Guarded Hearts, Part 3

Summary: Alice and Bastien spend what they think will be their last night together and Maxwell makes a surprising proposition to Alice.

New to the series? Catch up here: Part 1, Part 2

Alice waited anxiously in her apartment, too excited to sit still as she paced the floor. She checked the time for what felt like the hundredth time in ten minutes. Bastien had texted that he was on his way and despite the late hour, every cell in her body felt like it was on fire with anticipation. Why was she acting like this about a man she’d known for 24 hours? She was cooler than this…wasn’t she? Alice shook her head and sat on the edge of her bed, jiggling her knees nervously. However cool she thought she might’ve been in the past had clearly gone out the window. Stop it, she scolded herself. But her anxious fingers ignored her instructions, tapping a staccato melody on her thighs.

Bastien felt like he was about to lose his mind. Why was there so much traffic in New York at 3 AM? He sat back heavily in the town car and sighed, frustrated. He was so close to her and yet still so far.

“Sorry, Mac,” the driver said over his shoulder to Bastien. “Can’t help the traffic.”

“I know, it’s not your fault,” Bastien said. He tapped his fingers on his knees, anxious anticipation coursing through his body. Why was he being so weird about Alice? He couldn’t remember the last time a woman had completely consumed him like this. Of course, it would happen with a woman who lived in New York when he was sworn to Cordonia. But Bastien knew he’d take what he could get. He’d barely met her, but he already knew that a little bit of Alice was better than none at all.

The traffic inched forward.

Alice checked her phone again. Bastien had texted to let her know he was stuck in traffic, but that had been a while ago. What if he’d changed his mind? What if–

A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts.

Be. Cool, Alice instructed herself as she took a deep breath. She crossed the room to her door and balanced up on her tiptoes to look through the peephole. Even through the fisheye glass, Bastien looked unbelievably handsome. She felt a thrill run through her and she opened the door. He grinned at her and in that moment, all of her nerves melted away.

“Hey, Gray,” he said, leaning in to kiss her cheek. His lips brushed her skin and Alice closed her eyes for a moment, breathing in the scent of him, like cedar and autumn leaves. “Sorry it took so long for me to get here, you wouldn’t believe the traffic.”

“You’re here now, Dorian,” she said with a smile as she led him into her apartment. “That’s what matters.”

Alice closed the door behind them and Bastien leaned in again, kissing her softly on the lips as he backed her up against the door.

“Is this okay?” he asked softly, his breath warm on her lips.

“It’s more than okay,” Alice whispered. She kissed him again, deeper this time and he responded eagerly as she pulled his hips against hers. His fingers drifted down from her throat, calloused fingertips tracing down to the low neckline of her shirt. Alice sucked in a breath as his hand slipped under the fabric, caressing her bare skin. Bastien groaned softly when he realized she wasn’t wearing a bra, his breast warm under his hand. She slid her hands under the hem of his shirt, her fingers tugging at the waistband of his pants to press him more firmly against her. Bastien broke their kiss long enough to pull her shirt off and throw it away before pulling off his own.

Alice pushed herself off the door and turned them until Bastien’s back was against it. She felt his hands slide down her sides before cupping her ass, grinding his hips against hers. As she kissed him, her fingers deftly undid his belt and unzipped his pants. Alice slid a hand inside, cupping his hardening length through his boxer briefs. She squeezed him gently and he groaned again, tightening his hold on her.

She pulled her lips from his, trailing them across the rough stubble of his cheeks before kissing her way down his neck and chest. Bastien leaned his head back against the door, breathing hard as she moved lower and lower. Alice knelt before him and slowly pulled down his pants and boxers, his erection springing free.

Bastien watched her with hooded eyes, one hand slowly stroking his cock as she kissed his thighs, her tongue tantalizingly close. She replaced his hand on his member with her own, cupping his balls with her other hand as she kissed her way along the shaft. She licked the drop of glistening precum off the tip before slowly taking him in her mouth. Bastien’s breathing was labored as he pulled her hair back from her face, watching as she worked her way up and down him, massing him with her hands and tongue.

After a while, Bastien suddenly pulled away from her grasp and tugged her to her feet. “I need you,” he breathed, lips against her ear as he pressed her body against his.

“I’m yours,” she whispered as he captured her lips in a bruising kiss. Though neither of them was willing to pause long enough to acknowledge it, they both felt something click into place when she said that.

Bastien kicked away his pants and knelt in front of her to pull hers off, kissing each new inch of exposed skin. He fished in his pants pocket for a condom before he stood back up and kissed her, edging her back towards her bed. Alice felt the mattress bump against the back of her knees and she lay down on her bed, stretching out in front of him. Bastien drank in the sight of her naked body in front of him, waiting for him, as he tore open the wrapper and rolled the condom on. He knelt over her and she wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him to her. He slid a hand between them, fingers teasing at her entrance, and he bit his lip when he discovered how wet she was.

“Christ, Alice,” he hissed, thumb circling her clit. She arched her back at his touch and pulled him closer.

“Bastien. Now.

He lined himself up with her entrance and slowly pushed inside, giving her time to adjust before he started to move with her. Alice wrapped her legs tighter, pushing him deeper. Bastien sat up on his knees, hands gripping her hips. He wanted desperately to go hard and fast but he took his time, keeping a slow, even pace. She gripped his forearms, nails digging into his skin and leaving tiny crescent moons behind.

Alice slid one hand between them, circling her clit with her fingers. Bastien watched as she touched herself, finding it more and more difficult to go slowly. He felt her tighten around him, walls fluttering with her impending climax, and he thrust harder, all semblance of control gone. She came loudly, his name fading into a wordless cry of pleasure. As the orgasm rolled through her, he suddenly pulled her up to him, his arms wrapped tightly around her waist as she clung to him, blonde hair tumbling around her shoulders as he fucked her. He groaned her name into the crook of her neck as he came, pulsing inside her.

Breathing hard, Bastien gently lay Alice back on the bed, hesitant to pull away even as he softened inside of her. He knelt down and kissed her softly before finally releasing her and heading for the bathroom.

When he returned, Alice was under the covers, one side pulled back for him. He smiled and slid in beside her, pulling her thigh over his bare hip. He kissed her, thumb tracing down the curve of her neck.

“How’s your wrist?” Bastien asked when he finally pulled away. He ran his fingers down her arm and lifted her arm, pushing away the covers so he could get a better look at it. He frowned at the bracelet of bruises that lingered there.

“It’s fine,” Alice said, unconcerned. “It might’ve been a lot worse if you hadn’t been there.”

Bastien gently kissed her wrist, turning her hand to press his lips to each dark mark that marred her skin.

“I wish you didn’t have to leave tomorrow,” she said. “Today, I mean,” she corrected herself.

“Me, too,” Bastien said, looping her arm around his neck as he pulled her closer. “I only have a few hours before I have to go back to the hotel.”

“A few hours?” Alice asked, raising an eyebrow at him with a mischievous grin. “I can think of a few ways to keep you occupied. That is, of course, unless you’re too tired…”

Bastien grinned, pulling her leg tighter across him. “I’ve never been more awake in my life.”

Alice’s alarm blared, jarring her out of an exhausted sleep. She fumbled blearily for her phone to silence the noise and instead knocked it onto the floor. She groaned and leaned over the side of the bed finally grabbing the phone and turning it off. It took her a moment to wake up and orient herself, but then it all came back to her. Saying goodbye to Bastien had been harder than she’d anticipated, but she knew it had been unavoidable. He was leaving the country, she was staying here. That’s all there was to it. She wished things could’ve been different, but they weren’t.

Alice sat up in bed and stretched. She’d only been asleep for a couple hours, but she had to get ready for her shift at the bar. Alice hated going in early when she’d closed the night before, but on the bright side, that meant she’d finish earlier and tomorrow was her day off.

After she’d showered and dressed, she headed for the bar. As she approached the doors, she saw someone unexpected standing there.

“Alice! Hey, glad I caught you,” Maxwell said with a grin.

“Hey, Maxwell,” Alice said. “I thought you were leaving today.”

“I am,” he said. “But I have a proposition for you.”

“What kind of proposition?” Alice asked slowly, frowning.

“Well, as you know, we’re heading back to Cordonia so Liam can find a fiancee and all that jazz,” Maxwell said. “But before I go, I wanted to officially extend an invitation to you to join us for the festivities in Cordonia.”

“Seriously?” Alice asked. “I mean, that sounds fun and all, but I can’t just up and leave my job.”

“Here’s the thing,” Maxwell continued. “You wouldn’t usually be allowed to join, but I want to sponsor you.”

“What do you mean ‘sponsor me’?”

“I’m from a noble house, but I don’t have any sisters, so we don’t have anyone in contention to marry the prince. Instead, we can sponsor any woman we choose, and you’re my pick.”

“Wait, you really think I’d drop everything to fly to another country with people I barely know to compete in some kind of royal version of The Bachelor?” Alice asked. “That’s insane.”

“No, it’s an adventure!” Maxwell exclaimed. “Besides, if I’m honest…I saw the way Liam looked at you last night. I think he likes you and I like seeing my friends happy.”

“So you thought you’d just scoop me up and deliver me to him on a platter?” Alice asked, feeling slightly annoyed.

Maxwell sighed. “I don’t think this is coming out the right way. I’m trying to offer you a once in a lifetime kind of adventure. You’ll go yachting in the Mediterranean, skiing in the Alps…plus, you wouldn’t have to wait on anymore bachelor parties.”

“No, I’d just be living with one.”

“Look, if you have a boyfriend or something, I totally get it,” Maxwell said. Alice thought briefly of Bastien and deflated a little at the memory of his departure.

“No, I don’t,” Alice said.

“So come with me! I have a plane leaving in an hour.”

“An hour?” Alice asked in disbelief. “I…” She glanced at the bar behind her.

“I don’t want to force you to do anything you don’t want to do,” Maxwell said. “If you want to stay here, that’s fine. But this would be something different. Something exciting!”

Alice thought back to her conversation with Liam the night before. “An hour, you said?”

“Yay!” Maxwell shouted, grabbing her in a tight hug. “You won’t be sorry, this is going to be so much fun.”

Alice wondered what in the hell she’d just agreed to do.

“Wait, let me get this straight,” Frankie said over FaceTime as Alice tore through her apartment like a tornado. “You met these guys last night and now you’re flying off to compete to be a princess? Alice, come on, that sounds like a weird version of Taken and I have to warn you, I don’t share Liam Neeson’s special set of skills to get you back.”

“I know it sounds insane, but this is totally real,” Alice said as she shoved clothes into a suitcase.

“What about that guy from the other night? The one you brought into my bar. The really hot one.”

Alice smiled a little at the thought of Bastien. “He was only in town for a couple days, but he’s gone now. I wish it could’ve been more, but…” she hesitated.

“I get it,” Frankie said gently. “I just want to make sure you’re not making a rash decision here.”

“Oh, it’s definitely a rash decision,” Alice said with a laugh. “But I’ll also never get an opportunity like this ever again.”

“I can’t argue with that, I guess,” Frankie said, sighing. “Just…be careful. I’m going to expect constant updates so I know you haven’t been sold into some sex trafficking ring.”

Alice laughed. “I promise.”

She said goodbye to Frankie and surveyed her apartment. Alice couldn’t believe she was actually doing this. Part of her kept expecting to wake up in her bed and realize this was all a dream.

“I’m almost never in New York and I don’t know when I’ll be back, but…” Bastien hesitated, pushing a lock of her hair back from her face. Alice leaned in and kissed him, cutting off the rest of his words. She didn’t want to think about their impending goodbye that was barreling down on them. She only wanted to be here, right now, with Bastien. If she only had a limited number of moments with him, she didn’t want to waste them being sad.

Alice unlocked her phone and opened the photo app. There, the most recent photo, was of her and Bastien in her bed. She was grinning at the camera, hair tousled, eyes half-lidded with satisfied exhaustion. Bastien was smiling too, but his attention was turned towards her, nuzzling against her. Warmth pooled in her belly when she thought of what his hands had done immediately after that photo was taken. Alice sighed and turned off her phone, tucking it into her pocket. She had to accept that Bastien was gone. Stranger still, she had this incredible opportunity. Alice knew she needed to focus on what came next.

Still, she knew she wouldn’t delete the photo. Not yet, anyway.

Part 4

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