A Court of Mist and Fury Page 25

Sure enough, Tamlin and Rhysand stood in the hallway. Upon hearing the door open, Rhys turned toward me. The grin that had been on his face faltered.

“Feyre.” Rhys’s eyes lingered, taking in every detail. “Are you running low on food here?”

“What?” Tamlin demanded.

Those violet eyes had gone cold. Rhys extended a hand toward me. “Let’s go.”

Tamlin was in Rhysand’s face in an instant, and I flinched. “Get out.” He pointed toward the staircase. “She’ll come to you when she’s ready.”

Rhysand just brushed an invisible fleck of dust off Tamlin’s sleeve. Part of me admired the sheer nerve it must have taken. Had Tamlin’s teeth been inches from my throat, I would have bleated in panic.

Rhys cut a glance at me. “No, you wouldn’t have. As far as your memory serves me, the last time Tamlin’s teeth were near your throat, you slapped him across the face.” I snapped up my forgotten shields, scowling.

“Shut your mouth,” Tamlin said, stepping further between us. “And get out.”

The High Lord conceded a step toward the stairs and slid his hands into his pockets. “You really should have your wards inspected. Cauldron knows what other sort of riffraff might stroll in here as easily as I did.” Again, Rhys assessed me, his gaze hard. “Put some clothes on.”

I bared my teeth at him as I stepped back into my room. Tamlin followed after me, slamming the door hard enough that the chandeliers shuddered, sending shards of light shivering over the walls.

I dropped the blanket and strode for the armoire across the room, the mattress groaning behind me as Tamlin sank onto the bed. “How did he get in here?” I asked, throwing open the doors and rifling through the clothes until I found the turquoise Night Court attire I’d asked Alis to keep. I knew she’d wanted to burn them, but I told her I’d wind up coming home with another set anyway.

“I don’t know,” Tamlin said. I slipped on my pants, twisting to find him running a hand through his hair. I felt the lie beneath his words. “He just—it’s just part of whatever game he’s playing.”

I tugged the short shirt over my head. “If war is coming, maybe we’d be better served trying to mend things.” We hadn’t spoken of that subject since my first day back. I dug through the bottom of the armoire for the matching silk shoes, and turned to him as I slid them on.

“I’ll start mending things the day he releases you from your bargain.”

“Maybe he’s keeping the bargain so that you’ll attempt to listen to him.” I strode to where he sat on the bed, my pants a bit looser around the waist than last month.

“Feyre,” he said, reaching for me, but I stepped out of range. “Why do you need to know these things? Is it not enough for you to recover in peace? You earned that for yourself. You earned it. I relaxed the number of sentries here; I’ve been trying … trying to be better about it. So leave the rest of it—” He took a steadying breath. “This isn’t the time for this conversation.”

It was never the time for this conversation, or that conversation. But I didn’t say it. I didn’t have the energy to say it, and all the words dried up and blew away. So I memorized the lines of Tamlin’s face, and didn’t fight him as he pulled me to his chest and held me tightly.

Someone coughed from the hall, and Tamlin’s body seized up around me.

But I’d had enough fighting, and snarling, and going back to that open, serene place atop that mountain … It seemed better than hiding in the library.

I pulled away, and Tamlin lingered as I walked back into the hall.

Rhys frowned at me. I debated barking something nasty at him, but it would have required more fire than I had—and would have required caring what he thought.

Rhys’s face became unreadable as he extended a hand.

Only for Tamlin to appear behind me, and shove that hand down. “You end her bargain right here, right now, and I’ll give you anything you want. Anything.”

My heart stopped dead. “Are you out of your mind?”

Tamlin didn’t so much as blink in my direction.

Rhysand merely raised a brow. “I already have everything I want.” He stepped around Tamlin as if he were a piece of furniture and took my hand. Before I could say good-bye, a black wind gathered us up, and we were gone.

CHAPTER

11

“What the hell happened to you?” Rhysand said before the Night Court had fully appeared around us.

“Why don’t you just look inside my head?” Even as I said it, the words had no bite. I didn’t bother to shove him as I stepped out of his hold.

He gave me a wink. “Where’s the fun in that?”

I didn’t smile.

“No shoe throwing this time?” I could almost see the other words in his eyes. Come on. Play with me.

I headed for the stairs that would take me to my room.

“Eat breakfast with me,” he said.

There was a note in those words that made me pause. A note of what I could have sworn was desperation. Worry.

I twisted, my loose clothes sliding over my shoulders, my waist. I hadn’t realized how much weight I’d lost. Despite things creeping back to normal.

I said, “Don’t you have other things to deal with?”

“Of course I do,” he said, shrugging. “I have so many things to deal with that I’m sometimes tempted to unleash my power across the world and wipe the board clean. Just to buy me some damned peace.” He grinned, bowing at the waist. Even that casual mention of his power failed to chill me, awe me. “But I’ll always make time for you.”

I was hungry—I hadn’t yet eaten. And that was indeed worry glimmering behind the cocky, insufferable grin.

So I motioned him to lead the way to that familiar glass table at the end of the hall.

We walked a casual distance apart. Tired. I was so—tired.

When we were almost to the table, Rhys said, “I felt a spike of fear this month through our lovely bond. Anything exciting happen at the wondrous Spring Court?”

“It was nothing,” I said. Because it was. And it was none of his business.

I glanced sidelong at him—and rage, not worry—flickered in those eyes.

I could have sworn the mountain beneath us trembled in response.

“If you know,” I said coldly, “why even ask about it?” I dropped into my chair as he slid into his.

He said quietly, “Because these days, all I hear through that bond is nothing. Silence. Even with your shields up rather impressively most of the time, I should be able to feel you. And yet I don’t. Sometimes I’ll tug on the bond only to make sure you’re still alive.” Darkness guttered. “And then one day, I’m in the middle of an important meeting when terror blasts through the bond. All I get are glimpses of you and him—and then nothing. Back to silence. I’d like to know what caused such a disruption.”

I served myself from the platters of food, barely caring what had been laid on the table. “It was an argument, and the rest is none of your concern.”

“Is it why you look like your grief and guilt and rage are eating you alive, bit by bit?”

I didn’t want to talk about it. “Get out of my head.”

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