Part 2260 – Heart-Warmed And Heart-Hurt

Preyuna stood under an archway at the  entrance of the ballroom and admired her beautiful harem members. They worked the crowd  –  talking to those who looked bored and dancing with those who had no partners but wanted to dance. Everyone was sparkling bright.

Nayla returned to her side. “I’m sorry for leaving you for so long, Your Majesty.” The threads of cloud drae crystals clinging to his gray-blue hair clinked delicately against each other.

“It doesn’t matter.” She stroked the side of his face.

He closed his eyes in bliss. “Will you choose me tonight, Your Majesty?”

His skin was so warm. The crystals were cool. “I will.”

He opened his eyes and he looked at her, just her, as if there were no other women in the room. “My Queen.”

****

No one here looks at me like that.

NO ONE!

Preyuna stormed down the hall, more determined than ever to have her tea and alone time.

It’s either Isellta’s fearfulness or Mark Caten’s lewd belittling. There’s nothing else. There is never anything else and I am sick of it!

I just want to go home.

I need to go home.

I need to get away from this place. I need to get away from Caten and his way of muddling with my mind. I need to get away from him before we become the same person.

I need to escape.

I need to go home.

I need home.

I need Nayla and home.

*****

Maelin carried the cup of tea into Jay’s bedroom.

Isellta slept on his side — his hands curled against his chest. His wings fluttered sporadically in his sleep.

Jay sat in the same spot Maelin had left him. He had doubled over. His face was hidden in his hands.

She set the tea cup on the nightstand beside the bed and sat next to Jay. “Sweetheart?”

He huffed out a breath.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

He lowered his hands, but did not raise his head. “I’m tired, Mae. I can barely see straight, but I can’t go to sleep. Not yet. Not now. I need to. I need to find Robin. I need to. I have to. Isellta deserves this. He. He…”

“Sweetheart, go to sleep. I’ll rewatch the monitors for you.”

He raised his head. “How? You couldn’t stand being in there.”

“I’ll tough my way through it.”

He did not look convinced.

“I’ll be fine, Jay. Don’t worry about me. You lie down and take care of yourself. Get your sleep.”

Jay blinked like he had tacky glue on his eyelashes.

She gently lowered him onto the mattress. He didn’t resist.

He brought his legs up on the bed and rolled onto his side.

She kissed the side of his face. “I’ll give Isellta his tea and then I’ll go watch the monitors. Okay?”

He nodded and fell asleep.

She smiled and said softly, “I really can’t blame Isellta for preferring you over me. I’d be the same way if I were him.”

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