I stare at my husband’s stricken face as he stares at me, he goes red; then he opens his mouth to say something, then he closes it again. He repeats this gesture three times and I couldn’t resist.
“Cat got your tongue? You see, I spent three days learning the ways of your people and what is to be expected of me on my wedding night, it is pretty much the same with ours except for the kneeling and the veil, after the day we have had, I didn’t think you’d be up for fake platitudes.”
He laughs like he might have gone a little crazy, I know this was a bad idea, I might come across as confident and a little cocky, but my nerves are in a dancing battle, I can explain the arrow catching but there’s not much I can say about the scars on my body. From Paula’s investigation about our dear Prince, the more submissive you are, the better.
“Have you ever considered there might be something fundamentally wrong with you?” He draws closer to me which was not the reaction I was hoping for. He stands at the edge of the bath and draws his face closer to me, he tilts my face so close to his that I can feel his breath.
I usually have the nerves of steel but I have never been in this situation before.
“Isn’t something wrong with everyone?” I say to him as I pull his head closer until my lips brushes past his, I could swear that I felt a spark, something comes alive inside of me, judging from the look he is giving me, so did he.
I look into his eyes for a minute, his hands grip my wet hair firmly, the top of my breasts is above the water and I can see him struggling not to look. I understand now what my sister said about power as a woman, it is a tricky thing.
“It’s okay, you can look. You are my husband anyway” I whisper to him. He seem to fight with himself for a minute before adjusting himself and giving us space.
“I was told you would be a virgin and not a seductive whore, Is this true or it is just like everything about you?”He goes to the opposite end of the bath and plays with one of the roses, he acts nonchalant but I can tell with the way his mouth is tensed.
“That bit is true, for all my faults, I am a King’s daughter, my body is never really mine. Are you pleased that I am untouched? And I find the word whore derogatory. You visit the Pailliare more often than a Prince should, Isn’t it a bit of an hypocrisy to demean the same people you patronise.” I say while rolling my eyes.
“How did you know? You investigated me?!” He looks at me with admiration but it’s gone in a flash.
“I know you tried to get more information about me. I am quite private, it must have been an headache for you or your guard. Victor is his name, right?” I say as I pick up a robe and quickly put it on while he’s distracted.
He runs his hands through his head as he takes a deep sigh.
“Okay Salem, you know everything about me and I know next to nothing about you, that isn’t fair, why don’t you tell me about yourself and while at it, tell me how you became so good at catching arrows.” He says to me resignedly.
“Will you believe me? You have no reason to, we are married but you don’t trust me. I know how exhausting it is to be surrounded by people you can’t trust.” I say to him, having decided what I will do.
“I will believe you, I give my word as Prince but don’t lie to me, the minute you lie, there’ll be nothing between us, you are going to a strange land, you need someone by your side. I can be that person, we can exist in mutual understanding.” I move closer to this mysterious beautiful woman who is my wife. She sighs as if resigned and I hear words that I didn’t in my widest imagination I’d hear.
“I am Salem, daughter of King Shan, a general in the army and the same one your people call the demon or the man born of the Devil.”