Conversations With a Beast, part 9

“I’m tempted to compliment you and say something like, ‘It’s brilliant by design.’ But knowing you, you’ll say it’s not, that it’s just the last in a series of failed attempts.”

He was at my back, just to the right of my shoulder. I could feel him there, watching me watch his waterfall–the one that fell in extreme slow motion. This would-be raging torrent provided the subdued dripping sound permeating the caverns.

While looking at this wall of water gracefully yielding itself, I added, “Yours is a practiced skill and a talent for meticulousness.”

“And yours is a talent for observation.  Let’s talk about the letter you composed last night.”

I never shied away from conversation with him, even at their most uncomfortable or ridiculous. Now wasn’t the time to begin.

“It was a pretty spectacular illumination, wasn’t it?”

… especially since I, apparently, willed it onto my leg without pen or ink.

“It was… making me certain there’s a bit of magik about you. You shouldn’t have been able to do that, especially here.”

Magical me… Brilliant. I could’ve used some back when I’d been writhing in agony on his office floor.

Turning to look fully at him, I questioned, “So what does that mean?”

“That I have a weakness when it comes to you.”

Oh… His statement was loaded.

My heart did its little pick-up skip, something that happened frequently around the man.

I asked, “And how does that make you feel?”

“Like I want to keep you here for a while.”

Slightly sinister sounding… 

Because I didn’t say anything, he continued, “Think of it as a second honeymoon. I will.”

I was very interested in his thoughts concerning this subject because we never actually did anything on our first honeymoon–despite what everyone assumed and contrary to our initial contract negotiations.

“A working honeymoon, I think. You’re going to require some instruction.”

“Oh…”

“I have extensive knowledge, but there are books in my library here you’d find insightful… Are you alright?”

“I’m just cold. It’s cool here by the water… ”

I was being cowardly if I didn’t also admit the other discomfort. So I took a deep breath and said, “I’m overwhelmed.”

“Come to the fire with me, then, and let us just hold hands. We can talk of magiks and worlds later.”

Brilliant

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Conversations With a Beast, part 8

My… What would you have me call you?

Your mouth rarely smiles, but I watch your eyes… and they move more often. They track me like death, but I know what those daggers wish at the point of their blades. They want to find out if my heart can be piercedYou’ll have to step closer, assassin. Throwing from across this space is too much the gamble. Nothing would take a hit, except your pride.

~ Not yet yours…

I awoke as I sometimes do, composing a letter, correspondence that I never send. Unlike those typical dreams, I had been writing my message upon my thigh. I was still dreaming because the ink was there as I sat up from the lushness of the bedcovers–florid and done up in beautiful illumination. Never one to lie to myself, a clear thought flared across my mind as I gazed at my handiwork. He likes to look at these legs. Maybe he’ll actually read the message for once.

My dream self thought she was clever–clever and still very sleepy as a yawn erupted wide. So I settled back down under the covers and closed my eyes, again. Dream sleep was delicious, because there was a large fire crackling inside an archaic firplace. Its heat radiated from across the foot of the bed. And somewhere against the far wall to my right, there was the cavernous sound of water trickling lazily.

So when the bed dipped and I awoke to a lack of change, I startled completely awake–fully taking in the man seated at my side.

A Red Magus…

His eyes were no longer pearlescent, but the irisis were still rimmed in red. I remembered the transformation and his wrath, but he looked calmer now.

“What happened?”

My hand went to my stomach. Suddenly, the memory was there, rampant and sharp.

“Am I alright?” But what I really wanted to know was, “Am I safe now? What is this place” So I asked those too.

“It’s my domain, and no one will take you from it.”

“I think I’m hallucinating.”

Looking more fully, the room looked too clearly like a lushly appointed cave. The weighted coolness beyond the blaze at my feet whispered of being deep underground.

This is real. I assure you. That other… was the dream.” At my confusion, he added, “It does not make all that has transpired any less real.”

“I enjoy warping worlds, and this is my domain. No one may trespass as I am its creator and its keeper. Please, don’t be horrified. It’s a bad habit, no more.” 

With that, his eyes wandered to where I had kicked off my covers. My face flushed as he took in the entire message.

“I enjoy reading your words. Please, don’t stop writing on my account.”

Forlorn

Conversations With a Beast, part 7

Bremeerson knew about it, because his accountants did their jobs well. The legal team was alerted in quick succession. His assistant was privy to all of it, and because of my close proximity to everything, I was too.

Selwin couldn’t keep much of anything from me, anyway. I’ve made myself indispensable

That’s just me being funny. Everyone is replaceable in business.

Someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to make me look worse than I already did. Bonus insult: the thief funneled just enough of the company’s earnings into–what the gossip writers liked to call–my “wishing well” to be noticed, but not nearly enough to do any real good.

The wishing well was actually the investments Bremeerson made into the companies he acquired through our personal merger. Honestly, I liked the pet name, if not the people who coined it. I didn’t own any of them prior, but that wasn’t how the clans necessarily worked. 

Without drawing the episode out longer than needed, let me just say that I was made to look like an idiot, stealing from the company I worked for to finance ventures that were already being funded. It made me look like an impatient, disrespectful, idiot.

All for what? To sew discord, lessen credibility, lower my wishing well’s reputation… And get me into trouble with the beast.

“No, my little thief, don’t go in there yet.”

Selwin thought he was being funny as I got up from my desk. Bremeerson had told me to meet him in his office at noon.

“You, of all people, shouldn’t harass me like that!”

Annoyingly, I was hurt.

“Sorry, but you should wait. I just put a call through from one of the lawyers, and he’s still on the line. Sit, you’re trembling.”

So I sat down, as casually as I could–faking unruffled feathers–trying to maintain my professional regard for  Bremeerson’s assistant. I liked Selwin, just not then.

Everyone knew about the theft by that point. I hadn’t won everyone over yet, obviously, and personnel still liked to discuss my demise. There was a strange loyalty towards the Beast of Bremeer, one that I was beginning to understand and emulate. It’s why I felt… fearful and anxious. I didn’t want to lose the fledgling regard he’d developed towards me. So when Selwin broke my reverie to say the boss was ready to see me, I almost lost my nerve.

As soon as the door closed behind me, I kept my voice admirably steady, though, and told him before he could get a word in edgewise, “I earn my wages. I do not steal them. I bound myself through contract…”

My knees wanted to give out, and my skin became clammy. So I sat in the chair by his desk and continued, “You’ve been patient and… kind.”

Although, kindness wasn’t exactly the motivation, I think… more a sense of moral decorum, really high standards, and a necessary detachment.

“I know I haven’t yet fulfilled all the stipulations of our binding contract… Please.”

Believe that I’m not that stupid or that greedy.

I didn’t get to finish, though.

His voice quietly cut through my speech, saying, “Stop.”

I eyed him warily when he proceeded to come near me.

“All you wanted was to read my library… a surprisingly illuminating request. Then you asked for a job interview.” He took a slow and assessing pause. “You are no thief.”

The breath I’d been holding huffed out disjointedly. 

“You’re shaking. Why are you shaking?”

He asked all sorts of questions after that, but I’m not quite sure which ones. What I truly remember is that it was the first time I saw him lose his temper. My blood pressure had plummeted, and the unmistakable taint of curse magiks filtered through my pores.

“No!”

He launched himself at me, when I slid off the  chair and began writhing.

“They are not taking you!”

Selwin heard the shouting and came racing through the office door.

“Get OUT!”

Then Bremeerson became the beast everyone feared. His eyes went pearlescent, the irisis rimmed in red. Meanwhile, my guts began twisting upon themselves, turning me into another kind of monster. The sounds coming from my mouth… Had I fangs, I would have torn at my wrists to get to the veins. I’m very glad there was only one beast in the room, though. I didn’t account for my husband being a Red Magus.

Our enemies hadn’t either… 

It proved a very, very unfortunate enterprise–framing him for my murder.

Funnel

Icicles formed over my small porch last night.

Transformation takes time. I’ve learned this meticulous lesson as a student of the fine arts, music especially. As long as we allow the patience of process into our efforts, the results will almost always amaze us. 

I loved the drips running down my steps, the background to a solid possibility.

15 minutes a day of practice, turns into 30, that stretches into an hour… until the performance seems effortless to the listener. 

Drops of water slide into ice.

I took my icicles out of context and made stalagmites of them.

Even if the end result takes a form different from the initial dream, we must take care to remember: the process is truly about the growth.

Growth

One Drop At a Time

Conversations With a Beast, part 6

So the circumstances were a bit dodgy, but none more so than the ones that led me there. Besides, I liked his responses the morning after my… engagement.  I guess I’ll call it that. I liked it even more so that he’d  left me alone throughout the night, proving he was a man of his word. 

There had been nothing in my luggage to change into for sleeping, because I had no luggage, not that I was in desperate need for night clothes. Clothes were clothes, and I was accustomed to simply sleeping in my oldest tops and such at home. I was planning to stay in my dress. So when Bremeerson handed me a spare shirt–a rather nice, buttoned, long-sleeved, obviously too expensive for me to wrinkle and drool upon shirt–I promptly refused, saying as much. 

“I’d like to look at your legs, and your wearing of my shirt will enable that nicely without me discomforting you too much, I hope.”

“When put that way…”

“I promise to only look.”

Whether my dress or his shirt, there wasn’t much to either, but his shirt wouldn’t smell of sweat and would definitely be more comfortable to lay down in.

“Promise?”

“There’s time enough to come to more intimate conclusions.”

Perhaps I would’ve been less accommodating if he was so obviously a leacher or, worse yet, a perv. I wasn’t a golddigger, just someone who wanted a better life… And this man, this successful and unconventionally handsome individual who so obviously held his own, wanted to look at my legs. His request was almost winsome, almost.

So I accepted his shirt and his trailing eyes when I exited the bathroom, again, a bit later.

“Black suits you.”

“Thank you.”

“Thank you.

And that was that. I slept on the chaise unmolested after he retired to his bedroom, at my insistence, mind you. He did offer the bed, but I wasn’t going there yet. In the morning, I woke to the smell of black kafe, much earlier than I was ever used to. Master Shenlen’s day always started much later than my own at home, and I made kafe per his schedule.

“Come eat with me. There’s kafe or cha as you prefer.”

Without thinking, I poured a cup and set it down in front of his plate.

“Thank you, but I’ve already poured my own.”

“Oh, I…” There wasn’t any shame in working hard all your life. So I finished with, “I have my own habits.”

“Of course.”

While we ate, we continued our negotiations from the night before. I found that I was a little less stunned. This was, after all, how the economic elite did things. It was significantly better than being poached and sold, especially when he asked about what I would like from our binding.

He added, “I would strive for a contented companionship.”

“Do you have a library?”

My question surprised him a little, I think.

“I, actually, do.”

“May I have access to it?”

“You’ll have access to a great many things–not everything, but most everything. What would you do with my library?”

“Read it.”

His brows were eloquent. “Anything in particular?”

“Everything, but to start, commentary on current histories and Amnis law, magiks… and folk tales, please.”

“You value reading, very much, I see.”

I just nodded. If not for books, I would’ve gone mad ages ago.

“Can I add something else?”

“You can ask.”

“Can I work for you?” His brows were very eloquent at my request. “You already have power over me. You’ll have more soon. You might as well be my actual boss. I think I might like that better.”

“I didn’t intend for quite that outcome, but… It would be in your best interest to actively help maintain my profits.”

“Does your assistant have an assistant?”

“No… but he would like one.”

“Would you like to interview me for the position?”

He gave an enigmatic smile and a slight laugh at my question, but I think I knew where his thoughts went just then. 

“No. I’ve already done a background check, and our discussions have given me enough insight into your qualifications.”

That morning, the first of many shared over kafe, he extended his hand to shake, saying, “You’ve got the job. I don’t think the Black Feather clan knew who they were sending my way.”

I never considered myself a romantic (or a thrill-seeker) before then, not with the kind of life I led, but there was a look in his eye–one that I wanted repeated, and only directed at me… a soft respect. It was the kind of regard that let my heart know it was going to be in trouble.

Winsome

Conversations With a Beast, part 5

Wineberries used to make my face splotchy and itch. The reactions were worse for other people, but they were bad enough that I avoided them at all cost when I was younger. I thought of those allergic reactions of bygone years, while crossing the threshold away from the enclave’s assembly.

“Hold steady.”

Bremeerson said it as if the words would keep the room from swaying, but the Sun’s Flare–as he had called the drink–was racing through my untested veins.

More to myself than the man now holding me more upright than naught, I groaned, “Not fun. Why would anybody drink this poison?”

“You downed it the drunkard’s way. It’s supposed to be sipped.”

“Don’t believe you,” exhaled outward as I studiously breathed in through my nose, “still poison.” 

And then–because I really can’t hold my liquor, and that drink was horrendously potent–I asked, “Why are you helping me?”

“It was time to leave, and you offered me a drink.” Well, there was that… “Do you have a room here?”

Ha, me able to afford a room at the Hearthstead? As if I’d ever have enough coin to stay here. The clan had given me a two-way ticket on the rails. I was expected to take my rest on the ride back to Master Shenlen’s house.

Seeing me negate with a deliberately small shake of my head, he answered, “Of course not, why would they bother?”

It sounded like he knew the Black Feather clan, as well.

“Steer me towards the comfort rooms, please. I’ll be alright.”

I hoped.

Instead, he ignored the request and took me to his rooms. I had little time to think about being alone with the beast because I quickly found myself on the floor with my face hovering sickly over his commode, vomiting.

Then, though dry heaving because my stomach refused to acknowledge that the ordeal was over, I laughed. He had my hair in a fist chivalrously holding my rumpled braid from the bile, and all I could think was, “What a beauty I make.”

“Indeed.”

Oh, I’d said that out loud… Sighing in defeat, since it made no sense to nurse a crushed ego where none existed before, I finally lifted my face and replied with an awkwardly wry expression, “I appreciate good sarcasm.”

“So noted. Are you feeling better?”

“I think so.”

Taking a deep breath, I stood, flushed my embarrassment away, and took the damp cloth he offered.

“I’ll give you some privacy then.”

He quietly closed the door on his way out, and I washed my face, rinsed my mouth, and then rebraided my hair–thinking about the man who was not acting very beastly.

That was before I opened the door and found myself in real conversation with Bremeerson. 

Without preamble, he stated, “I don’t believe your clan planned for ravishment and, most definitely, not ruination. However, all of the enclave witnessed our leaving together. By now, word of you being quite alone with me here in my rooms have filtered to the gossipmongers.”

I stared at him in horrified astonishment while he continued, “I intended it.”

Intended?” It was more a whisper, but it felt like a scream.

“Of course. You were the most interesting commodity in that gaggle of vendors downstairs.”

“What!?”

A commodity?… And then my brain really engaged, shaking off the last of the Sun’s Flare, and I asked, “How do you intend to acquire?”

“Ravishment… respectfully. Ruin  sours things, don’t you think?” When I didn’t answer, he continued, “Would you prefer a large wedding or a quiet elopement?”

“I… both.” It was the truth as I sat on the chaise stunned. “I’m going to marry you?”

“Yes, if you agree, though it seems like there’s little choice.”

There’s always a choice, whispered through me as I thought about this development. I was worth something to the clans, and now it seemed I was also worth something to Bremeerson… I could work with that.

“What do you gain from binding with me?”

“Access to the clans’ business contacts. They’re very insular, especially your Black Feather. They control a market I wish to explore and… exploit.”

Shifting his seated position to one more relaxed, he stated, “I like the look of you. I like your voice. You spoke with understanding the few times you were able downstairs, but held your tongue during the more idiotic rants… a useful skill.”

“What do I gain… Wait. No, what do I lose?” I asked this, instead of the other, because I’d be gaining the world beyond Master Shenlen’s walls while bound to him.

“Those chapped and cracked knuckles, the bruises that are probably always on your knees. You won’t perform any hard manual labors in my house. You won’t serve anyone. I don’t need another maid.”

“Good to know, but you’re not telling me what I really need to hear.” 

“Yes. I am.”

“I mean my freedoms…”

“Did you have many to begin with?”

I didn’t want to answer the obvious. So I asked, bluntly, “Are you a bad man?”

He thought for a bit, “I have bad habits.”

“Will you hurt me?”

Again, he paused, “I’m sure, though not purposefully.” Here, he spread his hands out, saying, “I have bad habits, and my reputation is built on many truths… to varying degrees. I’m sure to offend you at some point. Take here and now. Certainly, this binding “negotiation” is offensive on more than a few levels, but…”

Looking me fully in the eye, he said, “I won’t beat you or abuse your emotions, if that’s what you fear.”

Then my mind went there, and I asked, “Intimacy and your expectations? I don’t have… much experience.”

Since we were laying everything out on the table, it seemed as fitting as any other topic. Best to get it over with.

Looking at me with an observant perusal, a sharper one, he answered, “I do… I’ll be monogamous and disease free so long as you agree to the same.”

“With me?”

“I didn’t peg you as so jaded a women.”

When confusion maintained its grip on my face, he laughed, “Oh, that particular rumor still persists, I see. My attentions don’t lean that way. So yes, with you.”

“Do you want children?”

It was then that I found my heart racing, awaiting his answer. He took his time, and I was scared.

“Do you want children?”

Swallowing hard, I said, “No, I don’t… I didn’t think I would have any, not as a maid.”

“What about as my wife?

“… maybe.”

“Then my answer is maybe. We’ll reconvene on the topic when we are on more comfortable terms.

I simply nodded because despite my bravado during our conversation, that future frightened me. 

Eyeing me closer, he offered, “I’ve taxed you. Where are you staying? I’ll order a lift.”

“I…” Closing my eyes, I made a choice, telling him the truth, “I have nowhere to go. The clan bought me a rail ticket back. I wasn’t expected to stay after the assembly.”

“A two day journey. They really are a bunch of bastards. I think I’ll enjoy crippling them.”

Thruths.

“Well then, make yourself comfortable since we’ll be sharing much from here on out.”

When I’d clinked glasses with him in front of the enclave, I should’ve realized that I was making a deal with a devil of a beast.

Allergic

Conversations With a Beast, part 4

When is an option viable? The second you think it into existence…

It had been hours, and I was stewing in fantasies of fraternal emolation. A new, more satisfying image would boil up as I sat with my ear mech translating while various ambassadors spoke. Warded against lies, I had to trust that what  was funneled into my hearing was true.

I wasn’t so sure all the time, but there was truth enough to the fact that this enclave was nothing more than a glorified marriage market. Old Kingdom titles and New Stock monies kept haggeled alliances contractual, but had this been dealings on the White Market, most of the women (and a few of the men) would have been sold. Actually, I couldn’t be sure that “selling” wasn’t taking place.

It made my seat there that much more uncomfortable. My clan had polished me up for this engagement (an unfortunate pun), and I had read as much of the joint histories as I could, but I was ill-prepared for any kind of verbal exchange concerning current events and commodities. The clan hadn’t seen fit to educate me prior, and no wonder. I wasn’t meant to speak, at all, simply to sit there being ogled and quickly dismissed.

Present enticements included: warlockian heirs, a handful of daughters from the old corporate regimes, some from the newest mag startups, a couple princesses of the lesser kingdoms… And me. The other clans hadn’t bothered to send anyone else, and maybe that was the point.

I would’ve sat there longer, silently plotting fantastical revenge, but a server had the ill-fortune of a weak ankle or an invisible stumbling block placed in his path, causing the man and his entire tray of drinks to topple and come crashing to the floor.

Broken crystal lay around him as he lay covered in wines and other liquid amenities. Stunned, I could understand why he stayed unmoving in the middle of the carnage. As for the attendees who witnessed, nothing excused their frozen posteriors, especially after I left my seat and began helping the server.

Rather, there was one other individual who stood, the man seated clear across the other side of the cavernous room. I did notice him, being that he was difficult to keep from noticing. However, my regard was painfully cut short by the contrastingly quick insults I heard being said of me. My ear mech ensured every word was translated.

“They really did bring a servant…. What did you expect of the blackborn? … Embarrassment… affront… Someone remove her.”

Hell, no. I wasn’t going to be tossed out like garbage. It didn’t matter that I didn’t belong or that I wanted nothing more than an excuse to be released. I was not the refuse here. So after getting the server onto his feet, I took the only two remaining glasses miraculously still filled with a bit of… Something (I wasn’t sure what they held), and I was going to toast the room twice, then see myself out.

In the act of turning around to do just that, I came face-to-face (well, more like face-to-shoulder with Fenrick Bremeerson, commonly referred to as the Beast of Bremeer. He has a reputation, one that made what I did next highly inadvisable and out of character for me. I should’ve felt shame, but being in a room full of bullies made me bold.

There was an opportunity for an exit that was worthy of me, and the option became viable the second I thought it into existence. He was there. I was there with two glasses. So I thrust one into his hand, clinked mine against it, and downed the drink while he–surprisingly–took a sip of his own. 

“Let me take that from you.”

Bremeerson’s request sounded perfectly reasonable even though the part of my mind where I still had sense asked, what did he expect to take?

So I handed my glass to Bremeerson as he requested. He placed it on the server’s tray, and then–because I must have been in shock–I walked out on his arm.

I heard the clamor we caused behind us, not caring, because I could only place my attention on my escort’s next words.

“You just downed Sun’s Flare. It’s going to hit you in a minute.”

It took less than a minute, because I felt like throwing up.

Viable

Conversations with a Beast, part 3

I was sent to treat. Me. 

My ramshackle “family,” the dubious Clan of the Black Feather, voted me their ambassador for the parley. Actually, while I’m on the topic of that band of bastards, let me say that they sent me out to the enclave knowing full well that I’d get mauled, because they are a deceitful, scheming, back-handed bunch of unfaithful, uncaring, wholly unrepentant bastards. They only claimed me peripherally as a ward of the clan because I was female and not an elderly crone–even with my parentage being questionable.

They wouldn’t have done so three generations back, before the Curse of Sigemao, before the family was doomed to having only male spawn. Even though he made it so that none of the Heise line could render female progeny, I thought the guy exceedingly funny. Everybody in my town did. We all knew the story, but  that was before the clan elders claimed me as their long lost daughter… illegitimate, but very much female– making me a natural shoe-in for their schemes.

They’d plucked me from the “uncle” for whom I worked like a dog… I acknowledge that my living situation could’ve been so much worse. I cooked. I cleaned. I served. But should I truly feel grateful for not being molested or physically tortured? In exchange for an education, I did everything, and Master Shenlen flaunted me around like he was the epitome of philanthropy. I was supposed to be his orphaned niece, not his maid.

I was only nine when I came to live with him, and I had such high hopes after the devastation of losing my only earthly bond. I can’t even say I benefited from a real education. All I got was access to the books in his musty, unused library… and only because I had cleaned and catalogued them.

I have some serious holes in my formal knowledge. So when the elders polished me up and paraded me in front of the enclave for the treaty ratifications, I knew they were handing my ignorance to the other ambassadors on a silver platter. They wanted the Beast of Bremeer and his associates to throw their callousness my way. The clan planned to feel affront and for the changes to fall through.

The Beast had other plans, however. Lucky for me, they involved silver platters without my head on any of them.

Treat

Conversations with a Beast, part 2

He likes his bedroom talk. Surprising, because his quiet and mysterious ways don’t appropriately foreshadow  intimate eloquence. Unfathomable is the term some of the ladies like to use. Actually, everyone seems to use that word when describing my beast or their own. It irritates me to a very questionable degree.

I feel like there should be a good epiteth spat out right here, but I can’t settle on any particular one. Just attach your own at will. Who wants to be unfathomable? It’ll land you at the bottom of the Malvechian Trench, and what air-breather wants to be down there? Besides, it’s dark, and I have no bioluminescence about me.

Oh, lofty-brow raise I see there upon your face… Why wouldn’t I be educated? I know my mouth isn’t always the most proper, but I choose my words carefully, nonetheless– dependent upon my audience.

Just like every other learned person.

I walk between words and between worlds, which is how I found myself being transplanted from my hovel of a hometown to my current abode. I most definitely did not grow up with the tech and mag advances the citizens of Amnim are fortunate enough to possess. Little Shigua is nothing more than a street behind a field with a pump well. It only clings to the map because of its infamous neighbor, Dadeja–a brothel town with a vigerous slave trade.

It’s called “loaning yourself out,” but slapping a free trade name on something doesn’t make it so.  I don’t actually care so much about the skin trade as I do how most of the brothels aren’t freely stocked there. It’s widely known, even with regulations in place to restrict the dubious nature of consent. That’s why staying in Shigua was questionable after a certain age. Poachers lurked even when we thought our town was much too small to hide and hunt in.

They almost got me and my cousin once, but I’m really flexible, and my wrists are small. Make your own deductions about our escape, please. I have reservations about reliving the encounter.

“Have you been faking it?”

Said in his deceptively calm tone…

That was another encounter I don’t wish to repeat, but it’s not a traumatic one–merely uncomfortable–so I can safely relate it. Had I more experience, I probably could’ve done so indefinitely–faked it, I mean. On second thought, the man’s very observant. So, perhaps not. Regardless, he caught me at month four, the second time he decided to decorate my apendages with silk. I did my damnedest to lie, though. I mean, who wouldn’t? Look at him. He’s…well, him! I’m not a martyr. I just wanted the man to enjoy himself, and it was only the fourth month. I was embarrassed at being found out.

It took me a week to cave. It became necessary. Afterwards, he’d gotten so quiet… Not a concern in public, because that’s how he always is, but in the privacy of our bedroom, it was ominous.

“I’m sorry.”

Then I cried. I didn’t get any further for five whole minutes. I was so embarrassed… Because it was still all new to me, and I was still very much corruptible at that point. I had committed the sin of willful miscommunication and silence–the basis for many a romantic conflict.

I did manage to tell him, though. It was with the side of my face creased against my pillow allowing for no eye contact, but I did manage.

“I don’t like playing with those. They remind me of…”

He listened.

Then I stopped speaking so I could hear his comments. That proved a more enjoyable experience. As I’ve expressed before, he didn’t decide upon me because I was biddable. It was because I could control my tongue. Take that as you will. As I’ve said, he likes to talk in the bedroom.

Reservation

(Second day in January, second short piece in. Hopefully, I can maintain the momentum so these two characters get fleshed out some.)