It probably all seemed kind of shady. Get into a black car through a frenzied crowd, black and blue, and drive off to somewhere with nothing but the trust that the person you were with wasn’t going to slit your throat or get you ‘taken care of’ somehow. Lucy had put that kind of trust in Luke, though. He wondered what had been on her mind over the past week. What she had seen, what she had heard. He’d seen plenty and had heard plenty about his ‘relationship’ with Darcy that was like some kind of volcano, spewing out lava made of lies. He had a feeling Darcy may have been the rolling stone that put those lies in motion to quite a few of the tabloids, though. She seemed…into that kind of thing. There would be consequences for this day, eventually. He would make sure that Lucy stayed out of it as much as he could. If he didn’t have the power to do that, what kind of Prince would he be? But, he knew his own troubles would present themselves, and he would have to figure a way out of it. Maybe he wasn’t too distraught about it because he’d been in compromising situations before and had gotten out of them just fine. This was different. He knew that. But Lucy was there, with her head against his shoulder and they were in complete silence. And it was a paradise.
It wasn’t an extremely long drive out to the country, but long enough for twists and turns in the road to keep anyone from really following them or knowing where they were. That was the beauty of the house that had been in his family for centuries – with the obvious necessary updates made as time went on. It had actually always been one of Luke’s favorite places to go, just because it was so different from the vast openness of the palace. It was more…homey than regal, and he could definitely appreciate that.
Lucy may have been looking over the place, but Luke was looking at her. There was a certain…something there. It wasn’t naivety. It wasn’t wonder or bewilderment. Maybe it was some kind of innocence she had about her, even if she wouldn’t admit it and he wouldn’t dare to tell her. But as he watched her gaze over the house, a smile crept up on his expression. Honestly, he wasn’t sure of his next step. They had sped away in such a hurry and he just wanted to get somewhere safe and quiet with her, that he hadn’t exactly made a plan for what was supposed to happen next. They couldn’t stay there forever. It wasn’t like they had planned for some vacation together. There was no food in the place except maybe some old cans of tuna or hash or preserved vegetables. They didn’t have any other clothes than the ones they were wearing, and Luke knew that it was only a matter of time before someone came looking for them. Lucy had to get back to her life. He wasn’t going to take away her education; she deserved that. And he…had to pay the price for acting the way he did in public. He may have been somewhat ‘rebellious’ to the royal lifestyle, but he knew his place.
She seemed to make herself right at home, which was a little endearing and a little comforting. Even as she tossed a bag of ice to him which he fumbled with for a moment before finally catching, it seemed like some kind of normal, everyday routine they had. Touching the icy bag to his cheek, he closed his eye for a second at the initial shock of it, before looking over at her. “Well, if ya stabbed me now you’d have a long walk back to town, so I’m just countin’ on ya bein’ too tired for that.” He grinned, shaking his head a little just at the idea of the two of them standing there; they must have looked ridiculous.
Setting his pack of ice down on the wooden table for sweat beads from it to almost instantly form on the dark-grained wood, he took a closer step toward her, closing that slight gap between them that the real world seemed to want to wedge there permanently. He carefully took the bag of ice from her hand, looking down at her fingers that were already a bit swollen, a mixture of red from the cold and purple from the undeniable bruises that would form. “She didn’t mean anythin’.” He admitted, unable to look her in the eye for a minute. “I tried. You told me not to find you and I did whatever I could to keep myself from doin’ just that. But apparently even that didn’t work.” A small grin tugged at the corner of his mouth, reality hitting him just then with how ironic it was that he’d ‘found’ her again. If he had believed in some kind of fate or destiny, now would have been a good time to bring it up.
Luke retracted the single-button of his suit-jacket, sliding out of it and draping it over one of the old-fashioned chairs on the hard wood table, before pushing up the sleeves of his shirt a bit. May as well be comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you could be in a suit. It was then that he grabbed his ice again, placing it against his cheek. "I want to tell you that I have a plan for all this. But I don't want to lie to ya."
The Bleeding Rose
She couldn't help but grin at his joke. "You're lucky I'm so exhausted, then." The movement made her face ache, but it was all worth it. Bitter sweet. Yes, that's what this was. Everything was falling apart, everything she'd had three weeks ago slipping away from her. The scariest part? She couldn't seem to care. Not one bit. With him standing there in front of her, nothing else in the world seemed to matter. She knew that this was a warped version of reality, that there was nothing safe and nothing stable about what they had. So why did she feel so secure? Why did she feel like it would all work out?
Maybe it wouldn't. But one thing was for certain, and that was she could not let him go. He didn't seem to be too keen on the idea either, and no one could really force him to do anything. Could they? No. No, they couldn't. They couldn't. She wouldn't ever have to lose him again. Or at least, that's what she hoped. Maybe if she believed it, it would be true?
He moved forward and lifted the bag of ice from her hand, studying the bruising and the swelling. It was really quite disgusting, but the way he looked at that swollen hand...intimate. This all felt incredibly intimate. He was fogging up her head again, with his smell and his soft spoken words, that smile she knew all too well. She wouldn't have to play it out in her head anymore, not while she could watch it play on his lips. Here, now. That was all that mattered.
And so, when he spoke about Darcy and trying to stay away from her, she only shook her head. "It doesn't matter, Luke." and it didn't. Maybe to the rest of the world it did, and the tabloids, and his parents...surely they wouldn't be too happy about all of this. And her parents? She was just lucky she'd forgotten her phone in her dorm, because there was no way she could handle a long distance therapy session with her mother. But it didn't hurt her anymore, the thought of the week or so he'd spent with her. Maybe because she knew that would never happen again. Or, maybe because she'd transferred all of the hurt out of her body through her fist, where it was now swelling in a purplish bruise on his cheek bone. Either way, that was a small problem in comparison to everything else that was going wrong.
Strange, how comforting that was. Wrong, even. There was still a huge, messy mass of problems. Of course, most of them were forgotten as he unbuttoned his jacket and set it aside on a chair, rolling up his sleeves. Any exposure of his skin left hers on fire. Even just his arms as he rolled up his sleeves, strong and tan, she remembered the way they felt when he crushed her against him...His voice pulled her back into reality. He told her that he didn't want to lie to her, that he didn't have a plan. He wanted to protect her, she could see it in his eyes.
It should have been nice. She should have felt special. But then, she'd never been good at feeling exactly what she was supposed to, and a bubble of annoyance bloomed inside of her. "You don't have to lie to me." she told him, eyes serious as they looked up into his. "Ever. And don't be a matyr. I got us into his mess. I didn't see you attack anyone in a public place with a bunch of reporters standing by. It was...stupid. It was really stupid, Luke. I was really, really stupid." she gave a tired, half hearted laugh, looking down at where the ice had dampened the table, and pressing a finger against it. "But you know that, right? You know I do stupid things and make bad choices....and you're still here. I was thinking-," she cut herself off, taking a deep breath and looking up at him. "I was thinking that maybe just...dealing with problems when we have to...it wouldn't be so bad." the very definitely of a fling. But they couldn't handle anything more, not in that moment. All she wanted to do was curl up next to him and forget the world. Of course there was always the urge to run her tongue along his bottom lip and press herself against him, but simply being next to him would be enough.
Stupid decisions? Luke's life had been full of them. Being royal got you recognition, being reckless got you famous, whether you wanted to be or not. Hell, it had been a stupid decision on paper to leave that ceremony earlier and come to this house with Lucy. Of course it crossed his mind what the consequences would be. What would his father say? How was all of this going to affect her; here and at home? Then there was the realization that eventually she was actually going home. She didn't want a fling, and he kept telling himself that because when it came to having her, neither did he. But how were they supposed to break all of the barriers ahead of them?
Maybe that was the reason he felt like he should have had some sort of plan. Some kind of reassurance for her. But he had nothing. Luke wasn't that old fashioned; he knew she could take care of herself. Obviously, she'd thought enough to give him a crack to his jawline without thinking twice about it. But that's what you did when you cared about someone; you wanted to protect them and to make sure they were happy. And to say he cared about her would have been the understatement of the century. The rest of the world could go to hell right then, as far as he was concerned. Yes, that was an extremely selfish thing to think. Certainly not the attitude he should have had toward...anything. But he was still admittedly a little bitter about losing her before, and now that he had her again, he wasn't going to give her up.
Her suggestion...climbing over the mountains of problems one at a time, when they presented themselves. Where would that get them? What if they all just popped up at once? What if they had to deal with all this bullshit for the rest of their lives? It wasn't a bad thing to live in the moment, and not take a second for granted. It was just...hard not to worry about what was ahead of it all. Maybe it was even a little irresponsible, but that had been a title given to him since he was about ten, so that didn't make much of a difference.
She could have convinced him to murder someone if she wanted to, with eyes like that, staring into his own. Burning into his own. Hypnotizing him to..kiss her, touch her. There was so much of her he hadn't touched, and that seemed like some kind of sin. "So you're sayin' you're not gonna run anymore, then?" His brow arched a bit, as if he was hesitant to even ask that question because he was worried about what answer he might get. "I asked ya before if it'd be enough...just bein' with me and knowin' that we're gonna have to face a lot. So is it, love?" Before he even let her answer, he set his quickly-melting bag of ice on the table, and reached over to carefully pull her hand down from her face where she was preventing the swelling there. He replaced the ice pack with his own hand gently pressed to her cheek, the cold transferring to his palm before he let his fingers run down the length of her hair that was tied up in back.
He vividly remembered the slightest feel of her skin that he absolutely had to have earlier when his fingers barely slid underneath her shirt. It was an instant addiction, though, begging to be fed. And though they both probably looked as though they'd been mugged and left for dead in the street, she was as beautiful, and as alluring as ever. And knowing that she was willing to take a chance on him when she probably should have kept running...well, that was something he'd never experienced before, and it was a ride he was more than willing to take. "We can stay here for a couple days, probably. But we can't keep hidin' after that."
The Bleeding Rose
It wasn't a fairy tale. They were both bruises and their clothes rumpled. Well, hers had always been like that, his were the result of an attack followed by a make out session. And yet, standing there with him...it was magic. The simplicity of it. Just talking in a kitchen, discussing the future, discussing their relationship, making jokes about murder and bruises. For the first time in her life, Lucy felt like she might actually belong somewhere. This was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. This, standing in a kitchen with him. This was where she fit.
It was sad, really, because that sort of life was nearly impossible to have. And even if she did have it, the problems were endless. She'd lived a fairly simple existence, and still had the audacity to believe she knew what real stress was. She hadn't, not even a little. This? These stakes, this war they were going to have to fight together? This was the true meaning of struggle. So, why did she feel so strangely giddy? His hand reached up, gently pulling her own away. The warm air made her cheek tingle where the ice had nearly numbed it. But his fingers melted the cold, pressing into her skin. He would hear her breath catch, just slightly, though he would no from the way she leaned into his touch that it wasn't because of pain.
And there was no physical pain that could compare to a life without him. She'd experienced it, and cowardly as it was, she knew she could not go back. Whatever that meant, Lucy knew she would not be able to bear another moment of the lonely existence she'd been experiencing the past few weeks. It we hell, torture, unfathomable dread that overwhelmed her and never ceased. He asked her if she was going to run again, asked her if this was enough.
Just being together, knowing they were going to go through hell for it. Was it enough? She wanted more, there was no denying it. She wanted to be able to stay in the country, she wanted him to have no title, no obligation to his country. She wanted the consequences of their actions and mistakes to disappear, to have no worries beyond what to eat for dinner or how much laundry detergent to buy. She wanted simple problems, a quiet life, just the two of them. But it couldn't be that way, not with who he was. Not with what she'd done. Her eyes searched his, though he would find no hesitance in her expression. Just longing. Pained, desperate longing.
Her hands were cautious, careful, running over his shoulders, down his chest, across his stomach. Slowly, carefully, as if she were trying to memorize them. Light and hesitant, as if he might flinch away under her touch. He warned her that that could only stay a few days before facing the world, and she could see in his eyes that the world held nothing but obstacles for the both of them.
But that was life. Problems were...life. Being without him? That wasn't life. That was death. That was suffocating and unbearable. "You're enough." she told him, eyes staring up into his with determination. Her mind was made up. Being without him? It wasn't an option. This was it. "Being together, that's enough. It's not going to be...perfect. It can't be perfect. But I'll try not to hit you, and you'll try not to resent me when everything starts falling apart?" she looked up at him, hoping the answer was yes. "Because it will, and it won't be perfect. But you're enough for me."
The question asked was a loaded one, and maybe he shouldn’t have asked it because he wasn’t sure that he wanted to hear the answer. His heart was just as bruised as his jawline, and it couldn’t handle another hit or it would absolutely be done for. And, she was the only one who could control that at this point. Don’t run away, don’t run away. Where would she go? Somewhere. She seemed to have a knack for vanishing into thin air, it seemed.
He was being selfish, and he knew that. He was asking her to agree to a life of…well, of everything she had just experienced. No one was going to forget it. They could be 90 years old and people would still be talking about that morning at the University where some random girl tried to break the Prince’s jaw, and then they ended up together. And…lived happily ever after? Or something. More than that, though, he was asking her to give into a life of constant scrutiny, and rules, and having to keep up a certain image, and so much more. The laws were old and out-dated and…stupid, but he didn’t even think he was technically ‘allowed’ to be with an American. Not to marry one, anyway. But who said anything about getting married? He had been groomed to ask that question since he was thirteen years old. It was the most important thing to his family; that he get married and have kids. You would have thought it was the British Victorian Era.
The way her hands moved over his shoulders, down over his chest, and stomach. It was like that was determining what her answer was going to be. He would have encouraged her to trail her hands over every square inch of him if it was going to make her answer easier. But he kept quiet, watching her hands glide over him in slow motion. He silently prayed that she would pull his shirt off so he could use that as permission to do the same to her. And…that would in turn give him permission to push her back against the wall and trail his lips across her neck, and over her chest, and stomach..right? It gave him the right to press his fingers into her hips and breathe her in with a desire he didn’t think was possible until he met her…right?
And there it was. You’re enough. No one had ever said…anything like that to him before. In fact, just the opposite. He had never been enough for anyone. He wasn’t doing his job or he wasn’t doing it well enough, he wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t responsible enough, wasn’t compassionate enough. But to her, he was…enough. And that was enough for him.
Luke had taken the time to make a phone call to his driver, who had taken him out there in the first place, asking for enough groceries to last a couple days between the two of them. Luke was about as far from a picky eater as there was, and he assumed that if Lucy had anything she didn’t like, she would have either told him or just…would ask that they make something else. One perk to being a royal was that things never took very long, and it seemed as though the driver was running his own food delivery service with as quickly as he’d come; two full brown sacks in hand with food. Luke’s only reminder was not to tell anyone where they were.
It felt…right, being in that house with Lucy. Almost like it was their own and they were just living their day-to-day lives, and this was all part of their routine. When there was silence, it wasn’t awkward, when there was conversation, it was understood and could be serious or playful with no consequences. When he touched her, his fingertips burned, and when he kissed her, he forgot about any other need for nourishment.
Their morning was probably spread all over the news by now, and all over the Internet from cell phone cameras and whatnot. In a way, he was thankful there was no television there. No way to feel trapped by the outside when you could feel so free inside the small space, and as night started to roll around, Luke began to realize just how…imperfectly incredible this all could be.
Pulling a beer from the fridge, he stood in front of the glowing light for a moment, doing the same after opening the attached freezer to scan over the food they’d put away earlier. He wasn’t much of a cook. That was a lie, he wasn’t a cook at all. It was actually a little embarrassing, for a man who claimed that he wanted to live a ‘normal’ life. Sure, he could throw a piece of meat and some potatoes with different seasonings over an open fire, but that wasn’t a possibility now. So he bought himself some time by starting up a different kind of fire in the small fireplace that would warm the house as the night got colder. It didn’t take long to do with a stack of wood already prepared, but he was stalling the fact that he had to admit to Lucy that he didn’t…really know how to cook. “You hungry at all, love?” He would look over at her with raised brows, trying to keep everything as casual as possible. What was he going to suggest? Making a bowl of cereal?
The Bleeding Rose
Lucy realized something in those hours that she'd been missing her entire life. Happiness was not a constant state of giddiness. It didn't mean having a future free of problems, a bucket full of thousand dollar bills, or a closet full of expensive clothing. It wasn't cheesecake or vacations, or jewelry or good grades. Happiness was a contentedness with where you were, a comfortable silence, a casual touch of the shoulder as you walked past someone you loved. It was knowing that you had someone to go to when things fell apart.
Her parents had been supportive, and she'd had a few friends, but she'd never had that. The sheer comfort of having him there, it was such a relief she could have cried. The day flew by, or wore on, she couldn't tell. She didn't care. She was too busy enjoying life, being happy. She'd never been one to dream of marriage, or really a relationship of any sort. But in that house with Luke, she found herself dreaming.
What if they could stay like this forever? What if they could have this every day for eternity? The comfort of one another, the company, someone to joke with or sit next to silently. She didn't know where she was going, or what she was doing, but she knew it had to involve him. There was no future worth experiencing that didn't involve his hands hand in hers. There wasn't a day worth living where she couldn't look into those brown eyes, or feel the electricity between them when his lips brushed against hers.
Of course, they weren't living in reality either. The driver showing up at the door was proof of that. Anything they wanted, well, anything material, was at their fingertips. Or rather, his fingertips. She spent a lot of that day watching him. The way he moved, the way he spoke, trying to understand. While she felt as though she'd known him her whole life, there were still plenty of things about Luke she didn't quite understand.
As the sun set and the house grew chilly, he lit a fire, and she stood close by. Watching his hands work, watching the flame light up his features. It was like a flashback to when they'd first met, and she lost herself in the urge to reach out and touch him. Of course, that was a little scary as well. Every time they'd kissed before, there had always been a reason to stop. Or, at least some sort of interruption. Here, alone, just the two of them, there was nothing to stop it from going further. At least, nothing but her asking him to stop. Would she have the strength to? Would she want to? Would it be too embarrassing to even consider? It was the only part of their time together that had her on edge, on her guard, nervous and excited all at the same time. She wanted to touch him, badly, press herself up against him and let her lips find his...but she couldn't. Because there in the dark, just the two of them with all of the silence and the antique furniture...the unknown scared her. It scared her more than the thought of all the calls she was missing from her mother.
He asked if she was hungry, and nodded, making her way into the kitchen, expecting him to follow. She opened the fridge, peering around for something comforting. She wanted to eat something that would fill the place with it's aroma, warm and inviting, homey. "Do you like lasagna?" she asked him, pulling a frozen package out and holding it up for him to see.
1. Luke could have spent days like that with Lucy for years. But that was the whole idea, wasn’t it? Being comfortable and content enough with someone where you didn’t need constant reassurance and constant…flashiness. His life was about as flashy as you could get, so being in that house with her was the definition of happiness. Of course, it wasn’t reality, but was happiness ever really that close with reality to begin with?
He also wanted to…date her, as simple and juvenile as that may have sounded. There was a fine line, he was figuring out, and he didn’t want to cross it. With his title, he could pretty much do anything he wanted. Money was no object, he had access to anything and everything, and could give her anything she wanted. But he had never been the kind of guy to use that to his advantage, contrary to what the media liked to think. Sure, it was easy for him to get women because of who he was, but that was probably why his relationships in the past had been so shallow and meaningless. He didn’t want Lucy to think less of him because he was a Prince. How was that for a turnaround? But he was embarrassed by it, in a way, because he craved normalcy, and would never, ever get it. His life would most likely be cut short never knowing what it was like to just…live in peace, constantly.
Still, he wanted to be able to take her out, even if that meant going to the pub for a pint or walking around her campus. They didn’t need to stereotype their roles, he knew that. He didn’t need to ‘take care of her’ and she didn’t need to wait on him. But he did have a desire to make sure she was happy, and he just hoped more than anything that he could provide that for her, because they both had a hell of a lot of struggle ahead of them. Him, maybe even more. Then again, it was another lie he was keeping from her. That sounded awful. It wasn’t a lie. She didn’t ask him if he had cancer and he said ‘no’. There was a part of him that realized his time was limited, and that should have made him want to be wild and reckless and see the world and…do stupid things. But all he wanted to do was be with her.
As the fire started to roar, almost instantly heating the room that held it, Luke glanced over at Lucy as she pulled a frozen lasagna from the freezer. She knew what she was doing. Good. He was off the hook for now. “Sure, that sounds great.” He gave a nod, hoping to God she didn’t ask him for some kind of help. It was a convenience meal for most people, he knew that. So how idiotic would he be if he didn’t at least know how to make that? Suddenly that bowl of cereal was sounding pretty incredible.
The idea had crossed his mind more than once that day that it was just the two of them there, and neither had any intention of running away. Arguing? Maybe eventually over something. That seemed to be in their nature. But he would get to fall asleep with her in his arms; the one thing he’d been aching for over three weeks. That was a long time to feel that kind of lonely pain. Of course, it didn’t take much for his mind to wander elsewhere, too. They had kissed, and if he had to die that day with just that, he would have been the happiest man who ever lived. Because she was just that worth it. But when you felt that way about someone…the way he felt about her…it was impossible not to want more, to let that wonder get the best of you, and to literally crave that person. He didn’t know her ‘history’ any more than she knew his, aside from what she may have read that probably wasn’t even true, but that didn’t matter to him in the least. What did matter was how they felt, and where things would go from that.
Stepping into the kitchen with her, he looked over the box of lasagna. Instructions. Good. He could at least read, even if he wasn’t a five-star chef. It actually looked simple enough. Set the oven and put in the plastic package that housed the Italian dish. If it was that easy, he would be making them lasagna every night for the rest of their lives.
The Bleeding Rose
"Let me guess...you don't know how to eat a meal without potatoes? Don't worry, I won't deny you your culture." she teased him, pulling a few potatoes out of of the paper bag that was waiting on the counter, containing all of the food that hadn't needed to be put n the fridge. She smirked over at him, leaning closer to glance at the back of the lasagna package. After setting the potatoes by the sink and turning the water on so it would get warm, she pre heated the oven to the temperature on the back of the plastic container.
Her cooking class was nothing too incredibly difficult, but she did in fact know how to fry up potatoes. She worked quickly, washing and peeling them with a knife, slicing them into thin pieces on the wooden island when she couldn't find a cutting board. She put a large pan on the stove and poured in a little olive oil, adding the thinly slice potatoes and pouring a little more oil on top. Before long they were sizzling loudly, and she stood next to the oven with a large wooden spoon, stirring occasionally so they wouldn't burn.
Lucy paid no attention to whether or not he was watching her, or whether or not he was actually doing something productive. She was content with the simple fact that he was...well, there. It was a comfort, to be able to stand and work in silence and know someone was there to appreciate it with you. In fact, it was probably the most relaxed she'd felt in a long time.
Her mind wandered, of course. How could she not wonder if they would get to live like this someday? Just the two of them, side by side, just...living. Normalcy, peace, quiet, the simple trials and chores to keep them busy and long nights to hold one another. Would there be kids? Did he want kids? Did SHE want kids? She'd never been a huge fan of them. In fact, three weeks ago she probably would have stated with certainty that she would never marry and start a family. Now, though...her priorities were starting to change. It didn't sound so bad, not with Luke. Then again, nothing sounded bad with Luke's name thrown in.
It wasn't that she was exactly keen on the idea, but it didn't sound nearly as terrible as it had before. At some point or another she sudden urge to go to the bathroom overcame her, probably because the water in the house tasted ten time better than in her dorm and she'd been chugging it all day long. "Can you watch these?" she asked Luke, not waiting for an answer before she set the spoon aside and headed out of the kitchen.
Just his luck, the oven went off at the same moment, blaring loudly to announce it was hot enough to receive their lasagna. "And throw that in the oven?" Lucy was gone before he could reply, or even properly panic.
Luke watched Lucy cook as though he was watching his favorite movie and he hadn't been able to see it in years. Sometimes she would move in a way that seemed slow motion, and he wouldn't complain about that because it gave him extra seconds to just...watch her do something that came so naturally to her. Even as her hands worked to peel potatoes, and slice them up, he watched...probably seeming a little useless since he wasn't helping. He'd chopped plenty of potatoes before on his own, like when he went camping or if he got together at a friend's place for dinner, but...honestly that was about the extent of his cooking ability, aside from throwing a piece of meat onto a grill.
Lucy was an artist at the whole thing, though, and the whole kitchen was her pallet. She worked effortlessly, and the reason he didn't chime in with any of it was because he was in such a trace just watching her move around, doing something as simple as stirring potatoes. He had never known a whole day and evening like this; soaking up the silence with someone. Loving someone. That alone probably seemed insane, but he knew. He knew that he loved her, and when you felt that kind of intensity you imagined that you would feel it for a lifetime. If Lucy was taken from him now, he would have never been the same, and he would have never gotten over it.
Dinner was simple; a pre-packaged lasagna and potatoes. What guy wouldn't love that kind of meal? It was perfect, and a far cry from whatever his family and others in the palace would be eating that night. That's what made it even better, though. It took everything he had int he form of restraint not to distract Lucy as she cooked. He wasn't sure why he found the whole process so attractive on her, but he did, and he just...wanted to be closer to her, all the time. Wrap his arms around her from behind as she stood by the stove, trail his lips down her neck, forget about food altogether (not a common occurrence for him).
Just like that, though, his trance was broken as she left him in charge of things while she went to the bathroom. An instant wave of panic. In charge. Of food...that was cooking. The oven was on, the stove was going, things were...moving along, and she was leaving in the middle of it. Don't panic, Luke...the potatoes are practically done, and all you do with the lasagna is throw it in the oven.
A pep talk was necessary.
"Sure, no problem." No problem...no problem at all. He gave the potatoes a quick stir for good measure, even though they probably didn't need it, before ripping open the package that housed the lasagna. He looked at the black tray that it was in for a minute. Everything was prepared, down to parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. With a shrug of his shoulders, Luke opened the oven door to be met by a wave of heat, tossing the tray in into the hot oven and closing the door. A sense of accomplishment came over him as he gave a defining nod. There, that wasn't so hard. They would be eating hot, bubbling lasagna in no time.
The Bleeding Rose
Lucy caught a glimpse of her face in the mirror as she left the bathroom. A trail of blotchy bruises traveled along her jaw line and cheek bone. Her hair was still up, a few stray pieces escaping to frame her face. And...was she smiling? Yes. Grinning like an idiot. It was humiliating, but she couldn't help it. Despite the rough morning, this had turned out to be one of the best days of her life. She was happy. Grin like an idiot while washing your hands happy. Her elbow had scabbed over disgustingly, her knuckles were still still swollen, but she was genuinely happy.
When she returned to the kitchen everything seemed to be in order, and she continued to stir the potatoes. Some people might have wanted a TV, or a radio, something to fill the silence. Not her. She was perfectly content living in silence with Luke for the rest of her like. But then again, it wasn't completely silent. Before long the potatoes were hissing loudly, golden brown and no doubt delicious. Her stomach growled as she dished them out onto two plates, glancing over at the oven, longing for the lasagna to be finished.
Those frozen meals always took far too long to cook. Impatient as ever, she decided that glancing to see if it was close to being done wouldn't hurt. As she cracked open the oven, a wave of heat hit her face, followed by a rush of toxic fumes. She backed away immediately, the oven door still open, coughing and covering her mouth to try to block out the horrible smell. What could possibly smell so horrible? It was lasagna! That's when she saw it, the plastic melting and curling in on itself. "Shit!" she scrambled for a pair of hot pads, prying the melted plastic away from the rack and throwing the whole mess into the sink, unable to stop herself from coughing over the disgusting fumes. The oven needed to be cleaned, but she settled for slamming the door shut and turning it off.
Her eyes fixed on the melted, burnt, disgusting mess steaming in the sink...and then they traveled over to Luke. "You do realize when I said 'throw that in the oven' I meant without the plastic and in a pan?" She spoke slowly, carefully, as if he were a child who may not realize what he'd done wrong.
That's when it hit her. He was a Prince. Well, no, she'd realized that before...but he was a Prince. He would never have to cook for himself, do his own laundry, sweep the floor. That was all taken care of for him. Of course he would look at the lasagna and assume it could be thrown into the oven in it's perfect little container. Before she could help it, a bubble of laughter escaped from between her lips. She clamped a hand over her mouth, face red with the effort. "I'm sorry." she choked. "It's just that..." she couldn't even get it out, doubling over, unable to stifle the laughter. "You put plastic in the oven!"