Robin returned to his room and paced.
He picked up his phone and set it back down on his dresser.
He pulled the folded letter out of his pocket and reread it and reread it and reread it.
He refolded it and put it back into his pocket.
He pulled it out again and set it next to his phone as if they could have the necessary conversation without him.
He returned to his dresser.
To his phone.
To the piece of paper.
He picked up the letter.
He picked up his phone.
He thought of Isellta.
His soft blond hair.
His gentle voice.
His large black wings.
He dialed the number without another thought.
And the phone rang.
Jay sat in his car, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel.
What should I do?
I can’t go home without Robin. That is not an option.
After what Hank told me…
Isellta needs him to come back.
His phone rang.
He answered it. “Hello?”
“Hi. This is Robin.”
Jay sat up.
“You know. Isellta’s Robin.”
“Yes. What…Have you changed your mind?”
There was a long pause.
“Look. I wanna know what’s goin’ on over there. Don’t go dancin’ around with no avoidance behavior junk. Tell me. I don’t freakin’ care if it makes you all sick and headachey or whatever. I wanna know what the heck is goin’ on with Isellta that has you all freakin’ out. I need to know.”
If I tell him, he’ll come running. No doubts about it.
“Is he hurt?”
“No. No, he isn’t hurt.”
“Okay. That’s good. So?”
“He isn’t hurt, but…”
Jay took a breath.
I will tell him.
I have to tell him.
For Isellta’s sake.
“Isellta is sick.”
“What? Since when do fey get sick?”
“I don’t know, but that is the truth. He’s sick. He has a fever and—-”
“That ain’t right. Fey don’t get sick, Jay. Everyone knows that. They can’t get hurt. They can’t get sick. It’s one of those things ev’ryone knows.”
“Well, everyone’s wrong! He is sick. Preyuna made him sick.”
Robin curled his free hand into a fist. “Why?”
“Why? Because she thinks she owns him.”
The bitter anger in his words stung Robin’s ear.
“She thinks she’s entitled to him. To all of him.”
For the first time in his life, Robin wanted to punch a woman. “She the one he slept with?”
“What? How did you know about that?”
“Saw it on The Institute’s monitors. Is she?”
Did he enjoy it as much as it seemed?
Does he love her?
He lowered his gaze. “How many times? How many times they been together like that?”
A long pause.
“I. I don’t know. Maybe three times or four?”
Robin’s knees wobbled. He stumbled over to the bed. His mind raced with images of Isellta wanting her.
Of Isellta pulling her to his room with heat in his eyes and an excited smile on his face.
Of Isellta being aroused by her touch and her voice.
Her undressing him.
His wings beating fast for her.
His hands on her body.
I’m gonna puke.
“But that doesn’t matter, Robin. The kid needs you. He needs you to come to him.”
“Why should I? If he’s got her and they’re just happy little love bugs, why the heck should I bother?”
“No! I can’t! I ain’t gonna be no one’s third wheel. If he wants to be with her, fine.”
“He doesn’t! He wants you. Robin—-”
“He wants me, huh? That’s why he slept with some chick four times? Yeah. He sure wanted me a lot.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I don’t need to unnerstand. I get it. He’s a fey. He’s just playin’ games with me.”
“No! It isn’t like that!”
“You don’t unnerstand, Jay. I saw them on the monitors. I saw how they danced together.” His heart hurt. “I saw how she touched him. How he touched her. How easily he went down on that bed for her. And now. You’re tellin’ me he’s done that four times with her. I can’t.”
“Robin. He needs you.”
Tears fell from Robin’s good eye. “No, he don’t.”
He ended the call and turned his phone off.