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God of Fury – Chapter 34

NIKOLAI

If a few weeks ago someone had told me my lotus flower would be taking me on one date, let alone three, I would’ve called an ambulance.

But here we are on our third date. That’s right. ThirdOutside. With people around us. And he’s not panicking.

I stare down at his hand in mine, our fingers intertwined, and I discreetly pinch my nape. That hurts. This is not a fucking dream.

We walk down a dirt path in his favorite park in London that’s close to where he lives, Hampstead Heath.

He said he needed something simple after all the touristy things I made him do with me. London Eye, London Bridge—or Tower Bridge as he liked to correct me, with an extremely snobbish expression, I might add—Camden Lock, and a whole day in the food market. Yesterday, we went everywhere, from Coal Drops Yard all the way to East London and then back to central London and Covent Garden where we watched some opera show in the Royal Opera House.

Definitely not my thing and I sure as shit stood out even in formal wear.

But I went for Bran’s sake since he loves those prim and proper things. Besides, he looked fucking mouthwatering in a suit, so I wasn’t complaining. Needless to stay, I fell asleep after the first ten minutes, and he let me use his shoulder as a pillow. So I might have pretended to stay asleep for longer than needed.

Today is surprisingly not that cloudy, and the sun shines through the gigantic forest-like trees of the park. It looks half kempt and half unkempt with a few asphalt roads and others left as dirt.

It’s definitely better weather than yesterday. We had to run for shelter after a sudden downpour, and Bran pulled me into a corner and kissed me shitless. While people passed by.

I nearly came in my pants then and there.

Is it normal to feel as if I hit the jackpot because he’s being so open?

Ever since we fucked so slowly and lovingly four days ago, he’s been exceptionally affectionate. He also took me shopping since his clothes are too small for me.

And yes, he totally introduced me to his grandads, his grandma, and his uncle and his wife after he invited them for dinner, which he cooked with his dad. The uncle, Aiden, is Levi 2.0 and even told me, “Listen, kid, you hurt my nephew and no one will know where you disappear to, got it?”

To which Levi smiled and nodded, so I told them, “I’m not fazed by threats, but I respect that, sir. I’ll do my best to get your approval as long as you don’t meddle between me and Bran.”

Aiden raised a brow at that and Levi grumbled and walked away, but I did catch a glimpse of my lotus flower smiling.

He’s smiling again now as we walk by a lake and pulls me to a wooden deck that overlooks the water. Sun reflects off the surface, turning it glittery. A few birds mingle around and this big fucking seagull squawks at me, and I swear he glares when I approach before he flies away, flapping his wings and throwing a tantrum.

Jesus.

Bran leans his forearms against the wooden railing and releases my hand to point at the vast lake. “The swans are here today, see?”

I try not to sulk like I’m twelve because he’s not touching me anymore as I park my back against the old wood and prop my elbows on the railing. I glance sideways at a few swans gliding on the water amongst some ducks.

“They’re not here usually?” I ask.

“They are, but they go to the other pond sometimes.” He smiles and I can’t help watching him.

He looks so fucking attractive in jeans, a polo shirt, and a casual jacket. His Prince Charming hair is in full stylish mode, but there’s something different.

It’s his expression.

It’s much lighter now.

These past few days, he’s been talking about himself and his family without me having to ask. He took me to his high school and to the places he used to frequent, usually with his brother or friends.

This is the last of them. Earlier, we walked up to a hidden nook that took us an hour and a half to finally reach. He said it was his secret spot and where he used to go to in order to clear his mind.

I didn’t miss how he revealed it to me when no one else knows about it. He seems to be much more relaxed around me, and unlike in the past, he doesn’t think twice about everything he says.

Except for when it comes to his wrist.

I try not to pry too much, especially after I promised him I’d wait, but I don’t like the look in his eyes every time we step out of the shower and he stares at his reflection as if he wants to destroy it.

But at least he doesn’t push me away anymore.

At least he hugs me to sleep and even gets annoyed if we pull apart during the night.

I never loved sleeping in a bed until him. And I tested it after we started falling asleep together. It doesn’t work without him. I’m still unable to fall asleep if he’s not there. He calms my demons in mysterious ways and I feel like I can be a lunatic and he’d still embrace me anyway.

All this time, I thought I’d rather free fall into a pit of violence and die in a crash than dedicate myself to one person. I really, really never considered myself monogamous. But it’s been so easy with Bran.

In fact, I became possessive of him early on—since I saw Clara’s claws on him—and I needed to have him all for my-fucking-self.

So imagine my fucking surprise when I realized I’m not opposed to commitment if it’s to him.

Some would argue I’ve been the one chasing him for that purpose from the beginning. If he’d stayed in the closet for another fucking decade, I would’ve probably shoved myself back in again if it meant being with him.

I’m that in love with this asshole. Who hasn’t been much of an asshole these past few of days.

Arms resting on the railing, he cocks his head to the side so that he’s watching me. “What are you thinking about?”

“You.”

A full-blown grin curves his lips. “Wow. You’re that obsessed?”

“Yeah. It’s not even funny anymore.”

He bumps his shoulder against mine. “You don’t have to think about me when I’m right here.”

“Tell that to Kolya. He doesn’t seem to listen to me anymore.”

He laughs, the sound long and so happy, I feel an immense sense of pride that I’m the reason behind it.

Watching my lotus flower smile is a glamorous five-star experience that instantly makes me happy as well.

“Are you enjoying my struggle, baby?”

“It’s just funny whenever you treat your dick as if it’s a separate entity.”

“Considering that he listens to you more than me, he very much is.”

He stares at my crotch and whispers, “Behave, Kolya. I’ll make it up to you later.”

“Uh, baby. Kolya has a very important question. Can later be right now?”

He chuckles and teasingly hits my shoulder again. “Behave, both of you. We’re in a public place.”

“Fiiine.”

“Stop sulking. How old are you? Five?”

“I was just thinking, we can go back to your room so I can eat you up before your dad comes back from work.”

“Nikolai Sokolov.” He mock gasps, pretending to be offended. “Are you only using me for sex?”

“Says the guy who woke me up with his lips around my cock at five in the fucking morning.”

His smile drips with seduction. “Well, I had to convince you to go on a run with me.”

“You don’t have to bribe me. I’d run with you anyway.”

“Does that mean I have to stop waking you up that way?”

“Like fuck you’ll stop. In fact, you should use that currency some more.” I pause as a gust of wind blows my hair in my face. I left it loose on purpose since Bran is obsessed with it. He often plays with the strands or tucks them behind my ears like right now. “Why do you love running so much?”

“It’s a habit.” His eyes get lost in the lake. “It started as a coping mechanism. Wake up at five, run at five thirty, shower at seven, breakfast at seven fifteen, studio at seven thirty, school at nine, friends or activities after school, shower at eight, studio at eight thirty, sleep at ten thirty. Keeping my life going according to schedule forbids me from having alone time and, therefore, getting stuck in my own head.”

“Is that why you fight so much for control?”

“Yes. I love patterns, methodical decisions, and living according to a plan. They make sense and keep me in check.” A small sad smile crosses his lips. “Which is why you’re a massive glitch in the matrix. You’re everything I can’t stand and wouldn’t have touched with a ten-foot pole.”

“Baby, it’s because we’re drastically different that you couldn’t stay away.”

“Don’t let it get to your head.”

“Too late. I love how you couldn’t resist my dripping charm.”

“More like shameless flirting and constant pushing.”

“That comes with the charm.”

“You’re impossible.”

“You know you love it.” I wink. “Besides, you let go around me, and I’m so fucking proud of that. I want you to know that you can give up control and trust that I’ll never use your vulnerabilities against you.”

“I know,” he whispers, but the sad note in his voice throws me off, but only for a second before his face returns to normal.

I realize the topic is closed before he speaks. “What do you want to do? Any other touristy things? Maybe a pastries tour? I know a few hidden Italian and French bakeries around North West and Central London.”

“I thought you hated the touristy things and even kept apologizing to many people and whispering, ‘He’s American, sorry.’ I can’t believe they nodded in understanding and had the audacity to look like they were pitying you.”

“Well, you talk too loud and keep making eye contact with strangers until they nearly shrivel and die.”

“I thought they were stunned by my handsomeness.”

“More like appalled by your unwanted attention. We don’t do that in London.”

“Okay, London boy. Seems everyone is a bunch of snobs like you.”

“We’re not snobs. We’re just big champions of respecting others’ personal space and privacy.”

“I don’t do that with you.”

“Don’t I know it.” He touches my arm. “Tell me. What are you in the mood for?”

“You already catered to what I want. We can do what you want today. Walk around the park or watch ducks all day. It doesn’t matter.”

“It’s your first time in London. I want you to have the full experience, including the clichéd photos in front of the red phone booths.”

“It’s not my first time. I’ve come with my parents and sisters before and with Dad a couple of times to meet his godfather who lives here.”

“Oh. Then why did you make it sound as if this is your first?”

I lift a shoulder. “I wanted to experience it with you. It feels like the first time. I couldn’t pass up the chance when you said you’d take me on a date.”

“I can’t with you.”

“I know I’m your favorite. Now, you tell me. What do you want to do?”

“I’ll take you to those bakeries anyway. We have to satisfy the sugar monster living rent-free in your stomach. After that…” He reaches a hand back and I tense, expecting him to pull on his hair, but he just rubs his nape. “Do you mind modeling for me again?”

“Not one bit.” I smile big and kiss his cheek. “I love getting naked for you.”

“You love getting naked everywhere.”

“Not everywhere. For you, baby.” My voice lowers. “I can’t wait to bury my cock in your ass and have you begging and writhing beneath me.”

“Stop talking,” he hisses under his breath but I can tell he’s fighting both a smile and an erection.

Over the past few days, I hung around in his studio while only wearing shorts as he worked on his paintings.

At that time, I was contemplating the best way to smash Landon’s sculptures to pieces without being canceled by Bran faster than a nineties show.

So imagine my surprise when he walked up to me with a brush and started painting all over my chest, then he slid down my shorts and kept going. Best foreplay ever.

Needless to say, I fucked him against the floor right after. Ever since then, he’d asked if I could model for him and I’ve jumped at the opportunity.

From the sketches I’ve caught glimpses of, I think he’s replicating my tattoos, and that’s a good sign, I think. I’d do anything in my power to help him get over not being able to paint people.

Astrid showed me a lot of his paintings from when he was younger, and it’s clear he has a god’s talent. He painted people with so many details and soul that it would captivate anyone—even an illiterate at art such as myself. That soul is tragically missing from the landscapes he does now.

Bran is about to say something when a little girl with dark skin and hair held up in colorful ribbons stops in front of him and gives him a daisy. “This is for you.”

He smiles and lowers himself to his haunches in front of her and has the audacity to accept the flower. “Thank you. Are you lost?”

“No, Mummy is just slow.”

He laughs, the sound like smooth honey.

And I’m not the reason behind it.

Am I thinking about pitching a little girl in the water so she’ll join the fucking ducks?

Yes, yes, I am.

She must feel my glare, because she looks up and glares back. This little shit isn’t scared of me while most people obviously are. Let’s say that during our walks, dogs like me, but their owners definitely do not. Both dogs and humans love Bran, though.

Not that I care or anything.

Except for glaring at anyone who bats their eyelashes at him. Bran is so fucking oblivious to their attention, but he’s also too polite for my liking and engages in any conversation people start. Why can’t he just give the ‘fuck off’ vibe I’m notorious for?

Because he’s such a Prince Charming, that’s why. I have to work at not being murderous or entertaining kidnapping thoughts whenever I see him exchanging pleasantries with others.

This little girl is a new situation, though. Especially since she’s immune to my superior glares.

She leans in to whisper something in Bran’s ear, and he listens attentively before he whispers something back.

The girl releases an exasperated sigh. “But why? You’re like a prince from the fairy tales.”

“I am?”

“Totally.”

Okay, that’s enough.

“Hey, kid.” I pull Bran up and wrap my arm around his waist. “He’s my prince. Back off.”

“Nikolai!” He elbows me. “You’ll scare her. Stop it.”

“Shoo.” I wave her away.

“Nikolai!”

“Hmph.” She hikes a hand on her hip. “When I grow up, I’m going to marry him.”

“Dream on.”

Bran has dug a hole in my side by now.

“Nour!” an older woman calls as she hurries toward us, panting. “What did I say about running off…?”

She stops in front of us and stares, unlike all of Bran’s precious Londoners. He pulls away from me, and although it’s subtle, I don’t like it. But then again, many people are homophobic assholes, though I haven’t encountered that here and I’m thankful, not for my sake, but for Bran’s. I don’t give a fuck what people think, he does.

Though he didn’t seem to mind when he kissed me in public yesterday or the day before that.

I expect him to put distance between us, but he threads his fingers with mine.

Fuck me.

Maybe he really doesn’t care anymore. The fact that he’s holding my hand without feeling an ounce of shame—which he shouldn’t—makes me want to kiss him.

“Look, Mummy. I found a fairy-tale prince and his servant.”

“That’s not his servant, Nour.” She smiles apologetically. “I’m so sorry. She loves running around.”

“No worries.” Bran smiles. “She’s adorable.”

“Aw, thank you.” The woman grabs her daughter’s hand and starts dragging her away.

The kid has the audacity to tell Bran, “Wait for me. I’m going to come back for you when I grow up.”

Her mom apologizes again as she laughs and whisks the girl off before I go ahead and dump her in the lake a la serial killer.

“Stop glaring, Nikolai.”

“The nerve of that little shit.” I snatch the flower she gave him and throw it down.

“Are you seriously swearing at a kid?”

“What did she whisper to you?”

“You need help, fairy-tale prince?”

“That fucking—”

“I mean, you do give off scary vibes.”

“And what did you tell her?”

“That’s a secret.”

“What do you mean by secret? Don’t tell me you’re taking a fucking kid’s side over mine?”

“Don’t tell me you’re actually jealous of a kid?”

“What if I am?”

“You’re serious? I’ve never been in a real relationship before you, never been intimate with anyone until you, never liked someone despite disliking most things they do like I do with you. How can you still feel jealous?”

I try not to smile, then scrunch my nose up. “I don’t know. You clearly had a crush. You called him a prince, too. Jayden Adler. NASA Headquarters. DC.”

“Stop saying those details in that monotone voice. You really sound like you’re putting a target on his back.”

“Maybe I am.”

“Nikolai!”

“Yes, baby?”

He drills me with his dark glare that I’ve learned runs in the family. From his grandad to his dad, uncle, and even his psycho brother. “You will not hurt Jay. He has nothing to do with this.”

“You coming to his defense doesn’t help his case. Pretty sure Mom knows someone powerful in DC. Hmm…”

“I’d forgotten the entire thing until Mum mentioned it again. Jay and I are just friends and he barely has time to come back to the UK anymore.”

“So if he did have time, things would be different?”

“No. You know why?”

“Because I wouldn’t allow it?”

“Because I never wanted a prince. I prefer an unhinged motherfucker.”

“Hey! That’s me!” I grin so wide, I can see my reflection in his bright eyes.

“Don’t smile. You’ll grow on me.”

“Awe. I thought I was already.”

“Seriously, stop grinning. I don’t like sharing it with others.”

“Who’s the jealous one now?”

“I don’t share, Niko. Am I clear?”

“One thing we have in common.”

“You still didn’t wipe that look off your face.”

“Jesus, chill. I can’t believe everyone thinks you’re such a golden boy when you’re, in fact, a fucking control freak.”

“You have complaints, baby? You can voice them, but there’s no guarantee I’ll take them into account.”

My lips part and I can feel my heart crawling up to my mouth and spilling on the ground at his feet.

His smile falters. “What’s wrong?”

“You just called me baby.”

“Oh. It—”

“Don’t say it was a mistake.”

“It wasn’t. I want to call you that sometimes.”

I clutch him by a fistful of his jacket and drag him against me. “I need to kiss you—”

The words aren’t fully out of my mouth when he seals his lips to mine and sears himself in my fucking heart with the most passionate kiss. He kisses me with yearning, longing, and emotions he’s still hesitating to admit.

He kisses me like he will never let go of me.

Like he’ll burn for me as hot as I burn for him.

I want this moment to last forever, please and fucking thank you.


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