“It needs to be in your lap,” I murmur, “one of my old high school teachers taught me that. She was a fancy one, from the big city.” Bending down, I spread the napkin over Revenge’s lap and he lets out a tense sound in his throat and I freeze when I brush against some kind of bulge.
It grows bigger when I rub my thumb over it and I gasp, slamming a hand over my mouth.
“Sorry,” Revenge says between his teeth as I flood with all kinds of emotions I’ve never felt before. Was that forme? “Mind giving something to wash this down with?”
Grateful that he’s trying to break the tension, I whirl around and grab a carafe of juice and pour him a tall glass. When I hand it to him, our fingers touch and electricity shoots up my arm. It startles me, causing me to drop the glass and it falls, about to smash when Revenge catches it.
Some juice spills on the floor but wow, those are some fast reflexes...
Fanning myself, I sit down on a chair next to him and I can scarcely breathe. If my feelings don’t settle, I’m gonna run out of oxygen. Putting my chin in my hand, I watch Revenge dig into his food and a soft and sad smile crosses my face.
“When was the last time you ate?” I whisper and he freezes with his utensils in the air, his eyes narrowing in on mine and I add, “S’okay. You aint gotta tell me.”
“Aren’t you having any?” Revenge asks and I shake my head.
“I like watching you eat. It’s...satisfying enough.”
He nods and I watch him methodically shove food into his mouth and chew and my stomach coils. I’ve seen men eat before, didn’t find it particularly exciting but watching Revenge do it, makes me feel like my dress and underwear are all too much for me and aren’t meant to be used when he’s around.
“And I need to keep on working soon,” I murmur, “there’s a ton of stuff I still need to do on the farm.” I raise my brows. “Are you done?”
When he says he is, I hurry to clean up, humming to myself and I grab a piece of a leftover still stuck in the pan, before throwing it into the sink and I nearly choke. The salt. I put too much and I spit it out and turn to Revenge who regards me calmly.
“Why you aint say nothing?” I cry, feeling miserable that he forced all of that down.
“About what?” Revenge shrugs. He winks at me, before getting up and my face flames. He ate that whole mess simply to avoid hurting my feelings and my limbs feel heavy and warm.
Just like I thought. Agoodman.
“Where you goan?” I breathe when he moves toward the exit and he stops in his tracks and I bite my lip. Did I sound needy now? Probably but Revenge doesn’t seem to mind.
“I’m finishing the work you have left on the farm,” he says and I stare at him. “You sit back and rest and let me handle it.”
“Rev, I can’t let you do that. Your back’s goan ache so much, your poor knees...”
He must be exhausted from wandering from door to door but he shakes his head as if he doesn’t want to hear any protests, and I almost let out a whimper at his virility. His jaw flexes and he takes off his cloak and puts it on a hanger before turning to me again.
“Don’t go run any errands,” he rasps. “I want you where I can see you.”
I’m about to answer him but he’s already out the door and my heart flutters in my chest. How can he be so commanding, so sure of himself, so full of...authority? A male like him must’ve been taking orders all his life but he speaks like he’s the one giving the orders.
As a simple girl with a simple mind, it makes my thoughts spin but my body’s responding. It navigates toward him, searches for him even when he’s not in the room and I gravitate toward his cloak. Burying my nose in it, I inhale the scent and a moan escapes my lips.
What an exotic fragrance, like ice from the depths of a dark, underwater cave and my lids flutter. I bury my whole face in the fabric and it’s as soft as the butter I churn every weekend. How can his cloak be so soft? It’s nothing like the fabric ever worn by me or my family. There’s a label on the collar but I don’t recognize the name and I can’t pronounce it. Though, I can recognize it’s not exactly the kind of cloak a drifter would wear...
But so what?a voice says in the back of my mind.Even if he wasn’t who he says he is, you’d still wanna keep him.
He’s kind to me and that’s all that matters, I decide. I spend the rest of the day, feeling like a princess. I haven’t had a break for so long and I do all the things I never get to do. I sit in the bath for ages, take a quick nap and play with my cats. Afterward I’m so refreshed I feel like a new Addie and I want to show her to Revenge.
Stepping out on the porch, I look over the farm, searching for Revenge and find him over at the fence. I’ve struggled with it for so long, struggled so much it made my fingertips bleed and it used to be broken but Revenge has fixed it. My heart pangs in my chest from gratitude and I jump down and race toward him.
The closer I come the more I realize something’s different. At first I thought he was still wearing his shirt but then I see he’s taken it off but something is still covering his tan skin. It looks like black vines.
What is that?
Revenge doesn’t give me the chance to find out because as soon as he registers I’m running toward him, he puts his shirt on. By the time I’m in front of him, he’s buttoned up to the neck and his sleeves cover his arms.
Breathless, I stop before him and look at him underneath my lashes. “I brought you something to drink,” I murmur, handing him a bottle of water and he drinks greedily until the bottle wrinkles. Brushing sweat out of his eyes, he peers at me and my knees go soft.