Summary: After the masquerade ball, the masks come off and the truth comes out–but for how long? (NSFW)
“Thanks for walking me to my room,” you say as the two of you reach the doorway to your bedroom in the palace.
“No problem,” Maxwell says. “You did really well at the masquerade ball tonight, I can tell Liam really likes you.”
“Did I do the House of Beaumont proud?” you ask.
“Absolutely,” Maxwell says. “I think even Bertrand will have to agree.”
“I’m pretty sure I still probably disappointed him in some way,” you say, rolling your eyes. Maxwell laughs.
“If he’s hard on you, it’s only because he wants so badly for you to do well,” Maxwell says in his brother’s defense. “You know,” he says, his face turning serious, “I don’t think I’ve properly thanked you for what you’re doing. This means a lot to my family, sponsoring someone like you who has a real shot at becoming queen.”
You say nothing, distracted by the afterimage of something else you see in his eyes, something other than gratitude on behalf of the House of Beaumont.
“You like Liam, don’t you?” Maxwell asks, examining your face along with your silence.
“Of course,” you say. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t … but …”
“But what?” he asks, looking concerned.
“But …” you start, taking a deep breath for courage, fueled by multiple glasses of champagne. You take a step closer to Maxwell, holding your breath for a moment, but he doesn’t move away. “… I also like someone else.”
“You shouldn’t say things like that,” he says. The two of you are standing very close now. You wait for him to step back, to say goodnight, but he doesn’t do either of those things. You tilt your face up towards his, just slightly, and you can feel his breath on your lips. You lean forward, your lips just about to graze his …
Suddenly, you hear the sound of approaching footsteps. The two of you spring apart, the moment broken. Maxwell glances around frantically, looking for the sound of approaching people. You turn the handle of your door and reach for Maxwell’s hand, pulling him inside your bedroom. You quickly shut the door behind him and you both listen intently. Two servants, talking about the evening’s masquerade ball, stroll past the room without even slowing down. Once their voices recede down the hallway, Maxwell exhales heavily with relief and leans against your closed bedroom door. The room is cloaked in semi-darkness, illuminated only by the moon through the open window.
“This is a mistake, I shouldn’t be in here,” he says finally. “You shouldn’t say things like that, you’re here for Liam. You have to be here for Liam. He wants you here.”
“And what do you want?” you ask.
“It’s not about what I want,” Maxwell says. “I have responsibilities, I owe it to my family to put aside who I want.”
“What. What I want,” he says quickly.
You move closer to Maxwell until the two of you are nearly touching. You reach out a hand, your fingertips brushing against his waist. He cups his hand around the back of your neck, pulling you closer until your foreheads are touching. You press your body against his, sliding your hand under his suit jacket. You can already feel how hard he is with your hips flush against his.
“We can’t do this,” he whispers in your ear, his hot breath making you shiver.
“Do you want to leave?” you murmur, grazing his neck with your lips. In response, he tilts your face towards his and kisses you so lightly, like the flutter of a butterfly wing, that you think you might have imagined it.
“I have to,” he whispers, his hand still wrapped around the back of your neck.
You run your hands up the length of his chest and slide the suit jacket from his shoulders. He releases you for a moment so he can shrug off the jacket, letting it fall to the floor. Maxwell puts his hands on your shoulders before letting his fingertips slide down your body to your breasts. You can feel your nipples firm against the silky red fabric and so can he, running his thumbs over each one. You sigh softly, your nervous fingers working to undo the buttons on his black shirt. Maxwell reaches around to unzip your dress, tugging the straps down off your shoulders just enough to leave your skin bare from the waist up. Maxwell trails a line of kisses down your throat and over your breasts to your left nipple before capturing it in his mouth. You moan and run your fingers through his hair as Maxwell flicks his tongue across one nipple, then the other, sucking and biting them gently as his hands slide into the unzipped back of your dress. You can feel yourself getting wetter, your desire primal and desperate.
You finally manage to get his shirt unbuttoned, but Maxwell kneels before you, tugging down your dress until it lays in a crumpled pile of red silk on the floor. He simultaneously turns you until your back is against your bedroom door and presses his mouth against your damp panties. You moan softly and it takes all of your willpower to keep your legs from buckling.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” Maxwell asks as he stands up, one hand pushing aside your underwear. He strokes a finger along your skin, just barely parting your lips.
“Yes,” you say, barely able to say the word as you undo his belt. You reach your hand down the front of Maxwell’s pants, over his boxers at first and then under, feeling how stiff he is. You run your hand up and down his length, caressing his member. Maxwell scoops you up and carries you over to your bed, which is bathed in moonlight. He sets you down gently before he pulls down your panties, tossing the damp lace aside. Your legs dangling over the side of the bed, he kneels in front of you once more and pushes your knees apart. Maxwell lines your inner thighs with kisses, his tongue tracing an excruciating pathway closer and closer to where you wait, wet and ready.
Finally, he allows his tongue to touch you, tracing your skin outside and then in, tasting your desire. You shudder with pleasure as his tongue swirls around your clit and he pushes one finger inside you, then two. His mouth really starts to push you higher and higher, and you pull his face closer to you as your hips begin to buck. You gasp his name as you come on his tongue, over and over again, his mouth unrelenting as his fingers dig into your hips.
When he finally stops, you collapse on your bed, your body still pulsing with satisfaction. Maxwell makes his way up your body, kissing your bare skin in the moonlight until his mouth finds yours. You can taste yourself on his tongue as he kisses you hungrily with a desperation you recognize all too well. Maxwell quickly removes his open shirt and throws it aside before similarly discarding his pants until he stands naked before you.
You scoot back on the bed towards the pillows, unable to take your eyes away from his erection. You motion for him to come closer and he does, crawling towards you on the massive bed until he is braced above you, one arm on either side of your body. You kiss Maxwell and push gently on his chest until he is sitting up on the bed. You straddle his lap, not quite lowering yourself all the way as you tease him, refusing to not let him enter you, not yet. You rub the tip along your velvet soft lips as he digs his fingers into your hips. Finally, you lower yourself on him, taking your time. You gasp a little at the feel of Maxwell inside you, filling you, and he begins to move, slowly at first, matching your rhythm. He wraps an arm around your lower back as you continue to move on top of him, using the fingers of his free hand to find your clit. You moan, burying your face in his neck.
“Maxwell …” you gasp, feeling the intensity begin to swell inside you. You can feel him pulsing, he’s close. Maxwell’s breath is hot on your skin and as he comes, you hear him groan as he bites at your shoulder, doing his best to stifle the noise and failing miserably. Your fingers rake his back as you reach your own climax, moaning into his mouth as his lips crash into yours.
You hold each other as your heavy breathing subsides, still straddling his lap as your head rests on his shoulder. You’re still connected and, after a minute, Maxwell gently turns your face so that you’re looking at one another. In the soft moonlight, you finally feel like you really see him for the first time. His guard is down, his mask is off, and you see your own feelings mirrored in his eyes. He whispers your name and leans in to kiss you softly.
After disentangling your limbs, you and Maxwell climb into your bed. The luxurious blankets are heavy, cloaking your bodies as you entwine yourselves in one another. You put your head on his chest and listen to the rhythmic beating of his heart. You’d thought the sound of him whispering your name was your new favorite thing in the world, but the sound of his heart as he wraps you in his arms quickly rushes into first place. You slowly trace your fingertips along his spine as you lie together and your mind begins to fill with questions. What are you going to do now? You can’t stay in the competition for Liam, not anymore. How are you going to navigate this with the court? With the press? With all of Cordonia?
“Maxwell …” you whisper. He tilts your face up towards his and kisses your lips, your nose, your cheeks, your forehead.
“We’ll figure it out,” he whispers back, seeming to read your mind.
“I can’t go on pretending anymore,” he says.
You kiss him, softly at first and then more urgently. You wrap your leg around his waist and feel him start to harden against you.
“What are you pretending?” you whisper as he rolls you onto your back, a slow heat beginning to smolder in your abdomen as you pull him closer to you. Maxwell reaches a hand down and bites his lip when he feels how much you want him already. His thumb finds your center, already slick with desire, and as he begins to move in slow circles, you arch your back, delighting in the pleasure you already feel. You slide your hands down his front and encircle him, running your hands up and down his hard length. He moans and thrusts into your hands. You guide him into your warmth, almost whimpering at how good it feels to have him inside you. Maxwell starts to move slowly, seeming to exercise all of his control in that moment as he pushes into you again and again.
“I’ve been pretending I didn’t fall in love with you the moment I saw you in that restaurant,” he says, leaning down to whisper in your ear. His breath makes you shiver and your wrap your hands around his backside, pulling him deeper.
Later, once you’re both satisfied and exhausted, you lie beside one another. Maxwell props himself up on one elbow and uses his other hand to trace pathways along your skin. You pull him to you and you wrap each other in your arms, your bodies exhausted.
“Hmm?” he asks sleepily.
“I love you, too.”
He kisses you and presses you to him, both of you finally unmasked as you drift off to sleep.
The next morning, you open your eyes to the early morning sun streaming into your room and find yourself alone. Did that actually happen? you wonder as you look around your palace bedroom. Maxwell is gone, but your clothes are still strewn across the floor from where the two of you left them the night before. You close your eyes for a moment and remember how it felt to have him inside you, to whisper in your ear that he loved you, and you shiver at the memory. You climb out of bed and retrieve a robe from the wardrobe, wrapping it snugly around you. Just then, there’s a knock at your bedroom door. You cross the room and open it, your face breaking into a grin when you see Maxwell standing there.
“Hi,” you say almost shyly. “Come in.”
“I should really wait for Bertrand,” he says, refusing to meet your eyes. “I just wanted to make sure you were awake.”
“I am,” you say.
“Good. I can wait out here while you get dressed.”
“Bertrand will be here soon so we can talk strategy about the derby today,” Maxwell says, still not looking at you.
“The derby?” you ask incredulously. “But why would I go to the derby now?”
“Because it’s the day’s event for the suitors,” he says. You can’t be sure, but it looks like there are tears at the corners of his eyes.
“But I can’t be a suitor anymore,” you say. “I love you.”
“You shouldn’t say things like that,” Maxwell says, looking at the floor, down the hallway, anywhere to keep from looking directly at you. “You’re here for Liam.”
Stunned, you watch as he turns away and walks quickly down the corridor, his mask firmly back in place.
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