Friday, November 03, 2006

No Princess Need Apply - Excerpt 5

alien romances

“That was a bit daunting,” Rawn said as he settled into the first class seat beside her.

Summer threw her head back against the well padded headrest. “I think I’ll have that champagne now.”

Summer thoroughly wished she could just sink into the seat and disappear. She’d faced reporters before, but never so many, and never such an aggressive bunch of media types. Of course, most of the attention had rightfully turned on Rawn. There had been some genuine journalistic interest in finally presenting the face and personality of this very important man to the people of the world. In some ways she was glad Rawn had neglected to wear his invisibility device, and that word had somehow leaked to the press of the Kariin Emperor’s whereabouts.

“Looking at this from an objective point of view,” she said to him as the jet engines came to life, “you just had a public relations disaster. I hope you have someone on your staff who can put the proper spin on this little indiscretion.”

Rawn looked totally baffled. A flight attendant appeared with the champagne. He took the glass and passed it to Summer. “Disaster? Indiscretion? Spin?”

“You’ve lived in Washington for six months,” she said, with some irritation. “You know what spin is.”

He ducked his head for a moment. Was that actually a faint blush that briefly colored his fair complexion? When he looked at her once more there wasn’t any sign of embarrassment. “I know what spin is. But I haven’t done anything disastrous or indiscreet today.”

Summer considered explaining to him that the media wasn’t going to play it that way. To show up with a ‘Supermodel’ at his side at his first public appearance made him look frivolous. It wasn’t the proper image for a serious alien invader to project. Then she remembered just how she had ended up at his side, and thought how much worse it was going to look if the reporters did a little digging and discovered that her statement hadn’t been flippancy, but the truth. She’d been having fun, but that didn’t cancel out the fact that she really was a prisoner. Having fun only made her forget it for a little while.

Since he was still looking at her curiously, she said, “Never mind. I’m not going to try to explain how your actions look in human terms to you. I’m sure you’ve got experts of your own to do that.”

“Perhaps I’d rather have a local inhabitant explain to me.”

“I wasn’t invited to Washington to be an advisor, Your Supremacy.” I wasn’t invited at all, she added to herself. “And I’m sorry for snapping at you,” she added. “Those people -- I was...”

“Frightened.”

She shrugged. “Well, at least taken aback. Quite a bit.”

He got up from his seat. “Just rest for a while. We’ll be back in Washington soon.”

The airplane had taken off while they’d been talking. Summer hadn’t even noticed that they were in the air.

“I apologize for abandoning you for a while,” Rawn went on. “But I have some work I have to do and I need a bit of privacy.”

Summer couldn’t help but give him a reassuring smile. “Fine.” She reached into her purse and took out a paperback book. “I can entertain myself.”

He nodded, and moved several rows behind her. She concentrated on her book. Every now and then she let the flight attendant refill her champagne glass. After a couple of hours with Jane Austen for company, Summer’s composure was pretty much back in order. Only her legs weren’t too steady when she got out of her seat after the plane landed. She hadn’t noticed how much she’d had to drink, but from the way her head spun she suspected it was far more than she was used to.

“The problem with champagne,” she told Rawn when he came up to her, “is that it tastes far too much like soda pop.” He put a hand on her arm. He was also giving her his reassuring look again. Her heart sank. “They’re out there, aren’t they?”

“The media? I’m afraid so.”

She sighed. “Oh, great. Now they’ll see you with a drunken Supermodel.”

“I’m prepared to take my chances with the media. How about you? Besides, we have to get off the plane. I’m informed it’s about to turn into a pumpkin.”

He took her arm and walked with her into the airport. This time Cardon, Ricci and Dalmer were prepared. The trio of security agents got them through the feeding frenzy of reporters with very little difficulty, but the cameras and questions were still there.

Summer was barely aware of the ride back into Washington, though she was very aware Rawn’s arm holding her close and her head resting comfortably on his shoulder. She kept her eyes closed to hold the dizziness at bay, and the darkness only enhanced all her other senses. She was very aware that he felt good, and he smelled good and the material of his jacket was soft against her cheek. She could feel his fingers in her hair and massaging her temple. The touch felt so good she almost purred. She did doze off.

She woke up when Rawn kissed her cheek, and because the car had stopped. “We should go in now, Summer.”

Jet lag, emotions and champagne had left her completely exhausted. She didn’t want to move. “Couldn’t I just sleep right here? The back seat alone must sleep five.” The plush leather upholstery was quite comfortable.

Rawn chuckled, but insistently helped her out of the limousine when the chauffeur opened the door. She got a glimpse of a large, brick Federal Style building before Rawn hustled her up a staircase and inside. The entry hall was wide, with a geometric patterned parquet floor. The walls were painted a deep teal, with lots of botanical prints in gilded frames. A long staircase curved gracefully up to the second floor, its treads covered in blue and gold patterned Persian carpet.

“Nice place.”

“I like it.”

Rawn took her hand and led her up the stairs. Their steps were silent on the thick carpeting. They’d reached the wide second floor landing before it occurred to Summer just where they were going, before she remembered just why she was with Rawn Ruan, Emperor of the Kariin Empire. She stopped in her tracks as he took a step to the left. When he glanced at her, she pulled her hand from his.

“Summer?” When she didn’t move or answer, he continued down the hall, turned a corner and disappeared from her sight.

Summer waited hesitantly, alone, at the top of the stairs for at least five minutes. The silence and unfamiliarity of the place grew disturbing. She considered just turning around and walking out the front door. Eventually, curiosity got the better of her and she followed Rawn to see where he’d gone.

He was waiting just around the corner, outside an open bedroom door. “I think you need a good night’s sleep,” he told her when she came up to him.

Summer glanced questioningly at him, then she looked through the doorway. She saw a large, tastefully decorated room with creamy lace curtains on the windows, a fireplace, and a queen sized four poster bed. Fluffy pillows were piled high on the bed, and the coverings were turned down to reveal white on white patterned sheets. An oversized T-shirt she used as a nightgown had been taken from the suitcase the agents had helped her pack earlier in the day. It rested, neatly folded, on top of the stack of pillows.

The sight sent a stab of terror through her. Summer turned a panicked look on Rawn. Only to discover that he wasn’t there. She hadn’t heard him walk away, but he was nowhere in sight when she looked around.

Summer shrugged. Maybe he beamed up.

She half expected to hear an answer to her thought, but none came. Summer walked into the bedroom and closed the door. She would have locked it, but there wasn’t any lock. She sat tensely on the edge of a deep chaise lounge by the fireplace for awhile, waiting for something to happen. When nothing did, she decided Rawn was right about her needing to sleep, so she found the bathroom, with all the toiletries she’d brought with her placed next to the sink for her, and got ready for bed.

She told herself she was too nervous to sleep, but the bed was comfortable and she was exhausted. The champagne did the rest.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:43 PM EST

    I just love this story! I hung around work on Friday afternoon hoping for a post. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am really enjoying this story. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks! I love this story too.

    ReplyDelete