"Why would I be?"
"I am just curious. Rayven was."
"That is a different story."
"Of course. You probably long for this and would skip the whole afterparty to have your cake in your chambers."
"Wife," Skender corrected with a smirk.
"Same thing to you now."
Acheron came to check on him as well. "Can you imagine we will have two married demons among us soon," he said.
"Life is full of surprises." Lazarus sighed. "And I don't like surprises."
"Let's go," Skender said when he was done. He just wanted to see Roxana, knowing this was her version of mating. This meant a lot to her and she had been hurt because of it. She had lost hope in it. He wanted it to be perfect for her.
When he arrived outside the throne hall, he took a deep breath and then walked inside. Everyone had already arrived waiting for the ceremony to begin. As he walked down the red carpet leading to the Bishop waiting at the throne threshold, he took notice of William. He gave him a gently smiled. Lucrezia was hiding somewhere in the crowd with her sister he noticed. She gave him a nod with her usual smirk.
He saw Vitale and Mazzon, Rayven and Angelica, Fanny and Diana and last he found his grandma. Her eyes glistened with tears she held back.
Skender walked up to the Bishop and greeted him, then he had to wait for his bride. His head turned to the entrance and he realized his heart was beating faster. And then she came into sight, like a white angel, making his heart tremble.
Her teal eyes found his and a smile curved her lips. Uncle Ben walked her carefully down, bringing her closer so he could admire her. He could her heart beating in rhythm with his.
This woman had brought him from the brink of death. Erased his sorrow and pain. Painted his grey life with bright colors and chased the cold away with the warm rays of gold. She had inspired him with her strength, challenged him, and encouraged him. She was a dream come true, one he never even dared to have.
Uncle Ben gave him her hand and Skender took it, giving him a nod to assure he would treasure her, and then she was standing before him.
Skender brushed his thumb over hand knuckled before releasing her but his eyes never left hers. They were in their own world for a moment as the Bishop announced the wedding would start and welcomed everyone.
Rayven had once told him that the vows had a heaviness, a seriousness he could not ignore. It was a promise hard to break. One that left a bitter taste and guilt, but when cherished it was beautiful. Skender would know today that the man was so right.
As he listened to the vows, he could see the change in Roxana's eyes. She was absorbing the meaning and so was he.
"Do you, King Alexander take Lady Hayes as your wife and pledge onto her before God and these witnesses, to be her protector and defender, to honor and sustain her in sickness and in health, in fair and in foul, with all your worldly powers, to cherish and forsaking all others and keep onto her as long and you both shall live?"
Skender looked into Roxana's tearful eyes and not caring he took her hand again, "I do."
A smile curved her lips.
"Do you Lady Hayes, take King Alexander as your husband and pledge onto him before God and these witnesses, to honor and cherish him, to cleave onto him in sickness and in health, in fair and in foul, be his one true and lasting counselor and solace and forsaking all others and keep onto him as long and you both shall live?
"I do," Roxana said, their hold on each other tightening.
They exchanged their rings and then the Bishop continued.
"Before I proclaim you husband and wife, you must kiss three times on cue. One for luck, twice for love, and thrice for a long life."
The crowd cheered and Roxana blushed as he drew her one. He gently put one arm around her, pressing his lips to her in a gentle kiss. One for luck. He was already lucky.
He pulled away and kissed her again. This time with more passion. Twice for love. Oh, his entire being was filled with love for this woman and he poured it all into the kiss because no words could convey his feelings.
Drawing back he looked at her eyes before the last kiss. Thrice for a long life. Yes. He wanted to live forever if it was by her side. Even a million years would be too short and so he wanted to kiss her for that long.
Once he released her they were both a little breathless. "That kiss was a promise alone," the Bishop joked making everyone chuckle.
Roxana smiled with a blush.
"I hereby proclaim you husband and wife."
Skender took her hand and kissed her knuckles. "Good morning, sweet wife."
"Good morning dear husband," she whispered back.
Before the afterparty, they went around on a carriage in town, the people wanting to see their queen. Lazarus had planned everything so perfectly and even made sure they had gifts to give out while riding by with their carriage. There was celebration all around, people hailing, waiting in the streets, waving and screaming.
Skender could tell Roxana was a bit intimidated by all the scrutiny. He rubbed her back, "it is alright. They seem to like you."
Children reached out, mostly girls to get a touch. Roxana returned their greeting by reaching out and slowly with time she relaxed and enjoyed the ride and the fact that the whole kingdom was celebrating their wedding.
"That was… a lot," she said when they arrived back at the castle. "I am glad to see that people were praying for your long life."
Well, he could use it now. Before he used to think it was a curse. Why were they praying for something he didn't want? It was amusing to look back on just how much things had changed for him in a such short period.
The after party was filled with dance and joy. Skender danced with Diana whom he grew a little closer to over time. She was mostly shy and kept her distance. Reserved unlike her sister, but one could see her brighter side, the one where she resembled Roxana from time to time.
Then he danced with Lucrezia. "Alexander," she smiled "Shall we abandon Skender now?"
"I am thinking of it."
"Yes. It should be a symbol of a new phase in your life. The new Skender, the emerged Alexander thanks to his mate."
She smiled. "You deserve it and I didn't do much."
"I know what you did." He told her. "Whatever it is you are facing, you are not alone." He assured her.
She forced a smile, "I can see why they say have children now." She joked. She then congratulated him and left.
'Zarus, I am leaving with my bride. Take care of the rest.' Skender reached him telepathically.
'Take your cake to bed,' he drawled amused.
Skender snuck Roxana out of the party hall and then teleported them to their chambers.
"Alex, what are you.." he drew her into his arms and kissed her.
"You wanted this," he spoke against her lips.
"Yes, but I thought…"
"I know. I have changed my mind," he continued to kiss her while removing the veil and untangling her hair. "I want to make love to you. Slow, sweet, love."
That is what he wanted today and he wanted it so much he had utter control. There was no fear. Just longing. He wanted to find that solace in her arms and give her the pleasure he had denied.
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He took them to bed wrapped in each other naked, rubbing in silky heat and comforting warmth until they both found satisfaction. Yes, he was not clouded by extreme hunger anymore. He had found his peace. With his wife, he could always find back.
"Do you want blood?" She asked resting in his arms.
"No. Not now. I want to cherish this moment first."
Their fingers entwined. "That was very slow and sweet." She told him.
"Did you like it?"
"Yes. Very much."
"I might become hungry later," he joked.
"I like that part too."
"Lucky me," he drawled.
She chuckled. "And me too."
This is the end of volume 2. Thank you everyone for following me on this journey with my favorite characters. For those who expressed sadness to leave our beloved characters behind, do not worry as they will stay with us throughout all volumes. We will see more or less of all characters in every volume.
Before starting vol 3, I will be taking some time off from the series. Just try new things to get inspiration back and be satisfied with the plot I come up with for our next couple. Keep the book in your library or follow me on my social media, if you want to stay updated on when I will start again. Thank you again for all the support <3