Hildreth smiled as he entered the bathroom. “Look at that.”
The shower was encased in glass.
I’ll have to remember not to go bursting in here when she’s taking a shower. Although…I wonder how much she would actually mind. As for whether I would mind…
He cleared his throat. “All right! Lightbulbs. Must change lightbulbs.”
Elsie tossed the wet clothes into the dryer, set the timer, and started it.
She looked down at her palms.
I feel like there are strings binding us together, drawing us ever closer with every sunrise and every sunset.
Ambrose would have to cut me away from Hildreth with hedge shears.
When did this happen?
When did my heart turn so fully away from Ambrose and turn only to Hildreth? When did it happen? Where is that moment in time?
She shoved the fluff and dust off the top of the dryer. I think it all started when he left me to train at Master Shinowa’s. It helped me see how much I love him. How much I need him in my life.
She walked back upstairs. And I do.
I need him with his silly sense of humor, with his ability to pull me out of my slumps, with his smile and his laughter, with everything he is.
I need him.
She stopped by the bathroom and watched him unscrew the light fixture. And I love him.
He looked at her and smiled.
Wonderful, lovely him.
It took a while for Isellta’s breathing to return to normal. His wings stopped twitching. They slackened against his back.
“I’m sorry.” said Jay. “These fey women seem to enjoy terrorizing you.”
“Worst thing about it is I know her. I. I grew up with her before Queen Preyuna took her in as a personal assistant.”
Jay rubbed Isellta’s back beneath his wings.
His feathers bristled.
“Please. Don’t touch me right now.”
Jay moved his hand away. “Sorry. Hey. I have good news.”
Isellta peeked up at him.
“Well. Good news for me, anyways.” He smiled. “Maelin’s coming home. I don’t know how long the trip will take. She told me how long it will be, but.” He chuckled. “Honestly, I was just too astonished to properly absorb anything more than the fact that she’s coming home. And it was her own choice. She wants to come home. She wants to come back to me.”
Isellta smiled. “Of course, she does.”
Jay stood. “You still look like you want to bawl. I happen to know a wonderful cure for that.”
“John Denver songs. It’s so easy to lose your misery while listening to his clear voice and poetic lyrics.”
“I’ll believe that.”
Jay grinned. “Come on. Let’s see if that cd player you found still works.”
John Denver’s voice split the silence in the room. The clarity of his voice made Jay think of crisp mountain air and running brooks in a pristine pine forest.
Jay glanced at Isellta. He had sat on the floor near the fey, but not too close. He wanted to give Isellta some space.
“You fill up my senses like a night in the forest.” Isellta whispered the words as if they were a secret incantation. His body visibly relaxed.
The lyrics spoke to Jay of Maelin.
I can’t wait to see her again. It’s been so long. Maelin, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you. Since I’ve held you in my arms.
He startled as Isellta hugged his arm. He smiled fondly at the skinny fey. “I’ll protect you.”
Isellta raised his gaze and blinked quickly.
Isellta moved even closer to him and laid his head against Jay’s shoulder.
“You poor kid.”