Preyuna guided him to her bedroom door and opened it for him. As soon as he was on the other side, however, she closed the door.
He was all on his own.
Isellta glanced around the hall, but the lights were turned down for the night. No one was around.
Jay wouldn’t have kicked me out of the room and left me like this. He would have walked me all the way back to my room. He would have carried me if he had to. But Jay isn’t here.
I’ll just have to do this alone.
He took a deep breath and exhaled. “My legs are tree trunks and my roots are powerful. My roots are entangled with Jay’s. No one can separate them or tell them apart. We are strong.” He felt a slight pang in his chest. “Even when we are apart.”
Isellta flared out his wings and headed back to his room. The silk pajamas whispered beautifully with each stumbling step and misstep, as if in encouragement.
He smiled and kept going.
Maelin held onto Jay as he slept.
But she did not sleep.
Isellta is under Preyuna’s control again. I could try talking her into releasing her hold on him, but it was his choice. She didn’t talk him into it or trick him into it.
She traced lines down his back.
But just because he made that choice doesn’t mean that it was infallible. Doesn’t make it right.
But what happens if I try to meddle in it? Is that helping him or belittling him? Would I be accidently telling him that he can’t make his own choices?
But what if that choice is wrong?
Jay draped his leg over hers.
She smiled. “But if I were in his place, I’d make the same choice. I’d gladly surrender myself to the enemy if they would let me know if you were here.”
Jay murmured something in his sleep. It sounded reasonably close to “I love you.”
“I love you too, Jay.”
He sighed happily.
Isellta opened his bedroom door. The light was still on inside. He entered the room and closed the door.
Only then was he struck by the evidence Preyuna had left behind.
The pillow he’d been hugging in his sleep lay on top of his dresser.
He imagined her wheedling it out of his grip, glancing around, not knowing where to put it, not wanting to just drop it on the floor. Seeing the dresser and deciding that’s a good place to put his pillow. So inconspicuous and not at all suspicious.
His clothes lay in a disordered heap in the middle of the room.
He imagined her quickly unbuttoning his shirt and throwing it on the floor. Moving so quickly. Pulling down his slacks. Trying not to wake him, but trying to hurry. Must move quickly. Need to get on top of him now. Throw the slacks on the floor. Doesn’t matter where it lands. Must hurry. Don’t wake him. Climb on him. Press down on him. His legs are in the way. Shove them apart. But don’t wake him. Hurry. Must move faster. Faster. Faster!
Isellta cried out and crumpled to his knees. “Oh! Ohh!” He covered his face with his hands and doubled over.
But he could see the long strands of her crimson and silver hair spilling over her bare shoulders and brushing against his skin. Her hands pressing against his mattress.
His body shook as he cried. Feathers fell off his wings.
Robin! ROBIN! Help me.
Please help me.
Robin paused to catch his breath again.
‘sellta? Ain’t you gonna come to me?
He winced as his hunger spiked.