occurring on planet Raheil, knowing they had simply picked a planet at random as the destination for their lie. Coran surely had to be wondering about the lavish surroundings of the room she called him from, and yet he did not comment. He did not judge, probably never dreaming she could be lying to him.
“We’re….we’re not on Raheil.” Allura said quietly, watching as his brows drew together.
“You’re not? Then where are you calling from?”
She sucked in a breath, preparing herself for the outburst that was sure to follow. “I’m calling from Las Tibayas.”
“Las Tibayas? The gambling and marriage capital of the universe?” Coran frowned, puzzled. “Why are you there? Where is the captain? The Voltron Force?”
“Oh they’re around.” Allura said, tone weak. Around and most likely enjoying the sights the planet had to offer. But she didn’t tell Coran that. “Coran…I’m sorry….we lied to you. Raheil never sent a distress signal.”
She closed her eyes, trying to block out his confused face. “We lied to you Coran. We never left to aid anyone.”
“Are you telling me the five of you took off for some kind of vacation trip, leaving Arus defenseless in the process?” Anger hadn’t set in yet, the advisor sounding more shocked than mad. Allura cautiously peeked open her eyes, nodding her head.
“Yes.” Her voice was small, sounding almost child like as she spoke.
“And I suppose something has happened if you’re calling to tell me this.” Coran said, tone just a little harsher now.
“Yes.” She looked down, giving in to the urge to fidget, fingers playing with the remote. “Oh Coran, it’s the worst thing that could have ever happened.” She wouldn’t meet his eyes, words tumbling free. “I was out with Romelle last night…”
“Princess Romelle is there with you as well?” An astonished Coran asked.
Allura nodded. “Yes, as is Sven.”
“Just how many people are involved in this lie?” Coran demanded, causing Allura to do a mental count.
“With or without Lotor?” She asked, and Coran nearly fell off his chair at the mention of the prince’s name.
“That fiend is there as well?!”
“He’s part of my news….” Allura said, and Coran righted himself.
“Part of the worst thing that could ever have happened?” At her nod, he continued. “Don’t tell me he attacked Captain Keith again?”
“Not exactly…” Allura knew Keith had thrown the first punch that started the fight in her room.
“So no one is dead?” Coran asked, seeming to need reassurance of that.
“God no!” Allura exclaimed, waving her hand in an anxious gesture. “No one is dead, or hurt physically.” Coran seemed to relax at that, but Allura knew her next words would cause his blood pressure to rise. “But….you see….I went out with Romelle last night….for her bachelorette party…” Coran’s eyebrows raised at that, Allura sure he could guess at who Romelle intended to marry. “And we….had a little too much to drink.”
“Drinking Allura?” Coran sounded disappointed, making a tsking sound with his tongue.
“I know I shouldn’t have…” Allura began, cringing at Coran’s disapproving noises. “And I’m sorry I ever did. I swear I won’t ever touch alcohol again, so please….don’t hate me for what I am about to tell you…”
“Child I could never hate you…” Coran said, and Allura nearly began crying at that. “Oh Allura, do not cry.” The man looked bothered by her snifflig, as though he wanted to reach out and comfort her.
“I can’t help it.” She said, sounding as miserable as she felt. “I got drunk, and I did something horrible. Something that endangers Arus’ future!”
“I’m sure whatever it is, we can fix it.”
“You can’t!” Allura cried out, giving another twist of her fingers. “No one can. I…I….”
“What Allura?” Coran asked when she stuttered to a halt. “What did you do that is so bad?”
She said it in one breath, words tumbling out on top of each other. “I married Lotor.” Silence thudded into the conversation, Coran’s mouth dropping open in shock. She looked down at the floor, waiting for him to say something, anything but the seconds stretched out into minutes. “Coran….aren’t you going to say something?”
He blinked, and closed his mouth, swallowing several times. His mouth opened, then closed, the man appearing not to know what to say. His shaking hand reached for his glass of water, Coran taking a long drink of it before speaking. “I’m sorry.” He began, a tense smile on his face. “I thought you said you married Lotor.”
“I did.” Allura said, head hanging low. “I was drunk, and I don’t remember the details, but somehow I got separated from Romelle, and ended up married to Lotor.”
“We’ll simply have to get it annulled.” Coran said. “He can’t hold you to it if you haven’t had….relations with him.” He stared at her, her face turning red, an incriminating blush that had him sighing in disappointment. “Oh Allura…..you didn’t….”
“I did.” She confirmed, unable to meet his eyes. “The marriage has been consummated. It’s binding…..and Lotor refuses to divorce me.”
“He would refuse that.” Agreed Coran, muttering it under his breath. “Allura, have you at least provided for Arus?” He pounded a fist on his desk when she shook her head no, Coran actually raising his voice to shout. “How could you be so reckless?!”
“I didn’t mean too.”
“What you meant or did not mean does not matter!” He snapped, shouting over her. “You’ve done the deed, handed over Arus to Doom, and all because you lied to go out and party!” She was flinching at his words, almost wishing someone was there to shield her from his anger and disappointment. “How could you? How could you have done something so stupid?! And with the son of your father’s murderer!”
“I don’t know!” Allura cried out. “It just happened!” Coran stared at her, Allura fighting back tears. “I know I screwed up….but Lotor is giving me a chance to make things right….”
“And I’m sure he has no ulterior motives.” Coran muttered.
“He says he wants me to be happy.” Coran made a scoffing sound at that. “And he knows that to do that means to ensure Arus’ future and safety. And so….he is holding off telling his father the news. He…he is giving me a chance to make a treaty he can give to his father. Zarkon need not know that we didn’t have one before we got married. All I’m asking for is your help in forging one that holds the best possible outcome for Arus. Please Coran….don’t punish Arus for my mistakes…”
“Child….no….you’re not a child….not anymore….” Coran sighed, steepling his fingers together so that he stared over them at her. “Allura, just because I am upset doesn’t mean I won’t help you. I love you, and only want what is best for you. Something I am sure Lotor is not.”
She felt a mixture of relief at his words, but disappointment sagged her shoulders. “He loves me.” She said at last. “I could do worse than to end up with a man who professes to love me even half as much as Lotor say he does.”
“I won’t argue that.” Coran said, though Allura knew he had always hoped to gain her a husband that was from one of the planets that shared peace with Arus regardless of if it was a love match. “And I’ll get started on sending you suggestions for the treaty you need to forge. Do you have your data pad on hand to receive the information?”
“Yes. Unpacked and plugged in.” Allura said, glancing at the flat device that lay on top of the table. “It can begin receiving at any time.”
“Good.” Coran leaned back in his chair, eyes considering her for a moment. “Please be careful around Prince Lotor. He may be your husband now, but he is still a devious fiend. Who knows what he may try.”
“Thank you for the warning.” Allura felt gratitude that Coran still cared enough to worry about her. “I think he will be on his best behavior now that he’s so close to getting everything he’s always wanted.” She decided to leave off the information about how Lotor was insisting on sharing her hotel room with him, figuring Coran had had enough shocks to his system.
“That will just make him more dangerous.” Coran replied. “A sleeping tiger can still strike at any time, remember that.”
“I will.” She nodded, seeing Coran’s face softened.
“Take care of yourself Allura. Coran out.”
“Good bye..” She whispered as the screen went dead. She exhaled a breath she had not realized she had been holding, Allura thinking that conversation had gone better than she thought. She still had to face Nanny though, and it was something she would put off for as long as possible.
Sighing to herself, Allura checked her data pad, making sure it was still switched on. It was too soon for Coran to have even attempted to send her anything, so Allura didn’t check her messages. Instead she headed for the bathroom, determined to at long last take the bath she had been denying herself.
She locked the door, and stepped deeper into the room, walking over to the large tub. It was big enough for two people, although it would be a tight fit if one of those people were a man of Lotor’s size and stature. Allura shook her head, angry at herself for even thinking about fitting Lotor into the tub. She muttered something under her breath, and began running the water, adjusting it to be a pleasing temperature for her skin. She then went and got the towels out of the linen closet, setting them down on the bench by the tub.
Sitting down, she pulled off her boots, tucking them under the bench for safe keeping. She then quickly removed her clothing, folding them up to rest on the bench. Retrieving soap and shampoo, she got into the tub, and sank down into it’s warm embrace with a happy sigh. Allura began pouring the bubble bath mixture into the water, and soon had a multitude of white bubbles covering her body, and floating on top of the water.
It felt good to soak, Allura lying back in the tub, her head resting on the edge as she closed her eyes. The soreness of her body seemed to fade away, the water caressing away her aches and pains. For a few minutes she just laid there, her thoughts calm for the moment, Allura feeling at peace. Her tension had melted away, and for once she didn’t worry about anyone else.
It was not to be, for as soon as she sat up to start working shampoo into her hair, a knock sounded at her door. She frowned, wondering who it was, hoping it would be maintenance come to fix the outside door.
“Allura?” The voice was muffled, but clearly Lotor’s, Allura holding back a sigh. “Are you in there?”
“Yes….I’ll be out in a second!”
“No need to hurry on my account.” Lotor said, and the door rattled, the prince testing the lock. She felt relieved it held, not wanting him to burst in on her while she was naked. The door rattled again, hard enough that Allura wondered if he was trying to break the lock. She nearly jumped out of the tub when it opened, a fully dressed Lotor walking in with card key in hand.
“I found your dress.” He said, smiling at her. His eyes immediately gravitated towards her bubble covered body, staring hard enough that she was surprised the bubbles didn’t pop from the force of his gaze. “Along with your room key.”
“Do you mind?!” Allura cried out, crossing her arms over her chest, and pulling her knees close to her body. The bubbles hid much of her from view, but she still did not like the way he leered at her.
“Not at all.” He strode over to the bench, pushing aside her clothes to sit down. “I thought we could talk.”
She narrowed her eyes at him, hissing a command. “Get out!” He didn’t move, sitting before her, wearing that odd smile. “Get out.” She repeated, furious at him. “Leave. It’s not proper of you to see me like this.”
“Proper?” He arched one white brow, smirking. “Allura, beloved, I’ve seen you naked before.”
“Yes, but you don’t remember that!”
“An unfortunate thing.” He agreed. “I hardly think it’s fair that my memories have not come back. I missed out on so many delightful things, least of all seeing the perfection that is your body unclothed.” His words forced a blush on her face, Allura wondering if he really thought she was perfect. She quickly shook her head, sputtering out a sentence.
“Just because you don’t remember, doesn’t mean I am going to give you a free show. You’ll have to jog your memory some other way.”
“I’ll accept that, for now.” Lotor said. “But Allura, we are husband and wife. And with it comes certain obligations.” He stared at her, look meaningful and ripe with desire. She blushed redder, and quickly shook her head no.
“I can’t think about that right now.”
“Then when?” Lotor asked. “Tonight when I am in your bed?”
“NO!” She shot him a furious look, appalled at what he was suggesting. “If we share a bed, and that’s only if, there will be no sex. We will merely sleep.”
“Do you really think that is for the best?” questioned Lotor. “I mean…you’ll never get over your shyness around me if we don’t foster intimacy between us.”
“It’s too soon.” Allura whispered. “I can’t give you what you want…”
“But you will. In time I mean.” Lotor sounded confidant. “Have you contacted your people on Arus?”
“Yes. Coran is getting to work on sending a draft for the treaty. I should have it ready for you by tomorrow.” Allura answered.
“Good.” Lotor stood, stretching his arms up over his head. She couldn’t help herself, she watched him do it, seeing the way his shirt pulled tight across his muscles. “Now….about that shower you promised me….”
“Did I promise you something?” She tried to remember, thinking back on all that had happened today.
“Yes, Allura, you did.” With a grin he began removing his shirt, Allura crying out in alarm.
“What are you doing?!”
“Why I am going to join you!” Lotor said, and made quick work of his belt. For a second she stared as he got his pants unzipped, seeing a flash of white hair on blue skin, and then she was turning her head away. Eyes tightly closed, she listened to his boots being kicked off, his clothing landed on the floor. A splash sounded, the water shaking, and then Allura felt Lotor’s legs brush hers.
“It’s all right Allura.” Lotor sounding very amused, water still splashing as he moved about. “You can look now.”
Cautiously she opened her eyes, and found him sitting across from her in the tub. The water was high on his waist, and his muscles glistened with drops of moisture. Tersely she spoke, eyes narrowed into a glare. “When I said you could take the next shower, I meant for you to take it alone!”
“Where’s the fun in that?” Lotor asked, looking far too at ease in the tub. “This is far more intimate, far more cozy.”
“I happen to like my personal space.” Allura said through clenched teeth.
“So tense.” Lotor commented, tsking at her. “You really need to learn how to relax, Allura.”
“I was doing just fine until you showed up!” She wanted to get out of the tub, but at the same time didn’t want to flash her body at him. Allura was debating on what to do, wondering what was the bigger risk, sitting here with him, or running past him naked for a few seconds.
“My my my. That I could have that big an effect on you.” A wide smile, flashing his fangs at her, Lotor shifted in the tub. The water sloshed over the sides, the prince moving closer to her.
“What are you doing now?” Allura asked, keeping a wary eye on him.
“I’m about to make you more comfortable.” Lotor said, hands reaching for her. Alarmed she tried to scoot away, splashing water in her haste to move. It dislodged some of the bubbles on her body, Allura struggling to keep her breasts covered with her arms as she moved. Try as she might to avoid him, his hands caught at her waist, long fingers digging into her sides as he drew her closer to him.
Somehow, despite her best squirming, she ended up seated between his legs, her back pressed against his front. He didn’t even try to hide the fact that he was aroused at their closeness, Allura feeling Lotor hard at her back. Heat immediately surged within her, Allura sure she could do a full body blush as Lotor touched her arms. He worked to relax them from their tight position over her breasts, Allura reluctantly allowing him to lower them into the tub.
That left her hands resting on his thighs, Allura as tense as she could be, not darting to move as he swept back her wet hair from her shoulders. Hesitantly, she spoke, voice tight with tension. “I don’t see how this is making me more comfortable.”
“Just give me a moment.” Lotor said, fingers letting go of her hair to touch her shoulders. She tried not to jump at his touch, hearing him chuckle softly. His fingers flexed, and her eyes widened, Allura realizing he was working to give her a massage. A massage that felt all too good, Lotor’s hands kneading at the knots in her shoulders.
“Where’d you learn to do this?” Allura asked, and then answered in a curt tone. “From practicing on your harem girls?”
“I see Romelle has been telling stories about me.” Lotor commented, fingers never halting their massaging movements.
“And I see you don’t bother to deny it!”
“I’m a grown man Allura. With a large appetite when it comes to my desires.” He was unapologetic, speaking as though it was the most natural thing in the world to have a harem. It probably was to a Drule noble, but still Allura didn’t like it. But she refused to say anything, not wanting him to mistake her concern as jealousy.
“If it bothers you, you need only say the word, and I will get rid of my harem.” Lotor continued, hands working their magic on her shoulders. “Of course…” He pressed harder against her back, leaning forward so that his lips grazed her ear. “You will have to pick up their duties in their place.”
She stifled back a shiver, knowing he was referring to sex. “It’s fine.” Allura said, keeping her tone devoid of emotion. “Keep them. What do I care what you do.” She couldn’t see his expression with him behind her, but he pulled back abruptly.
“You’re my wife Allura. Of course you should care!”
She was too honest to out right lie and say she didn’t, so she kept silent, hearing him sigh. His hands resumed their massage, and reluctantly she had to admit he was good at it, starting to melt under his hand’s touch.
Giving one last squeeze of her shoulders, Lotor reached for the washcloth and soap, and began lathering up the fabric. He touched the soap heavy cloth to her back, caressing between her shoulder blades. “There’s no need to wash me.” Allura said, almost turning to snatch the cloth from his hand. “I can do it myself.”
“Please. Humor me in this.” Lotor pleaded, wash cloth moving downwards, following the bumps of her spine. She frowned, shaking her head no, hearing Lotor continue. “It’s not such a big deal. It’s a husband, your husband, helping to clean his wife.”
“Not anymore strange than what we did last night.” Lotor chuckled, and Allura flushed. She knew he didn’t remember, but she had had flashes of it at the most inopportune times, startling memories that were all too vivid.
“We are all but strangers, even with that license signed between us.” Pointed out Allura.
“There’s no time like the present to get to know one another.” Purred Lotor, and he dragged the wash cloth around to her front, massaging soap into her waist. She glanced down, keeping a cautious eye on his hand.
“I think you want to do more than just get to know me.” Allura muttered, which set the prince off chuckling.
“Do you have a better suggestion?” That hand of his continued to move, going up higher on her body.
“Dinner….” She got out, then gasped, Lotor nudging her right breast with the tips of his fingers. “Dancing…Movies….pick one.”
“Ah…you want me to take you out on a date?” Lotor lifted his hand, bringing it and the wash cloth to cover her breast, fingers giving her a not so innocent squeeze. She startled at the touch, and set off in a panic, shoving away from him. Allura no longer cared if he saw her unobstructed nude form, splashing water in his face as she climbed out of the tub.
She only paused long enough to grab a towel, and even then Allura ran as she wrapped it around her body. She got to the door, and turned, just in time to see him leaning forward on the edge of the tub, smiling at her. She gave him her most evil glare, which only succeeded in drawing out laughter from the prince, Allura slamming the door as hard as she could.
It didn’t entirely muffle his laughter, Allura standing in the bedroom, dripping on the carpet. She could see two suitcases set by the closet, surely the prince’s belongings. She was half tempted to walk over and kick at one, just to vent her frustration. Instead she ignored them, walking over to her closet to pull out a dress, determined to be garbed and out of the room long before Lotor finished his bath.