Gregory’s stony silence continued until they reached Eleanor’s bedroom at Trill Castle. She hoped they would part ways at his own door, and spend the night cooling off, but he made a straight line for her room. As he flung open the door a drowsing Pansy leapt to her feet and stumbled a curtsy. Gregory dismissed the servant, kicked the door closed, and unloaded on Eleanor.
She had never seen him so angry. She knew she had crossed a line at dinner, but all of her explanations floated away under the pelting rain of his rage. Over the next few days she winced when bits of the long and horrible argument popped into her head.
“What did you expect of me? Should I sit there while Oliver spews bigotry and suspicion?” she had screamed at him.
“Yes! Yes! That’s exactly what I expect of you! Unless I give you permission to do otherwise! That’s what my mother would have done!”
“I am not your mother!”
“That is painfully obvious,” he sneered. “Oliver is right for once. What you are is a result of the influence of that woman who filled your head with the useless idea that your opinion matters!”
He paced the room, and his boots left dark smudges of dirt on the prissy pink rugs he had bought for her. “I admit, I’ve found it funny when you’ve sassed Father. I’ve given you too much freedom, but you’re fucking crazy if you think I will allow you to throw a hissy fit, and insult the king on top of it!”
She narrowed her eyes. “This isn’t about what Oliver said, or about me, it’s about the fact that you can’t stand up to your father! You think I should be a proper lady. I will be when you can be a real man.”
“If you weren’t pregnant I would beat you for that.” He crept in close to her face. “Remember who fucking brought you here. Maybe I could send you back down again.”
Eleanor’s breath came so hard she could feel her nostrils flaring. “I have nothing more to say.”
“Good. Let’s keep it that way for a long while, shall we?” He swept his hand across her dressing table, sending bottles of perfume and creams flying across the floor. They shattered and sent a nauseating mix of scents into the air.
“Why don’t you clean that up,” he said. “I’ve heard you used to be good at that sort of thing.”
He slammed the door on his way out, and it ended at that. They were stiffly polite when they had to be together. Eleanor refused to talk about the argument with her friends or her bird. The walls at Trill were thin and she was sure everyone already knew the sad details.
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