The morning light drifted lazily in hazy patterns cast by large cracks in the window. Cassandra, who had been up for an hour or so already, picked at her bowl of rice and milk. Though her stomach felt empty, she couldn't bring herself to eat.
Hadrian had woken her during the middle of the night, carrying with him the aroma of a perfume Cassandra didn't recognize. And he didn't pay, either. He simply came to take what he'd decided was rightfully his.
Shuddering, Cassandra brought a spoonful of mush to her lips, then set it back down when the thought of eating caused her to gag. Covering her mouth, she rested her head in her hands and allowed her body to be racked with futile tears. There was simply no hope, was there? Would Hadrian ever love her for more than her body?
It was well known that Hadrian had "lovers" other than Cassandra, yet for some reason, the fact that he had been followed by the scent of another woman's perfume bothered Cassandra more than she cared to admit. Wasn't she his one and only? Wasn't she his dream? Didn't he love his "little turnip" enough to stay faithful to her? Plagued by questions she didn't want to answer, Cassandra wiped her eyes. No time for tears.
Hadrian, what have you done to me? Who have you turned me into? Why can't you love me and only me? After all I've done for you...
Cassandra's eyes darted over to the bed where Hadrian still lay sleeping. He was filthy and cruel and inhumane, yet he looked so beautiful with his eyes closed in peaceful slumber...
How long had it been since the man taken a bath?
Disturbed by the direction of her thoughts, Cassandra forced herself to chew and swallow a bite of her breakfast. The feeling of food in her belly was uncomfortable, as Cassandra's stomach was still unsettled from memories of the night before, but she knew she had to eat. How else would she keep the curves which kept her alive? Unless she maintained a beautiful figure, Hadrian would never return. He would never kiss her, never whisper sweet nothings in her ear, if she didn't work to keep herself beautiful.
Hadrian stirred in his sleep, making Cassandra jump. Her spoon clattered to the floor, rousing Hadrian from his dreams. He groaned, then sat up and met Cassandra's eyes. It was clear that he was angered at having been so abruptly woken.
Cassandra braced herself for what would come next.