"It's all so magical," I cooed as fireworks lit up the night sky. Prince Ali watched me with amusement and infatuation, absent-mindedly and audibly agreeing with anything I said. I smirked and looked at the apple in my hand, remembering the first time he had tossed one to me.
That was before I believed he was dead.
It was also before I believed he was a prince.
I had suspected for a few hours now that the prince sitting beside me was in fact the nameless peasant who had saved me in the marketplace and stolen my heart. There were too many obvious signs; the hair, the question of trust, the apple… or perhaps it was my broken heart and wishful thinking making a fool out of a princess in love. The only hole in my theory was how he managed to acquire such wealth and princely garb in such little time- unless he truly was a prince. I chuckled quietly to myself before speaking.
"It's a shame Abu had to miss this."
Without missing a beat, Prince Ali Ababwa fell into my trap.
"Nah, he hates fireworks. Doesn't really like flying, either."
I stared daggers at him and horror dawned on his face as he realized his mistake. My blood simmered. My stomach began to boil. He immediately began tripping over his words, trying to catch his failure, trying to redeem himself, but it was too late. Furiously, I ripped the turban from his head to reveal the beautiful, shaggy black hair that I've missed and wept over for nearly a week. Excitement, relief, and anger coursed through my body at once.
"You are the boy from the market!" I screeched, boring my eyes into his. "I knew it! Why did you lie to me?"
"Jasmine, I'm sorry!" he apologized feebly. I blew it off and continued.
"Did you think I was stupid? That I wouldn't figure it out?"
He denied it repeatedly and I grumbled, happy that he was alive, but upset that he had deceived me. I could've lived the rest of my life bearing the guilt of his "death."
"Who are you?" I asked, calmer now, but still visibly frustrated. "Tell me the truth."
I gave him an incredulous look. He gulped.
"The truth, um…" he struggled, nervously glancing around. At long last, he spit it out.
"The truth is, I-I sometimes dress as a commoner, um, to escape the pressures of palace life."
My expression softened. If this was the truth, then I understood him. I understood him entirely. Completely. My heart, shriveled and barely beating, began to re-inflate with that curious feeling he had instilled in me from the first moment we met.
"I really am a prince."
"Why didn't you just tell me?" I inquired as my muscles went slack. The anger left my veins and was slowly being replaced with desire. Desire to talk to him, to be with him, to kiss him, to…
"Well, you know," he began nonchalantly and sarcastically, nudging me. His eyes rolled up for dramatic effect. "Royalty, going out into the city in disguise, I mean, it sounds a little strange… don't you think?"
He grinned at me and I smiled back at the playful banter. I hummed and bumped him with my hip as he leaned against me. The contact sent a spark to my brain and something clicked into place.
"Not that strange."
He was smirking at me from behind the feather of his turban, pleased with his teasing game. I flicked the plume out of the way with a finger before settling against his chest, nestling my head under his chin. It felt so good to feel the warmth of his body once more; to feel the beating of his heart through his clothes. To know that he was alive and the memories of the last few days of hardship would slowly fade away to barely remembered nightmares.
I moved my hand to rest on his knee and he covered it with his own. As if moving of their own accord, our hands instinctually clasped one another and squeezed softly, reveling in the feel of being in each other's company again. Our fingers interlocked and I tilted my head up to see Ali's reaction; he looked down at me through half-lidded eyes and moved in, his lips brushing mine briefly before placing a light kiss next to my lips. My heartbeat increased and my breathing became shaky with anticipation as he moved in again, this time joining our lips and holding them there, deliberately moving his mouth against mine, cautiously, not too passionately. He broke the kiss off much earlier than I wanted him to and rose, helping me to stand up.
"Come on," he said in a voice that said "It's past your bedtime, princess." I wanted to pout and whine and stamp my foot; I never wanted to leave, I never wanted this night to end, but, instead, I silently boarded the magic carpet with him and we flew off into the dark, in the direction of Agrabah.
Once at the balcony to my chambers, the carpet transformed into a staircase-like structure and I stepped off, holding Ali's hand for support. I didn't want to let go; I felt as if I did, I'd never see him again. The last time I let go of his hand, Razoul and his men took him away from me, for what I believed was forever. I did not wish to feel such emptiness again.
Feeling bold, I pulled the prince down with me and kissed him, hastily and anxiously, reminding me fleetingly of our first encounter. Surprised but not resisting, he returned the favor and held me carefully as the kiss became more heated. I pushed my body against his, forcing him against the railing, as his hand drifted up to tangle in my hair. And then, at the breaking point between love and lust, I forced myself off and backed away from him. I would leave him wanting more. I would make him come to me.
"Farewell, Prince Ali," I whispered huskily as I turned and walked into my room, swaying my hips in the most sultry way I knew how. I could feel his eyes burning a hole in my back and a playful grin twitched at my lips as I bit my lower lip to keep from giggling. He seemed to know what I was up to for he made no move to leave.
I was aware of him still outside and with his eyes on me, watching my silhouette through the sheer light of the curtain. Perfect. I promised myself I wouldn't shy away this time.
I slowly and calculatingly bent at the waist, leaning down over my legs to reach my slippers, which I popped off and tossed aside. I then straightened back up and slipped my fingers under the hem of my crop top, sliding it south of my breasts to rest on my pelvis. With my arms and chest now bare, I brought my hands up to undo my hair, and the long, midnight locks fell loosely over the tanned skin of my back and torso. Ali was a statue, watching me intently, unsure if this was meant for him, or simply the princess readying for bed. A self-conscious chill ran down my spine, but I shrugged it off and continued undressing.
I smoothed my flat palms over my breast and stomach, then hooked my thumbs in the waistband of my harem pants and began to tug, when the prince out on the mezzanine suddenly surged forward and tore through the curtain that separated us, grabbing my wrists and smashing his lips against my own, eliciting a whimper of shocked pleasure from deep within my throat. Pent-up tension burst forth as we fumbled for each other's clothes, our mutual hunger and yearning meshing soundlessly into one as I confidently removed and discarded his clothing. His hot fingers slithered beneath the band of my pants and I knew at once why he had barged in; he wanted to remove them himself. He forced the fabric down, along with my top, and I kicked them somewhere unimportant at the moment.
We moved quickly to the chaise and I pushed him down, straddling his lean, naked stomach and rocking against him slightly as his hands planted themselves on my hips, helping me move. I rubbed the length of my body against his and he reached his hands to my breasts. I swallowed hard. I caressed his beautiful, devil-may-care hair that fell in shimmering black waves around his head. The softness of his hair in my hands, the slippery silk under my knees and feet, and the bristly hairs below his belly stirred a familiar warmth in my groin. It was burning, and coiled in my abdomen like a desert cobra. I began grinding him faster and with more need. Feeling this change, his breath increased in rapidity and he gently pushed me farther down, and I shifted to oblige, gasping as I felt his manhood, causing me to buck to meet his thrusts. When he couldn't take it anymore, he flipped me over onto the floor and I squeaked as he landed atop me, opening my legs to take in the sight of my center. Ali inhaled sharply and he began roaming, unable to keep himself away from my thighs. I squirmed and began to breathe more erratically with every touch. He gripped my knees to keep me steady as he put his lips against me and I heaved upward.
For days, I had been sulking in my room, laying on my sleep-couch and remembering the boy from the marketplace. Now he was here, alighting my skin wherever his fingers landed, muffling my moans with his mouth, and drawing gasps with each bite to my neck, or shoulders, or wherever his teeth happened to be at the time.
The first time we became one, I had been too innocent, too afraid, too weak. I refused to close myself up against him this time. Allah, life, the universe itself had granted me another chance with this man that inspired such a longing in me; I would give myself to him fully and willingly this time.
"Ali," I finally moaned, and as he looked at me I thought I saw a flicker of guilt flash across his eyes. Without another word, he kissed me tenderly, positioned himself between my legs, and wrapped me in the muscular embrace of his arms as his arousal found my entrance. I inhaled deeply and braced myself, locking eyes with my prince. It was easier this time, when he finally sank himself into me, and I adjusted within a minute, with aid from Ali's comforting kisses to my forehead and eyes. He pulled out slowly and entered me again, significantly more forceful this time, welding his hips to mine. The noises I made added fuel to the fire and inspired him on. He began to pump, back and forth, slowly at first, and then faster, until we were no more separate than the tide and the moon.
The world, which had always been solid to me, suddenly began to liquify and melt and pool around me. The room warped and I cried out, and Ali cried with me, and I felt myself evaporate in an instant, the way incense is consumed by the flame, dispersing and twirling into smoke.
When it was over, we didn't speak, words being unnecessary. My lover reluctantly slid out of me, spent, and laid beside me, reaching down to grab my hand, bringing it up to his lips to cover with small kisses. We stayed panting on the rug until we regained our breathing at last, at which point Ali could not keep his fingers apart from my flesh. He massaged me lazily, and I eagerly touched his abdomen; I could see that he was ready again. I smiled at him, unabashed, and he kissed me, gripping my thighs to hoist me up on the chaise, placing me in a sitting position. I leaned back and wrapped my arms around his neck as he entered me again, issuing a tiny cry of ecstasy from my lips that was swallowed by his open mouth on mine.
In the early morning, hours before dawn, I awoke with Ali's face close to mine, his eyes open, watching me. Though he should sneak out under the cover of darkness, before the first light broke the horizon, he didn't seem to want to leave. I didn't want him to leave, either.
I knew what was on his mind, and I spoke first.
"The law says I must marry a prince," I informed him sleepily, cozying up into his chest. He smiled and kissed the top of my head.
I waited a few moments before answering, as if I were contemplating my answer. I felt him tense. As if to encourage my decision, he hurriedly planted tickling kisses along my face and neck. I groaned through a laugh and kissed him back lovingly before answering.