Maybe it was a couple of minutes later.
Maybe it was a couple of hours later.
Isellta woke up. He opened his eyes.
Jay had returned. He was sitting in the rocker, writing in his journal.
Isellta hugged the pillow a little tighter.
What could I say to make that right?
Nothing. There’s nothing I can say.
Nothing I can do.
I hurt him.
I hurt him too deep.
When he was most vulnerable, I played a fey mind game on him. How could he forgive me?
I should leave. I should just go back to the other room. If the ghosts come and grab me, who cares?
What does it even matter?
I don’t matter.
Isellta burrowed his face into the pillow.
I’m back to the beginning.
Jay closed his journal and set it on the floor.
He walked over to the bed. “Hey. Isellta.”
The fey sat up and released the pillow from his choke hold. “Jay. I’m.” He cleared his throat. “I’m going to return to that other room. I’ll stay in there and you’ll have your whole room back to yourself.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“I do. I…I…I can’t be in here.”
“Because I…” He twisted his fingers. “Because of what I did to you. Because you’re angry at me. Because I’m too much trouble for you to deal with. You have your own problems.” He lowered his gaze. “I shouldn’t be one of them.”
“Isellta. I don’t think of you as a problem. I like you. I care about you.”
“And I hurt you.”
Jay sat on the edge of the bed. Yes, he did. “You knew what was going to happen, but you did it anyway. Why?”
Isellta’s wings flittered. “You’ve been so kind to me. I just wanted to do something nice for you.”
Jay sighed. “Oh, you poor little thing.”
His wings flittered again. “But I can’t do anything right. I’m always falling and failing and I can’t say the right things. I can’t be the right things. I don’t…I can’t make anyone happy. I try, but…” His wings went flat against his back. “I try, Jay. I try so hard.”
“I know.” Jay brought his knees up on the bed and turned to face the fey. “Isellta.” He held out his arms. “Come here.”
Isellta shook his head. “You don’t want me. I’m just another fey playing cruel games.”
“If that were true, you wouldn’t be crying right now.”
Isellta crept close to him. “Are you sure you want to touch me?”
He nodded. “You need it.”
Isellta hugged him.
Jay closed his eyes as the fey grabbed onto the back of his shirt.
“I’m sorry, Robin.” His voice wobbled. “I’m so sorry.”
Jay didn’t bother correcting him. He just hugged him. “What am I gonna do with you, huh? You poor kid.”