The pastel-colored roses, the lilies, the blue hydrangeas and the flowers she was named for, blurred into a murky nothingness.
The phantom hand gripping his heart tightened its grip so painfully that Gus could hardly breathe.
They were all grave flowers, flowers that marked the passing of death.
An ill omen, Gus remembered thinking when he was finally allowed access to the courtyard.
Most of the family who came to watch the spectacle had given up and retreated to the warmth and comfort of indoors and for, that he was glad. While Iris would probably ignore the insults and scorn thrown at her even in her greatest moment of shame, Gus didn’t think he could live through it.
Unnatural cold seeped past his skin and deep into his bones, but it had nothing to do with the weather.
The apprehensive snake that continually coiled in his insides became still as the ornate double doors hissed opened. A tall and bulky man emerged. Gus could see the sapphire-encrusted elaborate handle of his rapier slung on one shoulder and a brown bundle tossed carelessly over one shoulder.
Gus could see her pale legs dangling from his broad back as he walked. Legs mottled with bruises and cuts. Pure and undistilled rage bubbled to the surface and the three rings on his left hand set with his violet stones came to life, like a newly lit flame.
Once, Gus had marveled at how those violet stones had saved him. Those stones saved him and his mother from a life of poverty in the slums and guaranteed him a place in a caste-based society that valued Spectrum Wielders, magically gifted individuals. While Gus was a bastard born to a lord of a great noble house of New Furor, he still carried violet stones, the highest caste in the Spectrum.
Once, he thought carrying the violet made one invincible…but it did not. What use was the jewel, when he could only watch the hulking man drop the bundle he carried on the slick floor without ceremony or consideration?
Growing up as a bastard in a noble house in New Furor meant that while his presence was tolerated, he never truly belonged.
Before he met Iris, he felt isolated from the rest of his kin. The only he knew how to face the world, the taunts, and the belittling was to flaunt his pride and power. Iris didn’t care for his bloodline, his jewels, or even his pride.
She terrified him precisely because she was able to pierce through his layers of deceit as easily as a sharp blade. She didn’t see a bastard boy only tolerated because of his stones, she saw the insecure and lonely boy inside him.
In the present, the bundle yawned open and a body of a bloodied, half-naked girl peered out. Gus breathed, his heart thudding violently against his chest. Something inside him screamed and violently raked at his stupidly.
Why wasn’t he there when she badly needed him the most?
He swallowed the thick guilt gathering in his throat. Gus knew exactly why. The last time they met, they had the worst argument they ever had. He couldn’t even remember what they fought about, only that she left with her violet eyes blazing, her stones reflecting her mood.
Never again. I’m never going to leave her again.
He took a purposeful step forward, but a firm hand grabbed his shoulder.
“Marcus, let go of me,” Gus hissed at his half-brother.
Marcus Terrel was the rightful heir of the Terrel family legacy, but like Gus, he was still bound to the ancient customs and rules that bound children of noble birth to their families.
No one, not even adults with powerful jewels, could stand against the combined family heads of two of the most influential noble families in New Furor. It just wasn’t done.
“Don’t do it, Gus, you know what will happen if you go to her.”
Even with the rain, Gus felt like he was staring at a poor reflection of himself. Marcus was a taller, larger and more powerful version of himself and he wasn’t a bastard. Marcus had a future.
He had a script to follow ever since he was born, but Gus didn’t.
He was supposed to write his own future today. The first day of the New Year where he’d make good on the resolutions he’d made the night before. He’d tell Iris how’d he really felt and how he’d defy traditions and blood so he could be with her despite being a bastard.
“Marcus, they can’t do this to her,” Gus said in a strangled voice, hating the vulnerability in it. “She’s the most powerful Violet Wielder to be born to the Donovan family. She’s the General’s chosen heir.”
“After this she’s no longer the heir. Even if she lives through those injuries, we’re not even sure if her power reserves are still intact.” Marcus tightened his hand on his shoulder in warning. “Gus, listen to me! She’ll be exiled. You can’t do anything for her.”
His violet stone poured strength into his body, strengthening and hardening it, but as angry or as reckless as he was, he knew he didn’t stand a chance against any of the family heads. Carrying a violet stone was one thing, but Gus lacked the spells and experience to even make a dent.
Marcus’s words disturbed him the most. “Even if she lives through those injuries, we’re not even sure if her power reserves are still intact.”
A Spectrum Wielder drained out of power, was no better than a burned-out rube. Gus couldn’t live with the fact that the once vibrant and mischievous girl he’d known would be gone, and was replaced by an empty shell.
Without thinking, Gus loosened a minor distraction spell at his brother. Marcus let out a sound of surprise, but before he could hold Gus back, Gus was sprinting toward the girl in the rain.
“Chris, what are you doing?” Iris asked. Chris only burrowed her head past the fabric of her skirts and pushed it aside in annoyance so they rose over her thighs.
“Helping you relax,” Chris answered.
All her attention was focused on pulling off the pink thong Iris was wearing and besides, the other woman hadn’t put a stop to what she was doing.
“If you don’t want her, give her to me. I need to relax, too,” Chris heard Gus tell Iris.
Iris only laughed and Chris felt her fingers sink into her hair, tugging at her to continue.
“Wait your turn, lover.”
Gus grumbled his disapproval, but Chris was on a mission. She’d please him later. At least they were speaking to each other. Chris kissed the inside of Iris’s left thigh, inhaling the scent of her.
“Feeling playful today isn’t she?” Gus commented.
He’d always like to watch the two of them, Chris remembered, before deciding to join them. She brushed her lips gently against Iris’s inner thigh, licking her way to the other woman’s pussy.
As her teeth tugged at the straps of Iris’s tiny panties, Iris gave her hair a sharp tug.
Chris looked up at her and asked, “May I?”
She only laughed and let Chris pull off her underwear. The sight of her bare pussy made Chris’s own cunt wet. Eagerly, she lowered her head again and sought Iris’s clit. Her tongue found it and began to run lazy circles around it, making Iris groan above her.
Just as Chris closed her mouth over the hardening nub, she felt strong hands on her ankles. She let Gus position her so she was on all fours.
“Can’t wait for your turn, dear?” Iris asked, her grip still wonderfully tight on Chris’s hair, keeping her focused on her pussy.
“Hell no,” Gus growled, and began to jerk Chris’s jeans and panties down her hips and off her until her ass was bared.
A sudden swat on her ass nearly distracted Chris from her task. She nearly squirmed when Gus inserted a finger into her ass and two more into her wet cunt.
“Nice view there?” Iris asked.
“She’s slopping wet. I think she badly wants me to fuck her.” Gus withdrew his fingers and gave her more swats.
Chris was glad he couldn’t see her reddening cheeks. Iris could though, and she was smiling fondly at her. Chris put her mouth to work. She sucked on her clit and another moan of pleasure came out of her.
Setting just the right amount of teeth she knew Iris liked, Chris moved on to her pussy lips. The sounds of contentment from Iris only encouraged her to do better, to ignore the stinging sensation of Gus’s hand.
The more Gus increased the ferocity of his barehanded smacks, the more her own pussy felt heavy and moist. She nearly came on the spot when Gus suddenly gripped her ass.
Iris tugged at her hair sharply. “You don’t have permission from either of us to come, Chris.”
Chris threw a miserable look at Iris, making her laugh, before returning to what she was doing. She licked the moisture off each of the other woman’s vagina lips before plunging her tongue into the velvety folds of her pussy.
The sweet taste of Iris rolled and melted in her mouth, and Chris wanted more.
“That’s the spot, dear heart,” Iris murmured above her, pressing herself forward eagerly to Chris’s probing mouth.
“Open, Chris,” Gus commanded and Chris opened her legs wider for him.
She groaned when he reached for her clit hood piercing and began rubbing it.
“Are you close, Iris?” Gus grunted and without warning, lifted her a little higher for his access and plunged himself into her unbearably wet cunt.
He was hard and solid, Chris thought, closing her eyes to enjoy the sensation of him moving inside her.
“I’ll wait for you.”
“Good.” Gus fucked her faster and faster until Chris could no longer focus on her own task.
Each thrust of his hips sent her body reeling with desire. She wanted more. Chris wanted to feel him bury himself deep inside her over and over again just as she buried her tongue into Iris’s most intimate places.
To say she missed the three of them being together both in and out of the bedroom was an understatement. After what seemed like a long time, the red energy in her skin felt flushed and hot.
She knew the marks were beginning to glow. Chris felt Iris’s free hand stroke the side of her neck, where her favorite feather was. The pressure of her fingers felt nice. Felt right.
Gus’s hand rested on the curve of her ass possessively, and he murmured, “Ours.”
Chris could feel her face turning red. It had been awhile since Gus used that word. Whatever cracks their connection had minutes ago now seemed irrelevant. Their entwined energies throbbed with palpable excitement.
She was a bridge and both Gus and Iris’s energy reached out for her core with a familiar and wonderful sense of possession.
Her mind had already entered its usual impenetrable haze of pleasure, aware of Gus’s relentless pounding and the heat of Iris’s pussy in front of her face. Her own orgasm threatened to throw her off, but remembering Iris’s command, she kept it from drowning her.
Stifling the groans that threatened to betray her, Chris’s mouth continued by reflex, sucking the tender and sensitive parts Chris knew by instinct.
“Fuck, she’s so tight,” Gus groaned.
Chris could feel her cunt contracting deliciously around his cock with each rhythmic shove.
“Come together?” Gus said breathlessly to Iris.
“All right,” Iris murmured then looked down at Chris. “Take me all in, dear heart.”