Qui-Gon watched her face as she slept. Tears still glittered on her cheeks, while her pale cheeks were flushed. Her words still echoed in his mind.
"I don't want anyone to know I'm talking again," she'd said, her voice hesitant and muffled by the blanket he had put over her, "Not even Moirae."
"Why?" he'd asked, puzzled. She'd pulled the blanket down slightly, so amethyst eyes could lock with sapphire-blue.
"She means well, but she'd tell Thantos and he'd start asking..." she swallowed and glanced away, "Well, you know what I mean."
"Very well, my lady," he nodded, "As you wish."
"I beg your pardon?"
She glanced up at him, her expression suddenly shy.
"My name is Calassë."
It baffled him why she had told him her name, but it showed she trusted him, if only a little. He smiled. In any relationship the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. The old quote that he had scoffed at in his youth was proving to be accurate in his adulthood.
I did not think it possible, but I trust someone, and to venture into the bizarre, I trust a man who is not Adan.
I have given him my trust.
I look at myself in the mirror, in amazement, as if I am changed, as everything else is changed. I wanted to trust, I thought it was impossible, and I have it.
The next morning, when Qui-Gon awoke, Calassë was not there. Worried, he pushed himself off of the bed, his hand reaching towards his lightsabre.
He glanced toward the door. Calassë was standing there, a cup in her hand and a loose robe wrapped around her. Qui-Gon cleared his throat, forcing his lustful thoughts to the back of his mind as he stood and bowed.
"Good morning, my lady," he said politely. A wave of heat tickled his spine as she pushed a lock of hair into place, revealing her creamy neck to his gaze. "Are you-"
She smiled - sure, it was only a tiny one, but it was a smile nonetheless. "I feel much better, thank you." Calassë walked towards him, her bare feet sinking into the carpet before offering the cup in her hand to him. "It's tea," she answered to his questioning look, "Moirae told me that you liked it."
"She is right," he admitted, taking the cup from her,"I have grown quite fond of it."
"Thantos has been knocking for quite some time," she frowned, hugging her elbows, "He'll be in here in a few minutes. I suggest you freshen up, lest he get any ideas."
"Of course," he bowed, his voice neutral. She pursed her lips before disappearing behind a large screen to dress. Qui-Gon patted the blankets into obedient smoothness before straightening his tunic, putting on his robe, and splashing some water on his face. Calassë emerged from behind the screen, plaiting her hair into one long braid as her skirts swished against her legs. She was dressed in a gown of dark black velvet, cut to show an undergown of carnation silk, the neck cut square and low over her breasts, with a string of pearls around her neck.
"Would you help me with this?" she asked, gesturing to a black mantilla in her hand. Qu-Gon shook his head.
"I'm sorry, but I fear that I would damage it somehow. And besides, my lady," a sudden, impish grin, "You look far more dazzling without it."
Before she could respond - before she could blush - the door burst open and Thantos strode in, his Jedi robes billowing around him impressively.
"Good morning my lady!" he said jovially, bowing deeply. Throwing a look that spoke volumes to Qui-Gon, she swept a deep curtsey and came up with her head held high, graceful as a dancer. To Qui-Gon's indignation, Thantos came forward and actually took her hand in his own. "Do you know what day it is?" he asked Calassë who shook her head dubiously. Thantos chuckled and kissed her hand, throwing a sly glare at Qui-Gon. Qui-Gon was sure Calassë's expression of disgust mirrored his own. "It's your birthday, my dearest lady," Thantos continued, taking no notice of Qui-Gon's revolted expression, "And I brought something for you."
Thantos gestured to a man that was standing behind him, who flapped out a cloth of maroon velvet from his pocket and then spilled the contents of a knapsack onto the scarlet background. A tumble of jewels, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls, chains, lockets, earrings, and brooches was swiftly spread before Calassë's widening gaze.
"You shall have your pick," Thantos said, his voice warm and intimate. "It is my private gift to you, to bring the smile back to your pretty face."
Calassë was at the table in a moment, the goldsmith holding up one rich item after another. Thantos watched her indulgently, throwing a lok at Qui-Gon that said 'She might be a princess with a pure bloodline, but she is easily bought like any woman. And I have the means to please her.'
"Have you picked something, my lady?" Qui-Gon said aloud, striding over and standing beside her. She shrugged.
"What about gold?" Thantos asked from behind them. Qui-Gon eyed Calassë, who shook her head in disgust. She dislikes gold, he thought, and filed the information away for examination later. "Silver, then?" he asked.
Calassë nodded enthusiastically, absently patting his hand with her own.
"Pearls?" Thantos asked, coming up to her other side. She made a little moue with her mouth and her head shook again. By Force, she has a kissable mouth, he thought. He could smell the scent on her hair, iris water from the gardens of Yean. She smelled as if she were an exotic flower herself. Thantos almost choked on his desire for her.
"Not pearls?" he asked aloud. "What is your favourite stone? Emeralds?"
She shook her head again, and Thantos could bear no more. With no warning and to the shock and anger of Calassë and Qui-Gon, he grasped the princess around her soft waist and forcefully placed his lips over her own.
Chapter sixteen, has landed! OMG, Thantos you B*(%$)d! How dare you! Much love to Princess Moon Shadow who has kindly offered to help me with any psychology bits that may appear later. Thanks darling!
Oh, and thanks to Black As Ebony for her charming review. Ego is feeling grand!
Love, Princess Kanako x