Chapter 2 : Challenge Accepted

3082 Words
Rashid “Another round for the table!” Zayed, my closest friend, waved over the attendant standing near the doorway of our private balcony. The French doors leading back into the main part of the restaurant remained blissfully closed, with sheer curtains parted over them in order to block glances from curious guests. This wasn’t an unusual kind of afternoon. With the way I lived, money was no object. I watched as the attendant trotted over with a drink cart, wheeling it along the carpeted flooring before kicking down the brake. A bit of uneasiness lingered within their shifting eyes as if they were trying to remember everything they were told about their job, or perhaps who I was. Raising a brow at the fresh bottle of champagne he produced from a chilled ice bucket, I turned to Zayed and nudged his foot with my own just as they popped the cork. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough to drink? It’s hardly noon.” My friend let out a laugh. “Are you the king of day drinking, telling me you’ve had enough already?” He had a point. I had already had a few glasses and a whiskey before I met him. My nerves shot with the never-ending pestering brought on by my parents over my current marriage-less situation. Not that it bothered me. I couldn’t stand the thought of marrying. My other friend, Naveen, leaned across the double-wide couch and grabbed a hold of my shoulder. He shook me a few times, jostling the ice inside my empty glass resting on my knee. “Is our prince getting soft on us?” Rolling my eyes at my title being used so liberally, I held out my empty glass when the attendant lifted the bottle in my direction. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t just ask that.” Zayed laughed again, waving the attendant away from us. “Now he’s trying to placate us. Should we be worried you’re hiding something?” I snorted at the assumption. He wasn’t wrong exactly, but it wasn’t because I had suddenly become concerned with the status of my liver. I didn’t want to get completely plastered so early in the day. I had other plans to attend to tonight, and getting wasted on top of a private balcony at a lounge bar in the middle of downtown Dubai simply wasn’t one of them. “Hiding what exactly?” I lifted my glass to my lips but didn’t take a sip from it. “Maybe someone has a date tonight.” That got me to laugh. “The only date I have is with my sister at four o’clock, sampling cakes with her and my mother.” An outing I wasn’t looking forward to at all. Both my mother and oldest younger sister could be quite opinionated when it came to party matters. With my sister’s wedding only a few short months away, both she and my mother had been practically insufferable. I didn’t know what possessed me to volunteer as their tie-breaker for cake tasting, but I’m sure they’d make me regret it later today. Which was all the more reason my evening plans were going to take precedence. After the day’s events were all said and done, I would need the de-stressor. “Come now, your highness,” Naveen said. “You can’t tell me that your mother isn’t pushing you to bring a date to your sister’s wedding. Surely she wants you to at least be looking for a wife.” I grunted at Naveen’s attempt at prying into my non-existent love life. Well, non-existent to him, anyway. Zayed was the only one who was privy to most of that information. I didn’t trust anyone else to know about my… extracurricular affairs. While scandals weren’t uncommon among the royal families within the UAE, I wasn’t looking to expose myself when it wasn’t necessary. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Zayed giving me a pointed stare. “Well, of course, she is.” I leaned back in my lounge chair. “But that doesn’t mean I listen to her.” “How brave of you, your highness, to wave off the queen’s persistence regarding your love life,” Naveen laughed. “I’d call it nagging, actually.” “If it were my mother, she’d berate me until I chose someone at the next royal event,” Naveen countered, causing the irritation within me to swell. I didn’t give a damn about what he would choose. I wasn’t interested in getting f*cking married. Royalty or not. Zayed slapped his hands on his thighs at the tension that was slowly rising within the new standing silence of our group. Rising to his feet, his eyes met mine, and a lightheartedness seemed to fill his face. “I think we can all agree that Rashid is quite stubborn.” Traitor. He wasn’t supposed to be agreeing with them. As Zayed stepped over me to grab another drink from the cart, I looked up at him over the rim of my sunglasses and frowned. He was one to talk, actually. He’d barely made any efforts in finding a wife, and his situation had a much bigger time constraint than mine. As the son of a diplomat and the next in line to follow his father’s footsteps politically, it was in Zayed’s best interest to find a wife as soon as possible. Starting his career in the complicated and often cutthroat geo-political landscape would only be harder if he tried entering it legally single. No foreign nation wanted to deal with an untethered man. Especially one as young and vivaciously personable as Zayed. It was a recipe for a scandal potentially ending his entire career before it even began. More than once, he and I sat around snickering at the reports of the poor souls caught with s*x workers or women married to other political figures in their hotel rooms because they didn’t have a wife keeping them in line. Sure, occasionally, situations arose where the reverse was true, and a married politician was caught living as if he had no responsibilities. But it was much harder to come back from something like that if the media already considered you unloyal in the first place. How were you to be trusted if you hadn’t already taken the steps to show your commitment to another person? At least, Zayed’s father preached the sentiment to him. I, on the other hand, didn’t believe in any of that. I was determined to starve off my mother’s insistence on finding a wife for as long as possible. My father being in good health, it’d be a long while until I was expected to take his place on the throne. And until then, my personal life would remain my own business. “Why don’t we sign him up for a dating app of some sort?” Both Zayed and I turned to look at Naveen at the same time. My brows furrowed and my nose wrinkled as I glared at him with disgust. “No way.” Laughter escaped Zayed at my comment. “Do you really think the prince would be allowed to partake in a dating app?” Naveen shrugged. “It would have to be anonymous, of course. Perhaps his highness could find a nice girl from a noble family to occupy his time with. Bring her around to events and have her meet your family.” “Like a commoner…” I replied mockingly. “You don’t really think before you speak, do you?” Zayed cleared his throat, causing my attention to turn to him. He raised his brow in question as if to say it wasn’t a bad idea, and every part of me wanted to wring his neck for even thinking something like that would be accepted. Naveen came from a relatively newer political family, so his knowledge about my family and how we did things was a little… lacking. His family had shipped him over here from India back when he was still a teenager in order to secure his studies in one of the richest countries in the world. “What’s bad about that?” Naveen went on. “I mean… your inexperience can be worked out with a common girl. At least by the time you get married, you’ll feel more confident.” I shook my head at him and said nothing. Among most of my friends and those closest to me, they all took my lack of companionship with women as a sign I was still inexperienced and a virgin. It was laughable. Not only was it far from the truth, but if the truth about my s*x life were ever exposed, it would absolutely horrify people. And that’s what made it so damn funny. The only reason I’d ever let Zayed be privy to the information in the first place was because he’d been the first—and only—person to catch me. After that incident, I’d been cautious about my comings and goings out of the palace. “You know what, Naveen?” Zayed slouched back down into his chair and kicked up his feet. “I think you may have a point.” I shot him a look, telling him silently that egging on Naveen would only worsen the situation. Of course, my best friend loved causing trouble, especially if I was on the receiving end. I half suspected it wasn’t due to him wanting to humiliate me, but more that, it gave him some sort of power over me he otherwise wouldn’t get. He made sure to never take it too far—the man knew his place, after all—but he certainly toed the line enough for it to make me uncomfortable. Which is exactly what he wanted. “How about we do none of that,” I told them both. “Perhaps a dating app is too beneath you, Rashid. Maybe we should start you on something that’s more your speed,” Zayed suggested. I raised my brows. “And what exactly would that be?” Zayed grinned. “One of those Sugar Baby websites.” Next to me, Naveen all but choked. “No.” My friend grinned at me. “Why not? You have plenty of money to spare. I’m sure some overseas college girl would love to send you nudes for a few thousand.” I rolled my eyes and used appropriate air quotes. “That wouldn’t be exactly helping my ‘inexperience’.” Zayed’s grin widened. “You’re right, my apologies.” Shaking my head, I leaned forward and slid my still-full glass onto the glass table in front of me. Before standing to fix my shirt and jeans—something I liked to wear to camouflage with the tourists or when I didn’t feel like dealing with people recognizing me—before pushing in my chair. “I’ve got to head out. If you two want to keep drinking the day away, be my guest. But I’m closing out my tab before you both run it up again.” Zayed scoffed and threw one of the toothpicks he’d collected in his martini glass at me. “You’re a righteous bastard with that attitude.” A small smirk perked itself upon the corner of my lips as I looked down at him. “I hope you remembered to bring your father’s black card.” My comment was an annoyance he didn’t appreciate. I was basically saying he didn’t have his own money and was still living off Daddy. But the way his face turned from a scowl to a smile, I knew he was up to something. “Let me sign you up for an online website, and I won’t recite your card number to the bartender for the entire restaurant to enjoy.” Narrowing my brows, I glared at him. The deathly stare was enough for him to swallow hard before he forcefully smiled wider. “Come on, Rashid.” Taking a moment to consider what he was asking, a thought appeared in my mind that made me chuckle inside. “Okay, I’ll let you do what you're asking. However, you have to find me someone of my skill level. Otherwise, no deal.” The double meaning wouldn’t be lost on Zayed, but certainly would be on Naveen. Which was perfect. There was no way Zayed would find a woman even remotely close to the kind I liked to f**k daily, anyway. No one would be respectable enough to bring home to my family. Zayed quickly shot me the middle finger, causing me to laugh. Striding forward, I clasped my hand on his shoulder as I nodded my goodbyes to the others before turning toward the doors. The attendants quickly opened them as I made my way back out into the chaotic noise of the Dubai marketplace. *** I was exhausted and mentally drained when I got home from cake tasting with my sister and mother. With my bed in view, I flopped down on it, finally able to relax. There was a lot about the afternoon with my mother and sister that I hated. While I loved them both dearly, I cared less about what my sister wanted in her wedding. As long as she was satisfied, I was satisfied. If I had to spend another moment listening to them discuss anything about her wedding, I was going to explode. Lifting my phone, I noted the time and a light groan escaped me. Part of me wanted to stay in and simply sleep. But another part of me longed for the darkness that night gave me and so I stood from my bed, slipping my shoes back on with one destination in mind. By now, the house was blissfully quiet. With everyone gone off to their separate corners for the evening, it gave me plenty of cover to sneak out into the vibrant nightlife in downtown Dubai. It was only a short distance from the palace to the streets where all the nightclubs were. I didn’t frequent most of them—my taste for what I wanted wasn’t ever easily found on a hot and sweaty dance floor. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t out there. It was only hidden by those too scared to go looking for it. Having taken the least flashy of my cars, I parked down a back alley, glancing around as I stepped from the vehicle, locking it behind me. These days, having something eye-catching would only lead to people approaching and asking questions.   Questions I didn’t need nor have time for. Heading to the unmarked door, I knocked a series of four taps. A small panel at eye level opened up, and a pair of dark eyes stared me down. Pulling out my keys from my pocket, I flashed the small black key chain to the person on the other side of the door. The panel slid back into place quickly before the door finally opened. “Welcome back, sir,” the large brooding man dressed in black robes greeted me as he kept his eyes on the wall in front of him as I made my way past. He was familiar with me as a guest, but he had no idea who I was as a person. Inside, I could hear the music pounding through the speakers, thumping hard against my chest in a way that lit the adrenaline in my veins on fire. I could already smell the distinct musky odor of s*x from here, and it only seemed to arouse me more. Heading down the hall, it opened up into a giant room expanding across three sets of stages and a full floor. Nude dancers were all around, most of them in various states of preoccupation as they serviced their clients. Others waiting for someone to claim them. Striding over to one of my favorite spots, I took a seat in the front. Up on stage was a woman with large t**s and a thin waist currently strung up from the ceiling in an intricate shibari restraint. Her face was pointed to the floor with her arms behind her back, and her ass pointed up, presented to whoever was next in the queue behind her. Men lined up with their pants drawn, c***s in their hands, and their fingers fitted with wads of cash as each of them stepped up to rut into her. Sitting back in my chair, I caught the eye of one of my favorite dancers and smiled when she glided over toward me, a drink already in her hand. “I missed you,” she said softly as she approached me immediately, taking her spot on my lap as she put the glass of cool liquid up to my lips. I drank from it; the sounds of skin slapping against skin from the stage was great background noise as she ground the side of her ass into my hips. Whatever was in her drink was strong, but it tasted sweet. She pulled it back from my lips and smiled at me when I grabbed her jaw in a firm grip. Strippers and hookers were the types of women I spent my time with. Not because they offered great company, but because most were the type to not shy away from vanilla s*x. I didn’t want boring, procreating s*x my parents diligently tried to push me into. No woman would ever satisfy me completely, but at least the women here could be good enough for now. Licking the liquid off my lips, I leaned in close to her. “Have you been good while I’ve been away?” Her laugh was throaty, indicating she must have had a c**k down her throat not too long ago. The knowledge caused my own to stir within my pants, ready to continue the cycle. “Do you want to take me to our room and find out?” she teased me, her n*****s hard and pressing into the thin fabric of my shirt. She didn’t have to ask me that to know the answer. Slowly, she climbed off my lap as I slapped the side of her ass hard enough it made my hand sting. A soft gasp of a moan escaped her lips at the action. “Let’s find out, shall we?”
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