Chapter 35

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The moment the bedroom door slams shut behind us, I whirl on him. My hands fly to his collar and I shake him furiously.
"Why didn't you tell me, you-"
"I was going to!" He holds his hands out innocently. "Really, I was!"
"When?!" I cry. I'm not mad that he's the bandit. I'm mad because he didn't trust me enough to tell me.
"I-" His face falls, and he bites his lip. "I don't know..."
"I thought you trusted me!" I release his throat and pound my fists relentlessly on his chest.
"I-" He stops suddenly, watching absently as I furiously beat against his chest. "I needed to be sure- do you realize what I'm risking with this?" Even as he speaks, he glances back over his shoulder as if to make sure we're not being watched. "I needed someone I could trust-"
"I'm your wife! I'm your freaking wife!" I slam his chest one last time for good measure, though he barely notices, and then I fling myself on the bed and lie face down.
I don't grant him to honor of looking up. I hear him sigh.
"I should have told you... shouldn't I've?" He grumbles reluctantly.
"Would've been nice. Bit of a shock, you know, when the notorious unidentified bandit whips off his hood and turns out to be your husband." My voice is muffled by the sheets.
"I suppose a sorry wouldn't quite cut it, then?"
I fling at pillow at his head. He ducks, eyes flying open, as it flumps over him and knocks over the folding screen as it hits.
"I thought you trusted me! I trusted you!" I moan back into the quilt.
His footsteps cross the room, and I hear the curtains being drawn closed around my side of the bed. More footsteps, and the bed sags slightly under new weight, as the remainder of the curtains are shut.
"I know." He mutters. "I am, actually, sorry, though I know you don't care."
"Got one thing right, then."
"I just wasn't sure how you'd react..." He admits, settling down, under the covers because the night is cold. "And, let's face it; my life is kind of hanging in the balance with the whole thing, okay? I'm a little worried."
I prop myself up finally, and look him in the eye by the light of the full moon just leaking in through the edges of the curtains.
"Alright, more than a little." He amends, watching me. "But I was just scared that you would... hate me, if you found out, you know?"
"Why would I hate you for secretly being a good person?!" I snort incredulously. "If anything, that just makes me like you more-"
"More?"
"Shut up. I mean, I would be much less pissed right now if I knew you trusted me!-"
"I do trust you-"
"You keep saying that!" I cry. This is inexcusable. I feel as if our entire relationship has been built on nothing, and just suddenly crumbled away, leaving me nothing to stand on. "But... then why didn't you just tell me?" Now I feel the tears budding at the corner of my eye. I'm tired, okay? "I'm your wife, Connor, your wife, alright? And there's nothing I can do about that. But I'm here so you can tell me these things... that's what marriage is for..." I finish weakly. Is it? Marriage is for position, for power... that's all my mother has ever taught me.
Silence.
Then he moves closer, a strong hand stroking my cheekbones delicately. I slap his hand away, and he inches back.
"Keep your distance. If you don't trust me, I don't trust you."
Okay, maybe a little harsh. What am I supposed to say, though? He hid this from me for months, almost an entire year, led me on a wild goose chase, and the entire time... he's the bandit. But maybe I'm overreacting... just a little bit? His life is in danger now, with my knowledge, which also puts me in danger....
"You realize... it wasn't just me I was trying to protect?" His voice gilds the darkness in warm molten gold. I don't answer, but turn away from him.
"If they ask you, Hollie... pretend you know nothing...." He says slowly, thoughtfully, behind me, his voice cracking slightly. "But- and listen- if they try to hurt you... I want you to tell them everything. Got that?"
I sniff slightly, forcing back the needless tears. God, I'm an idiot. Throwing a toddler temper tantrum, when it turns out the whole time he was just trying to protect me.
"I'm not an idiot, Connor..." I mumble. I feel like one. "I think I can take care of myself...." I say, in a slightly lighter voice.
He chuckles behind me.
"So... I'm going to take that as forgiveness?"
I snort. How many times have I forgiven him now? I spin and jab my finger sternly at his nose.
"Last time. But... yes." I glare at him, then face the curtain again. I hear him chuckling softly in the darkness, though, amused at my antics as always.
"Good night then... Hollie."
"Shut up and go to sleep."

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