CHAPTER 38

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"They turned out great!" Saya smiles, cutting one up and taking a small bite. Peter tries it as well, smiling at the result.

The princess prepares a tray with grape juice and the meat pie. "Here, now go see her, it's getting late."

"Thank you princess. I appreciate it." She nods in reply, smiling at him. When he leaves, she figures she should take some of her meat pie to Xerxes.   

She heads up the stairs arriving at his chambers but he isn't there. Strange, she never saw him leaving the castle. Did he go to his study or to one of the rooms? She walks out of the chambers going up to his study but she finds it empty. She then walks around a little more and even checks the training grounds through the windows but he doesn't seem to be there either. Where could he have gone to?

She goes back to his chambers and sits on the bed, leaving the meat pie on the little table beside it, waiting for him.

It's getting darker outside and her embroidery is failing miserably at keeping her assured that he's safe. She had taken a bath, changed into a yellow silk night dress, and started designing an outfit but he still isn't back. She keeps the cloth she's working on with the others that are beside the window and turns around making up her mind to look for Xerxes again, but he comes barging into the room immediately. She gasps looking at him...is that blood all over?

She rushes to him looking at his body, "My Love what happened to you?"

Xerxes does not reply, walking past her, sitting on the chair by the table, her eyes following him. She lets out a soft sigh and heads to the bathtub where there are a few buckets of water. She takes some from it using a bowl and grabs three small cloths coming out. She places the bowl on the table and stands in front of him, watching him closely, but he avoids eye contact with her.

She dips the first cloth in the water and gently starts cleaning the blood off his face. "You don't want to tell me what happened?"

Xerxes doesn't reply, so she keeps cleaning him. She gets to his chest and realizes the blood isn't his. She then grabs his hands seeing they are a little bruised.

"You went to thrash someone I see."

When she's done cleaning off the blood, she cups his cheeks giving him a peck on the lips. "You're cleaned up now," Xerxes looks at her warm smile...it's refreshing. She takes the bowl and cloths back to the bath, washing her hands.

When she's done, she goes back to him and drags him by his arm making him stand up. She takes him to the bed pushing him down gently, so that he is sitting, his legs on the floor. She slowly takes off his top, putting it on a wooden chest.

"I made meat pies with Peter today and they are actually good." She takes the small plate from the table and sits on his lap in a straddling position, his hands immediately going to her hips to hold her.

"It's not hot anymore but I hope you don't mind," she breaks it into bite size pieces and brings one to his mouth which he takes. He doesn't say anything about it making her smile...he likes it.

"You cried," he says. She really needs to know how this man can tell, that was hours ago! "I'm okay," she says with a warm smile, giving him another bite.

He stares at her while she feeds him. He can't help but admire this woman even more, she is not pushing him to tell her anything even though he can tell that she's worried.

"I forgot to get water for you. I'll be right back," she says getting up but he holds her in place.

"I don't need it"

"Nonsense, everyone needs water after eating. I won't be long," but Xerxes doesn't let her move.

"I'll go with you." He cannot possibly let her go down to get water by this time. It is dark outside...very dark. They go down the stairs, Saya takes a cup and gets water from one of the jars in the kitchen handing it to him.
She then heads upstairs, lying on the bed, Xerxes joining her shortly after. He pulls her against his chest kissing her shoulder and cheek.

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