For @DaHob’s prompt, based on a Cali idea.
When the Countess called me in for tea, I didn’t know what to think.
I knew why, of course. My mother was ailing, young as she was, and I was her heir. I would be the Countess’s loyal Baroness soon enough, and I was (so I had been told a thousand times), young for the position. She needed to get the measure of me.
The problem was, I had the measure of her already. I had the feel of her hand and the chains she left on a mind – not in person, she wasn’t the sort of liege to do that to her vassals – but in proxy, in the slave who was mine, who had once been hers. I had it in the brand on his hip that I couldn’t avoid, every time I touched him, and the marks in his mind, the way that, even after she’d set him aside, he still loved her.
I went, of course. You do not turn down an invitation from a Countess unless you’re the Queen herself. I put on the proper clothes and the proper smile, mouthed the proper words, and spoke business of her for a while.
But it made me twitch, when I heard phrases from her lips that I’d first heard from his, or, worse, when I found myself echoing one of her phrases, because I’d picked it up from him. He’d been with me for five years, my first sex slave, my first Companion, my first “grown-up” slave, fresh from the market where she’d sold him, the Ice Queen, my Countess. He’s seen every woe and misery, every triumph, held me while I cried and celebrated with me when I succeeded. He knew all my secrets, and all my buttons. And he was still in love with her.
“He remembers you, you know.”
I didn’t realize at first that I’d said it. It was in the middle of a conversation on something banal, trade rights, I think. Important, but not what was on my mind. Nor hers, I think, because she didn’t ask “who,” merely raised an eyebrow, one perfect, impossible eyebrow.
“I should hope he does. I don’t act with the intent of being forgotten.”
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