Isellta did as he was told. He took small sips of the cold tea, even though he wanted to chug it down. It was clear as water, but tasted like raspberry and almond with touches of honey and vanilla. Subtle citrus notes added a nice zing to the mix.
Would Robin enjoy a drink like this?
He took another sip and thought about all of the things Dave and Hank told him.
Would he be willing to do any of those things to me? Do I want him to do them to me? I don’t know.
The guard lowered the cup. “What is it?”
Isellta hesitated. “When I was still with the nae bi sha, he. He hrrash ka kaed with me.”
Jay put the cup on the nightstand. “Did he hurt you?”
“No. He wasn’t like Her Majesty. He made me happy. He made me…feel good. But that was with him, not Robin. He wasn’t my Robin. I don’t know if Robin will want me like that. I don’t know if he’ll want to hrrash ka kae with me like that.” Isellta twisted his fingers. “I don’t know if I’ll want to do it with him. I don’t know if he’ll give me a choice. I don’t know if my wants and feelings and needs will mean anything to him. I don’t know if—”
Maelin reached over and touched his leg. Her peace dragon magic soothed him and calmed him. His hands stilled. “Sorry.” She quickly pulled her hand away. “I didn’t mean to touch you without your permission, but you looked like you needed that help.”
“It’s okay.” Isellta looked up at Jay and tilted his head. “Did you find Robin? He is here…isn’t he? He is here, but where is he?”
Jay ran his hand through his hair and sighed. “I’m sorry, kid. I couldn’t find him.”
Isellta leaned back into his pillows. He closed his eyes and focused on that tugging feeling. “It’s still there. I can still feel it.” He opened his eyes. “Jay, I don’t understand. He’s here.”
“If you want, angel, I can search again for you.” Maelin said.
Isellta brightened. “Could you, please?”
“For you? Absolutely.”
His wings tried again to flap. “Thank you. It means so much to me.”
Maelin got off the bed. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” She left the room.
Jay picked up the cup of tea and offered it to Isellta. “Here. Sip carefully. Don’t overdo it.”
Jay smiled and ruffled up his hair again. “I missed this. These quiet, simple moments just between you and me.”
Isellta took another sip.
“I’ve missed you. Even though you’ve been lying here this whole time, I’ve missed you, kid.”
“I missed you too.”
Jay shifted into a more comfortable position. “When you were talking about hrrash ka kaeing with that creature and so on, you sounded like you were building up to a question. What did you want to ask me?”
Isellta leaned his head back and closed his eyes. “Robin and I never had a chance to figure us out. What I want versus what he wants. What I expect versus what he expects. I don’t know what he wants from me. I don’t know if. If…Jay.” He opened his eyes. “Jay, what if I don’t want to hrrash ka kae with him? Will he understand? Or will he get mad at me? Will he hit me the way she does? Will he grab me and hurt me the way she does?”
“No.” Jay said it without any hesitation. “He loves you. He’s a stubborn bull moose, but he loves you. I know he does. He won’t abuse you the way she does. If I had any doubts about Robin, I wouldn’t let him come anywhere near you.”
“How can you be so certain?”
“Because I’ve talked to him.”
“I mean, talked to him on the phone.”
“Oh.” Isellta seemed to think about it. “Did he leave you any messages?”
“Uhh, I honestly don’t know. Let me see.” Jay pulled out his phone and checked his voice mail.