Seeing her speechless expression, Elias laughed. He could still remember capturing those lips, and she’d tremble like a shaken deer. He carefully brushed the long fringes hair away from her eyes. It felt like he was peering into a luscious forest.
When she reacted as she always did, it was fun to tease her. She behaved like a proper lady, despite the socialites that ran amok, lacking all of the etiquettes from centuries ago.
Adeline was a rose trapped in the future, with a heart of the past. Much like him, though none the petals and grace, but all the thorns and prickliness.
“I won’t do anything unless you ask for it,” Elias softly murmured. His thumb traced her soft bottom lips. His eyes twinkled with mirth when he found lipstick remnants on his fingertip. It was a light coral color that painted her in natural light.
“Then you will never do anything to me,” she quietly responded.
Elias’s smile widened to his ears. Is that what she thought? How naive his little Rose was. He had barely done anything to her, and she was already shaking underneath him.
He had finally seen the small fire that burned from within. The flame was barely there, and could be blown out by a single breath. But it was slowly growing, and she needed more kindling.
“Whatever you say, Adeline,” Elias said. He dropped his hand and grabbed her tiny ones. Her fingers were delicate, like easily tearable petals.
“Now come and don’t diddle daddle too much.” Elias pulled her with him. She hurriedly walked, until their footsteps were aligned. She was walking beside him— as if there was not a clear line of hierarchy between them, from titles to species. It was humorous.
Did she believe she possessed the ability to become his equal? People always walked behind him, and never forward or beside him. With a slow shake of his head, he allowed her to walk to his left. There was a light skip in her steps. She was trying her best to match his impeccable speed.
Elias sped up, just to taunt her a bit. Her hand tightened on him, determination flashing on her silent face. She did her best to catch up.
It was all too endearing, truly.
Glancing towards the right, where the enormous windows stood, he saw the beginning of a new moon, tucked behind a thick cloud. The past was beginning to make itself known, more than the present and future ever will. He did not mind. The past was where he wished to live, and the future was where he wished to forget.
– – – – –
“My necklace!” Adeline perked up instantly when he dangled the pretty jewelry in between his fingertips.
True to his word, he had brought her to his room. Luckily for her, she was standing by the doorway. The lights were turned off in his room, and she couldn’t see a single thing. However, he walked in with ease, for the darkness was his domain.
She cupped her hands and presented it to him. Her eyes were dancing with excitement, her lips slightly parted in anticipation.
Elias noted how naive she looked. She trusted people so easily, despite her childhood. Or was that the facade she wanted to show? Was she comfortable around him, or just plain stupid?
Peering at her small smile, he concluded it was the former. It better be the former.
“Here,” Elias placed the necklace upon her outstretched hands. Her fingers curled around it. A second later, he pulled the necklace back. She clutched onto nothingness.
“Elias!” she angrily exasperated, her patience reaching its limits.
“You’ve yet to tell me your decision,” Elias slowly said, like he was disciplining a small child.
Adeline sulked before him. Her brows kneaded together, forming lines on her youthful forehead. If she pouted like this forever, she would grow wrinkles before her children were born.
“You promised me freedom, in exchange for my life in the castle,” she said.
Adeline dropped her hands and glanced towards the ground. “You never gave your reasons why, so I can’t make a logical prediction.”
Adeline was so caught up in her thoughts, that she didn’t realize the lack of stutter—until she looked up, and noticed his fond smile.
“I was supposed to kill you, Elias. Do you really want to keep me under your roof, knowing I might slit your throat in your sleep?”
Elias raised a brow. He rarely slept in the first place. Unless they were doing a different kind of sleep. But he kept his mouth shut, knowing she was easily flustered. No one had guided her down the correct path. Her relatives have suppressed her for too long, putting out the fire before it even sparked.
“If I live in the castle, I will be free from my relatives, but placed in a new cage for others to see…”
Adeline slowly shook her head. “I-I think I’d rather just kill you.”
Elias barked a laugh. He had to cough into his fist, to evade her irritated glare. In the blink of an eye, he roughly captured a wrist and yanked her forward. She resisted, and pulled back, but stumbled forward anyways. He just saw a side of her like never before. Her eyes had flared, like vines grabbing a person’s throat.
“See,” he mused. “How can you kill me if I always overpower you, little doe of mine?”
Adeline’s arm trembled as she tried to fight his grip. She was weak. There used to be a time she trained in her youth, with guns and knives, but it had been a decade since then. She couldn’t even hurt a fly now. How pathetic was that?
“There are different ways to murder a man.”
“And I’m sure your erotica have tips and tricks?”
Adeline let out a huff of breath. Yeah, it certainly did. Like straddling him and slitting his throat.
Before Adeline could blurt it out, she clamped her mouth shut. She had buried this side of her a long time ago. It began when she entered Aunt Eleanor’s care. Silence over sass, discipline over disobedience, everything that her strong-willed mother had taught her was discarded.
“What’s wrong, cat got your tongue?” Elias taunted.
For a split moment there, Adeline looked like she had the determination to kill. The glint in her eyes, as the world of evergreen, became muddled like swamp water. And for a split second, he saw a little girl who charged at him with the force to knock a grown man over, before she suddenly burst into laughter and held onto him tightly.
“Before I make my decision, I want to know what type of freedom you offer me.”
Elias grinned, revealing his sharp fangs, and pearly white teeth. You’d never think people like him drank blood like it was water.
Adeline was intelligent. Though, not wise. It seemed no matter how much time had changed, no matter how much she had been repressed, no one could fully take control of her thoughts. And that was her greatest weapon.