Previous: Funeral: Silence’s Inheritance.
Muirgen was still being handled by the security men; they had her in a corner and one of them was speaking very quietly to her. Senga ignored that situation as firmly as she could. Muirgen would not forgive her for having seen her in a foolish state, any more than she’d forgive Senga for having gotten something she wanted.
If today went as typical, Muirgen and Eavan would probably blame her for Muirgen’s loss of her inheritance. That was on par with their normal behavior around Senga or any of the other cousins who weren’t them.
She’d worry about that later. Right now, she had more important things on her mind.
She looked around; he’d only been gone a few moments before she stepped out of the office. Where had he gotten to? Had he left? She resisted the urge to swear. If he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain, he was going to leave her in a pretty precarious position. He’d need to be here after the reading. Otherwise… well. It was going to be a mess.
Not like she should expect that to matter to a complete stranger when her own family had put her in this situation….
There he was. She could’ve sworn she’d looked at that corner of the room before and seen nothing, but he was standing there, looking at her. Senga crossed the room, moving around mourners while trying not to lose sight of him. Mr. Silence. Erramun.
He was playing with an unlit cigarette. He noticed her coming up to him but said nothing. She thought about saying something, but the situation was a bit awkward. Hello, please agree to Belong to me so my family doesn’t kill me…
“My Name isn’t Silence.” His voice was gravely this time. “It’s just something I use to have a last name on the papers.”
She looked at him and waited. That sounded like an opener.
“It’s Death Comes Silently. You know what I did for your aunt.” He looked down at her. He looked considerably taller than she’d noticed him being before.
She cleared her throat. “I have a pretty good idea.”
“I’m not going to kneel.”
She was about to say something, to plead with him, when he continued.
“I won’t wear a leash. I won’t beg for food.” His gaze seemed to bore into her. “I won’t be told what to wear. Except for your funeral.” His lips curled upwards a little. “I can agree to wear black for that.”
No wonder his clothes looked new. She cleared her throat and made herself meet his gaze. “Those are acceptable terms. Anything else?”
She was going to work under that assumption, that they were terms, because otherwise he was using too many words to tell her that she was fucked.
He raised his eyebrows. “You don’t object to any of that?”
“Why would I? I didn’t sign up for a…” She remembered where they were and changed mid-sentence. “-a bond servant. I didn’t sign up for any sort of inheritance at all. I don’t know what Aunt Mirabella’s holding over you-”
“And if I have my way, you won’t. Ever.”
“-and that’s fine. What she’s holding over me is survival, among other things. As long as Clause Seven is in effect, the family won’t kill me.”
“Nice family you’ve got. What did you do to them?”
“I. Well, most of it, I don’t want to say here. Some of it is, I survived. My father didn’t. I wasn’t supposed to survive.”
“Mirabella always did work by some interesting rules. So. Those terms, they don’t bother you? Maybe I should have more.”
“I think you should,” she agreed. “Something about your emotions, probably. Something about sleeping arrangements. Hrrm. Sex.”
“Excuse me?” She’d either managed to startle or offend him.
“Sex,” she repeated. Her voice was quiet enough that she didn’t think it would carry, but she lowered it a bit anyway. “If you get it. If it can be a reward or a punishment. How much say you have in it.”
“…You’re being quite thorough. You don’t want to determine all that yourself?”
“We’re into negotiation territory.” She lifted her chin and looked him in the eyes. “Like you said, I know what you did for Great-Aunt Mirabella. It behooves me to make sure, if you’re going to not risk Envelopes A, B, and C, that I don’t end up with you hating me.”
“You’d care if your… bond servant… hated you?”
“Even if you weren’t… what you are, sa’Death Comes Silently.” She was certain he deserved the honorific and, from his expression, just as certain he rarely got it. “Yes. I’d care. As I said.” His eyes were not brown. They were gold and brown and green all at once. “I’m the white sheep of the family.”
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