Aurel held Diana’s hand as they walked back from the beautiful oasis not far from their home. Diana was four months pregnant with their first child and Aurel was both terrified and excited. He feared upsetting or alienating his child, but Diana assured him that he would be a wonderful father and their child would love him unconditionally. As they stepped into the green grass just outside their home, a vaguely familiar scent hit his nose. It reminded him of honeysuckle sitting in the rays of the hot sun and burning wood.
“Stay here.” He said as he inhaled the scent.
“What’s wrong?” Diana asked worriedly, her hand flying protectively to her stomach.
“Someone is in our home.” He pushed open the door at the mouth of the cave that served as their abode and walked inside, unafraid of who or what may be waiting. The blond headed woman and black haired man standing at his bookshelf turned as he entered.
“Aurel how nice it is to see you.” The woman said.
“Mother, father. What are you doing here?”
“Well we have come to see you dear.” Calla replied.
“Yes, it’s been ages.” Liatris chimed in.
“And I was hoping to keep it that way. As you might know absense does not make the heart grow fonder. I wish for you to leave.”
“Always the loner dearest child. Let us make peace.”
“I don’t want peace. I want you to do what you do best and leave. I do not want or need you here.”
“Aurel is it safe?” Diana said as she cracked the door open.
“That depends are we talking physically safe or emotionally safe?” Diana stepped inside, still marveling at how Aurel had managed to make the inside of their cave look like a real home. She froze when she saw the man and woman standing in their living room. The woman had the longest blond hair and bright amber eyes. She was lean of build with a narrow face. She could tell right away that this was Aurel’s mother.
Aurel held out his hand and she took it, allowing him to pull her close. “You are Aurel’s parents.” She stated.
“Yes, this is my mother Calla and my father Liatris. This is my wife Diana.”
They both looked shocked and he tightened his hold on her a bit. “You got married and didn’t tell us?” Calla said.
“It’s hard to tell someone something when you don’t know where they are.” He wanted them to leave and never come back.
“Aurel love, please calm down.” Diana said softly.
“You have no idea what these so called parents did to me. They were to busy being a royal family to care about me. No love, no attention, I was a loner before I left home. The mighty Davos here to check on their baby boy. Well I’m doing just fine thank you and it was no thanks to you two. Why don’t you go back to Protea and leave me alone.”
“Aurel.” He looked down at Diana and realized he had raised his voice at her.
“I’m sorry my love, I didn’t mean to yell. Forgive me.”
“Of course I do, but these are your parents. Lets at least spend a few days with them. Maybe we can go to your homeland.”
“She would love Protea.” Liatris said hopefully. Diana gave Aurel her biggest, sweetest smile and he sighed. He had been keeping her close to home since she started to show and he knew she was becoming restless. His main concern with going home were the women he had slept with, mostly Peony. The others had been understanding, but Peony was a viper. He had pushed her away as soon as her lying, manipulative side had manifested itself. He sighed again.
“Fine we will accompany you home, but when the week is up, we will be coming back here.”
“wonderful, we do want to spend time with you” Aurle had honestly attempted but couldn’t stop his eyes from rolling. His mother sighed but said nothing since she knew she and her husband deserved it. They hadn’t been very attentive parents and had just dissapeared on him one day without letting him know where they were or what they were doing. She felt lucky he would be around them atall and knew he only would because Diana wanted him to. Calla offered her hand to Diana “Nice to meet you”
“Nice to meet you too”
“How far are you along?”
“I’m glad my son found love. You already seem like a sweet girl”
“I love him very much” Aurel interjected “When are we going?”
“Pack your things and we’ll go now if you wish it”
“alright” he didn’t want to go atall but his wife wanted to go so he would. Aurel packed for both of thm even though Diana was perfectly capable. He looked angry as he packed and Diana hoped he would settle down. She hated how upset he seemed. She had no idea what it was like for him though, to have neglectful parents. Her parents had been wonderful so she knew there was no way for her to know his feelings.
“Come on then let’s go.” He said as he shouldered their bag. He lifted Diana off the ground and followed his parents outside.
“How are we getting there?” Diana asked.
“We made our own portal using our wedding bands as keys.” Liatris explained as he took Calla’s hand then placed the other on Aurel’s shoulder while Calla did the same to Diana.
“It might feel a little strange.” Calla warned. Their rings started glowing and together they said. “Take us to Protea.” Diana felt as if she were falling, her stomach seemingly being pushed up into her chest. She clung tighter to Aurel as her heart gave a leap of fear and squeezed her eyes shut. The sensation slowly dissipated and she opened her eyes, surprised to see them standing in a garden that had some of the same plants as Aurel’s. She looked around and realized they were actually in the center of a very large city.
“Welcome to Protea.” Liatris said as he gestured around them. It was an amazingly beautiful place, the entire ground was all gree grass with many colored flowers. Every building was made out of the same wood and stone in the forest around them, looking natural in the environment. From where they stood she could see three houses that stood out from the rest.
“What are those?” Diana asked.
“That over there belongs to the Hatvar’s, Peony’s family. The next one belongs to the Imshir’s and the last one belongs to our family, the Davo’s. Our three families settled here a very long time ago.” Calla explained. “Liatris’ father was the first Davo here.”
“That’s really cool” Diana said as she still marveled at the land. She didn’t know why Aurel wouldn’t want to live in such a gorgeous place. She thought all worlds should be as one with nature as this one was. Aurel wasn’t fascinated though he agreed this place was beautiful. His negative memories dampened the gorgeous landscape even though it should be breath taking since he hadn’t seen it in so long. He was also worried about Peony trying to do somthing to his beloved. He would quickly put the wench in her place if he caught her trying anything.
They walked ot the home that belonged to the Davos. Diana was surprised to find when they were inside it was even bigger than it appeared on the outside. She thought their home was almost as beautiful as the world itself and was glad she got Aurel to come back and see his family. Aurel took their bag to his old bedroom and set it down.
“This house is wonderful.” Diana said as she spun around.
“Thank you, would you like a tour?” Liatris offered.
“I think maybe I should let Aurel show me around.”
“Very well, please make yourself at home and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.”
“Thank you.” Diana said as Aurel came back and Liatris left them alone. He pulled her into his arms and she wrapped hers around his neck. “Will you show me around?” She asked sweetly.
“Aurel, if you don’t want to then you don’t have to. Your father offered to give me a tour.”
He sighed. “I’m sorry, I know I’m being overly negative, but you don’t understand what I went through with them. They ignored me and tried to set me up with Peony like some sort of arranged marriage would make me happy. I hardly remember anything good about this house. I was expected to be something I did not want to be.”
“I’m sorry my love, but they seem like they really miss you so please try to keep the peace for my sake if not their’s.”
“I will try for you and the baby.”
She smiled then gave him a kiss. He showed her around, letting himself feed off her joy. It soon filled him as he showed her room after room. When they were done his parents were already making lunch “can we do anything to help?” Diana asked and Calla said “No sweetheart but thank you for the offer. You and our son just need to relax.” Aurel didn’t have to be asked twice. He took his love by the hand and guided her to one of the most comfortable couches she had ever sat in. “you seem to be feeling better”
“I am because of you Diana. I could enjoy torture as long as i could also gaze upon wonderment or happiness in your face” She smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek “i very much doubt you could be happy during torture”
“I’m doing it now aren’t I?”
“Aurel” She gave him a stern look “sorry” He responded. When the soup and sandwiches were prepared they ate together. Diana had never had whatever meat was on the sandwich nor had she tasted a soup like this. All she knew was that she enjoyed them both very much. Aurel parents were happy to see Aurels mate enjoying their meal so much. It was also a weight lifted off of them that Aurel seemed to be in a lighter mood.
“Why don’t we take her around the city after lunch?” Liatris said and took a bite of his sandwich.
“If she would like to go then sure. Would you like to see the city?”
“Yes, it looks so beautiful.”
“They’re preparing for the Flower Festival the day after tomorrow. All the houses get together and host a big celebration for the whole city. Perhaps Aurel could introduce you to our people.” Calla added and Diana’s eyes lit up. She turned to Aurel.
“Could we go?”
He didn’t really want to show her off to everyone, not because he wasn’t proud to have her, but because it meant introducing her Peony. Her excited face broke his resolve and he simply nodded. She kissed his cheek and started asking his parents about the celebation. The Flower Festival had been what started his love for plants. His room had been decorated with many different potted plants when he was young. They finished lunch and cleaned up then left the house. Aurel laced his fingers through Diana’s and tried to enjoy the fresh air. Many people looked at him, some recognizing him. He frowned when he heard some people whispering about his beautiful face.
Diana squeezed his hand and smiled up at him. She wanted him to enjoy being home even if they didn’t stay for long. She had told him time and time again that she loved the way he looked, that he was beautiful, but it was a good thing. He worried every day about their child and how he or she would look. “Thank you for bringing me here.” She said, her warm smile filling him with happiness.
“Yes, we’re happy she could see this place. I hope you’ll visit more.” Calla said.
“We’ll see.” Was all Aurel said, but at least this time it sounded a little more friendly.
Aurel began to tune people out and put all his concentration on Diana so he wouldn’t have to hear another murmur about his beauty. He came across as rude to a few people since he didn’t respond to their hellos. Diana squeezed his hand to wake him up “Why are you ignoring everybody”
“sorry, i was just so tuned into you”
“You see me every day. Enjoy your old home as best you can”
“ok” He paid more attention to the world around him but his attention was still primarily focused on Dianas soft brown hair, those gorgeous deep green eyes, and that ever sweet smile. He hung on her voice when she’d talk to people who approached them, loving it’s light, warm tone. He was falling in love with her yet again as they walked along but falling in love with her seemed to be a weekly occurance so this was nothing new. He was so glad he got Diana out of her shell and to fall in love with him.
Diana yawned and Aurel picked her up, making her laugh. “I’m fine Aurel.”
“You’re tired and pregnant. We should go back, you can see more tomorrow.” He looked at his mother and father. “Lets take her back.”
They turned back around, Diana with her head resting on his chest. She fell asleep before they got back and Aurel took her straight to his room. He laid her down then pulled off her shoes and covered her. He wanted to stay with her, but he knew if he did not try to spend time with his parents he may disappoint her. He kissed her forehead then left his room, finding his parents in the library. His father was reading while his mother played the piano. They both looked up at him when he walked in and stopped what they were doing. Aurel stood there in awkward silence until his mother said, “Come play with me.” He hesitated for a moment, but ultimately crossed the room and sat down next to her.
“I haven’t played in a long time.” He said as he ran his fingers over the keys.
“I’m sure you are still just as amazing as when you left.” She bumped him with her shoulder. “Lets play.”
She placed her fingers on the keys and started playing, he followed unable to help himself. When he was a child they had made him learn like it was some sort of requirement for being part of a royal family. He knew they simply wanted to impress others with his musical talent. It had never felt fun and lighthearted like now. He actually found himself smiling as he and his mother’s fingers swept quickly over the keys. A knock on the front door caught their attention and they stopped playing. “I’ll get it mother, no doubt it’s for me anyway.” He stood and left the library, hurrying to the front door and pulling it open to tell whoever it was to cut it out before they woke Diana. He was nearly knocked off his feet by Peony as she jumped into him, her arms going around his neck.
“Aurel, you’re finally back.” She said. “How could you leave me like that?”
He grabbed her arms and pried them from around his neck. “Peony, what a pleasant surprise.”
“No hello or I missed you or anything like that?”
“Peony I did not come here to see you. I came here to spend time with my parents. My wife, my mate asked me to.” Peony’s eyes widened at his words and filled with a myriad of emotion, none of which were good.
She huffed in an annoyed manner. “You went and got married! I thought you were just throwing a royal sized tantrum and you;d be back! We belong together Aurel! Where is she?” He looked at her with cold, serious eyes “You need to calm down. I told you I never wanted anything more to do with you. I wouldn’t be back here if my wife hadn’t wanted to get to know my parents. She is sleeping and you will not disturb her”
“What’s she doing sleeping?’
“She’s pregnant and tired”
“Oh is that why you married her? Just pay her off and come back to me” Aurel wanted to slap Peony but refrained. “We were married before she because pregnant. She is a truly amazing woman and I love her.” Calla came up behind Aurel “calm down you two. Don’t quarrel. Peony, you better come back another time. Aurel had a long day, please go” Peony glared and crossed her arms before leaving in a tiff.
“I knew it was only a matter of time.” Aurel said as he tried not to let his temper get the best of him.
“Don’t worry about her son, I’ll talk to her parents if I have to.”
He waved his hand, brushing the idea aside. “No, do not drag them into our drama. If she comes back I will handle her mother. She thought because we were lovers and our families thought it good for us to get married that we would be together forever. I made it clear before hand that that would not happen.”
“Why don’t you come help me make dinner and forget about her for now. I’m sure when Diana wakes she’ll be hungry.” He sighed and she frowned. “We don’t have to cook together if you don’t want to.”
“It’s fine mother, I don’t mind. It’s just hard getting used to you and father wanting to spend time with me.”
Her frowned deepened. “I’m sorry Aurel, really I am.”
“Lets just forget about it mother. If I allow myself to keep thinking about the past I will get angry and I told Diana I would make an effort to get along with you and father.” He and Calla went into the kitchen and started cooking, neither of them saying anything as they moved around the kitchen. Liatris came in and sat down on a stool, smiling as he watched them together. This is what they should have been doing when he was young, he told himself.
“So have you two thought of any baby names yet?” Liatris asked.
“She’s been throwing a few at me here and there, but none sound right. I feel like I am being to picky, but she tells me she understands, our child’s name must suit him or her.”
“She’s right.” Calla said with a smile. “This is almost done, why don’t you go wake Diana and bring her down.”
“alright” he walked out and Calla sighed sadly. Liatris got up and hugged her “there’s nothing we can do about the past. We can mend things with him.”
“I just feel so bad”
“Feeling bad wont help anything. Atleast Diana convinced him to give us a chance. We can do things right now”
“Doing things right now wont give him the parents he deserved growing up”
“shh” Aurel quietly went into his old bedroom. He felt all his tenseness fall away at the sight of his beautiful Diana sleeping. He crossed over to the bed and planted a gentle kiss on her slightly parted lips. Her eys fluttered open and she began to kiss back “feel better? Dinners almost ready”
“Yeah” Aurel lifted her again “you and carrying me since I became pregnant” He kissed her, needing Dianas taste “I just love you both so much, let me fuss”
“Haven’t I?” He smiled then walked to the table with her. Aurel sat his mate down in her chair then helped his mother finish serving. “how’re you feeling Diana?” Liatris asked “good, Aurels old bed is very comfortable”
“we bought him a new mattress since it had been so many years. I’m glad you’re comfortable on it” They ate in a semi awkward silence and Diana worried somthing may have happened while she was sleeping. After dinner Calla said “why don’t we show Diana how well you play piano Aurel?”
“would you like to hear?” Aurel asked. “Yes! of course” Diana answered excitedly. They moved into the library then Diana and Liatris took seats while Aurle and Calla sat at the piano. They soon filled the house with awe inspiring music that enraptured Diana.
Peony very much wanted to see the woman who had taken Aurel. She frowned when she found all the curtains drawn at the Davo house. She was sure they would be out and about tomorrow and even though she was impatient and irritated she would wait. “He’s good isn’t he?” Liatris asked and Diana nodded,
“I never knew he could play.” She replied.
“That’s probably our fault, we made him play when he was a child. He hated it.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Please don’t be unhappy Diana, we did a lot that we wish we could change. We are trying to fix things between us and thanks to you we have been given a second chance.”
Aurel and Calla played one more song before stopping. Aurel turned to Diana and she smiled warmly at him. The fact that she so enjoyed his playing made him want to take it up again. He got up and lifted her then sat where she had been and held her in his arms. “So Aurel tells us you haven’t found any names yet.” Calla said as she sat down on the other side of them.
“I’ve found plenty, but none that he liked.” Diana said with a laugh. “I guess we’ll know what to the baby when we see it.”
“We have a midwife here who could tell you the sex of the baby to help narrow the name hunt down.” Liatris said.
“Really?” Diana’s eyes lit up. “Aurel could we go see her tomorrow, please?”
“Of course my love, anything you want.”
Diana was excited for tomorrow and now just wanted to go to sleep so the sun would rise faster. Aurel could tell “we should get going to bed. Goodnight” He got up with Diana in his arms and she whispered “shouldn’t we hug them?” He made an odd, unsure movement with his mouth then set Diana down. They each hugged his parents then went to Aurels old room. It felt nice to hug their son. That even felt like a real hug which they hadn’t expected. Diana had given them yet another reason to be grateful for her. They had wanted a hug but didn’t feel like they could ask.
In the room they changed into sleep clothes then crawled in his bed “They bought a really nice matress for our visit”
“stop campaigning for them. I can see they are differen’t..it’s just a little hard to accept and let go of the anger I’ve felt for so long”
“I cna understand baby. I know I can’t but you know what I mean. I’m sorry they weren’t good parents then but I’m happy they are wanting to be good parents like mine now” Aurel kissed her ‘me too. Lets rest so we can go find out if we’re having a boy or girl” They fell asleep in sheer excitement and woke the same way. Aurel and Diana took a quick shower then changed into their clothes for the day before running downstairs. Calla was making peach oatmeal for breakfast so they just sat down with Liatris. “Morning” He said after he sipped his coffee. “Morning’ They responded.
Soon Calla had breakfast on the table and they began enjoying. As soon as they were done they all put on shoes then walked out to see the midwife. Diana was practicly moving at a skip. She wa sso happy she didn’t even feel Peonys angry gaze.
“Well, I remember this face.” The midwife said when she opened her door. “Aurel Davo, you have grown into quite the man.”
“Thank you Juney.” He said.
“Please come in all of you and introduce me to this beautiful young woman.” She stepped aside and they walked into her house.
“This is Diana, she’s my mate.”
“Well it’s very nice to meet you and you must be quite special to have been able to capture this one.” She took Diana’s hand in hers and smiled warmly. “Oh and you are pregnant, how exciting. Congratulations.”
“Thank you ma’am and that’s actually why we are here. I wanted to know if you could tell me the sex of the baby to make picking out names and clothes a little easier.” Diana replied with an excited and hopeful look on her face.
“Of course, of course. Please come take a seat.” She lead Diana over to a couch and they sat down together. Aurel sat on the other side, curious as to what she would do. Juney rubbed her hands together then placed one of Diana’s stomach and closed her eyes. She got a peculiar look on her face and moved her hand to the right side of Diana’s stomach.
“Is something wrong?” Aurel asked worriedly.
Juney opened her eyes and smiled. “It seems you are going to have to think doubly hard about names. You are going to be the father of twin boys.”
Aurels jaw dropped slightly and Calla covered her mouth in excitement. Diana could have lept for joy. She hugged Juney “Oh thank you for letting me know!”
“You’re welcome. Names will come to you two”
“Hopefully to him. I’ve found lots of names I’ve liked but he doesn’t like a one of them. I don’t mind though. I want him to be happy with whatever we name our boys” Peony was listening to everything from where she waited. The flames of her angering acting as if gasoline was spilled on them. She wondered how Diana had manipulated her Aurel away from her. How she used her feminine wiles to sway him. She probably took advantage when he was hungry for sex after pouting too long and then slinked into his heart like a snake.
She would get her out of the way and win Aurel back one way or another. She decided to go home and think of what to do. They talked excitedly with Juney until she informed them she had work to attend to. They left her and started touring Diana around town again. Dianas joy was infectious to Aurel, Calla and Liatres so they were all glowing with her. Aurel didn’t feel any of his anger and was now completely happy he brought his mate here.
“I can’t believe we’re having two babies.” Diana said as they stopped at a shop that had some of the most beautiful clothing she had ever seen. “Two beautiful little boys.”
“I kind of hope they are two normal looking boys.” Aurel replied as he picked up a pretty blue dress and held it up to her.
“So what if they are beautiful. It’ll be a good thing. I mean look at you.”
He sighed. “Did you forget the unwanted attention I got as a child?”
“Aurel, no one will hurt our boys and if they try I know you’ll be there to protect them. Plus, we live in the middle of the desert.”
“That’s true I guess.” They continued looking at clothes while Calla and Liatris talked to the shop owner about making baby clothes. She told them she wouldn’t be able to start on them after the festival, but was more than excited to make such a gift for their son.
“Your mother and I are going to go talk to a few people about making things for the babies. I hope it’s alright that we leave you two for awhile.” Liatris said.
“Of course, we’ll see you back at the house.” Diana replied and they all hugged before parting ways.
“Come on, I have something to show you now that we’re alone.” Aurel picked her up and carried her through town, nodding at those who said hello as they passed. Peony followed through the crowd, her eyes never leaving the happy couple. Aurel walked until they came to the outskirts of the city an jumped down a small embankment. She gasped when they came to the field of flowers. They were the ones she loved the most from his garden at home.
Aurel smiled at her facial expression ‘I wanted you to see a field of your most favored flowers” He set her down as she just looked at the far stretch of beautiful flowers. “thank you” She said in a near whisper. “thank you for being mine. I know at first and somtimes even now it’s not easy to love me. I can be selfish, yell at you when it’s not warranted and many other things but I never want you to forget that i love you and i try to be a better man every day for you” Diana hugged Aurel “You are far from the man I first went home with. I know you try and you don’t mean to be a jerk the rare times you are Aurel. I love you and always will and absolutely nothing could make me forget you love me”
“want to lay in the flowers with me?”
“oh yes, I’d love to be surrounded by their smell” Peony actually gagged a little at the exchange. She had very nearly ruined her tough, real man into some sort of pansy that she’d need to whip back into shape once she got him back. Diana had made work for her which pissed Peony off further. She didn’t understand why Diana would want a soft demon when she should crave a powerful and demanding one. Aurle and Diana laid in the sweet smelling flowers, holding gently to eachothers hands. They both felt so relaxed, sleepy even.
They both allowed themselves to fall asleep in the field, Diana knowing nothing would mess with them with Aurel there. He was just as well known as her grandfather for his powers and he was one of two who came close to being as powerful as Chthon. Peony wanted to be rid of Diana then and there, but knew Aurel would hear her if she got any closer. He had always been very alert even when he seemed to not be paying attention.
She would take her during the festival the next day when everyone was distracted and she could work her sleeping magic on the woman who had stolen Aurel away. She would take her off into the woods then kill her and make it look like something had attacked her. Diana seemed like the curious type so it wouldn’t be hard for everyone to believe she had just wandered off and gotten lost. Peony slunk off, knowing she would need someone to distract Aurel long enough for her to carry Diana away.
Aurel woke an hour later and smiled down at the beautiful Diana. She was smiling in her sleep and he wondered what she could be dreaming of to make her look so happy. He pressed his lips against hers, making her open her eyes and wrap her arms around his neck. He kissed down her neck as he slid his hands up her dress to her bottom. “Aurel, what if someone sees or hears us?”
“No one will, I promise.” He whispered. “I’ll hear anyone before they get close enough, trust me.” He slipped his hand into her panties, his fingers moving over and then in her. She blushed, feeling both embarassed and excited. She had never done anything like this before, even at home where they were in the middle of nowhere. He tipped back, pulling her into his lap. He unzipped his pants and pulled himself free of their confines then pushed her panties aside and speared her.
She gasped and moaned, her fingers gripping his shoulders as she rode him at a fast pace. He kissed her as she orgasmed, muffling her loud cry then moved so she was beneath him. “Hurry Aurel.” She said shakily. He quickly found his release and kissed her softly as he pulled out of her.
“I love you.”
She covered her face. “I love you too, but I can’t believe we just did that.”
“I needed you. You are far too beautiful and I would have known if someone was coming” She smiled “I do trust you my love. That was amazing as always. Just embarrassing though nobody saw.” Aurel pulled Diana into his lap again but this time it was to hold her while they kissed. Their lips gently brushed eachothers for a time and then they decided to return to his parents home. Calla and Liatris were there waiting “Hey, we looked for you two and didn’t see you anywhere so we just came on home”
“Aurel took me to a field of my favorite flowers”
“That was sweet of him”
“Your son can be incredibly sweet”
‘he gets it from his father” calla responded. Aurel cooked dinner with his mother again that evening and they ate together. This meal was pleasant, almost as if nothing were wrong between Aurle and his parents but Diana knew that Aurel was still struggling to fully let the past go and move on in the future with the parents they were now. She was proud he was doing this well though. After dinner Aurel played more piano for Diana just to be the reason her face lit up. He played for her until it was time for everyone to rest for tomorrows festival.
Aurel kissed Diana’s head and tuned in to the sound of his sons heartbeats. He was surprised he had not noticed more than one, but they beat in perfect unison, easily hiding the fact there were two babies in there. He smiled even though he was scared out of his mind. He hoped his children had Diana’s patience and understanding. It would kill him if he ran them off and they avoided him like the plague like he had his parents. He pushed his troubled thoughts away, knowing he would get no sleep and Diana would worry. He closed his eyes, letting the sound of his families hearts carry him off.
The sound of knocking woke them the next morning and Diana hopped excitedly out of bed after giving him a kiss. She answered the door, smiling at Calla and telling her they would be down for breakfast after they showered. Aurel grinned as she dug in their bag for clean clothes. “Come on lazy bones, lets go.” She said and he grabbed her as she passed the bed. He pulled her down and kissed her, making her giggle. “Come on, I want to see the festival.”
“I promise you you won’t miss a thing. Right now I guarantee my father is out there helping get things set up and my mother who I am sure has breakfast on the table, is cooking her delicious cookies. She makes a huge batch every year for the festival. She uses icing to put flowers on them.”
“All on her own?” He nodded. “Well that’s unacceptable, I’ll help her.”
He chuckled. “I bet you a kiss she will tell you no. You’re carrying her grandchildren and she won’t let you stay on your feet for so long. I’ll help her.”
“Alright, I guess I can live with that.” He smiled and kissed her once again then got up with her and followed her into the bathroom. He switched the water on while she pulled her nightgown off and he froze for a moment, just taking in her breathtaking beauty. “Aurel love, take off your pants so we can shower.”
He blinked, a smile crossing his face as he pulled his pants off and tossed them in the hamper. He lifted her into the tub and climbed in behind her, washing her and making her giggle as he kissed and touched her. He knew he was trying to be greedy with his time with her, but he couldn’t help it. She finally managed to coax him into getting out and they quickly dried and dressed then headed down for breakfast.
Aurel had called it. Liatris was gone and on the table sat muffins, bacon and scrambled eggs. Aurel grabbed a muffin “I’m going to help my mother. You eat up please” She smiled and sat down at one of the place settings that had been laid out. She took a little of everything and began to eat. Aurel walked into the kitchen “Can i help you mom?”
“”sure, thank you. Grab that yellow tube of iceing and make some flowers.” Aurel got right to work. They were nearly done when Diana finished breakfast. She cleared the plates then walked in the kitchen “what do you want me to do with the left over food?” She asked Calla. “Throw the eggs away and leave the bacon and muffins.” She did as she was told and moments later they were done with the cookies. They put them on large plates which Aurel and Calla carried. When they had the cookies where they were supposed to be the festival was still being set up so Aurel and Calla helped. Diana kept offering help but was refused everytime.
Diana got excited when everything was ready and started to get going. “I’m following you. I’ve been to this so we’re going to do what you want.” Aurel said and she smiled. She tugged him along, admiring everything, smiling and laughing. Calla searched the crowd for Diana and Aurel. She pulled along her now boy toy, previously Aurels friend. She had used dark magic on him to gan full control over what Cipher did. He was meant to be entertainment until Aurel came back but now she needed her toy to help her get rid of Diana.
She spotted them and smiled maliciously. She looked at her boy toy and whispered. Keep Aurels attention anyway you can and try to lead them off a bit so they aren’t surrounded by so many people. Did you make what i asked of you?” He handed her a cloth. “Good boy” She just had to put it over Dianas face and in a moment she would be consious but not able to move herself.
“Aurel.” A familiar voice said over the sound of music and loud chatter. Aurel’s eyes jumped to the face of a man he had not seen in a long time.
“Cipher?” He replied and shook the demon’s hand. A strange sensation moved up Aurel’s arm the moment his hand touched Cipher’s. “How are you doing?” He asked.
“Oh fine.” Cipher answered then rubbed his temple, a pained look crossing his face.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes, sorry. I heard you got married.”
Aurel smiled and grabbed Diana’s hand, making her look away from the flowers that had caught her attention. He pulled her closer, smiling warmly down at her. “Diana this is Cipher an old play mate. Cipher this is my very beautiful wife Diana.”
“Nice to meet you.” Cipher held out his hand and Diana took it, nearly snatching it away when she felt the same odd sensation Aurel had. “So uh would it be alright if I joined you two?”
“I don’t see why not, we can catch up while Diana takes in the festival.”
They moved through the crowd, Diana running from booth to booth while Cipher kept Aurel’s attention away from her. They drifted further and further away from the crowd and Peony snuck up behind Diana and pressed the cloth to her face. Diana’s struggles didn’t last long and she was suddenly paralyzed. Cipher wanted to scream to Aurel to stop Peony, but he had no control over his words or his actions. He just smiled and talked as if nothing was happening, the whole time feeling guilty over what he had done.
Diana tried with all she had in her to fight but her body did nothing but lay limp in Peonys arms. It was scary how crazed this woman looked and she was afraid. Especially since Diana had no idea who she was or why she was carrying her off in a paralyzed state. Peony saw her eyes begging the question as to why but Peony offered her no speech of why or how. She wanted her to endure the further torment of not understanding her situation in the slightest. Ciphers mind was busy with trying to figure out a way to tell Aurel his wife was no longer happily exploring the festival but the spell woudln’t allow him to break Peonys wishes by any means.
He fought with all his strength. Cipher was tired of being used and abused by Peony but she was such a strong demon which made the curse she set upon him strong. Aurel noticed his distress “you ok friend?” Cipher groaned and Aurel turned to look at Diana who was gone “Diana? Diana!” He kept calling her name and walking around fast. Each time he yelled it sounding more frantic and catching the attention of the others in the crowd. Aurels family were royals so people took notice if one was yelling in panic.
Aurels parents ran over from what they were doing ‘what’s wrong son?”
“Dianas gone! i can’t find her”
“We’ll look too” They offered and Aurel turned to his friend “why aren’t you helping?”
“I can’t” he said in a labored voice. “what?”
He grabbed his head as pain spiked through him for exerting his will. He fell to his knees and forced out, “Peony…dark arts…can’t help it.”
Aurel dropped down in front of him and grabbed Cipher’s head in his hands, tipping it back so he could look into his eyes. Cipher was there, but not there. He was locked away, his body being used like a marionette. “I knew there was something wrong with you, I could feel it.”
“What’s going on son?” Calla asked.
“Peony has put a spell on Cipher, powerful and evil. She forced him to distract me. Do you know where they went Cipher?”
“Can’t say.” A look of anguish crossed his face.
“Just keep looking for Diana while I break this spell. Listen to me old friend, I need you to close your eyes and relax. You’re going to have to trust me.”
Cipher just nodded and did as he was told. Aurel closed his eyes and slipped into Cipher’s memories. He had to find the moment the spell was put on him to find out how to reverse it. He was horrified at the things he saw in Cipher’s head, the things Peony had made him do and the things she had done to him. He had been horribly victimized just like Reyna and Rika. He forced himself to ignore them, staying focused on his hunt. When he found what he was looking for he studied it, watching any movement Peony made and listening to every word she said. He pulled out, making Cipher gasp. The spell was strong, but not as strong as Aurel. He chanted and drew a symbol in the air, easily reversing the spell she had put on this poor man.
Cipher gasped again then he cried. The man Aurel knew before all these years of being a toy would have never cried which only impacted Aurel more of the suffering he had been through. “I’m sorry Aurel. She’s taking her into the west woods. I’ll help you”
“It wasn’t your fault friend. Thank you for fighting hard to tell me what you did” Aurel picked his old friend up and took to the air. He could fly much faster than he could run. Cipher was ashamed of himself for breaking down into tears and knowing that Aurel had seen his humiliation at Peonys hands. Aurel saw all the things he would have never told anybody happened to him. Aurel could feel his friends shame and wanted to offer comfort but knew as a proud male nothing would.
Calla & Liatris caught Dianas scent. it had been hard since so many people were out and about today but they finally found it and took off. They couldn’t let anything happen to their daughter in law or grandbabies. They couldn’t see how it would destroy their son. They could see in just the short time they had been visiting how deeply he loved his mate. Peony was enjoying mentally torturing Diana as she used a blade to make small cuts in her skin. Diana was covered from head to toe in small stinging cuts that slowly bled unto the ground.
Diana did her best to keep her tears from the pain back. She wouldn’t cry for Peony, wouldn’t let her see the agony she was inflicting. “How do you want to die bitch?” Peony asked then started naming all the ways she could end Dianas life.
“I could always cut your child out of you and let you slowly bleed to death.” Her heart gave a leap of fear and Peony laughed. “Then that’s what I’ll do.” She lifted Diana’s shirt and ran the knife over her abdomen, taunting her. “These children should be mine.” Peony hissed and Diana felt her press the blade harder into her stomach so it broke the skin. Diana let out an involuntary whimper and Peony laughed.
“Aurel, there.” Cipher said, pointing at the ground. Aurel saw Peony and dropped from the sky. He let Cipher go when they were close enough and tackled Peony away from Diana with an angry growl. They rolled across the ground and Aurel came to his feet, standing between her and his wife.
“Aurel, love, why would you stop me. She’s standing between us, she needs to disappear.” Peony said with a sweet smile.
“If you do not stay away I will kill you Peony. I don’t care if you’re a woman or not.”
Cipher stepped out of the trees and Peony turned her evil gaze to him. “Help me Cipher, now.” He shook his head and she growled.
“He’s no longer your toy Peony.” Her eyes jumped back to him and she smiled, looking like the viper she was.
“Oh Aurel, my beautiful golden prince, you belong with me. You need a mate who lets you be who you are meant to be, cold, angry, lustful. You need me.” She moved her hand through the air as she spoke, trying to use her words to distract him from the spell she was trying to weave. She moved closer to him and he just stared at her. Cipher wanted to yell that this was what she had done to him, but before he could say a word Aurel had her by her throat.
“Your magic doesn’t work on me Peony, I’m immune to your charm and your dark magic.”
She struggled but he gripped tighter. He spoke in a seething tone “don’t you dare even think of hurting my mate again you sick bitch! i saw what you did to Cipher! How demented are you to force him into your slave. I will take you to my parents and they will see to it you get punished properly.” He walked over to Cipher and his wife. He handed peony over “Grip her tightly’ Ciphers face said he woudl gladly. Aurel realeased Diana from her imprisonment then picked her up “i’m so sorry baby” Aurels parents broke through the trees and stared wide eyed at Diana. “good, now we don’t have to take the nicth anywhere. Mother, father, Peony did this to Diana and she comitted haneous acts against Cipher. I trust you’ll have her dealt with while i take Diana to a healer.” Calla looked angrily over at peony “we will’
With that assurance Aurel took off into the air. His heart beat fearfully for Diana. He landed in front of Meldys house and banged on the door. She didn’t alway attend the festival so he had hope she was home. She didn’t say a word when she opened her door but steped out of the way. Aurel hurried inside “please help her” Meldy put her healing hands on Diana and soon her every cut was closed. “Now let me check your babies sweetheart” She said and then closed her eyes as she felt Dianas stomach “they are fine.” They both thanked her and Aurel left to take Diana back to his parents house.
He held tightly to her and she to him. He went straight to his bedroom and sat on his old bed with Diana in his lap, wrapped in his tight arms. “I was so scared for our babies” Diana said. “I was scared for all three of you” Aurels voice low, a mixture of anger and sadness. Diana could hear in his voice that he was dissappointed in himself for allowing another monster to carry her off.
“This is all my fault.” He continued and she tipped his head up so he was looking at her.
“I don’t blame you Aurel, not for a second. It’s not like she was some woman whose heart you played with.”
“If I had not given in to lust then she never would have become infatuated with me.”
“You don’t know that.”
He sighed. “Even though you don’t blame me it is because of me that both you and Cipher were harmed. I am truly sorry for the pain both of you went through.”
“What did she do to him?”
He closed his eyes, a pained expression crossing his face as he shook his head. When he opened his eyes again they were full of sorrow. “I dare not tell you the things I saw in his head. He has been traumatized, but is to proud to speak of what happened. I know he won’t sek help, it’s not in his nature and he fears what others will say.”
Diana frowned. “I don’t understand why most male demons think they have to be untouchable. Bad things happen and it wasn’t his fault she was more powerful.”
He rested his head on her shoulder. “I know, but he’ll blame himself anyway.” He brushed a kiss onto her neck. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”
“Me too and I knew you would come for me even though I was terrified. You never let me down and I promise you I’ll be fine.”
They sat there until there was a knock on their bedroom door and Aurel sat Diana on the bed to answer. It was Cipher. “I just wanted to tell you Peony’s powers have been stripped and she has been exhiled. She is to be sent to another world for two hundred years in hopes she will learn a lesson.” Cipher frowned, his eyes full of unexpressed worry.
“Cipher?” Diana said as she got to her feet and crossed the room, having an idea of how to help him.
“I know you went through a lot and can only imagine what must be going on in your head, but I know two people who have been through what you have been through and if you come with us when we leave, we can take a ship there so you can talk to them. I know you are proud and a man, but I think you would greatly benefit in talking to them. It’s just a suggestion and maybe you should think about it.”
“I will think on it. How long will you two be staying?”
“I will tell you my choice by then. I’m really sorry Diana”
“I don’t blame you. It isn’t your fault atall” his eyes dropped from hers. “I will see you two later. I want to go home now”
“alright, I really hope you come back with us” She wanted to insist but didn’t for the sake of not being pushy. He had obviously been pushed around long enough and needed to have the freedom of thinking it over. He left and Dianas heart went out to him. She returned to Aurel then said “I hope he comes back with us. He needs to talk about it with people who understand.”
“I hope he does too.” Tuesday came and they feared Cipher wouldn’t be coming but to their surprise he showed up as dinner was being prepared. Liatris welcomed him in and asked him to stay for dinner which he accepted. Diana looked over at him with hope in her eyes. He returned her gaze with one still wrought with shame “I would like to go back with you and Aurel…she’s..shes plaguing my night terrors.’ He admitted, somhow more shame coming over him that he as a man would have nightmares “that is great to hear!” She got up and hugged him. “I am packed for the journey. I’ll just go home after dinner and meet you two when you want me to meet you tomorrow’
Aurel spoke “we’ll leave after lunch. I’m sure my paretns wont mind you coming over and eating with us before we leave”
“that’s a generous offer but I want to go eat with my parents..I havent spent the time with them I should”
“alright, don’t rush. Just come on over when you’ve had your meal with them” The next day Cipher met them around two ‘sorry guys”
“we said don’t rush.’ Diana answered. He smiled in return and they walked to the portal and went home. They’d prepare to go visit Chthons castle then take their friend to get the help he so needed. Aurel was grateful to his wife for making him come home. He now had the parents he had wanted growing up and he saved his freind from enduring any more torture by the hands of peony.
~ The End ~