Slumber Page 31

“Two and fifty.”

The bar keep shook his head still laughing. “Well you are a funny one, lad. Alright, two and ninety.”

Amazed, I watched as Wolfe shook his head again. “Two and seventy.”

“You’re robbing me.” The barkeep shook a finger at us, still seeming amused. “But fine.”

Wolfe handed over the money and took the key, and he almost dragged me out of the barroom and up the stairs.

“Are you trying to pull my arm out of the socket?” I snapped as we stumbled up the stairs and onto the landing. Still Wolfe refused to slow down until he had the door open. He hauled me inside, slamming the door shut with the heel of his boot.

“I was trying to get you out of the bar before I had to fight those bloody men over you.”

My eyes widened at his comment as he strode towards the fire in the room and set about lighting it. The room was small, with only a double bed - I noticed with a strange thump of my heart - but it was clean. “What are you talking about?”

Wolfe snorted. “These people have been left to live in squalor for too long. We should have known about this. Instead we sit on our plush cushions in Silvera, thinking the world outside happy and adoring and at peace. This isn’t peace,” he spat, pointing outside the window as he turned to glare at me. “Where have we been, Rogan? We’ve let our people come to this and we dare to look down our noses at them. Those men haven’t seen anything as fine as you in a long time and I was making bloody sure we were out of there as fast as possible before they took it upon themselves to have you.”

I shuddered at the thought. “I didn’t notice.” I shook my head wearily, falling down onto the bed. “I look a mess.”

Wolfe sighed and looked away, provoking the fire to life. “Wearing rags you would still carry yourself like a lady. You have the skin of a lady.”

Ignoring the silly flutter in the pit of my belly that he had noticed anything about me, I tried to enforce our old dynamic and retorted stupidly, “I’m not a lady, Captain. I’m a farm girl.”

Wolfe stood up and strode towards me, his eyebrow arched. “You’ve been raised a lady, Rogan. That makes you one.”

I rolled my eyes at him, but before I could retort with some smartass comment a knock sounded on the door. The barkeep’s wife arrived with two barmaids. They left us food, clothing and hot water, and quickly left, the girls throwing wide-eyed looks at Wolfe, hiding giggles behind their hands. Clearly, they too had never seen anyone like Wolfe before. After all, he really was a Lord, and carried himself like a gentleman. He didn’t seem to notice their attentions and as soon as the door closed he locked it. Without really looking at me, he picked up the dress they had brought me and threw it towards me. “Get cleaned up and dressed. There’s a screen behind you.”

I tried to quell the flutters in my belly at the thought of stripping naked in the same room as Wolfe. Determinedly, I walked around to the back of the changing screen.

“There must be some stationary in here,” Wolfe muttered and I heard him pulling at drawers and rummaging. At his sound of triumph I suddenly felt a relief that we could get a message to the Guard. It had been a number of days since we’d been taken in Ryl and strangely I missed the comforting presence of Lieutenant Chaeron and the rest of the men.

A crash sounded from downstairs and I jumped, my dress falling to the floor. “What on haven…?”

Wolfe grunted as yells followed more crashing. “Tavern brawl.”

A tavern brawl? Dear haven, we were far away from home weren’t we. “Oh,” I managed and tried to relax at the sound of Wolfe’s pen leisurely scratching against paper. If he didn’t seem too concerned then I wasn’t going to be.

My undergarments were in desperate need of a wash and I peeled them off with a sigh of relief. I’d just have to leave them here and make do with the rough blue dress the barkeep’s wife had brought me. It would scratch my skin but I’d rather that than have to put dirty undergarments back on. I draped them over the top of the screen, vaguely aware that the scratching of pen against paper in the background had stopped. Taking the cloth and hot water I gave myself a quick scrub down, trying to be fast so the water wouldn’t be too cold when Wolfe got around to using it. After a moment or so I thought I heard Wolfe make a strangled sound and then the scratching of pen against paper started up again.

“Nearly done,” I told him, thinking perhaps he was getting impatient with me. I drew on the blue dress, a demure, work-worn thing, but it was clean and surprisingly not too rough against my skin. I’d be colder without my undergarments but I thought perhaps I could get Wolfe to procure a cloak for me.

When I stepped out Wolfe was staring at the screen as if in a daydream.

“You better hurry,” I said taking my undergarments off the screen and rolling them into a ball. “The water’s getting cold.”

He nodded, his lips pinched tightly together, and he brushed past me, barely sparing me a glance. I arched an eyebrow at his behaviour but said nothing, having now given up on trying to understand anything about Wolfe Stovia.

Speaking of which…

I tucked into the food that had been left, my trembling stomach glad for the energy boost, and waited as Wolfe, once clean and changed into a rough looking pair of trousers, shirt and waistcoat, ate his meal. Then I couldn’t stand it anymore. We were both sitting by the fire, enjoying the peace of the moment, and I couldn’t stop myself from ruining it.

“So you’re a Glava?” I asked quietly, even though there really was no question of it.

Wolfe stiffened immediately and turned slightly to glare at me. When he made no reply I grew irritated.

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?”

“I don’t want to talk about,” he dismissed me, getting up and taking coverings from the bed to make a pallet on the floor.

“Seriously?” I jumped to my feet. “You just destroyed an entire gypsy camp and you don’t want to talk about it?!”

“No, I don’t.”

How could he possibly expect me to just let something like this go? “How can you expect me to trust you when you’ve lied about this?”

Wolfe snorted and finally glanced over at me. “You don’t trust me anyway, Lady Rogan.”

I ignored that, especially because it might be true, and snapped, “I demand to know, Captain Stovia.”

Prev Next