I am like him? That couldn’t be further from the truth. I am jagged ice. He is soft water.
Preyuna opened her vanity drawer and put her brush back inside.
I can’t be soft water. Not here. If I am, I will be destroyed. I need to be jagged ice. After all, jagged ice hurts others, but it can’t be hurt. It’s too hard and cold.
“Your Majesty?” Isellta asked. “How can I comfort you?”
She gave him a look. “I didn’t realize I needed to be comforted.”
She quickly checked her mental barriers, but they were all locked down tight. “How would you know that?”
He laid his hand on the side of her face. “It’s there. It’s all right there. And I know I’m the one to blame. You want me to make you happy, but I can’t. I just can’t. I wish I could.” He stroked her face. “You deserve to be happy. So, how can I comfort you?”
The ridiculousness of the question made Preyuna’s head seem to spin.
I raped him and I need to be comforted? If he were anyone else, I’d say he’s trying to win my sympathy.
She studied his expression.
But no. He really means it and I don’t understand why.
“How can you comfort me? You could always try to hrrash ka kae with me and actually do it right this time.”
His wings flittered.
“Because that would comfort me a lot.”
He lowered his gaze. “Is that really the only way?”
“It is the best way, but no.” she said. “Not the only way.” She tucked her hand under his chin and lifted his head.
His wings flittered again.
“You could also kiss me. Just a kiss and nothing more. Do you think you can do that?”
He wordlessly nodded.
“Then, kiss me, Isellta.”
He struggled up to his feet.
She didn’t like him towering over her. So, she stood as well.
His wings went still as he touched her face again. His touch was so light, so gentle.
It was like a knife stab into her gut.
Mark will never touch me like this. Or if he does, it will be followed up by a threat or some act of violence.
He moved in closer.
Mark will never be this kind to me.
Preyuna tilted her head just so.
He lowered his gaze and closed his eyes.
And Isellta will never truly want me. No matter what I say or do. I will never be the one he wants.
He kissed her. His lips touched hers for a moment.
And it was a moment of bliss for her. Preyuna wanted to hold onto it and make it last. But she let him pull away. She looked into his blue eyes.
If he could love me.
If only he could just want me, that would be enough. But all I see in his eyes is fear. A subdued fear, but fear nonetheless. Is that what Mark sees when he looks into my eyes?
“I’m sorry, Isellta.”
He blinked quickly in surprise.
“I am not Mark Caten. I do not want to be him. I never want to become just like him.” She swept his damp bangs off to the side. “What I did to you made me just like him and I hate that. I promise I will not do that again.”