So this is week 6 of my word prompt challenge. I based it on the image above. Still having a hard time meeting my word count goals. I love the touch of humor in this one though…
The wedding had been a grand gaudy affair. My mother and my now mother-in-law had planned the whole thing. There wasn’t much you could do against two queens. My new husband and I were simply there. I was just glad that it was over. Now I just had to get through my wedding night.
My cheeks hurt from the fake smile I’d had plastered across my face all night. Why shouldn’t I be happy? I was marrying a complete stranger. We’d had a few well-chaperoned, very awkward meetings and he seemed nice enough. Too bad I had to kill him.
It wasn’t anything personal, I was just doing my job. Assassin’s blood ran as deep through my veins as the royalty did. We’d been killers and thieves for centuries. It was my grandfather who had found himself sitting on the throne. He’d found that it suited him and his purposes, so kept it. I’d been trained by the best, to be the best. I’d been trained for this task.
Prince Destrin was apparently the only thing keeping the kingdom from rebelling. It was a civil war that both sides wanted. So, I found myself sitting at a vanity on my wedding night planning murder, as the maid prepared me for bed. It had taken four people to get me made up. My next wedding dress was going to be a much simpler garment.
“I can do the rest. Go start the bath.”
She bowed and went to start the fire to heat the water.
“Would you snap at me too, if I said that you’re in a foul mood?”
Dez, as those closest to him called him, was relaxing on a sofa across the room. He’d already removed his outer tunic and boots.
“My mood is not foul, I-I’m simply nervous. It is my wedding night after all.”
He looked embarrassed and ran his hand through his dark wavy hair. I wondered what the curls would feel like wrapped around my fingers. I’d admired his hair from the start.
“Look M’Lora, I know this is our wedding night but, I’m not going to make you do anything that you don’t want to do.”
My eyes widened. From what my sisters had told me about their own wedding nights, I’d expected him to have torn my clothes off by now.
“Am I…don’t you want me?’
His eyes widened. “No! I mean yes, I do want you. But, I’m not in the habit of forcing myself on a girl. Vows or not.”
“That’s really good of you.”
The prince had a lot of good qualities that I’d discovered. He was kind to everyone. He was very smart and always seemed interested in what I had to say. He had a nice relaxed smile that he gave everyone. He flashed it toward me.
“Now, if you are wanting to consummate our union…”
I laughed. “Consummate our union. When you get all romantic like that, how can a girl resist?”
He laughed too. I took a deep breath. I’d known that I would probably have to bed him. I’d been prepared for it. I was both relieved and disappointed to think that I could say no. I looked at him. I wanted him. I’d wanted him from the moment I met him. I could imagine killing him without at least one encounter.
I stood up and held my hand out to him. “Let’s do this.”
He laughed. “Now you’re the one spouting poetry.”
The kiss was gentle, at first, testing my boundaries. I opened my lips to him and he took the invitation. His had crept up to let down my hair. I gently pushed his hand down.
“Let me.”, I said. He watched as I pulled out the clips that my sister had twisted in. He didn’t notice the elegant butterfly pin that she had so careful hidden in plain sight. I let my hair tumble down. Along with the front of my dress. I stepped out of it and looked at the prince. His eyes burning and lusty.
He picked me up and carried me to the large bed.
“My turn.” He said, as he pulled off his undershirt and pants. Years of horse riding and swordplay had honed his body. My stomach tightened as he crawled toward me.
Then he was on me. His lips trailing down my neck. I moaned. His hand slid up my chemise and found a breast. He was hard against my leg. I wanted this, needed this. Killing him could wait. I breathed in his scent. I heard the sound of a far-away door closing. I’d forgotten to dismiss the maid. Suddenly I sensed movement. Someone loomed over us.
“Look out.” I cried, pushing Dez off me and plunging the sharpened hairpin into the intruder’s throat. I followed through, pushing him backwards and tackling him to the floor. I pulled the pin from his throat and shoved it through his heart. The gurgling noises that he been making slowed and stopped. I slowly looked up and across the bed. My beloved husband was white as a ghost. My wedding undergarments were covered in blood.
“Is he dead?”
“You killed him.”
“He…he wasn’t the first person that you’ve killed, is he?”
I stood up. The prince came over and looked at our assailant.
“Was he after you or me?”
“I don’t know, probably you.”
“That hairpin. You were going to kill me with it. Weren’t you?”
I sighed. “That was the plan.”
He crossed the room and sat back on the sofa. I’d been covered in more blood than this before and hadn’t cared, but there was something about the way he still looked at me. Like he didn’t hate me.
“I need a bath before someone comes in.”
He watched me as I walked to the waiting tub, pulled off my soaked clothes, and climbed in.
“There has been rumors and stories of one of the royal families. We just didn’t know who.”
“Well now you do.”
“Why M’Lora? Why me?”
“You’re negotiating a peace that those in power don’t want. With you gone, our mother can rule until your brother is old enough to take the throne.”
He leaned against the beck of the seat and looked up at the ceiling. “My mother. I should have known she’d be behind this somewhere. I guess that’s how you were going to not get in trouble for my death. Is the whole palace in on it?”
“Don’t get paranoid. Only your mother and a few guards loyal to her are part of the plot.”
“And your family.”
I laughed. “My family doesn’t care. My mother owed yours a favor and she thinks I needed practice.”
“I’ve killed plenty but never on such an intimate level.”
He looked at me and smiled.
“You saved my life.”
I sighed. “Yes, I did.”
“Does that mean that you, at least, like me?”
“I’ve always liked you. Killing you, that’s just following orders.”
“It would be poor taste to pull the pin out of that man’s heart and put it yours. Maybe, I’ll just smother you with a pillow.”
He got up and came over. He pulled up a stool.
“I have a better idea. Why don’t I hire you as a guard? You’re already my wife. Unless that was a sham too.”
“No, we are really married. They wanted me close, in case I wasn’t able to do it tonight.”
“How long have they given you?”
“They haven’t really. I’m sure they expect it to be done soon.”
“Hear me out. Your murder attempt was thwarted by the other murder attempt.”
“To cover for you, I’ll have killed him. This will give us a day or two, to figure out the rest.”
The more he talked, the less I wanted to kill him. It had nothing to do with him being naked.
“You have my word. No murder attempts from me, for at least two days.”
He smiled and helped me out of the bath. Wrapping a large towel around me.
“Now I’m going to ask you to do something that you’ve probably never done.”
He was right. I sat in bed screaming. For help. The guards that ran in were definitely not expecting the scene we’d set. I sat up in bed with a blanket pulled up. Dez, with his pants back on, stood over the body with my bloody hairpin in his hand, He launched into the complicated story he’d concocted.
Essentially, it was what really happened except he was the one who killed the intruder. We sat on the bed as more guards came in. Then the captain of the guard came in. All of them scratched their heads at their price’s story.
Once the body was removed and the maids cleaned up the mess, we were finally left alone. I fell back onto the pillows. I couldn’t remember having such a long day ever. Dez fell back next to me. We both quietly examined the canopy. I looked over at him.
“They underestimate you.”
“The guards, your mother. I’m not sure any of them believed your story.”
“Maybe I’ve earned a bit of respect then.”
“No, but that’s fine. It works to our advantage. So would it be poor taste if we continued where we left off?”
He turned to me surprised. “Oh, um…”
“Never mind. I…forget I asked.”
“No, I had just assumed that was part of the act.”
“I told you that I like you. The question is, do you trust me?”
“You made a promise. I trust you to keep it.”
I smiled. “Well husband, let’s do this then.”
He laughed. “So poetic.”
I was still laughing as he began to kiss me.