Jay finished his plate and took it to the sink. “I gotta get myself back to work.” He ruffled Isellta’s hair, which made the fey’s wings flap again. “You be good and stay out of trouble. Okay?”
“Jay. Before you go, is there something, anything that I can do? I hate being so idle. I need to do something.”
“I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about it. For right now, stay out of Preyuna’s path.”
“I believe she and I have reached an understanding. She won’t try again.”
“Maybe, but I don’t trust her.”
“Jay? Why are you so nice to me? It doesn’t quite make sense to me. I’m not like you.” Isellta poked his fork into his pasta. “I’m not like anyone. Not even any fey. I’m wrong. Always so wrong.”
“I feel bad for you, but I’m sure you already knew that.” Jeff shrugged. “I don’t know. This is going to sound sappy and New Agey, but I feel a kinship with you. Like you’re the kid brother I never had . Or something weird like that.”
“Oh.” Isellta took his words apart and tried to make sense of them. “But you don’t have wings.”
“Told you it was weird.” He smiled. “I just thought of something you can do. It isn’t necessarily work, but it will definitely keep you occupied. You like music, right?”
“Somewhere in the back of my closet is a cd of John Denver’s greatest hits and a cd player.” He paused. “You do know what a cd player looks like, right?”
“Good. I want you to find both of those items.”
“If I find it, can I listen to it?”
“If you can find them, you can keep them.”
Isellta’s wings flared out in shock. “Do you mean it?”
“One hundred percent.”
Isellta jumped out of his chair and threw his arms around Jay’s neck.
“Thank you.” His wings softened into a gentle flap. He leaned his head against Jay’s head. “Thank you.”
Jay patted Isellta’s back beneath his wings. “Good luck finding them”
Isellta released him. “I will find them.” He smiled. “By the time you’re all done with work, I’ll have them both in my hands.”
Jay took his robe off the back of one of the kitchen chairs and put it on his own back. “We’ll see.” He pulled his mask out of the robe’s pocket and put it on. “We’ll see.”
It’s such a small thing, but it makes him so happy.
What has his life been like? Hasn’t anyone given him anything before?
Jay readjusted his mask.
Poor kid. I wish I could do more to help him. There has to be something more I can do to help him.
Other than setting him free…
He watched Isellta stroll right past him.
I could set him free.
The fey looked back at him. “Jay?”
He grabbed his arm and led him back to his room.
“Jay. What are you doing? What?”
“I need to talk to you and I don’t want to do it in front of everyone.”
Isellta’s wings flittered anxiously.
“It’s all right. I will not hurt you. Trust me.”
They entered his room and Jay locked the door.
Isellta trembled and looked away from Jay.
“Hey. It’s all right.” He set his hands on the fey’s shoulders.
“Don’t hurt me. Please don’t hurt me.”
“Isellta. I will never hurt you. Trust me. I’m going to get you out of here.”