tagSci-Fi & FantasyWish Granted Ch. 06

Wish Granted Ch. 06

byDreamerByTheDiamonds©

Danetta didn't ask him to unmask himself in the carriage. She decided that he had the right to reveal himself on his own terms. As they left the capital, Duke Adurant tried to have frivolous conversations with her. He tapped his cane on a window and talked about some of the buildings they passed. Then he asked her about some of her favorite shops in Henrisk. Danetta was confused, since she thought that she might never see the capital again. She told him that she hadn't considered it, since she hadn't enjoyed any leisurely shopping trips in a long time. Her shopping had mostly consisted of trying to haggle for basic supplies.

Another subject he brought up was her mother. What was she like? Well, Danetta thought she had been a good mother. She had disciplined her when necessary, tended to her when she was ill, and left behind an inheritance. That money went away quickly, though. Danetta had thought that she needed a quality education, something a gentlewoman would need. That was when her father turned cruel instead of simply austere. That was also when she learned there was a debt to pay.

Duke Adurant changed the topic again. What was her favorite subject to paint? Danetta told him she hadn't painted in a long time, and she could never choose a favorite subject anyway. There were too many. What of board games? Danetta couldn't ever remember being skilled with those, and she certainly hadn't had time for such a thing lately. When was the last time she danced? She couldn't remember. He told her that, concerning his last dance, he couldn't remember either.

She wanted to laugh at him, but she settled for a minor quirk of a corner of her lips.

The midday had come upon them when they arrived at Castle Adurant, and when Danetta was standing outside the entrance to the keep, her hand was again taken by a black glove and placed onto her husband's elbow. When they walked into the foyer, two long rows of servants were standing, a row on each side of the blue rug the newlyweds stood on. They all bowed to the couple, and they said in unison, "We welcome our new Mistress, Her Grace, Duchess Danetta Adurant, Lady of Duvanu!" Then, as if commanded by machinery, they all straightened their backs and said, "Welcome home, Mistress!"

Her eyes flitted from one row to the other. She was dumbstruck.

The Master addressed the servants. "Is anyone displeased with their new Mistress?"

Simultaneously, the servants replied, their voices ringing throughout the foyer. "No, Master!"

"Is there any person here displeased with serving two instead of one?"

"No, Master!"

He nodded to all of them. "Then you are all free to continue with your work, but after dinner is finished, remainders stored and dishes cleaned, everyone here will be dismissed from their duties until sunrise. This is to celebrate my new marriage, and the arrival of your benignant and radiant Mistress!"

"Thank you, Master!"

Danetta's brain switched back on. She stepped away from her husband and curtsied to all of the servants. "Thank you! You're all very hospitable!"

Something tapped her back. She looked to her left and saw her husband. She realized he had touched her. He murmured, "Don't curtsy to the servants. It's confusing."

As the servants dispersed, Danetta walked beside her husband, although she knew she was being led. She might as well have been a cow with a nose ring. "My husband's home is an impressive place. I hadn't expected to become a Mistress of any castle, let alone this fine example."

"This isn't the end of your welcome, My Bride. A bedchamber awaits you."

Her eyelids twitched and surges of inflammation rose in her labia. A tiny, kindled breath shivered throughout her.

"Are you well?" He reached over and patted her hand.

She found herself chuckling. "Yes. I'm sorry. So, you will take me to our room?"

"No. You have a room all for your enjoyment."

Her lower lip stuck out and her eyelids lowered. She honestly wanted to be taken to the marriage bed and suck on his manhood as roughly or as softly as he desired. She wanted to learn his skin's texture, even the scarred parts, with her tongue and lips. What would he taste like?

These thoughts were putting hopeful little tremors in her bosom as she was led upstairs and down many hallways. She was placed before a door with carvings of butterflies in the wood. Two young women were standing on each side of the door, lightly panting, as if they had rushed to reach the door before the couple. They curtsied and said, "Welcome, Mistress."

"These are your handmaidens," Duke Adurant explained.

The woman on the left stepped forward and said, "Laudra Haulen, Mistress." Then she stepped back.

The woman on the right stepped forward right after the previous one. "Vinny Diedran, Mistress." She also stepped back after saying her name.

Danetta smiled at them. "I'm grateful to meet you." She almost curtsied, but her husband cleared his throat in a very transparent way, reminding her of her new position.

Duke Adurant opened the door for her, and Danetta stepped inside with a bubbling sense of wonder. Shades of blue, pink, and white all greeted her eyes, along with intricately carved pale woods. There were old but well maintained tapestries hanging from the high ceiling, covering sections of the stone walls. A large fireplace stood facing an even larger bed. The bed's canopy was more luxurious than any formal gown Danetta had ever seen. Thick white fabric hung from the frame over the bed. It was nearly overpowered by embroidered shapes of circles, squares, and diamonds.

Her palm sunk into her chest as she studied a small dining table, for when she'd eat in her room, then looked to the tall doors the table faced. She pushed one open and looked at a great balcony. The protective outer wall slightly blocked her view of the river below, but the mountains were clear and cheerful. Danetta sighed and said, "Your lands are far too beautiful, Your Grace."

She heard his feet behind her. "I'm your husband." The reminder was quiet but there was a hint of vexation.

Danetta nodded. "Please forgive me, Sir. I meant no offense. I'm simply vanquished by this wondrous place, nearly ruined, in fact. I can't function properly."

A laugh, and then her husband said, "You'll die when you see the rest."

She turned around and tilted her head, her fingers lingering on one of the balcony's doors. Her husband reached for those fingers and guided her to beautifully framed window, partially covered by a blue curtain. He pulled it aside to allow more light. Under the window, there was a great desk with many drawers and a round mirror framed in silver plated wood. There were a few boxes and a ring of tiny keys on the desk, but her husband chose to open the drawers underneath. He had to unlock the drawers with the keys.

He showed her pricey creams, oils, perfumes, rouges, and other cosmetics, which she had praised and cooed over. Another drawer had several grooming devices, which she had also praised. Then Danetta was shown a tray of hair ornaments, including hairnets and ribbons, elaborate combs, flashy hairpins, and even circlets. Most of these devices were made of precious materials, such as gold or silver, rare woods, ivory, and tortoise shell. Danetta gasped to see them, and her voice was high pitched as her fingers dared to glide over the luxurious items.

"Master! My Master!" She wanted to hop in place like a child. "Oh, my sweet, kind Master! I'm not worthy of such gifts!"

Heat rose from her shoulder as her husband patted it. His voice fell over her back like a gentle stream. "Stop saying those stupid things and listen to my apology."

"Apology?" She turned around and beamed up at the covered face. She was so close that she could probably have stolen a kiss, a kiss against fabric, but still a kiss. Her husband smelled like mild cologne and cleanliness. It was too tempting to ignore. Her voice lowered. She wanted to sound sensual, attractive, and ready to consummate the marriage. "Why would my husband ever apologize to me? I've been pampered under your care."

The man actually pressed his body closer. She felt his heat against her body, and she thought she was blooming as happily as a flower under the sun. Her flesh was excited and pink.

"My Dear Wife," he said to her with utmost seriousness, "I should have purchased more gifts originally designed for you and you only. Unfortunately, I had less than a month's time. I rushed every seamstress, cobbler, and jeweler I could reach, but I was not satisfied. Most of your gowns and accessories were inherited from my mother, adjusted to your size and the current mode, of course, but they once belonged to her."

Danetta blinked. She reached up, put her hand against his chest, and spread her fingers. His muscles flexed under her touch, and she tried not to shudder. His body was so warm, deliciously warm. "Oh Sir, did you go through so much trouble for me?"

Duke Adurant took her hand from his chest. The leather embraced her fingers with what she hoped was affection. "I even had some of my maids put aside their chores to alter my mother's gowns."

"When Mrs. Tilly mended my clothing, she measured the pieces." The realization had dimples popping in her cheeks. Her teeth were displayed with no shame. "This truly was a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"And I still don't care. Ah, I must confess that while you slept, I asked her to borrow your shoes to measure them." She saw the muscles of his face stretch under the fabric. He was smiling. He released her hand and reached for the boxes on the desk. One was smaller than the other. "This chest," he said, scooping up the smaller box, "contains all the jewelry I was able to find especially for you. I focused on these instead of the hair accessories. Those came from my mother." He unlocked the box with a delicate little click. His thumb pushed the lid up.

As she peered down at the necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, and brooches, her hands covered her nose and mouth. She squealed and shook her head back and forth. She couldn't stop herself. Astonishment and bliss were permeating her mind.

There was laughter, her husband's laughter. His hands trembled from it, which shook the box and caused the contents to jingle. He closed the box, locked it, and put it down. As he slid the other box closer, he said, "This was my mother's jewelry case." He unlocked it and revealed sliding trays and drawers inside. The gemstones on the accessories were often massive, and Danetta wanted to faint as she imagined the weight of the jewelry. Not even when her family had better fortunes had she seen such dense pieces.

She leaned against the desk, supporting herself by gripping the edge. Her voice barely whispered, "I once thought I'd be a sailor's wife."

"I don't believe a sailor could have paid off your father's debt, Dear Wife." Duke Adurant closed his late mother's jewelry case and locked it.

She supposed she didn't think of that back at the Auction Hall. She giggled at herself.

Her husband pointed past a washing stand and towards four objects, two tall wardrobes and two wide chests. Danetta knelt before one of the chests. Inside, there were several shoes of varying styles. Some were sturdy boots for athletic pursuits. Some were casual walking shoes. Some were delicate little creations for formal occasions.

She opened the other chest. It was filled with undergarments. Her favorite pieces were the chemises. Most of them had exquisite lace details. She planned on going to her marriage bed with the most luxurious chemise she could find. Then she stood up and went to the wardrobes. Everything she found inside them was sumptuous.

Her husband walked over to her. "The one on your left has my mother's clothing. The one on your right has original clothing, all for you."

"Dear Husband! What can I do to repay your generosity?" She ran to him and gripped the sleeves of his coat, lovingly gazing up into the rough eye-holes in his fabric.

Again, his facial muscles stretched the fabric on his head. Danetta didn't know what his smile looked like, but she knew that she wanted to bask under it. "Bathe and dress as a Duchess would, Madam, and meet me in my library. One of your handmaidens should guide you."

***

After a nice wash at a wash basin, and a fun moment of picking out a casual yet expensive gown and putting it on, Danetta followed one of her handmaidens to the library. The rich, papery aroma of old books and furniture pleased her when she entered. Inside, her husband was seated by a window, reading a thin book. Once he noticed her, he tossed the book aside and stood up.

"I'm sooooooo pleased to see you, Dear One. Come ... come and sit with me." His voice was lagging. He went over to an ornate couch large enough for two people and sank down in its right side, which was at Danetta's left. His left arm pulled up and rested on the back of the sofa, over the empty seat he wanted his bride to take.

Smiling as demurely as she could, Danetta practically floated over to the sofa and sat beside him. His arm slid down and around her so naturally, so peacefully, as if it belonged there. The firmness of the limb gave her a comforting feeling she wasn't used to, but she knew she wanted more and more of it. It heated her nape and shoulders. She pulled her hair from her back and tugged it to one side so that she could feel his shirt's sleeve against her bare skin.

A happy inhale, and then Danetta realized that he smelled funny again, ashy and earthy, as if he had been smoking something, but it wasn't as strong as the bitter smoke that came from most men's pipes. She wondered what he liked to smoke and what sort of pipe he used. She hoped his teeth weren't darkened.

His chest heaved beside her as he gave a clogged sort of laugh. "I'm glad today, veeeeeery glad. I have a pretty wife, a pretty, pretty, little wife."

"I'm relieved, Dear Master."

His hand gripped her shoulder, patted it, and gripped it again. "I want to touch your face, little love. Would you let me do that?"

She turned her head to look at him. "Of course."

As his right hand rose and moved to her, Danetta's breath paused. The seams lining the sides of the fingers slid down her cheek. The scrutiny from behind the mask was felt more than seen.

"Daaahhh ... Neeeeet ... Aaaaaaah ... Heh heh." He was stretching out her name and laughing. She wanted to question him, but she was so pleased with him that she didn't want to hinder anything he did. "Your name sounds odd."

"Are you ill?"

"Don't worry, my honey bee, my pretty, witty," and here he tapped her cheek with his fingers, "itty-bitty ... huh. What else rhymes with that?"

She shrugged. She had hoped he would be more passionate with his caress, but he was acting so empty-headed. The strong hands she had so admired had become devoid of passion. His gloves were at a glacial state. Disappointment was dulling her fervor.

"Good Husband, I'm concerned for you."

And he laughed again. His fingers drew playful little circles near her small nose. Then he tapped the tip a few times, as if he had found a cute toy. Then the hand pulled away and curled against an area on his head that Danetta assumed was the location of her husband's mouth. An inconsiderate yawn distributed itself over the gloved fist, and then the fist fell to her husband's lap. The man's head went to one side. The hand that rested on Danetta's shoulder loosened.

"Husband?" She reached over and lightly touched his knee. His legs were relaxing, knees unbending. Breath was rising and falling from him in an easy rhythm.

He was trying to speak, but he wasn't saying much. "Yes? Yes! No ... Best materials." His voice weakened and faded. "Still ... a shopping trip ... shopping ... yes."

Danetta kept her eyes on him for maybe two minutes. Then she quietly rose from her seat. She turned to look down at him, and an idea came.

If he was asleep, then she could look under his gloves, perhaps even his mask. Maybe she should wait for him to go deeper in his slumber, so it would be easier?

Danetta reached for him, then pulled back.

No.

He trusted her.

She couldn't bear to have that trust soiled.

Duke Adurant would reveal himself to her in time, she imagined. He most certainly would.

But what if there was a trick here? What if he was actually quite handsome, and he was testing her? What if he wasn't the true Lord of the Duvanu province? What if there were two men working together to deceive her?

She shook her head.

No.

He would never manipulate her in such a cruel, insane fashion.

Never. Never. Never. Never!

Danetta took an unshakable breath. She nodded to herself and to her sleeping husband. The fine over-skirt of her gown fluttered in the scholarly air as she quit the room.

***

For her first dinner as a married woman, and an aristocrat at that, Danetta wanted to be as attractive as possible. Her thighs were constantly buzzing from dissatisfaction. She had been in her new home for a few hours, long enough to have a taste of marital intercourse, but nothing of the sort had happened. As she sat before her new mirror, watching one of her handmaidens comb her curly hair, she considered the best methods of beautification, and she shivered as she imagined her husband holding her close and running his gloves against her flesh.

As the handmaiden pulled portions of her Mistress' hair back, she chatted about how she thought eating raw fruits would cause indigestion. The other handmaiden displayed a hairnet of black ribbons weaved in a diamond pattern. A little pearl sphere, white and elegant, was sewn onto each diamond's corner. Danetta nodded at the hairnet, thinking it was impeccable.

As the net was tightened over the pulled back section of her hair, Danetta asked, "Have any of you served the late Duchess?"

"No, Mistress," was the response from both handmaidens. One of them combed out the remainder of Danetta's hair that wasn't bundled into a net. The other handmaiden held out two different circlets. Danetta chose one made of festoons of gold chains and dangling gemstones of a teardrop shape. The sparkly little stones were an intense red color, bright and electric. There was a matching necklace around her throat, dangling to her bosom. Little red jewels were also in her ears.

As the circlet was fitted around her head, Danetta wondered what happened to the ones who served her husband's mother. Then she realized it had been five years since there had been a Mistress in this castle. The previous handmaidens had likely been terminated from their positions.

Danetta took a thin paintbrush, dipped it into a bowl of water, and looked at a shallow dish with a lid. A handmaiden popped the lid off and revealed red rouge. Danetta coated the brush's smooth bristles with the red paint and then she cautiously filled in her lower lip. The brush was held in the air for a moment. "Have I colored too much of my lip?"

The handmaiden named Vinny Diedran shook her head. Her wavy dark hair was firmly braided in its coiffure. It didn't move at all. "The color is similar to your jewels, Mistress. It looks so pure when placed near your pretty eyes."

"Thank you." Danetta filled in her upper lip. Then she reached for a dish full of a much paler rouge. She used a different brush to dab small patches onto her cheeks. A handmaiden used her bare fingertips to spread and blend the pink color. "Do you suppose I should put some rouge on my nipples?" Danetta asked.

The neckline of her gown was so low that it was ridiculous. Her nipples were one sneeze or cough away from appearing.

"Nothing unnatural, Mistress. Use the pink rouge," the handmaiden named Laudra Haulen advised.

Danetta tried not to shiver at her husband's possible delight.

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