Chapter 24: Guilty Thoughts

The dedicated wife is the hallmark of a just and proper society. – Estalian Mecoir

Lily sat in her mother’s carriage with her hand rested on her lap and her back straight. The air around her was hot and stifling, but she was too embarrassed to open the curtain and let fresh air into the dimly lit cabin. Her perfume swirled around her, it had been applied a bit stronger than she would have liked but the faint hint of sex still clung to her skin despite the rapid washing with a cloth.

There was no way anyone would have known she spent the night with Hasan, but she couldn’t even look Tabithas in the eyes when she got into the carriage.

The older woman had said nothing, only shut the door behind her and crawled up to her seat to drive.

She twisted her hands together. She shouldn’t have fucked Hasan. It didn’t matter if it was one of the best times in her life, or that she had orgasmed so many times in the hours that had followed. If she relaxed, the fading afterglow of her last orgasm still caressed her memories. She could easily feel his kiss on her neck or his hardness between her legs. Even his thumb against her sphincter brought up warm memories.

Lily ground her teeth together and forced her thoughts away. She couldn’t think of sex now.

Her thoughts spun furiously as she yanked her lusts away from Hasan’s touch. Images flashed through her head but they quickly coalesced into the other pressing difficulty in her life: Nirih’s dress. It wasn’t just the young girl’s outfit that was a problem, it was the other dresses she had to complete. Knowing that Nirih’s presentation would make or break her made it difficult to find the “perfect” way of making the outfit, a struggle that Kendrick, Hasan, and even Mindil only added to.

At the thought of Mindil, she was struck by a stab of guilt. She found herself liking Mindil as much as the other men intruding in on her life. She went nine years being abandoned to having the overwhelming attention of three. It didn’t matter that Mindil was different, all three of them brought different emotions up when she thought of him. Her friend was sweet, compassionate, and kind.

That didn’t make her kiss any less powerful.

Gulping, Lily looked down at her hand. She could too easily imagine how Mindil would respond if she found out about Hasan spending the night. The pleasures and orgasms weren’t worth it if it ruined her relationship. If it wasn’t for Mindil, then Lily would have never had the idea of using her magic to expand her services.

A tear ran down her cheek and she felt sick to her stomach. One night of passion wasn’t worth a friendship. Sniffing, she wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. It wouldn’t be appropriate to arrive at her mother’s manor crying.

It took a few more tries before the tears actually stopped.

Lily thought about how she could hide it from Hasan, even the one night they spent together. She was sure she could, but Hasan’s intensity would make it almost impossible to obscure his passions. She was afraid that he would be emboldened by their night of passions and it would leads to their secret being inevitably revealed.

Tears threaten her again.

She leaned back in her seat and struggled to regain her composure. Just when she thought she had it, the guilt stabbed her again. She had read the stories and heard the tales enough to know that it would only get worse when—not if—Mindil found out.

To prevent the tears that threatened to spill, she made herself a silent promise. She would say no to Hasan and tell Mindil as soon as she could.

The decision didn’t make anything better. She couldn’t imagine how Mindil would response. Would she scream and attack? Would she level her wit against Lily, destroying her reputation with sly whispers that no one else could hear? Each moment made the decision harder to follow, even in thought. She didn’t want to lose Mindil as a friend but she knew that it was too late to stop it.

Her mind stewed and simmered with guilt until she felt the road underneath the carriage grow smoother. Gone were the rattle of cobblestones to be replaced by the gentle clicking of the neatly paved roads of the richer area.

Lily continued to let her mind dwell on her guilt. She knew it wasn’t helping, nothing else could be done until she met with Hasan to tell him no and Mindil to confess. Nothing.

“I… I have to,” she said knowing it would ruin their friendship. But it would have been far worse if it went on days, months, or even years of keeping it a secret.

“That’s the right thing,” she said trying to convince herself.

She just wish it didn’t feel like she was on the precipice of something more terrible than being a kudame for the rest of her life.