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The stars sprinkled the pitch dark sky like twinkling candles, and the world around Ariella and Cal seemed to fade away. It was just the two of them, forgetting everything as they locked eyes.

"You're alive." Cal muttered, reaching out to push a strand of her hair behind her ear, "I thought I had lost you forever."

Tears began to fall from Ariella's eyes, finding herself unable to stop them, "I love you," she whimpered, as she was pulled into a tight embrace.

"Forever," Cal whispered against her hair, "Believing I had lost you was the most painful thing I have ever endured."

She leaned in and kissed him with more passion than either of them had ever felt before. Cal felt as if his heart was going to burst from beating so hard, he had never felt so much love for a woman before, nor would he ever again. She held him, body and soul, within her delicate hand. One slip and he would be gone forever. His love for her would last more than just their lifetime, it would be documented in the history books, written in the stars. He kissed her with everything he had, as if it was the last time he was ever going to see her. He vowed to never take her for granted again.

When she finally pulled away, he felt like his love for her grew even larger, if that was even possible. He lifted her up in his arms, twirling her through the air.

Ariella laughed softly, wrapping her arms around his neck as he placed her safely back on the ground, "I never thought you one for romance," she whispered, her breath warm against his ear.

"It'd be a pleasure to show you my romantic capabilities," he muttered as he looked to her lips, longing for her touch, "though it seems we have an audience," he said again, looking back to the guards who watched the two of them with curious expressions.

They both laughed softly, turning towards the château, hand and hand as they walked up the path.

"I think you should have your things moved into my chambers. I don't want to let you out of sight," he chuckled, "Perhaps it will be fun."

"You're incredibly mischievous, Callan, I know when you've got something planned," Ariella said scoldingly, "I will do as you ask, but I warn you not to try anything," she smirked.

Cal looked appalled, "I would never. Your safety and health is my first and foremost priority, romance can wait."

Ariella raised an eyebrow, "You seem different."

"In what way, love?" he asked, his voice soft, "You are wounded, and I will keep you safe while you heal."

Ariella shook her head, wondering why he was so distant.

"You are my everything," he muttered, so quietly that she could barely comprehend his words.

Cal led Ariella back to his chambers in the du Bois château, which lay, conveniently, just the way he had left it. Ariella took a seat on the sofa in Cals chambers, the velvet maroon colored walls seeming as though they were caving in on her. Her side was aching severely.

"Ariella?" Cal asked frantically, rushing to her side as she winced in pain.

She grabbed his hand as she tried to regain her composure, "The running must've caused some damage."

Cal watched her worriedly, "Shall I call for the physician?"

She shook her head and rubbed her thumb across the back of his hand soothingly, "I shall be fine after a bit of rest."

Cal forced a smile, "I'll help you to the bed."

"And where will you sleep, Callan?" She asked, "I will be fine here on the sofa."

"I would be an awful man if I made the love of my life sleep on a sofa while she's wounded," he said softly, "I doubt I'll get much sleep tonight anyways."

She looked confused, "Why is that?"

Cal shook his head, lifting her up from the sofa and into his arms, "I shan't worry you."

Ariella rested her head on his neck and breathed in his scent, "You'll tell me in the morning," she muttered, her breath warm against his skin.

"As you wish," he muttered as he placed her on his bed. He glanced down to her gown that she still wore, "I'll fetch your ladies maid to prepare you for the night."

She caught his hand before he could leave, "You may help me tonight."

Cal blushed, "That would be improper."

"Would it?" She asked, her eyes longing for him.

"You're in pain. Not tonight," he muttered, "Once we're married."

"What do you believe me to be implying, Callan? I only wish you to help me undress."

Cal smirked and walked towards the door.

"Why must you ruin all of my fun!" Ariella exclaimed, giggling.

"That expression is usually reversed," Cal said mischievously and closed the door behind him as he turned to walk towards her, "Why must you tease me with such things, mon amour, you know I can't control myself around you!" He chuckled, climbing on top of the bed so that he was above her.

Ariella's giggles faded into a soft smile as she gazed upon his beautiful face looking down upon her. Almost Greek, she thought, admiring his stone-carved perfection.

Cal placed his palm against her cheek. He watched her eyes upon him, watching his every move. He wanted to indulge himself within her. It was almost unbearable not to.

He sighed and fell down beside her, gazing up to the canopy above them, "I will not have you until we are married," he muttered, more to himself than to her.

Ariella felt her lips frown, "Why must we wait?"

"I feel as though I will regret it. Besides, you're still injured."

She moved herself so that she was sitting on his lap. She reached back and began to pull against the ribbons holding her gown to her body.

He watched her in silence until there was nothing separating his eyes from her body except a thin layer of cotton. She smiled, leaning down to kiss him on the cheek.

He placed his hands around her thin hips, but not in the way that a man normally touches a woman's hips. It was to pick her up and move her so that she was laying beside him.

"Not tonight. Not until we are married," he muttered, against his will, against everything he was ever known for. He wanted her desperately.

"How could you have made your mind up so fast?" She said almost pleadingly, "I want you."

"Ariella!" He exclaimed, "I won't risk you in such a way! Never again!"

She sat up from the bed and looked down to him, the shoulder of her under dress sliding off of her body, "Callan," she said forcefully, "I want you."

He inhaled sharply, "Fuck it," and pulled her towards him.

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