Homelands Pt 2 Ch 11

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From Behind

Dripping with sweat from a longworkout, I headed towards my quarters. As I rounded the corner from the bedroom to the bathroom, I stopped dead in my tracks. Deirdre sat on the lip of my private hot tub. Her many visages all wore very formal garments, though of a great many different types. One wore a business suit. One a silk toga. Several wore traditional dresses. “Uh, hey,” I said. “Hello, Frank,” she said, uncrossing her legs and standing up. “You here on business?” “No, I’m sneaking around behind my brother’s back.” “Right. So shall we get down to it then?” “It is nice to see you again, though,” she said. I cleared my throat. “Same here.” She hesitated then went up on her tiptoes, or maybe leaned down, depending on which version of her you looked at, and kissed my cheek. Then she stepped back, tucked her hands behind her, and stared at her feet. Fuck. Of course, I was hard. That was helpful. “Sorry,” she said. “Shouldn’t have done that.” “It’s okay,” I said. “Give me a minute to get dressed, then we can talk in my office.” I gestured to the door leading from my bedroom down the hall. “Okay,” she said. She hesitated, perhaps contemplating kissing me again, then left. In classic passive-aggressive form, I took my time. I lingered in the shower, letting the hot water loosen my muscles. When I finally decided I’d kept Deirdre waiting long enough, I found her sitting across from my desk. She had her hands folded in her lap, waiting as patiently as you please. “Sorry about that,” I said. “Not at all,” she replied. I could sense a bit of longing, but truth be told, it was faint. What I felt more powerfully was guilt and pity. That last bit helped get rid of my erection but quick. There was some genuine desire there, yes. But I’d be a fool to read much into it. And her brother had surely sent her in his place precisely because he’d hoped that seeing her again would arouse the sorts of emotions in me that would enfeeble me. So I did my best to ignore it, and not to resent her for something that wasn’t her fault. “My brother says your terms are quite intriguing,” she said after I took my seat. “Intriguing.” She sighed, but quickly recovered her cool. “He sends me with a counter-offer. Lily is free to join you in the Third Autumnal Court if she so desires. And Silas is prepared to grant his approval for the Elevation of the mortal Holly. Our two courts will also formally declare peace, and offer free passage for any nobles from one court to the other. “In return, you will deliver Tara of House Orwin to us personally, as originally proposed.” So far, so good. “You will also surrender to him the first born son or daughter of one out of every three nobles of your court.” I didn’t hesitate a moment before saying, “One in five, like I said, or no deal.” “You can take a day or two to consult with-” “No. Don’t need to consult with anyone. Tell him that I mean no offense, but one in three is simply not going to happen. I’m flirting with rebellion as it is.” She sighed. “Okay. He didn’t think you’d go for it, but he made me swear that I’d ask. If you hesitated enough, I was instructed to at least push for one in four. But I’ll have to tell him that you wouldn’t budge.” With a grin, she added, “And that I tried really, really hard to get you to cave before I backed off.” I laughed. “So we have a deal then?” “We do.” She rose and shook my hand. Then leaned in for a hug. For a moment I thought it might go farther, or that she perhaps had more that she wanted to say. But Deirdre simply nodded, waved goodbye, and vanished. # The prison world to which Tara and her family had been exiled was pleasant enough. It was like someone had plucked a random piece of modern istanbul travesti American surburbia up and placed it in a self-contained world. It was even populated by a few thousand mortals. I wish my own exile had been more like theirs. Of course, I’d found myself sitting atop the throne not long after mine had ended, whereas my aunt’s ended with her being Devoured by Silas. My cousins, though, were spared that fate. After they’d sworn fealty to me, I’d set them free to come and go as they pleased. I didn’t even ask them to become vassals, as Iva had insisted that I should. So, no, the Homelands had not been entirely kind to them. But they certainly could have suffered worse. Like the fate to which Brianna had been condemned. The entire world she inhabited was a great big void. She simply floated there in that dark abyss with utter emptiness stretching out infinitely in every direction. It was a world without color, without sounds or smells, without light or warmth. I willed a minimal setting into being. We now stood along the curb on a strip of roadside, with a lamppost overhead and a park bench beside us. The road went nowhere, and was no more than a dozen yards from end to end. But it eased the sense of infinite nothingness. My cousin, the former queen, jerked her head up, looking from me to the surroundings I’d created. Her brow furrowed, her lips tightened. “What are you doing here?” “I thought you’d be glad to see a familiar face.” She scoffed, taking a seat at the park bench and tucking her hands under her slender thighs. “I guess. Is this real? I’m not hallucinating?” “No, you’re not,” I said, settling down beside her. “Of course not. During my bouts of madness, when I start thinking I’m not the only one here after all, it’s not you who’s here with me.” By the wounded tone, you’d think it was I who’d exiled her, rather than the other way around. Not that Deirdre’s quarters compared to this place, but still. “Lovely to see you too,” I said. She tossed a lock of hair behind her shoulder. “So let me guess. Jack negotiated your release, and as soon as you returned, you immediately set to work plotting his overthrow. And now you sit where you’d always wanted. Poor fucking kid.” I jerked my head back. Jack, who had sentenced her to this fate, who’d allowed everyone to believe that he’d Devoured her and thus might well have ensured that even once the throne passed back into Orwin hands, she might be left here, alone and forgotten, that Jack, he was worthy of her sympathy, whilst I deserved nothing but scorn? “I am king now, yes, but it wasn’t me who did for Jack,” I said, voice flat. “How long have I been here?” she asked, looking away. I sighed, told myself to look at it from her point of view. It was no wonder she was a bit testy. I wouldn’t last long in this place. “Two years or so, in the Homelands,” I said. “How long has it been in here?” “Can’t tell,” she said. “In case you haven’t noticed, there aren’t a lot of clocks around. Or a sun. Or anything. But it wouldn’t shock me to know that it had been more like ten.” “Sorry. I didn’t know.” I started to say more, then swallowed the words. She peered at me from the corner of her eyes. “So, what, you came here to gloat? To insist that you’re actually the most benign dictator the court has ever seen? Because, let me tell you, Frank, I just don’t fucking care.” “No,” I said. “I’ve come to-” Brianna shook her head. “No, really, I don’t care. At all. I’m sure I was wrong about you, in all kinds of ways. Great. Swell. I was wrong about a lot of things. Probably even deserve this fate. But whatever you have to say, I’d rather you just leave me alone.” I reached across the istanbul travestileri bench and took her hand in mine. Despite her words, she didn’t resist. In fact, I felt her Libido soar at that simple little gesture, and not because I’d put any effort into trying to elicit such a response. I wondered what must it be like for one of our kind to go a decade without knowing the touch of another person. “I don’t think anyone deserves this fate,” I said. “Jack might have thought he was doing you a favor by exiling you instead of Devouring you, but even so, this is extreme.” “Right,” she said, “like being Deirdre’s personal sex slave. That must have been so hard on you. It’s a wonder you made it out alive.” “That’s all right,” I said, giving her hand a squeeze. “You’re entitled to a few of those. I’d be a bit cagey too, if I were you.” She closed her eyes and sighed. “Okay, obviously I’m projecting a little. Thank you, Captain Sensitive. What do you want me to say? This has been a total fucking nightmare. Part of me would love to tell you that I could do another ten years without any trouble, because I can’t stand the thought of you seeing me like this, but, yeah, this is positively unbearable, and it’s kinda got me in just a little bit of a pissy mood. If you don’t like that, you can go shove a spiked mace up your ass.” “How would you like to leave?” Brianna opened her eyes. “Please, don’t fuck with me, Frank. I know I’d deserve it if you did. But don’t. I don’t think I could take it.” I lifted her hand up and kissed it. “I’m serious, Brie. I want you to return to court.” “What? Are you crazy? No way.” She tucked a curl of red-brown hair behind an elfin ear. “I mean, yeah, I’d love to leave this wretched place. But I thought you were talking about transferring me to one of the softer prison worlds. Now, that, I’d really appreciate. But you’d be a fool to let me return to court, and I don’t want to besides. Couldn’t bear facing everyone again. Not after what I did.” I slid closer to her, wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and kissed her head. She moaned softly and laid her head on my shoulder. “Brie, you didn’t do anything that bad.” “I Devoured my parents. Because I could.” “Okay, you’ve got a point there,” I said. And she really did. Maybe this was a bad idea. Nonetheless, I said, “But that doesn’t mean you can’t come back. You’ve obviously had time to reflect on what you did, and suffered for it.” My cousin leaned up and kissed me on the cheek. “That’s, well, that’s really sweet of you, Frank. And I don’t want to sound unappreciative. Knowing that you can forgive me, after the way I delighted in torturing, terrifying, and manipulating you, meas a lot to me. But I don’t even know if I trust myself. What if I’m duly repentant now, sitting here in my abyss, but go right back to my old ways once I return? How do you know I won’t try to depose you? What credibility could anything I say now possibly have?” “Did you enjoy sitting on the throne?” I asked. “How do you know I didn’t?” she asked. “With all due respect, you don’t know anything about me. Never did. You saw what you wanted to see.” “Okay, so I shouldn’t have presumed. Now I’m asking, did you enjoy it?” She sighed. “I guess I didn’t really understand you either, because I have to admit that it genuinely surprises me that you apparently consider it to be an unbearable burden. But I’ve got to say, as much as I regret some of what I did, I’d be lying if I told you that I hated having all that power. Doesn’t that prove what a terrible person I am?” “No.” She pulled her feet up onto the bench and tucked them behind her. “How do you figure?” “I don’t think you’d be scared of travesti returning if you were.” “Bullshit,” she said. “You don’t think some of the most wretched people in history have been aware that they were monsters? Haven’t you ever heard that most serial killers confessed that they’d wanted to be caught? Please tell me you’re not still this naive.” “I don’t think that’s you though.” “I guess I’m one or two shy of serial.” I frowned at her. She just kept staring at me with those emerald green eyes, unrelenting. But when I kissed the top of her head again, she leaned into it. “Fine. If you don’t want to come back, you don’t have to. I’ll let you stay in self-imposed exile as long as you like. And I’ll move you to one of the more bearable prison worlds. But I’m going to keep visiting you, and one of these days, I’m going to talk you into returning.” “Why?” she asked. “What did I ever do to make you think that’s a good idea?” It was a good question. “Maybe it’s what I did,” I said. “I’ve had time to think about things too. Time to step back and try and put myself in your shoes. Time to think about what I was willing to do to get to where I am, and what I’m willing to do to stay there. I think you were wrong about me in some ways, yes, but not by nearly as much as I wanted to think. I’m not sure I like what I’ve become. I guess that showing you mercy helps ease my conscience.” She sat back upright, pulled away from me. “In that case, you can go fuck yourself.” “What?” Brianna crossed her arms under her breasts. “I don’t want your pity, Frank, and I sure don’t want to be responsible for your redemption. It’s hard enough carrying the weight of the chains I forged for myself, let alone someone else’s.” “I’m not asking you to be responsible for anything. I’m going to do this because I think I should, and that’s all there is to it. If you say ‘no’ a thousand times, I’ll keep coming to see you, and keep asking you to come home. And you can just keep right on refusing, if that’s what you feel is best. What’s important to me is that you have the choice.” The stiffness went out of my cousin’s back. I thought I felt a faint stirring in her Libido. Not lust. But maybe…affection? “I just might say ‘no’ a thousand times, you know,” she said, though the edge had left her voice. It was almost hard to remember she’d once had the cutest voice. I put my arm around her once more, and with a sigh, she leaned back against me. “So, how does Aunt Ellen like being your Shadow?” “She’s not. Iva is,” I said. “Really?” “Yeah. She’s-” Brie shook her head. “Oh, I know, it makes perfect sense. I just didn’t think you’d be willing to explain to your mother why you chose another woman.” I laughed. “Well, she certainly didn’t love it. I’m not sure I’m done paying for it either.” Brie smiled softly. “I missed you, you know.” For a moment, I was too stunned to respond. Then I said, “Probably missed everyone.” “I don’t just mean while I’ve been stuck here. Even while I was still queen, and you were Silas’ captive. Or his sister’s. Whatever. You drove me crazy, and when you were taken captive, I didn’t feel as bad for you as maybe I should have. But despite that, I still missed you. Missed your touch. Your voice. Your lame sense of humor. The way you can be the most arrogant, self-impressed bastard alive and yet still somehow be capable of the kind of selfless behavior for which our kind is somewhat less than renowned.” Finally, we kissed. Tenderly, at first. But with growing intensity. And hunger. Before long, she was straddling my hips and dry humping me. My hands ran over her body, hiked up her little skirt, sought out her small but round ass. Brianna was out of practice. And I’d grown a lot stronger since we’d last seen each other. But she hadn’t forgotten how to make me cum from a mere kiss. When I hooked a few fingers in her panties and pulled them aside, though, she sat back sharply, forcing me to withdraw my hands. “Something…

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