Part 2399 – “Maybe I Deserve It.”

Isellta could see the hurt in Preyuna’s eyes, but not the reason why. Her mind was locked and bolted shut to him.

Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe it’s because I can’t love her. I can’t make her happy.

“You deserve to be happy.” His legs wobbled from standing too long. He sat back down on her chair.

“Do I?” Her question was both a genuine question and a challenge.

Isellta tilted his head. 

How am I supposed to answer this? What does she expect me to say? No? But. But that wouldn’t be the truth. That wouldn’t be right at all.

“Yes, you do.”

“Even though I hurt you and rape you—“

He shuddered. “It…”

“—you really think I deserve happiness?”

“But you’ve been hurt too.”

She turned to face the mirror. “Maybe I deserve it.”

His mind raced through everything she’d done to him, ending with her hrrash ka kaeing with him while he was asleep. He hugged himself.

Does she deserve to be hurt? Does she deserve nothing but unhappiness? What does that even mean?

She picked the pajama top off the vanity table and turned around. “Hold out your arms. I’ll put your shirt on for you.”

He tilted his head. “I could do it myself if you want?”

“No, you couldn’t. This shirt doesn’t have buttons.” She held it up. Thin gold chains dangled in matching lines on the back.

“Oh!” He twirled one of the chains around his finger. “So pretty.”

“It’s a lot easier if I fasten them for you.” she said.

Isellta nodded and let go of the chain. He held out his arms.

She went to work putting the pajama’s tank top on him.

She is so beautiful…and angry and sad. I don’t know what Mark Caten has done to her behind his bedroom door and I won’t ask her. I’m sure she doesn’t want to talk about it.

I still don’t know how I’ll tell Robin about what she’s done to me. I know I’ll have to tell him eventually, but it scares me.

Maybe it scares her too. Mark Caten has undoubtedly done cruel and horrible things to her. Things she would never do to me. Does she deserve that? Does she deserve any of that?

She went behind him.

He listened to the delicate clinking of the chains as she fastened them. “You don’t deserve it.”

“What?”

“No matter what you’ve said or done to me, you don’t deserve to be hurt too.”

She reached under his wings and fastened the chains on the bottom of the shirt. “You’re a foolish boy for thinking that.”

He looked at his reflection. It looked better now that he had a shirt on. But the tank top’s scoop neckline exposed his neck and some of his chest feathers. His arms were bared as well. 

Isellta could almost see filthiness’ black threads vining up his arms. He quickly looked away. “Maybe I am foolish. I don’t know. I just know and believe that you deserve kindness and compassion. And there is no one here willing or interested in giving it to you.”

“Not even you.”

He lowered his gaze to a small spot on the floor. “I’m sorry, Your Majesty.”

She scoffed. “That’s what you always say. But you never prove it with actions. It’s always just empty words.”

He kept his gaze glued on that spot and twisted his fingers.

I know what actions she wants, but I can’t. I just can’t do it. I can’t do it! So, what can I say? If I can’t do it, how can I ever make it right? How can I ever make her see that I mean it? What else can I do?

Maybe she is right about me. I’m just a stupid boy. I’m foolish. I’m a fool. I’m a waste of space. I always have been, always will be.

She stepped in front of him. “I believe we’re done here. Go back to your own room, Isellta.”

He wordlessly nodded.

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