Makara closed his eyes and looked away. He heard the words Afron spoke, but he also heard the words hidden between the lines. Afron had employed his driver for fifteen years; what he meant to say was killed my driver before I could react.
"I'm sorry," Makara murmured. He wrung his hands and shook his head. He wanted badly to comfort Afron, wrap his arms around his beloved and whisper words of comfort.
Afron shrugged. "I know not why they chose us. We carried nothing of value."
Nothing but you. "Perhaps they confused you with someone else," Makara offered. "Ogres aren't always very picky about their targets."
Another shrug and Afron turned to face him. Makara let out a small gasp. Afron's face had paled, his eyes had gone wide, and his hands -- Makara had to look again to be sure, but it was true -- Afron's hands shook.
"We took the wounded to a healer in Sessill. I had much time for thought and reflection." Afron frowned. "Much time to consider my life." He leaned back against the windowsill and folded his arms across his wide chest. "And the people in it," he added, eyebrow raised.
"You mean your family and your men?" Was it possible Afron had decided to give up his role as Clan Chieftain? Makara highly doubted that.
"I mean you."
"Me?" Makara's turn to pale now; his cheeks cooled as the blood rushed away from them. True, he'd sent Afron away time and time again, declaring each time to be the final time. The last straw. But both of them knew he'd lied each time. In the back of his mind, though, he had always known Afron would eventually truly leave him -- grow tired of him or bend to his clan's will to find a woman and settle down. He had just never expected the loss to come so soon.
"Yes, you." Afron cocked his head to the side and smirked. "How long have I tossed coin at you?"
Makara swallowed hard. "Three years."
"Three years is a long time for a man to pay for what he could easily get for free, don't you think?"
"I-I suppose." He looked away again and opened the drawer of the bedside table to put back the bottle of oil. Wouldn't be needing it, after all.
"I tire of wasting my coin on sex with you." Afron unfolded his arms and crossed to the end of the bed, where his breeches lay in a heap. He bent and retrieved them. "Besides, I have better things to spend my wages on."
Oh, no. No. No. No! Makara's heart cried out to him that this wasn't right; didn't make sense, especially not after that lusty greeting in the lobby, and how Afron had hinted at missing him. But clearly that had only been for show -- Afron had given him just enough attention to throw him off. To get back into his bed. Gods, he hadn't even had the chance to lay a hand on Afron before Afron had spent himself. Afron had come to him to scratch that one final itch, and now... Now it was all over.
Emotionally gutted, Makara bit his lower lip and glanced around the room quickly, searching for some clue as to what to say to change Afron's mind. Should he tell Afron that in those three years, he'd had no other repeat clients; nearly risked his position in the Nulphillium by refusing other men on more than one occasion? Should he profess his love? Whisper that his dreams were of Afron, and Afron alone? That no other could ever fill the void Afron would leave? Had left each time he'd gone away. Should he tell Afron that the Nulphilium Masters had confessed the only reason they kept him on at all was just to stave off the barbarian's wrath should he return to a cold bed?
To be continued...