Warning(s) : suggestive moments, but nothing completely NSFW
Character(s) : Val Greaves, Kenna Rys, minor mentions
Pairing(s) : Valenna (Val Greaves x Kenna Rys)
Words : 1017
Author’s note : I’ve really been loving ‘The Crown and The Flame’ ;)
Author’s note: Thanks for checking out my story. In case you haven’t read my first two, here are the links part 1 https://kennaxval.tumblr.com/post/164451547983/the-queens-of-stormholt
As always, I love to hear from my readers. Thanks again!
Harsh winters were nothing new in Stormholt, and this year was no exception. Unsurprisingly, as Val lowered Kenna into their bath, the hot water felt marvelous on their cold skin. It had been a week since Severin’s attack and Val promised to take care of Kenna’s every need and desire. Staying true to her word, there was no request Kenna could make that was too small or too great and there was no time of day or night that was too inconvenient, but between taking care of Kenna and ruling Stormholt by herself, she was physically and emotionally exhausted.
Boring meetings with nobles, maintaining the peace throughout Stormholt and all the monotony was taking its toll on Val. Additionally, there was also the matter overseeing the new additions to the royal gallery; Kenna and Val, recently, commissioned portraits for all their friends to commemorate the anniversary of Azura’s death. Looking around to see the perfect spot for their new art, Val came across a painting that triggered a painful memory for her…
The piping, hot water from their bath, was just what the Queens of Stormholt needed. Self-reliant and not wanting to wait for servants to draw their baths, Kenna and Val had their bath built in their room so they could bathe whenever they wanted; it helped that they had access to Whitlock’s technical expertise and Annelyse’s unlimited resources to make it happen. As she did every day, for the past week, Val lathered up her hands and massaged soapy suds all over Kenna’s body. With practice, she had gotten adept at massaging Kenna; she paid close attention to Kenna’s body language and figured out the perfect pressure to achieve maximum relaxation for her.
While Val was in the middle of rubbing her wife’s shoulders Kenna asked about the queenly duties she was missing out on. “Don’t you dare,” said Val, “I’m handling everything, you just concentrate on enjoying yourself.” Cupping Val’s face, Kenna brought her in for a long kiss and said, “you’re right, Stormholt is in excellent hands with you in charge, I have absolute faith in you.” Looking down, Val said nothing, she was still thinking about what she saw, in the gallery, earlier. While Val continued to massage her, Kenna smiled and closed her eyes, Val made her way to Kenna’s legs; careful not to touch her wound. It was so tranquil in the bath, that Kenna could have, easily, fallen asleep, but Val’s touch was so pleasant, she stayed awake to indulge in it. Val, carefully, turned Kenna around so she could work on Kenna’s back. Resting her head on her arms, Kenna let any anxiety she was feeling melt away as Val continued with her soothing caress. Val worked her way down to Kenna’s backside, kneading her cheeks like they were two, perfect, lumps of dough and then finished with the back of Kenna’s legs.
After turning her around, Val rested Kenna’s head on her lap began to sing to Kenna with her calming, angelic voice. Singing was such a delight for Val, but until Kenna, she never let anyone else hear her and whenever Kenna felt stress or had difficulty sleeping, Val’s voice always did the trick. When Kenna awoke, they were still in the bath and she noticed that Val looked upset. “What’s wrong, my love?” Val shook her head and said, “I’m ashamed, Kenna, I love you so much, and I can’t hide my guilt any longer.” Kenna stroked Val’s cheek with her fingers, “what could you have possibly done that makes you feel this way?” she asked, “It seems to me that all you’ve done is save my life at least a dozen times, make me the happiest woman in the world and now I’ve been treated to the best week of my life. Seriously, I have felt so much pleasure and tranquility that I’m almost glad Severin stabbed me.”
Full, soft lips pressed together in an intense kiss, but it was still obvious, to Kenna, that Val was down, so she asked what else was wrong. “I was in the royal gallery today,” said Val, “and I just stared at a portrait of your mother for gods know how long. She was so beautiful, although I suppose it makes sense, considering she’s the woman who made you.” Warm memories of her mother brought a smile to Kenna’s face, but she wondered why her mother’s portrait should upset Val. When Val asked Kenna if she remember the day they met, Kenna nodded at which point Val reminded her that she insulted Queen Adriana, calling her foolish for trying to unite the Five Kingdoms.
Affectionately, Kenna stroked Val’s back up and down before asking, “why didn’t you say something before?” “I’ve wanted to apologize for a long time,” Val said, “but I felt such shame; who the hells am I to insult this wonderful woman to whom I owe so much? She planted the seeds of peace that you brought to fruition. If it wasn’t for her bringing you into this world, I would still be living as a mercenary; neither giving love to nor receiving it from anyone. I’m not worthy of this ideal life you’ve given me; not when I’ve shown her such disrespect.”
A tear ran down Kenna’s cheek, “Val, you don’t ever need to feel that way, you made a mistake and I know if my heart she would have adored you. I knew my mother and I know you; there is no one worthier to be a Queen of Stormholt than you. Believe me, my beautiful wife, I have done and said many things I wish I could take back. Yet, none of it matters because our love is stronger than anything.” Now, Val began to tear up, “Kenna, you should know that wherever your mother is, she’s very proud of you; both of the Queen and the woman that you became.”
The Queens of Stormholt wept as they pulled each other in as tight as possible and passionately kissed. After a while, they dried their eyes and Kenna said, “Val, I’m sorry that you never knew your family.” Val just shrugged and said, “it would have been nice, but you’re all the family I need.” “In that case,” said Kenna, “you should know that I’m very proud of you; adjusting to the life of a Queen hasn’t been easy, but you did so, admirably. You were wrong to say I gave you this life; you’ve earned everything you have, including your throne… and my heart.” They shared another kiss before Val dried Kenna off and carried her to bed, feeling much better with the burden of guilt off her shoulders and feeling more confident, than ever, that no amount of darkness could ever stand up to the shining ray of light that was their love.
You have improved so much as a writer, @kennaxval. I didn’t leave feedback on the first two parts and for that I am sorry. Because this is beautiful! Keep up the good work! ❤
So, I had this epiphany this morning. If Maxwell is supporting Savannah, and MC chooses Drake, which will doom house Beaumont, how will Maxwell help provide for Savannah? Wouldn’t choosing Riley mean that Savannah is going to suffer?
This fic came to mind afterward, and I have to admit, it was fun writing villain!Maxwell. I’m sorry it’s so angsty, I just can’t seem to write Fluffy!Drake well.
Summary: Maxwell makes Drake choose between the two women who matter the most to him.
Rating: M for language. Look away, children!
Word Count: 1827
So this is what love felt like.
Taking the stairs two at a time, Drake grinned to himself. He knew he had to look like an idiot, but he didn’t care. For the first time in a long time, he didn’t mind what people thought, what people said. With Riley at his side, knowing how she felt about him… he could get through anything.
Without even looking around to see if anyone was watching, he jumped up and high fived one of the statues lining the hallway, spinning around—
—straight into Maxwell.
Drake jumped back with a shout, his hands flying upward defensively.
“Jumpy are we?” Maxwell asked, raising an eyebrow impishly.
“Jesus, you’re so quiet it’s like you’re part cat,” Drake muttered, brushing past him.
Maxwell followed him, undeterred. “You were dancing.”
“No I wasn’t.”
“And you were singing, too.”
“I was humming, it happens, Beaumont.”
“Ha! So, you admit it!”
At his door, Drake turned and rolled his eyes. “What’s your point?”
Maxwell chuckled, “You know, the last time I saw you humming and dancing was that night in Rome, after we got drunk at and you snuck off with the waitress to the back room and—“
Maxwell stopped suddenly, his eyes going wide. Drake felt his cheeks turn bronze as Maxwell scanned his face, taking in his reddened, bruised lips and his mussed hair. “Jesus, Drake… what have you done?”
Drake grabbed Maxwell by the front of his shirt and pulled him into the bedroom, slamming the door. “Shut up, someone could hear you!”
“I sure as hell hope so!” Maxwell shouted, his face reddening as he glared at Drake. “Are you out of your goddamn mind? Riley? Drake, you know how Liam feels about her!”
Drake groaned and reached up, raking a hand through his hair before he sighed. “I know how much he cares for her, Max. But now, I know how she feels about me… and I know how I feel about her.”
“Do you have any idea what this is going to do to me? To—to us?”
“The court loves a scandal,” Drake muttered, trying to convince himself of the excuse he’d been repeating in his head ever since their passionate kisses in the study. “And there’s a new one every month. No one will remember Riley after Liam’s married to Olivia or Madeline anyway.”
“You can’t have her!” Maxwell shouted.
Drake seethed and advanced on Maxwell. “Why the hell not? Because I’m not noble, like you all? Because I work with my hands and don’t have someone do my dirty work for me? Because—“
Maxwell took a step forward to meet him, his gray eyes turning to cold daggers. “Because if you do, Savannah’s going to suffer.”
Drake stopped cold. He stared down at Maxwell, his hands curling into fists. “What the hell did you say?”
Maxwell didn’t back down and raised his chin a notch. “The money you found… it’s for Savannah. I’ve been sending her cash every month since she left to help support her. But if Riley throws Liam over and marries you instead, Beaumont House is damned. Everyone will know we’re broke, and I won’t be able to support her any longer.”
When Drake said nothing, Maxwell took a step towards him and raised his eyebrows in challenge. “Who knows… someone might even leak some gossip about what happened to her to the news. That won’t look good for her at al—“
Drake grabbed Maxwell by the front of his shirt, throwing him against the door. To his surprise, Maxwell fought back, kneeing him in the stomach and pushing him off. Drake knelt on the floor, wind knocked out of him as he gasped for air. With his back to the door, Maxwell winced and rolled his neck.
“Drake… if you want to know what happened to Savannah, you need to ask her yourself. I’ll tell you where to find her, I’ll even give you the money to take to her yourself, but you need to leave tonight, without Riley.”
Drake stood, teeth bared as he cracked his knuckles and wondered how badly he could hurt Maxwell and get away with it. “You’re honestly asking me to choose between my sister and the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with?”
“That’s right. Spend your life with Riley and ruin Savannah’s, or let Liam have her and Savannah will leave in peace for the rest of her life.”
“You’re a fucking bastard,” Drake bit out. “You were the one who took the pictures and tried to sell them to the press, weren’t you?”
“For Savannah!” Maxwell shouted. “So don’t you dare criticize me for that. What will it be, Drake? Savannah or Riley?”
Drake turned, reaching over his head and gripping the back of his neck as he paced across the floor. Savannah or Riley? It wasn’t that simple… what about him? How could he live with himself if he had to make this decision? But no matter which way he sliced this, he was not going to come out a winner. But, he wasn’t a damned good card player for nothing, and if he played his hand right, he could make sure he was the only loser.
He turned back to Maxwell, heart sinking into his feet. “I’ll need your help.”
Riley yawned, rubbing one eye with the heel of her hand as she walked through Beaumont House in her pajamas. She didn’t know why Maxwell had texted her that needed her to do the seating chart at eleven pm, but she wasn’t about to argue, not when she knew how much help he and Bertrand needed.
Besides, maybe this would be a good time to tell him about her and Drake. Surely, he’d understand. Yes, it would be difficult for Beaumont House and she felt terribly about that, but she had no doubt that he and Bertrand would come out on top of this somehow.
She was just around the corner from the parlor when she heard Maxwell’s voice.
“Wait, you did what?”
She stopped at the parlor door, slowly looking around the corner. She knew meeting Maxwell near midnight was innocent enough, but she didn’t know who else might be there and try to make a scandal out of it. To her surprise, she saw Drake sitting with Maxwell, his back to the door. A bottle of whiskey, more than half finished, sat on the table. Neither of the men had glasses on front of them, but she saw why as Drake picked up the bottle and put it to his lips.
“It was genius, really,” Drake said, his voice lowered by the alcohol. “I…I told Tariq that Riley had a crush on him.”
“Why would you do that?” Maxwell asked, his eyebrows shooting up in alarm.
Drake laughed, but it sounded hollow and cruel. “To get back at him for all the petty shit he always does. I thought it would be funny to watch Riley punch him out, honestly. Figured it would serve his spoiled ass right.”
He ran a hand across his forehead. “Of course, I didn’t think he’d attack her in her bedroom. But you know, that had a bonus I hadn’t counted on. I got to go in and play the knight in shining armor and help her out. She was so grateful she took the shirt right off my back.”
He laughed and Riley shrank back from the door, disappearing around the corner. Her stomach rolled and she began to tremble, her fingers turning cold.
“I figured it was a one time only thing, but then she came at me in the study today like a bitch in heat. It was amazing! Liam’s going to have his hands full with that one… wouldn’t surprise me if she comes sniffing back around me again a month after they’re married.”
Choking back a sob, Riley turned and rushed down the hallway, walking as quickly as her feet would take her. She tripped on the stairs and fell, sobbing briefly into the carpet before she forced herself up again. She’d been made a fool of once already today, she wasn’t about to get caught sobbing by some servant on the stairs.
In her room, she slammed the door and locked it. She ran to the bathroom and turned on the shower, stripping off her clothes before she stepped into the steaming shower. She anxiously scrubbed the scent of his cologne off her skin, along with the feel of his hands on her hips and the scratch of his stubble on her cheek and neck. But no matter how hot she turned on the water, or how hard she scrubbed, she knew she’d never be able to remove the stain he’d left on her soul.
Maxwell held up a hand, his eyes glancing towards the door. “She’s gone.”
Drake leaned back against the couch, closing his eyes as he took another long swallow. There was not enough alcohol in the world to help him, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to try.
Maxwell slid the envelope full of cash across the table. “You have the address, you have the cash… leave. And if you ever come back, I’ll tell everyone everything. I’ll ruin Savannah, and I’ll ruin Riley too.”
Drake opened his eyes, staring at the ceiling. Wordlessly, he pushed himself up and grabbed bottle and the envelope full of cash off the table, not bothering to look at Maxwell. If he did, he didn’t trust himself not to beat the bastard senseless and leave him for the wolves on the floor.
He left the parlor and walked to his room at the opposite end of Beaumont Manor, gripping the envelope harder as he took another long swallow of alcohol. In his room, he slammed the door and began to shove the few items he owned into his duffle bag.
“It’s fine,” he said to no one, his head spinning. “She’ll be a Queen, and Savannah will be safe.”
Satisfied he had everything he’d brought, he threw the bag over his shoulder and left with the bottle in hand, taking the servants staircase out the back door. He was almost to the road when he heard the guitar.
Stopping, he turned and looked back at the manor, surprised to see the light in Liam’s room on and the window open. He couldn’t see the prince, but he could hear the faint sounds of an acoustic guitar as its player picked out a slow, romantic tune he’d heard on the radio.
Drake stopped and, after taking a last swallow on the bottle, threw it as far as it could go until it shattered somewhere in the vines. Without looking back at the manor again, he turned and made his way down the road, his eyes fixed to the west, where Savannah waited and where, one day, he might be able to forgive himself.
Wow my heart. It’s like you’ve torn it out and all that’s left is an empty husk. I really like how this is written; mostly because it shows 4he difficult situation Maxwell and Drake as well as MC is in. I loved this line: “But no matter how hot she turned the water, or how hard she scrubbed, she knew she’d never be able to remove the stain he’d left on her soul.” Ugh, tragically beautiful and brilliant.
If I had a heart, it would be broken