Jeremiah cast a look back at the bed with a melancholy unlike anything he’d ever felt. Sleeping, her hair fanned around her body like a flaming nightgown, Theodora seemed an image of peacefulness. However he’d witnessed the turmoil of her soul in their lovemaking; there had been a fire in her passion that seared his skin almost but it only hid the darkness she was still fighting. At the end she seemed to emerge or rather she seemed to grab him, as if he were her way back to the light. She’d held onto him as if he could ward the fear she still felt. He’d hoped to give her back the control she lost in that dark place. But this… it wasn’t enough. He knew he should be here when she woke up; it would be reassuring for her to know he had truly been here. That she hadn’t dreamed this. But he also knew that it would only be a crutch. He wanted to stay; she hadn’t effectively sent him away. And he’d told her that only she could rule him; but she did answer that she wasn’t sure, not anymore. So he needed to let her find her strength. It hurt him to leave: he knew it would hurt her. But what other choice did he have if he wanted his Lady back? The path ahead would be as difficult for them, as the step she’d just taken with him. Hence the melancholy.
He’d merely given her the chance to emerge from the state of uncertainty that had plagued her. Whether she would remain there… only she could decide. Rose has confided she rode every day bareback but that apart from that she was… almost like a blown out candle. With one last glance at the aquiline and gracious nose of the woman he loved, Jeremiah stepped out. After closing the door without a noise, the Commander took long strides towards the stairs. Where the twins met him, like a couple of mice coming to collect information as if it were some bread crumbs… as if they’d waited for him to come out of Theodora’s apartment: a scandal in so many ways. But he understood: they loved their sister for all that they didn’t know or understand the nature of Theodora’s distress.
“She’s so sad, unhappy.” Dalhia commented casting furtive glance towards the room he’d just left. He smiled bitterly at the pleonasm. Yes, and a lot of other things.
“She’s terrified and lost.” Rose added softly. She had a better understanding of Theodora’s struggle than her twin. “And she’s in love with you. That scares her more than anything else. She’s so afraid of submitting, yielding.”
He pinned her with his gaze; what did this child know of Theodora’s ways? She didn’t flinch or look away, but a soft blush crept at her neck.
“I followed her.” Jeremiah swore under his breath. “I won’t tell. But she only escaped her fears in that place. You can help her face them. Why didn’t you stay with her?”
“I showed her the way back into the light.”
The young woman’s eyes widened.
“But she must take the steps alone or she won’t remain there.”
“We’re not children: we’re no longer debutantes even.”
Rose shook her head. He looked kindly upon them both.
“You are to me, innocent and young. But I’m a soldier and I was old when I was your age.”
“You sound like Philip.”
Dalhia snorted. He had no issue believing that.
“He’s in the library if you want to speak with him.”
Oh that was the kind of strategy women would elaborate. They played naive and innocent while casting their web like a spider. He smiled.
“I do not have the time today.”
“Surely you will meet our father.”
And do what? Ask for his daughter’s hand? Theodora wasn’t ready for that commitment. She needed time; time he was willing to give her. Still… he had spent time in her bedroom.
“I should, shouldn’t I?”
Rose smiled before she stepped aside to let him go down. She knew he would do right by her sister.
“He’ll be in his office; second door to your left.”
He bowed slightly. “My ladies.” And went to meet Theodora’s father.
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Wordle #139 prompt
1. Bed 2. Pupa (An insect in the non-feeding, usually immobile, transformation stage between the larva and the imago.) 3. Pleonasm (Noun- The use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy.) 4. Image 5. Nose 6. Sear 7. Mice 8. Collect 9. Grab 10. Ward 11. Triptych (Fine Arts. a set of three panels or compartments side by side, bearing pictures, carvings, or the like. A hinged, three-leaved tablet, written on, in ancient times, with a stylus.) 12. Pin
Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem
The words can appear in an alternate form