I woke up every morning expecting Aika to walk in that door to help me get ready. However, today, she wasn’t here. I got up, did my morning routine and changed into a deep crimson chest wrap and a deep crimson satin skirt.
Aika usually appears and help me with the jewelry but today she wasn’t here and so I slipped on the bracelets, arm brace, headpiece, and the gold Dragon necklace. I brushed my hair until it wasn’t flying all over the place before I sat my hairbrush down. Glancing at the door, I realized she won’t be coming at all.
Instantly, I remembered the look on Prince Raiden’s face when he caught me cleaning. I shot up on my feet and headed out my bedroom door in search of him. It didn’t take long at all. In fact, I looked through many doors and found many empty rooms until I found him in his private garden with his back turned to me but touching his flowers.
He felt me even before I announced my presence. His back stiffened and he turned around to face me. His dark brooding eyes sweeping over my figure heatedly before stopping at my eyes.
“Where is Aika?” I asked without greeting.
He sighed as if he was tired of the conversation already before turning his back on me, “I sent her home.”
Instantly, I felt angry. Irritated with him for blaming Aika for something I wanted to do. I remember Aika telling me this was her only means of sending money home to her family. I followed the cement walkway to the middle of the garden where the fountain was.
“What did I tell you? It wasn’t her fault. I wanted to do it. You can’t send her away.” I said angrily, grabbing onto his arms and forcing him to look at me.
He looked surprised. Sparks flew from that small contact I had initiated. I was almost rendered speechless but I was too angry to feel the full effects of it. His indecipherable eyes found mine again.
“I demand you bring her back.” I continued.
“I can’t.” He told me. I opened my mouth to give him another piece of my mind but he stopped me by placing a single finger over my lips.
“I can’t because I sent her home to visit her family. She will return in a few days.” He told me.
It was my turn to be surprised. He sent her home to be with her family. I felt happy and relieved. He didn’t kick her out of the palace. He only sent her home to visit.
He listened to me and a blush formed on my cheek at the realization.
Even if I don’t get to go home, at least Aika did.
My stomach grumbled and the heat in cheeks grew. I am pretty sure he can see it now. His eyes narrowed in on my stomach as if it had spoken out of place before looking back at me.
He rubbed the back of his neck nervously, “I sent Aika home and forgot that we no longer have a cook to cook us food.”
One corner of my lips lifted into a half smile. He gave me a nervous smile and it was the first time I have seen him smile in the longest time. Even though it was a nervous smile it lit up his face like waking up to a cozy morning and the sun peeking through the curtains.
He took hold of my wrist. My eyes fell to that small contact before I allowed him to pull me out of the garden. We went down the familiar hallway and made a left turn, away from my bedroom.
“Where are you taking me?”
He didn’t say anything. Still, I made no move to stop him. He opened a door and I saw that we were in the kitchen. It was a small kitchen with white marble counters, a masonry oven, and an old traditional rural stove. There were a few bowls of fruits, dried cured meat, and vegetables lying around the counters.
He released my hand and started towards the stove where he stuffed a few small wooden logs in. He waved his hands and fire flared up. I blinked. These powers of his pulled at my curiosity. I wondered what else he can do.
He moved to the counter and opened the cabinets, pulled down a bowl before bending down and opening another cabinet. He poured a little bit of rice into the empty bowl that he just grabbed. After he walked to the sink to rinse out the rice.
He moved with ease. I followed him and watched him cook but noticed that his water ratio was off when he poured the rice into a pot. I cleared my throat and he glanced behind me.
I pointed, “You put a little too much water.”
He frowned and I moved to take the pot from him. I pushed him aside and poured some of the water out into the sink before setting it on the stove. A blush marred his cheeks and I find myself biting the inside of my cheeks. He looked adorable.
Wait! No! He doesn’t! I reprimanded myself.
“I never cooked before.” He grumbled.
I smirked at his confession. At least he tried and that only made him all the more adorable. Gah! No! Not adorable!
“Then why did you try to cook?” I asked.
He didn’t say anything. Turning his back on me, he moved to grab a piece of cured meat and began slicing it into small dices before dropping them into the pot. It added flavor to the porridge. Soon, the room was filled with a mixture of sweet and spiced cured pork along with the fresh smell of cooked rice.
I stirred the pot with a wooden ladle all the while looking at him from the corner of my eyes. He stood with his arms crossed over his naked chest. His eyes looking into the corner of the room. A slight frown blemishing that rugged and indecipherable demeanor. His eyes looked like he was far away somewhere. Even though he was standing here, he wasn’t actually here.
It gave me time to really just look at him. Prince Raiden was muscular. My eyes traveled over his shoulders that were corded with muscles down to his biceps that were bulking from crossing his arms. I bit my lips as my eyes dipped lower to his six packs abdominal muscles to the nice little v-line that dipped just below his-
He cleared his throat and my eyes snapped up to find that he had caught me. Mortification hit me like a thunderstorm. I felt like I was electrocuted with humiliation but what got my blood all heated was the smoldering look in his eyes. It looked like it could eat me up.
I snapped my eyes back to the pot and stirred. I kept my focus on the pot, refusing to look at him even though I can feel his eyes burning into my face. I couldn’t risk looking. I was too embarrassed. I was practically ogling his crotch.
After the porridge was ready, I took a wooden ladle and scooped him a bowl and one for myself. We moved to sit at the kitchen counter. I sat next to him. I picked up my spoon and scooped some porridge onto my spoon, risking a glance at him and caught him still looking at me. My eyes snapped back to my spoon and I brought it to my lips, not realizing it was still extremely hot. It burned my lips.
I let out a yelp before pulling back, dropping my spoon back to the porridge. This was an amateur move. I should have known it will be hot when freshly made. The next thing I knew, he grabbed my bowl.
I glanced at him curiously as he picked up my spoon and began blowing lightly at the porridge, lessening the hot porridge. My eyes remained on him as he blew softly. After a few minutes, he handed it back to me.
Blushing, I spoke up.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
He didn’t say anything but picked up his spoon. I watched him spoon some porridge and ate it quietly. I picked up my spoon and ate. It cooled down. It was easier to eat now.
“When will Aika be back?” I asked, breaking the silence between us.
“I told her to return when she is ready.” He replied.
I frowned, “So you didn’t give her a date?”
“I should’ve?” He retorted, glancing at me with those dark brooding eyes again.
I bit my bottom lips, “I was just wondering. I don’t mind her being gone for a while. I know how to cook.”
He frowned, “I can help you.”
I smiled then, “Have you cooked before?”
He shook his head, “No, I’ve always had someone cooking for me.”
“I figured,” I responded.
He shifted in his seat, “It would be nice if you teach me though. I wouldn’t mind knowing how to cook my own meals.”
I smiled then and I couldn’t stop it. He wanted to learn and I was more than happy to show him. His eyes dropped to my lips and the gold in his irises glowed.
“I like it when you smile.” He said simply but it was enough to send butterflies fluttering in my stomach and heat climbing my neck to my cheeks.
I continued to eat in silence not knowing how to handle this compliment from him. After a minute, he started eating again too.
Being here and sitting down next to him, my chest tightens in a way that has my heart thumping wildly in my chest. I lose words and can’t speak coherently. Earlier, I was doing perfectly fine but now, I feel like an incompetent imbecile.
After finishing our breakfast, he took our bowls and washed them. I stood behind him and watched. Fiddling my fingers, I asked him a question.
“Do you think I can leave the wing?” I asked. “I really need to see something other than this place.”
His back stiffened and I thought he was going to refuse right away. However, he turned his head to the side to give me a side glance.
“I’ll take you somewhere. Be ready in a few hours.” He told me.
I was finally going somewhere besides this wing. I couldn’t wait and gave him a broad smile.
“Thank you,” I whispered, still grinning.
He nodded and I made my way out of the kitchen. Anticipation drumming in my veins. I walked to the bedroom. I had a few hours to kill until he came to find me. My eyes wandered the room until it landed on the books I got from the library. I guess I could read up a little bit more about this world before he comes and get me.
I grabbed a book and moved to the center of the bed. Lying on my stomach, I flipped the first page of the book about chosen mates.