“I wouldn’t want anyone getting the wrong ideas about you,” he said. “If you lie down before I unlace the corset you can stay covered.”
Samara lay down on the cot, and Asa came up behind her. He gently untied the laces and unlaced the entire corset to spread it to each side. Why do I feel more exposed when I start with more clothing? He’s seen my back before. Tingles shivered down her spine at Asa’s manipulation of her back.
After he was done he fully laced her back up, fluttering her back with the lace at every eyelet. He moved right behind her neck. “Breathe in.” Samara automatically inhaled and he laced it tighter than she had managed. He deftly tied it, and refastened her uniform.
Embarrassed, Samara made excuses to quickly slip off to her lessons with Liron.
Liron looked pleased to see her wearing the corset and working on her posture when she arrived. He continued drilling her in proper behavior. Words to say. Ways to be diplomatic. After a long evening her head was spinning when she went back to her room.
She sat on her bed getting lost in her thoughts. There’s too much to learn. I’ll never figure out everything. How am I supposed to be a proper courtly woman and a fighter, overnight? Why can’t I just go back to the Sisters of Mercy? At least life used to be predictable. She sighed and took down her braids to get cleaned for bed.
She reached around back to untie her corset… and couldn’t find the laces. Samara flushed. She reached again and again, covering all the reachable places on her back and couldn’t find where they were tied. What am I supposed to do now?
Samara grimaced. I guess I have to go back to Asa and ask him how to fix it. She retied her uniform, so she was covered.
Slipping out her door, it was full darkness. Samara thought she could see the outline of Asa’s rooms on the far side of the training grounds. She strode off across the field, hoping to get there quickly. Halfway across, a hand grabbed her elbow. Samara gasped and fought back, but she had not brought her staff, or even her gauntlets as she was letting her hands heal the blisters from earlier.
After attempting to get away and also harm the person who grabbed her she found herself pinned to the ground instead, the person on top of her. What have I gotten myself into?
“Samara.” The voice was cool and sharp. “What brings you out so late at night?”
That sounds like Ethan. “Ethan.” Samara shivered at his weight holding her in place.
“I thought I told you that your safety and your chastity were your top priority, yet here you walk unarmed in the middle of the night?” Ethan sounded… almost upset?
“I needed Asa’s help.” Samara started to get defensive.
“What kind of help would you need from Asa in the middle of the night, Samara? It’s time that you should be in bed, and you seemed to be walking just fine.” Ethan’s voice was getting more and more steely.
Samara blushed uncontrollably. “I needed help unlacing my corset,” she whispered.
Ethan’s eyebrows rose. “You have a corset?” he growled. “And you think Asa should be unlacing it for you? Does that not sound counter to everything that we talked about your chastity?”
Samara started spilling out the whole story, that Liron had given her the corset, and that she had laced it herself. That Asa had relaced it in the middle of the day but she couldn’t reach to untie it. A glint came across Ethan’s eyes. He lithely stepped up, releasing her.
“I think it’s too late to bother Asa for a non emergency, Samara. Let’s go back to your room and I’ll help you.” His voice softened but only slightly.
I don’t even know if this feels safe. “Are you sure, Ethan?”
“Completely sure, Samara. And next time you need anything in the middle of the night, my rooms are next to yours. That’s how I always know where you are.”
Oh. He always knows where I am.