“I’ll take it slow,” I tell her. “Unless you want me to stop.”
She takes her lower lip between her teeth, and shakes her head. “No. Don’t stop,” she says softly. “I want you to have all of me.”
But before that, I have to taste her. Belle arches up her hips to meet me as I bend down to bring my lips to her sweet pussy. Her taste – fresh and sweet – makes me want to be inside her, but I resist the urge, taking my time with her.
When I finally bring the plug up to her ass and press it against her hole, she moans. For a second, I think she’s crying out in pain, but then she speaks. “I’m so close, Albie,” she whispers.
I fuck her with my tongue as I push the plug slowly inside her tight hole. Her knees tighten around my head as I fuck her.
Until she finally relaxes and accepts everything.
Until she’s filled to the hilt with the sex toy.
She grasps at my hair. “Shit, Albie,” she says, her words punctuated by gasps. “I’m going to come.”
I bring my face away from between her legs, sliding up her body until the head of my cock presses against her slick entrance. “You don’t come until I say you do, luv,” I tell her. I tease her with the head of my cock, pushing inside her but only an inch. Her pussy quivers around me. “Understand?”
She squirms on the bed, which I know only has the effect of pushing the plug deeper inside her ass. “Yes.”
“Do you want me?” I ask, pressing further inside her before stopping.
“Yes,” she whispers, arching her hips up again. “I was so close.”
"Tell me how close," I say, not moving. “I want to hear how close you were.”
“I was going to come,” she whispers.
“When?” I ask. “Tell me.”
She moans. “When you put the plug in my ass,” she says. “When your tongue was inside me.”
I thrust all the way into her in one movement, finding her hands and pinning them over her head for leverage. Fucking her with deep thrusts, I watch the expression change on her face as she experiences the sensation of having the plug inside her. “Tell me how good it feels to be completely filled up,” I say.
“So good.” She lets out a little grunt that I know means she’s hurtling toward the same place again. She’s so tight, so wet, that I struggle to maintain coherence. “So, so good.”
“You’re so close now,” I say as I thrust inside her. “But I don’t want you to come. Not yet.”
Not even if the thought of you opening yourself to me makes me want to come inside you right now.
My cock swells, and I want to release everything I have in her. But I can't resist making her wait. I can’t help but enjoy telling her when to come. I can't help but enjoy making her release control to me. Even if I can barely hold out.
"Oh God," she moans. "Please?"
"Please let me come," she whispers, and I feel her pussy muscles flutter around me. She's losing control.
"Not yet," I tell her, thrusting inside her until I'm on the verge of explosion. "You know that I’m going to take you completely. I’m going to claim your ass.”
“Oh my God,” she whispers.
“Tell me how much you want to feel me inside you,” I say. “All of you. Tell me how much you want me to fuck that tight little virgin asshole.”
“Oh fuck, Albie.”
“I want you to be yours,” she says. “Completely.”
“Come for me, luv,” I groan, barely able to get out the words before I let go inside her, blinding white-hot light as I fill her up. Her muscles clamp down around me, and she starts to cry out, but I keep her from doing it, kissing her as she moans into me.
It feels like forever until she milks every last drop from me.
Afterward, she looks up at me, her chest still rising and falling, and her breath short. "Oh my God, Albie."
"I told you I'd make you beg."
"I want to fuck you."
I whirl around to see Albie standing there, the wall behind him open to the secret passageway leading from my room. “Oh my God. You nearly just gave me a heart attack,” I say, picking up a pillow from the bed and throwing it at him. "Besides, what if someone had been in here?”
"You were in your own little world over there," he says, crossing the room to reach me. He slides his hands around my waist. "I knocked and I tried to call you, but you didn't hear me."
"You need to go," I whisper, pushing him back. "My bodyguard will probably be knocking on the door any minute now."
"Simon," he says.
"You know his name?" I ask. My attention is split between Albie and the outfits I'm supposed to choose between that are lying on the bed. "Did you check him out?"
"Of course I did," Albie says. "I can't have just anyone looking after you. Noah assures me he's solid."
"How protective and also slightly misogynistic of you."
"Careful with the big words, luv," he says. "Me caveman. No understand big words."
I stick out my tongue at him before looking back at my outfit choices. "I'm going to be late," I say.
"So you don't want me to help you get dressed, then," he says, pulling me against his hardness. Heat pools between my legs, but I push him away.
"Your version of getting dressed involves fewer articles of clothing than mine does," I say, laughing even as he reaches for the hem of my t-shirt and yanks it over my head.
"You should be in fewer articles of clothing," he says. His hands run up my back to unhook my bra but I wriggle away.
"I need my bra, thanks," I say.
"But you don't need those pants." He reaches for the button on my jeans and I smack his hands.
"Out," I tell him. "I'm going to be late."
"Fine, fine," he says, raising his hands in mock surrender as he walks backward. "Where are you going?"
"Why, are you keeping tabs on me?" I tease. I yank off my jeans and shimmy into a royal blue skirt that matches a suit jacket on the bed.
A knock on the door interrupts us before I can answer, and I glare at Albie, as I point toward the secret passageway. "Just a second!" I yell.
Albie rolls his eyes and sighs before disappearing behind the wall. Luckily, it's only the stylist, checking to see what help I need with my outfit. She eyes me critically, her gaze focused on the length of my body. "Look," I say. "It seems a bit ridiculous to get dressed up like this to go do charity work."
Belle looks at me, her lips pursed like she just ate a lemon. "You're not doing charity work," she says. "You're representing the royal family. This isn't a formalized PR event, but there will likely be photographers there, media presence. You must look like you're one of the royals. Classy. Subdued. Appropriate. Oh, just a second. I have just the thing."
She disappears into the closet, leaving me standing there with my heart in my throat. When my mother said she'd set up some charity work for me, that I could go to visit a children's hospital in town or a refugee organization, I didn't consider the fact that it would involve the media. That is exactly the opposite of what I'm interested in.
The stylist returns with a pearl necklace in her hand. "This will do," she says. "Would you like me to help you with it?"
I nod mutely as she slips it around my neck, then steps back and nods her approval. "One other thing," she says, reaching for her handbag. She pulls out a file and hands it to me. "Your mother asked that I pass along the itinerary information to you. Your security detail will accompany you, but unfortunately, she will not. Something came up. She requested that I pass along her regrets."
"What?" I squeak. My mother sent the stylist to drop the bombshell that there will likely be photographers at the children’s hospital and that – oh, by the way, no big deal – I’ll be attending by myself?
lench my hands, digging my fingernails into my palm. Damn it.
"Is there anything else, Miss Kensington?" the stylist asks. She's already on the move, headed toward the door with her large tote bag over her shoulder.
I clear my throat. "No. Thank you."
I wait until she's gone to groan my frustration, as I grab my clutch purse, momentarily considering faking sick to get out of this afternoon. But only for a split second – I’m going to a children’s hospital, after all.
I’ll be able to get through a little bit of media time, I mentally reassure myself. The palace public relations team has read me the riot act, already preparing me for what to say and what not to say when it comes to the media. If I can simply remember to breathe and smile and wave, everything will be okay. I’ll just pretend not to hear any questions that reporters ask.
It’ll work, I tell myself.
I feel like I’m going to vomit.
Outside, I walk with Simon to the car. Simon seems to be made entirely of stone, his face expressionless. He makes no attempt at chitchat or small talk as we walk, something that at least the other bodyguards try to do.
Being accompanied by Simon only makes my anxiety worse.
I’m filled with dread. The only times I've been outside the palace or summerhouse have been accompanied, and now I'm walking into a potential media situation.
I tell myself not to panic as Simon opens the car door for me.
"Need a lift?" Albie grins at me from inside the car.
"Are you following me?" I try to inject some annoyance into my voice, but I can't. I'm too relieved to see him.
Albie doesn't answer until the car starts moving. "If you like, I can have them stop."
"No," I say, exhaling heavily. "Where are you going?"
"To the children's hospital," he says.
"You're going with me?"
Albie shrugs. "Noah mentioned you had this today and that your mother couldn’t attend," he says. "Sick kids are the prince's purview too, you know."
"You do charity work?" I ask, looking at him.
"Occasionally," he says. “I do have the capacity to think of someone besides myself.”
“I’d never have guessed,” I say, my voice dripping with sarcasm. "Wait. Did you come along because of me?"
"You mean, because I wanted the pleasure of your presence?" he asks.
I laugh. "No. Did you come with me because you thought I couldn't handle this myself?"
"I came with you because I couldn't think of anything better to do this afternoon," he says.
"Uh-huh." I look out the window, watching the scenery whiz by along the countryside. "Well, I'm glad you decided to come, anyway."
I haven't been inside a hospital since my mother was sick. We had our own royal physicians, of course, and round-the-clock care for her from the best oncologists and physicians in Europe.
But once, toward the end, things got really bad, and she was brought to the military hospital in our capitol for treatment. There are all of these protocols for something like that, an entire wing at the hospital cleared for a member of the royal family, windows covered in brown paper in the hallways as a precaution in case of assassination attempt.
During a moment of lucidity, my mother laughed at the irony of security trying to prevent her assassination, given her terminal illness.
That was the only time I’ve been in a hospital.
I can still remember how it smelled – antiseptic and stale, the rooms pumped full of so much air conditioning that it almost felt colder inside the hospital room than outside in the chilly winter air.
I can’t forget the intermittent beeping and whirring of the machines.
For a moment, standing just inside the pediatric oncology ward, I think that coming here with Belle was a mistake.
When I see the kids in various stages of cancer treatment, all I can think about is my mother's death.
Belle is beside me. She meets my gaze and I think she knows what’s going through my head.
Then she squats down to talk to a little girl, who laughs as Belle reaches out and takes her hand and walks toward a group of kids. And I'm jerked out of my self-pity by a little boy who wants to know if I really live in a palace, and whether or not I own any race cars.
We spend a couple of hours reading stories and answering questions about royal life (“Do you have a crown?” “Do you have glass slippers?” “Do you sleep on a dozen mattresses?” directed at Belle, who furrows her forehead for a moment before realizing that it’s a reference to the Princess and the Pea fairytale).
Seeing Belle with the children makes me feel good, even though the setting brings up bad memories. “You’re a natural with the kids,” I tell her as we walk out the door.
Outside, she immediately tenses when a small group of photographers rush toward us, their cameras clicking away. I pause, whispering to Belle to wave, and she stands beside me, smiles, and waves.
Once inside the car, she slumps back against the seat. "Thank you," she says, her voice wavering. She clasps her hands together, her fingernails digging into the back of her hand.
"I told you that you wouldn't have to answer questions," I say. "Just smile and wave."
"No," she says, turning to face me. "Thank you for that, too. But, I mean, thank you for going there. It couldn't have been easy for you, with the way your mother died. You were really good with the kids."
I nod. Belle seems to have an uncanny way of anticipating how I feel about things. I'm not sure whether to be unsettled by that or pleased with it.
When she reaches for my hand, her face forward and not saying a word, I don't even flinch.
Contentment used to be a strange feeling. Yet, with Belle, it’s somehow starting to become a familiar one.