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Guiding Star

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FANFICTION

SPY X FAMILY

Guiding Star

CHAPTER XXVI: Little Secret

 

Anya blinked, a little in awe at the beautiful Grand Theatre, illuminated with Christmas lights. It twinkled like a jewellery box, and they hadn’t even stepped in.

 

It was one of the oldest theatre on the continent, built and decorated from an old style that gave it an atmosphere unlike any other place in Berlint. Any play, any opera, any show presented by the Grand Theatre was of a certain quality and the tickets were expensive and still, often went away in just a few hours.

 

Observing Anya’s sparkling eyes and awe, Damian couldn’t help but smile as he slowly guided her towards the big stairs.

 

“Have you ever been to the Grand Theatre before?”

 

“A few times, with my parents, but it was always the afternoon representations. It seems… different.”

 

They climbed to the grand entrance, decorated in golden details and they entered the main entrance. A man in a fancy suit, but obviously a member of staff, greeted them and guided them to a giant room where canapes, champagne, cocktails and other drinks and foods were distributed to an entire crowd of fancy rich people. They all knew each other, they all talked in small groups, visibly used to such experiences.

 

Glancing around at the other members of audience, all dressed up in rich dresses and expensive jewellery, Anya felt a little out of place. The way these people greeted each other, talked, smiled, behaved, was so different from the few times she had gone to the Grand Theatre. Each and every time, it had been in the day time to begin with, and she clearly remembered running on the red carpet as a child. There was no running tonight, no matter the level of excitement. These ladies seemed to be floating over the ground, it was how lightly they were walking. She had initially thought that Becky had overdressed her, but clearly, her friend had known what to do. Still, she felt clumsy in that beautiful dress she was wearing, with so few accessories compared to these rich women.

 

Even though she attended Eden Academy, she wasn’t used to such luxurious events. Her friends behaved normally, although they also owned yachts, houses and whatever else when she did not. She never minded. But now, she felt inadequate and awkward. She hadn’t been raised to attend such places, to behave in such a way, and she stood out like a sore thumb.

 

Sensing her nervousness, Damian squeezed the hand she had against his elbow. She turned to him, looking a little bewildered.

 

“The evening shows are always more refined, especially on special occasions like tonight. It’s the day after Christmas and it’s the last show for Roma and Juliet.”

 

“I feel like these people are going to take one look at me and decide to hunt me with spikes,” she mumbled in a low voice.

 

Damian couldn’t help the laugh that escaped him, which attracted the curious attentions of several attendees. He quickly ignored them, turning to Anya as they slowly made their way through the room, not stopping next to anyone in particular.

 

“Then, they’ll eat me as one of their little canapé, or worse a mini-sausage…” she continued, clearly taking comfort in his laughter and ease.

 

“I can assure you that, as far as I know, there’s no cannibalism here. Although I’m afraid I can’t help you if they decide to hunt you down.” He answered on a light-hearted tone.

 

She glanced up at him, mildly annoyed, but his smug grin was impossible to resist:

 

“Hey, I’ve got a reputation to protect!”

 

What reputation?” she mocked, rolling her eyes.

 

“Mr Desmond!”

 

That one, Damian thought as he made them stop and turn towards a group of gentlemen.

 

“How lovely to see you! How have you been since the last time we met, last summer, was it?”

 

“Yes, for your daughter’s birthday. How is Elisabeth, sir?” Damian replied with an easy countenance that surprise Anya.

 

She was so used to see him in Eden, flapping his Imperial Scholar cape and glaring at anyone who would bother his study session (usually, yours truly, Anya herself), that she had never bothered imagining him in the middle of such refined society. But it was where he had been born, where he had grown up in.

 

He was a fish in water. And she was a crab stuck on its carapace on the sand.

 

“Well, very well!”

 

The man glanced at Anya but purposefully didn’t say a thing. He looked at her from head to toe.

 

Tch, I guess Desmond isn’t available anymore. Elisabeth will be heartbroken. I have never met this girl though, her hair looks sad.

 

She startled at those thoughts, with such a smile plastered on his face.

 

“And who is the lovely lady accompanying you?” he asked Damian, ignoring her completely.

 

“My name is Anya Forger, and the lovely lady can speak for herself,” she intervened with a determined look on her face.

 

From the way the men all looked at her, she had done a social faux-pas. Damian smiled proudly, looking back at Elisabeth’s father.

 

“She is one of my fellow Imperial Scholar at Eden, and my girlfriend,” he added confidently.

 

“An Imperial Scholar?” another man said, immediately finding more interest in Anya.

 

“You must be truly talented and bright, to attract Mr Desmond’s attention of all people!” Another commented.

 

They shook her hand quickly, congratulating her, congratulating them both. Even Elisabeth’s father finished by leaving with an elegant bow, although he was silently cursing, but only Anya knew it.

 

“Damian!”

 

They turned towards a man who must have been in his fifties, tall and lean, with an elegant moustache.

 

“Uncle Tim!” Damian exclaimed, and Anya recalled this man as the one who was as close as an uncle to Damian, the one who had gotten them these tickets… and the director the Grand Theatre.

 

“How lovely to see you! I am sorry I missed your brother’s gala this year, but you know how far away it is from my wife’s family estate…” Tim said as he came to them.

 

“Don’t worry about it, Demetrius was so busy he probably didn’t notice.”

 

“Ah, I heard a few rumours… is this true, then?” he continued in a low voice.

 

Damian nodded gravely, knowing well enough his almost uncle to know what he meant.

 

Then, these boys are finally flying on their own. Hopefully, it will be for the best. For them and for this country. But I trust them… Tim thought, forcing a smile on his face before turning towards Anya.

 

“Is this the charming lady I heard of so much? I am enchanted to meet you, young Miss Forger,” he continued, taking her free hand to kiss it.

 

“Ah, nice to meet you too, sir,” she answered automatically.

 

Mmm, she is pretty enough. I wonder what else there is between these two. Damian isn’t the type of young men to just be attracted by pretty things…

 

“I heard you are an Imperial Scholar, is this correct? Is this how you two met, then?” he continued, genuinely curious.

 

“Oh, we’ve been in the same class since we begun at Eden, ten years ago,” Damian answered.

 

“I punched him in the face on the very first day for being a little brat,” she added with a teasing glance at him.

 

Damian flushed, eyes widening in mortification to be publicly reminded of such an event.

 

Tim stared at them, blinking, absolutely bewildered by such a turn of event.

 

“You…” Damian grumbled, gritting his teeth.

 

“Don’t be irritated, it taught you an essential lesson.”

 

“Ah? And what would that be?”

 

“That you weren’t as high and mighty as you thought you were,” she replied, raising her right fist to the side of his face.

 

She gently bumped his cheek, right where she had hit him, a decade ago. He grabbed her wrist, kissing her knuckles quickly, glaring at her.

 

Tim suddenly started laughing.

 

“AH! Ah, I see! That’s why!!”

 

It drew Damian and Anya’s attention back to him, as he tried to control his laughter.

 

“Please! You are welcome anytime here, Miss Forger! It would be a delight to learn more about you, and everything you’ve taught this young man!”

 

These two are perfect for each other!

 

It made Anya flush, but her hand tightened on Damian’s arm who tried to hide his own embarrassment.

 

“Tim…”

 

“I know, I know, but I want to learn more about the two of you. The show will start very soon, please, enjoy it!”

 

He tapped Damian’s shoulder energetically, before leaning towards him to whisper discreetly, but Anya heard through Damian’s thoughts.

 

“She’s a firecracker, it’s a good thing for you, but good luck in the future, Damian!”

 

“Tim! I… know that. I know perfectly well what I got myself into…” Damian replied, cheeks taking a pink tone.

 

“I’m very glad to see you so happy, Damian,” he continued, looking at both young people this time, “It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Forger.”

 

He kissed her hand and Anya smiled at the warmth radiating from this man. As he walked away, Damian started guiding her towards their attributed seats.

 

“He seems very nice, and very happy for you,” she commented.

 

“Ah, he really is one of the kindest persons I’ve ever met. He helped so much for my final essay last year, about ‘Cyrano de Bergamon’…”

 

“So that’s why you got such an unexpectedly high grade…” she teased.

 

“Oh, shut up,” he replied, “As if your parents don’t help you with homework.”

 

“Touché.”

 

Someone looked at their ticket and started guiding them to their booth. They crossed path with more people who sent curious looks at Anya the moment they recognised Damian.

 

Who is this young woman?

 

I don’t recognise her, is she special?

 

Is the young Desmond showing off his popularity?

 

Oh, so the little Desmond isn’t so innocent anymore… Playing womanizer, uh?

 

He’s brave to show up in public after what his brother did…

 

Damn Desmond family, I’ll make them pay

 

That last one made Anya react. She looked over her shoulder at the man who had thought that. She wasn’t being discreet at all. The two men who had been conversing caught her glancing at them and they immediately glared.

 

Who does she think she is?

 

What an impertinent child

 

“Anya, are you alright?”

 

She turned back towards Damian, forcing a smile on her face.

 

“O-of course… I’m just… I can’t help admiring the beauty everywhere…”

 

A door was opened, and they walked into a private booth, with snacks (including peanuts, to her delight) and glasses of champagne. The seats were some of the most comfortable she had ever sat on and from there, they could see the entire stage. She had always thought it’d be annoying to look from such an angle but it was much better than expected. Besides…

 

As soon as they were alone, Damian took her hand in his and leaned over to kiss her cheek.

 

“You look splendid,” he whispered in her ear.

 

Besides, the intimacy was the best part of it.

 

“No one can see us from here,” he whispered in her ear.

 

She flushed, and the dirty thoughts that flooded her brain, for once, had nothing to do with his desires.

 

“You were great earlier. You handled it like a champion…” he commented with a smile.

 

But the other men’s thoughts, against the Desmond haunted her.

 

“Damian, what… did your brother do, exactly?” she asked, expression dark.

 

He tightened his lips, frowning to himself.

 

She must have heard what Tim mentioned… Hopefully no one will talk about it tonight, I don’t want to drag her into this…

 

“He just made his decision public, for his political career. He didn’t join the National Unity Party, after all. He created his own party.”

 

Even half-following his thoughts, that surprised Anya.

 

“Really? But then…”

 

“A lot of people are angry at him for that. But don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to you.”

 

They’d be a fool to target me, or worse, anyone I care about. Demetrius is the one who needs a higher security… Perhaps Diana too, if their relationship becomes official but I doubt they’ll do anything of the sorts while Demetrius is just starting his party.

 

He squeezed her hand, just as the lights went down. Everyone’s little conversations quieted down and soon enough; the play’s cast had drawn the full attention of the theatre.

 

The actors did a marvellous job bringing the play to life and giving it something particularly special. Or perhaps Anya and Damian just felt more drawn than usual to this play after what had happened between them, just a few weeks prior. When the most famous scene, the gazebo scene, their scene, came up, their hands tightened.

 

“It is my lady, O, it is my love!

O, that she knew she were!

She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.

I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.”

 

Damian turned towards Anya, watching her expression of awe and her eyes twinkling under the faraway light of the stage.

 

She sensed his gaze and turned his way, cheeks rosy and perfect.

 

“What if her eyes were there, they in her head?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,

As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not night.

See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!

O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek!”

 

He mouthed the words as he cupped her cheek, leaning towards her slowly. She closed her eyes, tilting her chin upwards as their lips met. Her fingers brushed his cheek, slowly caressing their way to his jaw. A featherlight touch as they kissed, longingly, tenderly, a thousand promises in their hearts.

 

Eyes closed, foreheads pressed together, they held hands tightly as the play continued. They didn’t need to look at it, for no matter how brilliant the actors were, they had none of the truth that shone between the two of them.

 

Damian eventually put an arm around Anya’s shoulders, pulling her, and her chair, closer. She rested her head on his shoulder. He jolted in joy for a short moment at the realisation that they had never sat so closely, so intimately, but the peace they felt soon overcome the thrill of it.

 

Holding hands, bodies melted together, they watched the play unfold. When tears and sobs took over Anya, he tightened his hold on her.

 

“Promise me we won’t let our story become a tragedy,” she whispered in his ear when the death scenes shook the entire audience.

 

“I promise,” he murmured, recalling these very words he had said just before he had run after her that day.

 

“It doesn’t have to be a tragedy… I refuse to believe star-crossed lovers are inevitably doomed to sorrow.”

 

She relaxed in his arms, as they watched the last few scenes unfold. The city brought back together, unified in peace, at the price of two innocent lovers’ lives.

 

When the play was finished, Anya eagerly stood up to applaud, like most of the theatre. Damian joined her, as the lights were brought back on. It took them, well, mostly Anya, a moment to get over all the tears, but by the time they stepped out of the booth, she was smiling.

 

“It was amazing! Incredible! I don’t think I had ever seen such a perfect interpretation of Roma and Juliet!”

 

“Yes, it really was splendid,” he agreed, holding her hand tight.

 

They walked out into the main hall and Anya slowed down.

 

“Ah, give me a moment, please,” she asked him shyly.

 

She nodded towards the toilets, and he let her go.

 

“I’ll wait for you in the main hall,” he answered.

 

She hurried into the small corridor for the toilets, and he took a few more steps, admiring a few of the paintings in the main hall that he had never bothered looking at in all his previous visits there. Unlike the beginning of the play, at the end, the attendees usually left pretty quickly, saying quick goodbyes before going out to walk into their awaiting cars or taxis. Rapidly, only a few waiting people, like Damian, or a couple of small groups still discussing the play, were still there.

 

“And I’m telling you that we can’t do anything at the moment–” a man hissed, viciously enough that it drew Damian’s attention.

 

He glanced around, quickly finding sight of the three men who were talking to each other in a nearby alcove. He was slightly elevated, so they didn’t see him standing there, close enough to hear their conversation. No one else seemed to have noticed them. He went back to his admiration of the painting of a sinking ship, but the men’s next words shook him to the core:

 

“Desmond will be over the moment it comes into the light,” a second answered.

 

Damian froze completely, immediately thinking that it was about his father’s past crimes. He glanced discreetly, trying not to make himself known, and he recognized two men from the National Unity Party, and the third was unknown, wearing thick, round glasses.

 

“We can’t make a move yet, we need more information.”

 

“Do you really need this one?” the first man asked impatiently.

 

“Yes, they are essential for the future of our research. Our agent is investigating and gathering intel. This environment is too unique, the personal development, and–”

 

“Never mind that, how is the next phase going?”

 

Loud laughter smothered the answer and Damian only caught a few words as the other group of men left the theatre. There were only four gentlemen waiting for their ladies, himself included, and these three men who obviously had an angry tooth against the Desmond.

 

But it doesn’t sound like they want to bring my father’s crimes to light. What are they talking about, then? He thought, trying to listen, as discreetly as he could.

 

“–Successfully moved to the new border’s facilities.”

 

“And you are sure we can’t trace anything there?”

 

“No, it’s far too removed, and looks too abandoned. No one will even think of it as a possibility!”

 

“As for Desmond, we’ll make our own move, but let’s wait New Year to pass. He’s too secluded in his estate at the moment. We’ll hit when it’s the most unexpected, and we’ll hit where it hurts the most.”

 

Sudden terror tightened Damian’s stomach. What did they plan against his brother?

 

He turned around, back to the men, and walked to the nearest till where one last staff was closing everything.

 

“Give me a phone,” he ordered in a low voice.

 

“Sir?”

 

“Give me a phone, right now!”

 

The man was too tired after a long shift to answer. He pushed the phone that was on his desk. Damian picked up the phone and started making a number, but he stopped half-through.

 

Should he call the SSS? But then, what? Even if he knew two of the men’s names, he had only overheard things, he had no proof, no other witness. Call his brother? But then he’d worry, and what was he supposed to tell him? That what he already suspected might happen was happening?

 

Before he could make a decision, Anya reappeared. She looked for Damian and the moment she caught sight of him, his tormented thoughts hit her.

 

Demetrius is in danger, but what should I do? These men threatened him, but no one else heard–

 

She looked around, gaze narrowing at the group of three men walking out of the door. Without even making a sign towards Damian to warn him of her presence, she started walking after them, to catch up to them, find out their thoughts, their true intentions. She recognized two of them as the ones with the dark thoughts before the play.

 

The third one opened the door for them, half-turning. He caught sight of her. Anya froze. He looked back at her, momentarily confused.

 

She recognized that towering man. She recognized those glasses.

 

And when he smirked, she knew he recognized her too.

 

My, hello, Test Subject 007… he thought, aiming his attention at her.

 

She shuddered.

 

She was a child again, looking up at this tall, scary man. She was a child again, lost in a maze of white walls and electric chairs.

 

A sudden touch on her arm had her jump, grabbing Damian’s wrist tightly enough that he cried out in pain. She stopped herself before she’d break his bone.

 

“Anya!” he exclaimed.

 

She let him go and turned back but the door was just closing. She hurried there, high heels clicking on the marble tiles.

 

“Anya, wait!” he called, going after her, massaging his wrist.

 

She rushed through the door and down the stairs, looking both sides, but there was no one. Nothing, except one black car driving away. She took a step forward, glancing at the plaque number, but Damian grabbed her shoulder just then, whipping her back towards him:

 

“What is wrong with you?!” he exclaimed.

 

She turned her head back to the car, but it turned a corner. She cursed to herself, she had only caught half of the plaque number, but it might be enough.

 

“What happened? What is it?” Damian continued, trying to get her attention back to himself.

 

“I…”

 

Is she okay? What did she see? Why is she so panicked right now? I’ve never seen her behave like that… She followed those three men, there’s no way she knows them, right? Or overheard anything they were saying about my brother…

 

“I thought I had… heard those men… say bad things…” she lied, looking away.

 

Ah, damn it. I didn’t want to drag her into any of it!

 

“It’s okay, they’re… they’re gone now…” he said, his touch becoming softer, “Whatever you heard, they won’t do anything.”

 

“They threatened your brother! You!” she exclaimed, although, truth be told, it was for her life that she was trembling.

 

“My brother is too powerful to be touched, nothing will happen to him. I promise. As soon as we get back to my mother’s apartment, I’ll give him a call, he’ll take care of it.”

 

But she was far from reassured about any of it. Damian turned towards a butler, ordering him with sharp words to bring the Desmond car. He drew her into his arms, trying to bring back the comforting feeling they had had in the theatre, but it was gone. They were both too scared, too worried, to be able to find any sort of peace.

 

Their worst nightmares were coming to life.

 

It only took half a minute for Jeremiah to bring the car over, but it was the longest half a minute of their existences.

 

They remained plunged in complete silence for the entire car ride, then Anya followed Damian through the huge golden doors, nodding to the security man sitting there. He seemed surprised to see Damian, even more to see him with a young woman.

 

“Welcome, Master Desmond,” he simply said, eying Anya suspiciously.

 

They got into an elevator and slowly made their way, ignoring the classical music that seemed out of place with their hearts. Damian was incapable of supporting such tension, especially when it hadn’t even been caused by an argument between them. He grabbed her hand, squeezing it tight.

 

“I’ll show you the bathroom, and the bedroom that has been prepared for you. One of my mother’s maids, Mariam, is in the apartment but I expect that she’s sleeping.”

 

He paused, cheeks flushing a little.

 

“We’ll be just the two of us for now but… tomorrow morning, we have to make sure Mariam doesn’t catch us together. I remember her habits well enough, I’ll wake us up both before she could figure out anything.”

 

“So… so… we’ll sleep together tonight, right?” Anya asked hesitantly.

 

Her tone of voice made him less confident, he glanced at her quickly.

 

“I-if you want to… n-nothing has to happen, I don’t… expect anything, and I made a promise to your father I’d be a gentleman but… um, our bedrooms will connect, I made sure of it. I-if you want to join me, you can… if you’d rather not… I understand.”

 

He couldn’t hide his disappointment.

 

After what happened tonight, our entire date is ruined! The mood? Gone! All because of my brother’s stupid announcement of creating his own party! He couldn’t wait a few more days so Anya and I could enjoy our time together, no?!

 

Before she could answer that she really, really, really wanted to stay with him for as long as possible, the elevator stopped. The doors opened, resonating loudly in the dead of night but she imagined that such fancy apartments were very well isolated.

 

Damian took her to the apartment at the very end of the corridor. He opened the door, entering on quiet feet. Everything was dark but even then, Anya could see how richly furnished it was.

 

“Come this way,” he said, putting his hand on her lower back to guide her through, “Mariam is on the opposite side of the apartment, she won’t hear a thing.”

 

“Good.”

 

He glanced at her quickly, but smothered his imagination running wild. He showed her the kitchen if she needed water or food, ignored the living-room, then the hall with their bedrooms. The biggest one was his mother’s, which he just indicated with a wave of his hand, and then two guest rooms. The ones he or Demetrius, or any of her friends might use if they visited. He took her into the bedroom that would be hers for the night, turning on the light and pointing at the other door.

 

“This door connects to my room, it’s open if you want to come in. Just across the hall, you have the bathroom and there’s probably uh, make-up stuff and things…”

 

“I packed some,” she indicated, finding sight of her bag that had been brought earlier by the driver.

 

“Good. I’ll… uh, I’ll go call my brother. Take your time, and uh…”

 

He hesitated, going from one foot to the other shyly. He looked down, cheeks turning red.

 

If she wants to join me, she will, if not… I’ll swallow back my disappointment.

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning, then…”

 

He made to turn around, but Anya grabbed his wrist:

 

“I-I’m sorry for earlier, I-I panicked, the way I reacted, I…”

 

He opened and closed his lips, before entwining their fingers together.

 

“Hey, we couldn’t predict these men would be here.”

 

Demetrius warned me, I should have been better prepared, kept her safe, he thought bitterly to himself even though he put on a brave smile for her.

 

“My brother will settle this in a matter of minutes. You don’t have to worry, Anya.”

 

He leaned down and kissed her cheek, but she held him there.

 

“I-I loved the evening… I-I don’t want it to end with us in different bedrooms…” she murmured, cheeks burning.

 

He watched her with widened eyes, a little surprised by it. He nodded, not quite knowing what to do.

 

“Y-yes, of course, anything you want,” he answered.

 

She nodded and he left, ideas running full speed through his head.

 

Once alone, she took off her heels, grimacing at the slight needle-like pain in her feet. She wasn’t used to wearing heels for so long.

 

She glanced around, amazed by the richness of the “guest” room of Dafni Desmond’s city apartment. From what she had understood, Dafni spent most of autumn and winter in here, and went back to the family estate in the warmer seasons.

 

Her bed was king sized, far larger and bigger than her own, or even her parents’. It was covered in white and cream sheets with lots of fluffy pillows. Several paintings decorated the room, along with vases on various wardrobes and chest of drawers. Curiously, she opened a few, that she found mostly empty, except for a few clothes that costed a year’s worth of her father’s salary but had been completely forgotten there… One was a very nice black satin robe that still had the price on it. A huge number that made her cringe.

 

As much as she loved Damian, she couldn’t help but be a little disgusted by such huge amounts of money thrown so carelessly. There wasn’t a single speck of dust in this room, it was far too well cleaned by the maids (it’d put her mama’s cleaning to shame), but she was willing to bet that no one visited this room more than a couple of times a year.

 

So much space, so much luxury… just to read magazines and meet friends once a day, maybe? That sounded like a lonesome life.

 

Regardless of what future Damian and I have, I refuse to end up a trophy wife, Anya decided.

 

She’d go mad in a week.

 

She took her toiletry from the bag she had prepared, and went into the bathroom to get ready for bed, with or without Damian, the day’s emotions were starting to get to her.

 

She saw him, standing at the other side of hall, jacket and bow tie discarded, probably in his bedroom. She tiptoed to the end of the hall, eavesdropping on his phone call with his brother, and more importantly, on his thoughts and feelings.

 

“…Hubert, and Linus Ingersleben, no doubt.” Damian answered, giving the identities of the two men he had recognized from the National Unity Party.

 

“Tch. No surprise there, these two are the worst leeches in the universe. Did you talk to them?”

 

“No, I don’t think they even knew I was there. They barely acknowledged me before the play. They were too far gone in their plans to even think they might be overheard.”

 

“Good. I’ll immediately contact the SSS and some private investigators to keep an eye on them. I don’t like the sound of everything you heard.”

 

“Are you going to ask… uh, those WISE people to do something?”

 

“…It’ll depend on what the SSS will tell me.”

 

“Are you even safe? And mother?”

 

“We are both safe and sound, no one will approach the estate. And once we’ll be back in the city, what could they possibly do? We’ll be protected by bodyguards all the time, it’s been the case for years. I’ll hire more security if that’ll reassure you.”

 

“…I’d prefer that.”

 

“Don’t worry. Hubert and Ingersleben talk big, but they never follow with their plans. Cowards.”

 

“I’d rather they remain cowards for a little while longer…”

 

“Of course.”

 

There was a pause.

 

“Damian. We’ll be safe, okay? Nothing will happen to us. Don’t worry.”

 

“Mmm.”

 

“…Did you at least enjoy the play? And uh, Miss Forger? Is she alright with all those stressful events?”

 

“She seems fine… the play was really nice.”

 

“Good. You two enjoy your evening… but not too much!”

 

“Of course not, you know me. I am a model of moderation in all circumstances.” He said in cocky irony.

 

Demetrius grumbled his disapproval.

 

Anya covered her mouth with her hand to smother her laugh. She couldn’t agree more with the older Desmond. She heard the conversation drawing to an end and she slowly made her way back to the bathroom. The last emotion she captured from Damian was immense relief and reassurance that his family would be safe no matter what.

 

She took off her makeup quickly, cleaning herself rapidly to make sure that the evening’s emotions hadn’t made her sweat too much. She put her feet into cold water to ease their aching. She quickly took down her hair, brushing through it with her fingers as she heard Damian getting ready in his bedroom.

 

She ran back into hers, suddenly impatient to press herself against him. She reached for the door that separated her from him but she hesitated. Blushing she went back to her bag but for some reason, she hadn’t thought of packing anything that would be comfortable and tempting… not that she owned anything… sexy to begin with.

 

Biting her lip, she glanced over her shoulder, at the chest of drawers she had looked into earlier.

 

She shouldn’t.

 

But it had never been worn, it still had the price tag. She shouldn’t… it was his mother’s, probably. But…

 

In his bedroom, Damian had taken off most of his restrictive clothes, and after a quick journey to the bathroom to freshen up and clean his teeth, he had come back in the bedroom, glancing at the door, heart beating fast.

 

Everything was quiet, even if there was light. If Anya had had any intention of joining him, she would have by now. Shaking his head in disappointment, swallowing back his pride, he started unbuttoning his shirt. Just as a shy knock resonated.

 

It was so quiet he thought he had dreamt it.

 

“Uh… yeah?”

 

The handle turned down and Anya poked her head through, hair falling like a curtain of wide curls after an entire evening pulled in a tight bun. Her make-up had been removed, but some smudges were still there, around her eyes, her lips were still pinker than normal.

 

“Do you… need anything?” he asked.

 

“No… do… you?” she replied, blushing without coming any closer.

 

He opened and closed his lips, fingers still frozen over his shirt’s buttons. Sensing his confusion, she took a brave step forward. His knees buckled.

 

Anya closed the door behind her, pressing her back against it, glancing up to avoid his direct, burning gaze. The black satin robe covered her, following her like a princess’ dress, the belt tight around her waist. She opened her mind to his thoughts. They ran wilder than horses in the plain.

 

She locked her gaze with his.

 

For a short moment, it was just him, just her, their thoughts and fantasies livelier than their own bodies.

 

“Anya,” he let out in a raspy voice full of sentiments they had yet to experience.

 

It broke any restraint they held over their lusts. They ran to each other, hands immediately diving into each other’s hairs as their tongues devoured the other’s mouth. Damian’s hands immediately went over her back, her waist, her hips, digging his fingers through the thin layer of that dream-inducing night robe. He immediately grabbed handfuls of the fabric, pulling, pushing as she drew her body as close to his as physically possible.

 

He pulled away, breathing hard:

 

“I made a promise to your father–”

 

“To not behave ungentlemanly to me– what gentleman would leave his lady unsatisfied?” she mumbled against his lips.

 

He growled and caught her hips. He lifted her in one swift movement, surprising her enough to make her gasp. She put her arms around his shoulder as he took her towards his bed. He let her fall, hair an aura around her head. She looked up at him, a little breathless, and he almost lost it right there.

 

He grabbed her knees, lifting them up until he could take a proper hold of her left leg, lifting it up, up, until her heel rested on his shoulder. Not detaching his gaze from hers, he turned his head just enough to kiss her ankle.

 

A kiss for a kiss.

 

Their very first kiss.

 

“Your wish is my command, my queen,” he said in a voice dark with promises.

 

Anya’s legs tightened, her cheeks darkening at the memory. He dived down, his hand tracing the length of her leg and not caring if it pushed the flimsy fabric up. He pressed his body against her, kissing her lips once more. She brushed his neck with her hands, wriggling under him. She pressed her palms against his torso, brushing the fabric of his shirt. Hesitantly, her fingers reached for the black buttons he hadn’t touched yet. She pulled lightly, glancing up at him.

 

“Is this… okay?” she asked.

 

He blinked and almost laughed.

 

“You’re asking me if it’s okay to take off my shirt, when you’re as good as naked under me? I should be the one asking that!”

 

“We both know you’re enjoying this way too much…” she answered, her eyes falling to his tempting lips.

 

Smirking, his only answer was to pull off in a quick movement the last buttons that hid his muscular torso. He took her hands and put them against his hot skin. She felt the frenetic pulses of his heartbeat. It didn’t take long for her courage to come back as she traced his pectorals, his abs, slowly making her way down.

 

He started kissing her neck and shoulders just as she eagerly pushed the shirt off his back. He quickly raised his arms from her to pull it off and throw it somewhere in the room. Her nails dug into his shoulders, drawing him closer.

 

Their kiss intensified, built up from the accumulated emotions. He kissed her deeply, intimately, caressing everything corner of her mouth, dancing with her tongue. Unlike most of their kisses so far, this one felt more. He was leaning over her, only a few centimetres and thin layers of clothes separating their bare skins. They had never been in such a position, on a bed, their mouths making wet sounds that turned them on even more.

 

Anya’s hands passed over his arms, kissing him more eagerly every time she took conscious of the muscles under her touch. She had always known him to be fit, really fit, but not to that extent. It was different to admire his arms from afar and to touch him like that. He started kissing her neck, careful not to leave any trace of what they were doing. Her fingers caressed the back of his neck, scratching her nails just enough to make him more desperate to taste her skin. She grabbed his hair in encouragement as he reached the plunging collar of the night robe that felt like delicious silk against her skin, every one of his touches intensified by the fabric.

 

One hand was resting on her waist, the other on the mattress. The one that had been good so far grabbed the belt of the robe, clumsily untying it. She helped him, fingers fumbling. The moment her undergarment was in sight, Damian bent down, kissing her collarbones, leaving little biting marks that only she and he would know about. Their little secret. He could feel, under his hot, hot lips the slight curve of her breasts.

 

It was enough to draw the other good hand that had been clenching her sheet to move to trace the lines of her stomach. He gave up having any distance between their bodies, plunging so they would be chest to chest. Her soft curves against his hard muscles.

 

Both sighed. Anya tightened her hold on his hair, dragging him upwards quickly. She wriggled under him, doing things to his body he hadn’t expected. He almost growled when her felt her most intimate part pressing against his. He plunged his gaze into hers, pressing his forehead against hers.

 

Anya… we can stop now…” he started in a breathless voice.

 

“I don’t want to stop…” she replied, caressing his lips with her fingertips.

 

He captured her fingertips into his lips, eyes burning. Never letting go of one another’s gazes, he sucked gently, before letting her fingers go free. They lingered on his chin, so tempting.

 

“We should stop now…” he continued, trying to be sensible.

 

“Remember the other night? You didn’t get your twenty percent fees,” she answered, half-serious and half-teasing.

 

He grinned, lips hovering just above hers.

 

“…What do you want me to do?” he breathed, closing his eyes.

 

“Anything you want,” she replied, nibbing at his lower lip.

 

With a growl, Damian pressed himself completely against her, capturing her lips, swallowing her gasp, as she felt, for the first time, the effect she had on him.

 

Her thighs trembled on each side of him as she felt how hot his hardening cock was, even through layers of fabric. The slightest hesitation made her move her head away but, unable to give up now, Damian kissed her neck. She closed her eyes, losing herself in his warmth once more.

 

“Y-you’re burning…” she whispered.

 

He only made a little moaning sound of agreement against her throat. He bent down, kissing her solar plexus. She swallowed hard, eyes fixed on the ceiling as he tentatively put his mouth around the golden fabric of her bra, right where her nipple was. She jumped a little at the unexpectedly good sensation. That encouraged him, his mouth giving attention to one breast, while his hand took care of the other.

 

He started pulling at her bra straps, passing one hand behind her back and pulling at the clasp. He moved away from her, frowning as he tried to focus on how to take that damn thing off.

 

Laughing, Anya deliciously bent her back, passing her own hands behind and unclasping her bra in one swift movement. She didn’t think as she threw it away, out of habit for seeking freedom.

 

“Oh…”

 

Damian sat up, looking down at her, his expression absolute reverence. His gaze held the weight of worship for ancient and forgotten gods. He growled, standing taller as his hands went down to his belt. Anya knew what was coming but she still held her breath when he sharply removed his belt and opened his trousers. They fell to his ankles, but he then hesitated, gaze going up and down, all over her body.

 

She squirmed under his burning gaze. To be looked at this way was as arousing as if he were touching her directly.

 

Keeping his distracting underwear on, his gaze finally rested back on her breasts, going up and down to the rhythm of her uneven breathing.

 

“They’re smaller than I imagined,” he remarked, even though he was glowing in absolute delight to live one of his fantasies.

 

She kicked him lightly in the side of his hip. He gasped dramatically.

 

“Hey! I’m being honest!”

 

She rolled her eyes but he bent down, quickly putting one nipple into his mouth, nibbling until she gasped and arched her back.

 

“But delicious nevertheless…” he added, kissing every inch of her breasts he could reach.

 

He spent a lovely amount of time kissing, massaging, teasing her breasts, using his tongue, teeth and fingers until he figured out what made her gasp, shiver or arch uncontrollably. The lovely butterflies of falling in love had left place for a burning hunger that urged her to move in ways she had never done before. Anya wasn’t sure what sort of instinct she was following, but she did nevertheless, long past feeling herself getting wet from his kissing and touches alone. And the sheer weight of his crotch between her legs.

 

Tentatively, she moved her hips upwards. The electrifying sensation would have frozen her, if it hadn’t been for Damian’s sudden growl. He bucked his hips against hers. Both gasped heavily.

 

W-what now? I don’t know what to do– I’m as inexperienced as her, h-how am I supposed to– to give her pleasure? He thought, trying to calm himself by kissing her neck, which actually didn’t help.

 

If Anya hadn’t been feeling so feverish, she would have laughed at how endearing his thoughts were. He was thinking of a thousand ways he would make love to her, but all he wanted was to give her pleasure, even if he wasn’t sure how.

 

The one thing Damian Desmond didn’t know. The one thing they hadn’t been able to read about in books and through their studies.

 

They were as lost as any awkward teenager dealing with intimacy for the first time could be…

 

The memory of the images that Damian had been studying came back to her mind. Anya blinked, staring at the ceiling, cheeks red. They weren’t… entirely lost and guideless… in a way… but to go into the position she had seen in his mind, a position that required her to take matters into her own hands, it was

 

Oh no, I’m too far gone, I’ll have to take care of my erection eventually, but she’s here and I can’t leave her like that!

 

Panic was blurring Damian’s thoughts. Anya shook her head, to clear her connection to his thoughts. She braced her body, tensed her muscles. She pushed him off her with unexpected strength, using her legs to roll him around. Damian gasped, blushing all over his body as she straddled him. They were too close to the edge of the bedroom. She almost fell backwards but he grabbed her by the butt. Tight.

 

Damian, eyes wide and dizzy, stared up at Anya who was now sitting over him, her hips pressing down on his. As if it wasn’t enough, she was biting her lower lip in the most tantalising way.

 

Blood, desire, rushed down to his erection. She must have felt it because her thighs tightened, almost imperceptibly. She was as soaked as he was hard.

 

They remained still for a long moment, eyes locked.

 

Damian lost first, leaning up suddenly. He captured her lips in his, kissing her deeply. Her tongue against his, her low moan, and that position destroyed him. Anya moved her hips against his, both groaning. Her hands brushed his and he let her guide his touch. Against her sides, he felt the muscles trembling under his fingertips, his hands embraced her breasts. He pushed off the satin robe, leaving her completely bare, except for the underwear that still protected her most precious treasure.

 

Oh, oh it’s happening, it’s happening, I’m touching her

 

He hesitated just a little, but Anya’s hold on his wrists was confident. Somehow. She pulled his hands against her breasts. She sighed as he cupped the soft flesh. Her nipples pressed against his palms.

 

Her hips rubbed against his length. Breathless, he showed his teeth, any sound now futile. Instinct took over. He moved his hands, his fingers, playing with the sensations, her reactions, as if he was learning to play a new instrument. The melody he was rewarded with were her sighs and moans.

 

It didn’t take long to find out what she liked. She pushed her chest closer into his hands, into his mouth, his fingers more agile than expected considering it was his very first attempt.

 

Her hips grinded against his. He bucked up in return. She gasped. He moaned. They tentatively started a new dance, between their cores, needing friction, relief, anything. Fingers digging into each other’s backs to hold onto something, they pulled away, just long enough to look into each other’s eyes, to take in the layer of sweat building on their foreheads as they bucked and thrusted.

 

Electrifying sparkles ran through their bodies, their legs, the tight coil of heat building quickly, too fast, in their lower bellies. They went faster, impatiently, roughly, drunken on the sensations their young bodies were discovering so swiftly.

 

She made one desperate thrust downward and gasped, tightening her hold on him. Her nails scratched his skin. He tightened his grip on her, thrusted harder.

 

White and black dots flashed behind their eyes and their minds blanked completely.

 

Anya was the first one to let herself fall backwards, moaning impossibly loudly. She remained frozen and still in his arms. The realisation she had come filled him with warm pride.

 

They barely realised they had reached their peaks that they were already coming back down.

 

The room echoed their long moans and heavy breathings.

 

Damian fell backwards, an expression of absolute delight on his face. Anya followed, burying her face against his chest, his hands still onto her back.

 

They remained still, eyes closed and slowly coming back to the present time. To reality.

 

Anya wriggled and nestled on his side. They lied down, staring at the ceiling, still catching their breathes.

 

“…Wow.” He let out, mind still numb from his first real orgasm.

 

Touching myself is nothing in comparison… he added in his mind, blinking.

 

“I agree…” she whispered, as bewildered.

 

“Uh?” he asked, turning towards her.

 

“A-ah–”

 

She panicked, afraid she had betrayed herself, but his already red cheeks turned a deep crimson.

 

“I-I mean, you uh–”

 

“I talked out loud again, didn’t I?” he mumbled in embarrassment.

 

“Y-yes, you did…” she answered in a low voice, glancing away, a little ashamed of lying to him for such a thing.

 

There was a pause, where they were too awkward to talk or look at each other. It was one thing to date and kiss in the library, it was another completely to discover the pleasure of the flesh.

 

“…I thought it would have lasted longer,” Anya commented, pouting a little.

 

“S-sorry,” he mumbled, covering his face with his hands.

 

“No, no, no, I didn’t mean it like that– it’s just– movies make it look like it lasts forever, and uuh– it’s only been fifteen minutes, so!” she exclaimed, sitting up and raising her hands.

 

He sat up immediately, eyes wide:

 

Fifteen minutes?!” he exclaimed.

 

He glared at the clock on his night table, as if it were the one at fault here.

 

“Damn, I definitely need to work on my stamina,” he grumbled.

 

Anya stared at him, stunned that it’d be the conclusion he’d reach. She hadn’t meant to offend him, but he was not happy that their first make-out session had been, well, rather quick.

 

Laughter bubbled in her throat. She covered her mouth to smother it, attracting his bewildered attention. Under his gaze, she closed her eyes tightly, but she couldn’t hold back her laughter. It escaped her, slipping through her lips and fingers. Loudly, she kept laughing, not really caring if her naked body twisted around. She couldn’t stop laughing, her abs burning from helplessly trying to resist it.

 

Damian glared at her, trying to be annoyed at what appeared to be mocking him, but he rapidly lost composure. He buried his face behind his hands, his own laughter slowly building. He fell backwards, laughing just as loudly until they wiped happy tears from the side of their eyes.

 

“Ah, Damian, you’re so dumb,” she eventually said in-between two laughing gasps.

 

“O-oi! What is that supposed to mean?!”

 

“Nothing, you’re adorable…” she commented, rolling over to kiss him quickly on his lips.

 

He wanted more, more than just kissing. Now that he had had a taste of a small bit of delicious chocolate, how could he stop at just one bite when a whole cake was in front of his eyes?

 

She stopped though, an inch from his lips. She quickly drew her hand between them and boldly cupped his crotch. He gasped, turning fifty shades of red, despite what they had just done. He was half-hard already when she pulled away, to his great disappointment. She looked down at him, a prideful, teasing smirk pulling on her lips.

 

“…Smaller than I imagined,” she commented with an exaggerated pout.

 

He almost choked, sitting up, offended by her words. She laughed at his face when he grabbed her waist and threw her back on the bed.

 

“You little–”

 

“You said it first!” she exclaimed as he tickled her sides.

 

It made her laugh even more, twisting and wriggling to escape his feather-light torture.

 

“I know! Not a good reason!” he answered, laughing just as loud.

 

Her nose bumped into his chin but they didn’t stop their little fight. For some reason, they landed, breathless and smiling like idiots, on the other side of the bed, where the pillows were. Damian pulled at the sheets and started drawing the pillows closer so they could rest a little.

 

Suddenly taken over by exhaustion, Anya smothered a yawn, stretching a little. They had both had a long day, followed by a long and emotional evening, followed by an intense make-out session. Sleep was pulling at Damian’s mind as well, but he covered Anya with the duvet.

 

“I’ll be back soon,” he murmured, kissing her forehead.

 

He slipped back into the bathroom to clean himself, splashing some water on his face. Grinning so much that his cheeks hurt, he went back into bed, eagerly slipping under the duvet. He instinctively moved as close as possible to Anya who was now hugging several pillows, forcing an unexpected wall to separate them.

 

She was fast asleep. His smile turned softer. He pushed some of her hair away, she didn’t even tremble. Considering all the efforts he had done to make sure they’d get to spend all that alone time together, they’ll have to keep it a secret from everyone they knew. If Demetrius, Loid, or anyone found out what had happened that night, they’d be banned from even breathing the same air.

 

That’ll be their little secret.

 

He made sure she was well covered, then he turned off the light, closing his eyes. He was almost asleep when pillows attacked him. He pushed them around, about to curse and shake Anya when she drew herself, still mostly naked, against his side, seeking his warmth. He swallowed hard, but her breathing was still quiet and rhythmic as a lullaby. Smiling in the dark, he drew her close to himself.

 

At least, she preferred him over a wall of pillows.