I stepped into the subterranean lake. As always, moonlight spilled across the lake. I didn’t have to wait long to hear Erik’s violin and I smiled. Many a day and night I had laid in this room, splayed on the steps… on the bed… listening to him play. I grew up here, crying into his arms, desperate for the slightest bit of love… from anything… from anywhere. Anywhere I could get it. Now Erik sat, playing for me as he once did. As he always did.
I followed the music to the raised platform where the bed rested against the wall. Smiling, I laid down on the crimson red sheets. And Erik played on.
* * *
Angel stared from between the strands of black hair. Quietly she mumbled, rocking, holding her naked self tight against the chill. Across the room, his back to the wall, Ian sat, waiting. Although she rocked, her gaze fixed on Ian, he doubted she saw him or processed his presence there in the room.
“And the death men will find me…” she mumbled.
And Ian sat there and waited.
* * *
The music stopped. I lay on the bed remembering the first time I made love to Erik. That was so long ago. He caressed my skin. He held my face and tenderly kissed my lips. He ran his fingers through my hair as if… as if he knew the abuse I suffered… as if he knew just how I craved to be held.
“You don’t need me anymore.”
I turned and he was there, beside me on the bed. I smiled and took the tips of his fingers into mine.
“I know,” I said. “Just let me lay here a while longer.”
He sighed as if at peace. A tear slipped from my eye. My heart was breaking. And I was going to be okay.
* * *
“Why are you here?”
Ian slipped from his day dream and gazed at Angel who threw all her rage at Ian. He tipped his head.
“Do I need a reason to be?”
“No one wants to be in this room. What is it you want? Why are you here?”
“I’m here for you,” Ian said.
Anger became range and Ian watched the ache in Angel to lunge herself at Ian. To rip him apart with her fingers.
“No,” Ian said. “Not like this.” Ian stood and walked toward Angel.
Her rage turned to terror and Angel recoiled. Despite the chains, she scrambled, desperate to put distance between herself and her guest.
Ian came to her chain and, taking up his sword, Ian cut the chains that bound her. Just like that, Angel was free.
Horror covered her face as she looked up at Ian, imploring something of him.
“Oh,” Ian said. “The chains weren’t holding you here,” he muttered. “They were protecting you.”