Allure – Chapter One
by Dreams in Pink
|← Prologue||Chapter Two →|
The morning sun peaked over the horizon, tiptoeing through the large windows and onto the couple’s sleeping form. The man stirred, groaning in protest as the sun crossed his cheek. His swollen eyes peeled open and he grimaced when they landed on the girl curled up beside him. His frown deepened as he looked her over; her worn hand resting on his stomach, knuckles raw and nails chipped. She moved slightly, signaling that she too had been woken by the light.
“What time is it?” He asked, his voice hoarse as he rubbed his face tiredly.
“Just past dawn, I imagine,” she said with a yawn, moving closer to his side, her arm snaking up his torso to rest on his shoulder. Grabbing her tanned wrist, he removed the offending limb.
“Get out,” he grunted nonchalantly, throwing back the covers and cringing as the frigid air hit his exposed skin.
“What?” She sat up, her eyes intently following his every move, clutching a silken bed sheet to her chest awaiting his response. He couldn’t be serious, right?
“Get out.” He stumbled out of bed, grabbing a robe that was draped over a nearby chair.
“But I thought-,” she stared at him, perplexed; this wasn’t how the fairy tale was supposed to go.
“I have things to attend to,” he interrupted coolly, digging through his wardrobe. “Here,” he tossed her a small satin pouch. She reached for it, her nimble fingers untying the string that fastened it shut, “What is it?”
“For your troubles.” She peered inside, finding that the sack was filled with golden coins. “And for your silence,” he looked at her with a stern, raised brow, hoping she would catch his drift.
“And if I don’t stay silent?” She challenged, glowering at him as an angry flush rose to her cheeks.
“Then I’ll have you killed,” he stated apathetically with a wave of his hand. Frightened, embarrassed and angry, the girl leapt from the bed, throwing her clothes over her matted hair. “Wait,” he called, just as her hand had reached the doorknob. She glanced up at him, wide-eyed and hopeful. Had he changed his mind? “Draw me a bath, before you leave,” he ordered, motioning towards the bathroom. The girl’s heart sank and she simply bowed in compliance. “That’s a good girl,” he cooed, condescendingly.
He sauntered across the marble floor, taking a moment to watch the sun finish its journey over the horizon. Raking a hand through his raven hair, he half wondered what he was doing. For the past month, he had slept with a different woman almost every night, but not once did he feel any sort of long-term satisfaction. The girl emerged, ready to announce his bath had been prepared, however, both her words and his thoughts were interrupted by repeated knocks on the door.
“You can answer that and excuse yourself,” he stated flatly, back turned to her.
“Yes, your highness.” She scrambled to the door, “Your majesty,” she answered, bowing deeply before darting through the long corridor, down the stairs and back to her own chambers. Upon hearing the girl address the King, the prince scowled.
“Endymion,” he began with a deep sigh.
“Father.” The prince turned to face him. He noticed a flicker of disappointment in his father’s amber eyes. Suddenly he realized that his father had grown old; his once ebony hair ashen with age, and wrinkles creased deeply into his paling skin.
“What number was she?” He questioned bluntly, his deep voice dripping with disgust.
“I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about,” the prince replied with a cocky grin.
“Endymion, they’re talking.” He sat down in one of the lavish, leather-covered chairs, shaking his head in disapproval of his son’s actions.
“Who is?” Endymion knew his father had a tendency of getting worked up and overreacting. Frankly, the prince could care less about what the mere peasants were saying about him.
“Everyone. They’re talking about how it’s disgraceful that a Prince of your status sleeps around with the help. Not to mention that some of those girls are married,” he paused to gage Endymion’s reaction but only found an expression of indifference. “You’re the crown prince of Earth, the most powerful planet in the system,” he emphasized the latter part – and it was true. Earth had become the most feared planet in the solar system and no one dared to oppose their decisions or soldiers. While its inhabitants were regarded as vile, ruthless creatures, the King was well respected as a man of sensibility, reason and honour. It was because of him that Earth was able to stay so powerful for so long. However, hidden in the underbelly of the planet’s empire were powerful men who abused their rank. Whether the King was honestly unaware of the happenings or knew and was turning a blind eye, remained a mystery.
“Let them talk,” the prince scoffed, genuinely unconcerned. They could spew whatever gossip they saw fit, but the truth was he would inherit the crown and become their King, regardless of his infidelities. “Besides, it’s not only common women.”
“Do you really think that these women, regardless of class, don’t talk amongst each other? Can you imagine the rumours they’re weaving?” His father asked, incredulously. When had his son lost all sense of self-pride and respect?
“Not if they value their lives,” he answered, smugly. A sly smile tugging at his lips.
“So you threaten them?” The King’s temper was beginning to boil.
“I compensate them for their silence,” he explained with a shrug. “And in the event that’s not enough, I simply lay out the facts.”
“So not only are you tarnishing the Royal name, you’re turning this into quite an expensive pass time and you’re involved with blackmail,” he summarized, his jaw clenched with anger.
“Enough. I’ve had enough. Your mother would be mortified if she was…” He began yelling, but his words trailed off, unable to complete the statement.
“Still alive,” Endymion finished.
“Yes,” he nodded, “It’s time you grew up. You need to settle down. You need to be prepared to take control when I’m gone. Find a wife and produce an heir. No more of this screwing around with the help business. You need to be careful who you mess around with.” The King knew all too well that if Endymion made one wrong move with the wrong girl, he could be digging his own grave. He could quickly lose respect and valuable alliances, which could lead to the downfall of his reign. “If I hear of anymore of it, I’ll strip you of your crown,” he stated firmly. Endymion opened his mouth to protest, but stopped. He knew his father was merely trying to intimidate him into submission. “Do we have an understanding?”
“Yes father,” he complied unwillingly, hanging his head in defeat. A frigid silence passed between the two men. On one level, Endymion knew that his father was right, yet despite knowing better, he craved to fill the void that constantly plagued him and his numerous affairs were nothing but that; he saw no long-term future with these women.
“What about Beryl, for a wife?” The King suggested pensively, breaking the silence. Every time Beryl visited the palace she fawned all over the King and Endymion saw through her façade. The King, unfortunately, seemed to enjoy her company, which lead to frequent visits.
“You can’t be serious.” Endymion looked at his father with a somewhat dumbfounded expression, “I loathe that woman,” he couldn’t help but laugh.
“Endymion, she’s a smart, attractive girl. She’s from a noble background and she would make a fine Queen,” he replied, watching his son’s movements as he paced about the room.
“She’s a bigger whore than I am, father.” It was an immature remark and truth be told, on occasion even they had engaged in dull, passionless sex. Beryl was a woman who got what she desired, despite the path she had to take to get there. Endymion knew that on every one of her visits to the palace she had ulterior motives, and therefore could never be trusted.
“Don’t you dare address a lady in that manner that again,” his father spat, shooting an icy glare.
“She’s no lady,” the prince muttered under his breath.
“Just think about it, will you? A suitable woman, Endymion. None of these peasants. You’re not living in a fairy tale,” his father pressed, the prince rolling his eyes in response. The King stood, approaching the tall, young man, “I know you’re still your mother’s son. Somewhere in there.” His voice was distant and forlorn, and with a half-hearted smile he patted Endymion on the shoulder and left.
Fuming, Endymion closed his eyes and released a deep, controlled breath. He headed to the bathroom, discarding his robe along the way and slipped into the warm water. Instantly his body relaxed, but his mind was steeped in turmoil.
Everyone wanted him to be something different and Endymion was rapidly growing tired of trying to fulfill each expectation. His father wanted him to be strong, mature and levelheaded, prepared to accept his role as the King of Earth. His closest friends, and guardians, still saw him as the headstrong, proud yet obedient boy that they had grown up with. His countrymen needed a prince they could adore and respect, one who was empathetic towards their cause and able to carry on his father’s legacy. And the women he used to satisfy his lust, expected Prince Charming.
His father’s words replayed in his mind, “I know you’re still your mother’s son” and Endymion felt a lump of guilt rise to his throat. Had he changed that much since she had passed? He needed to escape, if only for a few days, and with a determined nod, promised himself to do just that.
|← Prologue||Chapter Two→|