jacqueline & maixent
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Posted: Sep 6 2015, 07:17 AM
You're watching from the bookcase on the opposite side of the room, hands pressed into the books at the small of your back as you lean into the shelves. It’s not a fairly big room -- your personal bedroom, as Princess, where you just came from, was easily thrice the size and rivaled the average commoner’s entire cottage. There’s maybe a good four feet between you and the foot of the bed. The bookcase, built into the wall, was your only request when you and he agreed to share a bedroom. It’s filled with a combination of both your collections (yours more than his), a safe space for all the novels you’d rather not float around the castle like the books living in the main stateroom or the Royal Library.
You notice he’s sleeping on your side.
He’s not clutching your pillow or anything. It’s more as if he rolled over in his sleep knowing you wouldn’t be there anyway but still looking for your presence. It pulls at your chest. He’s sleeping normally, a hand tucked under your pillow. He looks like he’s trying to fill the void left behind by you.
In that moment, you feel bad for what you’ve been up to that night -- letting another man undress you, taste you, touch you. The longer you think about it, the harder the ache between your thighs burns. And he lays there, feet from you, oblivious to you and your actions and the world.
But is he, though? Is he actually oblivious? The last time this happened -- when he changed his mind and came to your shared bed instead of spending the night in his personal bedroom only to find you not there -- he seemed to only barely accept your excuse about a late night looking over budgetary reports. One of the things that had caught your eye in his interview for the advisorship position he took was how perceptive he was. Hadn’t that, his ability to look through all of a person’s bullshit, been one of the reasons you started having an affair in the first place? Because that if there was anyone who would be able to pick up on it, it would be him?
If that was the case, however, then why couldn’t he see that you were hurting, lonely and afraid of how much he seemed to be pulling away? And if he did, then why wasn’t he doing anything to reassure you that he wasn’t going anywhere and loved you just as much as the day he realized it?
You really don’t know much about his past. You know this, are aware of it, have made peace with this. He’s always cagey when you ask, giving a half-answer while changing the topic in the same breath. Manipulative? You’d say yes. It’s trained you to stay silent, to stop asking questions and live with your never-ending speculation. You’re Queen; it has occurred to you before, more than once, that you could just launch a private investigation to find out what exactly he hasn’t been up to sharing with you. But every time you have the thought, you squash it away. His past is his business and if he wants to tell you, he will. Any exercise of your power as Queen would be a breach of trust no matter how much it kills you to not know what shaped him into the person he is today.
You’ve easily spent days lost in thought, trying to cobble together what you know (hint: not much) in order to make sense of what could be so bad that he won’t even tell you where he grew up -- because you can see it, in his eyes when he holds you, like his soul has been charred and a tender moment with you could easily be taken away without a moment’s notice.
You shift, your feet aching from holding your body tightly taught in one position for so long. You don’t particularly feel tired but you figure you should lie down anyway to be closer to him. Isn’t that what you want after all?
You ease yourself into fully standing. Your fingers are slow and soft as you untie the top of your dress in the front, letting the stillness in the room work a warmth into your body, spreading through your chest, wrapping up across your shoulders and settling in your gut. The fabric slips from your shoulders, your arms, catches for half a second on your wrists, and falls into a puddle on the floor at your ankles, just as it did your wedding night -- only then, he was close enough that your fingers brushed against his shirt as you worked, watching you with awe. You untie the shift underneath, more soft fabric crumbling at your feet. If you close your eyes, you can still feel his fingers fumbling at the string holding you into your corset, his forehead pressed to yours at he laughs at his lack of competency.
How do you breathe in this?
You get used to it. I’ve been wearing one every day since I was fourteen.
Tonight it’s your fingers and they’re deft at loosening your corset, decades of experience making the process quick. You pull it from you and drop it on the floor next to you, taking your nightly deep inhale. You hadn’t done that earlier, when your main focus was getting out of your clothes and into the bed. Now, though, you let yourself breathe.
Summer has shown no signs of cooling down into autumn just yet, so you forego putting anything new on and get into bed. There’s enough space between him and the edge of the bed on your side -- you can’t get in on his side no matter how much space there is because that’s the side you take when you’re with the other one -- so you slip under the covers, keeping what half-inches of space between the two of you as much you can. You’re more interested in looking at him than trying to sleep just yet.
It’s futile though because he wraps an arm around your hips in his sleep, like he can sense in the middle of his sleep that you’ve joined him. You can’t tell if he’s dreaming. You hope he is. You hope it’s pleasant. He seems unhappy enough as it is when he’s awake. He deserves a break from the shit show that is his daily emotional roll.
The moonlight washes him in a pale white, smoothing out the lines around his eyes and mouth. His features look more relaxed in this light, like all the world isn’t a concern of his, as most people tend to look when asleep. You want to reach out and run the pad of your finger across the planes of his face, feel the skin slightly give way under your touch. You refrain.
You can feel the heat he’s giving off. For as much as you want to melt into it, you can’t. Something’s stopping you. It’s probably that you’re worried you smell too much like another man. There’s a chasm between you both, you can feel it, the centimeters actually miles separating you from him. Your arms are wrapped around yourself, you hand resting on your leg next to the arm he’s draped across you. You don’t know what you’re protecting yourself from.
You usually bleed into his arms so easily. Has the other one changed you so much that you keep yourself from letting yourself be held by the man you know you’ll go to your grave loving?
His breath is warm, soft little clouds meeting the sky of your face. You shift your head closer to his own the pillow you’re sharing, breathing in the same air as him. You frown, eyebrows creasing together. If it wasn’t the middle of the night, if you could still predict how he might react, you’d lean forward and press your mouth to his, wake him up for a bit of physical comfort to distract from the turmoil of your mind.
So why don’t you? You know the answer. It’d be too weird, too out of the ordinary. Too suspicious. It’s clear you haven’t slept yet that night. He’d wonder where you’ve been, why you haven’t been sleeping beside him the whole time, where were you when I came to bed tonight? Because that’s what people do when they have affairs -- they start overcompensating out of guilt. Your father more than likely did it when he carried on with a mistress after marrying that wallflower of a woman who insisted that she was your step-mother. He was predictable like that. God forbid you become him.
No, you haven’t changed; or, at least, you haven’t changed in any ways you’re conscious of. You’re not around as night sometimes, flimsy excuses prepared ahead of time; but towards him, you’ve made every effort to stay exactly the same. You won’t let him think fucking someone else changes anything, not when he’s been metaphorically fucking London for so long.
But does he know?
You keep coming back to that, stark white against desperate black in your mind. He, like you, hasn’t let on that he knows, but you can’t help it when you let yourself wonder for hours at time. When that happens, you end up analyzing every word he says and every word he makes for some sign that he does know. You’re so eager for his attention that you’re kind of annoyed he hasn’t approached you about it. You want some kind of confirmation that he thinks about you; one of your biggest fears as of late (right after that damn cat and how your nephew’s probably hiding out in London) is that you’ll never get your fight with him about having an affair. You ache for it, him yelling at you, focusing on you and validating your existence.
Something hot and wet leaks from your eye. You squeeze your eyes shut, coming back to dry air when you open them a moment later. The tear, pushed out, slips down across the bridge of your nose, stopping and drying at the edge. Your limbs are stiff with disappointment.
When you first met, the spark was instantaneous. You’d collected all of your advisors and point people into one room early on in your reign to lay down ground rules over titles, conduct codes, loyalty to the crown, punishments for those that faltered; the entire three hour meeting was one long battle to not stare at him, take in his hands and hair. You caught his eyes every time you so much as glanced in his general direction. It was a very real struggle not to spend the entire time talking directly to him. Every time your gazes met, the world fell away so it was just the two of you. The cliche had always grated on your nerves until you experienced it for yourself; then, suddenly, it made so much sense to you. When you look at him, it’s just the two of you in existence. You still feel that way when you catch him looking at you.
You wish you could see his eyes. They’re a soft blue, nearly washed out into grey. You’ve spent a lot of time memorizing them. Red brightens the color, black dries it out. Cooler colors emphasize the blue while warmer colors are a toss up. You feel alive when you meet his gaze, like you’re the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. You wish your soul matched that assessment.
You can still see it in your memories how you kept him after that meeting, your fingers gently keeping him in place where they’re pressed into his abdomen. (It was completely useless, he could’ve easily brushed past, but he didn’t for whatever reason, he stayed and let you stop him.) You remember with startling clarity how you stumbled over your first direct words to him, how you were excited he was working for you and that you were thoroughly impressed with his application and the results of his interview and how you’d been looking forward to meeting him in person. That was when he’d called you Your Highness instead of Your Majesty like you’d instructed not an hour prior, a clear sign of how much he’d really been paying attention to what you were saying.
He proceeded to make a joke about sleeping with the interviewer to get good favor and you laughed because something like that wouldn’t even be said to you by your closest friends. Nobody would dare potentially insult a Queen with material like that. And yet he had and did and you were falling for him hard and fast. As he thanked you for the compliment, you were picturing what he would look like under you, naked and wanting, and when you replied that thanks wasn’t necessary when one was already clearly suited for the position, you were wondering how much red you could work into a wedding dress. You were hooked from the beginning, wanted to climb inside of him and never leave, his warmth far too addicting for any rational and reasonable person to fight against.
You miss those early days, the longing pulling you apart, harsh and unforgiving in its relentlessness. The tears come a little more now, almost a steady stream, as you watch him sleep and remember how easily he smiled when you pulled him along to show him you secret corner in the gardens, far from the castle and set off from any main path. He was the first and only person you’ve shared that with, the only person who’s been given the gift to sit in the tree swing you demanded be put in for you when you were seven. You remember climbing in his lap, sitting backwards on the swing, kissing him softly as he rocked the pair of you slowly, late spring enveloping you in its sweetness.
It had always been physical between you two. Once you’d wrapped your fingers in his it was impossible to not be touching him. Any little excuse to reach for his elbow, his hand, his shoulder was taken and often times made up on the spot. Sometimes you touched without reason, needing the physical closeness. It grounded you, touching him, lit a fire inside of you and centered you all at once, and you reckoned it did the same since he returned the little brushes just as frequently. Sex was a tangle of limbs yearning to become the other. The lack of contact recently made it all the more harder. It was difficult to handle his emotional distance when his physical distance was just as far from you.
With that thought on your mind, you unwrap your arms and encircle him, pressing yourself as close as possible and a leg between his, hitching the other over his hip. You hold on to his shoulders tight, as though he might wake up and find you clinging to him and realize just how much he’s been hurting you just based on the intensity of your grasp.
Maybe that’s why you’ve chosen to have an affair of such a physical nature. To give someone else what has always been exclusively his — the right to touch, the right to pleasure, the right to worship — would hurt the most, wouldn’t it? Touch was the biggest thing shared between the two of you, the way you showed your love, much more so than any other sense or by any means of communication, that to let someone else move into that space was the most effective way to hurt him you could apparently think of. If you had any doubts of whether he’d notice or not, someone else touching you in any way was certain to get not only his attention but his anger, too. And once again, you’re back to plotting any way you can think of to get his attention, any means you know you’ll go to in order for him to just say it, once, whisper it in your ear like he did so much in the beginning. I love you.
You’re suddenly exhausted. The silent crying more than likely had something to do with it along with all of the thoughts your mind has raced through in the last hour. ”I miss you,” you whisper into his chin, tilting your head up ever so slightly to press the slightest of kisses against his mouth, the most tender you’ve been with him in a while — and of course he’s asleep for it, he’d never let you get so close while awake for some damned reason he’s insistent on not telling you.
You press in even closer, effectively closing out any space between you, and cry into his shirt, body shaking with sadness. Everything was so much simpler when she didn’t care as much, didn’t worry about the future as much. You long for the ability to go back to that, wish you could just toss your cares out the window and spend a weekend in bed with him simply because you want to. You can’t pinpoint when exactly he got so sad; but it’s been in the works for a while and it’s been getting intense recently. You wish you knew how to make him smile again. You fear he never will be again, and that’s what hurts you most in that moment, that you’ll never be good enough for him and his happiness.
You press a second, final kiss to his shoulder and tuck your head under his chin to get some sleep, pointedly not thinking about how you’re more than likely going to wake up to an empty bed.
I found a martyr he told me that I'd never with his educated eyes and his head between my thighs I found a savior I don't think he remembers cause he's off to pay his crimes and he's got no time for mine now we're lost - - - - - - - - -