Preyuna stood silent and regal as Eschia dressed her for bed. Eschia was silent as well, which was all for the best. Preyuna was NOT in a talking mood.
Eschia swept Preyuna’s crimson and silver hair over her shoulder. She fussed with making sure that Preyuna’s nightgown was properly laced up and lying just right.
Someone knocked on the door.
Preyuna huffed out an irritated breath. “It’s probably Mark Caten come to harass me as usual.” As soon as she said it, she realized how unlikely it was. “Come in.”
There was a few minutes of hesitation before the door slowly swung open. Isellta entered the room.
Eschia’s eyebrows hit the moon.
Isellta had apparently just come out of the shower. His hair was plastered against his head. Water dripped off the ends of his hair and off the edges of his feathers.
He had no clothes on. Not even a bath towel.
He startled when he saw Eschia. His wings went flat against his back. “Your Majesty? May we talk alone?”
“Eschia.” Preyuna said. “We are done here. You may leave.”
“As you wish, my Queen.” She walked to the open doorway and stopped in front of him.
Isellta lowered his hands and shied his body away from Eschia.
Her gaze raked down his front side.
His wing feathers bristled. “Please. Please don’t touch me.”
Her expression softened into sympathy. “Of course.” Eschia left the room.
He bowed his head and waited for the door to click shut behind him.
Preyuna strolled over to him. “I’m surprised. I wasn’t expecting—-“
“Why?” He slowly looked up at her. “Why would you…why…why would you…do that to me?” His mouth twitched as he tried to not cry. “I surrendered myself to you. I…Why wasn’t that enough? Why–why would…” He bit his lower lip.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I simply took advantage of an open invitation.”
He shook his head.
“You were having some dream about that vampire. Why waste it? Why shouldn’t I have—-“
“I didn’t say you could do that. I didn’t give you permission. I didn’t want—-“
“What you do or did want is immaterial, Isellta. You surrendered yourself to me.”
“Not so you could use me like that.”
She spread her hand on the patch of translucent feathers below his throat.
Isellta pushed her hand away. “No.” He tilted his head as he remembered Jay’s words. “I have the right to say no.” He quietly marveled at that whole concept. “I have the right to…to decide who touches me. It is not wrong for me to make these choices. I have the right to make these choices for myself. I have the right to say who touches me and where I want to be touched.”
Preyuna scoffed. “Yes, but try telling that whole spiel to Mark Caten. See how far it gets you.” She turned away from him and walked over to her vanity table. The lights were off. She did not turn them on.
She sat on the chair and opened the table’s central drawer.
Isellta rubbed his punched shoulder and winced. It felt like someone had jammed a thin dagger into his shoulder joint and left it in there. He imagined the ligaments and muscles being shredded with every touch, every single movement. “Why did you hit me so hard? What did I do wrong?”
She pulled out her hairbrush and vigorously brushed her hair.
“Your Majesty? What did I do?”