It wasn't easy for Zaahira to keep her emotions off her face, but she managed. After several long moments, her features became a carefully blank mask as she shifted in her chair, crossing her legs and draping one arm over the back of the chair; the other moved to rest her hand on the table, fingertips tapping a slow pattern on the tabletop. The eyes on him were dark with fury, but her voice was deceptively calm.
"I feel I should point out again that I did not challenge you to hold me down and take away any control I had. I dared you to get me beneath you, which you could've accomplished without doing.. what you did."
Her facade nearly cracked, but she mustered it back to full strength and slammed it into place once more as she tried to force the calm she displayed to sink inward. The hand dangling over the chair's back flexed and curled slowly, as though she were trying to work out her anxiety, but the tense set of her shoulders made it clear that wasn't working. At all. Finally, she began to speak, her tone nearly apathetic in an attempt to keep away the emotions attached to the memories she was relating.
"I didn't always used to be this way. Believe it or not, I used to be a carefree, happy girl, with no temper to speak of. I was even called sweet on more than one occasion. Hard to imagine, no? That all ended when I was fourteen. The Queen pulled into Lisbon, and I went ashore with Mother and Father while they went to meet with a merchant. It was then that I met Roque. He was the merchant's son, and I had never seen a boy so beautiful. He was eighteen, and he seemed so dashing and handsome. It was easy for him to woo me with soft smiles, sweet words, and tender promises of love.
"He said he wanted to marry me, and I believed the bastardo. One night after dazzling me with a fabulous party, he took me back to his home, and I went willingly to his bed. That son of a whore took my innocence, in more ways than one. He drugged me, and took me out to a little house in the country, and there he kept me for three weeks. He started out simply enough -- holding me down, which was easy to do, given I was so much smaller than him. Then it progressed. He seemed to take great joy in choking me just until the verge of losing consciousness. But then I started to fight back.
"That's when the horror really began. He began to tie me down, and then he would beat me, and fuck me with any object he could get his hands on. When he was feeling charitable, he'd make me come again and again, until I was so sensitive it hurt -- and then he'd just keep going until all I could do was scream and weep. I was unable to move for two whole weeks. When Father and the crew of the Queen found me, and killed that fucker, I was on the verge of death. It took me months to recover physically, and it was years until I bedded another man. I swore that I would never let anyone have control over me ever again."
Emotion thickened her accent, and building anger sharpened her tone, until she was nearly spitting the words. Then she shoved back from the table and stood all in one fluid motion, before turning to move toward the windows at the back of the cabin. Crossing her arms defensively, she stared out at the moonlit waters of the Caribbean. Her body quivered with a combination of rage and the force of those memories -- it was almost as though she could feel every blow, every thrust from rough wood or jagged metal invading her body, every disgusting circle of his tongue or fingers.
"Are you happy now? You know my shame. Just get it over with and I'll be on my way."
Bitterness laced through her voice, while sorrow lay buried deep beneath it. It was inevitable, in her eyes, that Averin would be disgusted by her now. He wouldn't want her. He would only be able to look at her with pity and revulsion. That was why she hadn't wanted to tell him.
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