There’s no way this is really happening, I think as the motorcade speeds at what must be at least 100 miles per hour toward the airport.
We reach the Jahwar airport less than twenty minutes later. But instead of pulling up to the front entrance, we continue around the back and down a service road until the cars stop outside a full-sized Boeing jet.
Wow, I guess even commercial airlines let this dude board at his own royal convenience, I think as I follow two of the suited guards up a huge set of air stairs with Zahir and another set of elite guards behind me.
But my mouth falls open when instead of walking into the first-class section of a plane, I enter the foyer of a three-story entrance hall with—I shit you not—a spiral staircase.
The full-sized Boeing isn’t a commercial jet at all. It’s a private jet. And just like that, my Jersey is back.
“Da fuck…?” I whisper.
There is no way in hell any of this is a mirage. Or a dream. Because I would never ever imagine myself onto a private plane. That would only happen in my worst nightmares.
I don’t realize I’m frozen in place until Zahir very nearly rear ends me.
I hear him speaking in hushed Arabic behind me. A few seconds later, the guards vanish and it’s just the two of us at the plane’s entrance.
“I…I don’t travel on private jets,” I eventually tell him, my voice weak with fear. “Ever.”
“Yes, Sylvie explained this to me when you were late to the wedding. I had wondered why you refused to accept Holt’s offer to fly you here on his private plane. It is understandable that you would suffer from severe anxiety about private planes because of your father’s crash. But habibti, it is not safe or convenient for me to travel on a commercial flight. If I am to come to New Jersey with you, this is the only way I can do it.”
I understand. I really do. But I still cannot move.
Zahir takes me by the hand. “Come,” he says, “I will give you a tour and then we will meet the pilots who will help explain the difference between my jet and the two-engine private plane your father owned. I can promise you this jet is very, very safe and my pilots are excellent.”
He gently pulls me forward until the lock comes out of my step. And as my lungs slowly start to work again, I have to agree with him. This plane is nothing like the two-engine puddle jumper that ended my father’s life. It has four bedrooms, a boardroom with technology walls, and a long touchscreen table. There’s even a dining area that seats twelve, a prayer and meditation room, and twenty reclining seats in the back for his staff.
The three-pilot crew responsible for flying the plane on overseas trips tells me this particular jet has had exactly zero mid-air or on-the-ground malfunctions. Then they take a lot of time to answer my questions and explain to me the pre-flight checks that go into preventing the same kind of fuel system failure that caused my father’s plane to go down. They imply, but do not outright say, that my father didn’t keep up with the maintenance on his plane and, even worse, hired a pilot who did not perform the proper fuel system checks. By the end of our conversation, I understand that the combination of neglect and not taking the correct safety precautions before take-off was why his plane went down.
After we’re done talking to the pilots, Zahir leads me to the first-class level staff section where we take two seats in the first row.
“We must buckle up for take-off and landing. It is like commercial travel in this one way,” he tells me. “But we’ll be free to move about the cabin after takeoff.”
“Okay,” I say, but then cut off when the plane’s engines fire up.
I close my eyes and try to pretend this really is a commercial flight, the kind of first-class trip I have not been able to afford since my father died.
It totally doesn’t work. I can feel a rising panic as the plane starts to lift off the ground.
But then Zahir’s hand covers mine. “I am your boundary. I am your control,” he whispers in my ear. And the panic lifts, giving way to the same warm and secure feeling I always get when he completely immobilizes me and then takes me hard while I am still in a submission hold.
“How did you know that would calm me down?” I ask when it is just the two of us in the biggest of the four bedrooms where he has invited me to have dinner. It puts me in mind of the palace’s aesthetics with the richly-colored satin duvet on the queen-sized bed, and the Bedouin-style curtains that separate the sleeping area from the smaller sitting area. There’s even a Persian rug spread out on the dark wood floor.
“You are asking me how I have come to know you?” he asks with his low grumble-laugh as he opens the door to a small closet. Inside, are two freshly pressed suits hanging on the rack. “The answer is I’ve made a close study of you over the past two months. It is the same as how you knew that phone call to Holt would work on me.”
I think about it and realize he’s right. The meals and the sex and the fighting have allowed us to get to know each other far better than most other couples with only two months together would.
And that brings up another issue. That we are in this bedroom together. Flying to my home state together. Even though I know Zahir is a man who doesn’t forgive or forget.
“So…about that big punishment you had planned?” I ask. “Is that still on?”
He pulls one of the suits from the closet and answers, “Of course, habibti. But we will deal with your situation at home first. Then we will continue with the punishment.”
I nod, not really expecting anything less from him. But then I frown at the dark gray suit in his hands. “Wait…why are you changing into a suit?”
“My traditional clothes are what I most often wear in Jahwar. But I tend to wear suits when I am traveling abroad or attending events like Holt’s wedding.”
“But…you’re always in a suit when you visit me.”
Zahir crinkles his brow. “I dated a bit in high school and college, and I am aware many Western women find my traditional clothing…off-putting.”
I crook my head at him, a little stunned to discover that after weeks of having little to no choice about my clothing (or lack thereof), he would consider my feelings about what he chooses to wear. Then I guess, “So they used to call you Terror Fund Baby at Beaumont, too. Just like Asir.”
“Oh, I think it’s safe to say it was far worse for Asir,” he answers with a downward pull of his brows. “My brother has a kind and open nature. He was completely unprepared for the aggressive racism and bigotry of American teenagers.”
“Yeah, I bet,” I say with a wince. “But he did eventually figure it out. I mean, by his final year at Beaumont, those racist white kids voted him prom king.”
Zahir gives me a small half-smile. “True. I often feel he would have made a better king than me. I like the business aspects of being head of the royal family, but the people part…” he grimaces, “Asir’s always been a natural at navigating the social requirements of royal life, whereas I really have to work at it.”
I consider this. Consider him. And realize I like being here with him. Fully clothed and simply talking. It doesn’t feel like a punishment.
“Hey, Z,” I say, crossing the small room to stand in front of him and the suit he’s holding. Just close enough that we are almost but not quite touching.
“Yes, Prin?” he asks, eyes flickering with bemusement—probably because I am doing to him what he always does to me.
In keeping with the role reversal, I get as close to his ear as possible and ask, “Can I put this suit back in the closet for you…please?”
A look passes between us. We may be coming to know each other better, but we are both still full of surprises.
“Yes,” he answers.
His reply is simple. But the look in his eyes—the look in both our eyes—is not.
And that’s how Zahir and I end up talking on the flight back to New Jersey for far longer than we ever have back at his palace.
A woman in a short-sleeved button-up blouse and pencil skirt version of the palace uniform serves us each a glass of wine and an Arabic mezze of hummus, stuffed grape leaves, spicy eggplant dip, tabbouleh, potato harra, seared spinach, spicy cheese, potato kibbeh, and sambousek—the fried meat pockets I’ve come to love. Nabida is right. This food is nowhere near as good as the appetizer platters Zahir has been hand feeding me for the last two months.
But I eat happily, and even drink the wine as we sit and talk about Zahir’s life. From some of the trickier oil deals he’s currently negotiating for his kingdom, to the pressure that the Indian side of his family is putting on him to finish the Kingdom Mall. It’s all more than a little fascinating, and it slowly begins to dawn on me just how much time and effort he’s been putting into me with so much going on in his life beyond my suite’s doors.
We also talk about music. Zahir turns out to have very old-fashioned taste consisting of Arabian crooners from the seventies, and almost no American music or musicians save Frank Sinatra.
“Frank Sinatra?” I repeat, hardly able to believe Old Blue Eyes is the only American on his playlist.
“Yes. Sinatra is one of the few things Luca and I have in common.”
“Well, that and hookers,” I point out.
He bounces his head. “Our relationship, much like yours and mine, is complicated. Perhaps this is the only kind of relationship I can have with people from New Jersey?”
I chuff, mostly because it’s amusing to hear that somebody who grew up over six thousand miles away from New Jersey still “got jokes.”
“What’s, like, the most recent music you downloaded?” I ask after the attendant drops off our main course of curried chicken.
“Oh, let me think…that would have been a year or so ago,” he pauses for a moment to perform some mental calculations, “Ah, I remember. It was by an incredible Palestinian singer…Omar Kamal. Here, let me play some of his music for you…”
He presses the front of his phone a few times and seconds later, a man begins to sing…wait for it…a cover of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”
“Wow, you really went out on a limb to embrace that guy into your music collection…”
Zahir’s looks mildly defensive as he says, “He is very talented. You should give him more consideration.”
But it’s good background music for our dinner conversation. And despite Zahir’s severely limited musical palate, I very much enjoy the fact that the closed-off sheikh is finally opening up. But eventually, Zahir consults his watch and stands up from the table. “It is 10:00 PM in New York. We can safely sleep without it being an issue now. You may return to your room.”
I had no idea he was keeping us up to avoid the type of jet lag that hit me like a truck during those early days in Jahwar. Honestly, if Nabida and Raima hadn’t assisted me in my first few days at the palace, I would have been neck-deep in some serious jet-lag for at least another week. So I am grateful Zahir planned ahead. At the same time, I’m a little sad at the idea of going back to my room.
“Hey, Z…” I say.
“Yes, Prin?” he answers.
And then, for the third time in my life, I kneel before him. But instead of begging, I lift his kandura and pull his dick out of the loose white underwear underneath.
For once, Zahir isn’t raging hard, but he swells as soon as I wrap my hand around him and take him in my mouth. I eagerly accept the challenge of bringing him back to form with a knowing smile.
“Prin…” he says, his breath hitching as his hands find the back of my BBC duchess braids.
I get the feeling he wasn’t planning on sexy times tonight. But he doesn’t make me stop or try and take the reins back as he usually does.
Instead, Z watches me take as much of his monster as I can into my mouth, before licking and stroking the parts I can’t fit all the way in. I watch him, too, and when his breath seizes up, I put him back in my mouth. A few deep sucks later, I’m swallowing his cum and drinking it down.
“Told you I like the kandura,” I tease afterwards, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.
I stand and begin to make my way to the door. But just as I am about to move past him, he catches my hand.
“Prin…” he says, “…stay.”
A command. But it doesn’t sound like one. Or feel like one.
I don’t fight him. Just take off my clothes and climb onto the neatly-made bed.
He removes his clothes, too, dropping the tunic into a built-in hamper near the closet door. But instead of joining me on top of the covers, he tugs at them and motions for me to move over, so he can pull them all the way down.
I watch with wide eyes as a nude Zahir climbs into the bed and pulls the covers over us both. Then he turns me onto my side and pulls me backwards into his arms.
“Do you need help to fall asleep?” he asks, his voice husky in my ear as he gently cups a hand over my pussy.
“Yes, please,” I answer softly.
His fingers dive inside, and his thumb gently caresses my clit. And even though the sensations aren’t nearly as intense as those during our usual sex, I end up coming just as hard.
I pant for a second or two after, wondering if I should go to my designated room. But then Zahir murmurs, “Turn off bedroom four lights,” and the room blinks into darkness. Guess that answers that question…
“Goodnight, Prin,” he says.
“Goodnight, Z,” I reply.
We are a few hours into the flight. Somewhere over an ocean…I’m not even sure which one. And we are moving farther and farther from Jahwar.