Part Twenty-Six

“Do not be afraid, my Princess. What you are feeling is the result of many years research by the scientists of Cassadine laboratories."

A horrible suspicion suddenly gripped Alexandra, and with considerable effort her gaze swiveled toward the dresser and the decanter of port they had just partaken of. Just as she feared, beside her empty glass stood Stavros' untouched glass of port.

He reached out and gently caught his young bride as she began to slump to one side. With a tender smile adorning his face, Stavros gently lowered her unresisting body to the bed.

"My father, Mikkos, was a truly wise man." Stavros began a one-sided conversation with his motionless bride. "He realized that in order for the Cassadine family to flourish, we must remain ten steps ahead of our enemies."

Stavros straightened Alexandra's body out upon the bed. His hands caressed each lithe leg before arranging it neatly beside its mate. The Prince took a moment to admire the perfection of his young wife's naked body .

"I did not dare hope that you would be such a treasure, my sweet Alexandra. While certainly beautiful, your picture did not capture the fire that I have since come to know in you." He stroked her stomach. "You are indeed worthy to be my bride."

With all the care of a father putting his young child to bed, Stavros slid his hands beneath his inert wife and rolled her carefully over onto her stomach. He lovingly swept aside the hair which covered the Princess' face and placed tiny kisses upon the cool skin of her cheek. Clinically he checked the positioning of her nose and mouth to ensure that Alexandra's breathing was unimpeded.

“There have been very few worthy Cassadine brides throughout our history,” Stavros said conversationally. “Most have broken beneath the weight of their husbands' greatness.” He stretched out momentarily beside Alexandra and placed his face directly before hers. The toxin had taken full effect and his wife's eyes were wide and unblinking.

“Will you break, my beloved Princess?”

Stavros rose and slid from the bed. He reached into the top drawer of the night table and brought out a small brown paper bag.

“Centuries of tradition have dictated certain requirements for those who would be Cassadine brides. They were to be of significant monetary value to the Prince who chose her as his bride. They were to be obedient to the husband who honored her by making her his wife and allowing her the privilege of bearing his children.” The rustle of the paper bag filled the room.

“Most importantly, she was to be a virgin at the time the marriage bed was christened.”

Stavros returned to the bed. He knelt between Alexandra's motionless limbs. “You did not come into the marriage a virgin in the truest sense,” he chided his wife. “So I must take my virginity wherever I find it.”

He reached above Alexandra's head and pulled one of the down-filled pillows to him. With little effort, he raised the young woman's hips and slid the pillow beneath them. “You are truly fortunate, my Princess, that you have impressed me so. You have earned the benefit of my tender side.”

Stavros opened the tube and coated several fingers with a clear, odorless lubricant. “No doubt you would have resisted me in this,” he explained. “And because I have no desire to harm you unnecessarily, you understand now the toxin's purpose. To protect you from yourself.”

He placed a tender kiss upon the small of Alexandra's back. “Now,” he murmured, his voice hoarse with excitement as he carefully applied the slick substance, “share my pleasure.”

Stavros clenched his teeth against the overwhelming sensation of Alexandra's body surrounding him tightly. Yet even with the lubricant, her flesh fought against his advances.

It did not matter.