A confrontation (Chapter 32)
“What do you want Ivy?”
I almost jump in surprise. Mr. Hertilz is just outside the door leaning against the wall. The hallway is filled with shadows with only a few torches lit, casting shadows across the wall. It’s almost as if he was waiting for me, but that can’t be the case, maybe he was just avoiding Kin.
“Mr. Hertilz-” I begin
“Henik, Ivy, we are family now” he corrects me.
“Yeah, about that um…” I speak quickly and quietly aware that we are still next to the library “I want to come back” I look down at my hands which I am squeezing before me. It was nerve-racking even asking to come back.
Henik laughs and shakes his head, “just when I thought this night can’t get more annoying”
I feel my anger rise. I knew my chances of convincing Mr. Hertilz-no Henik were low but I deserve not to be dismissed so lightly. After all, he put me in this position.
“It’s not working out” I explain trying to keep my annoyance out of voice; it wouldn’t help me to piss him off. But I can’t help my hands from moving to my sides and forming into fists.
“It’s been a week, Ivy” he replies sounding exasperated.
“He doesn’t want me here”
Henik just raises his eyebrows at me in doubt. I can see it clearly even in the darkness, he doesn’t believe me.
“It’s been a week” he repeats rubbing his hand over his face. It’s clear he’s tired and exasperated and I am pushing it.
But I keep pushing. I don’t see any other option for me to leave, “He will never want me here”
He pauses for a moment before pushing off the wall. He takes the two steps so that he standing above me. I crane my neck so I am peering up at his eyes. They are the same unearthly black eyes that all the Hertilz’s have. So unnerving. Yet I refuse to back down, to shy away. He needs to know how serious I am.
“You don’t understand, Ivy” He says.
I am tired of this- everyone tells me I don’t understand this planet. Maybe I don’t, who knows, but I understand my situation. It’s simple. Giddean is in a relationship with the Captain. I am some kind of side note that wonders around his house aimlessly until I decide to give him children out of sheer loneliness and boredom.
“What is there to not understand? Giddean is in a relationship with someone else.” I explain feeling a little guilty about potentially outing him but I need Henik to understand. “If I go with you there is a chance that I find someone who at least wants me.”
I sound pathetic, like some rejected mistress that is upset her lover doesn’t want her anymore. But I push away that thought; nothing matters if I can at least convince Henik to take me back.
It’s Henik who takes a step back and takes a deep breath almost as if to calm himself, “His relationship with Captain Tutlier is not a threat to you.” I begin to shake my head at him in disagreement but he continues, “Pinns often take other Pinns as lovers, there aren’t many women around to have relationships with. This doesn’t affect their ability to be partners to females when the time comes. It takes some navigating but it is normal here.”
“But…” I trail off looking down at my feet now. I don’t know what to say really. It’s normal? It still doesn’t answer the question of what is my role in this weird relationship. Or perhaps I am thinking about it all wrong, my role is baby maker, nothing more, nothing less.
“There is no coming back, Ivy. The women are gone.”
I look up and give him a skeptical look, “Gone? You mean they found partners?”
“Not exactly” He answers carefully before continuing as he watches me face morph into horror “some yes, look they are… fine, but there is nothing for you to come back to”
Well damn. There goes that idea. I huff in unladylike frustration. But that still leaves another question.
“But what do you mean gone then? What happened to them?”
“That’s a bit complicated and I think it’s time we head back into the room before they notice our absence.”
“Yes but-“I start again.
“Later, I’ll tell you later” He says quietly as he slips back into the library.
I pause for a moment before heading back into the room myself. As I go through the doorway I see Giddean look up at me from his conversation with Alex. He quickly glances at Henik who has resumed his post by the fireplace before turning back to me. I can see the question in his eyes. I guess he noticed my absence after all.
Well it’s too bad if he is somehow offended. At least that is what I tell myself as I feel my panic raising at the idea that Giddean might find out I ask Henik to take me back. I lift my head and walk straight to the bookshelves pretending to glance at the titles. Mindless romance novels litter the shelf immediately in front of me as I pick a random book up feigning interest.
It’s a romance between an earth woman and a Pinn. Who would have thought the serious Giddean would even glance at such a text much less put it on his bookshelf? I flip through the pages; they show the wear and tear of at least a several reads. It’s such a curious thing…
I look up when I hear harsh whispers. Giddean has migrated from his former place on the couch to Henik and is whispering angrily at him. Damn it. I can’t quite make out what he is saying. I watch them arguing in whispers while I hide my face behind the book as if they won’t notice me watching them if they should look over.
I can’t see Giddean’s face from where I stand, but I can see Henik’s. I can see his eyes narrow, his lips in a firm line when he isn’t responding to whatever Giddean is accusing him. I see Giddean making angry gestures and Henik putting his hands up as if to say ‘calm down.’
I guess I have managed to mess this up too. I should have known that it would obvious that I went to speak with Henik. I can only imagine what Henik is telling Giddean. I’m really good at pissing him off.
The Captain, Alex, and James have also stopped talking and are watching the commotion by the fireplace closely.
After a few moments Giddean storms out. I set the book I am holding down and walk up to Henik.
“Is everything ok?” I ask him even though clearly it isn’t, but I’m hoping he will tell me.
“Good luck with that bastard, Ivy” is all he says before he stalks away and out the door to the hallway.