I was undressed and brushing my hair when Damian came in. I didn’t turn to look at him. I was too angry.
“Marina,” he said softly.
“What kept you?” I asked, still not looking at him. I couldn’t. I’d melt when I did, and I wasn’t ready for that.
“Eric needed me,” he said. “Royal and useless remember?” He rested his hands on my shoulder. “I don’t know why you’re so upset.” Well that did it.
“You abandoned me,” I said and stood up. “It was a godsdamned dinner Damian, but you knew it was important and you just, weren’t there.” He exhaled. “Nothing’s even happened yet and you chose the other side, if it becomes real,” I gasped for air.
“Oh,” he said softly. “Oh love, no,” he whispered and knelt next to me. “I won’t, I wouldn’t, I’m not.” I swallowed. He kissed me softly. “I couldn’t, I’m here, I’m with you,” I stared at him. “No matter what we do I’m with you.” I looked at him.
“But you weren’t,” I said and sniffled. “All night, you were distant, you barely even looked at me.” He swallowed. “If you could explain, maybe,” he sighed.
“He wants you,” he said simply, “Franz, he, well, at least he’s been sent here to,” I cocked my head, “and if he knew about us, he’d find a way to send me away, I know it, he’s done it before, and,” I laughed. “It isn’t funny.”
“It’s very funny,” I said with a shrug, “I’ve dealt with bad acting suitors before, you know, one who was in complete control of my life, I think I can handle Kieran Franz.” He frowned. “As for you being sent away, it simply won’t happen. I won’t allow it.” He looked at me.
“And you won’t encourage him,” he frowned. I looked at him and shook my head. “I mean, you won’t flirt, or anything like that?”
“Of course not,” I said, “I’d like to flirt with you but if you ignore me every time we’re in public that will be difficult. He laughed. “What did Aaron do, when he said he’d come here for me?”
“Oh he choked on his drink,” Damian said, as I walked him back to my bed. “I think he might have burst a blood vessel. Raymond laughed outright, Raymond gets to do things like that.” I grinned as we fell backwards. “And I was just trying not to strangle him, ‘and the Duchess is unattached, as I understand?'” I giggled. “‘Your brother is curious to meet her you know, and she’s more lovely than I expected.” I slid my hands up his chest.
“Do you think I’m lovely,” I whispered. He kissed me.
“You are the most lovely,” he said softly. “And I want you every minute of every day.” I exhaled as he pressed into me. “I won’t leave you,” he whispered in my ear. “I won’t do it.” I kissed him. His lovemaking was hard edged and hungry tonight.
“Damian,” I said softly, and stopped him as he tried to start again. “No,” he looked at me. “Please, just hold me.”
“Alright,” he said softly. I snuggled close to him.
“I wish I could help you,” I said softly.
“You do help me,” he whispered. “Just being near you helps, really.” I smiled and pressed my forehead to his. “Today was awful.”
“Yes, it really was,” I whispered, “how are Elaine and Dorian?” He sighed.
“Worried,” he said softly, “their parents were going to be coming over, but they probably won’t now.” He sighed. “Lainey asked after you actually.” I smiled.
“What did Eric need?” I asked.
“Hm?” He whispered, carefully kissing my hands.
“You said you were helping Eric, tonight, what did he need?” I said. He frowned.
“Just the usual things,” he said and stretched. “And now there’s the added wrinkle that he basically wants to move into Annalise’s rooms which could be tricky, without a public engagement.” I nodded.
He was lying to me.
I didn’t know why. But he was.