Tess wasn't sure what made her say it the first time. It had escaped her lips without her knowledge or consent. To be honest, she had been quite mortified at her lack of self-control. She remembered being horrified that she'd said it at all, much less to the irritable Player. Not that she would ever let Jeck know that. The only thing she could possibly have done to make it worse was reveal her feelings for him as well.
They had been strolling down one of the corridors discussing the affairs of the kingdom. They conferred about the upcoming ball, since they were in public. Nothing specific about the moves they currently had in play. It wouldn't do to have someone overhear the Ambassador and the Captain of the guard discussing important matters of the state, especially since Jeck technically was not supposed to know the intimate details.
A peaceful silence had lapsed between them. Tess had just decided to allow herself to enjoy it when Jeck spoke up. "I think I'll go for a ride in the country tomorrow morning. Do you wish to accompany me, princess?" His tone was polite, but she knew it was an order.
She couldn't say she was pleased with his idea. She'd already made plans to go shopping with Heather and he knew it. "I'm sorry Captain Jeck," She said civilly, "But I have a prior engagement."
"Oh, but you would much rather go for a ride with me." He answered. His tone was casual; the look he gave her was anything but that. When she didn't respond he smiled a victorious grin, and she had to remind herself to stop staring. He was handsome, yes, that didn't mean he got to bully her.
"Its regrettable timing, but I really can't. Heather and I have already made plans to go shopping."
The victorious grin fell from his face as if she had slapped him. "You will cancel." his eyes flashed daring her to argue.
That's when she had said it. Her hands went to her hips and her lips had said "Make me."
For a moment there was a shocked silence. In which Tess reprimanded herself for being a fool.
Jeck stood there, eyes wide, shocked that she had dared to blatantly contradict him. Then the Player's eyes narrowed and he grunted his disapproval, "What was that?"
"I told you to make me." Tess replied saucily. If she was going to dig her own grave, she might as well do it properly.
Sheer annoyance painted his strong features. She was thinking she'd gone too far when his expression became unreadable. He nodded curtly and said loud enough for the guards and maids down the hall to hear, "Of course, Princess. I will personally tell your maid that you must cancel your trip into the city. I'm sure she will understand. An ambassador's life is very busy." He bowed and walked away, his posture one of triumph.
That was the first time she'd said it. One would think that once would've been enough, but not for Tess. No, the phrase 'make me' became a regular part of her vocabulary with him. It got to the point that any time she didn't want do something she said it. She didn't say "No thank-you", or "I'd rather not", or "Could we reschedule". She said "Make me". The only reason she could think of was because it always shocked him, and always took some effort for him to get over the shock. It entertained her that he never got used to it, she also found it odd. How many times could she say it before it became old? That mystery and his initial response were definitely worth the aggravation he expressed later.
So when he told her to get a Thieves and Kings Board. Her response was simple and to the point, "Make me." When he directed her to come to the library so that they could study logistics concerning an army, she replies, "Make me". When he instructed her to place the order for his metal darts that she wouldn't be allowed to touch, she gave the only logical response available to her, "Make me".
Even now, as she was exhausted and bedraggled from knife practice, the only thing between her and a bath was obeying Jeck. She chose to be contrary. He had both her wrists in his grasp so that she wasn't able to continue fighting. In his eyes was a look of either concern or compassion, which just annoyed her further. Who did he think he was, pitying her after thoroughly trouncing her in every single match? She huffed in annoyance and glared at him.
"Just drop the knife Tess and let's be done with it. We've practiced for long enough, even I'm tired." Tess thought that was unlikely, he looked fine. She felt like a half drowned Punta cub. Her glare deepened to a scowled as she tried to get her wrists free. He tightened his grip slightly. Not enough to hurt her, just enough to send the message that she wasn't getting free till she dropped the knife. He tried to give her a disarming smile, but it wasn't going to work.
In a last attempt at defiance she looked him in the eye with determination and uttered her handy phrase, "Make me".
He stood there, once again in shock. As she tried to twist free his expression changed to something else, something fundamental. She just wasn't able to tell what his expression meant. "Tess." He growled. "Drop it."
His tone made her look up at him, the way he looked at her made Tess say "Make me" again.
This time he didn't respond with a shocked silence, or in any manner she would have expected from him. This time his lips parted as if he were about to yell at her. But, he never said anything, instead he kissed her. When he kissed her it was in no way uncertain, like kisses with nervous noble boys. Nor was Jeck rough or overly assertive. When he kissed her, he let her kiss back, without trying to get anything else from it.
When he broke the kiss she found that the knife was no longer in her hand, but safely in Jeck's possession. With a smile he said "You asked for it, princess."
At first, she could only respond by staring at him with her mouth agape. Several thoughts chased themselves around her head. To start, how did he manage to disarm her without her realizing it? Well, that was obvious, but, still. She was also trying to figure out why exactly he had kissed her. Was it only so he could steal her knife? The look he was giving her made her think that wasn't the case.
Her thoughts were still chaos when Jeck laughed. His expression changed to a smug smirk, which only added to her incredulity. "Give that back!" She demanded, trying to cover her silence.
The smirk widened to grin. "Make me."
Before Tess could recover from having her own phrase used against her, Jeck had tucked her knife into his belt and walked off. As he left he began humming a jaunty tune.
Belatedly Tess gave an aggravated shriek, and demanded that he come back. The only people who heard her were her bemused guards. "Chu pits." She cursed. Now she had to hunt Jeck down and convince him to return her knife, and she still needed a bath. Shaking her head she decided that she'd take her bath first. Jeck could wait for her to make the next move.