Robin walked through a divided world.
Half of it was trees and cars and buildings. The other half was clouded and uncertain shapes and nothing more.
Every unknown shape was Olessa.
All waiting to catch him, to break him further, to stake him.
He shivered and tried to keep his focus forward.
It’s Isellta’s fault that Olessa had me. It’s his fault that I was tortured. It’s his fault that I’m less than what I was before.
It’s his fault—
It’s because of him that I’m free.
He thought about Isellta.
His almost feminine face.
His honest confusion.
I need to find him.
I know where to find him.
Isellta dipped his finger in the water.
It was still a little too hot.
He put his finger in his mouth.
“So, I gave you my advice.” said Ambrose. “What are you going to do about it?”
Isellta sucked on his finger. “mm. I don’t know.” He pulled his finger out. “I don’t like the idea of leaving him.”
“Why? You two lovers or something?”
“Lovers?” Lovers. Lov–er–s. Love–rs. Love? “We’re not lovers. I’m sure of it.”
“Uhh…?” How can one be sure of that sort of thing? “I don’t even know what a lover is.”
“You’re pitiful. I hope you know that.”
“A lover is…if you want to go by the strict definition, a lover is one who loves.”
“I don’t know what love is.”
“Which is why you’re pitiful and I’m not. Love is…” He smiled in a fuzzy, sentimental way. “Love is everything that she is, everything she does.”
Isellta dipped his finger in the water and put it in his mouth.
“It’s in her touch, in her voice, in the way she makes me laugh like a hyena drunk on moonshine. It’s all there, in the way my heart beats when she says my name.”
Why is he not answering the question? “None of that makes sense.”
Ambrose laughed. “Well. No one ever said that love makes sense.”
“I probably won’t like it, then.”
“I imagine you’d hate it.”
Isellta ran his finger around the rim of the glass.
Feels interesting. Both hot and cool. “So? Love is…a good thing?”
“Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.”
And there he goes again with his nonsense.
“It can make you run around town, singing your head off. It can also break you into pieces too small to put together.”
“So, it isn’t a good thing?”
“It’s a very good thing.”
Isellta’s finger went still. “Do you suppose Robin knows about it?”
Ambrose shrugged. “Are you going to flirt with that glass all night or are you going to drink it?”
“It’s too hot.”
“Trust me. I know it isn’t. It’s lukewarm, at best.”
“You don’t make any sense.”
The door banged open. “Isellta!”
The fey rose to his feet and happily flapped his wings. “Robin!”
“I need to talk to you. I need to say my say. I need—”
Ambrose stretched his arms in a long, lazy gesture. “I think I need to go for a walk.” He stood and left the room.
“Let me talk and listen to me.”
“Yes. I’m mad at you. I can’t help it. You trapped me for her. You helped her. You did everything she told you. I can’t let that go. I can’t forget you just standing there, saying nothing as I pleaded for mercy. You don’t understand what I physically went through. What I’m still going through. I’m broken. I’m ruined. I’m torn apart and shattered. And where are all of those pieces? Where did they all go? Where is the Robin I was before?”
Isellta didn’t reply.
“He’s gone. He’s dead and rotting away in a forgotten grave.”
“I’m sorry, Robin.”
“If only that could help me. But it can’t. I don’t know what can help me.”
This is my moment.
I’ll say it fast and then leave.
“I know…I know what can help.” His wings flittered. “I will give you space.”
“You’ll do what?”
“Give you space. Space to heal. Space to…”
Robin approached him.
“…to…to be. To be without me.”
“And you think that’s what I want?”
“Yes. I’m nothing but a hurt. A reminder of a hurt. You’ll be better. You’ll…You’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. You’ll see. You’ll see. You’ll be better. You’ll be all better. It makes sense. It…It does. It makes sense.”
“But…” His wings flattened against his back. “…why does something so sensible hurt so much?”
Robin punched his shoulder. “Stupid fey.”
Isellta rubbed his shoulder. “What was that for?”
“Because you’re stupid. That’s what it was for. Come on. Let’s pay your bill and get out of here.”
“You are coming with me.” It was a statement of fact, but it felt like a question.
It doesn’t make sense.
I should leave him.
“Are you coming with me or not?”
I want to stay with him and I don’t understand why.
“Are you coming?”
It doesn’t make sense.