He'd been lashed by the usual dreams of her gloating at a gravesite, then the Roman stroking himself as she slowly dragged her skirt up her thighs. "I'll possess Myst the Coveted..."
But details of the memories became more evident each time. This time he'd heard Myst's amused thoughts at his words - No one possesses me, but in their fantasies. I'll kill you as easily as kiss you... "And I'll be yours, only yours," she purred, though she detested him.
Now he'd seen something new. A different, more recent memory. Myst was smoothing on hose, her foot daintily placed on his bed, as she made a decision to...trick him? To act as though she'd capitulated easily in order to get her chain back.
Play at love and act at surrender.
He gripped his forehead in his hand. Irrationally, he waited for the soft touch of her hand on his back. She was his Bride, his wife, and she offered him no comfort.
Even had she truly had that urge, she couldn't, since he was still secretly commanding her to sleep throughout the day. So she wouldn't run away from him and leave him in torment again.
Kill you as easily as kiss you...
He'd thought they'd had a place to start from, to move forward from, but he'd been fooled by her beauty and abandon. She'd seduced him, made sure he "caught" her working her body that same night, knowing he would lose his mind at the sight.
He was as much a fool as the Roman, besotted with a fantasy that didn't exist. At least that long-dead Roman had suffered no delusions that she could care for him. He'd known that she was incapable of feeling and had wanted possession only.
Wroth had been falling for a fantasy, one that easily manipulated him.
She desired her freedom and she would use whatever means she had available to get it, leaving him as soon as she'd succeeded.
When Myst woke, she burrowed down into the covers, feeling relaxed and content to her toes.
Today was D-day - delivery day for the chain - the end of the demo that she realized had resulted in a sale.
She snuggled into his pillow, loving his scent, and considered her new feelings. She'd feared her life as she'd known it had ended the minute he'd vowed to give her the chain back. It was a leap of faith on his part and she'd responded to it. Responded in kind. It was a bit ironic that she'd smugly planned to punk him only to get snared in her own machinations. She'd lasted only a few days playing easy till she went easy, her femme fatale plans culminating in the oh-sonefarious leap into his arms.
She grinned into the pillow. She'd take back her chain, but only because it looked so damned sassy on her.
When she rose and stretched, she found him watching her. Her grin widened, but he didn't return her smile, just glanced at her bare br**sts and snapped, "Put on some clothes."
She drew her head back, frowning. "Are you angry with me?" He was usually brusque when they woke, but she could tell this was much worse. She was baffled by what could have happened since she'd gone to sleep, tucked against his chest, secure under his heavy arm. His eyes were somehow crazed and bleak at the same time, his face exhausted. Alarm began to build inside her.
"We have a lot to discuss tonight." He tossed her a robe. "Put it on and sit here."
She had no choice but to comply. He traced away and was back seconds later, holding the chain fisted in his whitened grip. "Tonight we're going to make some adjustments between us - or more accurately, in you."
Her eyes widened. "Wroth, what are you doing?" she asked slowly. "You vowed to give it back today."
"A woman like you should understand broken vows."
"What are you talking about? How can you do this to me now?" The evening she'd decided to stay.
His face was crueler than she'd ever seen it. "You mean after the last two weeks? Just because you wanted to be f**ked and I complied doesn't mean I won't treat you as you deserve."
She put the back of her hand to her face as if she'd been struck. He didn't say "treat you as a whore," didn't call her that, but somehow he made her feel it. "As I deserve," she repeated dumbly.
He grasped her arm, squeezing it hard. "I can't live like this, Myst. With this." At her confused expression, he said, "I've seen your past. I know what you were, what you are."
"What I was?" Her frown deepened. She hadn't lived her life perfectly - there'd been missteps and misjudgments - but she'd done little to be ashamed of. Was the killing too much for him to handle? He'd been a freaking warlord! "If you find me lacking, know that I regret very few of my actions over my long life."
That seemed to enrage him. "No? What about playing at love and acting at surrender?"
"Wroth, that was - "
"Silence." He kissed her roughly, harshly, though she struggled against him before he pulled back. "I've realized you are heartless." His eyes appeared tortured, his entire body tight with tension. "But what if I just ordered you to be kinder, then made you forget all the men that came before me? Made you forget all that, forget your vicious sisters who kill without remorse?"
She gasped, eyes watering, but she couldn't speak after his command. Her hands clenched. She'd never wanted to scream more in her life, and yet her lips parted silently in shock when he said, "I believe I'll just order you to want me so fiercely that you can't think of anything or anyone else - "
A voice interrupted from downstairs. "General Wroth, you're needed at Oblak immediately."
"What?" he bellowed. She felt his eyes on her as she staggered to the window seat, tears beginning to fall. She curled up, leaning her forehead against the glass.
"Your brother's been badly injured."