First: Purchased: Negotiation
Just sneaking in a bonus to make up for not posting on the 7th or 14th!
You SHOULD understand.
Eventually someone would teach him to shut his mouth once in a while before he put his foot all the way in it.
Leander looked at Sylviane – her pursed, surprised lips – and made himself meet her eyes. “You should, because you’re, uh, you’re controlling me. You’re holding my leash, at least in a day to day way. Yeah?”
“I don’t like that metaphor. I don’t like that it’s not a metaphor,” she added a second later. “But go on. I’m with you so far.”
“You’re holding my leash, so if you want to get me in trouble with your dad – or just make the bond knock me over – you just have to put me in a position where I can’t ‘be good’.” It was his turn to make a face. He hated that phrasing. But it was accurate.
She wrinkled her nose. “So you can’t…” She thought about that for a minute. “Okay. So if I make you run into things my Dad won’t like, it’s going to make you miserable. And I have control over you, because I can easily push you into something that puts your orders in conflict. Close?” She held up a hand as he was about to answer.
Nyyrikki swept in. “The omelettes will be ready in just a moment, but here is a scone and some of that jam for each of you to begin. Please enjoy.” He bowed to Sylviane, ignored Leander, and swept out.
She dropped her hand.
“Yeah. That’s.” He waited for her to split her scone and imitated her. “That’s pretty close. I mean, you could make it impossible for me to obey my orders, too.”
“That sounds tricky.” She took a bite of the scone, covered in a thick purple jam, and gestured at his scone, so he did the same.
He had to admit, it was pretty damn tasty. Messy as all hell, but tasty.
There was juice, too. He sipped the juice. “Not very. Uh. For example, use a Working or just handcuffs to keep me in one place, and then take a car and leave. Boom, I’m not in forty feet of you anymore and I can’t fix it. And I don’t know where you are. Enough time Kept by someone and you can generally pick their direction, long enough and you can pick their proximity. I won’t have any of that for you. So – screwed.” He wrinkled his nose. “I should not be giving you ideas.”
“Well, the only reason I’d do something that shitty is if I was either the nasty sort of sadist or I was really mad at you and wanted to punish you, right?”
“Well… I don’t know you all that well,” he admitted very slowly, “but those would be the normal reasons, yeah.”
“So… if I’m really mad at you, I give you my word I’ll come up with a better way to – with a way to handle it that doesn’t involve making you go against orders or otherwise triggering the bond. Like not talking to you for an hour – okay, that’s not really a punishment, but you get the idea, yeah?”
“You…” He gaped. Her hand went up. Nyyrikki swept back in, this time with plates of breakfast.
“I do hope this is enough.” He was so very haughty that it was clearly a challenge. Leander looked at the plate full of food – Sylviane’s was about 2/3 as full and was as much as Leander could remember eating in ages, even counting last night – and gulped.
“All right, I surrender,” he laughed. He held up both hands. “I’ll do my damndest to get through this, and if it tastes half as good as it looks, if it kills me, I’m gonna die ecstatic. Thanks, Nyyrikki.”
The man looked at least a little mollified. “Do at least try to eat it all. And do not die. It would make a mess.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” He kept his body language very very peaceful until the man swept out.
And that little exchange had nearly wiped the previous one from his mind. He watched Sylviane take the first bite and then started eating.
“He really is a miracle worker,” he muttered half an omelette later. “I have to admit, I’m impressed.” He put his fork down and stared at Sylviane. “And you. You made a promise.” He’d felt the air twitch around them, the magic sealing the vow, just as Nyyrikki had come in. “To me. To your father’s slave.”
“Well.” She put down her own fork and blinked innocently at him. “You needed to know you were safe. I mean, you really needed that. Strongly. So I gave it to you. Because, well…” She shrugged. “It doesn’t hurt me to make a promise to not do something I was never going to do anyway. It just reinforces it for you.”
“You are a strange woman, Sylviane.”
“Yes. Yes, I am.” She picked up her fork and took a pointed bite of her breakfast.
Leander took the hint and kept eating his own food, too. After all, he’d said he’d made a try at eating the whole thing, and that was going to take some serious work.
Eventually, eventually, he leaned back and burped happily. “That – that was amazing. And uh. I hope the offer for the weight room was serious.”
“It was.” Sylviane let out her own delicate burp. “Yes, it was, and I think the only other thing on the agenda today is getting you registered for classes.”
“Classes.” He shook his head. “You know this is insane, right?”
“Yeah.” She chuckled. “It’s pretty nuts. But I think it’s going to be a blast.”