The ocean-blue eyes of stunning actress Summer Diamond narrowed in bitter confusion. “You’re leaving already? You just got here!” She rushed to her feet, grabbing King Resolut by his arm. His eyes refuse to meet hers. “What’s the matter?” she asked.
“Your family tried to kill me, that’s what!” Resolut yelled.
Summer’s mouth opens, but nothing comes out.
“This was a mistake coming here. There’s nothing else to talk about,” he said, walking away.
“Res!” Summer yelled.
As much as I want to, I can’t love her, I can’t…
He didn’t look back.
A light flash blinds Resolut when he stepped outside. He sees a man moving slowly behind a large shrub. They make eye contact.
“HEY!” Resolut yelled, running after him. The prowler’s camera flops up and down against his chest in the daring escape. He climbs over a fence and vanishes. “What the fuck?” Res ran back inside and found Summer in the bedroom. Her shimmering white hair is in a long, loose fish-tail braid secured with a blue ribbon. Man, I love her hair like that… “Where’s your security?” he asked.
“They’re around somewhere, probably in the pool house. Or you can stay and protect me. I don’t shoot again until tomorrow evening, so I’m free all day, all night…”
She smiled and shut the door behind him, then sneaks a kiss on his cheek.
“You still blush when I kiss you,” Summer said, stroking his face.
Resolut grumbled something incoherent and stepped away.
“You know you wanna be here. Otherwise, why come back?”
“Only because you got photographers crawling around your yard and you’re alone in this big ass house and no security. What if something happened?”
“Like what? Where’s your guards?”
“I came without. No one’s supposed to know I’m here, Summer, that’s the point.”
“Just like old times, huh? I’m surprised you didn’t come on horseback.” She smiles. Resolut does too. “If you’re worried, then stay and protect me.” She grabbed his black t-shirt, pulling him close. “You’re capable, right?”
She stepped out of her flowery dress, revealing voluptuous, smooth nakedness beneath. Nope. Nope. Nope. Heart racing, Resolut walked away before her hypnotic beauty roped him in again. Summer ran after him as his hand touched the door handle, pulling him back, sinking into each other’s eyes... She’s beautiful, like the day I found her.
Nine years ago, Summer and her family—House Diamond, stayed at House Aeterna for a time and granted access to its many luxuries. This included access to its exotic gardens, one of which led to a grapefruit grove not too far from Resolut’s chamber. The same time he came to hide away from the adult chatter at the main house, Summer was in the grove.
The way the light hit her white hair shocked the young prince. Like a million illuminated strands of heavenly light. He watched her on horseback from afar, picking the tart fruits. He approached her quietly. When she smiled, he smiled, hypnotized by the rich black dirt contrasted against her bare feet and fit legs. They stayed in that grove for hours just talking. As the days went on, they knew something had sparked between them. This became clear after House Diamond departed and talking on the phone wasn’t enough. So, every weekend, the young prince would sneak off and journey to Summer Thorn on horseback to be with her. It was faster than driving with the rough terrain. They met in a beach home her parents owned down the road from her family’s estate, which was unoccupied and mainly forgotten. Those nighttime rendezvous went on for years. Some things never changed.
They settled into bed. Summer mounts Res, almost tearing his shirt to get it off. Res grabs her hips tight and pulled her close. His head rubs against her neck, softly kissing every inch. Breathing in her grapefruit sugar scent.
“Summer…” Res dropped his grip, squirming from her grasp. “I can’t… We can’t do this.”
“Yes, you can.” She shoved him down.
“Stop!” Res grunts, trying to fight her without being overly rough. Don’t hurt her… Don’t hurt her… but Summer overpowers him. He closed his eyes and they’re in the grapefruit grove again. He wanted her the same way he did then and stopped fighting, powerless to her touch. His eyes slam shut when she reached inside his pants—thrust into a warm, slick squeeze.
She stops. Res looks down at her, confused.
“Will you stay?” she asked, holding his manhood hostage with two hands. Res nods in agreement and Summer went back down.
Res grabs her braid, twisting it around his hand. It’d been a while since they had each other. Unable to hold back, he lifts her on top of him, positioning her just right. Moans ooze between them. She bites her lip. Her fingers caress and outline his abs. Unable to keep his eyes off her, he cups her chin, bringing her closer. I love you, he whispered, and kissed her.
He didn’t know what he wanted.
It was evening when Resolut woke. Summer’s part of the bed was cold in her absence as cool breezes flew in from the open windows. Hints of homemade red sauce and pasta infiltrated his senses, and he knew where Summer was—cooking. He sat up with his back against the white pillow headboard, watching the waves crash outside. He smiles, remembering all the times he rode here, the memories they made in this home, only to feel empty and odd about it. A strange pain filled his chest where he got stabbed. Summer is… I love her, but how can I trust someone whose house wants me dead?
The king suffocates himself with a pillow screaming into it, then flung it aside when Summer came in, pretending nothing happened. She wears one of his spare white dress shirts and nothing beneath, Res discovered, when she bent over. I’m gonna lose it. I’m gonna have her again and again and never leave this home. His chest aches again. He runs his hand over his raw scar. His heart darkened the more he dwelled on her house’s shameful actions.
“Summer, we can’t keep doing this.”
“Res, you can trust me. I promise–”
“I just… Your father and brother tried to kill me. Right after we broke up! It’s all on your face — but you keep denying they did. They took me, beat me, totaled my bike, stabbed me with a damn animal bone thing through my chest and threw me in a ditch. I ALMOST DIED!”
“I tried to stop them,” she whispered.
“So you were lying! You knew but still defended them.”
Summer’s face reddened. Her arms cross bitterly. “Well, you’re alive now. You’re the King! And I’m not your Queen…”
“Is that…” he laughs, confused. “Is that all you cared about? Shiny shit on your head?”
“No! That’s not what I…”
“Uh-huh. Sure.” He grabs his keys, baseball cap, threw his t-shirt on, then his pants. “Where’s my other shoe?” He looks around. Under the bed, behind the door.
Summer follows him around the bedroom.
“Res what’re you doing?”
“Where’s my wallet?” He overturns pillows and blankets.
“What’re you doing!?” Summer yelled.
“Leaving.” He walks past her glare and finds his wallet in her bureau drawer. Resolut’s heart aches at the framed photo of them on top, two smiling faces at the beach, sunglasses, good food and a good time.
“You walk out that door, you don’t come back!”
“I won’t. Tell your father.”
Summer screamed at the top of her lungs.
She runs to the kitchen and grabs the pot of sauce, flinging it in Resolut’s direction. He ducked just as it splashed against the door behind him. She held onto the pot, spinning the handle in her hand, eyeing him down. Whatever sauce left inside splatters across the room as she spun faster, the contents still steaming hot. Summer wasn’t a delicate little flower. After years with Resolut he had taught her how to fight for self-defense reasons, although his intention in teaching her wasn’t to fight each other.
“You better stop.” Resolut warned, pointing. Her fury was scary. Another learned trait from him. He backed up slowly.
“I mean what I said Res. If you walk out don’t come back.”
“I heard you, I don’t believe you…” He ran for it, slamming the door fast. A large CLUNK against it followed. He shook his head and took off.
The Next Day
Resolut woke while twilight still bathed Aeterna. Cold sweat gathered at his temple, leaking onto his pillow after Summer haunted his dreams. Despite their falling out, Resolut missed her. He watched the skyscraper staring back at him—a thick, towering marvel beneath the sheets, desperate for attention. He hated doing it so early but was eager to settle his lingering urges for Summer quietly and fast.
He pressed a pillow to his face. His hands tighten around the sheet, moving up and down. The thrill faded when his phone rang.
“Ugh, I knew that was gonna happen.” He ripped the pillow off knocking into his erection. Resolut grunts in pain. “Yes?”
“Urgent call from Advisor Velia.”
His skyscraper tumbles.
“Okay. Two minutes.” Fuck.
Resolut rushed out of bed and relieved himself, although not in the manner he intended. After splashing his face with water, he pats himself dry and answered.
“Your grace, Edward here. My apologies, Advisor Velia dropped, but wanted to remind you of the gathering in the Deep in a half hour. Staff will serve a light breakfast, croissants, a variety of fruits, cheeses—”
Croissants? The fuck? He hung up and fell back in bed, resuming his skyscraper pursuit.
The phone rings.
“Your grace, t-this is your wake-up call.”
“You already knew I was AWAKE!”
He slams the phone down so hard it shatters against the nightstand. Summer’s face flashes in his mind, then her father’s and her brother’s—the latter stabbing him in the chest. He could still feel the sting. The pain, the taste of death so close he almost gave up and accepted that fate.
Furious, Resolut shoved the nightstand over and laid back down.
A half hour later, the king emerged fresh faced in the Deep. The room was silent when he found his father, Advisor Velia and Paige Grapheme, at the round table. There were no agenda items in front of them, only a phone, a specific, untraceable crimson phone used for sealed operations. Matters of nothing at all, the king remembered, one of the advisor’s favorite quotes.
“Your Grace, time is up for House Diamond,” Advisor Velia began. “Before we give the go-ahead, questions?”
“How did they inject it?” Resolut asked. He stood at the table dressed head to toe in his sharp black and gold Commander military uniform of the Aeterna Armed Forces.
“Through various means.”
“She received hers from a date.”
“Date?” Resolut frowns. “Did they sleep together?”
“That’s how she received the injection.”
“Just get it over with. Do it.”
Advisor Velia nods. He looks at Paige, who taps the phone screen.
“You are clear,” she said.
Resolut didn’t know who she spoke to on the phone.
“Clearing in five, four, three, two…”
Resolut stared at the phone, waiting.
Resolut shouted, jerking up from his sleep. It was a dream. Just a dream. But Summer died in his dream upon his command. He grabbed his phone and glass fell from it. He reached for another from his tossed nightstand and types.
Resolut: Hey. Are you ok? 8:04 AM
Summer: Ya. Why? Are you? Miss me already? 8:05 AM
Resolut ignored that, picked his nightstand back up and put the phone inside. She responded so, she’s okay. He felt better, although his nerves were still jittery. He wished their argument from yesterday was a dream too, as well as her father’s and brother’s actions. She was the only thing stopping him from retaliating against House Diamond.
Hours later, Resolut returned to his chamber to change into more comfortable attire before his next meeting. Summer’s pretty face flashed in his mind. He grabbed his phone from the nightstand drawer when he sees his guard’s sickly expression, staring at the recessed television.
Res followed his eyes to the screen: Summer Diamond, a beautiful soul who took Aeterna by storm with her gripping roles in The Accountant franchise, was found dead in her Summer Thorn home this afternoon. The 25-year-old actress was nude, lying face down on her bedroom floor in a pool of blood when found by her security. We are awaiting further details but friends report the actress may have been three months pregnant…
Resolut backed up, disoriented. “Tell me… that’s a lie.” He asked the guard. His blood boils.
“Your Grace, we’re waiting on the official word. We’re hearing that the reporting is false.”
Resolut’s phone buzzed in his hand with unread notifications from hours ago. He read them, shaking.
Summer: I’m sorry about last night, I missed you so much it hurt to see you go. Maybe we can talk later? I kinda have something to tell you. 9:07 AM
Summer: I’m so sorry for everything. They wanted to send a message. Something about your dad. I couldn’t stop them. 9:15 AM
Summer: Please don’t hate me. Can we talk? 10:16 AM
Summer: I love you, my King. 11:30 AM
The phone fell from his grip.
“Your Grace?” his guard asked, picking his phone up.
Resolut stormed out. The guard followed.
He ran to the grapefruit grove where he and Summer first met. Dizzy, hurt, confused. He falls to the ground. She’s not dead, she can’t be dead. The news anchor’s voice echoes in his mind: The 25-year-old actress was nude, lying face down on her bedroom floor in a pool of blood… In the corner of his eye, horses mull about. The actress may have been three months pregnant… Resolut approached them. Why did I leave her? Why? He remembers her texts… Maybe we can talk later? I kinda have something to tell you. Wincing from his injuries, he mounted a horse, pulling its reins. They take off fast into the setting sun.
I love you, my King. Resolut hears Summer whisper.
“Ghost is on the move!” the guard yelled from behind. “Summer Thorn! Get to Summer Thorn!”