I raped him. Just like how Mark raped me.
There may have been questionable consent all of the other times I hrrash ka kaed with him. But this time…
Preyuna kept brushing her hair.
He surrendered to me. Doesn’t that mean I can do whatever I wish to him? Doesn’t that automatically strip him of the need for consent? But how is that way of thinking any different from Mark’s way of thinking?
She stopped in mid-brushing.
And what happens next? Will Isellta continue the linked chain of misery? Will he abuse and rape someone too?
Will it never end?
Isellta came over to her side and knelt. “Your Majesty? What did I do wrong?”
She gave him a cold, assessing look.
The tips of his ears peeked out from his plastered hair. His bangs hung flat in his eyes. His collarbones jutted against his skin all the way up into his shoulders.
He may look meek and vulnerable now, but that can change. That can so easily change.
“What did you do wrong?” She scoffed. “I’m surprised you’re even asking the question. But I’ll answer it anyway. What did you do wrong? Everything.”
He flinched as if she’d kicked him. “I’m sorry.”
“Oh, you’re sorry.” Preyuna slapped the brush down on the table.
Isellta pulled his shoulders forward at the loud CRACK!
“Sorry doesn’t help me, Isellta. Sorry doesn’t move me any closer to freedom and home. Sorry does nothing to soothe my injured pride. Sorry does not change what you did to me.”
He bowed his head. “What did I do?”
“You insulted me. After I hrrash ka kaed with you, whose name did you say? Who were you thinking about? Who were you dreaming about? I’ll give you a fair hint: It wasn’t me. It is never me.”
“You have no idea how much that hurts me.”
Isellta went silent for a moment. “But. But you hurt me too.”
“When I surrendered myself to you, I knew you’d expect me to hrrash ka kae with you.” His wings flittered. “But you hrrash ka kaed with me when I was asleep. You didn’t ask me. You didn’t tell me. You didn’t even bother to wake me up for it. You just did it to me.”
Preyuna pushed aside memories of Mark Caten doing the same thing to her. “So, now you hate me.”
“No? I don’t hate you. But, Your Majesty, what you did…I feel wrong. I feel dirty and—-“
“—-and used and disgusting and unloved. Yes, yes. I know that. Trust me. I know that.”
He looked up at her with a stricken expression on his face. “oh.” He gently touched her arm. “I’m so sorry.”
His gentle touch and his soft voice hit her like an exploding demolition ball. But she held on to her composure. She held on to it with a fierce determination. “Why should you be sorry for me? I’m your enemy. I’m the one who’s hurt you the most.”
“Because you’re like me. You’re hurt too.”