Part 2254 – “I Am Not Mark Caten!”

Jay stood. “Mae—”

She kissed him. “Isellta needs you, sweetheart. So, stay here.”

Worry showed in his eyes, in the slight creasing of his eyebrows.

“I will return. Don’t worry. I’ll come right back.”

He sat on the edge of the bed.

Her heart ached for everything that she wanted: Isellta’s happiness, Isellta’s trust, Jay, Jay’s happiness, her own dragon form, a million miles to fly, a million roads to travel down, the wind on her face, her wings carrying her up into the sky, the sound of her dragon voice breaking through the clouds. Just staying with Jay.

I want so many things, but only a few of them are attainable.

“Jay sweetheart.” She traced the line of his jaw with her index finger. “Trust me.”

He looked up at her.

“I’m here. I’m not ready to leave.”

“Not yet. But you will. One of these days—” His shoulders relaxed as she used her magic to calm him down.

“We’ll discuss this later. Not now.”

He nodded.

“I’m going to make Isellta another cup of tea. It will help strengthen him.”

Isellta blinked quickly in surprise. “Thank you.”

She smiled at him. “Any time, angel. I’ll be right back.” She kissed the top of Jay’s head and left the room.

****

Maybe I should have staked Robin.

Preyuna strode down the hall.

I had him right where I wanted him.

He was unconscious.

Helpless.

Utterly defenseless.

Mark Caten would have ordered it to be done without hesitation. And he would have gone on about his day without a care in his head.

She frowned.

But I am not Mark Caten. I am better than him. I am not heartless like him.

“Oh, darnation! You got a freakin’ complex about killin’ that guy. What? You gotta crush on Caten and he ain’t havin’ you?”

She turned the corner and a random guard accidently bumped into her.

She let out a furious yell and shoved him.

He tumbled to the floor with a startled “Wahh!”

She strode onward.

As if any of that could be true! Why would I have a crush on someone like Mark Caten? The man is worse than a nae bi sha filled nightmare. How could I ever have anything but hatred for that ish bae ni li kahn?

She stopped in the middle of the hall and watched Maelin leave Jay’s room.

I doubt she’s leaving Isellta alone. Jay is in there. I’m sure he’s in there. Do I really want to deal with either Jay or Isellta right now?

She resumed walking.

After that conversation with Robin, I don’t feel like talking to anyone right now. I just want to sit down, have a cup of tea, and have a quiet moment all to myself.

“Preyuna!”

She bristled at the unwelcome sound of Dave’s voice.

“Hey!” He caught up to her. “Hey! Mark Caten wants to see you.”

Her irritation with Robin and life in general frazzled. “Tell Mark Caten that Her Royal Majesty is not accepting an audience today with the common folk. I’m sure he’ll understand.”

Dave’s full crimson and gold mask concealed his expression. Only his eyes were visible. He stared at her.

She waved her hand in royal dismissal. “So, please leave me alone.”

“I can’t tell him that! He’ll hurt Hank!”

She gave him a cold look. “Do you really think that matters to me?”

He sighed and his mask amplified the sound. “Not really. I don’t think anyone matters to you.”

She flinched as if he’d slapped her.

“But Hank matters to me. He’s so wonderful and romantic! And he loves me. Ohh, does that man love me!”

In her mind, she saw Hank and Dave holding hands and looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. That mental image quickly unraveled and reshaped into Robin and Isellta.

And where am I?

Her eyes glowed a dangerous shade of white.

Where am I?

The image shimmered and transformed into Nayla and herself.

He looked at her in adoration.

He looked at her like she was worth everything.

Dave’s voice intruded into her thoughts, “I don’t want anything bad to happen to him. I really don’t want Caten to hurt him. If you don’t come, I know that he will hurt him.”

“You think I’m heartless.”

Dave shrugged. “It’s kind of an understood thing.”

She stopped.

He backed away from her. “I mean, I don’t know about the other people who work here, but us guards—”

“I am not Mark Caten.”

“Huh?”

Preyuna marched up to him and shoved him. “I AM NOT MARK CATEN!” She turned and strode down the hall.

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