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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Heir to the Shadows (Chapter 56)      Page
  • Heir to the Shadows(Black Jewels,Book 2)(56) by Anne Bishop
  • She gripped his hand, wishing she knew some way to help him. When his grip loosened, she tightened hers and tugged. "Up. You need a shower before dinner."

    He got to his feet with much of his fluid, feline grace, but when she led him into the bathroom, he stared at the fixtures as if he'd never seen them before. She lifted the toilet seat, hoping he remembered how to use that at least. When he still didn't move, she tugged him out of the jacket and shirt. It had never bothered her when Tersa displayed this childlike passivity. His lack of response frayed her temper. But when she reached for his belt, he snarled at her, his hand squeezing her wrist until she was sure the bones would break.

    She snarled back. "Do it yourself then."

    She saw the inward crumbling, the despair.

    Loosening his hold on her wrist, he raised her hand and pressed his lips against it. "I'm sorry. I'm—" Releasing her, he looked beaten as he unbuckled the belt and began fumbling with his trousers.

    Surreal fled.

    A few minutes later the water pipes rattled and wheezed as he turned on the shower.

    As she set the table, she wondered if he'd actually removed all his clothes. How long had he been like this? If this was what was left of a once-brilliant mind, how had he been able to heal that man?

    Surreal paused, a plate half-resting on the table. Tersa had always had her islands of lucidity, usually around Craft. Once when the mad Black Widow had healed a deep gash in Surreal's leg, she'd responded to Titian's worry by saying, "One doesn't forget the basics." When the healing was done, however, Tersa couldn't even remember her own name.

    A few minutes later, she was hovering in the hallway when she heard the muffled yelp that indicated the hot water had run out. The pipes rattled and wheezed as he shut off the water.

    No other sound.

    Swearing under her breath, Surreal pushed the bathroom door open. Daemon just stood in the tub, his head down.

    "Dry yourself," Surreal said.

    Flinching, he reached for a towel.

    Struggling to keep her voice firm but quiet, she added, "I put out some clean clothes for you. When you've dried off, go put them on."

    She retreated to the kitchen and busied herself with cooking the steaks while listening to the movements in the bedroom. She was putting the meat on their plates when Daemon appeared, properly dressed.

    Surreal smiled her approval. "Now you look more like yourself."

    "Jaenelle is dead," he said, his voice hard and flat.

    She braced her hands on the table and absorbed the words that were worse than a physical blow. "How do you know?"

    "Lucivar told me."

    How could Lucivar, who was in Pruul, be sure of something she and Daemon couldn't be sure of? And who was there to ask? Cassandra had never returned to the Altar after that night, and Surreal didn't know who the Priest was, let alone where to start looking for him.

    She cut the potatoes and fluffed them open. "I don't believe him." She looked up in time to see a lucid, arrested look in his eyes. Then it faded. He shook his head.

    "She's dead."

    "Maybe he was wrong." She took two servings of salad from the bowl and dressed them before sitting down and cutting into her steak. "Eat."

    He took his place at the table. "He wouldn't lie to me."

    Surreal plopped soured cream onto Daemon's baked potato and gritted her teeth. "I didn't say he lied. I said maybe he was wrong."

    Daemon closed his eyes. After a couple of minutes, he opened them and stared at the meal before him. "You fixed dinner."

    Gone. Turned down another path in that shattered inner landscape.

    "Yes, Daemon," Surreal said quietly, willing herself not to cry. "I fixed dinner. So let's eat it while it's hot."

    He helped her with the dishes.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire