Author: Lynne Maio PM
Toying with a dystopian world of mine. Nameless women peer into the haze of a ruined dictator's mind. Highly experimental and apprehensive as they come.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Angst - Chapters: 2 - Words: 1,163 - Reviews: 2 - Updated: 06-19-12 - Published: 05-24-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3025608
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He kissed my hand the way he knew I liked, holding it in both of his, lips crushed against my knuckles, slanted upward gaze before he broke away and cleared his throat. "I'm sorry I haven't come to see you in a while." A nod at the velvet box he left on my bookshelf. "Brought you something to make up for it."
I waited politely for his invitation to go and open it, as was Belzirtinan etiquette, but the Generalissimo busied himself pouring two glasses of iced tea. The clinking ice cubes sounded like music. "Thank you, Your Excellency," I began, "I'm just glad to see you well again—"
"Which reminds me, I also regret I could not see you when you visited." Brushing away mentions of his illness was his best reflex. He gulped his drink. "The brought you brought was delicious, although you really shouldn't have bothered." Nothing I did was worth the hassle. Yes, he gave me presents, but my gifts to him were hardly necessary. It had been kind of me to attend his speech, he said, but I ought to have stayed out of the snow.
The Generalissimo sank into the sofa. On a different day, I might have offered to rub his weary shoulders. Today could be no such day. He came here to relax, and touch tensed him at times like this. Silence always hung between us in sheets; our cautious words tore yard after yard, yet we suffocated still. He didn't mind the peace. I gasped for air.
"Sir, I was...so worried for you." My consonants formed shakily. Setting down my glass, I saw myself that day as he had pictured me, a shadow huddled in the waiting room of the Generalissimic Wing, clutching a pot of broth, before waving me away. "I couldn't sleep at night when you were ill."
He finally looked up from the book I had been reading. "Worried? Why should you care?"
"Why? Because I love you! Oh my god, they said you were barely conscious, you couldn't move..."
Standing, he raised his brow the way men do when deciding whether or not to laugh at something. "You love me." The simplicity of such a thought flabbergasted him. "How sweet of you, madam, to love. Tell me, how long has your Lieutenant been courting you?"
"Three months now."
"Does he make you happy?"
"Yes he does, every day."
"And do I make you happy? How could the poor old 'Lissimo possibly amuse you? Look at you, I can see your pulse now."
I pressed my palm against my neck and snapped, "Am I not permitted devotion to my sovereign, Your Excellency?" He stood less than an arm's length away.
"I'll tell you what your sovereign is not allowed, and that is luxury. I'm afraid love is very extravagant." He fell silent enough to hear me breathing and wondered if he was actually capable of making a woman cry. The light in his eyes shifted.
The Generalissimo waited for me to begin calming down before he reached. "Forgive me, madam, and please forget you ever went to see me." He ran a calloused hand down the side of my head. "Your hair looks very beautiful today. Come sit with me."
He spoke half in command and half in plea. After all, it was he who buried his hands a woman's tresses to forget, to numb the years of political abuse he suffered, at least until he passed her father's bill and she found a fiancé. My turn with him was approaching an end, and a long queue waited for him. I settled into the crook of his arm. We discussed literature, he recounted his travel, and our old patterns crisscrossed into place once more.