She ignored him.
“Nona, are you listening to me?”
The chandelier, a good twenty feet above them, blinked rainbows on the stone floor and walls. It only made the atmosphere colder.
His voice was a low irritated growl, etching along her nerve endings a painful warning. Her eyes looked over china dishes filled with exotic food placed ceremoniously around the boar with the apple in its mouth. At the other end of the table was her master, dark eyes raging angrily at her mass of curls and belligerent ambers that served her for sight.
It came out a sweet purr…almost a dramatic subservience, if her eyes didn’t bely the intent. It was traced with anger, annoyance, and pure dislike. Slamming his fist on the table he stood with one deft movement that should have knocked the chair over; crossing the length of the table to lean conspiringly into her ear. Nona didn’t flinch nor recognize his existence.
“One day you are going to set me off mon crème de la crème. Then where will that ivory complexion and cream silk body of yours be? Do you bruise, my peach?”
With that he spun around sending his black cape flying out around him as he left the dining room with the slam of massive oak doors.
For a few minutes Nona sat there staring at the spot her lord had just recently vacated. Then she picked up her chalice of red wine without acknowledging its existence, and thrust it to the other side of the table where it hit his majesty’s chair staining the satin, beige seats a speckled pink/red color. Melting to the ground like a puppet who had its strings cut, Nona wept. The white gown she wore left only her gold brown curls that were piled on top of her head as evidence that a large vat of milk hadn’t been spilt.
Her sobs began to slow as she gained control of herself.
“Calm down, Nona, calm down. It’s no big deal. You’re fine. Just perfect.”
Throwing her head back she looked up at the ceiling and chandelier. Tears had left glimmery stained trails down her cheeks, and her eyes got lost in the stars twinkling through the glass over her head. Sighing she laid back in her gown of milk, and used it for pillow and cover as she calmed her raging emotions.
She did not know how long she laid there before his voice woke her from the dream state she had fallen into.
“Impressive skills at pitching, my lady, next time maybe you’d prefer it was my head that you splattered with wine instead of my chair.”
She ignored his comment and stared at Cassiopeia as she made her unhappy way across the sky. His step was heard walking in a circle around the chamber, she did not have to look at him to know he was watching her as he walked.
“Well, little dove, why have you been crying?”
She heard his step stop and the chalice she had thrown scrape across the floor as he picked it up, “No answer, my clipped winged bird.”
The chalice slammed on the table, and Nona shut her eyes in an attempt to disappear, but it only magnified his voice as he chastised her tired being. She couldn’t take it anymore. Her eyes snapped open, and in a white blur she was up and running to the oak doors. As she was reaching for the large handles a long, elegant-fingered hand slammed the door shut the little it had open at her desperate tug.
“Let me go, my rex, let me go.”
She melted against the door. Her head laying on the silken hands that clutched the handle. His hand moved her tresses back so the canopy that had encircled her face was open for his inspection.
“My poor cherie, you are so entertaining and beautiful, like a sculpture that moves. Do you know that, Nona?”
Her sobs racked her body sending tremors along her limbs. His hand slid down the silk of her upper arm, and then it slipped behind her back, and pulled her frail body toward him. She cried into his chest, hands gripping his shirt front in an attempt to quiet herself.
“Hush, my flower, hush. I’m here. I always will be.”
Her tears finally ran out and she lay worn in his arms listening to his heart beat, and smelling the spiced scent of his soul. He melted sweet kisses on her tawny head, and when her last sob shook her tiny frame to silence he scooped her up in his arms, and looked at the doe eyes, button nose, and rosebud lips that screamed for protection and rebelled from it at the same time.
“My room or yours, darling?” Her eyes shut as she answered with a sigh.
“Don’t leave me alone tonight, Dorian, please.” He chuckled as he kissed the tip of her nose.
“No. I will never leave you alone, beautiful. I promise. I’ll just be my name away.” She chuckled sleepily, and nuzzled him.
“Always, always?” She said between a kitten yawn.
Smiling deftly he answered, “Always, always.”
Once in his room he walked to his massive canopy bed. It could fit four and none would know that the others slept beside them. He laid her body on a side smoothing her hair in a halo around her face, and smoothed her dress out around her finely muscled legs. He looked at her by the post of the bed, laying his head on the cool wood. She mumbled in her light sleep, and her hand flung up beside her face as she nuzzled her nose under it. He grinned, then kicked his boots off, and climbed beside her running his hand along her smooth cheek then cuddling down next to her, so he could watch without touching.
Her eyes flew open in the dark, and her breath came in gasps. What had she dreamed? It had terrified her. The recognition that her flesh was cold brought her out of the fear that she woke with. Goose bumps had risen on her arms, and the silk dress had become an ice gown meant to freeze her to death. Scrambling to her knees she slipped it off her body and kicked it to the floor. Clad only in her slip she pulled the covers back on the bed, and climbed under finally noticing Dorian’s slumbering form. He did not move, and she couldn’t tell if he was sleeping still or had been disturbed by her and pretended to sleep. Reaching out she brushed a dark curl from his forehead and let her finger slip down the bridge of his nose, across his cheek, and along his jaw line. She smoothed the line there with her finger running it back and forth a few times. Finally her eyes locked with his black, brown pupils.
“It’s still the middle of the night.” She said abruptly pulling her hand back under her head.
“So it is.”
They stared at each other for a while, each taking in the other’s features and lines.
“Can you sleep anymore?” his question made her sigh.
“No. I woke freezing.” She stated pulling the covers more snuggly over her. His hand reached out and assisted her; pulling them up to her cheek and then sliding along the skin there.
She shook her head.
“Dorian?” She drew her brows together with a look of annoyed thought which created a tiny wrinkle on her forehead. He smiled in answer, “Remember when we were smaller, and I used to make you play house.”
“Oh, Lord…” he groaned, “Don’t bring that up. I won’t allow you to… I’m going to sleep right, now.”
He flipped to his other side, and shut his eyes tightly. She chuckled, and reached her hand out to pull at his firm shoulder in an attempt to turn him back around to face her. He didn’t budge.
“Dorian…”she chuckling whined, “Are you listening to me?”
Her chuckle turned to full out laughter as she pressed her face and nose between his shoulder blades. “You are, too.”
“Am not. You’re imagining things.”
Still laughing she tried again to use her minimal upper arm strength to turn him. “Come on, Dorian. Hear me out.”
“Fine.” Was her final statement when the warmth of her at his back disappeared. He waited silently for whatever she was going to do, but nothing happened.
“Nona?” Dorian turned part way over so he could see out of the corner of his eye, “Nona?” The bed was empty. Scrambling he tried to get out, but it was too late. A wet towel hit him full in the face. He stopped his scrambling and peeled the towel back to reveal the sight of Nona on the ground holding her sides with laughter.
“It’s not that funny.”
She stopped for a second, and her eyes got wide, then the laughter started all over again.
“Your face.” broke out between laughs, which quickly turned to hiccups forcing her to stop. The entire time Dorian sat on the bed with his left brow cocked at her.
“hiccup…maybe…hiccup…it was just so funny Dor…chuckle…your face…laugh, hiccup…”
He rolled his eyes, and got off the bed to sit beside her.
“Do you need some water?”
She laughed as if intoxicated, and stood up abruptly beginning to spin in circles, and basking in the glow of the blue moon beams creating a haunting spectral. Slowing to a pirouette stance she gave Dorian a swan bow that threw her head forward setting her curls tumbling. Dorian laughed loudly, and stood up grabbing her wrists and spinning her close to his body until they were both out of breath and laughing at the fact they were dancing to music that was only playing in their heads.
“You’re crazy, Nona.”
“Yeah, well think what I’d be if I didn’t have you.”
“Yeah,” she finished, “I’d be driving the world crazy, but you’re such a martyr you took me on yourself. What a brave strong man you are, Dor. Or, maybe,…you’re just a boy with a mask on. What do you think?” She pulled her head up from his shoulder, and looked at him straight on. “So…”
He pierced his lips then slid them into a sly grin.
“I think…I’ve heard enough…” Yanking her back toward him, he began to sing into her ear richly. It was a song that had always calmed her when she was little. A song that made her ask him to sing it again before yawning, and slipping into sleep. She never did know if he sang it again. He knew though, and he always had, even though she slept.
Sighing against him, his active sprite relaxed her curls on his shoulder and nuzzled the base of his neck with her nose.
“You’re such a party pooper.”
“I love you, too.”
“You need to get some clothes on before you freeze.”
“What I need and what I do are two very different things.”
“Hey…I don’t like what you’re implying.”
He just smiled at her as she pulled back to look at his face.
“So, what are we doing today?” She said giving up on getting a reaction from her statement.
“I’m not sure.” He pulled her back to him, holding her against his chest. Nona sighed in exasperation.
“You bother me, big guy.”
He said nothing.
Two hours later Nona sat on the balcony from her room taking in all of the morning’s glory. The preternatural life that seemed as if anything was possible during those hours made her blood stir. However, as the sun lifted beyond the horizon a strange thing happened. The sun, the moon, and all the stars were vacuumed together in the sky, and burst outward sending the moon beyond the reaches of the sun, and the sun covered the stars with its glare. Morning had come.
During the entire incident Nona said nothing. Then she sighed a deep heart wrenching sigh as she stared at the sky. Her hair splayed out in carefully coifed curls behind her back and her bangs were covering a head tiara whose single diamond fell in between her eyes. It twinkled as if it had taken the stars light and filled itself with it before the sun covered them with its flames. Her amber eyes gave heaven’s grace a shock as she stared at the landscape before her. Her face reflected what granite might look like if it had emotion.
Taking in trees sculpted to shape different things none of which she knew; especially since the shapes were perpetually changing. Never the same since time wouldn’t allow it to be that way. The lake did the same thing. This effect forced the images in front her to be blurred as if she had tears in her eyes. She didn’t.
A voice called her back from the world she had disappeared into.
“Will you get in here? Good heavens, Nona.”
She grinned and moved her head to the side with a flick of her hair as she responded.
“I like it out here. It’s beautiful.”
“It’s weary is what you mean.” His voice was a whisper in her ear as his arms slipped around her waist. “It’s forever changing. All because of me…sometimes I do not like my job.”
“Oh, you are silly,” she said leaning back into his chest and putting a hand on top of his while the other encompassed the vision before her, “It’s always changing. No matter how you try to change it. That’s the way time is Dorian. We change. It does not care what we want, and sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes,”she turned in his arms setting her hands gently on his chest, “you’re a good thing.”
Her eyes looked up into his, and she smiled at his serious expression.
“Oh, do breath will you? I mean, being touchy is my job remember.” She pointed at his chest gently poking it. “Are you listening to me?”
Dorian’s eyes had left hers and began to stare out toward the ever changing landscape. Her comment made them slip back. A slow grin stretched across his face.
“Yes. I’m listening. Just not promising that I know what you’re talking bout. After all,” his eyes stared directly into her’s as his hand brushed a strand of her hair away from them, “I’m just me. Correct?”
Nona threw her head back and laughed. “Yes, yes, yes. You are certainly, you.” She sighed as she laid her head back onto his chest between her hands. “You’re just sweet, dark, handsome, mysterious, mind boggling, crazy, driving me insane whenever possible…you.” Her head shot up then and she laughed as she slipped from his arms and ran inside.
Dorian watched her disappear then took one last look at his work before following her inside.
When he entered the chamber he was bombarded by cloth flying everywhere. He narrowly avoided a green satin frock wrapping itself around his head in a sure attempt to strangle him. Looking toward the closet he frowned at his little sprite who seemed to be in a great struggle to find something to wear.
“Aren’t you already dressed?”
His comment rewarded him with an abrupt halt to the flying cloth, and a look of pure ve nom.
“And what, exactly, does that mean?”
He blinked in confusion. “Ummmm…well…I thought you were already dressed.”
Nona rolled her eyes, and let out a long suffering sigh.
“Do shut it…Dor…alright?”
Blinking, he ducked, as a lavender skirt flew at him.
“Alright I’ll wait for you.” With that he ran out of the room shutting the door behind him.
Nona peaked around the corner of the closet and smiled. Stepping out from behind the edge she pulled the silk dress over her head. Underneath she was wearing jeans that formed to her body and a black silk, string tank. Grinning at the door Dorian had walked out of she pulled a pair of black leather boots out of the closet. Leaving the dress on the floor she scurried over to the bed and put them on. Standing she walked over to her dresser by the door and pushed it so it blocked the heavy oak. Running toward her bed she yanked a sack out from under it and ran toward the balcony.
Once at the white railing she slid the sack’s straps over her shoulder and hoisted herself over it. Stepping gently down on the inch worth of ledge sticking out she tip toed over to the brick wall where she found foot and hand holds to begin climbing down. About a foot from the ground she jumped landing cat like and spinning on her heels. She ran toward the forest that bordered Dorian’s lands. Turning around she gave one last smile to the fortress that held her for so long, and sprinted through the dark canopy that beckoned her to enter it. Nona was free.
Running through the woods she took no notice of the trees that flew past her slight form. Nor did she notice the sun as it made it’s slow descent to the edge of the world. Nor did she care.
Nona finally stopped for air when the tree line appeared before her. However, the cliff before her was a sure drop so the only way she was able to tell that she had exited the forest was when she heard animal noises coming from over the edge…
“What a sweet sound.” She whispered taking in a deep breathe. “Things…Living things.”
Her smile was unmistakably delicious as she walked slowly toward the plains spread out like a quilt of rich moss. It amazed her, so much life. Such a delicate thing, and it was all based on her Dorian’s say so. He proclaimed it a tedious thing. She found it to be unmistakably remarkable that he could control so much and gave himself so little credit. Yet she walked on until her toes were sticking off of the cliff’s edge precariously. Down there, sat life. Wasn’t that her domain? Life was supposed to be for her, and her love of things that lived. Oh, what a dream. It was then she heard it behind her. Not so much heard it really, but felt it. It was a stirring in the trees that she had just exited. She stared darkly into the forest, but was able to see nothing other then the shadows that the wooden giants created.
Only one other time had she gotten this far. Only one other time had she been this close to her rule. All that stretched out before her was her’s. She ruled it. However, did she have the courage to leave her Dorian. Then she hadn’t. She was only able to stare helplessly out at the things she loved, but she couldn’t leave the boy she, also, loved and who needed her. I mean, that is why she lived isn’t it; for love and to be needed?
Now could she do it? Knowing that he was coming for her; she prepared to climb down the cliff when the forest shifted again. The trees seemed to go through their entire life: from seeds to adults back again. It was amazing. She tried not to look, but to simply climb away from the spectacular sight. Then she heard it:
Pitiful. The cry was pitiful. It made her stumble on the edge. For a moment she sat there clinging desperately then she shook her head and began to descend. Every step Nona took seemed as if the pebbles under her feet moved, and she would lose her footing. It was more as if she was stumbling down the sheer face of the cliff, then climbing down. When she was near halfway, Time reached the edge of the cliff.
Dorian looked down on his love, and the way she climbed crazily down in an attempt to escape him. All he thought was how much he loved her. He did not wish to let her go. However, if his love wished to leave him, he loved her so much that he would allow it. He watched her to climb and sat down on the edge. His heart would be torn for this, but it didn’t matter. She was happy. That…was all that mattered.
Nona looked up, her hair had come undone from the messy bun she had thrown it up in, and was now flying wildly around her oval face. It caught around her cheek, and her gaze locked on the image of Dorian staring down sullenly with his power thriving and spinning and cultivating all around him. She stopped then. She stopped the climb and the descent into the things she loved and adored. While she hated him. She loved him just as much if not more. She climbed back up.
She noticed no change in his demeanor til she reached the top. He still hadn’t moved when she crawled over to him. Once she was close enough his weeping could be heard. It was really nothing more then the coo of a dove. However, it was loud enough to touch her heart. His black hair hung over his face, and she tucked it behind his ear.
“Why do you cry, mon prince?” Dorian’s weeping stopped, but he did not look at her. “Do not cry. I am here. Your Nona won’t leave you. Not until you drive her insane again. However, she can’t stay away for long. She, unfortunately, loves you too much to leave you.”
Dorian looked at her finally. His black, brown eyes flashing angrily and piteously at her. “Why must you torture me so?”
Nona threw her head back and laughed. “My silly, silly Dorian. You torture me just as much. You hold on so tight you strangle me. I will die long before you do, if you ever do. How do you think that will feel? To die without your love. Oh, and my Dor, I DO love you.” She leaned her forehead against his, and caressed his jaw line with her right hand while leaning on her left. His head leaned toward her caress while pressing forward against her head putting more pressure on his hips that strained to be released from the extraordinarily tight embrace that his indian-style posture was giving him. He let out a sigh.
“I thought I had lost you.”
“No, that would have been far too easy. You can’t lose a sprite that has adopted you that easily, my dear. You just can’t” Dorian opened his eyes from when he closed them to feel her caress, and glared at her.
“I can’t, can’t I?” Reaching out for her he dragged her bedraggled form onto his lap and proceeded to nuzzle into her neck.
Laughingly she tried to push him off saying his name, and trying her best to remove herself from his captive position.
“Get off of me, you big buffoon.” She finally cried shoving at his shoulder blades, which did absolutely nothing, but make him laugh.
“No.” He whispered into her neck then buried his head in her hair and just sniffed. She chuckled as she nuzzled her way closer into the protective circle his arms made for her.
“Good,” she said, “I love you too much for my small antics to lose you. I’m glad that they just make our love stronger. I have no idea what I’d do without you. Yet sometimes I wonder.” Sighing she slipped into a restless sleep as Dorian carried her home. Home to his castle. The castle that wasn’t just touched by time, but held its ruler and the ruler’s mistress…life.
Nona and Dorian are together under interesting circumstances. Do they love eachother?