“Why are you here, Marie?” he asked. Pain and anger stared at her.
Unable to hold his tortured gaze, she focused on the rooms in the back of the house. Each room connected by a hallway that cut through the center of the home. However, that did not ease her guilt. Untying her hair, she dropped the scarf onto the couch nearby. Approaching him slowly, she noticed how his eyes watched her every movement. Her body tingled in anticipation of his caress. The desire within her that she had tried to ignore and conceal from her mother burst to life and a need she could not control blossomed in her chest and spread through her body. On more than one occasion, she had known his touch, and she desired it even more now. Since the night at the ball, she had not seen him, and that was not what she desired. “Should I leave?” she asked, but if his answer were yes, she would ignore it.
“Do you not have a contract? Are you not another man’s placée?” He walked away from her and sat where she had dropped her scarf. “Would your mother approve of your choice? Of me?”
“My mother does not rule me.” She approached him and sat beside him.
“If your father were alive, he would not permit our union. Your mother only does what she knows he would want.”
Her man had grown tired of the game she forced him to play. She would not be able to claim him as hers, if she continued to hide her love for him from others. “My father is dead and soon, it will not matter what society deems is or is not proper.” Finally, she saw a reason for them all to disappear. If they became myth and legend as her mother wants, they would not need to follow anyone’s rules, only their own.
“What will you and your mother do?” Concern colored his words. He placed a palm to her cheek. “You will not place yourself at harm.”
His words were a command that she would obey. Leaning into his touch, she said, “If we are to have a future together. One that my mother will approve, I must help her find a monster.”
Daniel lifted her from where she sat and placed her on his lap.
She straddled his thighs.
He brushed away the hair that rested on her shoulders, and softly kissed her neck.
A simple touch of his lips to her skin and she could not control her thoughts. Her mind flooded with memories of their time together. Each stolen moment. And although he was with her, he was not close enough. She slid her hands down his back, and lifted the back of his cotton shirt. His skin against hers was the only thing that would quiet the need within her. His warmth. His scent. The leather and wood of the drums he played perfumed his skin. She inhaled, deeply.
Sliding her fingers along the length of his back, she had memorized each scar. Her body had no such marks. No man would want to mar the skin of a woman he thought he might bed, until he discovered that could not bed her. Her mother’s plan to protect them would abate such things.
Marie knew the danger that could be waiting outside of his door for both of them, if she did not do as her mother wished. But she did not care. The orisha of fertility, Oya had not blessed them with a child, but nothing, not her mother or the men and women who hated them would stop her from asking Oya for a child with the man she held in her arms. The man she loved.