C8 Sweet Poison & Bitter Aftertastes
Soft skin fits perfectly onto my own, and I remember the events of last night.
The lavender that served as a haunting reminder, now mixed with some sense of soothing as she backed me, laying peacefully asleep.
I struggled to accept this fact -but to be trusted or not, her touch was a balm and I itched for more.
No wonder men fell to the hands of women for thousands of centuries.
A sweet poison she was to me, and I will only let her go so far as my flesh -not my mind or heart.
Ephene stirred beside me, and instinctively I pull her closer to my chest.
I sigh, my content flowing in waves with hesitance.
I did not love her. Or possess enough intimacy with her, to presume she will want to be drawn close after performing her duty -same as mine.
Yet a bonding Kelia and I had not undergone, pushed me closer to Ephene -no matter how far we truly were from each other.
My thoughts drift back to the present where her subconscious seems not to mind.
Her back relaxes against me, and dainty finger splay over my larger ones.
I groan, and fixate my mind on the other side of her beauty.
She could be tired.
And I promised her a day of adventure not romping.
I rise from my lying state and sit upright, embarrassed she will feel a shift.
But I'm too swift, and I hear her groan beside me. "Hugo?" she blinks like a child seeing the world for the first time, "Oh...good morning." she says her voice croaky.
"Sleep well?" I ask, hoping she wouldn't notice the cause of my discomfort.
Her lashes flutter closed, and when she opens them her eyes are invigorated with life.
"Yes, I quite enjoyed it." she says rising to sit by me, and I hold the blankets to her chest as she does so.
In turn she gives me a puzzled expression, before laughing. "What was that about?"
"I thought you would appreciate the extra layer." I sidestep.
To this she presses against me and I abandon my struggle with chivalry.
"And why is that." she murmurs closer to my lips than before.
"Because, I am this close, to continuing last night."
"Hmm. What did happen last night..." she says, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
"Shall I show you wife dearest?"
"Do we still have a date today?" she asks, sitting cross legged. Her peach dress hiding everything my brain already imprinted at the back of my mind.
I shake my head and drop the last of cup of tea.
Already I am surprised by the feat married men endure; somehow Ephene had managed to wrangle me into a morning brunch, all the while making me convince her no one had heard a thing from this morning.
"Yes, I have kept my word and there shall be no meeting for today."
"That is a relief. I'm not sure I can face our guests just yet."
"They are a floor down Ephie." I say testing waters probably a little quicker than she would've liked.
She frowns and forgets her self embarassment. "Ephie? What sort of name is that."
"One that is likely not as endearing as I thought."
"Do not bruise your ego on my account. Worse names have been given."
I shake my head at her diplomacy, and how she always knew the right words to move people without disclosing her personal feelings.
"Ephene for now, it suits royalty and before me is a lovely queen." I add.
To my satisfaction a sound of warm tinkling comes from her lips, and her hand comes to her chest.
"Tell me Hugo, did you study the art of flattery in school."
A few odd sonnets really...
"No. But a woman can make a poet of even the unlearned of men."
"So charm is in my blood..." she says, bringing the ceramic to her mouth once again.
"Amongst many others," I say, and she shakes her head.
"Well then I hope you have more stanzas to fill the journey to the forest."
I rise with her, making sure to trail her every step.
"Of all the tours in the world..."
"Phylin is famed for greenery. And I shall like to see the glowing waters for myself."
I quirk my eyebrows at her last words. "You intend to bathe in a lake."
"A little toe dipping never hurt anyone. Otherwise I enjoy my dryness King."
Rolling my eyes I give her my hand which she graciously takes as we exit the solar room.
"I thought we were past that."
"But are you not my King?" she says, both annoying and amusing me with her pout.
"Yes my queen. And I am also your Husband whose name happens to be Hugo."
"Hue." she says, then laughs at the missed attempt. "No, that sounds too much like colour."
I guide her down the stairs as we continue our way to the carriage waiting below.
"How about Hugband?"
This time I laugh, and she fakes an offended look. "That is ludicrous." I say.
"Oh hello." Ephene says, and I turn to see whom she was greeting.
Baby green, and another red up-do crash stands back at me, and I force myself to remain unnaffected.
"A pleasure to see you two. Are you heading out?" Kelia says, a small smile on her lips.
I nod, and Ephene speaks on my behalf. "Yes, Hugo has promised a date and we are going on a little adventure."
She nods, her purple eyes dimming a little. "I just came back from breakfast, but it sounds lovely. You have my best wishes."
My eyes trace the bottom of the stairs, and I tug Ephene's hands gently -rather I mean to.
Instead, a bottle of reserved emotions manifest in the form of my gesture, and she bumps against my side.
Looking at me with larger eyes she turns back to Kelia and nods. "Thank you, we will be on our way now."
The remaining walk is tense, and I wonder if I have already burst the delicate bubble growing around our interactions.
Even in the ride she shows no desire to talk, and I attempt to pry her open.
"Are you cross with me."
"Why ever should I be?" she says focusing on the horse trodden path; never mind that a bump jostles her so she hits my shoulder once again.
"Forgive me Ephie," she raises a brow at me, "Ephene. I am sorry handling you roughly."
"There is something you are not telling me. Why did Kelia trigger you so much that you became a brute to your own wife. And why is there less civility between the two of you, than I and her?" she stares me fierce in the eyes, and I know this will be a harder one to talk out of.