Part 2362 – Who’s Hurting Who?

Isellta would never hurt me the way Mark does. But he has his own ways of hurting me. He and his ugly vampire.

But he isn’t hurting me now.

Preyuna leaned into Isellta’s touch.

If only he could stay like this. If only he could give me more than mere kindness.

“Love me, Isellta.”

He quickly pulled his hand back. “Um.”

“Want me. Forget Robin.”

“I can’t. Robin isn’t a song that I can easily forget. He is my bones and my bone marrow.”

She frowned. “That doesn’t make sense.”

“I know. But that is how he makes me feel. That is what he is to me.”

“Why? He is coarse-mannered. He has a scar on only one side of his face. He isn’t good-looking at all.”

“That isn’t true!” He laid his hands in his lap. “Robin is beautiful. Even with the scar on his face, he is so lovely. Oh. Oh, Your Majesty! If only you could see him happy. When he laughs—” 

“I don’t want to hear about that.” she snapped.

Isellta drew his shoulders forward. He averted his gaze.

Preyuna nearly screamed with frustration. “Why are you so quick to forgive him and want him when he deliberately chased you away? I’m here, Isellta. Yes, it is against my will to be here. But I am here with you. I’m willing to degrade my dignity by begging you to love me. But you look at me and see nothing but an enemy. I am NOT your enemy, Isellta!”

“I know. But. But he never. Robin. He never.” Isellta grabbed the pillow and hugged it again. “He never hurt me the way you do.”

Preyuna felt like she was standing on an iceberg and her only hope of rescue was rowing further and further away from her. No matter how loud she called out to him, he couldn’t hear her. He wouldn’t turn around. “Isellta. It was just the one time.”

His wings flittered, but Isellta still didn’t look at her. “One time and one time.” His voice cracked and wobbled as he continued,  “And one more time and one more time. For five hours, one more time. And. And then. Then. And then, you still hurt me. Before you let me talk to Robin on the phone, you—“

“It was your fault.”

He sniffled. “I know.”

“You didn’t try hard enough. What else was I supposed to do? Nothing?”

He sniffled again.

Preyuna got off the bed.

Maybe Mark has the right idea. Take what you want. Form no attachments. Be cold. Be hard. Be as brutal as you want and don’t worry about who you hurt.

Don’t even acknowledge that they are hurt.

“I’m sorry.” Isellta’s voice was just a small, quiet sound.

She looked back at him.

He hugged that pillow like it was keeping him from drowning.

In her mind, she saw herself.

Preyuna sat on the edge of the bed as Mark Caten slept. She hugged herself. Bruises bloomed on her bare skin. And all she wanted to do was scream and cry.

“Isellta.”

He sniffled again. “Yes, Your Majesty?”

“Look at me.”

He hesitantly obeyed. Tears streaked his face.

“Stupid boy. Crying over nothing. Come with me.”

Dread came over his face.

If I were Robin, he’d drop everything for him. He’d go anywhere with him.  

“I am not going to hrrash ka kae with you right now. I want to go into the kitchen and get something to eat. I’m hungry and I hate that I have to spell this all out for you.”

He rubbed his eyes. “I’m sorry, Your Majesty.”

“Then, come. Follow me.”

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