SHe'd almost looked forward to the nonsexual intimacy stage, when he'd thought he'd be able to do it with Asher.
He does his best to hide how miserable he is.
"Are you okay?"
"I did know."
She's just barely audible.
"...then why did you fuck him?"
His voice is soft and gentle and curious.
"Because I was trapped and miserable and I wanted to prove my body was mine to do what I wanted with and I wanted to get the noise fucked out of my head."
"Not sure why fucking someone-- like that-- would prove your body is yours."
"It was a stupid thing I wasn't supposed to be doing and nobody could stop me."
"Uh. ...I also can't stop you from doing stupid things but in the future can you, like. Express that you control your body through not making stupid choices."
"If I'm somewhere where they don't take away my clothes and make me hide my thread and force me to eat and make me change my fucking name for what they say is my own good."
"Okay," he says. "I can do that."
"I won't make you eat more than you want to and you can wear whatever you want and I'll call you Her Highness the Princess of Maldonia if that's what you want to be called."
She wants to be less tense. Why isn't she relaxing?
"And. I guess you can have unprotected sex if you want to, it's your body, I just. --I would really rather you not decide to do things that are going to fuck you up this much."
She isn't going to protest that she didn't know it would fuck her up this much. She isn't going to cry.
She's going to nod and not say anything at all.
He's going to hold her.
(He doesn't know what he's doing wrong.)
Being held should be nice — she doesn't want to feel too-hot and constricted — she closes her eyes.
"Do you want me to leave you for a bit?"
"I think I'm going to go, there's. Stuff I should do." There isn't.
She gets out of bed and puts her shirt back on and — contemplates eating; food is deeply deeply unappealing — goes and finds Marlo in the library.
He's still halfway asleep but when he sees the look on Raine's face he wakes up the rest of the way.
"Hey," he says, very soft, "what's up?"
"I told Asher. About — the thing. With Harry.
He'd — thought I hadn't known. And it was okay because I'd just made a mistake, and when he found out I had known —"
She's whispering. She's not sure her voice would work if she tried to make it.
"Do you want me to hug you?"
Pause. Tight, quick nod.
He stands up and collects Raine and sits again with her in his lap.
"Tell me what he said?"
Now she relaxes. (Fuck, what does that say about her, that her boyfriend holding her made her feel trapped but Marlo feels —)
"He wanted to know why I'd done it and then he said he didn't get how fucking someone like that would make me feel like my body was mine and he said could I maybe not express my ownership of myself through making stupid choices and — when he could tell I was upset he stopped and hugged me but —"