Morning came. The first
thing that Marcus saw when he opened his eyes were
the lovely features of Zara. He blinked several
times, bringing his vision to focus to reveal the
further details of her beauty. He smiled feeling
happier than he had ever felt in his life. "Good
morning," he said to her, as he leaned his face
across the pillow to place a tender wakeup kiss upon
her lips. As he began to sit up in the bed he
noticed that while they slept the servants had
silently crept in, with the aptitude of Zara's
stealth skills, to collect their clothing and place
a small breakfast for them. How embarrassing, he
thought for himself, but as he never before had a
woman stay like this he could not fault them for
what they did. What did surprise him, however, was
the presence of a small envelope next to the food.
He reached across her body, pressing his substantial
weight upon her to grab for it. "Sorry," he said to
her, as he perhaps transfered more of his weight to
her than he intended. When he rolled back over he
opened the envelope and retrieved a small card that
invited both him and his guest to lunch with his
parents. He swallowed nervously, before silently
offering the card over towards her for inspection.
The invitation itself was not that alarming, but the
fact that it named her by her full name was...
Zara slept like an
effing champion after all that sexy fun time. She
also had kicked off just about all of her blankets.
It was likely that the servants had seen more of her
body than she was comfortable with...but hey, what
could you do?! She was still sleeping, curled up
peacefully on her side now, when he awoke. The sound
of his voice began to stir her away, but it was
really the wonderful kiss that followed that
inspired her to wake up completely. Her heart
started beating quickly. He had never left her
side...not for the whole entire night. Sleepily,
Zara remained laying. Her long hair had fallen over
her small shoulders. She found it odd that all the
clothing that she had thrown on the floor was gone.
There was a moment of panic when she realized
servants had come into the room without *her*
noticing. Instead of feeling embarrassed about it,
she felt happy that there was a freshly prepared
breakfast waiting for them. "Good morning!" She said
in a chipper voice. "How did you sleep?" Zara
started up a conversation. He noticed the envelope
before she did. Zara's attention was glued to the
food. She was hungry since she had picked at dinner
before a hard workout. She squeaked as he pressed
his weight on her to reach the envelope. "You're
squashing meeee!" She said playfully. By the
way...this girl is extreme ticklish, so watch out
for that. She slowly sat up while he devoured the
contents of the letter. The expression on Marcus'
face didn't make her feel good. What was this letter
She took it, surprised
to see her full name. *Zara Raenri Ta'am*. She, too,
read the letter. Once she finished, she tossed it at
him and quickly hid underneath the blankets, singing
a chant of, "*I don't wanna, you can't make me. I
don't wanna you can't make me.*" Zara was scared!
She peeked her head out of the covers. "What do I
even wear?! What do I say? I'm not a fancy, shmancy
noble lady. They're going to hate me."
Marcus found her playful
protest to be quite amusing and he could not keep
himself from laughing at her actions. "Hey!" he
said, as he grabbed hard at the blanket and gave a
strong pull to reveal her silver topped head once
more. "I knew this was going to happen at some
point..." he said, doing his best to offer support,
as he moved closer towards her. He moved towards her
like a kath hound, slowly climbing over her, as his
body came to a stop on top of hers. His head was
directly above hers now and with just a slight
descent he moved his face down to place a tender,
reassuring, loving kiss upon her lips. "They're not
going to hate you. No one could ever hate you ...
well ... accept for those guys back in the Corporate
Sector," he said, playfully, with a soft laugh
before he placed another kiss upon her. "They'll
probably do most of the talking. Just be yourself,"
he repeated, trying his best to prop her up and lend
her some much needed support. He had never imaged
anything could make her that scared, well ... maybe
she had his parents pegged right after all.
Zara clearly needed a
better hiding spot. She made her best pouty face.
Like him, she knew the day was coming. The longer
she lived with him, the more they were going to want
to meet her. She couldn't avoid this meeting. Her
big, blue eyes stared at him. He was trying to make
her feel better and, god damn it, his comforting
worked. He had cut off her escape route (which would
be locking herself in the bathroom) by laying on top
of her. She wrapped him up in her arms. She even
kissed him back warmly. She was still pouting when
he stopped kissing her. "O-okay... You know!" She
smiled, "I *do* have this powdery drug we could put
in their drinks. It would make everything so much
better." She giggled. "Okay. I'll do it. I love you
and I'll meet you parents. Them not liking me won't
change the way you feel, right?" She hadn't dealt
with a situation like this before. She didn't even
have the time to research his parents and learn how
to swindle her way into their hearts She was banking
on them leading the conversation. Zara's lips met
his. She placed several short kisses to his lips.
How did they know her full name? That bothered her.
She could imagine that they had done research. They
knew about the Ta'em family hangings. They knew her
father sparked a rebellion. She cling to Marcus. If
she never let go of him, then he wouldn't go
Marcus was not going
anywhere. "No!" he said at her, playfully, as he
reached down and took her nose into his mouth before
biting down. "No you cannot drug my parents," he
said, between his teeth that were loosely clenched
around her nose. When he finally released her, he
pulled his head back and looked across the room at
the chronometer on the wall. His heart stopped. His
face went white. And he froze on top of her. They
had overslept and the lunch was going to be
happening in just one half hour. He panicked and he
quickly moved off of her, nearly tripping over
himself as he moved from atop her to begin
scrambling towards the refresher. Now *he* was the
scared one. "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" he said in a
panicked, frenzied tone, as he entered the luxurious
en suite. "I promise. No matter what they think of
you, my thoughts will never change, but now ...
hurry!" he said one more time, as his hand slammed
down on the controls to activate the shower.
"Owwww! Stopit! I didn't
say *anything* about drugging them. I said I wanted
to give 'em a little somethin' somethin'!" Zara
defended herself, rubbed her gnawed nose. "Gosh, I
thought I tamed the animal inside of you last
night." Uh oh. He was losing the color in his face.
"What is it?" Her eyes followed his to the
chronometer. "Ohnonononono. That is not enough time!
I don't wanna, you can't make meee!" She watched him
scurry off of her while she panicked. "I can't even
dry my hair in that time!" Well, she could, but
regardless... The woman reluctantly left that warm,
comfy bed and the food she should have been happily
eating. Her stomach moaned and grumbled all the way
to the refresher. The shower was already running. It
was still sweet of him to be reassuring. Zara
decided to be a good sport. She hopped into the
shower with him. It was all business, no play time.
She washed her hair and body as rapidly as she
could. It was chaos. Zara had to quickly move
through her whole beauty routine, with some extra
steps added to look pretty for what may very well be
her in laws. On the bright side, at least she didn't
know she was pregnant right now. If she had, getting
her out of the door would have been that much
harder. "We're never going to make it!" Zara said,
combing out her lengthy hair. "You're taking the
fall for us being late!" She accused, pointing a
finger in his direction.
All in all, they somehow
made it work. Zara opted for an extremely modest
dress white dress. It ended safely at her knee. The
thin straps showed off her bare shoulders, but it
didn't give off any cleavage. Once she had fully
dressed herself, she realized she didn't like it and
wanted to change. "This isn't going to work!" She
exclaimed, huddling towards the closet. She looked
pretty and simplistic. Her hair was down. Even the
worry on her face looked pretty at the moment. "I
have to put on something else." Time was out. They
needed to go.
Marcus wished the shower
could have lasted longer and more than just the
water was causing him to become overheated. He
showered much quicker than her, paying extra special
attention to his pits and crevices and ignoring
virtually everything else. He often wondered how
using soap between his buttcrack and then bringing
it up to his face was sanitary, but nevertheless he
was soon clean and emerging from the shower after
her. His hair dried much simpler than her and as he
strode across the room towards the expansive closet
that was larger than most normal bedrooms he began
to dress in the standard formal attire that he
always found himself in during social situations.
His shirt was red and did well to make a statement,
but he found her reaction to be the dress to be
somewhat amusing. "What. A. Girl.," he said slowly,
deliberately, as he watched her panic about her
dress. He finally moved towards her, and placed each
of his hands on her shoulders, doing his best to
hold her in place. He pressed his lips to her to
silence her for a moment, before withdraw from her
to look at her reassuringly with his eyes. "I love
you. You look amazing. It's going to be fine," he
said to her, slowly, and confidently, before nodding
his head at her with encouragment.
Thisss was what she got
for handing a servant a paper with her sizes on it
along with credits and sending them out to do
shopping for her while she busied herself with
stealing food. She was making a face in the closet,
also regretting a lengthy morning shower with her
love. Ooh, the things they could have done!
Rather—the woman he could have done. It seemed like
no one in this whole castle wanted them to be
intimate frequently. She was ready to desperately
sift through clothing until she found a better
option when Marcus decided to jump in front of the
crazy train. Like always, he looked incredible. He
looked like she should take off all that formal
attire and...do things she didn't have time for
right now... She stopped thumbing through clothing
when he complimented her. Zara looked like she was
going to explode with panic. His kiss stopped her.
It relaxed her again, just like those in bed had.
Her arms wrapped loosely around his neck. She took a
deep breath. In. Out. "I love you. I'm trusting you
on this for now.." Her fingers slid into his. As
long as everyone was ready, she began making her way
towards the door. "What are your parents even like?"
She asked. "Is your mother nice?" Zara missed her
mom so much. "You have to brief me before I go in."
It was a mission like any other. It was possibly her
hardest mission yet.
Marcus listened to her
question, but he found his parents to be a difficult
subject to discuss and so, perhaps mistakenly, opted
not to answer her question right away. He instead
took her by the hand and began to lead her from
their master suite into the corridor silently, with
some awkwardness, before he began to descend the
spiral staircase that dominated the tower. His hand
never left hers, his hand squeezing against hers
reassuringly with a gentle massage from his thumb
against the palm of her hand. "My mother is very
nice," he finally revealed, telling the truth from a
certain point of view. His mother was very nice ...
compared to his father at least. He finally led her
into the dining room which was on the lower level
and featured an expansive bay of windows that looked
out on the mountain range that surrounded the
castle. A table had been prepared for four, but
there were no sign of his parents. There was however
a bustling staff that began to lay out various
luxury foodstuffs and wine ... the event called for
That awkwardness didn't
make her feel better. In fact, it took away the
value of what he said when he finally did answer.
"That's... something..." She commented dryly.
Meanwhile, Zara's mind was filling in the blanks.
His parents were evil—and that was okay. You
couldn't control who your parents were. He told her
that it wouldn't change things. She believed him.
She'd do her best with it. It helped that he
continued to hold her hand like a human anchor while
they walked. There was no avoiding the dining room.
Like it or not, they eventually made it there. While
the table of delicious foodstuffs should have made
her happy, it only made her want to throw up more.
She didn't notice that she had begun to squeeze his
hand tighter and tighter. Despite having to rush to
make it to lunch, they had made it before his
parents. She hoped that put some points in their
favor. She looked up at Marcus. "Maybe they
forgot..." She said hopefully. Rather than stand
around awkwardly, she decided to guide Marcus over
to the table. Her hand didn't leave his. At this
point, it couldn't. "The food looks good. I'm
starving since I decided we'd skip dinner last
night." Zara smiled, nudging him with her little
elbow. It was time to break the ice.
The chamberlains raised
the base of their staffs before bringing them back
down upon the marble floor loudly, twice. A moment
later the doors to the dining room entered and
stepping forward was an elderly woman, who still
looked quite lovely for her age. She took care of
herself and it showed that she enjoyed fashion as
she wore the a regal gown of the latest fashions
that covered most of her body, including her arms,
as she did not want anyone to see the toll that age
had took upon her once immaculate skin. The most
defining feature of her body were eyes ... a vibrant
shade of violet that she had never seen another
woman possess. When she saw Zara she began sizing
her up in her head, as any mother would, but this
was different ... in the nearly four decades she had
known her son he had never before had a lasting
relationship. "So you must be Zara," she said,
wanting make a point to her that she knew more about
her, than Zara knew about herself. With that, her
face moved forward to place a kiss next to Zara's
left cheek, and then quickly moved to place one next
to her right cheek, as society dictated. "My husband
will be joining us shortly. He is just finishing a
meeting," he said, apologizing to them both, but she
had deliberately informed him that the lunch was
later than it actually was as she wanted to meet her
before he did and form an opinion free of his
overbearing ways. She said nothing to her son ...
not even a glance ... it was as if he was not even
there. Her attention was fixated entirely on Zara.
Of all the monsters that
existed in the galaxy, it was his mother that Zara
feared most. Being that she lost her family at a
young age, she found it important to not case a rift
in his. She needed the little old woman's approval.
Zara forced herself to fix her posture, standing up
straight to her full, fearful five-two. The elderly
woman in front of her didn't fit the image she had
created in her head. She looked kind. Her violet
eyes were stunning. Zara put on her best smile. The
voice in her head was repeating; *I think I can I
think I can I think I can* as she released Marcus'
hand and took a step towards the woman. Believe you
me, Zara knew right off the bat that this woman had
information. She didn't know how much. It was
certainly enough to make her uncomfortable. "That I
am. Your son has been rude," shot shot a playful
look towards Marcus, "He's told me so little of you.
I don't even know what your name is." At least Zara
knew some society norms. She placed a quick kiss to
each side of the woman's cheeks. "Thank you for
letting us know. I look forward to meeting him too."
No she didn't. Zara saw that the attention was on
her now. She smiled a classic, charming Zara smile.
She didn't know where to start, so, she dove into
conversation full of doubts and fears. "...Marcus
really isn't rude at all. He's a good man...the best
I've ever known. You raised him well, though I can't
imagine how you did it. Maybe with a whip? Is his
brother as much trouble as he is?" Zara was
The Duchess Livia Rodney
smiled politely at each of the pleasantries the
woman exchanged with her, as she wondered what
exactly it was that *she* possessed that none of the
others her second son had notoriously bed over the
past two decades had. "Dear boy, so rude," she said,
as her violet eyes angled towards Marcus' so sharply
that it threatened to cut him. "Then allow me to
introduce myself, my dear," she said, politely, as
her eyes refocused on the silver haired harlot that
stood before her. She certainly looked the part, she
thought silently to herself as she continued to size
her up, pursing her lips ever so noticeably as she
struggled to figure it out. "I am Livia, Duchess of
Delaya and ... mother of the silent nitwit," she
said, with a smirk and a soft laugh to break the
Marcus watched in horror
as for the first time his mother met one of the
women he had been with, but in many ways this had
been his first real relationship despite his
advanced age. He listened to everything that they
said to one another in panicked silence, unable to
find even the most basic of words on the tip of his
tongue. He was terrified. He did not think he would
be, but he was. "Zara. This ... this is my mother,"
he said, after she had introduced herself,
stammering like a buffoon. "Mother, this is Z-Z-Zara,"
he again added, stumbling over her name like it was
a tripwire. His face was threatening to become as
red as the color of his tunic.
Of all the people she
had met in her life, it was Duchess Livia Rodney
that was the most difficult to read. Zara couldn't
tell if she was the right hand of Satan, a wolf in
sheep's clothing, or an actual good person.
Regardless, Zara understood that she was being
looked at under a microscope right now to see if she
was worthy of Marcus. Those woman's eyes could slice
through cortosis, only now they were slicing through
Marcus because she had thrown him under the bus.
Zara looked over her shoulder at him. She looked
apologetic and a little shocked...what the hell!?
This woman could be straight up scary. *Sorry* she
mouthed, turning her attention back towards the
woman as she introduced herself. She also humanized
herself. Zara smiled. Internally, she was still
flipping out. If her head was anything like the
characters in *Inside Out*, then there was a full
panic meltdown happening at her mind's control
center. Somehow, she managed to laugh. Zara was
making her way further and further into uncharted
territory. She felt a second panic attack beginning
when she realized she still had to meet his father.
"Aw, he's just afraid you won't like me. I'm afraid
of that too... I mean, look at all the movies that
are made about this exact event depicting it to be
worse than torture. Did you ever see *My Mother's a
Bantha Fodder*?" She laughed dryly. Anndd Zara was
getting nervous. Her mouth was starting to move. All
the training she did to stay relaxed and calm in her
missions had been flushed down the toilet.
Marcus, stuck in hell
with her, stumbled on his words as he approached
them. This wasn't easy for either one of them. Zara
saw him drowning so she went in to save him. She
took a long stride over to him as gracefully as she
could manage. One of her arms wrapped around his.
From there, they crossed the short distance to Livia.
As scared as Zara was, she remained externally calm.
She even tried to comfort Marcus by kissing his
cheek and squeezing his arm. She loved him. It was
the only reason why she was willing to do this. "So,
um, tell me about yourself? Like I said, I don't
Before either Livia or
Marcus could continue the chamberlains again went
into action, raising their staffs and then slamming
them back onto the marble tile repeatedly. It was
then that the Duke of Delaya entered the room ... he
was a man of his 70s with salt and pepper hair, who
seemed to be putting on weight with each growing
year. His clothes were very fine and dyed vibrant
shades of purple, which had been one of the more
expensive colors on Alderaan before its destruction.
He walked slower than he had in the past and his
knees hurt, causing him great difficulty as he
strode across the room towards the gathering. "I
believe you have been mistaken about the time, my
dear. You're getting old," he said to his wife,
matter-of-factly, throwing her a sideways glance
before turning his attention to his wayward son. "Up
so early? I don't recall seeing you for lunch any
time in recent memory," he said, chastising him,
before moving towards the buffet table to grab the
leg of one of the avians that had been cooked for
them. He took a large bite of the leg, the grease
staining his chin, as he chewed obnoxiously loud.
Who needed manners when you were the one in charge?
His attention then turned towards Zara, who he had
largely ignored, and studied her intently as he
continued to chew loudly. "Beautiful," he mumbled,
through a mouth full of food, causing a few
particles of food to fall down to his chest.
No, no, no, *no*. Zara
was working on making it through Livia's obstacle
course when another popped up...the Duke of Delaya;
Marcus' father. The silver-haired woman would like
nothing more than to crawl back in bed with Marcus
and laugh over how shitty this little meet and greet
was going. She didn't know how she was going to get
food down her throat, let alone keeping it in her
stomach while they continued to talk. She watched
the man head into the room. Her first impression was
that he wasn't a nice man! Her little nose scrunched
up like an angry little animal. Livia had placed a
lot of attention on her. The Duke ignored her
entirely, seated himself at the table, and began to
eat. Zara watched, simply because she couldn't stop
herself. It was so ... so...*grotesque*. There were
pieces of food sprinkled all over his chest in no
time. She watched grease roll down his chin. While
she didn't have the best table manners, this guy
clearly didn't either. She looked up at Marcus.
Well, they'd made an appearance. Could they
"Uh, thank you, sir."
She knew what they had to do now; sit, eat, and
talk. She half dragged Marcus across the dining room
towards the table. Even as she sat, she didn't let
go of his hand. Zara forced herself to add food to
her empty plate. This would all end sooner if they
ate now. She gave herself small portions, knowing
full well that her stomach wanted to reject
everything she put in it. Finally, her hand was
forced to release from her lover's. She looked
across the table at the Duke, then to Livia. She
seemed like the talker in their relationship.
"Everything smells so good, thank you for having us
for lunch." And *please* never include her on the
invite again. She began to eat slowly. Zara chewed
with her mouth closed. She didn't make the same kind
of mess that the Duke did. She was waiting to be
grilled by his parents. She anticipated the moment
when they wanted to know more.
"Well it is our
understanding that our son here has had you, so we
thought it only polite," Livia replied, before a
particularly large sip of wine, which was greatly
appreciated at a time like this. "Tell me, dear,
where are you from? Who are your parents? Do you
work?" she asked, without moving her head, as her
violet eyes were locked entirely on the plate of
food in front of her. She cut her meat with a
particularly large, sharp knife that could have
easily doubled for one of Marcus' weapons. When she
finally finished her rapid series of questions she
forked a couple of dainty morsel of food into her
small mouth, chewing slowly. A cloth napkin was
quickly brought to her mouth, dabbing it softly to
collect the remnants, before finally looking towards
Zara. "What exactly *are* your intentions towards my
son? Money? A title?" she wondered, before raising
the glass, and swirling the red wine in the glass to
bring out its aromatic qualities. Who was this Zara
Ta'em? she wondered to herself, as she glared at the
young woman sitting across from her.
Zara's face turned a
fabulous shade of bright red. Why did she bring that
up!? *Our son here had had you*. She even choked on
what she was eating. Blue eyes settled on Marcus.
What the hell! He said he locked the door but the
servants had gotten in, seen them, and reported
everything to his parents. She was so embarrassed. "Uuuhhh..."
Her voice trailed off. There was nothing really to
say back to that. *Yes, I did fuck your son and it
was damn good, b-word*! No, that certainly wouldn't
work. She was glad the bruises on her neck were less
apparent. As Zara braced herself for the storm, the
hurricane hit. Livia was off. Her questions came
rapid fire...yet Zara's attention centered around
the knife the woman was cutting with. *My, my
grandma, what a sharp knife you have... The better
to eat you my dear*, Zara thought. She imagined the
woman stabbing in a Game of Thrones Red Wedding way.
Zara started explaining
herself. "I was born on Alderaan. I came from a hard
working middle class family. My mother designed
clothing in a small boutique. My father was a
weapons expert. I *did* work. I was a ship mechanic
for many years until my place of employment was
burnt down recently." She explained to Livia. "I
have enough income saved up from my time as a
mechanic that I can afford to survive while I look
for a new job." She already saw where this was
going. The next time the woman's mouth opened, the
harder questions came. Zara abandoned her silverware
entirely, sitting back in her seat. Her eyes glared
at Livia, allowing her to make accusations that
didn't apply to her. "Look, I know I automatically
have put myself in a bad position. I'm unemployed.
When my parents were alive, they didn't have any
connection to nobility. I look like yet another
woman who has waltzed into your son's bed with bad
intentions. Money. Nobility. The thrill of using
someone. That's *not* who I am. My intentions
towards your son are pure. I want to be a good
partner for him. Someone who listen to him when he
needs to talk. Someone who doesn't disappear when
life isn't rainbows and butterflies. I met Marcus by
chance. It was honestly the best accident of my
life. I don't appreciate you inviting us here to
make accusations. You had already formed an opinion
about me prior to entering this room. It's going to
take time to change that opinion, to show you that
I'm not a vindictive slut."
The venerable Duke
continued to eat his food, passively listening to
the awkward discussion between his wife and the
young woman. When he was finished sucking the meat
from the bone he spit it back down upon his plate,
causing a *clang* that broke the temporary silence
that had fallen over the table following Zara's
impassioned defense. "It has often been said ...
privately, of course ... that if we collected a toll
on the traffic that came and went from Marcus'
bedroom we would be able to solve Delaya's economic
woes," he said to everyone in the room and no one in
particular, before summoning the servant to poor
more wine. "I, for one, do not care who you were ...
or even who you are," he said, as he took a
desperate drink of the wine to parch his thirst. "My
concern is on who you intended to be," he said,
before finishing the glass of wine in just two sips.
Marcus could bare no
more of the brutal onslaught that Zara was being put
through by his notorious planets, who both may have
been drunk by midday. He placed his larger hand upon
Zara's, patting it several times before giving it a
reassuring squeeze. "Enough!" he said loudly, as his
emotions erupted from deep within concerning his
views on his parents' interrogation of the woman he
loved. "She is to be *my* wife and there is nothing
more to it!" he pronounced to them, despite the fact
that he had not even bothered to ask Zara. He did
not think he had to, as once again his temper was
raging and his possessive nature towards her was
overcoming his rational judgment.
Zara wasn't going to let
these people mow her, or Marcus down. It wasn't fair
and Zara wasn't a quiet woman...as we all know from
how loud she was last night. *Ahem*. The sound of
the bone hitting the plate made the angry female
jump. What the heck? Was his dad some weird type of
people-bird? Next time she got a lunch invite, she'd
decline! If he wanted to go, Zara was ready for it.
Her cold eyes fell on the male now. She didn't say
anything about the amount of women who had been in
her lover's bedroom. Remember? She researched him
*before* she stole from him. People changed. He
clearly wasn't looking for a one night stand in her.
He wouldn't say he loved her if he wanted to throw
her away. Zara hadn't touched her wine. She figured
drinking would be the last thing she needed to do
right now. She had to stay sharp...otherwise her
future mother-in-law's knife would end up embedded
in her throat. Bacta tanks could do a lot to fix a
person up, though even Zara didn't know if she could
come back from that.
Who she intended to be?
It looked like the man had thrown her off. In a
single question, his father had shut her down. She
was thinking on an answer for the Duke when Marcus
patted her back. Her anger retreated. Her head
turned so she could shoot him a little smile. This
wasn't his fault. She only wished she had brought
something to drug his parents with. His loud,
booming voice echoed through the room. Everyone fell
silent as Marcus delivered quite the answer to the
question still hanging in the air. Zara's face
turned beet red for an entirely different reason
now. He didn't need to ask her. Her answer was
revealed somewhere in the evening they spent
together. Zara's anger was snuffed out for
happiness. He really was serious about her. She
reached out towards her raging future husband,
fingers linking in between his. She was trying to
sway him away from the edge. "Lady Zara Rodney,
right? I think we both decided against Lord Marcus
Ta'em the other night. It has a nice ring to it,
don't you think?" She threw the question directly at
his father. Her eyes brushed over him briefly. Yep,
this girl was starting shit today.
Neither the Duke nor the
Duchess spoke a word after they heard their second
son declare that he was to marry the pretty young
thing that had joined them at the table. "Did you
hear that, my love? Marry the girl..." Livia said,
breaking the silence, rolling her eyes so severely
that they threatened to fall right out of her head.
"You were supposed to go through these whirlwind
love affairs when you were half your age, dear boy,"
she said, scolding him, before she too motioned for
*another* glass of wine ... it could not come fast
enough. As she took a sip of the wine her eyes began
to light up and an 'I've got it!' look quickly
dawned upon her face. "Are you pregnant?" she asked
Zara, not wasting any time, as she pulled the glass
away from her lips. That *had* to be it, she
concluded, as she brought the glass back to her
mouth, her violet eyes staring daggers at her
Zara was momentarily
derailed by Marcus thanks to Livia. These people
were pure evil, Zara decided. Livia was trying to
squash what they had beneath the sole of her fancy,
shmancy shoe. "It's not a whirlwind love affair!"
She snapped. "Apparently, this is news to you, but
your son isn't a bad person. Thankfully, he didn't
inherit that from *both of you*. Our feelings for
each other are not comparable to puppy love. I'm
going to marry him. That's a fact you'll want to
work on swallowing before the wedding." Zara
growled. She thought she was on top of her game
again, but Mama Livia, my, my, that woman knew where
to stab her metaphorical knife. In one single
question, the wiring that had been turned off of
Zara's brain the night before began functioning
again. *Are you pregnant*? The question mocked her
repeatedly. Was she pregnant? She wasn't on birth
control and she had sex. She had sex and she wasn't
on birth control. Her face turned lighter and
lighter shades of white. There was silence, silence
which was only broken by the sound of Zara's chair
falling over when she stood suddenly. She pointed a
finger at his mother. "No!" She squeaked. With that,
she went running off. Mama Livia- 1. Zara- 0.
Zara didn't stop running
until she had made it back into their quarters,
eventually locking herself in the refresher. "Am I
pregnant?" She repeated to herself in a terrible
voice mocking Livia. "*Am I pregnant*!?" Her hands
were in her hair, fingers pulling through the long
strands. At this point, the poor girl was pacing
back and forth in the bathroom like a caged animal.
She certainly could be pregnant. Could the medical
droids even tell this early on? Zara had only half-assedly
locked the refresher door. If he really wanted to,
Marcus could input a code and access the refresher.
Zara decided to hide in the empty bathtub in the
bathroom. Her shoes had fallen off on the ground.
Her feet were dangling off the side of the tub. What
if she was pregnant? Marcus would hate her. Livia
and the evil Duke would have a day in the park with
her! She felt bad for leaving Marcus to defend his
decisions downstairs. She should have stayed...
Zara's outburst and
hasty retreat brought an awkward silence over the
room, which caused the wheels inside of the old
Duke's brain to begin to slowly turn. The issue of
succession was of prime concern in the last years of
his life. His eldest son had but two daughters, one
of which had openly joined the Rebellion, and his
wife was no longer capable of producing children. If
Marcus, the spare, had managed to impregnate this
sweet young thing ... perhaps with a son ... then
they would finally have the heir they needed to
secure another century of rule over Delaya by the
House of Rodney. "Perhaps we are being too hasty, my
dear wife," he said to Livia, as his hand moved atop
hers to calm her and cease further hysterics on her
part. "Well go to her you fool!" he angrily shouted
across the table to his son, wondering how much
coaching up he would need as he experienced his
first serious relationship.
Marcus was suspicious of
his father's sudden change of heart, but after
nodding his head to the man, he rose from his chair
and began chasing after his apparent fiancée. He
brushed past the staff without any courtesy as he
began to ascend the spiral staircase that led to the
top of the spire that contained their bed chamber.
"Whew," he said, exhaling deeply as he reached the
top of the stairs, having moved a bit faster that
was advised. If the building were not ancient he
might consider installing a turbolift to bypass
the stairs as he continued to age ungracefully. "Zara?"
he called out, as his eyes scanned the room for her,
but he did not see her. Hiding in the refresher, he
correctly suspected and moved towards the door,
fumbling with it unsuccessfully. "Zara?" he again
called out as he managed to open the door, uncertain
of what he would find on the other side. He was
committed to her ... committed to *them* ... and he
hoped his parents had not dissuaded her from her
decision to be with him.
She feared what they
were currently doing to Marcus. Maybe he'd been hung
from his toes and given a good whipping? Next time
she'd be better prepared for his parents, she told
herself during her mini-melt down. Most of her
concerns, at this point, were centered around Marcus
killing her for not having been on birth control.
Zara had no excuse. She was smart...wasn't she? She
questioned her intelligence at this point. His
parents had done nothing to persuade her to leave.
Her feelings on Marcus hadn't changed. Regardless,
Zara had taken the bait. She let them see her bad
sides. She let them see how overprotective she was
over Marcus as well as how much she cared about what
they thought. She had plenty of time to think things
over between leaving the terrible lunch and Marcus
arriving in the bathroom.
"...And I promise, I
won't name you anything stupid. Like Hashtag, or
something with three i's where a y should be..." She
said to no one in particular. "Let's face it, you're
going to be one hell of a bad ass. We're going to
pick out a proper name. Not something weird like *Zara*."
Her words were cut off the moment she heard the door
into their quarters open. Her blue eyes looked puffy
and red. The worst of her panic was over. Now she
had to feed Marcus the truth and face the fact that
he would want her to leave afterward. She watched
him enter the refresher with sad eyes. "I'm sorry I
left you behind, Marcus. I didn't realize your
parents weren't going to be like *that*. I felt like
all my crazy buttons were being mashed at the same
time. I wanted to protect you...to protect *us*." As
Zara explained herself, she crawled out of her hidey
hole. She stood in front of the tub, nervously
avoiding eye contact. "...The thing is, your mom ...
I mean, I never like vindictively planned things out
like this. It just *happened*. Last night was so
wonderful. I wasn't thinking." She was pacing, hands
back in her hair as her nervous habit persisted.
Marcus was momentarily
shocked when Zara told him that her mother was right
... he was not sure how that could be possible. A
look of shock overcame his face as he came
speechless, simply staring at her intently during an
uncomfortable silence. "That's wonderful," he
finally revealed, as he moved towards the toilet,
which was the only place he could find to sit down.
A number of thoughts raced through his brain the
foremost of which were the fact that he had gone
from being alone to finding love, and then a wife,
and now a child? "We should leave this place. Find
somewhere peaceful away from all this ... from
*them*..." he suggested to her, looking towards her
stomach with a somewhat skeptical look, as if to ask
*really?*. His heart was racing and his breathing
was beginning to rapidly increase ... the rapid
series of developments had combined to make him a
bundle of nerves.
Zara couldn't handle the
silence!! Every second he waited to say something
made her feel more insane. The girl continued to
pace...did he really want to marry this one? She
stopped in front of him. He was happy? Of all the
possible outcomes she had allowed herself to
imagine, happy was nearly at the bottom of the list.
Now Zara was the speechless one. Anticipating a big
blow up had done nothing for her. Marcus wasn't mad.
Her heart began to race as well. She was
scared...excited and terrified. "I don't know *for
sure*." She clarified, "I mean, there's no
precautions against the possibility. It could happen
today, tomorrow, or three months from now. I don't
know. I'd rather you knew there was potential for us
to have a baby before I get pregnant." In her mind,
she had beaten mother nature. She drew herself
closed to him. Her hands linked with his. "I'd like
to that too. I want time with you without them
breathing down our necks. Where should we go?"
Standing before him, Zara realized how much the idea
of having his baby *didn't* scare her. It was the
possibility of rejection that scared her. All of a
sudden, a smile burst up over her face. "You said
I'm going to be your *wife*." She teased, "Do you
still think that? Should I start calling you my
"Well then, we'll keep
trying until you *are* sure," Marcus told her,
confidently, as he moved to bring his arms around
her. As he was sitting and she was standing his arms
wrapped around her at the waist and came to a union
at her ample rear, which he squeezed with
familiarity. "I don't know ... maybe the unknown
regions?" he asked, laughing softly at the prospect
of having to hide from his own family ... for at
least a little while. "No. I don't *think* that. I
*know* that," he told her, his brown eyes looking up
at her with a calm serenity behind his words. He had
in fact made up his mind about her ... about them
... and nothing would change that. "I love you, Zara,"
he said, to reassure her, leaning his body forward
to place the side his face against her flat stomach.
He sighed contently as he began to drift off,
dreaming of a future that was beginning to become
He made her one very,
very happy girl. All the insanity with his parents
had brought them closer together. It was opposite
the desired effect. She kissed the top of his head,
"I'd like that." The idea of being a mother was
something she had buried a long time ago. It was
exciting to draw it to the surface again. The
possibility was on the table. He seemed more than
happy to give her children. Zara's hands gently
settled on his shoulders. Her fingers dug into them
in a gentle massage. He'd had the same crazy morning
she had. He needed some relief. Her smile grew as he
squeezed her rear. Nope, nothing had changed between
them. She laughed with him. "Unknown regions. Done!
We will need to check all of our stuff for tracking
devices. Pack for a long vacation." She wanted to
hide too. When she did become pregnant, it wasn't
something she'd announce to his parents until she
was visibly with child. His parents seemed like the
kind of people who might push her down a long flight
of stairs. Her heart filled with joy over again.
This man loved her. He loved her so much. And you
know what? She loved him too! She stared down into
his wonderfully brown eyes. "Good, because I love
you. I have no intention of ever letting your
parents, or anyone else, break us up." She wondered
how he'd feel about a quiet ceremony. Even if they
had to have a public one, she wanted to marry him
without his mother judging her every step. She
exhaled. Her fingers moved upwards to the top of his
head. They worked through his hair gently. She, too,
was daydreaming of her new future. She knew Marcus
would make for a great husband as well as a father.
She was confident in her decision. "You know, I used
to fear the future. I didn't see much in it for
myself. I've lived my life with so much guilt for
what happened to my family. It used to be that
thieving was the only way I felt alive." She
confessed to him, enjoying the feeling of his face
against her flat stomach. "I'm so happy now. I'm
confident that our future is going to be good. I'm
excited to start a family with you... I'm also
excited to get away from your parents. C'mon, let's
pack and leave!"