I slipped back to my room, feeling miserable and elated and confused and frustrated and defeated and victorious.
His words echoed inside me like flashes of light through the dark.
You please me, Persephone.
His soul bled all over me tonight.
Now I was expected to fall asleep smeared in his pain.
Cillian and I fell into a routine after that night.
He showed up for our daily dinners obediently, but made it a point to walk through the door three or four minutes after seven, even if it meant waiting in his Aston Martin, scowling at the front door like it was an ingrown hair he couldn’t get rid of.
He defied me like an unruly child, waiting to see how his mother would respond to his pushing the limits. This was a man without limits. A tycoon who had spent his life demanding and receiving everything he’d ever desired, in quick fashion. He was raised in the arms of nannies, private boarding schools, and au pairs who had taught him Latin, table manners, and how to tie a tie four different ways.
No one had taught him love.
How to live, laugh, and enjoy the sensation of raindrops on his skin.
No one had shown him humanity.
Maybe that was one of the reasons he was so fond of bondage. It allowed him to remain in control, even in a situation where letting go was required.
Dinners at the Fitzpatrick household were, to put it mildly, a pain in the butt.
I’d tried to spice them up, no pun intended. I’d invited Petar, Emmabelle, Hunter, Sailor, and Aisling to join us a few times each week, since the cook had made enough food to feed the entire neighborhood. One time, I even took it upon myself to invite his parents.
Cillian accepted his new reality with quiet resignation. He was clearly unhappy with the socialization I injected into his life, but he suffered through it, knowing our nights together were worth it.
Not only did we have daily dinners together, but I made sure to fill them with stories about my day. Funny anecdotes about the kids I taught, and things they said and did in the classroom. Most of the time, he answered with monosyllabic groans. He volunteered next to nothing about his days at work and refused to address the Green Living lawsuit.
I knew he wanted to ask me if I ever heard back from Andrew Arrowsmith about that job.
The answer, by the way, was a big, fat, disappointing no.
But I didn’t volunteer any information. Waited for him to ascend from his underworld kingdom and play with his little mortal wife. Take interest. Make conversation.
Something compelled me to still send him pictures of lone clouds whenever I found them in the sky, even though he’d failed to respond. Maybe to remind him miracles did exist, and so did magic.
We made love every night.
Sometimes, it was depraved and rough, and sometimes, it was slow and taunting. It was always a wild exploration. A symphony of new notions and tastes and colors I’d never experienced before.
Three weeks after I moved in, I got my period.
I cried when I saw the first spot of blood on my panties. I wiped my tears, took a shower, threw the underwear in the laundry basket, and drank two glasses of water to calm myself down. It was my second period since I’d started sleeping with my husband.
I wasn’t sure what hurt more—my wanting a baby so much and not getting my wish, or letting Cillian down, which I was undoubtedly going to do.
“Aunt Flow is in town,” I announced during dinnertime. It was one of the rare occasions where it was just the two of us.
“Better than Aunt Tilda, I suppose.” Kill didn’t look up from his plate.
“Is this supposed to be funny?” I asked in a thin voice. He patted the corners of his lips with a napkin, still staring at his plate.
“Thanks for letting me know. I’ll plan my evening accordingly.”
“Have fun,” I gritted out, this time not bothering to hide my disappointment.
“I intend to.”
I didn’t expect a visit from him that night.
To his credit, he managed to hold himself off until half past eleven. I’d listened to him through the adjoining wall of our rooms, going about his evening. Typing on his laptop. Flipping sports channels. Taking business calls.
Finally, there was silence. A knock on my door sounded a few seconds later. I loved that he always asked to come in, never assuming, never demanding.
I opened the door.
We stared at each other for a beat.
“Did you call me?” He frowned.
I suppressed a smile. “No.”
“I thought I heard your voice.”
My chest filled with something warm.
All I did was shake my head. This time, he had to work for it.
“I came for…” He broke off, running his fingers through his silky brown hair, furious with himself. “I don’t know what the hell I came for.”
“Yes, you do,” I said softly.
I wanted to hear it from him. That he enjoyed it. Us. That he didn’t only do it because we were supposed to, but because it made him happy.
God knew it made me happy.
Too happy, maybe.
He leaned down to kiss me. Letting him off the hook was tempting, but for the sake of his synthetic grass heart, I put a hand on his chest, pushing him away.
His downturned lips flattened, and his eyes hardened. He snapped his knuckles, something I’d noticed he tried not to do when there were other people in the room. He was hanging onto his control. Barely.
“I came here to make out with you middle school style. Happy?”
“Very.” I pulled him by the white V-neck of his shirt into my room, closing the door behind us.
On that night, and the four nights after it, all we did was kiss and fondle and explore. He sucked my nipples until they were too raw and sensitive for me to wear a bra the next day, and I gave him hand jobs while we both stared at my small hand wrapped around his cock in awe.
When my wrist started hurting, I graduated from hand jobs to blow jobs. At first, Cillian was skeptical.
“I like your hands and mouth where I can see them,” he drawled.
“I’m not a rabid animal from the wilderness.” I laughed.
He gave me a jury’s-still-out-on-that sort of look, which made me laugh even harder. I bit down on my teeth.
“Sree?” I asked, my voice was muffled. “Nrro teeth.”
Grinning down at me, he got up from the bed, standing up and lowering my head with his hand until I was on my knees in front of him.