Felia was the last country on the tour, so Bjorn had no more duties to fulfil as Prince.
What remained of the Honeymoon was a week of rest.
Erna paused at the door, reaching for the doorknob, and looked at her husband.
He was laid out on the couch, reading a book, with a half empty bottle of wine on the table.
He had been like that for so long, just like a part of the furniture.
She walked across the room to him, Bjorn looked up at her and smiled, then immediately went back to his book.
He did not even move his legs so Erna could sit down, she had to make do with another chair.
Erna realised that she had been with the Prince everyday since they got married had been perfectly healthy, until recently.
Bjorn didn’t rise from bed until around noon.
Where he would sit, reclined, reading a newspaper and slowly sipping on some tea.
He would get up for some lunch, then would go horseback riding, play cards or drink.
Then he took a nap.
Most of the time he spent with her was during sex.
“Wow, I hope you didn’t sit down so hard you hurt your back,” Erna said.
“You know best about my back health,” Bjorn said unexpectantly.
He stood from the couch and filled up his wine glass.
“Is it not boring, to lie around all day?” Erna habitually fiddled with the ribbon in her hair.
“I’m working hard, Erna.”
“On what, it doesn’t look like your working.”
“Resting, conserving stamina, regaining my strength.”
“Why, what are you going to do?”
“Something very obscene,” he looked at Erna with hooded eyes and a dirty smile.
Erna flinched away, pulling her shawl in tight and shifting back into her seat.
“We just did that.”
Bjorn laughed at Erna’s reaction and she pouted at him.
Not wanting to speak any more, she cast her eyes down to her hands.
When ever he had that grin on his face, the corners of his mouth pulled up just so, she went numb. All thought disappeared and only the thumping of her heart remained.
Erna rolled her eyes about the room until the heat in her cheeks faded.
All her senses were directed at him and she could only hear the turning of pages and a low chuckle.
She hated the fact that she still reacted in such a manner, even at the smallest hint.
After awhile, she was able to look at Bjorn again without feeling her cheeks flush and her heart race.
He was bathing fully in the sunlight and she could see through his shirt to the beautiful body underneath.
Erna quietly approached him and lifted the hem of her dress, it kept falling.
“What are you doing?” Bjorn turned his gaze from the book to Erna.
“The gown is being weird,” Erna said in a small whisper.
“Do you not like wearing it?”
Erna continued to fiddle with the hem of the dress.
Bjorn eventually put the book down and leaned over, dropping the hem of the dress Erna had been fiddling with.
Shocked, Erna opened the front of her gown and tried to hide her face as if she just saw something she really shouldn’t.
The straps of the dress were done up tight and the whole thing became a tangled mess, it looked like Erna had been done up in a bow.
“Have you come to refill your stamina?” Bjorn asked.
Bjorn grabbed her around the waist as she tried to return to her seat.
Erna lost her footing and fell onto his lap.
He suddenly lost interest in the book he had been reading and let it dropped to the floor.
He gently stroked the back of Erna’s head, who he held gently in his arms as she stared up at the ceiling in a daze.
“We have only a week left,” Erna said, “isn’t it sad to spend all day stuck indoors like this?”
“Do you still have something you wish to see in the city, was the sewers not interesting enough?”
“It’s not that,” her shawl flowed to the floor, over the book dumped on the floor, “we haven’t done very much together, so why don’t we go out together this afternoon?”
The ribbon that had her hair tied up quickly followed the shawl and rested on the floor.
Before Erna realised, Bjorn was unbuttoning her gown.
Erna frowned and started to wriggle, but Bjorn adjusted his seating position, while holding her and in her hesitation, he unbuttoned the rest of her gown.
It flowed down her smooth skin and fell the floor with the rest of her clothes.
Erna stopped resisting.
It was always like this, in the end.
She didn’t hate it, but she could hear her grandmothers admonition, you’re fallen.
“If we go out, what are we going to do?” Bjorn said, stroking Erna’s hair.
“I don’t know, lets just look around the city together and…”
Bjorn’s hands slowly made their way down and cupped Erna’s chest.
She felt numbness come to her mind and she couldn’t remember the rest of what she was going to say.
“And buy a gift, I want to buy a gift,” she said with renewed strength.
If she let this conintue any further, she would have wasted another day stuck in the bedroom.
Bjorn sat back up from kissing Erna’s chest.
Erna nodded vigorously, knowing she couldn’t miss this opportunity to do something more.
“A gift for my grandmother.”
“Just get Karen to do it.”
“No, I want to do it myself, can I?” Erna pleaded.
Although Erna is mostly docile.
She had a way about her, a tenacious spirit that would always rise to the surface when she wanted to get her own way.
She looked at Bjorn with big, sparkling eyes and a hint of a pout.
She looked like she was about to cry at any moment.
Bjorn nodded and Erna’s face lit up again.
“Thank you,” she said and wrapped her slender arms around his neck, “you know, once I got to know you, I could see that you are a much nicer person than you first seemed.”
“Me, nice, are you okay?”
Bjorn laughed, even though he was overly generous with describing himself, he would never have called himself nice, but Erna nodded confidently.
“You have always helped me when I needed it the most.
Any time I get upset, you seem to do your absolute best to cheer me up.
You might not think it, but you are really good at the things you put your mind to and you know your limits.
Whether you’re playing cards or speculating on horse racing, you play to win.”
Bjorn felt like he had heard those words before, but not in a nice way, from Leonid.
He always said that Bjorn was cursed to die from alcohol poisoning, across a cards table, but Erna said it as if it were something to be proud of.
“Don’t forget you, Erna, you’re working exceptionally hard too.”
“Me?” Her eyes twinkled, “what about me?” She felt a blush of embarrassment.
“You have a beautiful face,” he said, kissing her rosy cheeks, “and a beautiful chest,” he kissed her chest, even as he massaged a breast in his hand, “and a beautiful…”
Erna’s bright smile narrowed as Bjorn went through his list and as his hand made its way down her front, she quickly kissed him to stop him from uttering the next words she didn’t want to hear.
Bjorn giggled through his lips as he returned her clumsy kiss.
She was now frowning a lot, but he thought it was cute.
Lisa finally got the chance to show off everything she had learned from reading countless magazines and perusing shop windows.
Erna rarely wore any proper clothes, so when this mission came to her, right when she was getting bored, she jumped at the chance to dress Erna for her date.
The Grand Duchess, the country bumpkin Princess was going to show everyone that she was more than just a rural girl, with a rural maid.
The results will be the most satisfactory.
When she was done, she wanted to take a picture, so that she could remind the Prince of how beautiful his wife was.
He might have eyes on his head, but they might as well be on the other side of a cloud for all that he notices Erna.
If anyone calls Erna an ordinary country girl today, Lisa would have to scrub their eyes, or get them glasses as they were clearly blind.
“Go ahead, Erna,”
The wicked prince broke Lisa’s heart once more.
When going out as a couple, it’s proper to do things together.
What a horrible husband to make his wife travel all this way just to be left alone in a mall!
Lisa ground her teeth.
Could this be happening? Was the Prince really going to break Erna’s heart like this?
Okay! By the way, Bjorn.” Erna’s eyes wandered the crowded lounge of the department store before returning to rest on Bjorn’s face.
The book he brought to read was already open on the table.
“Can I ask for some advice?” Erna said.
“Advice?” Bjorn replied, not looking up from the book.
“I want to get the Royal Family a gift, but I have no idea what to get them.”
She had been thinking on this little problem all the way to the department store, but had no idea what she was going to get.
She thought it would be better if Bjorn was there with her, but it seemed like he had no mind to do any shopping together.
“Well, I’m sure if there was something they wanted, they would just go out and get it,” Bjorn said absently.
Erna looked about the lounge of the department store, feeling a sense of loss.
The department store far outshone the one she used in Schuber.
It was a bright, colourful place, filled with well dressed men and women.
People were sat, having tea at a table around a palm tree and from somewhere, the sound of trickling water.
The sunlight shone in through tall windows and further doubled the atmosphere of peace.
At first glance, they did not seem like the Grand Ducal couple from Lechen.
Bjorn didn’t like bringing too many people about with him, creating a fuss of people who would just hustle and bustle around him.
He liked it peaceful.
Erna liked this fact.
It made her feel like a proper married couple, just out spending time together, but that just seemed like a pipe dream right now.
“Well, what gift would you like to get?”
“Money,” Bjorn nearly answered immediately, without giving it much thought.
Erna stood up from the table, calm, before passing through the entrance of the lounge, Erna involuntarily turned around.
Bjorn was still just sat, reading his book, turning the page and sipping the tea he had just been served.
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