“Terrance, leave us,” Sophia said, entering the parlor. “William. I don’t know what you saw when you were a boy, but you need to learn new ways. Do you understand?”
His lip curled in a sneer. “You want me to be soft, like you. A woman.”
Sophia stood taller. She slapped him across the face. The nature of his masters had never been a secret. Their inhuman strength and speed was explained by the lack of windows and the blood he so often cleaned up in the rooms. He was positive they were vampires. She was a woman, but she was stronger than he was. The unnatural abounded here. “You think I’m soft?” she asked, her voice sharp as tacks.
“Yes,” he said, sneering again. “You coddle me and you would coddle her.”
Sophia took a deep breath and muttered. It wasn’t English, so he had no idea what she prayed. “What you did worked, but you must not think that is because she is an animal.”
“But she is-” he started to say.
Sophia spoke over him. “It is because she gave you power over her. She wanted you to control her. That control comes with a trust that you will not injure them.”
He snorted. “Of course I would injure her.”
Sophia slapped him again and this time Will fell to the floor. “I will injure you if you don’t listen,” she warned. “We treat people in all sorts of ways here, many are not civil. Always, however, we have the interest of our clients at heart.”
“Clients?” he asked. He’d never talked with his owners about their companions. “She is a slave. You own her. She isn’t a client.”
Sophia’s expression brightened a little, her shining sapphire eyes dancing. “You are beginning to think. We don’t own her, actually. She comes here after she has finished duties. Her sister covers her evenings so she can be here.”
Will tried to remember ever having anyone stand up for or cover for him. There was no one. “She’ll be whipped. They both will.”