πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️ Hellbound Heart Chapter 21 - 25 Full Chapters πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️


Chapter 21 A Little Bit

Elle did not move. She could not avert her eyes either and just kept her gaze staring straight at Sebastian and that beautiful woman sashaying by his side.

This morning, when Ava told her that Sebastian was not coming again, Elle had wondered if Sebastian was testing her. Could he be doing all these on purpose just to see her reaction? Could he be trying to push her buttons to see if she could maintain her patience and calmness? Could he be setting these situations up to find out if she would lose control and demand for him to come or if she would take matters into her own hands and appear at the Reigns residence, and introduce herself as the crown prince's fiancΓ©?

These thoughts had flooded her. She had known how powerful people think. They do not trust anyone, even their family sometimes. They would do everything to inspect the motives and real character of someone before letting them into their inner circle. Elle understood that because she knew full well how dangerous it was to let some stranger into your family or inner circle, without knowing them full well. She knew how easily one person could bring the whole household down. And that was why she always agreed on the saying, be careful of who you let in your home.

That thought had Elle understanding Sebastian's action and giving him the benefit of the doubt. She knew she was a stranger he literally just met a few days ago. They could not even be considered friends and were acquaintances at best. If this was really a test for her, Elle would really not blame him. She would show him instead that she was a person who could keep her word.

But right now, looking at her fiancΓ© seemingly out on a date with a stunning woman, when she thought that he had been busy, caused a really awful feeling to bloom within her chest.

She wondered again if this was yet another test. Yesterday and this morning, Ava had encouraged her to call Sebastian, but Elle did not listen to her suggestion. She only told Ava she did not want to disturb Sebastian. Could he be upping his test since he did not get any reaction out of her in the past two days that he had ignored her and made her wait?

Whatever the case, Elle found out that this was not as easy as she thought. However, no matter what happens, no matter what she felt about this, she could only do one thing, and that was to keep a straight face. She was the one who barged uninvited into his life. She was the one who chose to go for this arrangement despite all his warnings. She had been warned not once but a few times.

Moreover, she promised to herself never to regret her decision. Because to her, all these little hiccups were still far better than marrying Brandon Haze.

Squaring her shoulders, her gaze followed the pair as they moved towards the building's main entrance. They were about to enter when Sebastian suddenly paused.


Slowly, he turned his head and looked toward her.

Elle felt her heartbeat skipped a beat when his eyes held onto hers. Time seemed to move in slow motion. He was a bit far off so she could not quite read his expression clearly, whether he was surprised to see her there or not.

One second… two seconds… three seconds…

The stunning woman by his side then spoke to him, so he averted his gaze and looked back at her.

"Miss, our car's here." Ava's voice echoed, causing Elle to quickly turn to face her bodyguard and nodded.

When she returned her gaze to where Sebastian was, she was surprised to see him already looking at her. Elle gave him an elegant smile, befitting her status as the crown princess. She then glanced over at the woman for a second and before she turned to follow Ava, Elle gave Sebastian a respectful nod.

She never turned back to look at him again and just gracefully walked away.

Quietly, Elle sat there as the car accelerated, just looking out the window with unseeing eyes as many thoughts jumbled up in her mind.

"Miss, are you alright?" Ava's voice jolted her out of her musings, and she finally realized they were already back at the hotel.

"I'm good, don't worry." She immediately smiled. "Just a little tired from our full day outing, I think."

"I guessed you are, Miss. You've been so energetic all day, so I had expected this. You really need to take a rest ASAP." Ava closed the car door as Elle stepped out of the car.

Once Elle shut her room's door closed behind her, Elle went straight to the bathroom and was welcomed by a bathtub already filled with warm water and a bathbomb which she could detect the scents of jasmine, ylang ylang and gardenia oils. The bathtub by the floor to ceiling wall was also sprinkled with rose petals that added to the fragrance. There were also unscented pillar candles on the side and a bottle of her favorite rosΓ© wine. The scene was so romantic and welcoming that she quickly washed up in the shower before soaking herself in the warm bath. The scent and the warmth of the water was just perfect and allowed her tense muscles to finally relax after a whole day out touring the city again.

Reaching out for the bottle, Elle poured herself a generous helping of the sweet rosΓ© wine. She swirled the wine in the glass slowly as she stared at the city lights down below. When she sipped from the glass, she closed her eyes, savoring the fruity and citrusy taste of it.

Right then, she felt so contented, so relaxed. She has never had a moment like this before. She must thank Ava tomorrow for this. She knew that Ava must have been the one to ask the hotel staffs to arranged this ahead of time as they were headed back, thinking she was very tired. If she only knew the real reason that she was a little out of it on their way here was not because of tiredness.

After a long while of just enjoying the moment, Elle gulped the rest of her wine down and put her glass on the floor. She leaned her head back and stared up at the ceiling, her fingers playing with the petals that were floating on the water surface. Her body was fully relaxed now but no matter how she tried, she still could not quite erase the little bit of pain and emptiness that had taken root in her heart. It was pretty tolerable, she could even ignore it, but it was there nonetheless, lingering and not going away no matter what she told herself.

Her eyes then turned heavier and before she knew it, she had fallen asleep.

An hour later, the doorbell started ringing. But no one came to open the door. A few minutes passed and the doorbell finally stopped.

The door swung open and a man in a bespoke suit emerged from the door. It was Sebastian. Ava was standing worriedly behind him, poking her head from the side, trying to see into the room at where her mistress was.

Ava rushed into the bedroom while Sebastian headed straight for the bathroom. He lifted his hand to knock but stopped midway and instead, pushed the door open. When no complaining noises came, Sebastian rushed inside, only to pause at the sight of Elle. She was fully submerged in a bathtub filled with fiery red petals with only her face visible, her usually large and crystal clear blue eyes now closed.



Chapter 22 At All

A jarring voice jolted Elle awake. Ava? After blinking blearily, as she tried to clear the haze of just waking up, her eyes flew wide open at the very first face welcoming her. Sebastian? Was she dreaming?

He was standing there, looking down at her, wearing the same neutral expression that he had on the last time they had seen each other. Finally realizing the presence of cold water surrounding her entire body, Elle moved, only to realize that her limbs felt numb and stiff. She slipped but her face did not sink into the tub as she had expected to.

A large hand had shot out, caught and was already cradling her jaw. Her eyes widened even more as she rolled her eyes up to look at him from that awkward angle. How… how did he move so fast? Was her mind playing tricks on her? It must be… right? It must have been the wine and the warm water…

"Towel, Ava." Sebastian's deep voice cut through her musings as he pulled her up and then out of the tub.

Pressing her against his solid and warm body, he took the towel from Ava and wrapped it around her. It was then that Elle realized her teeth had started chattering. She was cold. So cold.

"Do I need to call for an ambulance, Your Highness?" Ava asked worriedly from the side.

"No need." Was all Sebastian said before lifting her up into his arms effortlessly. Even with his suit on, Elle felt his body radiating so much heat that she was craving badly. It almost felt like he himself was running a fever. She wanted to think that this must be due to the fact that she just felt too cold, thus the contrast in temperature. But… she remembered that he felt like this too, back then when she was in his bed that night. But then again, it could also be just her feeling his temperature hotter than normal because she was in such a desperate situation back then.

Once they reached the bedroom, he dried her down quickly with the towel before he grabbed a fluffy fleece blanket and wrapped her up in it. Her teeth's chattering and body's shivering slowly subside as warmth seeped into her.


Stealing sideway glances at him when she thought that he was not looking, Elle could not help but notice how careful he had handled her. It was as if he thinks that she might break a bone if he accidentally made even a single careless move.

He sat on the edge of the bed with her still cradled in his arms and he did not let go until her shivering completely stopped. Elle looked up at him, curious and confused yet touched at the same time. She had never expected this man to do all this for her. And why was he here at all? Was he not on his date with that beautiful woman? She was puzzled but kept all her questions to herself.

When he looked down at her, his face turned a little dark. "You could've drowned in there. Don't you know you shouldn't drink when you planned to soak in warm water in the tub?" his voice was not particularly loud or angry, but the faint displeasure in his eyes had Elle's slightly warmed-up heart turning a little colder again.

However, she knew that he was right. Sleeping in a tub was a dangerous thing. She could have easily drowned or even if she had woken up when her face was below the water's surface, she could have still gotten water into her lungs. She could have also suffered severe hypothermia as the water had already cooled and the room's air conditioning was on due to the centralized control in the hotel. She also could not blame him if he was mad, since he, the crown prince, needed to safeguard his reputation as well. If his fiancΓ©e were to be found dead in a random hotel room in Viscarria, it would definitely be a huge scandal that could ruin his and his family's reputation forever. This situation must have worried him. She knew exactly how people like them treat possibilities of destructive scandals. "I made sure to drink just enough so I won't get intoxicated. But it seems…" Elle trailed off, stopping herself from explaining any further, knowing that it made no difference even if she did. Then she moved and slid off his lap, holding the blanket tightly around her body. She wobbled a little but quickly regained her composure.

Facing him, Elle gave him a genuine apology. "I'm sorry… that will never happen again," she promised solemnly.
As their gazes met, Elle felt the urge to ask him what happened to that stunning woman that was with him earlier in the night. She wanted to ask why he was even here. But she did not open her mouth to ask those questions that were just at the tip of her tongue. Sebastian could do whatever that he wanted according to their agreement, and she must not pry into his personal business. At all.

"Thank you for coming to my aid. I really appreciate it." she looked at him with gratitude. "I feel alright now. You can…" she wanted to tell him he could leave now and go back to his date, but she did not want to sound as though she was kicking him away nor giving him an order when he came all the way here to prevent the possible big trouble from happening to her. She could just ask Ava her questions later. She would need to ask who was it that set up that bath and especially that wine. It just did not make sense to her that she would pass out when she had just drunk literally only a few gulps. This matter needed looking into.

"Your Highness, your clothes are here." Ava's voice echoed from the slightly opened door. Clothes? Elle's eyes flew to the door. Wait… he intends to sleep here?!



Chapter 23 Tomorrow

Sabastian unceremoniously stood, walked forward and opened the door, leaving Elle standing where she was, her eyes widening as she stared at his retreating back. But the expression on her face quickly changed at the thought that came belatedly to her – that the clothes Ava was talking about must be clothes for him to change into since his suit had been splashed and soaked in the front when he had pulled her out from the tub earlier.

Watching the door that had closed after he walked out, Elle took a long deep breath. Then she climbed back onto the bed as her limbs still felt a little weak and shaky. If she had attempted to follow after Prince Sebastian, she might have tumbled right there and then to the floor. She wondered if this was still the effects from the wine that she had taken, which was again, really strange. Sighing, Elle laid back, stretched out and stared up the ceiling as she thought back on what happened.

Her mind wondered again. Was Ava the one who called for Sebastian to come? Why? Could it be because Ava came to check on her first, but she did not open the door and that was why she asked for help? But why would Ava call for the prince? She should have just called for the hotel staff or even their manager to open her room door, right? Or could it be that… Ava had reported to Sebastian that she was acting weird since they left the restaurant and that was why…

Elle shut her eyes closed and covered her eyes with the back of her hand. Her other hand was clenching on the bedsheets at the possibility that had occurred to her. She truly wished that she was overthinking it and what she suspected was not the case. She never wanted Sebastian to think that she was sulking because she had seen him with another woman!

Minutes passed but Elle just could not fall asleep. She turned to her side and stared unseeingly at the wall when she heard the door opening again. Was Ava there to check on her? She kept her eyes closed and pretended to sleep, feigning deep and calm breathing. She did not want Ava to think that she was having a hard time sleeping or she might make a fuss out of it.

Her eyes flew opened when she felt a heavy weight climbing onto the bed behind her. Turning, she looked at the man with shock. Sebastian? He did not leave after changing?! Why?

Once again, her expression quickly readjusted itself from a shocked surprise to a mask of calm indifference as she noted that he was not wearing his sleeping clothes, but instead, he had on a new suit.

Sitting up, Elle straightened her back as she gracefully sat and faced Sebastian who was now looking at her. "I'm guessing you have an important matter to tell me, Prince Sebastian." She said, looking at him curiously. Him sitting in her bed made her it hard for her to stay as composed and relaxed as she wanted to because right now, she was being reminded of that night.

"Yes." He said, his unfathomable eyes seemed to be observing her. At the same time, he seemed to be expecting something else from her. But what… she did not know.

Elle did not rush to speak and just waited patiently for him to start the ball rolling.

"We're getting married tomorrow." His deep voice informed her as the spine-tingling vibrations caused by his voice travelled from her ears and through her entire frame. She stilled for a while.

"Okay," She replied, nodding agreeably at him. "I'm guessing it will be a civil wedding, right?" She hazarded a guess, knowing that a marriage that was as quick and rushed like this without giving either side much time for preparations whatsoever could only resort to a civil wedding.

He gave her a nod. "Let me know if you object and prefer a formal wedding setting instead."

Elle could not immediately respond to his comment. She would be lying to herself if she said she had not been dreaming of walking down the aisle with that perfect white wedding dress of her dreams. But… she did not want to tell him that. She did not want to object. She could not bring herself to.

Not only because she was not sure how he would respond if she objects to him or if this was another test, but also because she knew that if she go ahead with a formal wedding, it will take more time for preparation. Not to mention that it will definitely be made known to the public. Elle did not know why but after what happened tonight, she felt an uneasy feeling that she was not as safe in this beautiful place as she had initially thought she was. She could not shake off the feeling that perhaps it might all be related to Brandon Haze. She could not think of anyone else who would want to cause such troubles for her other than that monster. Unless there was someone else in this place that was… but why? She quickly forced herself to stop thinking too much about it and finally gave her answer to Sebastian.

"I'm okay with a civil wedding." She answered, keeping her tone neutral, neither her eyes nor expression showed any signs of being forced.

Sebastian nodded and suddenly reached out to her. Elle tried her best not to react when his gloved hand brushed against the sides of her neck. She felt him pick at something that was seemingly caught in the hair at her nape.

It was a red petal from the bath. He stared at the petal with those discerning grey eyes before crumpling it in his leather gloved fist, as if he was trying to crush it into dust.



Chapter 24 Expectation

Returning his deep gaze to Elle, Sebastian simply said, "Sleep."

The next thing she knew, he had her lying down on the bed. Not in a forceful way whatsoever. She did not feel him push her back into the bed at all but… was that normal? She could not quite explain how it had happened. All she knew was one moment, she was staring deeply into his eyes and then in the next moment, she was already lying back on the bed. What in the… she mentally shook her head, telling herself that she must still be heavily affected by the wine she had drunk. She was really getting more and more suspicious that that wine might have been drugged.

Sebastian tugged at the blanket and covered her to up her neck. Then he rose, shoving his one hand into his pocket.

"Alright, I'll come fetch you tomorrow morning. Seven, sharp."

"Seven sharp…" Elle stared hard at him. "Is this time for real then? I would like to know… because if you don't come on time or stand me up again, I won't be here in the hotel just waiting for you. You know that, right?"

He lifted his brow and Elle continued confidently. "I would rather be out and enjoying the beauty of Quesa all day long instead of waiting, doing nothing in the room. You might not even find me until I come back to the hotel at night."

His faint dimple appeared as he gave her a quick but breathtaking smile. It was a smile that threatened to send Elle staring off in a daze again. Damn him for being so unacceptably gorgeous and having that enviable smile and appealing dimple.

"Seven sharp, Izabelle." His tone sounded certain as he looked meaningfully at her. "So go to sleep now and get some rest." Then he turned and left, the sound of the door closing gently echoed in his wake.

Elle could not stop herself from cracking out a disbelieving smile. Why is this man so confusing? He seems to vacillate between acting hot as an inferno and cold as blizzard with just a blink of an eye! She felt as though her neck would suffer from whiplash if he continued flipping from hot to cold like this. However, at that moment, she felt like this man had the power to burn a woman's body and freeze her heart all at once. What a dangerous combo!

It was 6:57 in the morning. Elle held a graceful posture as she sat and stared at the wall clock in her hotel room. Her thick and long lashes which was a dark shade of auburn were fluttering open and close as she blinked in silence, to the beat of the minute hand with a serene expression.

When the minute hand hit 59, Elle slowly and unhurriedly turned her gaze to the door. She had prepared herself. But despite the words that he seemingly promised her last night, she did not dare raise her expectations beyond fifty percent of him keeping his word.

The next second, the doorknob moved. It was exactly seven sharp, when someone pushed at her door. Ava? Sebastian?

When it was Sebastian who stepped into her room, her large blue eyes slightly widened.

He stared at her. His right hand shoved into his pocket again. "You look as though you were expecting that I would not honor my words, Izabelle," he said in a casual tone. He was wearing a tailored black suit, looking dapper and very much like a proper groom now.

"Well," Elle stood, "anything could've happened that might have hindered your arrival on time, Prince Sebastian." Her tone was calm and gentle, a tiny lift of a smile at the corners of her lips, keeping to her status as the crown princess of a country.

"So, you have prepared yourself for the worst-case scenario instead of expecting me to keep to my words?" His tone sounded a little amused as he offered her his arm.

"Expectation is the root of all heartaches, they say." She answered him glibly as they glided out of the door. "Sometimes, it's better to expect the worst so you would not have the chance to be disappointed."

"Because when that does happen, you will not get caught off guard and will just say 'it is as expected'?" Sebastian followed her reasoning so quickly as though he had that exact sentence prepared in advance.

Elle glanced at him and was surprised to see the corner of his lips slightly lifted. "And when the opposite happens, you will feel the positive emotions stronger because you really had no expectations on it."

"Interesting…" Whatever he was going to say next got interrupted by the sound of his phone vibrating in his pocket.

Upon looking at the identity of the caller, Sebastian glanced over at Elle and said, "Go ahead, I'll follow along in a moment."

There was a split-second pause before Elle gave him a short nod and then followed after Ava to enter the elevator.

Sebastian did not take long to catch up with them so once everyone was in the car, they finally left the hotel. The trip was silent as Sebastian was suddenly unusually quiet. He was already not a man of many words, but Elle felt that something seemed to be occupying his mind since he received that earlier call.

Now Elle could not help but start thinking about what it was that he could have heard from the caller. Could it be related to their marriage today?

After mulling over it in her mind for a long while, Elle could no longer contain herself. She could not help but think that Sebastian was going to stop the car and tell her their civil wedding would not happen today as planned.

"Is everything alright?" she finally broke the silence.

Sebastian regarded her with a searching gaze. "I'm guessing…" A glint of amusement seemed to flash in his eyes. "… your pessimism is kicking in again and thinking that some kind of trouble had occurred and now you're suspecting that the wedding will not happen. Is that right?"

His words had Elle's lips parting before her face flushed a becoming shade of dark pink. How… how did he know? Was she that transparent? It was as though he could read her like a book already!

She cleared her throat to regain her composure and was about to retort when she caught him staring at her face. There was an unusual gleam in his eyes that had stopped her from continuing her riposte.

"If that's what you're thinking, you are right." His reply stunned her.

"W-what?" Elle stammered in a low voice.

"There's indeed some trouble that had arisen."

Elle stilled, utterly speechless. She could not even put into words what she was feeling right now. Why was it so hard for her to get married to someone other than Brandon Haze?! She almost lost her cool and broke down in tears thinking of her rotten luck.

But then, completely unexpected words tumbled from his mouth next, shooting a hopeful ray of salvation in the jumble of her unsteady emotions. "But worry not, Izabelle. Because no trouble can stop this wedding from happening today."



Chapter 25 Last Chance

"There is no one who can stop this wedding from happening today either, unless one of us backs out." Sebastian added before Izabelle's relieved breath could even escape her lips. The great tension that was about to leave her because of his earlier remark had suddenly been pushed back into her the moment he uttered that latest sentence of his. There he goes again…

Izabelle could not help but feel like she is a balloon he was playing around with, filling her with air, lifting her up to the heights before depleting her the very next second, sending her plummeting into the dumps. Was he trying to tell her that he could still back out right now? Her overthinking and pessimistic mind kicked into high gear and tendrils of fear unfurled secretly within her. What if he really suddenly wanted to back out? He would not treat her like this, right? There was no reason for him to suddenly back out…

In the midst of her chaotic thoughts, Elle felt herself being yanked and collided against a hard and sturdy body – Sebastian's of course – as the car suddenly made a sharp turn. She winced and had goosebumps travelling up her skin as she heard the car's tires screech piercingly.

Elle's eyes turned wide as she clutched her fists tightly on his shirt. Then in the next second, the car was speeding up just fine again that Elle could not quite tell if they've been involved and closely avoided a car accident or something.

His scent, his warmth, and the feel of solid muscles just under his suit distracted her senses so badly that she had a hard time pulling herself up to look at him to ask what just happened.

But as soon as she lifted her head, she heard something that had her insides freezing again. "Hello? Seb? Did something happen?" It was a pleasant voice belonging to a woman coming from his phone that was near her ear.

He removed his arm that was wrapped around her shoulders and placed the phone to his other ear. "Give me a moment, I'll call you back." He said on the phone, waited for a moment before uttering an "Mn" sound before ending the call.

When did he even manage to call someone? It seemed as though she was too preoccupied with her thoughts again a moment ago that she did not even notice!

"Are you okay?" he asked, his gaze searching her body as if to check for any visible injuries.


"I'm… I'm fine." she replied, finally pulling away from him. "Thank you. What just happened?"

"Just a reckless driver on the road. Lucas avoided it, thus the sudden sharp turn."

Elle blinked. "Oh… I see…" she looked outside the window, but she could not see any cars around anymore. It also finally came to her notice how fast their car was moving at the moment. The speed was… it was just too fast! How could a crown prince's driver drive this fast?! Does this country not have any protocol on driving a royalty?

When she turned back to look at Sebastian, she saw him busy on his phone, tapping swiftly on his keypad, seemingly texting someone. Elle's thoughts were immediately pulled off from the driving issue back to the woman's voice she had heard a while ago. Who was that woman? Was he texting her right now?

The stunning woman from yesterday came to her mind, followed by the thought of him backing out of today's wedding.

Her fingers moved, itching to clutch onto her white elegant dress. But she held back making any sort of reaction until the car finally reached the city hall and slowed down to a stop.

"Wait here, Izabelle." Sebastian told her, his gaze lingering on her face for longer than necessary before he stepped out of the car and closed the door. The sound somehow felt full of finality in Elle's ears, and she could not help from gulping in nervousness.

She watched him walk inside the city hall until he disappeared from her view. Elle let out a long deep breath. They were finally here at the City Hall and Sebastian did not say anything about backing out. Everything should be alright now. But her heartbeat was racing too fast. She could not relax nor calm down no matter how much she tried.

Taking another deep breath and holding it in for a few seconds before exhaling out slowly, Elle shifted on her seat when some papers fell on her feet. She had noticed a brown folder sitting on her seat when she entered the car earlier on and had moved it securely to her side.

Elle quickly bent to pick up the papers which appeared to be official documents, when she saw it was actually divorce papers. Their divorce papers to be exact. Her entire being stilled for a few breaths before she continued picking up the rest of the documents. The other papers contained an agreement. Their agreement.

For an immeasurable amount of time, Elle just stared at it blindly until Sebastian returned to the car. He walked around the car and opened the door on her side for her. Staring down at her, Sebastian regarded her with that seemingly scrutinizing gaze again.

Bracing his hands against the car, he asked, "Still no change of mind?"

Their gazes held. Both of them seemingly trying to read each other's thoughts. He offered her his hand. "This is your last chance to back out, Izabelle. Once you…" Sebastian trailed off when Elle placed a folder in his hand.

"As promised, I've already signed on both the agreement and the divorce papers, Prince Sebastian." she said in a serious tone, holding his gaze firmly. No way was she backing out of this. She was counting of this marriage to escape her fate from being tied with Brandon Haze.

While Elle turned to gather her clutch, Sebastian shot a peculiar glance at Lucas, causing the red-haired man to frantically shake his head, as if denying something.

"I will never back out, Prince Sebastian. So if you're waiting for me to do so… I'm sorry to disappoint you." she told him stiffly as she lifted her hand for him to take it. "I'm keeping my word, so I hope you will keep yours too."

Sebastian chuckled under his breath, a look of wonder and disbelief gleamed across his eyes for a moment.

He accepted her hand. "You really just don't cease to amaze me, princess. Now I can't help but wonder how you would be once you learn the worst parts of me." He whispered that last line as he bent close, placing his hand above her head to protect her in case she bumped her head against the car while getting out.

"If and when that happens, please be rest assured, I will keep every single word I said." Was all she replied.

"We shall see when that time comes. We shall see, Izabelle."