I flicked the drapes open a little and saw the sun, bright at the top of the sky, mid-day. At least I had an easy defence if he chose to come at me during the day. But as hours dragged on it seemed more and more likely that I would have to face him at night. I was sat cross-legged on the floor, studying the swirling patterns on the ceiling when I heard the squeak of the door handle. I stood up instantly and the person on the other side paused. They'd heard the sounds of my movement. The door opened and Cain walked in. He watched me standing there for a few seconds before shutting the door.
“Why did you come back?” he asked, his voice tired. I'd already figured out my excuse thanks to my close encounter with the possibility.
“They didn't trust me anymore. Thought I was a spy because I wasn't beaten to a pulp,” I replied. Cain couldn't exactly disagreed with the theory, though I saw he wanted to. Did he need proof before getting rid of me? Surely by coming back I had reinforced that his plan worked.
“But they gave you fresh clothes and supplies?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“They couldn't stop me taking stuff from my room, and stealing some food and water was easy enough,” I explained, dropping the bag into the space between us. Eliminating any suspicion he might have of hidden weapons. He shook his head, a small smile on his lips.
“We both know you have a hidden blade somewhere Nicole,” he said, remembering the knife I'd hidden in my boot. I crossed my arms and with a sigh of annoyance I flicked the knife from my belt and threw it onto the bed, away from either of our reaches. I just had to hope if he did search my bags he didn't do so too closely. I had a hidden pocket in there where the needle was, if he found that then I was done for.
“What made you so sure you'd be better off returning here? You must know people are mad at you,” Cain said. This was the leap of faith moment, where I either did or didn't convince him I trusted him.
“I'm sure they are. But I know you won't let anything happen to me,” I said, the words felt heavy and false as I spoke. I'd lied before, so why did this time bother me so much? I saw surprise register on his face before he sighed, shoving his hands deep into his trouser pockets.
“Nothing about you is ever simple, is it?” he joked, shaking his head. I shrugged and stayed where I was, still unsure of what he was planning.
“I guess I have more long talks with councillors to look forward to. And my father, he won't appreciate me giving you a second chance,” Cain said. I nodded at everything he said, wondering if he would bring up the blood issue again. If he did, Matt's words were right. Cain finished muttering to himself about grumpy old councillors and trained his attention back on me. He walked over my bag and towards me. I had to fight the itching impulse to step back as he did.
“How did you manage to get in here?” he asked. I wanted to tell him everything, about what happened to Lyra, the girl he was searching for. But what was the use? She was long gone, it was better for him to think her dead.
“I explored a lot,” I replied with a grin. He didn't believe it for a second, but must've known I was protecting someone.
“I can't put you back with the servants, it's not safe. Not while so many people are after you,” he said. I considered his words.
“What about the town?” I suggested. I watched him think the idea over before shaking his head. Where else was there? Unless I spent my whole day pinned at his hip.
“You'll stay here,” he said and I blinked.
“No,” I said instantly. Last night proved just how bad an idea that was. He must've seen my flushed cheeks because understanding dawned.
“I'll take the floor,” he assured me. It wasn't that much better, but at least I wouldn't have to feel him right beside me.
“I can take the floor you know,” I pointed out.
“That wouldn't be very gentlemanly of me to let you though,” he replied with a grin. In a matter of moments he was comfortable with me again. I wasn't that good an actor I thought. He left shortly, no doubt to start his work on the councillors. All my earlier anxieties drained and drowsiness hit me. I tried to stay awake, reading one of the books he had, but my body gave into the lull of sleep in the end.