AN: SPOILER WARNING! This is a sequel. If you have not read the first part, "My Queen", then I suggest you go do that right now or it'll ruin everything for you! Go read it now here: s/10092616/1/My-Queen
Chapter 1: The Ring
"It is quite beautiful, Laurel. You are very lucky indeed."
The kind statements came from the raven haired woman before me. The warrior maiden, Sif, held my left hand in hers as she peered down at the work of art that wrapped around my third finger.
A band of rich, warm gold—a slightly deeper shade than the element as it appears on Earth, encircled my digit. The band was thin and delicate like a vine. The shoulders of the ring held inticate designs and patterns resembling the mark of the Bifrost when it would touch the surface of another planet. In the center of the shoulders, sitting atop of it all and firmly nestled in the vicelike clutches of the anchoring bezel, was a single gem. It was slightly smaller than a dime, perfectly round, and it glimmered like a star. As the light struck it, it changed colors depending on the angle. Blue, gold, amber, red, and violet light refracted off the cuts of the stone. But above all, the main color that dominated the rest when the light dimmed, was the color green. A primarily green gem with a golden band.
My engagement ring.
It had taken my breath away the instant I saw it. I still couldn't believe that it was mine. I just had to show someone and Sif was the first person to see it—besides myself and the wonderful man that bestowed it upon me.
And since Sif has seen it, knowing now that Loki and I were engaged, Thor and then the reigning king and queen of Asgard were next in line to be informed of the news. Loki and I would reveal it together to his parents. Telling Sif was just a teaser, like dipping a toe into an icy pool. It would soon be time to take the plunge and jump wholeheartedly into reality.
My nerves were driving me insane.
Four hours earlier…
I sat naked in bed—Loki's bed, and I brushed my long, dark hair while lazily gazing out the window. The sun was bright and the realm glittered under its golden glow. I smiled while working diligently to detangle the knots Loki made in my hair last night while we had sex for the fourth time in our relationship.
"Here, love, allow me."
Loki's cool, deep voice rumbled behind me as he suddenly appeared in the doorway. His chest was bare and a pair of deep olive trousers was the only item of clothing he adorned. My smile widened at the new term of endearment he recently started calling me and I set the brush aside while he approached.
"I should be the one to fix that for you, after all…I am the one who made those knots in the first place," he murmured as he sat down behind me on the bed. He positioned his knees around me and his groin and pelvis pressed into the small of my back.
I blushed and laughed as he settled in against me. He lean and well defined torso was against my spine. My shoulders met his pectorals. His large hands swept down my neck, gently grasping my hair and gathering it together. Once he had swept my hair off to the side of my right shoulder with one hand, he used his other to pick up the brush. I closed my eyes and leaned back against him as he slowly dragged the bristles through my hair.
"Have I ever told you how beautiful your hair is? Its dark color contrasts against your skin tone wonderfully," he whispered, kissing my neck. Delightful sparks flew throughout my body, nerve synapses firing, and goosebumps rising.
"Really? It sure seemed like you enjoyed tangling your hands in my hair last night," I mused with a smile. Loki laughed in return and tugged playfully on a lock of my black coffee colored hair. He rather liked to pull on my hair in bed, too…
Loki finished brushing the knots out of my messy hair, leaving it silky and smooth once more. He swept my hair over my shoulder, tenderly kissed my jaw line, and then changed the topic to a more appropriate one.
"How have you been sleeping lately? You seem restless one moment, and lethargic the next," he asked as he turned to gaze into my eyes.
I sighed, "Frankly, I'm finding it hard to adjust."
I had been on Asgard for almost two weeks now, having kept our engagement quiet for a few days since he proposed after the celebratory feast, and I was still attempting to get used to everything. The days and nights were especially troublesome. Each day was more than twice as long than the ones on Earth. Fifty-five hours made up an entire day from one sunrise to the next compared to my usual twenty-four. From sunrise to sunset, it was twenty-seven and a half hours and the same amount of time for the sun to rise once more. Night and day here lasted quite a long time.
Don't even get me started on trying to adjust my sleeping pattern. Apparently, people on Asgard slept twice each day—once when it was night time and again during daylight hours since the time between one sunrise to another was twice as long as Earth's. This was completely different than just once like back on Earth. According to Loki, hours one through twenty-seven and a half were usually were night time hours. The average Asgardian slept from hour one to hour eleven—depending on their own personal schedule. Then they'd have the hours between twelve and twenty-eight to do whatever they pleased for the remainder of the night. After that, hours twenty-eight to fifty-five were daylight. This second period of sleep in the day was usually from hour twenty-nine to hour thirty-nine. Hours forty to fifty-five were spent awake while it was still light outside. Hour fifty five was often called 'The Final Hour' when the sun would start to set.
It was my favorite hour of the entire day.
And from there, the clock restarts to hour one. The people here lived two full 'earth days' in just one, long rotation of Asgard's axis. The first one was under starlight, the second was under the light of day. What a difference indeed.
I groaned sleepily, "What time is it anyways?" I leaned forward, removing myself from Loki's embrace, and plopped down on my back to lay amongst the black sheets.
"Hour forty-three and sixteen minutes," he replied. "Everyone is usually up for second breakfast at this time." He murmured, glancing over his shoulder to study the clock on the wall.
Ugh…the clocks. They worked differently here as well. They didn't have electricity in this realm—Asgard ran on a different source consisting of harnessed energy, power, and a bit of magic…so there were no digital clocks. Instead, circular clock faces with fifty-five numbered notches around the center worked to tell time. A dark shadow—a semi-circle shape, covered each clock and it rotated over the surface to mark the current hour. Each hour also consisted of fifty-five minutes and a small pinpoint of golden light moved around the clock to highlight the minute marks. Both the shadow and the small pinpoint of light worked together like the hands of Earth's clocks. Fifty-five hours to an entire day. Fifty-five minutes an hour. How odd.
I groaned. I felt jetlagged. I was still struggling to start an entirely new circadian rhythym. My stomach rumbled and I fought between hunger and fatigue while trying to decide which was most important first. I battled internally, thinking of the warm bread rolls in the great hall and simultaneously reveling in the feel of Loki's sheets. Food won…this time, at least.
With a happy sigh, I rose from the bed and donned a knee length, ivory robe to ready for the surely glorious breakfast I'd usually take with Loki's family. Queen Frigga always had amusing stories to tell me about Loki as a child. Thor would add a few comments from time to time while King Odin just smirked (or frowned depending on his mood), silently watching us all and eating his meal, and then Loki would desperately try to change the topic to no avail.
"Oh no…no," Loki tsked at me, raising a hand to point a finger my way as I tied the sash on my robe. "You sit back down, Laurel," he ordered. His tone radiated authority but his face held a playful smirk. "I have requested breakfast to be sent to my chambers this time."
"What for?" I inquired, sitting back down upon the bed and crossed my legs. "Are you getting tired of your family embarrassing you?'
He rolled his eyes and replied, "Always. However, I am also growing tired of my mother always stealing you away from me. She always has so much to say, that woman." Loki chuckled but stopped to mutter, "Odin hardly ever feels the need to speak. Opposites, those two are."
I held back a sigh as I noticed how Loki yet again refused to call the king 'Father'. I was beginning to wonder if their relationship would ever mend itself. I had some hope…but any change would take some time.
A light knocking on the door snapped me out of my thoughts as I turned to look in the general direction of the main room where the door to the hall was. Loki glared at me, daring me to move an inch, before rising from the bed. "Stay," he commanded as I laughed while he moved to retrieve the food from the kitchen worker.
I heard Loki murmur a quick word of gratitude—an oddly more frequent and polite action of his, before his footsteps announced his return.
We ate and discussed the upcoming day, my healing gunshot wound—which was relatively mended with a slight scar, and then the topic of our engagement popped up.
"I have something for you, Laurel," Loki stated simply with a smile.
I raised an eyebrow and looked at him curiously. "You do?"
He nodded and took a deep breath. "It's nothing too grand—if you don't like it I can get something else," he muttered. I took a sip of water as I studied him. He looked conflicted…almost nervous and unsure as he reached behind his back. A flash of green suddenly shone from behind his lean frame, a sure sign of his magical ability to teleport objects he wished to retrieve, and as he brought his hand back around. He opend his palm, unfurling his fingers, to reveal a ring.
A strikingly beautiful ring.
I suddenly covered my mouth and coughed, choking on the bit of water I just inhaled from my glass. My surprise at seeing the engagement ring overtook me just as I was sipping my water. Loki's eyebrows drew together with slight concern as I waved him back, trying to show that I didn't need any assistance.
I coughed once more, clearing my throat as I croaked out, "Oh my goodness!"
"You do not like it," Loki stated flatly. "I knew it. I should have gone with a different style—something grander." He curled his fingers, hiding the ring inside his closed fist.
"No! No, no, no!" I retorted, eyebrows high and an apologetic look adorning my face. I placed a hand over his and earnestly spoke again. "That's not it at all! Loki…I love it," I urged as I eyed his hand.
He scoffed, "Really?"
I nodded, "I really do. In fact, it startled me. You caught me off guard, actually. I had entirely forgotten about engagement rings, to be honest."
He smiled, uncurling his fingers to reveal the ring once more, "Yes, well I suppose we are being rather untraditional compared to the courtships of Midgard. Do your people still get down on one knee and open the velvet box of jewelry right then and there?"
I nodded and laughed, remembering just how informal Loki had been when he asked me to marry him and then just moments later we were celebrating by having sex for a few hours…
"You are blushing, Laurel," he murmured in his usual deep, irresistible voice. I laughed again and he took my hand in his, sliding the ring onto my finger. A perfict fit.
"Thank you, Loki. It is absolutely beautiful," I whispered in shock and awe, then leaned towards him to eagerly place a kiss on his lips. His mouth fit against mine like they were two puzzle pieces. Being with him felt right—natural. I couldn't be happier to be engaged to this man and the ring only made everything feel that much more real. Before, our engagement felt like a dream. Only days ago had he proposed and we both agreed to let it sink in between us first, getting used to the feelings of excitement, before telling anyone. Every encounter with his adoptive family made me feel electric by holding in such a secret. Nobody knew it. It was between the two of us. Personal. A ring would have given it all away before we were really ready to announce the engagement.
Now we both were.
"Since you officially have a ring now…who do we tell first?" he asked with a devilish grin.
"We aren't going to tell your parents right away?"
"Oh no. That will come along later today. We need to pick someone far less intimidating for you to ease your nerves. Practice," he stated.
I could think of a certain black haired warrior maiden.
AN: AHHH! Sorry it took me so many weeks to get this posted. I had to work out a lot of details with the plot. I already have most of it drafted up, so that should help me to write more smoothly. HUGE thanks to you guys for reading my previous fiction and coming along for the ride on this new adventure. I am SO excited!