Alexandria couldn't really believe her luck sometimes. Marcus was so loving and attentive and completely different from anyone she had ever dated before.
They shared a few more kisses and then Marcus was reminding her that she too was hungry. She watched as he disappeared from the room and laughed to herself and shook her head before she climbed off the bed and found one of silk night dressed to pull on.
Once she did, she made her way into the kitchen and found herself watching Marcus for a moment, then she moved up behind him and threaded her arms under his and spread her hands over his chest. Her lips pressed against his shoulder.
"What are we having?"
Marcus smiled widely at her next words. "I'll say them every day if you want me to." He kissed her back with more love than lust this time and pulled away to listen to hear speak once more. He smiled again.
"Well, it's hard to forget when you're reminding me like you just did," he said with a mischievous wink. He kissed her once more before rolling onto his back. "Now that you've sufficiently helped me work up an appetite, what do you say to some dinner?" he asked, already rolling out of bed. He pulled on his boxer briefs but nothing more as he danced backward out of the room, motioning for her to follow.
Alexandria laughed harder at him comment, knowing fully that he was simply playing around with her. They were sexually attracted to each other, that much was true but they were so much more than that to each other. She didn't mind him joking about things though because she knew that it was just a joke.
Then he looked to her with so much emotion that it made her heart flip and so did the words that came with it. Her lips turned up into a smile as he pulled away for their kiss. "I love hearing you say that." Alexandria wrapped her arms around his neck and ran her nose over his affectionately. "I love you too." Her voice was almost a whisper and she leaned forward to press another kiss to his lips.
"You mean so much to me Marcus. I want you to always remember that."
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Alexandria felt like they were a whole world away from their normal lives and that was something she had hoped for. Things had got so busy for the both of them and they barely had time together anymore. Sure, there were stolen kisses here and there and they spent their nights in the same bed, but it wasn’t the same thing. This was exactly what they needed, and she grinned towards him happily as he spoke.
“It’s perfect!” She said as she helped unpack the groceries. “But I don’t think we could afford to live here forever, luckily for us the price of milk is only temporary.” She said with a chuckle before she was pulled towards him. A quiet squeal escaped her, and she watched the smirk spread across his face. She bit her lip gently at his words but in true form, they were interrupted by a phone call.
She laughed a little and kissed at his neck as he spoke to his sister on the phone. She wanted to make sure that he didn’t forget where they were by the time their phone call was over. As soon as it was he tossed the phone aside and then she brought her lips to his, kissing him passionately, a slight moan escaping her as she did. “We’ve been working too hard.” She said in between kissing him. “We both deserve a break…” She brought her hands up under his shirt and she continued to kiss him.
"Well... you said you wanted to get away," Marcus said with a smirk. "Is this away enough for you?" He chuckled softly as he moved around her in the kitchen, placing a hand on her hip as he did so. They had just made a grocery run to stock the kitchen provided. "Can't believe how much milk is here, though. Cost of living must be through the roof."
He closed the fridge and turned to her, smiling. He was feeling giddy, never being so far away from home without a reason like work before. And Alexandria hadn't been helping the way they were joking about in the store beforehand. All he wanted to do was kiss her the entire time, but he didn't want to make everyone else feel awkward.
He smirked again and reached out for her belt, pulling her towards him. He looked into her eyes and moved his hands up to rest on either side of her face. "We have the rest of the evening left," he said. "What could we possibly fill an evening wi-"
His phone began to ring. He closed his eyes, annoyed. He should have seen it coming. They had a curse. He pulled away and reached for it, looking at the caller ID.
"Yes, dear sister?" he asked.
"Hey, lose the attitude! Did you land yet?"
"Would I be talking to you if we didn't?"
He could practically hear her eye roll. "So what's it like?"
"How about this, Liana. How about we take a whole bunch of pictures and we show them to you when we're back," he said, making it clear that she was interrupting something.
"Oh! Ohhh. Yeah, sounds good. Have fun. Bye!"
Marcus pulled the phone away from his ear, turned it on silent, and tossed it onto the counter. "I'm not picking that thing up again for a week" he said, pointing.
It was true that Alexandria was also a little nervous about being recognised but she hoped that they were far out enough that the hair cut and the dress she wore would be enough of a disguise. Besides, she was a little dirtied from sleeping on the floor the night before and that continued to take away from the status that she once had. However, they had to stop sometime and it would do them both some good to try and find some shelter for the night. That way, they could rest properly before continuing on.
As they approached the village and rode through the gates she took the opportunity to take in their surroundings and she couldn't help but smile. It had been quite some time since she had seen a village like this without having all the attention on her because of who her father was and she had often what it would be like to be 'normal'. Now she had the chance to really experience that, so long as they could find somewhere to settle and be safe.
Soon enough Marcus helped her down from the horse and they walked the rest of the way until she spotted and inn that she pointed out to him in hopes that he would be able to rest for a while and feel safe without the them being out in the open. Once inside she let Marcus get them a room and once they were alone she smiled towards him a little. It looked like a nice room and she was happy to not have to spend another night out in the woods.
Alexandria nodded. "It's alright Marcus. I know you are just trying to protect me." She moved towards him and placed her hand in his. "Just be safe and come back to me soon okay?"
The horse began to tire and he was thinking of taking a break just as Alexandria got his attention and pointed out the buildings in the distance. He turned the mare in that direction and hoped for the best. He felt his stomach drop. He knew the chances of Alexandria being recognized now were minimal, but...
He hadn't thought about himself. He had to hope that if any of these people knew who he was or saw him fight that they were too far away from him in the stands to get a good look at him and only knew him by the name called by the announcer during his battles.
It didn't take them long to reach the village which was actually much larger than he initially thought. It even had stone streets. They rode through the main gate and not a single person gave them a second glance and Marcus heaved a sigh he hadn't realized he'd been holding in. To better blend in, he hopped off the horse, giving Alexandria a hand down as well. Then they began to walk, keeping an eye open for anything or anyone that might be helpful.
Marcus was feeling rather overwhelmed. He had never been the one in control when traveling to new places. He hardly knew where to begin. But he kept his worries bottled up, not wanting to frighten Alexandria as well.
It wasn't long before they saw an inn. Of course Marcus had no idea that's what it was having never stayed in one before and being unable to read the name of the place. It was Alexandria who pointed it out to him softly. He nodded and they led the horse across the way. He secured it outside.
Then he steeled himself. He knew how this worked in theory. It couldn't be much different than Quintus renting cells for his gladiators and he had heard him do that hundreds of times. Lucky for him, upon stepping inside, the innkeeper was the one to engage with them with a tired, "Room for two?" Marcus only nodded. He told them the price per night and dug around for a key. They exchanged the two and just like that they would have actual beds to sleep in that night. And good food to eat by the looks of it.
Marcus led the way up a short staircase to the rooms. He couldn't read, but he could do numbers and he found their room easily. He unlocked it and let Alexandria in first. It was actually rather nice. A large bed in the middle, heavy drapes on the windows. Marcus sighed and sat in a nearby chair, head in his hands. "I'll go out," he finally said after a moment, running his hands through his hair. "Try to find anything useful. I think you should hole up here. I think we're still too close to home. Someone might recognize you." He looked at her apologetically. He didn't want to keep her cooped up.
Alexandria wanted to tell him that he didn't need to worry, that he didn't need to be awake every second of the day. However, she knew that her words would likely fall on deaf ears, especially since he had been charged with being her protector by her father. Even with him back him she knew that he would feel like he had failed him if anything were to happen to Alexandria.
She could almost feel him relax a little as she kept her arms around him. She completely understood his frustrations though because it seemed to sudden and they were completely on their own. "I know. I feel the same way but I suppose we just have to deal with what has been dealt to us."
They rode for what felt like hours before they she spotted something through the trees. She lifted her head and pointed to their left. "There is a town in that direction, I can see the buildings in the distance." With her hair cut and a simple dress that had been muddied with their sleep in the forest, she was sure that no one would suspect that she was anything more than what she was pretending to be. Marcus' wife - not a all associated with a high born.
"We should stop for supplies. They might have a map."
The feeling of Alexandria's arms around him were comforting. They were just another reminder that they were still together despite everything. And despite his fears and insecurities, a part of his wished she would never let go. Her eyes were bright as they met his and he wanted to melt into them.
He nodded at her words and turned back to face the direction they were headed. "Still... if someone were to come upon us in our sleep I would not have forgiven myself. I need to do better." As if to tell him not to worry so much, he felt her lips on his shoulder and he couldn't help but relax some. They didn't have to agree on the matter, but she sure was good at calming him down.
He shrugged. "I don't honestly know. I understand why your father sent us alone. But some direction would have been nice. I know he didn't want to know our end location for your safety, but a direction to head at first would have been nice." He was complaining for the sake of it now and he sighed.
Alexandria smiled down at him, watching him adjust to the realisation that she was the only on her. It didn’t surprise her that his hand automatically went to his weapon. Once he was alert, she helped him gather their things and she gratefully received the food from him. She didn’t want too eat while they were travelling so she made sure to eat it before she climbed up onto the horse.
She took hold of Marcus’ hand and used it to pull herself up and as soon as she was steady, she wrapped her arms around Marcus. It wasn’t as though she needed the stability, her actions were mostly born out of her desire to be close to him. She knew that she would always feel this way. Maybe one day when they settled down, they would be able to have a real life together and put all of this behind them. They would claim to be newly weds but she hoped that they would be able to marry for real. Although, she wouldn’t bring that up. She didn’t want to scare him.
“I’m sure that we will come by a village some time soon. The first time that we get the chance to stop we should look for a map if you think it will aid us.” She looked back at him when he turned to face her, and she offered him a smile and shook her head. “I slept perfectly fine and I am glad you got some rest too. You would be no used to either of us if you were completely exhausted. I have no doubt that you can still protect me.” She kissed him shoulder, allowed herself to feel that closeness with him. “How long do you think we will be riding for?”
When Marcus felt the pressure on his forehead and the hand on his cheek he woke with a start. He hadn't meant to fall asleep in the first place. Guilt overwhelmed him as he opened his eyes, worried, and raised a hand to Alexandria's shoulder as if asking that everything was alright. When he realized she was merely waking him up to get moving and that there was no threat around them, he let his breathing calm. He realized his other hand was on the hilt of his sword and let his grip relax. Eventually he nodded.
He stood up, running a hand through his hair before starting to gather up the few items they had strewn about. Being a gladiator, he was used to having to move soon after waking up. He went though the pack, handing her a bit of food to eat while he stuffed the bedroll back into its place on the back of the horse.
He hoped by that night they might find themselves in a city. Or a town, at least. Someplace with an inn where they could stay behind a locked door and have a decent meal. He knew Alexandria was not accustomed to these conditions. Neither was he, to be honest, though he minded them far less. He liked being outside like this. It reminded him that he was free.
He climbed up onto the horse and held out his hand to help pull her up behind him. Then he glanced at the sky. He wasn't sure exactly where he was going, but he knew that if he kept the rising sun in the same place, then they would not accidentally circle back on themselves. "We should purchase a map if we can," he thought aloud, as they started to moved. Lucan had given them enough money to aid in their journey, but not too much to make anyone question who they were to have such a heavy coin purse.
Marcus turned in the saddle to look back at her as he started the horse slow, wanting to conserve her energy. "Did you sleep well enough?" he asked. "I'm sorry I drifted off... I told you I was going to stay awake."
Alexandria didn’t believe she could ever get over the feeling the overcome her when they kissed. It was unlike anything that she had ever felt before and she knew that she wanted this feeling to last. Right now, she was not focused on the impending journey that they would both continue to make or how much their lives were about to change. She was not worried about anything while her lips were locked with his.
When their kiss came to an end, she allowed her eyes to lock with his and her lips curled up into a kind smile. She was equally as scared as him about where their relationship might go and how their intimacy might grow over time, but she tried not to focus too much on the fear, knowing they would both work through everything together. All Alexandria could hope for was that one day Marcus would see just how worthy he truly was.
She pulled her gaze from his to look at the make-shift bed and she nodded towards him. She was exhausted and she was not sure that she would have been able to keep herself awake for much longer. Alexandria watched his hands get to work on the weapons for a moment before eventually making herself comfortable. She didn’t sleep straight away though, too busy watched Marcus, the shadows from the moon highlighting his features. However, it wasn’t too long before she drifted off to sleep unaware of the fact that Marcus had been watching her until he fell asleep himself.
Alexandria woke in the early hours of the morning upon hearing the sound of a screech in the distance. There was no doubt that it was just the sound of an animal, so her alarm soon melted away when she was awake enough to understand what the sound was. She glanced over at Marcus and smiled to herself when she saw that he had drifted off himself. She was glad that he had managed to get some rest because he was worried that he would exhaust himself trying to protect her.
She leaned over and kissed his forehead and ran her hand over his cheek. “Marcus…” Her voice was soft, but she didn’t want to let him sleep much longer as they needed to take advantage of every minute of daylight. “We should start our journey for the day.”
Marcus had kissed her before, though briefly. He knew what the gesture meant and that's why he wanted to express it to her. He loved her. But beyond a brief kiss he was unsure how else to show it. And he grew scared when she closed the distance between them.
All he knew of life was death. How was he supposed to be gentle and caring when he hardly even knew how to kiss a woman? When he pulled away he looked in her eyes for a moment before turning to the fire, his heart hammering. She did things to him that no amount of fear in the arena had ever done.
He turned back to Alexandria and gestured for her to lay down on the bed roll. He was exhausted as well, since sleep had not come easy the past few nights as they were trying to get Lucan's house in order, but he felt like he should stay awake, at least while they were still in the area where the Serpents might be tracking them.
"Please," he said softly. "You should get some rest." And because he wanted nothing more than to kiss her again, yet was also terrified of doing so, he set to work sharpening his blades. When she finally caved and did as he asked, he started to think about where they might head. Lucan was right in assuming that Marcus would be the first to die for Alexandria if it came to that, but he also knew nothing of the land around them. He had spent most of his life in a cage. And when he wasn't in a cage he just followed his masters around. He was hardly educated in the ways of travelling.
Marcus fished out the coin from his pocket. The Orchids were growing, Titus had said. Not quickly, but they were. And he said they had safehouses. Or people that could aid them. But how did he get in touch with one of them? He toyed with the coin for a long moment before finally leaning back against the ground to look up at the trees above. They would find the answers. Somehow.
He turned onto his side and looked at Alexandria's face. The firelight flickered off of it, making her look like she was glowing softly. He couldn't tell if she was asleep or just trying to be. He was unaware of his eyes closing. He had meant to stay up, but his body pulled him under the curtain of sleep faster than he could fight it...
Being near Marcus made her feel like she was safe and she knew that he would do everything in his power to make sure that is exactly what he did. When his hands ran through her hair she couldn't help but close her eyes and enjoy the sensation.
The silence had returned and surrounded them both for a long moment and as they remained in such silence their hands made sure that they were interlocked as her fingers gently rubbed the back of his hand subconsciously. It was strange to think that when she realised that she loved this man, she thought that she would have to live her live without ever knowing what it was like to be loved by him in return. Their social status' could have kept them apart and her father had every right to ensure that they were not together but in some strange way she was grateful that there was nothing standing between them now, even if it meant leaving their life behind.
They had once talked about running away together and starting a new life and even though it was just talk, eventually she would see this opportunity as something that would allow them to be together with no obstacles.
When Marcus said that he wondered if this was his fault, she had no words. Of course it wasn't his fault and it saddened her to think that he might blame himself. She still blamed her father for everything that had transpired over the last few months but she knew that she couldn't keep carrying around this torch of hate for what her father had done. So instead, she remained silent and watched Marcus' features as he seemed to be lost in thought for a moment. His grip tightened on her hand and his lips parted to speak once more and the words his spoke touched her heart. It seemed that they both felt that this might have been a blessing in disguise. Now they were able to be selfish and think about themselves for the first time in their lives.
As his hand moved to her cheek she felt something she could only describe as warmth and she meant into it. Her stomach burst to life as he intimate moment grew even more so as he closed the distance between their lips and she allowed herself to get lost in his kiss and returned it with passion. As she kissed him she brought herself round into a more comfortable position and pulled herself closer to him, partly because she felt the need to close the distance between their bodies, and partly because the chill of the air and he kiss combined made her body feel slightly cold. That kiss seemed to melt away all of her thoughts in that moment and all she could think about was Marcus.
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