No Business of Theirs: A Throne of Glass Series Short Story
This story came out of nowhere, but I found that once I started writing it I simply couldn’t stop! It was a lot of fun to write. Definitely confirmed that I’m out of my writing slump(for now at least).
Here’s my little painfully corny joke of the day: ‘What did the duck say to the bartender? “Put it on my bill!”
Hope you like it!
The tub slowly filled with warm water, the bubbles rising to the top. Rowan Whitethorn was in much need of a soothing bath and could think of nothing better than hopping into the massive tub and sitting in there until he turned into a giant prune.
The day had been filled with any number of duties that Rowan could no longer put off. It was his duty as King to take care of certain things and as much as he wished that he could have spent the day doing nothing more than just lying in his bed, listening to Aelin weave stories as easily as she did snarky retorts, his day had been busy from the moment he woke up.
It surprised him to admit that being King wore him out even more than being the most feared Fae Warrior in all the realms had been. Being a warrior was physically taxing. All those years building his strength and endurance had left him unsurpassable. Being King, however…now that was an entirely different thing.
Being King was emotionally taxing. Draining his brain so much after talking about politics, alliances, the peoples of Terrasen and Doranelle, the irrigation systems, potential threats, and most recently…Aelin producing an heir.
The two had been married for nearly three years and in that span of time, the amount of questions they’d gotten about their intimate life was absolutely absurd. Quite frankly, it wore down on every single one of Rowan’s nerves. It was no business of anyone else what he and Aelin decided to do behind closed doors.
Finally, when the water and bubbles were nearly about to spill over onto the floor, Rowan stripped of his clothing and slowly lowered himself into the water. A soft sigh escaped him, his eyes closing.
It was only but a few minutes before Rowan felt a shift in the air. A hint of a scent, the tiniest indication of movement. He opened his eyes to confirm his suspicions.
Aelin Ashryver Galathynius-Whitethorn was stood, leaning up against the wall. Her arms were crossed in front of her chest, her bare legs in clear sight as the only article of clothing she was currently sporting was one of his shirts. Her hair was in a messy up-do, and a hint of a smile tugged at the corners of her lips. Turquoise eyes rimmed in gold sparkled with that ever present glint of devilry.
“Need I ask how your day was?”
Rowan chuckled once, inviting her to sit on the edge of the tub. She slowly advanced towards him, gracefully taking her place beside him. It did not escape his notice how the shirt rose, exposing more of her legs to him and he could not for the life of him decide if she had done this on purpose or not.
“It was…tiring, to say the least.” Aelin nodded in understanding and Rowan could tell, if only by the slight slump in her shoulders, that her day had gone much the same.
A devilish smirk crossed Rowan’s lips as he held his hand out to her. She took it, lacing the fingers together and squeezing it once. “You know, this bath helps quite a bit. The warm water and everything,” he paused and Aelin’s expression matched his own. He knew that she knew exactly what he was suggesting, but she let him say the words aloud regardless. “I reckon it could help you too.”
Aelin said nothing, only smiled and shook her head. Letting go of Rowan’s hand, she rose to her feet and swiftly rid herself of her clothing. He watched, completely mesmerized as he always was at the sheer beauty that was his wife. His queen.
She dipped one toe in the water and, after finding it to be warm enough for her liking, slowly lowered herself into the bath.
Aelin placed herself comfortably between Rowan’s legs, her back to him. She leaned her head back, resting it on his broad chest and lighting every candle in the bathroom in a mighty sweep. He could feel her body relax against him as he left a kiss to the left side of her throat.
He took her hands beneath the water, threading their fingers together and resting them on his bare thigh. They were calm, but the air tinged with an undercurrent of electricity at their naked closeness.
For a few moments, they did nothing but sit there. Their breathing matched in the same, steady rhythm.
“What all did you discuss in the meetings today? I’m sorry I couldn’t be there. I had to go into town to meet with a Minister of Fenharrow. He would only be here for today and refused to reschedule,” Aelin said quietly.
Rowan hesitated. He really did not want to rehash the topic that had come up in every single one of the meetings he attended today.
Apparently, Aelin could sense this because she squeezed his hands gently, encouraging him to go on. He sighed.
“Well,” he started, “There were the usual, mundane things like the incoming shipments of goods from Adarlan, the potential threat of a clan of warriors from The Black Dunes.”
“What else?” Aelin already knew, of course, but she wanted to hear him say it.
“And your producing an heir,” he took a steadying breath. “It came up in every one of the meetings.”
She shrugged. “It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been getting the question more often than not lately as well. People are just curious, I suppose.”
Rowan growled. “No,” he said sharply. “People need to mind their own gods-damned business is what it is.”
“Aelin, do not even think about telling me that it doesn’t bother you as much as it bothers me.”
She sighed, “Of course it bothers me. One man I passed on the street asked if I was pregnant. When I said no, he replied with, ‘With a gorgeous woman like you, it’s a wonder the King can keep his hands off. It must be something he’s doing wrong, then.’ And before I could correct him, he hobbled off.”
It was not a secret to Rowan and Aelin that some of their people had taken to choosing sides when it came to the question of why Aelin had not yet become pregnant. It was not uncommon to hear that someone in Terrasen blamed it all on Rowan, saying that he must not be making love to his queen frequently enough, or that he had bad genes or some other insane notion.
In reverse, some people of Doranelle blamed it on Aelin. They said that she must be unable to have children, that the bloodline would begin and end with her. She would not produce an heir and their land would be doomed. They said that she must be frequently resisting Rowan, denying him the type of intimacy that the two would have to share in order for her to become pregnant.
That, more than anything, is what angered Rowan.
“I suppose this is what we get for going against tradition. Some think we aren’t having sex at all. That we’re purposely holding out because we do not want an heir to our throne.”
The tradition Aelin was referring to was allowing certain ministers, people of their court, etcetera, witness them make love the night of their wedding. It was an old tradition, one that had been used for centuries to ensure that the queen would produce an heir.
However, both Rowan and Aelin agreed that they did not want people peeking in, watching their intimacy. Just the thought of someone else seeing his queen in her undergarments made Rowan’s chest fill with rage. Aelin simply did not believe it to be anyone else’s business but their own and found it a immensely uncomfortable. That it was something that only she and Rowan should know about.
“You’re not wishing we had gone with tradition after all, are you?” Aelin looked up at him before answering.
“Of course not. The people will just have to deal with it. I just have to be careful to not let it stress me out.”
Rowan could see now, though, that it already was. The constant questions, the ticking clock. If something were to happen to her right now, gods forbid, she’d never produce an heir.
Honestly, having a son or daughter to take the crown after he and Aelin was not at the top of the list regarding things that had to be done. Of course…maybe…one day that part of their lives would be ready for them. For now, though, it just made Rowan’s chest feel tight with anxiety.
He kissed her forehead. “Let’s not talk about it anymore, please.”
Rowan slowly slid their intertwined fingers up her bare thigh. He felt her tense against him. All the blood in his body gathered and pooled in one place and he was finding it increasingly difficult to hide exactly what he wanted to do to Aelin in that moment.
He could smell the scent of desire enveloping her as his lips lowered to her shoulder. A shiver crawled up her spine, a breathy sigh escaping her parted lips. Her fingers clutched his desperately.
Rowan didn’t need to talk, his thoughts painted in vivid colors the possibilities of this moment. He smiled when he realized that Aelin’s thoughts matched his own, her fantasies unreeling in his mind like a play.
He turned her so that she was now facing him. Their eyes made unflinching contact, gazing, not turning away.
It was Aelin’s turn to pepper kisses along his naked body, her hips moving in the most tantalizing way it nearly drove Rowan mad.
It was impossible to hide how much he wanted her now.
Aelin chuckled before whispering sensuously, “Show me. Remind me again why I did not wish for anyone to witness our wedding night.”
A predatory growl reverberated in the back of his throat.
She was certainly driving him crazy.
~End of Part 1~