Morning ThoughtsMature

"I brought you some breakfast." It was Rich that came into her cell the next morning, wearing the same clothes as he had the night before. They were creased, as though he'd slept in them, and he looked so out of place holding the tray of food that Elena almost laughed.

"You're not used to serving other people, are you?" she asked, taking the food. She had an apple today - her first fresh fruit in days. Of course he's not, her subconscious said. People like him never have to, do they?

"No," he said. "But the servants are afraid to come near when I am here. They left the food at the door and ran away. I suspect they're afraid of me."

"And why wouldn't they be?" Elena gobbled down the food. She'd not been hungry the night before, though the hunger normally gnawed at her stomach as she tried to sleep - the fear had made her lose all her appetite. But she was even more ravenous than ever now that she'd recovered.

Rich put his head to one side. "You know, you're much prettier than I thought you were. I'm not surprised those men like you so much."

She shuddered, feeling unclean. "Please don't talk about it. I ... I ... well, it makes me nervous. I'd like to forget it, if I can."

He nodded, taking the plate from her as soon as she'd finished. "I'm taking you to your new room today, Elena," he said quietly. "You'll be safer there." She looked around the room and thought wistfully of where he might take her. Perhaps she'd even have a proper mattress...

Rich got up and walked out. "When will you be back?" she asked involuntarily, and then bit her lip. She was showing weakness. Soon he'd think that she wanted him there, that she didn't hate him...

"Later." His eyes were cold. "Do your exercises, Elena. You need to keep your body strong." It was true, she did. Every day that she didn't do quite so many pliés she felt herself shaking when the time came to dance in the evening. But surely, she thought, surely his guests will get bored of watching me. They can't be into dance that much. Surely they'll think soon enough that they've seen me too often.

"I'm cold," she said.

"You'll be out of here soon." In his mouth, it didn't sound like a promise. It sounded like a threat. Elena shivered and moved slightly backwards on her shelf. Rich looked at her, his eyes bright with something she didn't recognise - didn't want to recognise. But he caught himself and walked away again. "I'm sorry. I forget myself."

He left the room and locked it behind him. Elena got up and began to stretch gently, feeling the ache of her muscles from the previous night's dancing as she always did in the mornings. I'll be out of here soon, she thought to herself. Perhaps it will be a bigger room. A nicer room. I'll be able to practice jumps and turns ... I won't be limited to the exercises I can do standing still.

It was easier to bear if she thought about it like this. She waited. Rich would come back soon, wouldn't he?

The End

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