It was quiet save for their steady breathing.
Kalon stole a glance at Enara who sat across from her. A thin layer of sweat gathered on her brow. Juniper sat next to her, shoulder to shoulder, and he looked down at the table before them with such intensity Kalon feared it would catch on fire.
Nesrin shifted and knocked elbows with Kalon. They exchanged a brief glance and in that moment, they knew – they mustn’t lose.
Kaira sat at the head of the small circular table, a pen and paper laid before her, eyes flickering between Kalon and Nesrin then Enara and Juniper.
Kalon saw the corner of Enara’s lips twitch. Enara looked up, catching Kalon’s eyes. Her lips quirked and with a flourish, she laid down her cards at the table.
Kalon closed her eyes, hissing through her teeth.
She heard Nesrin curse next to her.
Juniper let out a triumphant cheer.
When Kalon opened her eyes, Enara grinned. “We win,” she whispered, lips blood red, eyes glimmering black.
Nesrin fidgeted next to her, throwing her losing cards on the table. “How about–”
“No.” Enara said curtly, smiling smugly at the princess. When Kalon turned to Nesrin, the Kinnari almost fell off her chair. The princess was pouting.
“The winner has been decided,” Kaira said decisively, scribbling something on the paper.
“What, does the thought of sharing a bed with a Kinnari repulse you, Your Highness?” Kalon muttered, elbowing Nesrin as she stood.
The princess huffed, still pouting. Kalon ignored her. Kaira held out a hand. On the palm of her hand is the key to their shared room.
“It’s only for four moons,” Kalon said, looking back to Nesrin with a curling smile. “I’m sure you’ll survive.”
Nesrin looked up, a slow smile slipping on her lips.
Kalon froze. Nesrin walked slowly towards her, pausing within earshot. She smelled like the ocean.
Under her breath, voice like the calm before the storm, the princess whispered, “Will you?”