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Sarah, Sire

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I was brought

in on a palanquin

made of the many bodies

of beautiful women.

Brought to this place, to be examined,

swaying on an elephant:

a princess of India.

Go Long - Joanna Newsom

The girls were giggling, flocking together in twirls of ribbons and skirts against the gunwale. Droplets of saltwater splashed up, dotting their flushed, excited faces. They wiped them away with hurried hands, then extending restless arms out long, pointing out. Their voices could barely be heard over the crashing of the ocean far beneath their feet. The ship sailed ahead.

A castle waited for them.

Sarah lay her head across her arm where it was folded across the ship rail. There was a quivering in her stomach. Like the other girls, she had noticed… the castle was close. There was only a small stretch of water left before they would arrive. Getting closer by the second, it rose tall and glittering.

Sarah set her eyes upon it, feeling a tiredness in her, an anticipation. Finally, the trip would end. The voyage had been long. A month’s travel across the oceans between her old home and what she hoped would be her new. The day was clear, blue skies and perfectly white, fluffy clouds. The saltened wind whipped at her hair and her skin.

Another part of her was reluctant. The castle came too quickly. She needed to hide on this ship for longer. Sarah was too ready, but she was also not at all.

In her best dress, she shivered. The nerves were frazzling her as the castle seemed to loom larger and larger every second. They would be there soon. Too soon, not soon enough.

A delighted shriek pierced the air, followed by a bubble of laughs. Sarah saw the grins on the girls’ faces. They had said something scandalous, but she was too far and the ocean was too strong to hear. On her lip, she sucked. If only she could be so giddy.

The docking of the ship seemed to come too soon. And it seemed to take an eternity. As Sarah watched the crew hustling about, her chest grew tight. Almost unbearable, it made her breathless. Even the other girls had gone silent, now. The castle was so tall above them, it was all that could be seen, casting a shadow even on the great, wide ocean from where they had come. Sarah looked out across it. Somewhere, far away was her family. Her fingers crossed and she pressed them tightly into the skirt of her dress. If all went well, her family would fear no longer that they would starve come winter. She was a good daughter, she would make certain of it. She was the only one who could.

Palanquins waited for them on the dock. Lush things large enough to carry two girls at least. Men stood around them, waiting. There was a man with a scroll in hand who stood waiting on the dock.

They were told to leave their things on the ship, that they would be brought in separately. And they were directed to disembark. The crew had set out a case of precarious steps that travelled from deck to dock. In a single-file line, each girl carefully picked up her skirts and stepped down, down, down. Every step brought them closer.

The man with the scroll counted them as they all came to wobble on the dock, month-long sea-legs hitting with a force. The final girl was tottering down the steps nervously as the crew looked on from the edge of the ship.

“There ya go, lassies,” the first mate crowed once she had landed on her feet on the dock, “Me and my men wish you all the best of luck!”

They jeered and laughed from where they looked down at them. Sarah’s eyes pinched tight and she darted a glance at the other girls. Some were looking suddenly pale, worried. Somehow, it made her feel a little less alone. To know she wasn’t the only one. Together, they made thirteen. She thought that kind of odd; she was someone who liked even numbers or numbers that were multiples of five. It was uneven otherwise, unlucky.

The man with the scroll glared at the crew as he ushered them all to the palanquins that awaited. Hesitantly stepping, Sarah followed some of the other, braver, girls. She could hear the crew joking behind them, lewd words and rude noises. Sarah’s heart thumped heavily.

The travel in the palanquins was slow and swaying. She sat across a small slip of a girl with the warmest brown eyes and the softest skin ever to be seen. All that could be heard was the careful breathing of them both, the clenching of fabric in fists, the shivering of bodies, and the steps of the men who carried them.

She wondered if the girl next to her was as nervous as she. If she felt like she would no sooner vomit up everything in her stomach than be able to present herself before the king. If she had chosen this for her family or if she had chosen this for herself.

The future was inescapable. She almost wished she had stayed home, found another way, a rich man who would gladly support her family at the simple request from her pretty, wifely lips.

A soft hand took hers then, just as Sarah had begun to tremble. The other girl looked at her kindly and Sarah laced their fingers together. Two arms had come together in the middle of the opulent carriage. A small smile came to Sarah’s lips. The comfort was little, but it was there. They sat like that silently for the rest of the ride.

Getting out of the palanquin was hard, for Sarah’s legs seemed to lock. To shake underneath her weight where the bearers had not even hesitated. They had been brought to a side door that would lead into the castle.

There they were. After all that time. Sarah couldn’t help but grab the same girl’s hand from before, and they squeezed each other’s hands in turn.

The man with the scroll opened the door and simply gestured. He did not speak even as the group of girls crossed tensely over the threshold.

Once in the castle, Sarah stared. At the tall, tall ceilings and the airy light that spread out. The sun streamed in softly, but fully. There was a breeze that fluttered their skirts as they gathered in a nervous group by the door.

The man told them with his hands to follow him. And so they did. Through the castle corridors, Sarah’s nerves grew and grew. Each step brought them closer to the king. How far left, now? There was no physical marker that Sarah could keep an eye on. She was blind like this. It made her rattle.

They arrived finally at a tall door. Still silent, he ushered them in. It was a large, bright room. But the air was hot, humid. Five large tubs filled with water were steaming up, fog swirling in the air above. Mirrors panelled the walls all over. Brushes and bottles and oils and ointments were left out upon counters. When the girls looked upon him with wide, confused eyes, he said, “Bathe and dress. Your attire may be found in the cupboards behind you.”

“But--” one of the girls spoke out.

The man didn’t seem to care, for he swiftly exited and the door thudded shut behind him. The same girl was frowning. So was Sarah.

She looked down at herself. It was true, her best dress likely wasn’t nice enough for such a place, but… she had chosen it carefully, specifically for this. She hadn’t worn it a single time on the ship, not even when her other gowns had grown dirty with overuse. It was to be saved for the king. The best impression she could make.

Even though she had bathed with these girls many times upon the ship, there was something uncomfortable about the openness of this room. The wide, bright space with arched windows set higher than any of them could reach. With her eyes averted, she undressed and stepped into one of the tubs.

The steaming water did little to ease the tension. Only the occasional whispered word drew up through the foggy air. Hushed and nervy. Sarah remained silent, she kept to herself. Instead focusing on scrubbing herself clean, even though she had washed herself better that morning on the ship than she had for the whole of the trip. In the perfumed waters of the swirling bath, Sarah carefully rinsed her hair and cleaned her skin. The girls helped each other wash backs, but Sarah stayed off to the side. Between her toes, behind her ears, under her breasts. She paused between her legs and the tremble seemed to come back once more. As she quickly, anxiously cleaned herself there, she prayed. She wasn’t sure what for; it came without words. She simply prayed.

Sheer white gowns that wisped like air across their skin waited for them in the cupboards. The thirteen girls were to dress exactly the same, in fabric so light it almost wasn’t there. It fell to the ankles, loose and straight. But the shape of bodies could be seen underneath. Sarah sat on a stool before a mirror as she combed out her hair, the long strands dampening the back of the gown. She saw herself in a way she never had before. It was scandalous, the way she appeared. Almost entirely exposed. The only hiding her from view the occasional swaying of the dress, confusing the eye. But that came only sometimes, for the gown liked to cling, a gossamer skin.

When her hair was left out long against her back, she set down the comb on a chest nearby and her hands fluttered up again. They skated over the neckline of the dress, over her collarbone. A blush was high on her cheekbones. In this room, it was hot with more than the water steam and the movements of bodies. When she stood, her eye caught on the dark thatch of hair set deep between her legs. The sheer white did nothing to hide it.

Sarah flushed from her head to her toes as she turned away and hurried over to the counters. Some of the girls were already looking through all the perfumes and potions left out for their use. She joined them, fingers trailing over each one, sometimes picking them up and smelling. They were unlike anything she had ever experienced before, these bottled bits of magic. Sarah knew the scent of fresh air and grass and sea. She knew the way the fire in her father’s small cottage home would waft warmth and winter to her nose. The way her little town smelled when it rained or when it snowed. The scent of cookies that her mother had always made before she passed.

But Sarah had never experienced such exotic, unknown smells as she did that day in that bathing room. Like flowers from places far beyond her reach. Things she never could have dreamed of. Her eyes lingered enviously on the liquids and creams infused with feelings and ideas and possibilities that she would never know. It almost sweetened the deal, this selection. If the king treated all his prospective women in such a way, she wondered what he would allow the ones he did choose.

There was this one bottle. A cream that had such a scent! Sarah couldn’t put it down. It was something floral, a little fruity. Like a bite of ripe on a fresh summer’s day or the unexpected waft of a blossom tree. Light and soft and delicate, she rubbed it onto her arms, her collarbones. She hiked up her gown and smoothed it into her legs and her feet. On her skin, it was perfect. She was pampered, soft.

Her hands held clasped under her nose, she inhaled the smell so deeply. She hoped the king liked it.

When the man from before returned some time later, Sarah’s hair had almost fully dried. Usually pin-straight and flowy, in the humidity it seemed to fall in waves against her back. Baby-hairs at her temples curled up cutely. Under the gaze of the man, Sarah couldn’t help but bring her arm to drape delicately over her chest, the other to hover in front of her center. She wasn’t the only one. But it was by no means all of them who shielded themselves.

As the man directed them all to follow him, Sarah’s heart began to beat. This was it. She cast one last glance in one of the tall, wide mirrors. She pinched her cheeks out of reflex, but then she shook her head at herself. If ever there was a moment where color was plentiful, it was now. She was so blushed she thought it would remain that way forever.

They walked through the corridors for what seemed like hours. But it was likely only minutes. It was so dreadful, this lead-up, that Sarah could not appreciate the beauty of the castle around her, too preoccupied with what would come. With how this gown’s fabric seemed to float around her. Between her legs, air seemed to caress. It was cold and her breasts seemed to notice. She covered herself as much as she could.

Her bare toes curled against the great stone floors as they walked. Luckily, the path they had tread was clean. Nary a speck of dust or bit of sand had touched her foot. She knew because she had hopped at one point, bending a leg behind her and peeking over her shoulder to check the bottom of her foot. Pinked and clean, not browned and dusty like she had feared. Oh, that wouldn’t have done. Soon she would be before the king.

As the seconds thumped by with each of her heartbeats, she could almost feel the pulse of all the girls together. They arrived eventually at a large, ornate door. It opened and he shooed them in.

It was a wide room, even larger than the bathing one from before, but this one was empty. Just floor and wall and ceiling and massive arched windows made the place almost as outside as it was inside. Light streamed in, beams of it soft and dewy in the afternoon air. It was a gentle spring day. There was a great courtyard just there outside the wide windows, full of lush green and bright, chirping colors only just starting to bloom. Anyone could walk by.

The emptiness chilled even with the warm light streaming over the cream and gold walls and windows and doors.

Sarah shivered, still covering herself. She wasn’t silly enough to think she was doing much good with it. Her backside was still exposed, she knew, her hair not quite long enough to help. There was a tickle on her lower back when she thought of this.

The man led them to the center of the room and he told them to line up side-by-side. They did. He bid them to wait and with his hands clasped behind his back, he walked up and down the length of the line. Pacing, strolling. Sarah was at the end of the line, furthest from the door they had entered. She didn’t know how that happened, she certainly hadn’t been the first girl in.

He repeated to them what she had heard many times since she had made the decision. Keep your eyes lowered. Do not look at the king. Do not speak. Do not move. Then he said something odd. “He will arrive shortly to make his choice.”

The girls exchanged startled, nervous looks.

“You heard me correctly,” the man said, “Choice. The king desires one woman, not many. Best make yourself stand out if you wish to catch his eye.”

Just one girl? Sarah frowned. She began to fret. One out of thirteen. Her chances were so small now. They had all known, getting on the ship to cross the wide ocean that the king they would be presented to upon their arrival desired pleasure women. Women, in the plural. Perhaps he already had enough of them. He did have such a variety of feminine things at his disposal; all those perfumes and lotions and creams and oils.

But Sarah was crushed. Before, she had been able to hope. If he were to choose a few girls out of the thirteen, she thought she had a good enough chance. She knew she was pretty, everyone had always told her so. Many a boy and a man had sought her favor back home, singing songs to the softness of her lips or the dark of her hair. But she had always been shy around them, she had never really found a fancy in the way they fluttered around her, hands full of flowers or baskets of fruits.

Perhaps if she had, she wouldn’t be in this position. Her family would be well, and she would be with child by now.

But now… just one girl. There was no chance.

Sarah listened distractedly to the bird calls outside, the seagulls that echoed from the coastline. She tried to focus on something other than the present, the openness of the air, the exposure of her body. There was a thump thump of her heart that overtook her.

The anticipation crawled all over her skin, she tingled with it. It was unbearable, and she shifted from foot to foot nervously while the other girls stood stock-still. Could she do this? Yes, she had to.

She hoped she pleased him.

When the king arrived, it was with little fanfare. The door rumbled open loudly and a great shadow sliced across the room. “Be ready,” the man said, before turning away. Sarah’s eyes dropped to the floor. As did, she was sure, all the other girls’.

Booted steps clicked across the floor, growing closer and closer and closer. Her eyes clenched shut, for she surely wouldn’t have been able to keep her eyes down just then. She knew not what he looked like, not whether he was a fat, old king, or if he were young and handsome. The king was a recluse, that much she knew. Hidden away in his castle for years and years. Sarah lived far enough away that no one she knew had ever met him. There were whispers of his name, but no one knew for certain.

She trembled. Standing frozen still, her eyes fell open once again. The king had not said a word, but she could see his boots in the corner of her eye, near the other end of the line. Fine leather things that went to the knee. Her fingers twitched against the barely-there fabric of her gown. But try as she might, she couldn’t make herself drop her arms. They were paralyzed, one banded over the peak of her breast and the other a pendulum stuck immoble, hiding away what quivered between her legs.

The clicks of booted feet resumed, but much slower this time. Panicking, she watched as the heel of his boot touched the ground first before steadily, the rest of the foot was eased down. Step after slow, imminent step, the king walked the line. The blood was rushing inside her as he moved, observing. Examining.

It almost made her dizzy, the way her eyes strained sideways to see just the feet of him in her periphery. The way her breath was nonexistent. Her eyes flicked up, then. It was with horror that she realized what she’d done, but the sight that met her swiftly swept all her worries away.

The king…why, he wasn’t ugly at all! He stood sideways, head turned and eyes intent on the girls that stood before him. He strolled an indolent pace forward, never looking away from the offerings in soft, translucent white. Sarah’s heart fluttered.

The man would have looked more like a pirate or a brigand than a king if not for the fine quality of his clothing. He wore a flowing white shirt with wide, laced sleeves, the front of it left carelessly unfastened. Her eyes skated over the exposed bit of his chest, the long medallion he wore. His breeches were a material she didn’t recognize, but they were fitted so tightly. Where his top half was loose and open, the other half was assured, controlled. The next time he rolled forward on the balls of his feet, Sarah’s lips parted. If she could have blushed even more, she would have. How obscene, she thought, seeing the way his breeches held him in plain view. But her eyes were fixed on him, unable to tear away.

His hair was a fine golden color and it was wild, unlike any hair upon any man she had ever seen. It was not finely combed into a respectable tail like she had imagined, nor was it thinning like she had figured it might be. She did not have the words to describe such a thing.

She wasn’t sure what to make of this man. He was entirely unique.

She knew she ought to, but she couldn’t make herself look away. The space between him and her seemed to close very, very slowly. The moments were hazy, but her eyes remained on him. He was handsome. But she noticed that he wasn’t young. Neither was he old, but… he was older. Certainly older than her. But she had expected that. What she hadn’t expected was that the vague lines along his mouth, at the corners of his eyes would be so… so commanding.

All of him was. His jaw was noble and the line of his nose striking. The apple of his throat, the breadth of his shoulders...

He was even closer still and she saw the boniness of his wrist as it reached out, gloved hand caressing one girl’s hair before pulling it back. Thumb now rubbing absently along his own collarbone. The silence was devastating, the only noise was the slow, barely-there clicking of his boots.

It seemed to all speed up at once, like she had been stuck in a dream just then. And now… he was one girl away. Sarah panicked, for she had been lost in her own world, breaking the rules so carelessly. So much was riding on this, she couldn’t afford to be so foolish, so stupid.

But, heart thumping, she was too late. His eyes caught hers. She gasped out loud, the noise too sharp in the still room, and hurriedly looked down. She clenched her eyes shut, trying to breathe. She had ruined it, oh, she had ruined it all. She would be sent back to where she’d come from, empty handed and penniless. She would be a disgrace. A girl spurned by a king.

She forced her eyes open and she watched, jittering, as those boots finally came to a stop in front of her. She bit her lip so hard that surely it must have bled. Her whole self trembled. A breeze whipped by, making her toes curl. Her thighs pressed tightly together, her belly caved in.

For the first time, booted toes turned directly toward the line. He stood right before her, straight-on. All she could see were his legs now. Embarrassed when her eyes flicked over the tightness of his pants, she shifted.

She wouldn’t look up, she wouldn’t. She couldn’t. Not even when his hand, gloved in leather, came up between them. It wrapped around her wrist and tugged her arm from where it covered her breasts. He dropped it, and she let it fall to her side. She felt his eyes on her. The hard buds of her nipples that were so evident through the gown, the overwhelmed rise and fall of her breast with each desperate breath making them even more so.

She was hot all over, burning. She wondered if he could see the way she turned pink even under her collar.

The same gloved hand reached down, it took hold of her other wrist and pushed it aside. Her hands clenched into nervous fists at her thighs. Now, she was fully exposed before the king, the only thing protecting her this airy fabric that she could hardly feel.

Could he see the way her thighs shook? The way something in her core clenched tight, a pulsing that took her by surprise. The way a jolty shiver in her belly grew and grew.

She was unable to stop herself; her eyes flicked up once again.

But… he wasn’t looking at her body like she had expected. Wide eyes locked with his assessing ones. He watched her closely. He observed, he took a look in her soul. Like his hair, she wasn’t sure she could describe the way his eyes were, not in the least because the look he gave her was so heavy her breathing had all but deserted her. It was all she could do to focus.

Her lips were parted still, and her tongue darted out, wetting the dryness that had formed on her lower one. Those eyes followed the movement.

But then the moment was over, and he stepped back. Something cold washed over her and her eyes dropped once again. She tried to stop herself from fidgeting, but she couldn’t quite do it. The king had put distance between them. Her arms were stiff at her sides. She wanted to cover herself again. Could she?

“Your choice, Sire?” the man who had stood back this whole time said.

The silence was heavy. Extreme. It beat and it beat. In the distance, a seagull weeped. It couldn’t be helped… her arms flew up to hide herself. Protect herself.

“Her.”

Sarah’s brow furrowed. There was a rustling among the girls. Her who? Was he pointing? He must have known they had been told not to look up. The disappointment was building preemptively. Oh, she had ruined everything, hadn’t she?

His voice was deep, strong. “The one at the end, with the pretty dark hair and sea-green eyes.”

Sarah’s heart skipped a beat. When she peeked up, he was looking right at her. Her mouth fell open. Her? She peered down the line of girls, all who were staring now at her. Disappointed eyes, relieved eyes, sad eyes, envious eyes. Sometimes all at once.

The clicking of boots brought her back. Her own eyes blinking wide, she turned back. The king had gone. Striding across the large stoned room, away. She gaped in her place as he left them all there. Was she supposed to follow him--? Her eyes darted from the king who disappeared behind the large ornate door to the girls to the man who still stood there waiting.

One of the girls started to cry.

The man cleared his throat, turned on his heel. “Girl on the end, wait here. The rest of you, follow me.”

Sarah felt her pulse in her throat. She was on the precipice of something, as she dragged her toes against her other ankle, her calf. It felt wrong to remain here as the man led the other girls away, their sad eyes glancing back to her as they were taken back to the ship. The same door clanked shut behind them. In this huge room, she was alone.

The back of her neck prickled. Somehow, she was more exposed by herself than she had been under the scrutinizing eye of the handsome king. A bead of sweat formed above her lip. She licked it away nervously. The breeze that caressed was hot, uncooling. Everything had changed.

She felt like she was on fire. By a fire on a hot summer night, the flames flickering oh-so close, enough that she would fret. What if I made a single wrong move and stepped right into it, what if, what if?

The panic of the unknown began to build once again when the door lumbered open. Her eyes snapped up and she curled her arms around herself even tighter. But it wasn’t the king.

It was another man, a different one from before. He held open the doorway and looked across the grand room. She wondered what he saw. A girl in nothing, waiting in such a shivery-cool room, but burning shamefully hot.

“Come,” is all he said, his voice echoing across the way. Sarah hesitated, looking back over her shoulder through the wide arched windows. A different feeling now was mounting. What would happen to her? Truly.

“Girl,” the man said again, louder, sterner, “Come. The king awaits.”

Sarah jolted, eyes ripping from the flowers left swaying in the courtyard breeze. There was a quick pitter-pattering of her bare feet on the stone floor as she crossed it, a wisp of inexistant fabric, a pant of sweet breath, a whoosh of long hair.

The king awaited. Had he truly chosen her? Sarah thought perhaps this was a dream, that perhaps she were still on that ship heading toward an ugly old king who would choose ten out of thirteen. In the small, rickety bed that had held her for a month’s time, the lead-up so excruciating, she would wake up and there would be weeks still to go. She couldn’t bear it if that were the case.

Through new parts of the castle, this new man led her. Her lower belly trembled, she imagined… She barely paid any attention, following this man unquestioningly. And so she almost ran into him when he suddenly stopped at another door, smaller than before, but just as ornate. But she caught herself just in time.

He opened the door for her and stood out of the way. “Make yourself comfortable,” he said and as soon as she stepped across the threshold, the door clanked shut behind her. She jumped at the noise, spinning around. The man was gone. Once again, she was alone. At least, she thought she was. Her head turning every which way, Sarah peered around this new room, half expecting the king to jump out of a corner any second now.

When a few seconds passed and nothing happened, her shoulders seemed to drop. She backed up into the wall by the door, taking in a single huge, gulping inhale and letting the exhale shake out of her. She looked around. Window upon window, from ceiling to floor, wall to wall. Even more than the last, this room was set half outdoors, half in. But these windows looked out to a garden, protected all around by lush trees, bright with color and flowers. It would be easy to step over the open windows, press bare feet into the grass just across the way. There was a feeling of privacy, that no one would enter this place. Her arms had dropped.

The late afternoon sun left the air hazy, the tree leaves fluttering, the room lit softly. Some shadows were cast sweetly. The room was ornate, but it was simple.

Sarah blushed. The largest bed she had ever seen sat against one of the walls. The bed was unlike a bed, in a way. It was simply fitted with sheets. A loose one was strewn on top. A simple few pillows.

Sarah stepped closer, fingers brushing against the closest carved wood bed post. In her mind, an embarrassing thought flashed. The king would take her here. There was a mirror that glinted, gilded with gold. It sat propped against the corner where the window-wall and the wall across the bed met. She saw herself once again, her blushed face and her scandalous body.

Reflexively, she covered herself from view, ducking her head. She swallowed, mouth dry, scratchy. There was a glass pitcher of water. It dripped with sweat, beading along the wood table it rested on. Two glasses sat nearby. With shaking hands, she filled one of them, gulping down the cold water, feeling as it raced a chilly line from throat to belly, but it did nothing to cool her. She could tell it had been left here recently, prepared for the king and the girl he would choose.

She drank a second glass for there was nothing else to do, nothing except wait. All she could think of was the king. When would he be here? What would he do? She had an idea… but then, she knew it was just that. An idea.

The anxiety killed.

The moments passed by slowly, painfully. Her bladder twinged and a sudden panic came over her. There was a door and she hustled toward it, timidly pulling it open. Past the edge, she peeked in. And she breathed a sigh of relief.

A toilet. How horrible that would have been! Gorging herself on water only to find herself needing to relieve herself when the king was with her. She could be so foolish at times, not thinking. Too stuck with her head up in the clouds. That’s what her father thought, not that he’d ever said it so plainly. Sarah just knew. She hoped she could prove him wrong, that she could be practical. She could help. It was why she was there.

She quickly approached the bowl. Carefully, she relieved herself and then wiped off. When she inched out of the washroom, she was busy fussing with her gown. With her hair. Then, her eyes caught on something new.

Fine leather gloves set upon the table, left there. Boots by the door. Waiting. The king’s.

The air seemed to have left her as she looked up, up. There he was, standing casually before the wide open windows. He looked out upon the garden. A bird sang, the breeze lifted his hair. And slowly, he turned.

Sarah froze in her place. Her lips parted. Her arms crept back up over her body as the king looked upon her once more. She watched his eyes as they started at her feet, as they trailed ever so slowly up her legs, her hips, her arm-covered breasts, her neck. Her face.

His eyes were so different. They looked at her so strongly. His thin lips had curved into something she wasn’t used to, something pleased. Content. Had he chosen well?

“Tell me your name, girl,” his voice seemed to fill the room.

She licked her lips. Her eyes darted around. “Sarah,” she said. Her heart thumped. “Sire,” she added quickly.

“Sa-rah,” he said, tugging out the syllables. She had noticed before that he spoke differently than she. His accent seemed to caress her name. “Come here, Sa-rah,” he said.

It was like a moth to a flame, surely. Almost as if she were not in control. The fear, the worry… they had not gone. But there was something in her that told her, yes. Yes, go.

Shy steps were taken, the moment seemed to last forever. Her eyes wouldn’t leave him, something about the way he watched her. When she was close enough, she stopped. Her knees wobbled, her legs pressed precariously together from ankle to thigh. She thought she might fall over any second now, but then he stepped over the remaining distance between them.

He stood so close, right before her. She could feel his eyes on her, as her own remained on him. She saw the way his chest rose and fell, the way the bone of his collar was hollow; one almost could say it was delicate. But that would be quite right. She wanted to touch it, to trace her thumb around the dips of it.

She bit her lip. This king had taken her so by surprise.

His hand came up between them. The gloves had been left, waiting. Long, slender fingers floated in the air and then on her. They whispered over her shoulder, her arm, her neck. His skin on hers was hot. He was close enough that she could smell him. Something masculine, rich. She wanted to be closer.

His voice was melodic, deep. It filled her ears like those perfect perfumes had enriched her nose. “Do you know why I chose you, Sa-rah?”

Sa-rah shivered. “N-no, Sire.”

His hand found her hair now, still draped over her back. His fingers played there just below her ear. “Would you like to?”

Her toes curled. She looked up at him, at his hot eyes. They burned her like nothing had before. Not even those boys or those men who had thought her so pretty. She nodded.

He hummed. His thumb dabbed against the line of her jaw. His eyes flicked downward, upon her body, they lingered there. Sarah shivered.

“The curious girl who sells herself to a stranger but covers herself before him.” The observation came slow, lazy. There was something amused in the way he said it.

She flushed, but she couldn’t look away. Not even through her shame. She blinked, wide-eyed, and he caught her eyes once again. Both of his hands fell to her waist, the warmth surprising her. Those long fingers wrapped around her.

They spun her around.

When her eyes opened from the fright of the move, she saw. They stood before the large mirror. Him behind her. His hands had dropped from her waist. She could feel the heat of him at her back. His breath floated against her ear. “Look,” he said.

Bashfully, she did. There was a deep blush to her skin. She was overheating. She caught his eyes over her shoulder. His hands were back, tracing lines over her skin so slowly, maneuvering around the protective way she still covered herself. He caressed her waist now, her hips. The curve of her bottom, and back up to her belly. His thumb dipped into the dark spot of her navel, the gauzy fabric sliding softly. It was almost painful, the way he touched her. Shivery breaths were leaving her. She couldn’t look at herself like this, her eyes falling away.

“Sa-rah,” he said and his tone was firm, commanding. “Don’t look away.”

In the mirror, her eyes were heavy. Hazy. She had never felt such a way, not even in the dark nights back home when she couldn’t help herself, when she’d dip her fingers between her legs, rubbing, touching. When she’d bring herself to shameful release, hand held tight enough to bruise over her mouth so her parents would not hear. Not even in the breathless aftermaths of elation, disgrace.

At once, his bare hands repeated his earlier actions. Long fingers wrapped around both her wrists. He tugged her arms away from where they had hovered for so long. To her embarrassment, he found no resistance, her arms going pliant, pulled away with the barest of touches. She wanted him to look at her again. And he did.

But it was not just his eyes that scorched her, but his hands. They trailed over her belly, her ribs. They skated over her breasts before flattening firmly just beneath her collarbone. It almost made her sway. Sarah gasped.

“You have never had a man,” he said right in her ear, breath fanning. Sarah swallowed. Another observation. His thumbs played in the divots of her collarbone. Could he feel her heart pounding away beneath his firm hands?

She wet her lip. “N-no.”

His eyes were heavy on hers. Satisfied. They promised something. Her lower belly jolted when he pressed a kiss to the burning shell of her ear and said, “Just as I thought.”

His hands drifted down once again. They touched her breasts fully now. Holding. Thumbs made steady motions over her nipples. No one had ever touched her like this. And Sarah couldn’t stop the way her body reflexively arched into him just enough for his shirt to scrape against her back. Just fabric kept them apart.

His next words were whispered right in her ear, so soft they were barely heard. But they penetrated her deeply. “You are a beautiful girl, Sa-rah.”

Her fingers twitched in the air. Her own voice was breathy when she responded. A feather in the wind. “Is that … the reason you chose me? Sire.”

“Yes.” His teeth scraped gently against her ear. “Beautiful girl.” She trembled.

Then, he pulled back. Standing tall, his hands dropped from her breasts. She puffed out a breath, disappointed almost. But then those hands found her hips. They bunched into the fabric of her gown. Sarah’s pulse went wild. Carefully, he tugged at the gown, sliding it up, up, up. Before their eyes, she was bared. He exposed her ankles, her legs, her knees, thighs, the dark hair that hid her from view. His hand skated against her hip bone as he undressed her. So close… The gown was lifted over her belly, her breasts, her shoulders. He pulled it over her head and her arms raised easily to allow it. He dropped it on the floor beside them where it pooled like water.

There she was. The gown had not done much to cover her, but it had done something. She thought she could see the way her heart beat heavy in her chest, the way her throat throbbed with her dangerous pulse. When her arms went to cover herself again, he stopped her. “Let me see you.”

His hand rose up, just barely avoiding that place between her legs. Sarah couldn’t breathe. Her hands clenched and unclenched at her sides. He pressed his hand flat against her belly and he urged with a small pressure, sending her back into him. His body finally touched hers. His clothes tortured delicate, pebbled skin. He held her against him, so tight.

And Sarah felt it, face going into flames. There was a heat in her belly, in her whole self. For there was a hardness against her bottom. He desired her and she could feel it.

Something damp was trickling. Her arousal, her own heady desire took her by surprise. This man she didn’t know would soon take her for the first time. Shouldn’t she be scared, nervous, fearful? Well, she was all those things. But more than that, she was burning-aroused. She wanted him to do those things to her. More than anything.

She found herself pressing back into him, feeling him against her. He made a pleased noise and he caught her back around the waist, hands wrapping so fully. The warmth of his skin against hers could be felt all the way inside. Easily, he turned her to face him again and Sarah grew flustered. To meet him head on like that after all that touching…

His hands that dropped from her skin had left their mark. But then they took her own. The sight of that got her, the way those slender fingers held hers surely, easily. They guided her to touch his chest and brought them to the fastenings of his shirt. He helped her with the first few, using her own fingers to gape the shirt open just a little bit more. Only a few remained.

With trembling fingers, she unfastened the rest of them. The shirt hung open and Sarah’s hands fluttered between them nervously. She peeked up at him through lowered lashes. She saw his tongue dip out, wetting his lower lip. He watched her so intently. Her hands settled almost unknowingly on his chest. She pushed the shirt off his shoulders and it fell to the floor behind him.

She couldn’t help but look at him, so bared like that. She wanted to touch, but she didn’t. She couldn’t. Her eyes fell down, down. At the lacing of his breeches. At the hardness he had pressed against her so hotly. She saw he was barefoot, like her. It took her by surprise, almost. Even though she had seen his boots left by the door.

Like his hands, his feet were slender. Long, lengthy. Her own were angled between both of his, soft-looking with curled toes.

When she looked back up, he was still watching her. His strange eyes caught her in their web. She was helpless to escape. She didn’t want to.

He took her hand once more in his and he brought it to the waistline of his breeches. Sarah sucked on her lip, blushing. Butterflies were in her stomach. When he let go of her hand, she didn’t move. The tips of her fingers traced the lacings.

The look in his eye was heavy. It urged her. “Well, Sarah?” he said, and there was a quality to his voice that she could no longer pin down. “Go on.”

His arms were relaxed at his sides, but she could feel him watching her in a way that was anything but. Under his eye, her hands fumbled with the laces. Her heart going crazy inside her. A quivering in her belly distracted her from her task. Finally she managed. She averted her eyes quickly.

There was only a moment of hesitation, but then, under his watchful gaze, just as he had removed her from her gown, she removed his breeches. Hands taking the waist, she peeled them down slowly. But he was not so accommodating as she had been, staying exactly as he was. She was so close, she kept her eyes carefully on the ground. Heart thumping something furious, she had to kneel, to pull them all the way to his ankles. Only then did he lift his feet, one after the other. When the breeches were gone and discarded to the floor beside them, she couldn’t help but look up.

Her mouth fell open and her breathing sped up. He had worn no undergarments beneath his breeches. Her legs seemed to shake as she scrambled back up to stand before him. But she looked again, even as he waited silently. He did not make a move to hide himself, not like she would have.

It hung heavy and hard between his legs, between the both of them. Sarah could not look away, for she had never seen one before. Not in such a way. Her fingers twitched, hovering curiously. When she froze, the king’s hand seized hers. She thought he would bring her hand to touch him. But instead he tugged her by the arm, pulling her into him.

She gasped as he pressed her fully against him. Overwhelmed, she clutched at his arms. She felt everything. The way her breasts flattened warmly against his chest, that pendant of his scraping between them. The way his hardness burned hot against her belly. She breathed him in, his intoxicating scent turning her all aflutter.

He touched her chin, then. Guiding her face up. She looked at him with wide, shocked eyes. But she knew he could see the curiosity, the flaming desire in her. She wondered whether he knew of the wetness between her legs, the weeping ache that had grown so heady. Of her yearning at the simple nudge of his cock against her skin.

He lowered his head and it came so sudden, so perfect; he brought his mouth to hers. This kiss was searing, wet. He traced his tongue over her lip. He took her mouth like he would take the rest of her. It burned her from the inside out. She had kissed and been kissed before, but never like this. It was quick but it was undoing. He pulled away before she knew it, a smacking noise left between them. His lips were red, wet, and they were smirking.

Sarah was panting.

“Sa-rah,” he said, his breath fanning against her face. She gazed at this gorgeous king, she was stupefied. “I want you to go sit on the bed. Wait for me.”

She nodded, dazed. “Y-yes, Sire.” He let go of her and she scuttled across the room toward the bed. She clutched at one of the foot posts weakly and lowered herself to sit upon the edge. It was not a tall bed, but it was not short either. She folded her knees underneath herself as her eyes fell on the king who went the other way.

His back was to her, now. Her eyes lingered as he approached the table, taking the water pitcher in hand. He was fully nude, his backside completely bare. She had done that, just as he had done to her. His shoulder blades moved sharply under skin as he filled the unused glass with water. He drank deeply, throat bobbing with it. Sarah lowered her eyes, embarrassed of herself. Her legs pressed tightly together. Her hands folded timidly over her lap.

She squirmed, hearing his footsteps. Not heel-clacking anymore, but padding. Barefoot. There was a naked man just over there, and she, over here, was a naked woman. A girl, really. They would be doing so many things together. Sarah was ready and she wasn’t.

The padding footsteps grew closer. Her eyes drew to the thing between his legs, so ruddy. It looked aching, swinging with each step. And there was an ache in her belly, but it was not painful. Not like the aches of not enough food, or food gone down wrong. This ache was full of warmth, it throbbed. It wanted.

When he reached the bed, she noticed a pot of something in his hand. Carved gold, it made her curious. But then, he lowered to his knees at the foot of the mattress, heavy cock just there. Too close. A fit of nerves came on suddenly. Sarah scooted back to give him space. In the middle of the bed, she gripped the soft sheets in her hands. God… How had so much changed in so little time. Not even a day ago she was on a familiar ship, in familiar clothes, body hidden as it always had been.

And now…

He sat the pot to the side and he crawled forward, closer. He settled right before her upon his knees. They had spread around her own. They were so close, he was so bare. Bashfully, Sarah looked up into his eyes. They pierced through her, burning. “Are you ready, Sa-rah?” he said, voice heavy in the room. It dropped something on her.

Sarah fidgeted. “Uhh...” The syllable was tilted up at the end. She questioned herself.

He made a soft noise. He touched her knee, touched the tiny divot made from her pressed together legs. Sarah’s heart was pounding. And then he was leaning over her, hand on her hip. He guided her up slowly and even if she had wanted to, she wouldn’t have been able to stop him, her body so easily moving as his barest touch, the merest caressing suggestion.

He laid her out on the bed, and somehow it was even more exposing like this. His hand stroked at her side. Her breasts fell sideways, opening up her heart. Her hair spread wildly beneath her, tangled up in the sheets and all her anticipation. She couldn’t help but cross her ankles, tightening her legs together as he settled on his side, laying out, head level with her navel. The moment was moving. All her senses accosted.

She saw him. Where he lay on his side, a hip bone jutted up, almost curvy. There was a dip in his waist like that. Sarah couldn’t look away, not when he leaned forward and pressed his lips just above her navel. Her belly sucked in, overwhelmed. She felt the curve of his lips there against her. Where else would he kiss her?

“I’m going to touch you now, Sarah.”

He already was. Fingers trailing back and forth against her leg, against the line made from the pressed-together skin. They trailed close, skating just at her upper thigh. She was trembling with anticipation. Mouth against skin, tongue flicking out against her lower belly.

The king coaxed open her legs with soft touches. He tickled and he stroked. The fingers burned hot. Perfect. It made her ankles uncross and then it made her knee slightly bend. Her legs crept apart slowly, painfully. Inching. They ached but they feared. The touches were in new places now. He thumbed at the skin of her inner thighs, he traced barely-there touches over the curls that blocked his view. Soon, her hands were gripping feverishly into the sheets and her legs were spread out. He had opened her up for him. And she knew where his eyes were.

Her face was burning, but she loved it. He could see her now. And the knowledge seemed to make everything more heightened. She wondered what it was he saw. Whether he liked it.

He nudged her legs out further. When his fingers made their first contact against her, Sarah gasped. Just a touch of the fingers. Just a tease that did nothing more than build this feeling up so high, so new, so strange. Drawing soft little hardly-there patterns on her, over the petals of her quivering sex. And when he pulled away, her body chased after him, wanting more. His hand clamped down on her hip bone, he held her still. The wet trickle of her center was all-consuming now. She felt it everywhere. It dripped between her legs.

“Patience, beautiful girl,” he said and his voice rolled against her like his fingers had against her center. His leg hooked over one of hers. His hardness dropped against her, falling against her leg. Sarah squirmed, staring up at the ceiling, mouth fallen open. He had sent her somewhere she wasn’t sure she could ever come back from.

“I daresay I don’t really need this, after all,” his voice jolted her. Her eyes slid down to the king who had touched her all over. In his hand, he held the pot from before. She stared at him with heavy, half-lidded eyes, not quite processing. There was amusement in his look. And he dipped fingers into the pot slowly. She watched, confused. But then they came out, oil dripped off of them. She realized what he meant and her eyes widened. She flushed. Flustered.

His look was full of satisfaction when he brought his oil-dipped fingers to press fully against her. She felt herself quivering, the wetness pulsing, contracting away, towards. His touch was stronger now, certain. He rubbed the oil into her, and to her own embarrassment, she realized it did not feel much different. Had she truly been so wet from just a few touches of his hand? From the sight of him nude before her? From the sound of his voice? The look in his eye? The scent of him all around her?

She was dripping for him and he was pleased.

When he rubbed a slick, decisive finger against that spot of hers, Sarah gasped. Her legs clamped shut around the pleasure. He was not deterred, instead urging her back open. Laughing lowly against her belly, he continued. Spreading her apart with one hand and stroking with the other. Rubbing again, and again. Circles into her nerves. It made that crackling noise of wetness being smeared. Sarah was a shaking mess by the time those fingers trailed down further. Thumb remained at the top, indolent little stokes sweetly painful against her nub. Unscheduled, without a pattern, it held her on the edge.

There was a pressure somewhere else, somewhere imminent. Somewhere lower. Sarah’s toes curled and her hand came down to clutch at his shoulder. Slowly, surely, he pressed one of those long, slender fingers into her. It went easily, sliding with the help of all her weeping desire. His finger filled her up, it stroked her inside. It was something not even she had done. Her body clenched around him, and soon there was another finger joining. And another.

Sarah couldn’t believe it, and her eyes were clenched shut, face red and sweat beading. She couldn’t breathe. The fullness was so much. His fingers rubbed inside of her and out. They stroked, they spread. Sarah was a trembling mess as this king opened her up for him.

And she did open up for him, legs falling wider and wider. Body arching closer and closer. Cunt contracting more and more. She pulled him in. She was wettened. All from his touch, from his very existence. With her actions, she begged. With her voice, she moaned. Muffled little noises that she tried to stop, they pushed their way forward, they burst out.

At some point, he grabbed her free leg and pushed it back at the knee. He held her open as he leaned decisively down, pressing his mouth fully against her. Sarah went crazy. Bucking, shaking. He licked that angsty point that throbbed in sync with her heart and he did it so slowly, almost lazily as fingers moved inside of her. High, breathy, drawn-out moans pierced the air as he rubbed her inside, as he broke up the pattern to sometimes suckle on her overwhelmed nub, but stopping far too quickly for anything to build, returning to those laving licks, those slow pumps of the fingers. The chirping birds seemed to join in with her cries. The fluttering leaves in trees seemed to accompany the trembling of her hips under this most extraordinary feeling. This excruciating pleasure.

But he pulled back too soon, and Sarah couldn’t believe the sight of him. His lips glossy wet, even more than when he’d kissed her. She gaped down at him, at the way he smiled and pressed a closed-mouth kiss to the vein of her thigh all strung tight with all these feelings. He kept his fingers still in her for one torturous moment, curling once, making her buck. Then, he removed them, leaving her gaping empty.

Her belly shuddered, it was chasing something. “Did you know, Sa-rah?” He licked his lips, he made a considering noise. He brought his fingers up to his mouth. It was obscene the way his tongue dipped out, licking the wetness of her that he had found so easily. She blinked at him. “That you taste as good as you look.” Sarah blushed hot and her eyes went hazy.

He lunged up, crawling over her. Hands at her knees, he settled readily between her legs. Against her thigh, he rested hot and heavy. The throbbing of her core could feel him so close. It desired, yearned. Sarah’s hips moved of their own accord, seeking him out.

His did too, and he ground himself against her in a way that made her hands fly up to his shoulders, made her legs go loose out to her sides.

His body was warm. So close, she could smell him as he pressed his mouth to her neck, as he licked and he kissed. He scraped his teeth over her skin and she shook in his hold, a little leaf. Had he so affected her?

“Do you know what we’re going to do now, Sarah?” he murmured, sucking the skin under her ear. His words rumbled against her, they were momentous.

Her voice was shaky, uncontrolled. She had been unravelled. “Y-yes, Sire.” She knew what they were going to do, she knew what he was going to do to her. She couldn’t wait. For he had left her so empty, unsatisfied. She wanted him to fix it like she thought only he could.

His cock had fallen right against her, their desires touched. The heat was too much. He ground hot, wet circles into her, hands at her hips. He kept her still against him. Open.

“Tell me, Sarah,” he breathed. Her head was thrown back to allow him her neck. She had allowed him everything. Would allow him even more. “What are we going to do?”

Her heart was pounding inside her chest, it thumped against him. The sweat between them was heady, a slide of bodies. His belly touched hers. No one had ever been so close, she was overcome with it all. “You’re gonna-- you’re gonna--” She couldn’t say it, she couldn’t make herself. Something stopped her, an embarrassment, a superstition. It would make it real.

He pulled back from her neck and his face loomed close above hers. His eyes examined her. They pierced her open. The look there was one barely controlled. He rubbed against her harder, fingers digging perfectly into the flesh of her hips. “Sa-rah,” he said, and it was breathy, amused. He almost sang it, his breath intermingling with her own. “Don’t keep me waiting.”

She was flushing so strongly, she was consumed by his eyes, by the feel of him against her, all around her. At his prompting, in a nervous-excited, ashamed-shameless whisper, she admitted, “You’re gonna-- gonna… fuck me, S-sire.” She clenched her eyes shut. Her nails dug into his skin. The word sounded wrong in her own voice, untried. The hesitation came from the lack of practice with such sounds. She had never spoken so crudely, but… neither had she behaved so brazenly. So scandalously.

He laughed lowly, a rumbling noise that she could feel. His body against hers. His lips lowered to wisp against her own. Her tongue peeked out, searching. He let them. “That’s right,” he said hotly, amusedly, “And how do you feel about thatSa-rah?”

He asked in a way that suggested he knew the answer. And how could he not, with the way she had been acting? To the way her body seemed to ache for him so visibly. The way she so obviously wanted. He was satisfied with her. Assured, pleased. Blushing, she whispered, “… good, Sire.”

His hands tightened around her hips, biting in. She licked her lips. Her fingers quivered upon his shoulders. Her words came out shy, a little sweet, “Um… how do you feel… about that? Sire.”

“Oh, Sarah,” he said, and he sounded uncontrolled just then. “You have no idea how much I want to fuck you right now.”

Such words made her boil. It sent a full-bodied shiver of desire through her. To know he desired her like that... That he wanted her so much.

His next words were intense, teasing. Breathed against her skin. She felt his heartbeat all the way from his chest through hers. “Is that what you want, Sa-rah?” He knew the answer to this one too.

She bit her lip, she averted her gaze. “Yes, Sire. I-- I want you to…That’s what I want...”

Good,” he all but growled. His mouth lowered again to hers. He kissed her deeply, tongue licking along hers, leaving her breathless. His teeth scraped against her lower lip, leaving it throbbing like the rest of her. The ache in her core was so heavy, it was all she could think of, how much she wanted him. “I want you to turn over now. Will you do that for me?”

“Turn-- turn over, Sire?”

He had lifted himself up, hovering over her on his knees. He watched her and his eyes said, no arguments. He nodded from above as she stared. “Yes, Sarah” he said, fingers tracing softly against her hips. “On your belly.”

She did. With his hands guiding her, she shifted to turn over. The air that rushed her where previously his body had blanketed her made her shiver. Her skin pebbled. When she was laid out flat on her front, a pillow beneath her hips, Sarah noticed that all the feelings, the sensations… they had heightened. He coaxed her to lay her head sideways, he rubbed her shoulders enough that she relaxed. Gently, he gathered up all her hair and brought it over a shoulder, baring her entire back to him.

She could not see him, but she could feel him. His fingers, his hands, the tickle of his hair against her back. She hid her face in the sheets when he urged her legs apart, cool air hitting her. The wet sensitivity made her pulse. He drew one of her knees up, spreading her open. His hand touched her, rubbing at the weeping wet spot between her legs and Sarah’s hips jolted, unbidden.

He kissed once between her shoulder blades and her hands clenched convulsively into the sheets. Then, his weight settled against her. His chest molding against her back, his cock jutting, bumping against her aching center. His hands had wrapped around her waist, fingers almost pressing into her navel. His thumbs stroked the small of her back.

Sarah was dizzy, this feeling of him so close against her. This knowing what he was going to do. She could only wait; it was torture. He rubbed slickly against her.

“Relax for me, Sa-rah,” he said against the nape of her neck. Her mouth was gaping open, her eyes clenched shut. There was a pressure against her now, at her opening. It built and it built, and Sarah couldn’t even think. The slide was wet, and it was seamless. He drove into her slowly, carefully, but never did he hesitate. He did not stop. Sarah scrambled against the sheets as he filled her up for the first time, as he took her fully.

The stretch was intense and in that all-consuming moment, the only thing she knew was that she loved it. She had expected it would hurt. She had not expected how good it would feel, how perfect. He was fully in her now, and she felt every bit of him, inside and out. He stilled momentarily. It scorched her insides. She pulsed around him, spread upon a foreign thing that her body knew to be familiar. She was gasping into the sheets as that perfect ache spread all over, as he ground into her, hip bones jutting into her bottom.

But this stillness would not remain for then he took her hands in his, his palms to her knuckles, and he drew her arms out long in front of her. She was lengthened beneath him, strung out for him, for his pleasure. And he dragged his hips back, away, leaving her body quivering in the space he had made and then abandoned. But not for long. His own knee was up against hers as he drove deeply into her once more. It was languid but it was strong. The moan that left her was uncontrolled, something animal.

The noises she made as he continued were shocked, overwhelmed. He fucked her just like he said he would, making her burn like she had never before. Thrust after thrust, her body loosened beneath him, around him. It was like this was where he was meant to be. In her, around her. Where she was meant to be: in his bed, on his cock. She was pliant when he gripped her neck in one of his sure hands, the motions of his hips driving her forward and back on the sturdy bed. Relaxed, accepting, desiring as he turned her head to look over her shoulder. Panting-eager as he kissed her, lips sucking-wet and teeth biting-heady while he made his way inside her. Lovestruck as he breathed heavy and desiring because of her.

He was everywhere, and nothing had ever been more perfect. Sarah sobbed out in pleasure as he canted his hips in such a way that drove him against a spot so delicious inside her. As he kept on, not stopping, not ever. She panted into his mouth and he groaned into hers. Their sweat and their desire together were wet, their aching bodies trembling.

She didn’t know how long it lasted. There was no such thing as time, not when their bodies moved together so perfectly. Hot and wet and aching together. And when that feeling that built and built behind her navel finally, finally burst, everything only became more. More intense, more perfect, more right. Into the sheets, she shrieked, body shaking uncontrollably as he kept hold of her, as he drove into her pulsing, wettening, throbbing-sensitive cunt. She seemed to seize around him, but still she allowed him passage. As he fucked her through the waves of the most intense peak she had ever experienced, as he pleasured himself inside his chosen woman even when she was just a shivering mess of overworked nerves against the sheets, malleable and desiring.

As his thrusts grew erratic and her own body seemed to perk up, ready to go again, and again. As he drove deeper and deeper, harder and harder, making her shake and cry in perfect, overwhelmed agony. As he stilled, groaning into her hair, hot breath burning and lurid against her ear.

As the hot, wet gush of him turned her inside out, pleasure sparking unlike ever before. The very touch of him seemed to make her skin, her very insides, light up.

He pulsed inside her, the mess between their legs so sticky, so wet, so perfect. The familiar ache had begun to build again inside her. She hoped… oh, she hoped. She was gasping into the bedsheets and he was panting against her skin. It was all that could be heard, until… “Don’t think I’m through with you yet, Sa-rah.”

The ominous words made her shiver, shake. She pressed back into him to hear him groan, to feel his hands tightening around her waist. Still, he was inside her. She never wanted him to leave. There was a tremble to her voice, a shocked little thread that showed how much he had undone her. “Good,” she breathed heavily, fingers scraping into the sheets. She looked over her shoulder. She saw him, with his flushed cheekbones and his hazy eyes. Her mouth parted. She wanted him to kiss her again. “I hope you’ll never be through with me.”

It must have been hours later that they lay together upon the bed, exhausted and worn, for the outside sky was dark. The hour was night. He had done so many things to her, with her. He had shown her so much, taken her so many ways. Collapsed on her side, unabashedly nude, she stared at him. Thunderstruck, adoring. This king…

He was breathing heavily, laid out on his back, his eyes closed. His wild hair was wilder now, left disarrayed, slicking wet against his skin. When his eyes peeled open next, he noticed her staring, lips parted in wonder. A pleased smile curved upon those thin lips that had kissed her all over. His knee had fallen open, akimbo. Sarah couldn’t help but look at him.

“Are you pleased with your choice, Sire?” she said as those strange eyes seemed to take a look at her, at the wildness of her own hair, the bitten-pink skin of her body, the wet mess of her thighs, the kissed-upon lips.

“Oh, yes,” he said, and there was a raspiness to his voice that made her toes curl.

She licked her lips. “Will you keep me?”

He reached out a hand, he brushed a thumb over her lips, dragging the lower one down. She couldn’t look away. “Sa-rah,” he said, tutting, but the little smirk upon his mouth betrayed him. He examined her. Butterflies erupted in her, at the hot look in his eyes as they raked over her. She squirmed, the ache in her body, the soreness so delightful, the knowledge of his desire, his want so tantalizing. “With such a beautiful girl who takes me so well… how could I not?”