Have no fear. I'm back with a new update!
No, Zan's not used to it at all, but he'll have to get used to it. Because Inara's going to try and resist him for awhile.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
I'm glad she is too. I wanted Zan's character to grow up a little bit before she gives in.
I completely agree with you there.
I'm so happy that you're liking this and I hope this next chapter doesn't disappoint.
I love writing for Inara now that she's all grown up.
Yep, yep. Zan's got some apologizing to do.
Thank you so much, hon. I hope you enjoy this next part.
Now without further ado...
Inara walked into her home and slammed the door in Zan’s face. As she leaned against the door, she felt very frustrated and a little stupid. She honestly hadn’t meant to snap at him the way that she had, but it angered her the way Zan acted like she wasn’t the kind of woman that men would find attractive. But what if she was just overreacting? Zan probably didn’t mean it the way that it had sounded. Rolling her eyes, Inara sighed in annoyance. She couldn’t believe that she was letting something so silly get to her.
Not wanting to think about it any longer, Inara walked up the stairs, heading towards her bedroom. The only thing she wanted was to lay her head on her pillow and forget this whole thing.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Inara made it to her bedroom and got ready for bed. She sat at her vanity, staring at herself in the mirror while she brushed her hair. The sound of a beeping noise from her door made Inara turn away from her mirror. “Come in.”
A second later, her doors slid open and Coraline walked in with a sneaky smile on her face. “So, where’ve you been all night?” She asked as she plopped down at the end of Inara’s bed, excited to hear what she had to say.
Inara rolled her eyes and smiled as she resumed brushing through her hair. “Nothing happened, Coraline.”
“Why not?!” Coraline asked in disppointment. “Honey, you’re crazy about him. You always have been. And I saw the way he was looking at you.”
“How was he looking at me?”
“Like he would take you in a heartbeat if he could,” Coraline said with a smile.
Inara could feel herself blushing, but tried to ignore it as she answered her friend. “You’re crazy,” she chuckled. Placing her brush down, Inara stood up from her vanity table and walked over to her bed, ignoring Coraline’s penetrating stare as she got into her bed.
Coraline didn’t know what to say as she watched Inara get into bed. She couldn’t believe that Inara was ignoring what was right in front of her. She knew how Inara felt about Zan. He was all she talked about for the first couple of months on Aquaria. And now that man of her dreams was finally sitting up and taking notice and she was trying to act like nothing had changed, like she was still the same little girl who believed she would never get Zan’s affections. Coraline just didn’t understand it and never would. That was why Coraline would never allow herself to fall in love. She’d seen it turn to many people into helpless slaves to it’s power. She wasn’t going to let that happen to her.
Inara finally looked at Coraline and gave her an exasperated sigh. “Look, I really don’t want to talk about this right now…or ever. I’m over it.”
“Fine,” Coraline said with a sigh as she got up from Inara’s bed. “Live in denial if you like.”
“I’d rather talk about what happened when Rath walked you home tonight,” Inara said bluntly, making Coraline stop in her tracks.
“Are you still on that?” Coraline chuckled as she walked back towards Inara’s bed. “I already told you I’m not interested in Rath. He’s not my type.”
“Yes, but I know that you’re lying because every
guy is your type,” Inara joked, but both girls knew that she wasn’t entirely kidding.”
“You know, I’d be really offended by that if it weren’t true,” she fired back, making both herself and Inara laugh for a moment before Coraline got serious. “Look, I know that you’re worried, but I promise you that I’m not going to try to get Rath. My friendship with you is so much more important than that.”
Inara smiled, feeling a lot more at ease. “Thank you.”
“Besides,” Coraline started as she walked towards the bedroom door, “I’m sure there are plenty Antarian men who would be more than happy to help me take my mind off of Rath.”
Inara laughed as she watched Coraline wave goodnight to her before leaving her bedroom. Using her telekinesis, Inara shut off all the lights in bedroom before snuggling underneath her comforter and falling asleep for the night.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Inara couldn’t have been asleep for more than two minutes when she opened her eyes and saw that she wasn’t in her bedroom anymore. She was standing in Zoran city just outside of the Antarian Royal Palace. She could feel terror course through her body as she walked through the streets of Zoran city. There were dead bodies littered everywhere, people were running and screaming through the streets. It was complete chaos. Inara’s once happy home had become a nightmare.
Suddenly the ground began to shake beneath her and she lost her balance and fell. But instead of landing on the ground like she had expected, she landed on the body of a young man--probably in his early twenties--and the sight made her physically ill. Most of his skin had been burnt beyond recognition, and what ever skin was left was barely hanging on his body. The smell of his burnt body made Inara physically nauseous and she had to close her eyes to keep from throwing up.
When she opened her eyes again, the dead body was gone and she was no longer in Zoran city. As she got to her feet she realized that she was now in the Antarian Palace, standing in the middle of the ballroom. Though it was less chaotic in there than it was outside, she could still feel the overwhelming sense of fear and pain all around her. It was so intense that it was almost crippling, but Inara used all of her strength to push those feelings aside as she walked around the ballroom. The room was completely empty, except for three lifeless bodies that lay lifeless in the middle of the ballroom. She could see the pool of blood surrounding their mutilated corpses and knew that they were people she knew. She didn’t know how, but she knew that they were people she cared deeply about. She took a deep breath and forced herself to walk over to them. She had know who they were.
She started to walk towards the three corpses when she suddenly felt like she was being watched. She looked around but couldn’t find anyone. She was all alone. She turned back to the three bodies only to find that were gone . The entire ballroom was clean once again, not a drop of blood anywhere.
“I loved you so much,” a malicious voice said from behind her. “But it has to end this way.”
She turned around just in time to see a shadowy figure plunge a silver dagger into her heart…
Inara bolted up in her bed drenched in sweat, her entire body shaking uncontrollably. Her fear was so strong that it took her a moment to realize that she was back in her bedroom. Her breathing had finally returned to normal before tears started sliding down her cheeks. She wished that these dreams would just stop. She’d been having them for months and she had hoped that once she would return home they would go away, but they haven’t and she was starting to fear that they never would.
Once the shaking had stopped and her breathing had finally returned to normal, Inara got out of her bed and walked over to her dresser by the window. Kneeling down, opened her bottom drawer and pulled out a strange necklace that she had gotten for her eighteenth birthday. She didn’t know who had sent it or why, but she knew that the dreams had started after receiving the necklace. Apart of her wanted to throw it way, hoping that the dreams would stop once she did, but something inside of her kept telling her to hold on to it. She didn’t know why, but she believed that this was happening to her for a reason and the necklace she was holding was the key. She just wasn’t sure if she was ready to find out.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“Father, back from Valeria I see,” Kivar said as he entered his father’s study and saw his father sitting at the desk, looking over some papers. “How was the trip?” He asked, taking a seat across from his father.
King Galen didn’t acknowledge him though, choosing instead to finish what he was reading. Kivar had to resist the urge to walk over to his father and slit his throat. His father’s complete lack of respect for his own son never ceased to amaze Kivar. Galen was the kind of man who believed in ruling Zantar with an iron fist. He also applied that same believe to how he raised his children, but know one had known tough love the way that Kivar had growing up. He could be cold and harsh with Ava sometimes, but it wasn’t the same. Since both Galen and the king and queen of Antar were certain that the witless Zan would come to his senses and marry Ava, she was pretty much the golden child of the family. But Kivar was the child that he tolerated. Kivar had spent most of his life trying to please his father, trying to become the man that his father would’ve wanted him to be, but it was never enough. Nothing Kivar did would every be good enough. The moment Kivar had realized that, his desire to please his father eventually turned into hatred and resentment. Now destroying his father was what he wanted, and he would have that chance one day. There wasn’t a person on Zantar that he hated more than his father.
Galen finally put down the papers that he was reading and looked up at his son. “Oh, it was wonderful,” he answered as he got up from his seat and walked over to the bar just a few feet away from the desk and poured himself a glass of Zantarian brandy.
“And how are the king and queen?” Kivar asked.
“Sero and Kathana are doing very well,” Galen answered before turning back to look at his son. “Their daughter was asking about you?”
Kivar didn’t like the look on his father’s face as he mention princess Saria. “I wonder why that is,” he said suspiciously. “We aren’t exactly close. The last time I talked to Saria was three years ago.”
Glass in hand, Galen walked towards his son and sat down at the end of his desk, looking at his son intently. “Look, son, you’re 22 years old now, and I’m not going to live forever,” he said.
“I don’t understand,” Kivar chuckled in confusion as he looked up at his father. “What exactly are you saying?”
Galen took a sip of his brandy before he spoke. “I’ve spoken with king Sero and we both agree that it’s time that both you and princess Saria settle down.”
“Father, no,” Kivar started, shaking his head, but Galen cut him off.
“We’ll be announcing your engagement next week.”
“So you thought I would just lie back and go along with all of this?” Kivar seethed, glaring at his father.
“That’s exactly what you’re going to do, son,” Galen answered, giving Kivar a stern look. Taking another sip of his drink, Galen walked back over to the bar and poured himself some more brandy. “You got yourself into this mess, Kivar.”
Kivar suddenly looked at his father as if he had two heads. Was this man completely crazy. “How do you figure that?” He asked, barely containing his anger.
“If had kept your focuse on Vilandra like you should’ve, it would’ve been you betrothed to her right now instead of that simpleton Rath,” he said as he poured more brandy into his glass. “And we would have the power of Antar with us.”
“I had no control over that,” Kivar argued as he stood up from his seat. He was so tired of having this argument with his father. His father had been blaming him about Rath and Vilandra’s engagement and he was getting sick of it. He refused to accept the blame for something he had no control over.
“It’s not important,” Galen stated simply. “What’s important is that you have a chance to repair some of the damage you’ve caused by not marrying Vilandra.” Putting his glass down, Galen turned around and walked towards his son, giving him a deadly serious look. “You are going to marry princess Saria…because if you don’t I will destroy you and anyone who takes your side. Are we clear?”
Kivar was practically seeing red at this point. More than anything he wanted to wrap his hand around his father’s neck and squeeze the life out of him until he lay dead on the floor. But he couldn’t. As much as he hated to admit it, his father was in control. Galen was a powerful man and if he wanted to hurt Kivar, he could and gladly would.
Knowing that fighting was pointless at the moment, Kivar nodded his head. “Yes, dad,” he said in an icy tone. “We’re very clear.”
Without another word, Kivar stormed out of his father’s study, unable to look at him any longer. As walked through the halls of the Zantarian Palace, Kivar could feel a deep rage coursing through his body, ready to burst out of him at any moment. It only fueled his desire to take his father down. He wanted to destroy his father, ruin him in ways that he couldn’t even imagine.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“Zan, are you all right?” Larek asked, startling Zan who was sitting by the fountain in Queen Amara’s garden. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“It’s all right, I just didn’t know anyone else was here,” Zan said as he went back to staring at nothing.
Larek could see the look on his friend’s face and took a seat beside him. It was obvious that Zan had something on his mind, and Larek had a pretty good idea what--or more precisely, who--it was. “You look like you’ve got something on your mind,” he said, resisting the urge to laugh.
Zan shook his head. “It’s nothing.”
“Hmm, this nothing wouldn’t happen to be a very cute brunette who happens to be Rath’s younger sister?” Larek asked, giving Zan a knowing smile.
“You know,” Zan stated with a chuckle.
“I know,” Larek nodded.
Getting serious again, Zan turned slightly towards Larek. “Inara’s not talking to me,” he confessed. “It’s been two days and she still won’t talk to me. And the thing that really bothers me is why do I care so much? Why does the idea of her being angry with me make me this upset?”
Larek laughed a little before saying, “Maybe you have feelings for her.” Zan didn’t answer, and that told Larek everything he needed to know. “Zan, if you have feelings for her then tell her.”
“I can’t,” Zan said sadly. “Rath wouldn’t like the idea of me with his little sister. And even if he was okay with it, I highly doubt that she still feels that way about me.”
Larek studied his friend for a moment, amazed at how much Inara had effected Zan. He remembered how much Zan used to talk about Inara, but he could tell that it was nothing more than a friendly adoration for her. Larek could tell from Zan’s eyes that obviously his feelings for her now were more than just friendly, and that made Larek happy. He’d watched Zan flirt and sleep with many girls in the past three years, only thinking about what made him happy in the moment. But Zan had a chance to experience real happiness, the kind that lasted forever, and Larek wanted his dear friend to have that.
“Zan,” Larek started, looking at Zan seriously, “I’ve never you seen you this worked up over someone before. I think you really care about her. And if you care about her, isn’t she worth putting your heart on the line for? Afterall, she did the same for you five years ago.”
Suddenly Zan’s mind went back to the night that Inara caught him and Ava kissing, the pain that she must’ve gone through. He didn’t get it before, but he did now. If he had seen Inara kissing some guy, he probably would’ve felt the same way she did five years ago. What the hell am I going to do? Zan wondered in confusion. More than anything he wanted to tell Inara how he felt, but there were too many things at stake. It wasn’t just Rath’s feelings to consider, it was his parents. They were dead set on him marrying Ava. Still, that wasn’t what concerned him the most about this situation. What if she doesn’t feel the same way?
That question plagued his mind over and over again. He didn’t know how he’d react if she wasn’t feeling what he was feeling, he also didn’t know how he’d react if she did still feel the same way about him. He had already put her through so much before, the last thing he wanted was to see her go through all of the pain again if he ended up realizing that what he was feeling for was nothing more than a little crush.
Feeling too overwhelmed with confusion, Zan just shook his head. “I don’t really want to talk about it,” he said, hoping Larek would let it go for now.
“Okay,” Larek said, nodding his head. The two of them sat together in silence for a moment, both of them lost in their own thoughts. Suddenly an idea came to Larek’s mind and he stood up and smiled down at Zan. “Hey, I’m leaving Antar later today. Why don’t we have a lunch before I leave though?”
“I’m done with all of my duties today,” Zan said. “I’m completely free now.”
Larek smiled brightly. “Great, so I’ll see you for lunch later.”
Zan started to say something, but Larek had already turned around and walked out of the garden, leaving Zan all by himself once again. Larek walked through the halls of the palace, all the way to his bedroom. Once he was there, Larek shut the door and walked over to his desk. He turned on his holo-phone and contacted Inara. A moment later, Inara’s smiling face appeared in front of his eyes.
“Larek, it’s so good to hear from you,” Inara said cheerfully. “I was hoping to hear from you before you left Antar.”
Larek smiled. “It’s nice to talk with you too,” he said sincerely. “I’m actually leaving later today, that’s why I called. I was hoping that we could have lunch today before I leave.”
Inara’s smile brightened even more as she answered. “Oh my gods, I would love that!”
“Great,” Larek said. “So, I’ll see you later today? At 12:00?”
Inara nodded her head. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Inara could hear her father calling her from downstairs. “I have to go, but I’ll see you later today, okay?”
Okay, then,” Larek said. “I’ll see you."
They both said their goodbyes and ended their holo-phones. Larek smiled in amusement as he leaned back in the chair. Inara and Zan were both going to fight their feelings for each other, Larek knew that. But he wasn’t going to make it easy for them. Larek wanted to see his friends happy, and he was going to do everything in his power to make sure that that happened.