Chapter 9: Harlot

There's Atem; handsome and breath taking as per usual. I take a deep breath before walking over to him. "Hello, Pharaoh Atem, good morning!"

His eyes look tired and his cheeks flushed. There are wrinkles forming behind his golden bangs. He smiles at me though, "Good morning, Mana." I wonder when he'll notice my fancy sex-goddess get up. He has papyrus on the table in front of him. I guess he's busy reading important king mumbo jumbo! Humph! Time to get serious!

"How are you doing this morning?" I ask while pulling the neck of my dress down further to reveal more of my cleavage.

"I am fine, thank you and yourself? You had me very worried yesterday."

"Oh, I feel great now! I am sorry about everything, though…" I glance at the table hesitantly before jumping onto it and sitting in front of him. I make sure to push out my chest and purse my lips in a seductive manner. Atem doesn't seem fazed. I want to scream out "LOOK AT ME!" But, I don't. I lean a little closer to him.

"Apologizing is silly. I'm just glad that are alright." Atem takes a long sip of his tea before scrolling through the sheets.

"What is all of that?" I ask out of curiosity, well that and the fact that it's apparently more entertaining than my scantily clad self.

"Oh, it's scriptures that my father left behind…" He doesn't look up at me. His eyes stay fixed on the rolls of paper.

"What does it say? I mean, if you don't mind me asking…" I wonder if it's too much of a personal matter, now that he's going to be a King within the next few days. Scary thought: I may lose my best friend because of all of this. I already knew this was a possibility but I've always tried to block it out.

"It says a lot of things…some things I don't quite understand, or agree with." Atem's voice sounds heavy as if speaking about the matters written down on those scrolls is hard to even say out loud. That can't be good. My heart begins to sink. "My father wishes for me to be wed…"

And it plummets. "W-Wed?" I panic slightly, only slightly. I'm trying my best to be provocative remember? I breathe in slowly. "You're so young…"

He shakes his head and his long locks brush across his bronze cheeks. "Eighteen summers…is far from young." He sighs deeply; a sad type of sigh. A sigh that's half tired, and half defeated. "I'm grown up now and I have to do the responsible thing needed for my empire. Ra, that sounds so strange. 'My' empire…" He looks down and shifts his legs so that one is folded over the other underneath of the table. His eyes suddenly meet mine. They look so different than they did before. He's right; he is all grown. "I knew this day would come eventually, I just….thought I would have more time. "

"It's alright." I say quickly to break some of the serious vibe going on throughout the room. "When we were younger we always pretended that we were kings and queens and we lived in this palace and had servants and more wealth than we could handle! We'd make our own rules and nobody could keep us locked behind these walls…" I pause and put my hand on his shoulder. "Now, it's a reality. " I give him a slight smile; not too big, just right. The kind of smile that says: 'It's all fine.' When in retrospect, I have no idea what's going to become of Atemu's life, or mine for that matter.

It must have worked, he smiles back at me. It's a real smile too because I've known him long enough to know the difference between his fake and real smiles. "Thank you, Mana. That helps a whole lot." He places my hand gingerly in his and holds it tight. I can feel my face growing scarlet. "We can get through all of this together."

"Of course we can!" I pump my other fist high in the air. He just laughs. Our hands part and I slide off of the table. "So…may I ask what exactly you don't agree with in the notes left by your father?"

Atem makes a squished kind of face, like he had just bitten into a bitter rotten grape. He must realize he made the face, as he rubs his temples and folds the scroll. "Marriage, pro-creation, war, the list goes on and on honestly."

"Pro-creation? Whoa, as in having children of your own? But you're still a child!" My face is heated, I can tell. I wonder who his father wants him to marry, I wonder if it's written down somewhere on those scrolls and I wonder if Atem even loves whomever it is. Hell, he probably doesn't even know the girl…if there's a girls' name written down at all. Atem wouldn't just marry some stranger for the future of Egypt would he? I guess he would, he's a wonderful and un-selfish leader. He always has been…

"I'm not a child, Mana. And neither are you…if you haven't noticed." His gorgeous eyes seem to drift towards my cleavage. Is he mentioning my body? Ooh I sure do hope so! It's about time he's noticed my new style!

"I know," I push my chest out a little more. "It's just so crazy to think about. "

"Don't you wish to someday be married and with child?"

"Oh yes, of course! But not now…" That's a lie. I want to be married right now; to him. I want to make love to him and carry his child inside of me. I want him inside of me…

Atem smiles. "Well I wish to be married someday as well." He blushes slightly. "I want to give that woman the world and become her everything. I want to love her and be loved in return." Something about the way he says that makes me melt a little. His eyes seem glazed and sort of dreamy like he's imagining that special woman. I wonder if it's me.

"That sounds wonderful." And it does. I can't stand this serious talking anymore. I want him to notice my new dress and I want to have a good time with him this morning. "Want to eat breakfast now? I'll go get something from the kitchen for you."

"Wait, I'm not really comfortable with you serving me."

"What do you mean? You are the new Pharaoh now, are you not?"

"Stop. You're my best friend, Mana. Don't' be like that."

"Be like what?"

"Like one of them…"


"My servants…That's not you." Atem swallows and looks me in the eyes again. "I'd never want you treated in such a manner. It isn't right. I won't allow it. My name is Atem, not Pharaoh and you do not have to wait on me. I am the gentleman, let me serve you."

"No way! That's not how it goes at all!" I'm getting angry. I'm only trying to show him what a lovely bride I would make and he doesn't want to have any of it!

"What are you talking about?" He shakes his head in a frustrated manner. "Forget it, I'm not hungry anyway."

"Well fine then don't eat! I was only trying to be nice, but I have a lot to do today as it is." I put my hands on my hip cockily. He doesn't seem to care. This only infuriates me even more so! Fine, I'll just have to take it to the next level; jealousy. "I'm meeting someone soon anyway."

His eyes widen and his jaw clenches. There we go. A royal reaction. "I never knew that you were courting, Mana." I can't help but smile at his contorted face. His expression is like that of a caribou's before it is killed by a poacher or a pack of hungry hyenas. "I suppose that's why you're dressed so…" he stops abruptly.

"So what, Atem?"

"It's just very…I mean that you look…"

I bite my tongue. I so very badly want to blurt out 'SEXY!'! But, I don't. I have to make him say it!

"It's just that you are always so beautiful Mana. You don't need all of these tight and immodest clothes and gobs of make-up."

My jaw almost hits the floor. "W-what?"

"Why are you made up in such a manner in the first place? You want a man to love you for your looks alone" You want him drooling all over the palace halls and treating you as a belly dancing gypsy?" I gasp in shock. "I've known you for the entire duration of my life and the Mana I know wouldn't use her assets to gain a man's heart. Do you know how people will perceive you for looking this way?"

Tears of both anger and devastation fill my eyes. I blink repeatedly in an attempt to hold in the tears. I fail miserably. The huge watery drops roll down my rouge colored cheeks and hit my peach glossy lips. "You are so dense, you know that? I'm done up this way for you and you only! There is no other man! I love you! I'm no gypsy dancing whore! How dare you compare me to one of those harlots?" This is what I want to say…but of course, I don't. I hold my tongue like always and turn away from the man I love in silence. I'm absolutely crushed. I don't know what to do. I wish I could just disappear. I feel so incredibly small.

"Mana…I'm sorry. Please don't cry, I'm only trying to look out for you." Atem says softly. "You're so much more than a gorgeous face and knock out body. You're naturally flawless and radiant. Look into any mirrored glass and you will see that this young woman you appear to be right now is overdone and distasteful. This isn't you at all. "

"You're wrong." I whisper. "I look sexy, daring and bold. I ooze confidence in this tight dress and I love how it hugs my curves and I love how it makes me feel!" I face him and raise my voice close to shrill. "Why don't you think I'm sexy? Why can't you ever see me that way? I'm grown up now, Atem! We both are! You said it yourself! I'm menstruating, I have wide child-bearing hips and I bees wax my legs in hopes that you would give a damn! I am one-hundred percent woman! That little girl you grew up with grew up! That's the way of life! You were just talking about it yet you fail to actually see it!"

My entire body is shaking. My breathing is ragged and intense. Did I really just say all of that? Oh Ra…I feel very weak, especially since Atem isn't saying a word in response. Why is he so speechless? His face is unreadable, but his posture is tightly drawn. His collarbone visible, and his shoulders arched slightly. I can see the tension throbbing in his taunt neck muscles. His mouth appears to be wired shut. He's holding back. What a true king indeed. That's it. I'm leaving. I don't need this abuse. I'm not going to just stand here having poured my heart onto the floor for him to just hold back and keep it all in. If he can't be a real man and talk to me, then I'm only wasting my time…and possibly my love as well.