‘Well that escalated quickly.’ I saw Cobalt smile into his pasta. He had come home just minutes after Xavier’s and my little… exploration. He must have smelt Xavier’s arousal from a mile away, but had tried maintaining his calm facade anyway. Cobalt being Cobalt, never let me off. He grinned at me when Xavier wasn’t looking, raised his eyebrows suggestively whenever he spotted the words ‘big’ or ‘caution hot liquid’ on packaging and comments on every damn smell in the apartment.
‘So I heard North Korea had this missal launch recently. Didn’t go so well. The poor squirt didn’t make it off the launching pad. Exploded on site. Pity.’ Xavier shifted awkwardly, poking at his scrambled eggs.
‘Oh and Asper, I met Amber on the way back and she’s wondering if you like your eggs scrambled, over easy or… raw.’ Xavier choked while Cobalt hid his face in his hands, his laughter getting the better of him.
‘That’s it.’ I stood up, pushing my chair back noisily. ‘Cobalt, private conversation.’
‘About time.’ Cobalt eyed me playfully, took one more bite of his pasta and got up, heading towards the backyard.
‘What the hell are you doing?!’ I threw my hands up in the air, let them flap down, slapping the sides of my thighs with a whack.
‘I’m just joking around with my buddy, you know? He hasn’t seen me in three hundred years. He must miss me. Oh, and I love the tattoo, very hipster.’ Cobalt shoved his hands into his jeans pockets and rocked back on his heels. I glared. ‘As Amber would put it, ‘Details, sister’.’ He imitated a ghetto Z-snap formation and I couldn’t help but laugh. Allura help this man. He’ll never adjust back to Iroria.
‘There isn’t much to tell…’ I looked away and back into the house to check on Xavier. He was chewing slowly, still staring at his eggs in deep thought. Inwardly, I shrugged. ‘He just bit me.’
‘He just bit me.’ Cobalt made yapping motions with his hands and pitched his voice a little higher. Then he frowned. ‘Come on, you must have done something to him. Is he angry? At you? Me? You know how he is when he’s angry.’
‘Relax, he isn’t angry. If he was, you’d be dead or somewhere close to it by now.’
‘Then what did you do? He’s acting weird. All soft and not Xavier-like.’ Cobalt frowned and bit his lip. I always thought he may have swung the other way but Amber had remarked that it was totally okay with a boy being ‘a little softer than others’. ‘And what was that I smelt when I entered the house?’
I opened and closed my mouth several times, eyes wide. Cobalt’s grin widened, happy wrinkles creased around his eyes as he covered his mouth with his hand.
‘I was bored, he was being cute and vulnerable. And he felt a little nice so I wanted to… I mean tried to-‘ I must have said something too fast or wrong because Cobalt doubled over and roared with laughter. Over in the kitchen, I saw Xavier, with his hand on his chin, look over. His face flushed and he dragged his hand over his face, looking away and back at his now empty plate. By Allura, he could hear everything, can he? Starting to feel my cheeks burn, I pulled a little of my hair over my shoulder to hide my face from him.
‘Xavier and cute do not go in the same sentence. Dude, he’s whipped. Did you say vulnerable too?’ I felt Xavier’s mood flicker from him embarrassment to borderline pissed off. Whoops. Cobalt must have sensed it too because he cleared his throat and squared his shoulders. ‘But it’s a good sign.’
‘What’s a good sign?’ I inquired, rather confused.
‘The re-mating may actually go through.’ Cobalt shrugged and I was pissed all over again.
‘Re-mating? Cobalt, who’s side are you on?!’ my eyes narrowed and I noticed a few thunder clouds circle above us. Good.
‘I’d be on the King’s side if all goes well.’ Cobalt challenged me. Challenged. Me. How dare he! No, Asper. Be mature about this. You aren’t exactly a teenage girl anymore. I took deep breaths, trying to ease the thunder clouds that had gathered above us, but I couldn’t stop my hands from clenching, making the wind pick up.
‘Well, the only side you’ll be on is your back side because your Prince will not be marrying anytime soon.’ I saw Cobalt’s eyes darken and I smirked, rather pleased with my comeback. ‘Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to my garden before this impending thunderstorm gets anyone hurt or worst, killed.’ Oh yeah. I was on a roll.
‘Asper? I’m home! Come back inside! The weather looks horrid!’ And someone had to kick my ball in the opposite direction just when I was taking it home. I groaned and trudged back into the house. ‘Oh my, and who would you be?’
‘This is Angelo.’ I answered quickly. I felt Xavier’s mood flare at me calling him so formally but I didn’t care. I wasn’t about to give in to Cobalt’s and Xavier’s plan so easily. ‘He’s my-‘
‘Boyfriend.’ Xavier interjected before snaking an arm around my waist. ‘Asper, love. You don’t have to be so excited about things. I can introduce myself.’ He pressed a kiss into my hair before smiling charmingly at Nora who would have melted with or without his mind control. And isn’t that just great. He made me out to be a desperate girlfriend. I could slap him.
‘Slap me? That hurts.’
‘Why can’t you stay out of my head? Stop pounding on the door! It’s tiring keeping it shut tight.’ Xavier hasn’t stopped trying to talk to me mentally. Which was putting me at my wits end because he had no business poking my mind with his since everything between us was public. Or at least I hope most of it were. Like the fact that I hate him.
‘But I can’t.‘ He whined. ‘The mark is making it so damn hard. I dare you to tell me you don’t feel it either.’ I hate to admit but I did feel it. It was like I needed to be with him, close to him. Being without him made my bones ache while his voice would sooth my soul and his voice, oh, I wanted to marinate in it.
But my name wouldn’t be Asper if I wasn’t stubborn, now would it?
‘I don’t feel anything.’ I looked up at him defiantly and watched with utter contentment how his smirk was wiped clean from his face and replaced with a frown. Nora finally left the kitchen, not before she had attempted to subliminally drop hints of how many grandchildren she would like and what to name each of them. I pulled out of Xavier’s arms, much to my displeasure, and crossed my arms. The safety of his arms would be dearly missed. Crossing my arms, I stared him down. We were alone now, since Cobalt had graciously volunteered to accompany Nora while she collected the laundry out back.
‘It’s Xavier you know.’ Xavier crossed him arms as well, copying my pose.
‘What?’ I glared at the wall beside him. Looking into his eyes were too dangerous.
‘I said’ he took a step further ‘I want you to call me Xavier.’
‘Forget it, Angelo. Angelo. I quite like this name better. Don’t you like it?’ I tossed my hair and looked up at his dark hair, once again avoiding his eyes.
‘No. I don’t.’ He grated out. I noticed his fists clench by his side.
‘Good.’ I turned my head up and gave him the hardest stare I could. If I wanted to conquer my fears and grow up, I might as well start with my biggest one. Talking about conquering… No! Bad Asper! This was not the right time. Damn mark…
Xavier narrowed his eyes after a few tense seconds before pulling back and out of my personal bubble. I let go a breath I didn’t know I was even holding. He turned, raking his hands through his hair in frustration.
‘Dammit, Asper. You can’t deny you feel it. I know you do. I just don’t know how the hell you’re hiding it. Are you on some glamour? Some talisman of some sort? Because you better not be.’ The last point made me sigh in relief. This was the Xavier I knew. The bossy, unkind, impatient, slap-a-bitch-and-throw-her-into-the-cellar Xavier. The nice Xavier freaked me out. All mushy and sweet. I guess I simply wasn’t used to it.
‘Alright, maybe I do.’ I’d rather be honest with the real Xavier. ‘But it’s not like it’s going to change anything.’
‘What do you mean it’s not going to change anything? The sooner you feel something, the easier we mate, get our bonds retied and all of Iroria will rejoice. See love? You’re that important.’ I made a face.
‘Don’t do that.’
‘Don’t do what?’
‘Call me some affectionate name.’ I couldn’t even bring myself to say those words. I don’t know what got into me upstairs in my room two hours ago, because most of the time, I couldn’t even watch a make out scene in the movies.
‘I don’t like it.’
‘You don’t want me to show affection for you? That was all you ever wanted back at the palace.’ His mouth hung agape.
‘Gods Asper, are you masochistic or something?’ He started towards me again and I watched his purple eyes darken a shade. Not good. ‘Because I could easily fix that.’
‘No!’ I pushed him away with a burst of energy from my hands. ‘Enough, Angelo. Let’s just forget what happened. It was a mistake but it’ll be fine in a month or two. That’s not even sixty seconds of your eternity, so deal with it!’ I turned to leave but he caught me by my arm and slammed me back against the wall, knocking the breath out of me.
‘Forget what happened? You want me to forget what happened?’ He was seething, body pressed up onto mine and breathing heavily into my ear as I tried to concentrate on my fire engine red stand mixer on the counter. ‘I’m sure you can smell it; smell me. It’s what you did to me, Asper.’
He leaned down to kiss the mark on my neck and my breath hitched. ‘This mark means you’re mine. You belong to me, Asper. It’s not some cheap tattoo all those mortals have. I’m not about to let you go so easily. You think I’m going to wait around for the next month? Hell no. I’m going to make use of this mark and our current status as mates to court you. And love, the only thing you’ll be forgetting is your name once we’re done and mated. I don’t really care for the location, I guess it depends on where you piss me off the most.’
Practically tearing himself from me, he turned and stormed out of the kitchen, leaving me feeling cold and lonely on the floor.
But with just enough time to plan my next move.
‘Where are you two going?’ Xavier ground out from the sofa as I tumbled down the stairs and started out of the house with Cobalt behind me.
‘Away from you.’ I replied quickly as I slipped my socks on and bit onto a slice of butter toast, letting the bread square hang from my mouth. ‘Cobalt, I told you finishing ‘Injustice’ on the Playstation was a bad idea.’
‘Relax, Asp. If anything happens, I’ll fly us over in 5 minutes tops. Oof!’ I heard Cobalt hit the ground with a thud. ‘Rude.’ He called out. I looked up between bites of my breakfast. Xavier loomed over me with a dark expression, making me gulp.
‘I asked. Where are you two going?’ He eyed our school bags. I inwardly grinned. This was going to be fun.
‘We’re running away from you. Not even 24hours with you and you’ve invaded my house, smitten my mother and sat in my spot!’ I threw my hands up dramatically and whipped my phone out from my back pocket. The tweet feed was buzzing with sightings of a ‘hot guy in town’, undoubtedly Xavier, whom had spent the last 20 hours (oh yeah, I counted) ruining my life.
‘This isn’t funny, Asper.’ I saw his hands clench at his sides and grinned too wide. If I could keep him as the Xavier I know, A.K.A Mr full-of-himself-arrogant-and-bad-tempered, I’d have an easier time and more reason to stay away from him.
‘We’re going to school.’ My phone buzzed and I broke eye contact with him, making sure I flipped my hair while I was at it. ‘Cobalt, we have 10 minutes.’
‘You don’t need to go to school.’ Xavier made a grab for my arm but I dodged and hopped closer to the front door, grabbing Cobalt’s and my own bagged lunches. I landed gracefully on my tip toes and turned to him as I waved a finger from him to side playfully.
‘No. You don’t need to go to school, of course, because you’ve been educated by but the best and the highest of scholars.’ I did a mini curtsie and a queenly wave. His eyes narrowed at my sarcasm and patriotism. ‘But I am just a humble creature that does not have such blessed circumstances. So I must um… go to school.’
Xavier said nothing but started towards me. Panicking, I turned the knob, flinging it open, only to come face to face with an extremely fake (but bright) smile plastered onto a heart-shaped face. Almost immediately, I sensed her supernatural powers. She looked fae, but she wasn’t. She felt different but strangely familiar. I would have stopped to ponder, but I was literally inches away from kissing this clown of a girl. Now, you would think I’d be used to this by not, but no. I screamed and fell back on my butt.
Really, won’t Allura let me get away with one insult?
‘Xavier! I’ve been looking all over for you! It’s a good thing this town is so small.’ Bethany’s voice rang through the house and Cobalt cringed.
‘Bethany, good to see you. Would you please get Asper away from the door before I tie her to a flagpole?’ Xavier’s eyes were black with fury but with a hint of lust when the words ‘tie up’ and ‘flagpole’ rolled off his tongue.
‘Don’t touch me.’ Asper flicked her hands away from Bethany who had somehow gotten too close. ‘You know this guy? Boyfriend? Husband? I’m hoping for husband, there’s a law around here that a cheating husband should be,’ She shot Xavier a look. ‘Castrated.’ Xavier growled and lunged for her.
Asper ducked but not before she jumped on the chance of pushing Bethany from the door and making sure she landed on the ground with a thud and squeal. Good. Payback was a bitch. On the other hand, Xavier tripped her, almost causing her to face plant into a pumpkin patch. Pun intended.
Pushing off the ground just as her hands touched it, she bounced up from her prone position and swung a kick at Xavier’s head. He caught it and twisted, forcing her to twist in mid air to avoid joint dislocation, what more, so early in the morning. Finally getting her on her belly, he weighed over, pinning her to the ground and holding her head up by her neck, threatening to snap it.
‘You aren’t going to school, Asper. And that’s final. Now apologize to the poor girl and come upstairs so we can get back to bed.’ Xavier hissed into her ear, grounded his hips against her butt to make the word ‘bed’ have more meaning. Asper bristled. She hated being dominated especially by him.
‘Well, Angelo, you forget what I am.’ A devilish smirk tore across her face as her eyes grew glassy and dark. Taking the advantage of her ground element, she raised thorny vines from the ground, making it coil to suffocate and rip him off her. Getting up and dusting herself off, she strolled towards her bag that had had it’s contents spewed all over the lettuce patch. With just a glance, books and stationary sailed into the backpack. Much like Dora the Explorer, but with a sinister twist. Said bag levitated and she threaded her arms through the straps. Contented with her appearance, she nodded to no one in particular and walked back to Xavier who was now the one being pinned down with his face in the dirt.
‘Doesn’t feel so good with you’re the the one feeling the thorn up your ass, isn’t it?’ she chuckled and kicked the sand near his face just to piss him off even further. ‘Listen here and listen good. You aren’t doing yourself many favors by bossing me around in front of that squeaky little whore who just showed up at my door step and attempt to suffocate me with her breasts. When I come back, I want to see you gone. Not a trace, not a scent. Or next time, it’ll be worst.’ Her eyes were black now, making Xavier shiver.
Standing up, Asper took a step but swayed. Almost immediately, Cobalt was beside her, holding her up. Her hands were on her head and she shook, as if trying to get a hold of herself. When she removed her hands from her face, her eyes were green again but droopy and blank.
‘Dizzy. Need and asprin. What happened?’ She looked up and Cobalt and he shook his head.
‘No Asprin for you, Asp.’ Cobalt pulled the backpack from her shoulders. ‘I’ll get you a milkshake at iHop later.’
‘You said 5 minutes tops?’
‘What?’ Cobalt blinked while Asper glanced at her phone.
‘Well you have three minutes.’