He asked, “So what is Mahria like? Are the rumors true?”

I raise my coffee mug to my lips, taking a sip of the warm, bitter liquid. I am stalling for time as I contemplate the question. I think of Mahria – tall and proud and fierce. She is undoubtedly beautiful with long, thick hair. It’s so soft and it’s a pity she keeps her hair in braids because I truly do love to run my fingers through her hair. I think of her caramel skin and remember how soft her skin feels and the way she gets goosebumps across her skin when I lightly glide my fingertips along her arm. I think of her slanted, dark brown eyes that’s usually narrowed in suspicion at everyone.

“Claire?” he asks.

I glance up at him. “Mahria is beautiful as she is fierce. She is fury reincarnated, rage given flesh and blood. She is unforgiving and unmerciful. But there is a certain kindness in her cruelty.”

The answer may not have been what he expected. He tilts his head slightly and his brow creases in confusion. It’s easy to see that he doesn’t understand. But I never did expect him to understand. “Mahria’s presence can be overwhelming,” I add, “When she enters a room, you can’t help but notice she has entered. When she speaks, you listen.”

“She sounds scary.”

I shrug. “Sometimes. Yeah, she can be. But, she’s also silly and easily amused. She’s really simple minded, you know.”

“Do you love her?”

“Of course I do.”

He bits his bottom lip, and nods his head slowly. He looks very thoughtful, but Viktor is nothing if not cruel. And his next words shake the foundation of my existence. “So then, why did you betray her?”

Author: Raymonda

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