Thursday, August 15, 2013
I couldn’t handle the guilt of having sex with Nang. I broke down and told Weln about it last night.
I don’t know what I expected. Would he be angry on his clan’s behalf? Would he be disgusted? Sad? Disappointed? I wouldn’t have been surprised by any of these reactions. He knows Dusa and Esak care about me, that they wanted to clan me. Surely he would have something to say that would make me feel even worse, but I was choking on my conscience.
Imagine my surprise when Weln chuckled instead and wrapped his arms around me. “Poor, poor Shalia,” he whispered. “Is that why you are looking like the world has ended?”
“It has ended, remember? Dead planet? Evacuate everyone?” I was babbling because he looked at me with such warmth and compassion I couldn’t think straight. Wasn’t he going to tell me off or rant at me for being fickle?
“Right. Bad example,” he said. Weln hugged me close. “Shalia, you aren’t clanned. You are not my clan’s Matara. You’ve done nothing wrong.”
“But – but Dusa told me right out that he loves me. And I adore him and Esak. Why would I turn to another man if I really care?”
“Because you need the strength of a man like Nang. You need the escape from responsibility he offers. These last months with Armageddon happening have put you under more stress than I can imagine.” Weln smoothed my hair as if soothing an upset child. “The last few weeks in particular have been really horrific, starting with your mother’s stroke. Even the toughest Nobek I know would falter under such pressure.”
“I still feel like I’ve done something terrible.”
Weln shook his head. “Dusa already told you to find a clan on Kalquor. With that, he released you from any and all expectations of fidelity. You are a free woman. You have every right to have a sexual relationship with Nang, especially if it allows you to explore all your needs and wants. How else can you expect to find the most compatible clan possible?”
My eyebrow rose. “Just a sexual relationship with Nang?”
Weln scowled. “He hasn’t promised more, has he? His clanmates are not attracted to women. He can’t clan you, not without a full clan devoted to your needs.”
“I know that.” I was starting to feel a little better. “Are you sure Dusa and Esak won’t be hurt?”
The Imdiko gave me a sad smile. “I can’t say that. They do love you, so there will be pain involved. But they know they can’t have you, so they accept that you will experiment with other men and ultimately become the Matara of a clan that will take proper care of you.”
I blew out a breath. I still felt a little weird, especially since I’d turned to Nang so quickly after Dusa and Esak had left. But Weln acted as if I wasn’t the horrid person I’d thought I was. Not even close.
Since I was coming clean about everything, I told him the truth of how I felt about him. “I know you’re Dusa and Esak’s Imdiko now. You’ve been so good to me and Mom that I feel I owe you something. I’ve been keeping a little distance though. I knew I was going to hurt over losing them, and I was right. I don’t want to hurt any more than I do, Weln. It has nothing to do with you. You’re absolutely wonderful.”
His grip on me tightened. “I feel the same way, Shalia. I’m doing everything in my power to not get more attached than I already am. It’s actually a little bit of a relief for me that you’ve gone to Nang for some of your needs. It makes it easier for me to not see you as a potential mate, one I’ll have to let go.”
That was a huge weight off me to know Weln and I were on the same page. When we made love last night, it was with a sense of freedom and none of the pain that had gone before with our shared loss of Dusa and Esak. We laughed. We romped around like a couple of teenagers. We had fun, something there is just not enough of these days.
I’m still a little shaky. I still feel plenty guilty, but I know no one is thinking ill of me. Life is going on. Not the way Dusa, Esak, or I want it to, but it is going on. I’ll keep trying to convince myself of that.