For the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting the first three chapters of Legacy of Ghosts in tiny, blog sized nuggets, hopefully a bit a day.
If you’ve missed previous chapters, you can read them here.
This contains spoilers. If you haven’t read Shades of Gray, proceed at your own risk
When Jorick woke her the fire had all but burned itself to smoldering coals and the chill was back. “Come, little one,” he said softly, his hand on her arm. “The sun will be upon us soon.”
Katelina sat up and glared at him. Irritatingly, his attitude said that he saw nothing wrong with shutting her out of his little “secret room” earlier. “Let me guess,” she bit off sarcastically. “You have a coffin in the basement?”
He laughed for the first time since they’d arrived, and she wasn’t sure if it annoyed her or made her feel better. “As a matter of fact I do, but it’s for company. I have a bedroom down there as well, and that’s where I’m going to sleep.” He offered her a grin. “If you’d rather try the coffin though, be my guest.”
“No, thank you,” she responded stiffly. “I don’t think so.” She let him help her to her feet and automatically straightened the red dress.
He ignored her frosty tone and gave her a wink. “Don’t worry. You can take that off soon enough.”
A plethora of sarcastic replies rose up in her, but before she could choose one they were already walking through the house, leaving a trail of darkness behind them as Jorick turned the lights out.
She followed him to the door at the very end of the narrow hallway. It opened to reveal a landing and a set of stairs that led down to a semi-finished basement. The walls were painted white, but the floor was still cold concrete. A large, cobwebbed furnace squatted in one corner near a sagging shelving unit. Boxes and bits of broken furniture were gathered in random pockets, and, just as Jorick had said, a large black coffin sat off to the right, near two doors.
It was to one of the doors that Jorick led her. Inside was a bedroom stuffed with a heavy wardrobe and a large, carved, four-poster bed hung with blood red curtains. Katelina stared at it and her lip curled in disbelief. “Someone has flamboyant taste. Could you get any more textbook cliché?” Even as she spoke, she wondered how he could have gotten the thing down stairs and into the room.
“A souvenir from years long gone.” He ran his hand over the footboard as if it were a lover he hadn’t seen in months. “The only piece of furniture I’ve had since before.”
He stripped off his clothes, distracting her from a sarcastic remark about the nature of his relationship with his bed. Each piece of clothing fell to the floor to reveal an expanse of perfect, pale skin that made her heart catch in her chest, despite her anger.
He didn’t bother with pajamas, only turned back the covers on the bed. He frowned down at the sheets and muttered something that sounded like, “He didn’t even change the bedding!”
Jorick dismissed it as unimportant and lay down. He settled himself and then looked to Katelina, who still stood just inside the door. “Are you coming?” His tone was amused. “Or would you rather watch me sleep?”
“Maybe,” she muttered, but her false bravado did nothing for the blush that crept into her cheeks. The idea of him watching her strip off, like she’d just watched him, made her stomach churn nervously. Maybe it made her a prude, or just shy, but she didn’t like anyone to see her naked. “No, I’m coming.”
“Good.” His voice switched to an almost false innocence, “Then get the light, would you?”
She gratefully found the light switch and flicked it off before she removed her dress. She crossed the pitch black room slowly, until her seeking fingers found the bed, then she slipped under the covers.
When she was settled, Jorick pulled her against him, and kissed her neck softly. “Sleep well.”
Another snappy reply came to mind, but she dismissed it. They could fight tomorrow, if that’s how it was going to be. For now, she could let it go.
“You too,” she said quietly and snuggled closer to him. Yes, tomorrow they could deal with everything. Tonight, in a real bed at last, she could just pretend it didn’t matter.