We became a household of debauchery. Can you blame us? All those years alone, high above the world of flesh and heat like a pair of precious virgin princesses, had whetted our appetites. Our studies were forgotten. We reveled in the beauty and inventiveness of our companion. Tom, after his anger had cooled, used his new form with abandon, delighted by its every sensation. For a while, we were happy to teach each other. Guin and I only regretted having to share him.
A week passed, then two, then three. Each of us began to grumble. Tempers flared. Tom stalked the rooms in sudden dark moods, flinching from contact, then just as quickly returned to easy smiles and smoldering embraces. I began to despise the sight of my sister’s bare skin. When Tom touched her, I shivered with jealous rage. Nor could Guin bear my presence.
“I have learned to love, Isabella,” she told me. “I never thought it possible, but Tom has taught my heart to open. Cannot you leave him to me? We will change another raven for you.”
Oh, the lie! We barely knew how we had worked the spell that gave us Tom, and it had weakened us. The thrumming of the tower, the sighing of the iron door, had ceased the moment we broke the bonds between bird and man. Only small magic was left to us. I think it was then, with Guin’s ridiculous confession hanging between us, I determined to rid myself of her. Tom watched us from across the room, and his gaze sharpened as the thought lodged in my brain. A raven after all, with a quick and mercenary eye. I knew his devious spirit. Love, indeed!
I challenged him. “How can you speak of love? What do you know of it?” I pointed at Guin. “She believes your black lies, but I never shall. What game are you playing at?”
Tom laughed. He leaned against the wall, his arms crossed on his chest, a rakish shadow in his dark shirt and breeches. A wing of night-colored hair tumbled over one eye. My hands ached to slap him, to pet him.
“Sweet Bella, always so stormy. The stormy skies were always best.” He pushed away from the wall and took my hand. “I am your prisoner in more ways than one.”
He bowed over my hand, but looked up and winked at Guin.
“He does love me,” she shrilled.
I didn’t bother to look at her. “You are a simpleton. Tom loves no one but himself.”
He smiled and dropped a kiss in my palm. My pulse raced.
“I hate you,” I said.
He straightened and took me in his arms.
“I know, Bella. I hate you, too.”
To be continued…