Jay left the bathroom, all dressed and ready for bed. He had taken a shower in the hopes that something in the hot water and the steam would clear his thoughts. He had hoped that the perfect solution would occur to him as he was scrubbing his hair.
But nothing of the sort had happened.
His mind kept turning and returning to Preyuna’s statement, “Robin is his only hope.”
Maybe she’s wrong.
Maybe she’s lying.
Maybe she knows more than what she’s saying.
Jay walked over to the bed and sat on it. He hunched his shoulders.
Maybe I’m the one who’s wrong.
Maybe there really isn’t anything I can do but sit here and talk to him.
I wish I had something physical to fight. An enemy I can grab and pull away from Isellta. Something I can physically vanquish. An enemy I can kill.
Jay brought his feet up onto the bed. He laid down and scooted over to Isellta. “Hey, kid. I’m here.” He kissed the fey’s forehead and pulled him in close. “I’m right here. Can you feel me? Can you hear my voice? Can you feel my touch? Do you have any idea how worried I am about you? Can you hear it in my voice? Can you sense it in my touch?”
He hugged him as tight as he could. “Come back. Come back to me.”
Dave side-glanced at Hank as they stood guard outside of Mark Caten’s bedroom. He felt the warm glow of deep satisfaction.
It’s just too bad he has to hide his body under that robe and his face under that mask.
But maybe it is all for the best. If I had to stand beside him like this with him unmasked, I’d go wild with distraction.
Would I distract him too?
“Not now, Dave.”
“Have you figured out a way for us to go to Pinkerlee tonight?”
Hank shook his head. “Not for both of us.”
“But.” Dave’s shoulders slumped. “I really want to come with you this time. Hank, I don’t want to be left behind.”
“I know. I don’t want to leave you behind, but I can’t see a logical way for us to run off together.”
“Then, why don’t we do that?”
“Why don’t we just run away together? It would be exciting and sooo romantic.”
“We’d get fired or worse. With Caten, there’s always a worse.”
Dave slumped against the wall. “Well. What are we going to do? Sunday is two days away. Two whole days! That’s a really long time for Doll Face to be waiting for Robin.”
“I know. I know.”
“We have to go after him. We have to bring him here tonight.”
“I know. I just don’t see how it’s possible.”
Hank scooted over to him. “Hey.” He removed Dave’s mask.
Dave smiled as Hank stroked his face. “Ohh, I love it when you do that.”
“I know. Babe, don’t you worry. I’ll find a way to get us over there. Okay?”
Dave nodded. “I love you, Hank.”
“Love you too, babe.”
Preyuna woke to Nayla kissing her face. “mmm. Don’t stop.”
He smiled at his queen and kept kissing her.
Feather light kisses that tickled and made her laugh.
So, he kept kissing her until it was noon.
Preyuna opened her eyes.
Her head throbbed.
Her entire spine hurt.
Her clavicle hurt like the beginning of a bad bruise.
There wasn’t one spot on her body that wasn’t aching or actively hurting.
Preyuna groaned as she sat up to heal herself.
“Hey!” Mark Caten grabbed a handful of her hair and jerked her back.
He put his mouth close to her ear. “Sorry, cupcake. But I didn’t say you could leave just yet.”
“I don’t need your permission.”
“Hahahahaha!” He jerked her hair again. “Actually, yes. Yes, you do.”
Tears trailed down her face and she hated it. “Mark. Let me go. Let me go back home to my kingdom and my people. Let Isellta and th—-”
“Oh, you said pleeeease. Well, that changes…nothing. You’re mine, Preyuna. I will never let you go. Not ever.”
“I hate you. I hate you so much.”
“Yes, of course you do.” He dug his fingers close to her scalp.
She reveled in a fantasy of snapping them, one knuckle at a time.
“Now. Come back to me or I will pull your hair from your head.”
“You will get what you deserve. I swear you will.”
“Mmm. Lovely. Now, get back here.”
Sunday. That ugly Robin will come on Sunday. He will kill Mark Caten for me. I know he will.
“As you wish.”
Only two more days.
Two more days.