16. One Night

I’d gotten Aurora and sent her in to stay with Tove for the night. I felt guilty for leaving him, but she would be better equipped to handle him if he got out of control again.

Since she was staying with Tove, I took her room. The four-poster bed sat in the corner, draped with red curtains and sheets. One of the walls was very crooked, practically leaning on top of the bed, and it made the room feel even smaller.

“Are you going to be alright now?” Loki asked. He’d walked me over here, and he waited just inside the doorway.

“Yeah, I’m great,” I lied and sat down on the bed. “The entire kingdom is falling apart. People are dying. I have to kill my father. And my husband just went crazy.”

“Princess, none of that’s your fault.”

“Well, it feels like it’s all my fault,” I said, and a tear slid down my cheek. “I only make everything worse.”

“That’s not true at all.” Loki walked over and sat on the bed next to me. “Princess, don’t cry.”

“I’m not,” I lied. I wiped at my eyes and looked over at him. “Why are you even being nice to me?”

“Why wouldn’t I be nice to you?” he asked, looking confused.

“Because.” I pointed to the scars covering his back. “That’s because of me.”

“No, it isn’t,” Loki shook his head. “That’s because the King is evil.”

“But if I had gone with him in the first place, none of this would’ve happened,” I said. “None of these people would’ve died. Even Tove would be better.”

“And you would be dead,” Loki said. “The King would still hate the Trylle, maybe even more so if he blamed them for brainwashing you. He would eventually attack them.”

“Maybe.” I shrugged. “Maybe not.”

“Stop.” He put his arm around me, and it felt safe and warm. “Not everything is your fault, and you can’t fix everything. You’re only one person.”

“It never feels like enough.” I swallowed and looked up at him. “Nothing I do is ever enough.”

“Oh, believe me, you do more than enough.” He smiled and brushed a hair back from my face. His fawn eyes met mine, and I felt a familiar yearning inside of me, one that got stronger every time I was with him.

“Why did you want me to remember?” I asked.

“Remember what?”

“When we were in your room, you said you wanted me to remember that I wanted you to kiss me.”

“So you admit you wanted me to kiss you?” Loki smirked.


“We were about to go see the King, and I didn’t know what would happen,” Loki said. “I thought he might tell you the truth about how I was sent to seduce you, and you would hate me for that. But if you remembered that you’d wanted me to kiss you, maybe you wouldn’t hate me quite as long.”

“You knew that the King would expose you, and you took me anyway?” I asked.

“I couldn’t let go you alone.”

“Why didn’t you just kiss me?” I asked. “Wouldn’t that have been a better thing to remember?”

“It wasn’t the right time.”

“Why not?”

“You were on a mission. If I kissed you, it would’ve only been for a second, because you were in a rush to go,” he said. “And a second wouldn’t be enough.”

“So when is the right time?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he whispered.

He had his hand on my cheek, brushing away a tear, and his eyes were searching my face. He leaned forward, and his lips brushed against mine. Delicately at first, almost testing to see if this was real. His kisses were soft and sweet, and so very different than Finn’s.

As soon as I thought of Finn, I pushed him from my mind. I didn’t want to think of anything. I didn’t want to feel anything except Loki. The exhaustion of the night was pushed away as something surged through, something warm and hungry.

Loki kissed me more deeply and pushed me back on the bed. He wrapped an arm around my waist, lifting me up and pulling me farther onto the bed. I clung to him, my hands digging into his bare back. The scars felt like braille under my fingers, scars he’d gotten to protect me.

“Wendy,” he murmured as he kissed my neck, his lips trailing all over my skin and making it tremble.

He stopped kissing me long enough to look at me. His light hair fell into his eyes. Something about the way he looked at me, his eyes the color of burnt honey, made my heart beat faster.

It was like I’d never truly seen him before. All his pretenses had fallen away, his smirk, his swagger, were all gone. It was just him, and I realized that this might be the first time I was really seeing him.

Loki was vulnerable and kind and more than a little frightened. But more than that, he was lonely, and he cared about me. He cared about me so much it terrified him, and as much as that should’ve scared me too, it didn’t.

All I could think about was that I’d never seen anything more beautiful. It felt strange thinking of a boy that way, but that’s what he was. Looking down at me, waiting for me to accept him or push him away, Loki was beautiful.

I reached for him and touched his face, almost astonished that he could be real. He closed his eyes and kissed the palm of my hand. One of his hands was on my side, and his grip tightened, sending hot shivers all through my body.

“I hate to even ask this but…” Loki trailed off, his voice husky. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“I want you, Loki,” I said before I could let myself think about anything.

I wanted him, needed him, and for one night I refused to think about the consequences or the repercussions. I just wanted to be with him.

Loki smiled, relieved, and he almost seemed to glow. He bent down, kissing me again, only more fervently and deeper.

His hand slid under my nightgown, strong and sure on my thigh. I loved his strength and power, and the way I could feel it in even his smallest touches. He tried to hold back, to be gentle so he wouldn’t hurt me, but when he tried to slide off my panties, he tore them in half.

I took off my nightgown, slipping it up over my head, because I didn’t want him ripping that too. He tried to be gentle with me, and some part of me did want him to be, because that’s the way I thought my first time should be. But we were both far too eager.

He started out slow, trying to ease himself in me, but I moaned in his ear, gripping tightly onto him, and any pretense of restraint was gone. It hurt, and I buried my face into his shoulder to keep from crying out. But he didn’t slow, and very soon, the heat grew inside me. I was glad he didn’t slow. Even the pain felt like pleasure.

Afterward, he collapsed on the bed next to me, both of us gasping for breath. We’d knocked the bed off kilter, and I vaguely remembered hearing the sound of a board cracking, so we might have broken it. The red curtains of the four-poster bed had been tied open, but they had come loose, so they closed around the bed.

A few candles lit the room outside, but on the bed, we were shrouded in the warm red glow as the light flickered through the curtains. It felt sheltered, like a warm cocoon, and I don’t think I’d ever felt more content or safe.

I lay on my back, and Loki moved next to me, almost encircling me. One arm was behind my neck, and the other one was draped over my belly. I wrapped my arms around his so I could hold him closer to me.

Nestled in his arms this way, the scar on his chest was right next to me. I’d never seen it this close before. It looked so jagged and rough. It slashed at an angle, starting right above his heart, and stopping below his other nipple.

“Do you hate me?” I asked quietly.

“Why on earth would I hate you?” Loki asked, laughing.

“Because of this.” I touched his scar, and his skin trembled around it. “Because of what my father did to you over me.”

“No, I don’t hate you.” He kissed my temple. “I could never hate you. And it’s not your fault what the King did.”

“How did you get this?” I asked. 

“Before he decided to punish me, the King considered execution,” Loki said, almost wearily. “He used a sword before deciding that torture might be more fun.”

“He almost killed you?” I looked at him, and the very thought of Loki dying made me want to cry.

“He didn’t, though.” He brushed back my hair, his fingers running through the tangles of it, and he smiled down at me. “The King couldn’t, no matter how hard he tried. My heart refused to give up. It knew I had something to fight for.”

“You shouldn’t say things like that.” I swallowed back tears and lowered my eyes. “Tonight was… beautiful and amazing, but it was only for tonight.”

“Wendy.” Loki groaned and rolled onto his back. “Why do you have to say something like that now?”

“Because.” I sat up and pulled my knees to my chest. The sheets hung over my legs, but my back was bare to him. “I don’t want you to…” I sighed. “I don’t want to hurt you any more than I already have.”

“It looks like I hurt you, actually.” Loki sat up and touched my arm. “You have a bruise.”

“What?” I looked down and saw a purplish blotch on my arm. “I don’t remember you doing that.” I’d probably have bruises on my thighs, but Loki didn’t grab my arms. “Oh. This isn’t from you. It’s from Tove.”

“Tove,” Loki sighed. He didn’t say anything for a minute, then looked over at me. “You’re going back to him tomorrow, aren’t you?”

“He is my husband.”

“He hit you,” he said, but without much conviction. Even Loki knew that Tove would never have done that, not if he was in his right mind.

“He won’t hit me again,” I said. “I married him for a reason, and that hasn’t changed.”

“What reason is that?” Loki asked. “I know you don’t love him.”

“The Trylle don’t want me to be Queen,” I said. “They don’t trust me because of who my father is, among other things. Tove’s family is very influential and helps balance it out. If I wasn’t married to him, his mother would be leading the campaign to get me overthrown. Without Tove, I’d never be Queen.”

“Why is that a bad thing?” Loki asked. “These people don’t trust you or like you, and you’re sacrificing everything for them. How does that make sense?”

“Because they need me. I can help them. I can save them. I’m the only one who can stand up to my father, and I’m the only one that cares enough to fight for the rights of the trackers and the other Trylle. I have to do this.”

“I wish you didn’t say that with such conviction.” He put his arm around me and moved closer. He kissed my shoulder, then whispered, “I don’t want you to go back to Tove tomorrow.”

“I have to,” I said.

“I know,” he said. “But I don’t want you to.”

“You can have me for tonight, though.” I gave him a small smile, and he lifted his head so his eyes met mine. “That’s all I can give you.”

“I don’t want only one night. I want all the nights. I want all of you, forever.”

Tears swam in my eyes, and my heart yearned so badly it hurt. Sitting there with Loki, I don’t think I’d ever felt quite so heartbroken.

 “Don’t cry, Wendy.” He smiled sadly at me, and I saw the heartbreak in his eyes mirroring my own. He pulled me to him and kissed my forehead, then my cheeks, then my mouth.

“So, if this is all you’ll let me have, then I will take it all,” Loki said. “No talking or even worrying about the kingdom or responsibility or anyone else. You’re not the Princess. I’m not Vittra. We’re only a boy and a girl crazy about each other, and we’re naked in bed.”

“I can do that,” I nodded.

“Good, because I’m determined to make the most of it.” He smiled and pushed me down on the bed. “I think we broke the bed a little bit last time. What do you say we see if we can destroy it?”

I laughed, and he kissed me. Tomorrow I might regret this. Tomorrow I might have hell to pay. But for one night, I refused to think or worry. I was with Loki, and he made me feel like the only thing in the world that truly mattered. And in that night, he was the only thing that truly mattered to me.

A knocking woke me in the morning, and I was surprised that I’d even slept at all. The night washed over me in a hazy, happy blur. Everything felt like a wonderful dream, and I’d never known that I could feel that close to another person or that… happy. Loki’s arms were strong around me, and I snuggled deeper into them. I wanted to stay curled up next to him forever.

“Princess?” Aurora called from outside my bedroom, and it was like a cold slap pulling me from my dream. “Are you up? I need to get my clothes.” Loki’s arms tensed up around me, and without waiting for an answer, the bedroom door creaked open as Aurora walked into the room.