You stop walking and turn to look at him, trying to make it obvious that you have something to say.
“What is wrong, Angel?” he asks before you can open your mouth and speak. You frown and try to think of the best way to tell him that you’re not who he thinks you are.
“I don’t think I’m an Angel,” you say eventually. Instantly he smiles and a moment later he laughs.
“You are definitely an Angel. We found you in the desert just like all the Angels who came before.”
“I understand, but I’m human, just like you.” Your stomach tenses as he lifts his hand to yours and leads you back to the seating area.
“Angel, I don’t think you do understand.” He reaches up and strokes the hair from the side of your face. “It is possible you are not an Angel, but you should not create doubt of this. It is better for you to allow the attention and the… protection I can offer.”
You gulp but don’t interrupt.
“The Angels before have all come from another land, a distant one none of us have ever seen and they have all appeared suddenly, with no warning to them and little to us. Another is mentioned, one who unites all our Khaads under one banner. Your beauty could well do this for us.”
You shake your head.
“I cannot pretend to be an Angel, if I am not one. I don’t know how to lead people.”
He frowns again but doesn’t speak, instead studying your face.
“You are from elsewhere, are you not?”
“Yes, a place called London in England.”
“And you came here suddenly, with no idea why?” You nod, seeing where he is going. “You are pale, like all Angels before, and you are of good character. We are talking of this because of your desire to be honest. This is all my people know of the Angels. No one lives who has ever met one.”
“You think I’m an Angel despite my fears?”
“Yes. If you are not one, you are so alike, you should be. And when we see our Khaadain I will present you as an angel, promising its truth to all present.” He lifts your hands and presses the backs to his lips, one after the other.
“You have a lot of faith in me.” At this he laughs again.
“In your beauty, yes. And now in your honesty, but this must never be spoken of again. You are an Angel, and for your sake, I ask you not to declare otherwise.” He lowers his gaze and shivers. “The thought of what might happen to you if the tribes decide you’re not… I would not be able to protect you, Angel. Many men would fight over possessing your beauty and you would be consumed by the victor. I cannot bear the…”
He doesn’t finish his sentence but trails off again. After a few seconds he regains his composure and looks up into your eyes.
“Thank you,” you say and smile. Although you still don’t feel sure you’re what his people think an Angel is, he has made you feel less deceptive. If he is convinced that you’re as much an Angel as the people who came before you then it bodes well that others will think the same thing.
“I have been neglectful of you. I should not have left you earlier without explaining our culture and beliefs to you, at least in part. I offer you my apology and ask your forgiveness, sweet Angel.”
“You’re forgiven,” you utter, not even pausing to think about it.
“Good.” He pulls you to your feet. “Tomorrow I will sit with you and explain many things, but the night is passing and I am missing the time for trelair and sleep.”
“Trelair?” you ask.
“There is no direct word in your language. It is the time men have with their wives and female slaves, when they give way to desire and passion.”
“Ah,” you say and find your cheeks flushing. “I am sorry for keeping you from your wife.”
“You are not keeping me from a wife.” He grins. “I have many slaves from my conquered enemies but no wife. I can choose one of them if I wish to satisfy trelair when we are done.”
“Then do not let me keep you here longer.” His calmness while talking of such a subject makes you feel even less comfortable and you almost hate yourself for being so British, and so bright red.
“Would you like to choose one of my slaves for trelair? I have many men and would be honoured to gift one to you. Or women, if you would prefer…”
“Uh, no, I’m fine. Thank you, but no. I couldn’t. Not a slave.” You shut your mouth, realising that if you leave it open, you will babble until he interrupts.
A second later a smirk crosses his face and he surprises you by moving forward to press a swift kiss on your lips as his arms wrap around your waist. He pulls his face back to look into your eyes but doesn’t let go of you. It occurs to you that he may have taken your objection to having a slave as a suggestion that you wanted something else.
What do you do?
Kiss him again and find out what trelair means.
Pull out of his arms and explain that you’re not that sort of woman.
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