✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Crown's Obsession Chapter 121- 130 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Kitchen work- Part 1

Calhoun, who had the note in his hand, opened the piece of paper that was folded many times to make it small so that one wouldn't notice. He wouldn't have noticed if it weren't for Madeline's sudden surprised look that had led his eyes to trail down at her hand to find her clutching on to something. 

The fire in the fireplace flickered softly, leaving an orange golden-like glow in the room where Calhoun sat. When he was on the last fold, finally about to see what was in there, the door of the room knocked from outside and in came his cousin sister Sophie. Sophie bent her body along with her head to show him the utmost respect. 

Sophie noticed Calhoun, who was seated on the couch with a glass of blood in his hand. Internally she was overjoyed, realising Calhoun had not taken blood from the lowly human directly, and it had been offered to him through the glass. 

"How was your trip in the village?" inquired Calhoun, while observing Sophie who tiptoed inside the room which she often liked to do whenever he was alone in here. 

"It was okay. I wished you were there to accompany me. Theodore is quite boring who barely talks, and I didn't feel like being there. Because of your painting, I thought it would be interesting, but I don't think this village was any good to see," replied Sophie, walking towards him and waiting for him to ask her to sit. But Calhoun was busy sipping the blood from the glass which he held. 

"What were you expecting? It is a simple village," came the answer from Calhoun. He was holding the paper in his left hand and playing with it where he was ready to open the last fold to read what was in there. 

Sophie turned her head around, looking at the things that was present there and her eyes fell on the fireplace before it shifted back to look at Calhoun, "Your painting is beautiful. I thought it would be something interesting. Compared to it, beheading the maid was much more interesting."

She then stepped towards the table of liquors, wanting to join him so that she could further strengthen her bond with him. 

Calhoun took another sip from the glass until the very last drop of blood slid down to fall on his tongue, and he placed the empty glass aside. Sophie was a young vampiress, his cousin sister, but she was sharper than the rest of the girls of her age. The painting which he had made was indeed eye-catching because the village he had captured was not the one that belonged to where Madeline hailed from. 

"I met Julianne on my way up here," chimed Sophie, who was standing in front of the table whose hands played with the edge of the table, "I didn't know you were thirsty. I would have helped if I knew."

Calhoun's lips twitched hearing this, "Are you saying you would offer your blood for me to drink?" a single eyebrow of his rose in question and Sophie tried to hide the blush, but nothing ever went unnoticed in front of the King, "Does your mother know you are here? I don't think she would be pleased with you if she found out that you have been hanging in the premise of the castle, near the King who is unmarried." 

Sophie let go of the edge of the table, her heart skipping a beat, to say, "Mother knows that I am here. I told her I was going to visit you."

"Visiting is, you coming to meet me and leaving after some time. It appears more like a vacation," stated Calhoun and Sophie clenched her teeth. Calhoun then said, "Go back to your home today. I am sure you wouldn't like people speaking ill about you."

The girl had been waiting for an opening like this for some time now, wanting to speak and strengthen their relationship by moving it forward, by not being just cousins.

She said, "What if that is what I want people to think?"

Calhoun stared at the girl, a whisper of chuckle leaving his lips, "Who knew that little Sophie wanted to defile her status. If you are that interested I will be happy to help you with it," and these words alone made the vampiress happy until she heard the next words that came through Calhoun's lips, "I know some men who might be of your taste. They will be more than happy to assist you," and the smile that was present on Sophie's face instantly fell. 

For a few seconds, she didn't know what to say because what she had tried to convey to him and what he understood were completely different things. What the girl didn't know was that Calhoun was not only older but also smarter than her. He knew where to ignore her words while using some of them to his advantage. 

Sophie quickly shook her head, "That wasn't what I meant."

"If you didn't, you should go back to your home," said Calhoun and Sophie who wanted to sway his words, decided to bring a drink to him by her own hands by picking up the glass and pouring the alcohol in it. In the meantime, Calhoun opened the final fold of the paper to read what was written in there. 

The words had been reduced to size to fit into the little piece of paper, and Calhoun's eyes narrowed after looking at the words that were written in there.

Sophie walked towards Calhoun, holding two glasses in her hands. One for him and another for herself, "Brother Calhoun I made you a drink," she said, ignoring the words he previously said to her. Being a vampiress, Sophie had learned to have a thick skin. She had told herself that in the process of wanting to achieve her goal, there would be many obstacles which she would have to go through. 

Calhoun didn't refuse the drink, but he didn't accept it either. When Sophie, who was waiting to see where to sit, he said, "Leave the room."

Sophie heard what Calhoun had clearly said to her, but for two seconds she stopped and stared at him, "What? Did I upset you?" she asked him with an oblivious look on her face. 

"If you are smart you will leave the room instead of deciding to ignore the mood in the room, cousin," came the low threatening words from Calhoun and the oblivious expression was erased from the vampiress face. She had always been careful and attentive with her words while it came to speaking to him, and this was the first time Calhoun was telling her to get out of the room. 

Pursing her lips for a moment, she finally parted her lips to say, "Why are you not acknowledging me? I have been nice-"

"If I wasn't, you would not be here," replied Calhoun. He took hold of the empty glass which he had placed earlier on his side to swipe his finger through the insides of the glass, picking up the remnants of the blood that was in there, and he put his finger in his mouth.

"You know that I am-"

"Did you turn deaf, or did you choose to ignore what I just said?" asked Calhoun, his eyes moved from the glass to look at the vampiress whose eyes had turned wide. Sophie had been caught up with her thoughts that the vampiress had failed to read the King's mood, "It seems like you are in quite some mood today. I wonder if it is because you have overstayed in the castle," saying this, his lips stretched to a smile that looked no less to mocking.

Sophie gritted her teeth, and her hands had turned to tight fists that turned pale because of the lack of circulation of blood. She had been treading all these months carefully, trying to make sure not to overstep the lines. But with the human in here and Calhoun calling Julianne into the castle to feed blood on, it had pushed her. Not to forget how she had been forced to share the carriage with the King's right-hand man and not with the King. 

She couldn't believe she had gone through that! She deserved to ride and stand next to the King. Trying to even her voice, she started, "Mother said that she spoke to the minister about me-"

"One," interrupted Calhoun, and Sophie had to stop what she was saying finally. Clenching her teeth, she kept the glasses on the table and was ready to leave when she heard Calhoun say, "Close the door on your way out, cousin sister," he offered her a smile and his eyes appeared bright. 

Sophie felt utterly humiliated! Almost on the verge of tears for being treated like this, she stepped out of the room and closed the door. 

With Sophie, who left Calhoun alone in the room, the smile on his face slipped down, and he stood up. He walked towards the table to pick up the glass that Sophie had poured the drink for him, to drink the content inside it before taking hold of another one in his hand. The blood he had consumed was not enough to quench his thirst, and he took a couple of sips from the glass he held. His mood irritated as he remembered what was written in the note. 

In anger, Calhoun threw the glass right across him that touched the wall and broke into several pieces.
Kitchen work- Part 2

The flames that were moving and burning the woods reflected itself in Calhoun's eyes with the same intensity. He opened the note again which he had crumpled after reading what was in there. Going to the fireplace, he sat down on both his heels. He ran his finger over the writing, which was not the same as the letter that the tailorman had brought to the castle with him. 

The paper wrote,

'Don't think about us. Do what is right for you if you need to leave, run.'

Calhoun continued to stare at the words, his lips finally pulling up into a smile. He laughed, "Humans can be such coy creatures to think they can hide something that will not catch the eye of the night creature," he murmured. He then threw the paper into the fireplace that in less than a second caught fire. Burning itself into nothing but black ash before it fell with the rest of the ashes that was on the surface of the fireplace, "It looks like I cannot let you spend time with your family, Maddie. Not when they don't mind you running away from here. Away from me, which I won't allow it to happen."

On the other side of the castle, in the King's quarters, Madeline was in her room lying on the bed and she stared at the ceiling of the bed. Her heartfelt like it was more in ease after many days because she had met her family. Though that wasn't the main reason why Calhoun and she, with the rest had stepped into the village, she was still glad to see her family who were doing well. 

Madeline wondered what happened between Mr. Danvers and Beth. She hadn't seen Beth write the letter to him and if Beth had sent it out, it must have been before they had set out to the castle. Somewhere she felt awful about it. The whole confusion and misunderstanding had turned her heart heavy but after seeing Beth where she appeared to understand Madeline's condition, she finally felt relived. 

To Madeline, her family was the most important part of her life. She loved and cared for them. She didn't want anything bad to happen. It was good to see that there was at least something positive that came out from this. 

Madeline then sat up on the bed. Remembering how it felt to fall where her heart had come up to her throat until she felt she was being lifted in the air. 

Big black wings made of feathers. There were many rumours that she had heard from her fellow villagers about the night creatures. How cruel most of them were, drinking blood until they killed the human because of their thirst and lust for blood. But she doubted she heard about wings and Calhoun might be an exception, thought Madeline.

The King of Devon, Calhoun Hawthrone was an insane person and maybe the only person who would ask someone to jump off from the cliff to gain trust. 

During the time in the morning, Madeline had thought that after meeting her family it would suffice the thoughts for the next few days. Hoping everything would come to return to normal, but she was wrong. After meeting her family, the need to return only increased. 

Sliding down from the bed, her bare feet padded across the room so that she could look outside the window. With no family, no friends, and maids who only appeared to gossip about her which were mostly ill, Madeline prefered to stay in the room right now. Her eyes caught sight of three servants walking from one side to another who were carrying garden shears in their hands. 

The castle was too big, and the only person who was talking to her was Calhoun, and no one else. Because Calhoun had ordered the people in the castle to not speak to her. With her head going to lean against the edge of the window, she heard a knock on the door, and she sighed before she could know who stood on the other side of the room. 

"Lady Madeline?" came the voice of the maid who was assigned to her personally by the King. 

The castle had a mix of servants where most of them were humans while some were vampires. Madeline found it to be strange that there were vampires who worked as servants because all this time, she had thought that all vampires belonged to the higher hierarchy. 

She wondered if she should act like she wasn't here in the room because God only knew what it was all about, and she didn't want to see Calhoun right now. She had spent half of the day staying next to him, and she felt if she stayed for any more time, her hair would soon start to turn grey. That was the effect Calhoun had on people with the amount of stress he gave to people. 

"Lady Madeline?" called the maid Agnes. 

Madeline's head dropped slightly, sighing. She didn't want to cause unnecessary trouble to the maid because of her, and she walked up to the door and opened it, "Yes?" upon seeing the lady in the room, Agnes bowed her head. 

"Milady, you have been summoned to the castle's kitchen," informed the maid. For a moment Madeline frowned, wondering who was calling her to the kitchen until she finally realised for what she was being called. It seemed like Calhoun didn't waste a single hour or minute to seize the opportunity to tease her. 

This was about the deal she had made before meeting her parents. She had promised to cook for Calhoun, saying how she had never cooked for another man which was enough to get to see her parents but not the way she had wanted to. She was still stunned at how he had noticed the paper she was holding in her hand. When her mother had slipped it into her hand, she cautiously held it without dropping it down. 

Calhoun had slipped his hand to hold hers, without causing an issue in front of the family, while not so subtly hinting on how he knew about it. It was a warning that had got even Madeline's attention, and for a second she had feared for what he would do. After all, only moments before meeting her family, he had ordered to behead the maid's head. 

"Give me a minute," answered Madeline to have the young maid who was a human bow her head in acknowledgement. When Madeline was done taking off all the jewellery that she was wearing since the time of the morning, she finally left the room with the maid who followed her at first before moving from to lead the way which Madeline already knew of. 

"How was your day, milady?" asked the maid Agnes who was slightly chirpier compared to the rest of the maids. 

"It was good," answered Madeline, who was looking around the corridors. Out of curiosity, she asked, "Where is the King?" It was because the last time she had seen him, he had a guest. 

The maid looked at the lady who was walking with her and made sure to keep one step distance so that she wouldn't accidentally touch the fair lady who the King had appointed Agnes to look after, "He is in the East Wing, in the liquor room, milady," answered the maid, slowing down her steps to ask, "Would you want me to take you to him?"

"No!" came the rushed response from Madeline, which even the maid noticed it. Madeline cleared her throat, "No, I don't need to see him right now. I have no questions to ask him," she added so that the maid would stop looking at her with a questionable look. The maid finally nodded her head. 

"Let me lead you to the kitchen where the head cook is waiting for you," informed the maid and Madeline wondered what Calhoun would have told the cook. 

As they walked down the quiet corridor, Madeline wondered if the East Wing of the castle was the same place where she had last seen him. The same place where she had seen the red-haired woman who had walked past her. It seemed like Calhoun was busy with the woman. Madeline didn't want to ponder more on what they were doing in there because she had a fair idea of what they might be doing. 

The King's debauchery didn't surprise Madeline, but her cheeks turned red when her thoughts went to pass on to the time when he had sunk his fangs into her wrist. Probably if it were another man, holding her hand would have been simple, but Calhoun turned every action of his sensual as if wanting to seduce her. 

She didn't know why she was even thinking about what he was doing right now, and she pushed those thoughts away before entering the kitchen of the castle. 

"Mr. Jarman, Lady Madeline is here," announced the maid to the bald man who Madeline had met before with the reason of wanting to know a recipe from him. 

The bald man bowed his head and Madeline who was about to bow noticed how the other servants in the kitchen had stopped working for a moment before the head cook turned his head towards them to continue what they were doing.

"The King said you wanted to make your food for him for tonight's supper. Please use the kitchen and if you need something you can ask one of the maids or me for help."
Kitchen work- Part 3

Madeline who had only taken a glimpse of the kitchen from outside before, now saw how big the kitchen was, and she realised it was as big as her house. With the amount of food that would be needed to be prepared for the guests during the time of soirees and balls and other days, it was understandable that a lot of space was needed so that a huge amount of food could be prepared. 

After falling off from the cliff, Madeline was sure that Calhoun would forget the cooking deal and maybe if she went to him...No no, thought Madeline to herself. She didn't want to see him in whatever state he was in now. Cooking was not a big thing to her as she was used to it. She wasn't sure about what had to be prepared that would be consumed by the King. 

The maids didn't bother her and continued to work along with the head cook who left Madeline to herself. The maid who had accompanied her, stood with her back against the wall on standby if the lady would need assistance in cooking. 

Madeline walked around the kitchen. Taking a look at the vegetables that were brought and placed inside which were fresh. The meat made her frown as she saw blood dripping from some of it and some that looked soft and tender. She finally started to cook, bringing whatever she needed. The maids in there couldn't help but take a sneak at what the lady was doing. No lady had ever stepped foot in the kitchen as it was considered to be beneath the high status. It made the maids curious about this human who had been staying in the castle since a few days. 

Her hands were deep in the dough, which was sticky and powdered at someplace when the vampiress who had received news about what Madeline was doing decided to stop by the kitchen. 

"Lady Madeline," came Sophie's voice that was filled with glee.

Out of all the years Sophie knew about the castle and Calhoun, not once had a lady who was involved with the King stepped in the kitchen. With the open opportunity, Sophie couldn't help but smirk that maybe Calhoun didn't care about this girl and was only going to turn her into a maid in good time, "What are you doing here?" asked Sophie, noticing the sticky dough that stuck on Madeline's fingers. 

Madeline wanted to ask the same question to Sophie. She wondered how Sophie had quickly flown down here like a bird, "I am mixing the dough," she replied, her words polite and she looked at the bowl, kneading the dough. 

Sophie smiled at Madeline, "I can see that but what I meant is we have the cook and the maids to do that. Why are you doing the job unless you plan to secure a job here in the kitchen? Don't tell me that brother Calhoun asked you to cook." 

"He did," answered Madeline. She raised her hand to push the hair that had come to settle on the side of her face, "Would you like to join me?" came her sweet voice and Sophie only laughed at it. 

"I would prefer to not to dirty my hands by cooking. You see, I never had to go through the day where there was no one to cook for me," replied the vampiress.

Madeline continued to knead the dough as it was the first thing she wanted to prepare before cooking other things to create a wholesome meal, "I thought you knew how to cook," she said.

"Of course, I do. We are taught everything, that is how the high families are. But that doesn't mean we have to put our hands into it. I don't have such bad days," Sophie sighed as if she was tired by looking at Madeline kneading the dough, "Also, I don't think it would be right for the future queen to do simpleton work like this in the castle."

When she turned around, the servants who were eavesdropping on their conversation while peeking at them bowed their heads at the vampiress. 

"I hope you turn to be a wise Queen," Madeline bowed her head, but Sophie's eyes slightly narrowed. What did the lowly human mean 'turn to a wise queen'? Was she saying she was not wise enough right now? Thought Sophie to herself, "But allow me to say this," said Madeline to gain Sophie's attention, "It is often said that no woman's status becomes less if they cook for someone. Especially when its the King, we should take great honour in it. After all, I have heard that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach."

Sophie was displeased hearing this. With Calhoun who had asked her to get out of the room subtly, her mood had been ruined. She had been happy when she heard that the human girl was working in the kitchen on making supper. But after hearing Madeline's words, she was having second thoughts if she wanted to cook or not. 

"Jarman, get me the maid here," said Sophie, stepping forward to cook. Madeline internally smiled at the thought of how easily she had tricked the vampiress into cooking. The same person who had mocked her barely a few minutes ago. 

The bald head cook and the maids would have raised their eyebrows, but they knew better than to do that as she was the King's cousin sister. A relative who had to be treated with the utmost respect. 

And so began the cooking by the two girls. Sophie was someone who was taught by experts of the kitchen. One might have viewed her to be child-like, always hanging around in the castle, addressing the King by calling him 'Brother Calhoun', but only the ones who knew her closely were aware that the vampiress was a persistent person. 

Madeline worked on simpler things, who was much more well versed when it came to cooking as it was part of her family chores, her side of the table was neater compared to Sophie's.

Two and a half hours passed in the castle when Theodore went to visit Calhoun who hadn't left the liquor room. Stepped forward in front of the closed door, he announced his presence to the King. He pushed the doors open to see Calhoun, who looked as if he was sleeping on the couch. He had laid his body outstretched across the couch with one hand placed over his eyes to avoid any possible light to fall on his eyes.

Theodore wondered if Calhoun was sleeping and if he should return later before he heard Calhoun ask, 

"What hour is it?" 

"It is five past six," answered Theodore.

Calhoun, whose lips were parted, a sigh escaped his lips, "Finally." His hand that was positioned on his eyes moved away. He lifted his upper body, before swinging around his feet that were resting on the other side of the armrest, to place it on the ground. He raised his hand to weave through his thick black locks. His lips twisting and one of his eyebrows raising,

"Has the food been prepared?" he had asked one of the servant's to take Madeline to the kitchen so that she could prepare the food for him that she had promised. 

"Yes, milord," answered Theodore. 

Theodore, had never seen Calhoun send a woman as early as he did today, "Would you want me to arrange another person to attend you tonight?" asked the man dutifully. He stood there quietly in the presence of Calhoun, his eyes catching sight of the broken glasses as it reflected the light in the room.

"Doubt it would matter," stated Calhoun, pushing himself up and his eyes moving towards the fireplace.

Before he met Madeline, Julianne was one of the women who had a potent taste of blood with along with a few other women. But the day he had walked past Madeline in the ballroom for the first time, he knew he had found a delicacy that he was not willing to share. All Calhoun wanted to do was, sink his teeth into Madeline, not just her neck but every possible space on her pale skin. 

"I guess it wouldn't hurt to take another bite," said Calhoun as he stepped out of the room to be followed by Theodore to make their way towards the dining room.
My meal- Part 1

Music Recommendation: Crossing Paths by Lake Isabel 


Madeline stood at the side, when the food was brought forward to be placed on the dining table, where Calhoun sat at the head of the table. The dishes were of stark difference as it appeared that they were made by two people. When Calhoun's eyes fell on the dishes, his red eyes observed what was there before looking up to see the head cook who had accompanied the ladies and the maids. 

"I ordered you not to cook and to let Lady Madeline take over the kitchen," said Calhoun, his eyebrow raised in question and the bald man bowed his head. 

"Milord, the kitchen staff, weren't the ones who cook the meals today," answered the man who held his hands together in front of him. 

"Then why are there two different types of meals?" asked Calhoun, his hand coming to support his chin while looking at the head cook. Post noon today, Calhoun's words were clear with instructions of how he wanted the meals to be cooked by Madeline.

Mr. Jamer, the head cook, bowed his head again, "Lady Madeline has made some of the dishes, and some dishes have been made by Lady Sophie," and this was enough for Calhoun's mood to turn sour. 

The King's eyes shifted to look at his cousin sister who was overstaying in the castle. He allowed it only for certain reasons. But today he wasn't in the mood to humour Sophie, "I thought I told you to get back home," came his curt words that made Sophie's cheeks burn.

"Lady Madeline wanted me to cook with her," said Sophie, trying to wiggle out of the embarrassment and putting the blame on the human, as she had indeed provoked her to cook in the kitchen. At the same time, Sophie didn't want Madeline winning Calhoun's heart when she could do it. The human was nothing but an imbecile servant whom she wished to throw in the dungeon. After they were done cooking, Sophie had looked rather pleased as her dishes looked so much better than what Madeline had prepared for the time of supper. 

Calhoun didn't look at Madeline and instead continued to stare at Sophie for a few seconds, "Nobody asked you to cook, cousin sister. The order was for Madeline only."

"My apologies, brother Calhoun," Sophie bowed her head, "I didn't think about it when Lady Madeline had asked me to cook with her. I thought she could use some company. You can ask the head cook," saying this, she turned to look at the bald man, her red eyes trained on him who bowed his head. 

Sophie had been living in the castle in and out visiting the King, while making sure the servants knew who she was, enough to make them listen to her. She smiled when the bald man bowed and turned back to look at Calhoun as if to tell him that what she said was true. 

"Is it true?" asked Calhoun, and this time, his question was directed at Madeline, and she nodded her head. 

"Yes, milord," she answered. 

Madeline didn't know why but something told her that Calhoun was in an irritated mood and his patience looked like it was wearing thin. Upon her reply, he gave her another look before turning his eyes back on the dishes that was placed on the table. 

Calhoun then asked, "What did you make, Sophie?" The vampiresses eyes brightened, and she stepped forward. 

"I prepared the ones on the left side, my King," she was glad that Calhoun was not shooing her away. Once he would taste the food, he would know that Sophie was not only going to be a good wife next to him, but she also had the talent when it came to cooking, "I made sure that I prepared your favourites. From the meat to the vegetables, the tenderness is just as you prefer," explained the vampiress. 

The King didn't say anything for a minute. And then another minute passed, that had the maids who were in the dining room along with Sophie, Madeline, Theodore and the kitchen head cook wonder what was going on in the King's mind. 

Sophie took to speak, "Brother Calhoun, the food might get cold and might not taste as good as when it is hot." Even if there was a competition between her and Madeline, Sophie would ace it any time as she knew the King longer than the human who was new to the castle. Being a close relative, she knew what Calhoun liked and didn't like, includong some of his habits while also knowing he couldn't treat her the way he treated other strangers. 

"It would be a pity if that happened," agreed Calhoun, a smile appeared on his face. He then said, "I wouldn't like to eat something that has turned out of taste because of the temperature. Theodore, offer the food which was made by Sophie to the servants. I am sure they would love to taste what she has cooked today."

The vampiress' eyes turned wide in shock, "Wait, we can heat it again!" She had cooked the meal for the King and not for the damned servants, "I made it for you," she said, looking at Calhoun. 

"I don't remember asking you to prepare my meals," came the curt reply from Calhoun, "Are you not aware that the King only eats the food that is cooked from the head cook? Or have you forgotten how the castle runs?" He had a bored expression on his face.

Sophie couldn't believe that her food was being dismissed this quickly. She had truly put her heart in making the food especially when Madeline had mentioned about gaining a place in a man's heart through food.

"Won't you taste it?" smiled Sophie. 

"Maybe next time when the food is still hot," Calhoun replied before turning to look at Theodore who bowed his head. The head cook and the maids started to take away the food which was cooked by the vampiress, while leaving the food prepared by Madeline on the table. Sophie, who still had a look of shock on her face, stood there, unmoving, "Let us see what Madeline had prepared." 

Madeline saw how every item that was prepared by Sophie was taken off the table and out of the room. She didn't have to look at Sophie to see that she was not only shocked, but she was seething in anger where the anger was directed towards her. After all, she was the one who had taunted and tricked her into cooking for the King which was now going to be served to the servants. Madeline came to doubt that this might be the first time where Lady Sophie was going to do something for the people whom she felt was beneath her. 

The chairs were pulled, Madeline, Sophie, and Theodore joined Calhoun at the dining table. 

"Is this what you eat?" asked Calhoun, his eyes meeting the brown-eyed girl who gave him a nod. And the food was soon served on the plate. 

While Sophie's food was undoubtedly attractive to look at, Madeline had purposely picked up dishes that would look dull. This way, Calhoun would know and understand the difference in what he wanted. Madeline was a simple girl, and she was more than content with the simple life which she had a week ago. She wanted to convey her thoughts, about how she didn't belong here and how she was not of his taste, that it was a mere attraction and infatuation. 

Calhoun who took the food with his fork to take a bite, didn't comment. Not a single complaint or praise left his lips. Everyone came to believe that he found the food to be rather pale compared to what he was used to eating. 

Madeline, who was used to eating the same food continued to eat in silence, and when she sneaked a glance at Sophie, the girl was glaring at the food. 

"This is not the type food one offers the King or his subjects!" came Sophie's complaint, "Lady Madeline it looks like you will need to have cooking lessons which you cannot afford for," Sophie had not dared to take a bite from the food as it looked strange. The vampiress came from a high family, and she couldn't believe that she had to eat something like this!

Calhoun didn't bother to comment on Sophie's words, and he continued to eat what was on his plate, so did Theodore. 

"My apologies that the food is not up to your liking," Madeline took no offence, and she was happy to hear that it looked terrible, which would mean even Calhoun would view it the same way. But with the way he was eating it, she doubted that was the case. She then continued to say, "I don't cook to impress but to fill the stomach of my family," and this had Calhoun raise his eyes to look at the human. 

Sophie pushed her chair behind and stood up, "I will be going back home, brother Calhoun." She was humiliated by the thought that her food was disregarded to be given to the servants. 

"Theodore will accompany you out," came the curt words from Calhoun. This had Sophie grit her teeth.

Sophie had hoped for Calhoun to ask her to stay because not only had he shooed her away at noon, but also he had not taken a bite from the food she had prepared. She gave him a bow but stood there for a mere second, before turning around and left the room to be followed by Theodore whilst leaving Calhoun and Madeline alone at the table. 
My meal- Part 2

Madeline who had not spoken much since the time she had entered the dining room, now looked at Calhoun, who took another serving from the food she had prepared. She frowned. It seemed like her plan to make him dislike what she had made had failed. 

"Did you like the food?" asked Madeline, her words slow and apprehensive. 

Calhoun, who was chewing the food in his mouth, stared at Madeline, swallowing the food after which his lips rose, "I loved it. I thought it was obvious with the amount I have eaten so far. Were you worried I wouldn't be happy with what you prepared?" he asked her as Madeline appeared to be upset. 

But Madeline was upset for another reason. Not because she wanted him to like her cooking but because she had hoped he wouldn't, "I must say, I didn't expect you to have Sophie join in preparing the meal. Poor thing, look what you did to her," he tsked. The candles flickered that was placed on the hanging chandelier above the centre of the table. 

"She was the one who wanted to cook-"

"When I asked you minutes ago, you said you were the one who asked her to cook along with you," stated Calhoun. He lifted his fork to pick up the meat and raised it for him to take a look, "You are a smart girl, Maddie. If you weren't, you wouldn't be sitting here at the table. Cooking the meat until it turns hard. Where's the tenderness in this?"

"I told I would prepare a meal as I used to have in the past. For my family," answered Madeline, and this widened Calhoun's smile on his lips. 

"I wasn't ready for that. But if you are accepting me as your family, I shall not deny it. Surely I am not going to take anything less from being a lover to a husband," Calhouns' directness turned Madeline red. 

"You think too far ahead, milord."

Madeline had to say that the King was an opportunist, who didn't leave a single moment pass by to turn it in his favour and liking. 

"If I didn't, then I wouldn't be the King now, would I," Calhoun's words weren't a question to her, "It is good to see that we have moved our status so quickly."

She didn't react to his words but only stared at him. The more she spoke, the more she ended up in trouble; therefore Madeline had come to decide that silence was a good weapon when it came to dealing with Calhoun. 

Noticing her silence, Calhoun couldn't stop but smirk, "Not talking to me?" he asked her, a spark in his eyes that could make anyone worry. 

"It is told not to speak during the time of food," came the quick answer from Madeline, taking a full bite, she put it in her mouth to keep herself busy so that she wouldn't have to speak to the King. 

"Such a good girl," Calhoun murmured. Madeline wasn't seated away from him but on his right side where all he would have to do was to lean forward to smell the sweet fragrance that wafted from the girl, "Don't think I don't know what goes in that mind of yours."

Those words instilled fear in her, at the possible thought that he could read her mind. But no, it wasn't possible, said Madeline to herself. If he knew the things that went in her mind- her family, her and James would be in trouble by now. 

"I don't know what you are talking about," she wasn't sure what exactly he was speaking about. 

"You knew I only wanted you to cook, yet you dragged the fool into it. Wanting to create a difference in the food," said Calhoun and Madeline's palms turned cold. Was it obvious? "The more you try to get away, the more it pulls me to you. It is not often that I get to eat something like this, so yes, it is delicious," he praised her, taking another bite from his plate. 

He was right.

She had hoped, but she should have known this person was crooked by nature and would like things one would consider not to like. But Madeline had never heard that the rich ever praised the food of the peasants. Like she had said to Sophie, the poor cooked to fill their stomach and not to impress like the rich who had minimal food on the plate which was mostly for decoration. 

And as they ate, Calhoun said, "I have wanted to take an opinion from you. If there's someone out in the public who is trying to cross me, who is against me and trying to spoil something I am working on. What do you think would be a deem worthy punishment?" He picked up the glass next to him, sipping from it. 

Madeline looked at Calhoun, wondering what his question meant and who it was for, "I don't think I can judge what the punishment has to be, if I don't know what the severity of mistake has been made." 

"True," agreed Calhoun, "Consider hypothetically that someone is trying to take my kingdom away from me. Like a possible relative, who I thought would comply that I would take care of the Kingdom. But he feels I am unfit for it. Without even waiting to see if I can rule it better than anyone else. And I love Devon."

Madeline wondered who this relative was that had crossed Calhoun, "Is it the person who tried to poison you?" she asked to see him smile. 

"It is a hypothetical question. What do you think should be the punishment?" his eyes crinkled at the sides as he waited for her to answer his question, "Take your time," he said, raising his glass and drinking everything that was in there. It seemed like with every hour that was passing between them, the thirst he felt only grew, and his eyes moved from her eyes to look at her neck and the little amount of shoulder that he could see. 

With Madeline next to him, all he had to do was pull her to his side and do what would please him right now. 

The thought of the little note brought back the fire in his eyes, and anger that didn't extinguish even after the short nap he had on the couch, that led to his irritated mood. Who would have thought that Mrs. Harris was ready to sacrifice her happiness for her daughter's sake? 

When you thought someone was good, they always happened to let you down, thought Calhoun to himself. The woman had gone as far as to writing a letter and telling Madeline could flee away from here if needed and it internally made Calhoun chuckle. If Madeline was to flee, she would be back to where Calhoun was, and he would not let her go. The question he posed in front of her was twisted in regards to what happened. The Kingdom was Madeline, and the relative was her mother.

Calhoun asked her, "What is it going to be?" 

"Warn the person?" asked Madeline, who was unaware of what was going on in his mind. 

"And what shall I do if that relative doesn't understand it?" his tongue moved to run across the front of his teeth. 

With the way Calhoun was looking at her, Madeline worried, "I don't know. You are the King," she tossed the dice back to him. She had never thought to punish someone, and she didn't want to be responsible for someone's death. 

"That's not the answer I am looking for," his eyes were slightly narrowed. 

"I don't think my answer is what you are looking for," she replied to bring out the amused smile on his lips. 

"If you know what I am looking for, then give it to me." Madeline picked up the glass of water and took in a sip. She wasn't sure anymore if they were speaking about the same matter, "So thirsty, let me pour you another glass of water," Calhoun said and before she could reach for the jug, he took hold of it and poured the water. 

His gaze was burning into her, and Madeline couldn't sit still. She finished drinking the water and placed the glass back on the table. He looked at her like she was the only thing in the room and he caught every movement of hers. When his gaze finally returned to his plate,

"I finished eating," Madeline said, bowing her head to get up from the chair as quietly as she could but the chair didn't stop to screech against the floor because of her hasty movements. 

But Madeline didn't make it too far. Just when she was about to reach for the door, she saw Calhoun place his hand on the door to stop her from opening it,

"How rude to be leaving the table when the King has not finished his meal," came his words from behind her.

"Theodore will be here to join you, you can h-" she stopped speaking when she felt Calhoun step closer to her where she could feel his breath behind her ear and she shivered.

"He won't be returning back to the dining room," said Calhoun, every breath of his word falling on her skin. He purposely moved close to her, "Are you really done eating?" 

"Yes," she whispered, feeling her nerves starting to jitter. 

"Sweet," replied Calhoun as another hand came to fall on another side of her, "Because it is time for my actual meal."
My meal- Part 3

Music Recommendation: First by SoMo


Hearing Calhoun's words, Madeline's eyes widened, and she turned around to look straight into his red eyes that stared right back at her. The space that was present during the time she had turned was taken away from her when he leaned forward. Madeline could feel her heart beating in her ears at the closeness that they shared, alone in the room where no one would come to interrupt them. 

When Sophie was here, Madeline could have hoped for the vampiress to barge in. But Theodore had gone to see Sophie into the carriage, and there was no way she would come back here unless she had dropped something in here. 

Calhoun gazed into those big brown eyes. He wondered why he was supposed to stop, when he could take what he had decided to be his. 

"You can continue eating," said Madeline, "I will take my seat back."

"Do you think I am interested in eating food at the table?" Calhoun cocked his head to the side as if he had been sitting at the table for amusement. Given, he wanted to taste the food she had made, but the void he felt for not taking another sip from her was pushing him to an edge. 

Madeline pushed her back against the wall, "You were the one who asked me to cook for you," she replied to his question, her eyes not looking away from his. 

"If I am not wrong, you were the one who proposed to cook for me. Did you forget that I am not a human but a vampire who needs blood?" he hummed. 

Softly gulping, she said, "You had your meal at noon with that woman!" She had seen the red-headed woman who had walked past in the direction she had come from- the way she was dressed, and with Calhoun who had not so subtly spoken about what was going to happen behind those closed doors. 

"Are you jealous?" asked Calhoun with such a straight face, that had Madeline blink her eyes a couple of times. 

"Why would I be jealous? You can suck anyone's blood or do whatever you want-" Calhoun placed one of his hands on the side of her waist without a notice. Her gaze fell on his chest where he wore a shirt that had two buttons left unbuttoned for one to stare at the taut muscle behind it. 

"Yes, you were saying," came the calm voice of Calhoun. Madeline tore her gaze to look back into his eyes. Madeline realised that Calhoun was daunting when he was smiling, and there wasn't much difference when it came to now where he had a severe look. 

Madeline's lips were parted, but she was not able to speak with his presence this close to her. One hand blocking her way and the other that had gone to place on her waist. Calhoun then leaned even more closer to her, her eyes catching him looking at her lips. Her lips trembled, and she didn't know why but she was feeling breathless.

She found him tilting his head, moving closer and Madeline felt as if her body was going to combust into ashes. Was he going to kiss her?!

"Did she not have enough blood?" she asked him, her eyes looking back at Calhoun's eyes that were not looking into her eyes. 

"Why do you say that?" he asked her because he wanted to bite her now!

When Calhoun moved even closer, almost an inch away from her lips, Madeline closed her eyes. Noticing this, a wicked grin broke on Calhoun's lips. He moved his face to the side of her head, to say, "Waiting for me to kiss?" came his teasing words. 

Madeline's eyes flew open, her cheeks turning bright red, "I wasn't!" she tried to move away, but the hand on her waist tightened.

"Why did you close your eyes then? Your sweet lips were parted as if anticipating for me to take it with my lips. To suck and bite," Calhoun whispered those words next to the shell of her ear. She didn't know why Calhoun was always descriptive when he wanted to paint an image in her mind, "You are right. I did spend time with the beautiful lady, but I am not satisfied with it. My sweet."

"I don't think she's the only one who you can take blood from," she turned her face towards him, to meet his eyes again.

"You are right. Why go for something that is far, when you are right here. Is my dessert ready?" he asked with mischief in his voice. 

"On the table?" Madeline asked, hoping he would eat the food she made instead of sinking his fangs in her skin. 

The smile on his lips was scaring her and the look in his eyes that held nothing less to a sinister look. "If you feel the table is going to be much more comfortable than here, I don't mind moving there." Madeline wondered why Calhoun was not moving, when he had agreed to go back to sit at the table to finish his meal. And then she realised what he meant.

"I did everything you asked me to do," she stated. The last time he had taken her blood, it was in the name of being punished. 

Madeline heard Calhoun sigh, "I am thirsty, Maddie. If I go find someone right now, I cannot guarantee that the person will be alive. But with you," he paused to let his words sink into her. Was he serious though? Or was he only playing with her? Would he kill the next person who wasn't her, to quench the thirst for blood? 

"I will try holding back." She knew one of these days she would end up dead by being food to the King, "What happened to the trust you had this noon?" asked Calhoun.

That went out of the window when he said he would try not killing her! 
On the table- Part 1

Music Recommendation: First by SoMo 


She stared into his eyes that started to turn dark which was a few seconds ago brighter, but it was moving to almost a black shade, and she could only stand there looking at him. Madeline noticed that Calhoun was waiting for her reply and she said, 


Calhoun who was looking at her, his smile turned wicked, "What do you mean by no, sweet girl? No, I do trust you?" It was truly commendable the way he turned everything to his benefit. 

"No sane person will ask someone they love to jump off from the cliff," she had done almost everything he had asked her to do, but Calhoun didn't appear to be satisfied with it. She noticed how he kept playing with his sharp fangs with his tongue. As if readying it to sink into her skin. 

A chuckle escaped from Calhoun's lips, "I thought we had already come to an agreement that I was insane. Come, I need to take a bite. It will turn out far worse than a bite if you delay my meal."

"I am not your meal! Please find someone else to take blood from," pleaded Madeline. In such a short period, Calhoun wanted her to change her feelings, when in truth she was trying hard to keep up with him and the world he lived in. It was true that they lived in the same world, but she had been shielded away from the night creatures where she had never come across one, not this closely at least. 

The smile on Calhoun's lips slowly fell and Madeline could feel the atmosphere in the room turning tense and heavy, "It seems like you don't care about the person who is going to die. What a shame but at least we know we are the same that way," he stated, his eyes cold and his words sharp on her ears. 

Madeline didn't understand why Calhoun was blaming her when she was only trying to protect herself. What was wrong in having her own choice? To be forcibly pushed into a life which she didn't want, to be torn away from her family, when her heart wanted something else. 

"Last chance," said Calhoun, his eyes trained on her and Madeline felt the air around them turning only heavier and heavier with every passing second. "If that is your decision," saying this he walked towards the call bell, his hand reached for it and pulled it down. 

Madeline's eyes turned wide, and she stared at Calhoun who wasn't looking at her now. Within a minute, a maid quickly entered the room who looked small and fragile, almost quivering as it was the King who had summoned her. The maid had her head bowed without a word as she stood at the door and Madeline caught Calhoun walking towards the table, but he didn't take a seat on the chair. 

Instead, the King leaned his lower back against the table, and said, "I haven't had my meal for the day. Come here." He ordered the maid, and the girl quickly made her way towards him. Calhoun looked at Madeline who was looking at him, but she hadn't moved or tried to stop him, "You will witness how a vampire drinks when the person is extremely hungry and craving for blood," he said to her. 

Right now, the maid had made her way to stand in front of the King, and though nothing had happened yet, Madeline could feel the guilt that was starting to spread in her mind. The way Calhoun spoke, it appeared more like he was going to suck the girl dry. She worried that for the rest of her life, she would carry the guilt of how the maid had died because of her. Before Calhoun could do anything, she said,


Calhoun who was looking at the maid shifted his gaze to look at Madeline, "What?" he asked, his voice carrying slight annoyance in it and Madeline had to bite her cheek as she had never been on the receiving end of his cold words. 

Her lips that were pressed parted to say, "Let the maid leave." 

"Are you ready to take her place?" Calhoun asked, tilting his head to the side. He knew exactly how to get what he wanted. Bringing the maid in was enough for Madeline to change her mind because, she was not the kind of person to let someone die. At least not on her watch and he had found the weakness when they were returning from her village. 

Internally, Calhoun had a wide smile, but he didn't let it appear on his face. He had already decided that he was going to have her blood tonight and no one was going to stop him. Not even Madeline herself. If he didn't, he wouldn't be responsible for having more than two bodies lying on the ground, lifeless. 

"What is it?" came his impatient taunting words. 

She found it to be the hardest to speak up right now. She didn't want the maid getting hurt, but at the same time, Madeline didn't want Calhoun taking her as a meal by drinking her blood. 

"I will do it," she replied, but Calhoun didn't respond to it as if waiting for something more from her because she had delayed his time. She noticed how the maid who had turned her face to look at Madeline had a look of relief, wanting to thank Madeline for sparing her life and taking her position.

It made it worse when she pondered more on it because Madeline couldn't help, but think on how many people the King had killed for his thirst for blood. She bowed her head, "Please, allow me to be the one instead of the maid."

"And?" asked Calhoun and just as she thought, he wanted more from her, "We could have saved time by now, but you made me wait. Do you think I will be happy with a mere offer?" he had a look on his face, making it look like he didn't care about what Madeline said. 

Madeline didn't know what more Calhoun wanted. No, it wasn't that she didn't know, but she was not going to give him what he truly wanted. Things like that could not be taken by force.

"Are you going to keep making it worse for you, by not speaking?" Calhoun's words made her shake her head. Without looking at the maid, he said, "Leave," the maid bowed her head to the King, and then at the lady in the dining room before escaping from the room and being thankful for living another day in the castle. 

Calhoun and Madeline were back to being alone in the dining room. He hadn't moved from his position with his back against the table, and Madeline stood near the wall, her feet glued. 

"I am giving you my blood, isn't that enough?" asked Madeline, her brown eyes looking at his passive expression. 

Calhoun noticed Madeline's beating heart, that was calmer than before where it wasn't erratic, "Nothing is ever enough," his words were truthful, and Madeline gulped. 

"One day I won't have anything more to give," she stated to see him raise his hand in front of him, waiting for her to start walking. 

"Don't worry about that. I would have consumed you by then," said Calhoun and Madeline wondered if it was another definition of being dead. The smile which he had been holding back finally broke through his lips because Madeline herself didn't realise how she had spoken about a future which she was not willing to think a few days ago. 

Madeline had to force herself to move her feet, her heart slowly picked up pace as she closed the distance between them to come to stand in front of him finally.

"Why do you like to make it difficult for you? When you could have agreed, without having to make me wait," asked Calhoun when it wasn't even Madeline's fault. 

"I have told you this is not the way how you woo a girl," clearly Calhoun had never fallen in love before and she happened to be the first person, thought Madeline to herself. The only fortunate outcome from this situation was her father having a shop and help but the rest, it was the same. 

Calhoun pushed himself to stand straight, leaving the table, and he stepped in front of her, "And I told you I have my ways of making you fall for me."

Before Madeline could think, she blurted the words, "I didn't know threatening the person was a way to do it," but Calhoun wasn't angry. The King was so twisted up in the head that things like these turned to be a compliment to his ears, at least that is what Madeline thought by seeing the smile broaden on his lips. 

"What can I say, that's me," said Calhoun. In a blink of an eye, he caught hold of her waist to pick her up and placed her right on the surface of the table. 

Madeline had not expected for him to make her sit on the table, and by the single effortless action of his, she could feel her heart beating loud again. She pushed herself back with both her hands placed on the edge of the table. She had truly hoped Calhoun would find someone to drink blood from, but something told her that he wasn't bluffing when he said he would kill the person. 

Calhoun took one step closer to her, admiring the girl's feature under the candlelight and she looked like the most exquisite meal he would ever have. 
On the table- Part 2

Madeline tried to move back more than what she had, from the surface of the table, but when Calhoun placed his hand on her knee as if wanting to stop, she did just that. She knew the decisions she had been taking since the time she had entered the castle was something that was only pushing her deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. It was like a black pit of darkness that instead of hoping to get out, she was further getting in and she doubted she would ever be able to get out. 

After all, Calhoun was the one who had caught her and not some layperson. It was told that nothing ever missed the King's eye. 

"W-what are you doing?!" asked Madeline when the hand Calhoun had placed on her knee moved up. Her hand quickly shot forward to stop him from moving it any further than what he had done. 

Calhoun looked at her, to ask, "What did I do?" 

This King! Madeline tried to keep herself calm, but how could she when he was doing something so scandalous. He might have tried things like this with other women, but it didn't mean she was going to let him try those things on her. 

"You said you were going to drink my blood," reminded Madeline so that he didn't try anything more than what he had asked from her. 

"Eager to have me bite you?" Calhoun asked her and Madeline gritted her teeth. 

"Don't try-" Madeline tried to warn him, but with one swift movement, her hand that was placed on top of his to stop him from venturing more had reversed its position. Calhoun caught hold of her hand, and she wondered how fast his movement was that she had not seen it coming. 

A sliver of fear ran down her spine at the thought, how the King was not only capable of compelling people by his power but that he alone was strong enough to snap a person in a second. She had seen the fear in the maid's eyes as if she knew of the fate that was waiting for her in the hands of the King. 

"Why do you resist?" asked Calhoun, leaning forward with his hand still holding the wrist of her hand which she tried to slip out of his hold, but his hold turned firm. 

"Why do you force?" Madeline retorted back and she saw how close he was to her and the air that was present in her lungs was quickly depleting because of the lack of air she was letting in. 

"Stop resisting then," replied Calhoun, his thumb moved across her wrist, and she felt her lips go dry. In an effort to bring back moisture, she slowly ran her tongue on her lips, and Calhoun's eyes quickly fell on the little action. His eyes turned dark, "What part of the chase do you not understand?" 

She glared at him, "I am not asking you to chase me!" She had never asked for his attention. Madeline could now feel every stroke of his finger on her skin, and with every movement, she felt her heart hitch up. The slow smile on Calhoun's face said it all that he could hear the beating of her little heart. Everytime she thought to do something, it always ended up having the opposite affect from him. 

"Stop trying to run away," he said to her, "Do it, and I will stop chasing you. The red riding hood with the wolf."

"Bad wolf," Madeline added the word which he missed and she saw the fangs appear.

"Yes, big bad wolf. A lovely combination, isn't it?" asked Calhoun, and he finally let Madeline's hand go from his hold to see her staring back at him. Waiting for him to pounce and the wicked teasing smile didn't leave his lips. To Calhoun, it wasn't just about having her by his side for the way she looked, but it was everything he had come to know, and he wanted to learn more about her. 

"I don't think people would agree about it," she replied, her body aware of his closeness while wondering what he was going to do next. When it came to Calhoun, it was not just about to expect the unexpected, but the unexpected always turned to extremities. 

"Who cares what others think. If you are not aware, the King's word is final. If the crow is black and I say it is white people are compelled to agree."

Madeline placed her hand on her knee for protection if he were to put it on her thighs again, "Isn't that tyranny?" she asked him.

Calhoun only continued to smile at her, his lips twisting to say, "That's enough of talk. Are you trying to distract me? The more you make me wait, the worse my thirst will turn."

It was already worse with him putting her on the table like she was a meal to be eaten. She wondered what else was awaiting her. 

Madeline could feel the goosebumps rise on her skin when he continued to stare at her without another word. With her knees that was stuck close and keeping Calhoun at bay from getting more close, she felt Calhoun place both his hands on her knees, and even her hand that was there couldn't stop him from pushing it apart. Her eyes widened, seeing how effortlessly he took another step to close distance between them. If she moved back any further, she would be sleeping on the table lika a piece of offering for him as an actual meal. 

Calhoun then put his arm around Madeline's waist, bringing her close to him, "Calm down. With the rate your heart is beating, it might explode," he stated, and Madeline agreed to him, but it was his fault!

She doubted that she would ever be able to stay one step ahead of Calhoun when it came to knowing what he was thinking. If Madeline thought she was one step ahead of him, she only came to realise later that he was ten steps ahead of her.

"Maybe if you let me go it would calm down," Madeline said, her eyes closed for a second. She tried to calm down as the anxiousness in her chest was not ready to settle down. This was not normal to her, to be in a male's arm, especially one who was a vampire who was waiting to suck her blood. 

"Tough luck with that," was the response she received from Calhoun, and she opened her eyes to find herself gazing straight into his red eyes, "What are you scared about? It is just taking a drink from you," saying this, Calhoun took a piece of Madeline's hair which she had braided from the back of her ear, bringing it forward. What was Madeline supposed to reply to when she knew, Calhoun knew what was there on her mind. She then felt him push the hair behind along with the other hair that had come to settle on top of her shoulder. 

He was going to bite her neck.

And as the realisation started to sink in which she was trying to evade, her head turned lighter like she was going to faint. 

"Madeline," he called her name that brought her back from her thoughts to return to see him, "Close your eyes," he ordered, but instead of complying, her eyes turned wider. 

"Why?" she asked, her voice shaky. 

Calhoun was enjoying her pure reactions, the sides of his lips pulling up, "Thought it would be easier if you have thoughts of dying," he joked. 

This was not a laughing matter! Thought Madeline to herself. 

Noticing Madeline who had not closed her eyes, Calhoun said, "Suit yourself." His hand that was on her back pushed her towards him.

Madeline saw how Calhoun's eyes left hers, and it moved back to look at the side of her neck, the other hand of his was busy moving any possible lone hair. His movements were sleek, and she would have thought he would drop his hand down now, but she was so wrong about it.

As his head tilted, Calhoun's hand moved to weave his fingers through the back of her hair above her neck, feeling the softness of her hair so that he could angle her the way he wanted. He viewed her slender neck which looked softer under the candlelight in the room, waiting for him to bite...

Deciding to listen to Calhoun's previous words, she closed her eyes, welcoming the darkness around which she was going to fall deeper into.

"Don't move," came his next words for her to listen, his breath hitting her ear and Madeline's hands clenched that were on her lap. She doubted she had anywhere to go right now, not with him standing in front of her. Madeline was a nervous wreck, but she tried to stay as composed as she could. 

With her heart beating, Calhoun could tell that she was still there, listening to him and waiting, her heart hitching up occasionally. 

Madeline then felt Calhoun's hand that had weaved itself into her blonde hair, turning her to lean to the side for further access, and when she felt his breath on her neck, the nerves in her body went haywire. She felt Calhoun was playing with her, like the big bad wolf that was pawing back and forth with its prey. Because she felt his breath move from the bottom to the top of her neck. 

She was too tempting, and Calhoun couldn't hold back anymore. His fangs came to press on her skin, and he finally bit into her slender neck.
On the table- Part 3

When Calhoun's fangs sunk into Madeline's neck, she felt the pain as if two pins pricking in her neck and her hand that was on her lap instantly moved up on his chest out of reflex, ready to push him but she remembered his words in the back of her mind. 

Her body turned red because it wasn't just his fangs that had touched her neck. She could also feel his lips, and they were not exactly still as she felt him suck the skin while drinking her blood. The feeling of pinpricking pain faded away, and all she could feel was his lips that were pressed on to her skin. Her body started to heat up as it had never done before. Calhoun held her intimately in his arms and the faint thought about how things would get more difficult to escape passed by her mind. 

Every nerve in her body felt aware of him and his touch. His hands, the closeness they shared, his lips and the breath that fell on her neck as he continued to drink.

She was under his mercy. 

While Madeline was a nervous wreck under Calhoun's touch, he savoured every single drop that reached his tongue. She tasted even sweeter than the last time. And the more he sucked, the more he wanted to have her, his fingers curled at the need to consume her very soul. It was a taste that was addicting, and it might have been because it was Madeline and not some other woman. 

The single thought of someone trying to take away something this precious from him, which he had only found, boiled his blood. And his eyes snapped open and narrowed to look nowhere in particular. It seemed like he would have to leave a warning so that there wouldn't be a second time for it to happen again. 

As he retracted his fangs back from her neck, Madeline finally felt relieved that he was going to let her go, but her hopes were short-lived. She felt Calhoun's coarse tongue running on the spot where he had bitten with one single stroke, and that was enough for Madeline to push Calhoun away from her. She looked utterly mortified.

There was something in those red eyes now that looked darker than before, and his tongue licked his lips, "It was the most wonderful meal that I have had the pleasure of having," he said. The hand that was in her hair slid down to fall back to his side, while the other hand that was behind her back felt the pettiness as he moved it around to let her go finally. 

Madeline's eyebrows had furrowed because of his licking her which she had not expected him to do and when he took a step back as if wanting to admire her, she realised her chest was heaving gently. She could only hope this would not turn out to be a routine-

"I think I am addicted to your blood. I will need to take a couple of sips every now and then," stated Calhoun and Madeline paled hearing this. 

"All blood tastes the same," at Madeline's words, she saw him cock his head to the side. 

"Are you the vampire or I, here?" he questioned her. 

Madeline pursed her lips, getting down from the table, she straightened her dress, "I would like to take my leave," she bowed her head, her eyes closing praying to God that he would not stop her with something else. 

Calhoun stared at Madeline, his eyes as if ready to eat her up. He finally hummed for an answer, "Have a goodnight sleep, Maddie," he wished her.

"Goodnight, milord," she finally raised her head, her footsteps slow while being wary and she pulled open the door. Once she stepped out of the room, Calhoun heard her footsteps pick up speed, and he couldn't stop the grin that appeared on his lips. 

Madeline didn't stop walking until she finally reached the quarters of her room. She pushed the door to step in and shut it close behind her. She took a large breath of air and leaned her back against the door.

After her heart stopped racing, she finally took to walk towards the bath where the mirror hung on the wall. Leaning forward, she turned her head to the side, and she saw small red dots on her neck. Bending down, she washed her face, trying to get her mind sorted as it felt too messy to think anything. After splashing water a couple of times, she finally stood straight to see the water drops slide from her skin and fell down. 

Remembering Calhoun's tongue running up her skin, she shivered and bent down again to splash some more water on her face.

On the other side of the castle, where the night continued to prevail in Devon, Calhoun was in a better mood than he was in the noon after finding what was written in the note by Madeline's mother. He stood in the open tower, his eyes steady staring at the horizon. He heard the sound of footsteps coming from behind him. 

"How was Sophie doing?" asked Calhoun. 

"Angry but more upset," answered Theodore, who stopped walking, "She might complain to Senior lady Wilmot about it."

"And when did we start caring about what the little girl does?" Calhoun had kept Sophie around for his reasons, because of the so-called family connections. 

Theodore then said, "She wanted to offer me a higher position here."

Calhoun chuckled, "What a naive girl to think she can get her way around the castle," and he then said, "Madeline's food reminds me of something from the past."

"It does, milord," agreed Theodore, "Did you have a good meal?" 

A content smile appeared on his lips, "The best."

Though it was only two hours since he had taken a bite from Madeline in the dining room, he could barely wait to take another bite from her. 
Hop on- Part 1

When morning arrived, Madeline turned to look at the windows where the sunlight came to peer through the cracks of the curtains that covered the windows. The room was still dark, and she didn't get out of bed. After what happened last night during the time of supper, she could barely keep her head straight. 

A man's lips on her neck, in such an intimate position! She closed her eyes, cursing herself as well as the life she had been pushed into. Maybe for the King, it wasn't a big thing as he was probably used to sucking the women's neck in the whole of Devon. But it wasn't something Madeline did- offering her neck to be sucked. She rolled on the bed to the other side. Now that morning had arrived, her thoughts were much more clearer than yesterday night. She could feel twice the embarrassment she had felt during the time of supper. 

Her hand moved up to touch her neck. The King had not killed her. Not yet, as he had given his word to her, but she didn't believe him. The man made a deal with her about entering the maze to find the exit, where in the end, she found out there wasn't another exit to begin with.

In his presence, every word that left from her lips turned against her, and Madeline worried if she should stop talking. At least this way she wouldn't be digging her grave herself and sitting inside it by his words. 

Madeline finally got up from the bed because she heard the bird singing not too far away from the window. Her feet padded across the cold floor. Pulling the strings from the side, the curtain pulled itself apart for her to see a bird that was pecking on something outside the window. 

The bird had yellow and blue wings. Small and plump that stopped pecking and chirped something to her. Madeline stared at the bird, a small smile forming on her lips. 

"Don't come too close," she whispered to the bird when it got curious and hopped on its feet to get a closer glimpse of her. Tilting it's head every now and then, "This place is not for you. You come any closer, they might end up caging you too, pretty bird," she said to the bird even though the bird didn't understand a word she said.

When she heard footsteps in front of the closed room, someone knocked on the door, Madeline quickly shooed the bird away for it to fly before she made her way to the door. Opening it, she noticed it was the maid Agnes who had arrived at the front, her head bowing. 

"Good morning, milady."

"Good morning," Madeline greeted the girl. Now that she had opened the doors and wasn't standing near the window, she realised the sun was brighter, and she opened the doors completely for light to enter the room. 

"Did you have a good sleep, milady?" asked Agnes. She might have been the only maid who was friendlier compared to the other maids, who had been giving her looks since the time she had arrived at the castle. 

Madeline nodded her head even though she didn't take it to be a good sleep. She was agitated and worried thinking what took place between the King and her, "Did you?" she asked, which took the maid by surprise before she smiled back nodding her head. 

"Let me help you to get ready. The King has stepped out of his room and will be expecting you by his side," informed the maid and Madeline sighed. 

she had been bathed, her hair brushed, and she wore newer clothes that were not the same as the other dresses she had worn the last six days. It made Madeline wonder if the royal members never wore the same clothes or if they repeated their clothes every one or two months. Living in the village, Madeline didn't have the need to have many pairs of clothes, and even if she and her sister did need them, they often got it from the rental shops or borrowing others clothes. 

Madeline's family was poor, and thankfully they had a house which was given to her father else it would have been difficult to live in the village with no place to call as their own. Right now, she was in the castle, a solid roof over her head and dresses that she would have never imagined to wear in the past. 

She found it to be slightly ironic, how she didn't want them even though they could provide her comfort. Once she was ready to leave the room, in a presentable form, she followed the maid. 

Reaching the court, the maid quickly took a couple of steps away with a bow before she left Madeline in the entrance of the court. Some of the ministers had already arrived, standing in front of the King who was sitting on his throne, listening to one of them talk. 

On seeing Calhoun's face, Madeline's face turned red. He was yet to notice her and her feet wasn't moving forward to enter the court as she stood at the entrance. Embarrassment coated her cheeks, turning her face flush red. She remembered his hand on her back and in her hair, before which his hands had pushed both her knees apart and she felt light headed. She needed some time to breathe before she would be able to see him. With that thought, Madeline quickly turned around and took two steps forward, when she heard, 

"Lady Madeline, good morning," greeted Calhoun. 

Madeline could feel goosebumps rise on her arms on hearing him call her name. Would it be bad if she ran now? Asked Madeline to herself. Of course, she wouldn't go too far as he would catch up with her and she didn't want him chasing her this early in the morning. 

Gingerly she turned around, walking forward into the courtroom which was big and painted white, the floor clean and smooth. She bowed her head.

"Good morning, my King," she greeted him back. 

Resisting the King in private and doing it in public were two different things. Since she had met Calhoun, Madeline had been extremely cautious. Even though there were times where he taunted her, she had to be careful of what she spoke to the King. 

When she raised her head, she saw Calhoun staring at her, his eyes meeting hers which looked redder today and maybe less intimidating than what she had come to see yesterday, "Where were you going?" he asked in front of everyone, his voice deep and strong.

Madeline quickly ran her mind on what to answer, "I thought I forgot something."

"What did you forget?" came the next question. 

What did she forget?! Madeline asked to herself. She had forgotten she could be seen as the lowly subject of the King. If the King didn't show his interest in her, she would be just another person in the sea of his subjects who could be easily lost. 

"I...I thought I forget to," oh dear, God, thought Madeline in her head. Seeing Calhoun right now, staring at her with his eyes intensifying it felt like her brain had stopped working to make up anything, "I thought I left the room open," she finally filled the blanks. 

Both Calhoun and Madeline knew it was a lie, at least with the way Calhoun's eyes continued to stare at her, she knew he had identified the lie, but what was she supposed to say? That she was embarrassed to come to stand in front of him? 

"The servants know better than to steal or step into the room which has been given to you. You don't have to worry about it," said Calhoun, continuing with her lie, the smile on his lips moving up and she bowed her head again. 

"Thank you for the assurance," and then she looked at the hem of her dress that was touching the floor, and she then looked up. 

Calhoun then ordered, "Come, stand by my side," and Madeline did as he asked. 

She didn't know why he was making her stay in the court when she was not going to be of any help here. During her time in the court, she did nothing but stare everywhere around her other than at Calhoun. It was because every time she saw him, her face turned red. Twenty minutes passed before Calhoun dismissed the group of ministers to have only Theodore in the room along with Madeline. 

"Have you eaten breakfast, Madeline?" questioned Calhoun. 

"Not yet, milord," she answered, her eyes moved to look at his clothes before they finally met his eyes. 

"I have arranged for some recreational activities for you," stated Calhoun and Madeline's eyebrows furrowed. Were they going to jump from the cliffs again? Calhoun then turned to Theodore, "Go get Robin ready."

Theodore held a passive expression which was serene and calm, "Yes, milord," answered the man, complying to the request, "I will get them arranged," bowing his head, he took three steps back before turning around and leaving the court. 

Madeline, who was curious, asked, "What is the activity?"

"You will find out," came the reply from Calhoun who stood up from his throne and walked towards Madeline, "Let's have some food. I need to have some too," saying this, his eyes fell on her neck and Madeline was quick to take two steps away from him.