diana wakes up in matteo's bed. the smell of caramel floating from the small kitchen from the other end of the chamber makes her stomach growl. she licks her lips with a swipe of her tongue, honey and sex still on her mouth. diana looks at the man by the stove, expecting to see matteo's frame hulking over the apparatus.
she sees a poltergeist instead.
leviticus castille is not the man he used to be. when he disintegrated into dust, it took his physical form (and though he'd never admit it, his sanity too). he whispers in the tongue of snakes to get the food and appliances to levitate. bacon crackles on the griddle as he looks back at diana and smiles, flashing a mouth of fangs.
"hungry?" his voice is a husk of its former gravel. "i know pretty girls like you work up quite the appetite."
"who are you?" she asks, her back hitting the wall behind the bed. "what have you done with matteo?"
"he is fine, i assure you—just a little bit unconscious." leviticus laughs. "some men cannot hold their wine." he lets the breakfast land on the bed with a loud thump, grinning at how diana flinches and curls her fists.
"you still have not answered my question, you vile vermin."
leviticus sneers as he cleans the mess he's made. "vermin? is that the best the bastard of athens has got?" he upturns his nose. "my son can never pick out the right ones, i tell you. they are always too kind, cruel..." leviticus flashes her a look, his eyes raking down the soft skin of diana's frame that the bedsheets don't hide. "beautiful. perhaps it is due to the rot in his brain. he was never that smart when he was living, mind you, i daresay this new condition of his is an upgrade."
"are you amos' father?" she questions, her cheeks flushing at the thought of the boy. "my contact in madrid?"
"ha! no, that one will appear when she is ready," leviticus snorts. "i have been chained to the late spanish queen's side since my death, yet now that's she's gone—it appears i am chained to this alcazar itself." he takes a few steps towards diana, skin shimmering in the light. "oh, poor diana bianchi of greece. do you have any idea of what you have gotten yourself into with my daughter?"
diana sets her brow as her mouth curls. she is tired of this man—if she can even call him that—and has grown weary of these games. amos is a lovely prince, perhaps the best she knows, but the rumors that encircle his sister, the hushed truths that were passed to her on the eve of carmen's ball, are enough to chill her to the bone. she cannot show such doubt, however. if amos trusts isabella, diana will have to as well.
"i intend on retaking my home," she says, bitter, "and the witch will help me do so. not everything in this world is very complex, sir."
leviticus chuckles and shakes his head. he leans closer, until she can see the translucence of his irises, comprehending more than diana could ever hope to know.
"my dear lucretia," he murmurs, "you have no idea of the games my little girl has planned for you."
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BLOODBATHS IN MADRIDShort Story
the bellucci clan of italy and the alejandre empire of spain have been allies since the early days of rome; their lives are never short of lust, money, and power. but when the castilles of england, a family that is built from new, filthy riches, cha...