Chapter 9

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The other night, Dear, while I was sleeping

I dreamt I held you in my arms

But when I woke, Dear, I was mistaken

I hung my head and I cried

I ran to Dirg's stuff and hid in a bush, hiding from anyone but him. My heart throbbed painfully in my chest as the minutes ticked by. He came soon, and I ran out and hugged him, breathing hard. He put his hand on my head.

"So you are not totally fine," he stated.

"I- I guess not."

"It's okay. It will probably take longer for you to be comfortable alone. We will stay here until dark. Let go of me."

I did as told and stepped back, blushing. He sat Indian style next to his things with his sword lying bare next to him and pointed in front of his lap. I sat, and he played with my hair for a while.

Eventually, he said, "I can't get last night out of my head."

"Which part?"

He brushed the hair off of my neck and grabbed the back of it gently.

"The dance off."

I remembered my embarrassment and felt heat crawl up my neck.

I tried to defend my actions. "I couldn't let him win."

He chuckled. "I know. Thank you."

I froze. He just thanked me. He never thanked me. "I was just doing my job."

He went back to playing with my hair. "Yes, but you didn't have to try that hard. You could have quit when it got embarrassing."

"I don't quit."

"You did once, but I had to push you to an extreme for that."

I tried to remember what he was talking about. It took a few minutes before I realized he was talking about converting me. I nodded and silence reigned once more.

His hands stilled and left my hair.

"Face me, Sunshine."

I did as told and turned to him, sitting on my heels with my knees together. He studied me for quite some time, his deep eyes not telling me much of what he was thinking.

Finally, he spoke. "Sunshine, I can get you a house and a job anywhere you would like to go. Be it Tulsa, Washington DC, Tokyo, New York City, London, anywhere. I could give you the life you dreamed about back in the orphanage."

I tilted my head, confused. I opened my mouth to speak, but he made a gesture for silence.

"Or, you can stay with me. If you do choose to stay with me, things will have to change out of necessity. King Zinx and I talked about this while you were out. Since you are a pureline darky, even though it is only half, I cannot in good conscience keep you as my pet."

A sense of foreboding gripped me and fear started to claw its way up from my stomach.

"I can even bring you to your father, if you wish." He reached for me and put his hand on my face. "Things cannot continue as they are, Lucille."

He only used my name to punish me, so that alone fed the fear within me. I tried to swallow it and keep his gaze.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because you are a pureline dark light and I am no longer betrothed."

My jaw dropped open. "What? Why?"

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