She blushed. "I just - um-"
He sighed. "Tell me, child."
"Kieran says he saw you whipping a girl at Need." It came out in one long flow of words, and her fingertips flew to her mouth as if to stanch the tide.
Damn Kieran. "He did," he said carefully.
She moistened her lips. "Telenias - if that's why you said no - I - I like that sort of thing. I do it with Kieran. So if that's why you said no...?"
"No. I said no because you are far too young."
"I'm of age now!"
"You are. But I am old enough to be your father."
Her mouth opened, then swiftly closed. The thought flashed almost audible, and he sighed. "Yes, some men do like that. I am not one of them."
Her eyes flashed sullenly. "It isn't fair. I can't control my age."
"Life isn't fair, highness."
She laughed in spite of herself. "No, it's really not."
"You have many lovers, Miss Donnelly. You're not lonely of a night."
She shrugged, knowing that this was no criticism. "You intrigue me."
She leaned forward. "Telenias. Really. You must know that you're handsome. He waved a hand dismissively; she rolled her eyes and continued. "And you're very Dom, but not in an obvious way. And you know, you remember. And you keep separate from everyone else - no one gets to know you. I want to know you."
He regarded her, this intriguing child. Not truly a child - in a way, she'd come of age in the Purges, tender age or no.
Difficult, though, to reconcile her maturity with her appearance. At seventeen, he looked fourteen when she wasn't dressing to emphasize her figure. There was that in him that had an aversion to that.
Would that change, he wondered? In her twenties, in her thirties, would the gap in their ages cease to feel so large - would the woman she was poised to become draw him?
No way to tell. For right now, though, it would feel like taking advantage of a child.
"You can know me as a friend, Capri," he finally replied.
She beamed. "That'll do for now."
We're up to $2,665.60! Let's see if we can push it to $3,000!
Remember, every dollar facilitates one phone call to RAINN's hotline.
Five more hours.
I'm dyin' over here.