I should just go after her and get it over with. Isellta took a deep breath and exhaled. I will, but not yet. I want just a few more minutes of calm and safety before I give it up again. “Maelin? Do you think it would be okay if I visited Jay right now? If he’s sleeping, it’s okay. I don’t have to. I don’t want to bother him.”
Maelin tore her gaze away from the door. “He is sleeping right now, but don’t worry. He won’t consider it a bother.”
“Are you sure? I don’t want to make him unhappy.”
“Trust me. He’ll be happy to see you again.”
Isellta smiled at the memory of Jay rumpling up his hair. “That is so true. Oh. Oh, but it will make him sad that we can’t touch.” He shook his head. “Never mind. I won’t bother him.”
“I’ll leave him alone. I’ll let him sleep.”
“No, it’s okay. It’s okay.” He shrugged. “It was just me being selfish and needy, anyway. I’ll let him sleep and it’ll be okay.”
“A little bit of selfishness isn’t a bad thing, especially in this case.” She held her hand out to him. “Come. I’ll take you to him.”
He took an uncertain step back, but she kept her hand raised in an open invitation.
“If you don’t want me to wake him up, I won’t wake him up. I promise I’ll let him sleep.”
Isellta absentmindedly rubbed his shoulder, even though it didn’t hurt. “Jay nearly died last time he tried to push through the barrier magic to get to me.”
“That won’t happen again. I promise. I’ll tackle him to keep it from happening. I don’t want to lose him either.”
He blinked quickly. “You’ll really tackle him?”
Maelin smiled. “Full body contact tackle.”
After a few moments of hesitation, Isellta stepped forward and took her hand. “Okay. Take me to him.”
Preyuna hesitated outside the kitchen door, but gave up with a shrug. “I’ve already said everything I needed to say.” She smiled. “And I’m not in a bad enough mood to really hammer that all into Isellta’s pretty head.”
She flipped her hair over her shoulder and strolled down the hallway. Besides, I really want to eat my ice cream bar before it melts.
Maelin opened the kitchen door just as Preyuna turned the corner at the far end of the hallway. She smiled at Isellta. “Looks like the coast is clear.”
Isellta flapped his wings.
She led him out of the kitchen. His steps seemed to be more certain and steady, but she was ready to catch him if he were to fall.
They walked together in a comfortable silence.
She studied his profile, his expression, the way his hair framed his face. What is right? What is wrong? I don’t want to rob him of his agency. I don’t want him to feel like he can’t make decisions — good or bad — on his own. I don’t want him to feel like he needs the ‘adults’ to make all of his decisions for him.
But it is difficult to do nothing.
If he were a woman in a bad relationship, I would encourage her to end it. But it really isn’t that simple. Because it isn’t a simple matter of him and her. Robin is thrown somewhere into this whole mix. Add in the fact that Isellta can’t escape this place and that makes his situation even worse.
She stopped outside of Jay’s bedroom door. And, right now, this is the best I can do to help him. Spend time with him. Comfort him. Protect him the best I can. Let him see Jay even if they can’t touch.
I wish things weren’t so hard for him.
I wish he could stay with Jay and me.