“What an ugly woman,” Paris said. His nose wrinkled, as he regarded the tall woman approaching us. She was as tall as Hector, or our father, as her robes swished with the purpose of her stride. She was walking straight towards my brothers and I. “She’s almost mannish!”
“Your rudeness is only matched by your ridiculous standards, Alexandros,” Hector growled. He only called Paris ‘Alexandros’, when he was upset with him. Which was most of the time. “Not every lady can equal your stolen bride if any.”
I didn’t hear Paris’ sharp retort. I was too busy staring at the lady, for I knew her. It was the face I’d seen in the goblet. I recognized the full, pouting lips, promising an unbridled sensuality. There was a petulance to them, which I hadn’t seen in the vision. It warned of an overindulged nature. I recognized her curls, which were as yellow as buttercups. They escaped in wisps from her veil, instead of bouncing free above his shoulders.
This woman couldn’t be the man I’d seen. Was it possible he had a twin sister? Her eyes were the deep blue of the ocean, when it was calm, nothing like the fiery gaze, which had captivated me in the vision.
Her head raised, turned, as if she was a hunting hound, catching the scent of a particularly juicy rabbit. Only the rabbit she saw was me. She stared at me with an intensity, which darkened her blue gaze. Darkened it into something, which smouldered dangerously.
A shudder, very akin to the climax of passion gathered at my groin, climbing up through my body, only there was no release to satisfy me. I met this familar lady’s gaze with equal boldness, for she had to be a lady. The proud lift of her chin had the lack of regard of one born to it.
Cressida or Andromache would have looked away. This lady did not. My boldness intensified her own stare, which fixed itself upon me. A possessive heat enlargened her black pupils, as her eyes moved over my face, my neck, my chest, lingering upon my bare legs, playing teasingly about my privates and bum, before returning to meet my eyes.
I swallowed, as my own eyes moved over her, but her long skirts, draping tunic, and veil didn’t reveal as much of her as my short tunic revealed of me. Her gaze was akin to a physical caress. Every inch of me had been explored by her dark blue eyes.
“Troile, what’s wrong with you?” Hector asked. Concern, as well as ever ready reprimand waited upon his lips. Concern that another one of his siblings was going to grow up wild and irresponsible in his passions.
It was irritating, almost as irritating as Paris’ reaction to the strange lady, who had almost reached the three of us. Paris was recoiling, as if she were somehow repellant. Her presence loomed over us, as if she was an approaching wave. Rising, cresting, beautiful with the gathering foam, even as it was about to crash upon you. It might knock you flat, but you could help gazing upon it in awe.
Paris saw no beauty in the waves, or anything else which might knock him flat. This woman, whose pouting lips were bending into an inviting smile, held no appeal for him. She was too tall, too bold, too mannish. Her skirts revealed no dainty display of ankle. I could have cared less about her ankles. My heart beat a little faster with each step of her powerful stride. It was as if her stride and my heart were connected. Once she stopped walking, my heart might stop as well.
The lady did stop, right in front of the three of us; Hector, Paris, and I. My heart didn’t stop, on the contrary. It clamoured within my chest, as if crying out. It was a marvel no one could hear it.
My admirer, for I felt entitled to name her as such, barely looked at Paris. Her deep blue eyes were fixed upon me, feasting upon my face. She’d devour me in large chunks, if given half a chance. Part of me was more than happy to allow her to do so.
The other part of me reminded myself that I was a Trojan prince, nearly a man. Princes did not allow themselves to be devoured. I raised my chin with pride equal to hers, swallowing my submissive passion.
My arrogant response didn’t discourage my admirer, oh no. A golden eyebrow, thicker and darker than the curls upon her head, arched up, as if she approved of my aloof response.
This was truly mannish, the approbation of a lover, who sought to court me, impressed by my virtuous reluctance. A part of me relaxed, recognizing the game, even as every other part of me was almost singing with tension.
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