Daring held my hand for a while as we lazily rested amongst the deep and shadowy foliage that served as our sanctuary. He rested his head against mine and I sighed, the warmth of his breath tickling my neck and shoulder where my cloak would normally be.
Many a month had now passed since our first encounter. He had the chance to dance with anyone he wished but it was only me that he had eyes for that day. Something in him must have changed or perhaps he just noticed something in me that I wasn't quite sure of, but for whatever reason, we were together now albeit in secret.
I carefully slid his ornate crown from his dozing head and rested it next to us atop my basket and then ran my free hand through his sunshine coloured hair. He hummed satisfactorily as I gently scratched my claws across his scalp and he rubbed his thumb across my knuckles for a while.
I lowered my hand, sliding down to cup his ridiculously immaculate chin and lifted his face to mine. He protested with a slight huff, but when our eyes met he grinned widely, not one of those 'bask in the light of my teeth' grins but the kind he only shared with me.
I seldom smile, but tweaked my lips back at the corners just for him. I pressed my lips to his briefly and he sat up despite his ever heavy eyelids nearly shutting out those perfectly princely eyes.
He embraced me with caution, and I allowed it, as he ran his fingers up my back and found his way to a special spot behind my ear. I whimpered quietly, but let him pamper me for a moment.
However, it really still did worry me that he knew. No, it seemed that no amount of loving gazes and acts of affection could possibly put to rest the nagging voices and bad spirits that haunted my mind whenever we were together.
Did such a highly regarded and royally respected fairy tale prince such as Daring deserve a mere beast like myself? Who was I, with my claws and fangs...my ears and all...who was I to deserve such a man like him? Was this even real?
"Daring..." I whispered. I felt his heart lurch at the sound of my voice and he broke our embrace, looking flustered.
"I'm sorry, was I too close? Did I break your personal basket of space?" He began frantically, and I rolled my eyes, grasping his hands firmly before he could snatch them away.
He was too cautious sometimes...and sometimes I wondered if it was because he was trying too hard to be a gentleman, or if he was...
He sheepishly smiled and shrugged his shoulders, easing his posture once more, the sleepiness from his overall demeanour evaporated.
"Daring," I repeated, "don't tell me your afraid of the big bad wolf, are you?"
He looked at me confused for a second, and then a sudden flash of utter horror crossed his eyes as the color drained from his face. My stomach swooped at his reaction, fearing the worst...
"Don't tell me... Does your father know of our forbidden romance?" He blurted suddenly.
I stared at him with wide eyes, my lips slightly parted and then I sighed again, letting my head drop to his chest and I muttered resentfully, "No you little insufferable lamb, I was talking about me..."
It still ceased to amaze me that no matter how charming, daring and wonderful he was that unfortunately his was not the brains side of the royal gene pool.
He hummed, confused and then lifted my face, a true concern engulfing his features.
"Why would you suppose such a thing, my love?" He spoke in a voice just above a whisper.
Brushing some stray hair from my face, he and I sat up and faced one another.
"Then why are you always so careful? Why are you always acting so scared..." I began, my voice wavering from the way I fiercely fought back tears.
I truly had thought I would be able to handle this confrontation much better than this, but no matter how strong I might be, when it comes to matters of the heart...
"I...I can't help but feel like..." I attempted to continue, when Daring suddenly scooped me up into his arms, a new determination adorning his face, despite the ever so slight watering of his eyes... Or perhaps that was just my own tears.
"Cerise, say no more. I can't let you speak of us that way." He looked me dead in the eye and then in a calmer tone he added, "I... I'm only afraid that..."
He trailed off losing a bit of his fiery spark, and then he looked away.
"I'm only afraid I'm going to lose you. I've always been so conceited and blind to the needs of others that I'm just not sure if I know what I'm doing" He admitted.
I tilted my head and ran that through my mind. "Silly...I may not be the cuddliest cub of the pack but that doesn't mean I'm totally frigid." I chided him.
He agreed with a hum and then returned to his previous state, resting his head against my shoulder.
"Cerise, you have no idea how much you mean to me." He said. A beat or two passed before he spoke up again, going into one of his over the top soliloquies of true love no doubt.... Or so I thought.
"When I wake up every morning and we pass in the halls, and every time I sit here with you I cherish every moment of it." He took my hand and wrapped his arm around my waist, pulling me in so far we fell back and I landed atop him.
He looked up at me and smiled, "when I see you I feel that there is a reason to face every day other than myself, which for one, is a big deal to me. Ever since we've been together my life has been a real fairy tale... A REAL one, without the meaningless glitz and glamour of a tired old story, like the ones they shove down our throats every generation."
I felt my pulse increasing as he continued, suddenly realising that with every word he began to sound more and more like...
"When we are together, it's the only thing I ever want to be...is with you." He stated, breathlessly.
I almost felt like crying again...since when had a simple question spawned into this deep and confronting realisation? Why was this all so wonderful and yet so painful to hear?
"But, Daring, what about your...destiny...?" I choked. After all, we were eventually doomed to part anyway weren't we? He was to go and be the Prince Charming, dashing off to rescue that ditzy rotten apple of a princess and be her trophy husband wasn't he?
He seemed to share my bitter thoughts as a scowl soured his perfect lips, "bah...destiny... I laugh in the face of it." He came out with suddenly.
I gasped, as he held me firmer to his body, as he grasped the back of my head and enveloped my lips in a passionate kiss.
He hungrily ravaged me, and I spared him none against my fangs, my feral side seeping out as the heat between us rose with every second.
He broke the kiss finally and through pants he hissed, "THAT is what I think of her and her 'true loves kiss'...and her 'happily ever after'!!"
"Oh, Daring..." I was both elated beyond any earthly or heavenly description bit also confused. He began to work his hands up and down my body, taking in all there was to feel of me as I lay across him here in our little sanctuary.
A deep growl of excitement escaped my lips and he grinned devilishly at the sound of it kissing my throat and enticing another one. I sank my claws into his arms and shifted, almost uncomfortably with this sudden pleasure.
He finally relieved me of his torture and he breathed, "I like this side of you best." He stroked my sprouting fur line, near my ears and he gazed fondly into my golden eyes, "it gives me hope."
I nuzzled into the crook of his neck and then waited for him to continue as his hands slowed their movements and came to a rest on my back.
"If your parents can be together in this world, and bring forth someone like you, then I know that we too can start our own story." He admitted.
"You really mean it?" I asked, still in shock. "You're going to...rebel?"
It surely wasn't so hard to believe that I was finding it hard to believe. After all, as the oldest and most counted on Charming in all the land of our generation he had long been the face of the male Royals, in our school and throughout the community. Would he really be willing to risk all that, for me?
"It's not a question of if I am going to. I already have." He said.
He finally let his eyes flutter closed and he sighed, the burden of his deepest thoughts and worries finally lifted. I too felt now so relieved and light, as I returned to my initial basking in his warmth, and I cried into his shoulder silently...happily...
"But seriously, just so we're clear, even if the school finds out, I'm not ready to tell your father about this yet." He suddenly added.
I sighed, and nipped him firmly for ruining the moment, but he only chuckled in response.
"My feisty princess." He muttered.
"I love you."