The tip of the iceberg…

Chapter 27

Padma stirred, stretching her arms above her head and her back hit a hard wall of flesh…

Suddenly the antics from last night came flooding into her mind along with the bright rays of the morning sun playing a peek-a-boo with the canopy of the glorious flora around the house.

She blushed and smiled, pulling up the blanket that had slipped below her chest. It was modesty personified as she dug her face into his arm that had served as her pillow. She had the best sleep in years, and she was like a purring kitten waiting to be stroked and petted.

She felt a warm, calloused palm spreading against her belly and a fresh wave of arousal made its way up her body. She shivered and moved her lower back.

“Continue to do that Princess, and you will have to skip breakfast…” He muttered into her ear, his warm breath brushing away her curls covering her lobe, and that shiver passed through her body yet again. Her apex throbbed as she felt wetness pooling in, and she arched her back further, feeling his harness prod her lower back. Her brazenness stunned her. She was a virgin till last night, and today she had turned into someone she didn’t know, that too in the heart of wilderness with a man who was a stranger yet someone her soul knew only too well.

His hand crawled its way from her stomach to her wet apex, and as he slipped in a stiff finger into the secret crevice, she yelped and further arched her back, closing her eyes shut. His hand below her head snaked around, covering her and grabbed her aching bosom. His finger below created havoc with her insides, his other hand kneaded her and pinched her aroused nipple.

She didn’t last, and before she knew, she screamed her orgasm and crashed back into his waiting torso. He barely wasted any time as he licked her lobe, preparing her for another round of earth-shattering climax. He spread her legs, and his thick ready manhood made its smooth way to where it belonged.

Her insides throbbed as she engulfed his full length, and he began his rocking movements, his hand gripping her hips and the other hand playing nestled between her breasts, holding her close. She shattered within the initial few strokes, and he followed her soon, her walls closing around his length once again.

“Padmaaaaa…..” He harshly growled into her ear and her insides quivered yet again even after she had her release.

They lay glued to each other, her back to his chest, and she would have loved to lay like that for eternity but nature called.

He helped her get up and as she relieved herself, he began to heat water for her on the makeshift stove. She didn’t know from where it had emerged but was glad for the person’s foresight, whoever it was.

She needed that hot water to clean up though she wanted his marks to be etched on her body forever as it did on her soul.

She walked with a wide-based gait given the slight pain in her apex, not that she would have refused another round. Especially when she walked into the kitchen and saw Shadow prepare bread toast for her, wearing only… goddamn it, a narrow bath towel. It did everything to send her imagination into a frenzy and she licked her lips. Right then, Shadow turned around and smiled as if he had caught her in the act. She blushed and sat on the chair he had placed near the lone table as he placed a couple of paper plates on it.

“Sorry Princess, but I can’t offer the royal cutlery…” Shadow looked away.

She stood up and walked towards him. Holding his hand in hers, she said, “Hey Shadow, I am glad I am in this situation in a way… because I am with you. I wouldn’t have had this any other way… So relax, OK?”

“But Princess…”

“…Padma…” She interrupted him. “…call me Padma, Shadow. I like the sound of my name when you say it.”

“I can’t Princess…” He held her shoulders, burning her skin with his warmth through her sundress. “…I am your bodyguard, and despite my feelings for you, I have a duty to perform. Your life is at stake, and I can’t let anything happen to you.”

Padma’s nodded as her eyes filled.

“I know I am being repetitive here… but Shadow, when do you think this will be over?”

“Soon Princess… very soon. I had set the ball rolling already when I had gone to get the groceries. Bullet has mobilized a team and I am coordinating with him. We are trying to locate the crown and, most importantly Princess…” He pushed that unruly lock away from her face. “…I have to find the evidence that the Queen had left behind…”

Padma straightened. Guilt ate her insides. How could she forget what had happened to her mother and Chauhan kaka? How could she be so selfish in catering to her own needs and forget why she was away from the palace?

Bile rose in her food pipe as nausea clouded her ability to think. She felt dizzy and would have collapsed if Shadow wouldn’t have held her. He lifted her and carried her upstairs into his room. He lay her on the bed they had passionately shared sometime back.

He wiped her face with a wet cloth and got her a glass of water.

“Princess…” Shadow spoke with concern filled in his voice. “…I am sorry… I didn’t mean to upset you…I…”

She gripped his hand. “Shadow… don’t… apologize. I don’t regret being with you… But I was selfish…” she couldn’t control the tears flowing as the dam burst.

He lay next to her and gathered her in his arms. She nestled her head in the crook of his neck as if it was customized for her and wept. He rubbed her back even as she held his back, pushing herself into him… Somehow his touch, his warmth and his voice soothed her and she felt better.

After a few minutes, she asked him. “Shadow… what evidence are you talking about?”

Shadow sighed.

“Princess, your mother, had unearthed a sinister plot about possible women and child trafficking… she probably was killed because of that…”

A shudder ran through her as she remembered the gruesome night.

“Shadow I don’t remember the details of that night… but you were there. You saved me… dropped me back to the Palace on that bench… Did you see the killer?”

“Unfortunately, Princess, I was at a wrong angle and couldn’t… But you are in danger because the perp thinks you saw him.”

Padma was shivering, and she felt him cover them with the blanket yet again, his body warmth gradually seeping into her fully clothed body.

“Don’t worry Princess, I shall not let anything happen to you…” he hugged her tightly and Padma drifted off to sleep.

She woke a little later to light pecks on her forehead and was deluged by his vanilla sprinkled warmth. She didn’t know how he had the fragrance on him given that they had been away for a while now. Did he carry the spray with him?

“Princess, let’s have something and go for a stroll? The climate is beautiful after the downpour,” Shadow purred into her ear, and despite everything, she realised she wouldn’t want to trade in the moment for anything else in the world.

She nodded, and Shadow kissed her forehead and reluctantly walked out of the room. Padma stretched lazily and smiled to herself. She touched her belly where Shadow had placed his palm moments earlier. When did she have her last contraceptive pill? She had been recommended one in her last check-up to streamline her monthly cycles that were creating a havoc with unbearable pain. But she didn’t remember when she had the last pill. Was it on the day she was poisoned? But even before that she had been irregular… When was her last cycle?

She was blank but was surprised that she wasn’t scared about the outcome of what had transpired between Shadow and her. In fact, she learnt she would be thrilled to be with a child… Shadow’s child. At the same time though, her heart fell thinking about what Shadow felt. Was he just duty-bound and overcome with passion given their situations? No… he wasn’t a  shallow person.

She sighed. She would cross the bridge when she came to it. Then, with a jolt, she realised she no longer cared about the Royal etiquettes.

After a light breakfast of bread and butter, she walked alongside Shadow towards the waterfalls, where she was greeted by the misty breeze humming and trying to compete with the gigantic roar. She had always loved the waterfall roar. At times in extreme solitude of the night, she thought she could hear it at her Palace window as well.

“Princess, do you want to go right there?” Shadow asked pointing towards an extended rock that looked like a vast portion of a cave and was surrounded by the fall.

“Won’t it be risky… I mean, if I slip…”

“Trust me, Princess… you will have the time of your life. I promise…” Shadow convinced her.

He took her along the mushy pathway made through the decaying foliage that grew under the tall trees as they walked parallelly along the mighty water body pooled below the falls. After a while, they reached a rocky hillock and Shadow pulled her through a narrow path carved between the rock and she suddenly found herself on the rock she had just seen moments ago.

As if reading her thoughts, Shadow said. “Princess, the path we came back gets filled with water after Sunset and the water absolutely recedes and disappears at Sunrise. It’s an amazing phenomenon, right?”

Padma only nodded… How did he know the region better than her? She hadn’t even heard of this phenomenon and she was the crowned Princess for crying out loud. But she knew there would be no point in asking Shadow. His lips were sealed.

Shadow tugged at her hand, bringing her out of her reverie. She took off her shoes which were already soiled from her tryst earlier night, and walked barefoot on the cold rock. Surprisingly the rock surrounded by the gush of the falls was damp but not slippery. She was amazed at nature’s wonder.

“Princess, why don’t you enjoy this view for a while? I want to look around a bit.” Shadow told her as he left her hand.

Padma nodded, spellbound by the beauty of the acqua beauty around her to bother about where Shadow went. She sat for a while lost in thought.

What was in store for her? She was the crowned Princess, madly in love with a commoner she knew nothing about. Not even his name. For the first time in her life, she had followed her heart without permission from her brain. For once she lived like a woman without the royal burden where she was expected to behave in a particular manner.

She hugged herself. Most of all, she had committed blasphemy… Not only had she slept with a man without the matrimonial bondage but also enjoyed it and was probably carrying his child. She had left caution to the wind.

Padma gripped the locket yet again even as the divine watery visuals blurred further with her unshed tears.

Aai…” She remembered her mother. “…would you have approved of what I did? Do you like Shadow? You often spoke about soulmates being a rarity…”

She remembered many evenings whenever she spent time with her mother, she saw the Queen stare into oblivion with a wishful look.

“Padma, bala (child)…” Her Aai would say. “…Fortunate are those who get to live with their soulmates. Unconditional love is a bond that cannot be broken irrespective of the caste, creed, family background, socioeconomic status etc…It’s a unique kind of compatibility…”

Aai, were you not happy with baba?” Padma spoke to herself. Except for rare photo ops, the King and Queen never displayed close physical contact, now that Padma remembered. Was their relationship a ruse?

“Was there someone else, aai…?” Padma was shocked to even think of something so absurd. “…Aai… I think Shadow is the one for me… I don’t know if we can be together or if baba will ever allow it… but bless me aai… I need you all the more now. I miss you.” Padma whispered and clutched at the locket with a vigour that indented into her palm.

Suddenly she felt Shadow’s presence, and before she knew he came behind her and hugged her to him.

“Hush… Princess, don’t cry. I promise you this will be over soon…”  Shadow assured her.

She turned into his arms. She had to speak loudly to hear herself above the waterfall gush.

“Shadow… how much do you know about my mother?”

“A little, Princess.” He looked away.

“In that case…” She moved away from the solace of his arms. It was time to get things out of the horse’s mouth. “…Why did she visit you when your mother died all those years ago…?”

Shadow’s shocked face proved her point. All she knew so far was just the tip of the iceberg.

 

 

©Priya Nayak-Gole

 

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