Robin looked at Isellta’s teary-eyed face.
The words came easily to mind and left his mouth with equal ease. “I love you.”
Isellta can’t hear me.
He won’t understand.
I’ll say it again.
“Isellta. I love you.”
Saying it again made him see and feel and know the truth.
I do love him.
WHAT THE HECK?
How did this even happen? I’ve never felt this way about any man before. Only women. And now.
He looked at Isellta’s inquisitive face and his heart betrayed him with a BA-DUMP!
darndarndarndarndarn! Stupid.Stupid. DARN!
Isellta’s mouth formed Robin’s name again. Mouth open for the “Ro”. Lips touching for the “bin”.
Robin focused on his mouth. The shape of his lips.
What would it be like to kiss him? Would it be the same as kissing a chick? How would we go about it? Do I still have to close my eyes? Do I kiss him and let him respond or do I let him kiss me first or do I—
Why am I even thinking this? I’m sure as heck not gonna kiss him. Not even as an experiment. That would just feel freakish and weird and wrong and…
I like women.
I like him.
I love women.
I love him.
Can he even love me back?
What if he can’t?
Robin noticed the star and moon shine expression on the fey’s face. He smiled.
I think he can.
Robin’s mouth formed three words.
Or maybe it was just one long word. Isellta wasn’t sure.
But the expression on his face as he said it made Isellta feel weak and wobbly.
I’ve never felt this way about anyone. Not even Queen Preyuna. Why do I feel it for you? What causes love to come into a heart? Why is it you and not someone else? Anyone else?
He contemplated the scarred face on the monitor screen.
I want to touch his face.
I want him to touch mine.
I want him to hug me and I would hug him.
I would feel safe in his arms. I just know it.
“Robin. I love you.”
I’m not sure if he understood me. I’ll say it slowly.
“Robin. I. Love. You.”
Robin watched the movement of Isellta’s lips.
It took his stunned brain a few minutes to fully process it.
Robin. I love you.
I love you….
He loves me.
Then, how the heck could he sleep with that fey woman? What the heck, Isellta? What the ever burning heck?
He startled and looked over his shoulder.
Preyuna strolled into the room.
He stood and bowed. “Your Majesty.”
She stopped in front of him. “I’ve thought things over. I left you alone and…” She looked at Jay. “This is a private conversation. Please leave.”
Jay didn’t argue. He left.
She closed the door. “Isellta.”
“Your Majesty.” He twisted his fingers. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t do what you expected me to do.”
“Of course. As I was saying, I left you alone and vulnerable when you clearly needed consoling.”
His hands went still.
“I’ve thought it over. I handled that whole situation very poorly. You weren’t ready for me.” She smiled and crowded into his space. “So, come to me when you are ready.”
She is so beautiful.
He glanced back at Robin.
Preyuna made a hand gesture and all of the monitors went black.
Isellta felt a surge of panic. “Your Majesty. Please. I…” How can I tell her no? She is my Queen. “But you said it would just be that one time. That I wouldn’t have to do it again. You…promised me that…”
“I had expected you to respond appropriately. It failed. You have no protection from Mark Caten and his thugs.”
Isellta shook his head. “I…I can’t.”
His wings spasmed into a series of agitated flitters. “What if it doesn’t work again? What if I fail again? Will you keep trying? I can’t. I.”
Robin, I don’t want to.
“I don’t want to try again.”
“Please. I mean no offense. Please don’t make me go through that again.” He crumpled to his knees. His wings kept on spasming. “I know it will all be the same. No matter how many times I try. No matter how ready I may think I am. Nothing will happen. And it will hurt. I will hurt to know that I can’t even do something so basic. Please.”
“I’m not doing this for my own pleasure, Isellta. I’m doing this for you. To keep you safe.”
“Then, don’t turn me down.”
He drew his shoulders inward. Why won’t she listen to me? “I’m sorry. I can’t. I can’t, Your Majesty. I.”
His wings went still.
I love Robin.
He raised his head. “I won’t.”
Her expression turned cold.
Isellta rose to his feet. “I won’t do it. Not again. Not ever again. I have never felt so badly used. I felt so small. So stupid. So…so much like nothing. I don’t want to feel that way again. If Mark Caten and his cronies want to tear my wings off, fine. I’ll take that chance.”
“That doesn’t make sense. Why risk so much pain when there is a simple solution?”
She doesn’t understand. She’ll never understand. “Because it isn’t a simple solution.”
“That doesn’t make sense. You don’t make sense. Why don’t you make sense?”
He thought about Robin and smiled. “Bad company.”