And now it’s got a sequel! It actually ended up being longer than the original. The rating’s also moved up to R.
Not at all Seduced – Part Two
Theory and Practice
It was past midnight and Filia couldn’t sleep. She’d love to have blamed this on the poor ventilation of the inn, the discomfort of the bed, or the glaring light of the full moon assaulting her closed eyes through the window. But the simple facts were: the air was a lovely warm temperature with a light, comfortable breeze; the bed was perfectly satisfactory; and there was only a half-moon in a slightly overcast sky, providing enough light so that if she got up she wouldn’t stub her toe, but not so much as to bother her eyes.
No, as much as she hated to admit it to herself, her current insomnia had nothing to do with her surroundings and everything to do with… Xellos.
She tried not to think about it. She tried not to think about the things they said and did. She tried not to think about how it felt or what it meant. But… she’d been kissed by the most evil, loathsome creature ever to walk the planet and hadn’t hated it. Compared to that, thinking about vases or even kittens didn’t really cut it distraction-wise.
‘Hadn’t hated it’. That was a very tame way of putting it. This wouldn’t be such a gigantic problem if she merely ‘hadn’t hated it’. She’d give her left hand to have just not hated it. But it had felt… good.
She cringed beneath her sheets and covered her face in her hands. I can’t believe I admitted that, even in the privacy of my own head, she thought in what would have been a whimper if she was speaking aloud.
It was absolutely unthinkable that even some tiny, voiceless part of her could find anything about Xellos – she paused here, trying not to think the words ‘desirable’ or ‘attractive’ and in the process thinking both of them – well, not repulsive. It was just… no. It was wrong. Something was wrong here. There had to be some kind of mistake.
She’d held out hope for a little while. She’d thought that maybe, just maybe, kissing in and of itself was just… well, a pleasing experience. That made sense, right? Otherwise, why would people do it? So, she’d thought, it’s probably got nothing to do with Xellos. It was just that that was my first kiss and I had nothing to compare it to so I didn’t know how unremarkable it really was.
This plan had gone over like a lead balloon when she’d kissed the waiter who’d brought her another cup of tea. She wouldn’t normally have done something like that. But it was all in the name of proving that she had no attraction to Xellos whatsoever! Was there any cause worthier than that?
Anyway, it hadn’t worked. All she’d felt was slightly awkward. And the only urge she’d experienced was the urge to brush her teeth afterwards.
So that didn’t support her ‘that’s what kissing is always like’ thesis, but well – she hid her face under the covers, embarrassed even before her own mind – that wasn’t really a fair sample size, was it? The waiter could have just been a really bad kisser. That didn’t prove anything… yet.
Four random men later and it did; it did prove something. It proved that her theory was complete bunk. Well, technically there might be some slight chance that all five were flukes, but she wasn’t going to push it any further. It wasn’t in her nature and, in any case, was a fantastic way to contract mononucleosis.
Plus men seem to get entirely the wrong idea when strange women randomly kiss them. She’d had to knock the last one unconscious after he got grabby.
And anyway, if she kept that whole thing up then she’d probably end up like some kind of kissing-bandit from a dime novel and Xellos would just find that too hilarious for words.
…Had she always thought of everything she did in terms of how it affected Xellos?
She lay in her bed and felt herself grow more and more miserable.
She couldn’t sleep. She shouldn’t sleep. Even if she could get her mind to stop buzzing, even if she had been exhausted she just… couldn’t allow herself to. She didn’t trust her unconscious. It was as though after the events of the day she’d uncovered just a bit of something unknown. It was like now she couldn’t be sure if she really knew herself. Something was hidden there; something that she didn’t approve of one bit.
It was her first kiss…
It wasn’t as though she had been saving it up for anything special. It was just that… that’s what was done. That kind of thing is special. And Filia did consider herself a romantic. She believed in love in what Xellos made it clear he considered to be an extremely childish way. But she’d never really considered herself a part of any of that. Heroes rescue princesses, princes marry beautiful strangers at balls, poets serenade maidens on balconies… She believed in all that, and it was lovely, and it was out there somewhere, but it didn’t have anything to do with her.
No. Not until now. Because there was absolutely no way that she could attach the word ‘love’ in any way to Xellos. It was just impossible.
Well then, what is this?
…Xellos would probably say that it’s another word; a word that also starts with ‘L’ and has four letters.
No, she thought firmly. I’m not that kind of person, first of all. And how could anyone lust after a twerp like Xellos?
Which was why something here had to be wrong! She should have been revolted, not… excited.
It was her first kiss…
She sat bolt upright in bed, the glimmer of hope suddenly dancing once again in her eyes.
It was her first kiss!
She threw the covers off herself, got out of bed, and dressed in the darkness. She tied her cloak around her and threw the door open before stepping out into the quiet hallway of the inn.
That would explain everything!
She walked along the passageway, peering at the numbers on the doors in the flickering light of the candles. It was down here somewhere…
She’d been such an idiot. Of course, it had been her first kiss. It wasn’t so much the kiss part that had been exciting, but the firstness. She’d been nervous and hadn’t known quite what to expect when it happened. It was an unknown. Adrenaline has a tendency to rush to work in times like that. It didn’t really matter that it was Xellos. What mattered was that it was first.
Given that, it made sense that her other kisses had been disappointments. She knew exactly what to expect. It wasn’t new and exciting anymore.
She was very happy with this explanation and felt that it covered all the possible angles. But since her last assumption had failed, she knew that there was only one way that she could prove this to herself and thus ever allow herself to sleep again.
…She would have to kiss Xellos again.
It wasn’t a task she relished, she thought to herself. It was disgusting, embarrassing, and he’d probably never let her live it down. But honestly, she was at the point where she was considering running away to a remote forest and shunning civilized society because she just couldn’t deal with things if she was attracted to something like that.
Once she kissed him again and realized that it was no big deal then she could make some excuse about just testing him and then freely go about her life, content in the knowledge that he had absolutely no power over her.
She reached the door. His door. She took a deep breath and raised her fist to knock, hesitated, scolded herself for being silly, and knocked.
Initially there was nothing. There was no sound of movement from within.
“Open up, you monster! I know you don’t sleep,” Filia whispered loudly into the door.
And then the door handle began to turn with what Filia considered to be annoyingly melodramatic slowness. The hinges pulled back with a creak as the door opened and Xellos looked out at her with a curious expression.
“Filia? To what do I owe this—”
“Shut up,” Filia said automatically. It was too late at night to have to deal with his crap. “Don’t even try to pull that Miss Manners routine on me.”
Both eyes opened slightly and he peered at her through them peevishly. “I suppose I should expect a person who would summon someone in the middle of the night only to so originally tell them to ‘shut up’ to have absolutely no appreciation for good manners at all. Very well. What do you want?”
The way he emphasized ‘want’ made her automatically want to shout ‘Nothing!’, make an excuse about knocking on the wrong door, and then run like the wind. She mastered this impulse. She had a mission here. But she realized now that she was going to have to be careful about this. Xellos had a habit of twisting things. If she didn’t word this delicately there could be no end to the trouble she’d be in. After all, he could take the most innocent of sentences and make them unseemly.
“I need you to kiss me again,” she said bluntly.
See? He’d probably take that completely out of context and make it sound bad.
The bamboozled look on his face would have been funny and extremely satisfying if it weren’t for the circumstances. But there was a certain flickering in his expression that made it impossible for Filia to take even the slightest joy in his confusion. She could see his mood swinging from surprised to smug.
I better explain this, Filia thought quickly. She didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. Instincts that she didn’t even know she had told her that things could get out of control very fast if Xellos got the wrong idea. And she didn’t want that.
She brushed that rebelling thought aside. The problem was, she reflected, that she really couldn’t explain anything without admitting more to him than she wanted to. She knew that he knew that the kiss had affected her. But she wasn’t about to say that.
“Can’t stop thinking about it?” he asked, now clearly in smug territory.
“Thinking about what?” she asked with malicious innocence.
Now that ****** him off, she noted, watching his eyebrow twitch.
“Oh that,” she said in as casual a voice as she could manage as inspiration struck. “Actually, I’m here to give you another chance.”
“How generous of you!” Xellos chirped in an ultra-upbeat tone that Filia recognized as both sarcastic and hate-filled. “A chance to what?” he asked, his voice becoming edged with malice. “A chance to leave you breathless for a second time?”
Filia willed herself not to step backwards or look flustered. “No,” she said deliberately, holding onto her cool as best she could. “You see after that… little incident,” she went on, giving him her best steely look, “I kissed a waiter.”
There was definitely some slippage in the arena of his expression control. The smile was gone. What was on his face was, without a doubt, a frown. It was annoyed and moving toward aggravated. “Oh really?” was all he said.
“Well, I couldn’t just let things be,” Filia said. “Without having some basis for comparison.”
“And how did that turn out?” Xellos asked in a light conversational tone as he strove to reclaim his facial muscles.
This was the important part. Get this right and you’re home free. Filia shrugged. “It was no contest.”
Not one piece of what she said was a lie. Yet, somehow, when you put everything together, it wasn’t true. When you looked at it all together it looked like she was saying that some pimple-faced waiter was a better kisser than him and not, in fact, that kissing the waiter had left her clammy and kissing Xellos had been somewhat closer to a transcendent experience. But Xellos wasn’t the only one that could make the truth dance.
“Well, well,” Xellos said vaguely. “Isn’t that interesting? And here you are giving me a chance to prove myself superior to a service sector worker. How very kind.”
“It’s only fair,” Filia said. She might have been worried by the fact that Xellos no longer appeared to be angry, but she was just relieved that her plan was working. She could really get out of this without embarrassing herself. She’d even have something to hold over him if everything went as planned.
“A challenge,” Xellos said. “I suppose I shall have to take it then.”
As he moved toward her, Filia’s brain spat out a warning. She remembered that hand clasping hers across the table. There wasn’t any table between them now. “And this time I want you to keep your hands where I can see them,” she commanded. “I don’t trust you.”
Xellos gave her a perplexed look. “Where would that be while I’m kissing you?”
“Well, it—” Filia began and stopped. He had a point there.
“I think I have a solution,” Xellos said, noting Filia’s inability to come up with an answer.
He told her exactly where he thought he should put his hands.
She scowled at him and blushed furiously.
“Well, you’d know where they were the whole time,” he explained with faux-innocence.
She told him that that defeated the entire purpose of her seeing where his hands were.
“Forget that then,” she said. “Let’s just get this over with,” she added because it was mean and she needed to take some delight in meanness at the moment.
“Oh yes. Let’s,” Xellos said, moving nearer to her.
She didn’t see what he did next because she’d closed her eyes. She hadn’t consciously decided to; it just happened. But she felt his lips against hers, and it wasn’t like the last time.
First of all, it wasn’t… nice. The kiss they’d shared in the dining hall had been… well, they’d been in a public place and had been in absolutely no danger of being thrown out. You couldn’t say the same about this one. She’d had no idea how tame the kiss earlier had been in comparison to the wild moment that was the present. It was rough and almost frantic and she couldn’t keep up. ‘Public display of affection’ was too cute a term to encompass it.
It also went on for much longer than fourteen seconds.
And it wasn’t like the last time.
It was significantly better.
With this thought and a whirlwind of sensations tearing her world down piece by piece, she was in no position to do anything more that catch her breath when Xellos broke away. The respite didn’t last long. He grabbed her and pulled her into the room, closing the door behind them and pressing her against it. She couldn’t help but gasp as his lips left hers once again and took up residence against her neck. One hand was sliding down her back and came to rest in the area he’d suggested he put his hands earlier.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” she managed to get out as he started nipping around her collarbone. I must hold onto this anger, she thought. Because if I lose it, I’ll never get out of here.
He ceased his ministrations and lifted his head so that they were eye to eye. And too close. Always too damn close.
“After everything that’s happened today, you came to my room in the middle of the night and asked me, me to kiss you.” He smiled, his smug grin nearly touching her lips. “I think the real question is: what do you think you’re doing?”
He was right. With that thought she was pulled under once again, unresisting into his embrace. He was right. Had she even been thinking? Had her feet carried her to his room while her brain cooked up a plausible excuse for doing so? Had she been going to his room all along?
No! came a resisting voice from within. That’s just what he wants me to believe. I had reasons for coming here that had nothing to do with any of… any of this! All I was trying to do was—
Was what? she asked herself as the fledgling flames of rebellion dwindled in the whirlwind she found herself in. Prove how much I don’t want him by traipsing over to his room in the middle of the night and begging him to kiss me one more time? Even in the biased chambers of her own mind this sounded weak.
Are you insane?! How can you stand by and let this… this… facsimile of a man do this to you?! screamed the half of her mind that always would reside in the temple, even if there was no temple left to reside in, at the other half of her mind which was rapidly dissolving into a dizzy ooze.
And that was right too. The appearance of her actions and any possible hidden motivations hardly mattered now. This was… wrong. Terribly wrong. She was not going to allow this to happen. She was going to fight against it. She was going to escape from his clutches. She was…
She was on the bed, wasn’t she?
Somehow the journey across the room had completely failed to register. She only realized this with terrible certainty as her head hit the pillow. He was over her, nudging away the bauble on her headdress. She could feel the weight of him, hanging just above her, compressing the space between them in one hot, suffocating column of air. He bit against her ear and she made a sound.
And there was absolutely nothing she could do about any of this.
Well, that wasn’t actually true. There were dozens of things she could try. Whether any of them would work was another story, but still… there was no chance that they’d work unless she actually tried. At the very least she could show unwillingness. Yes, there still were things she could do. But she couldn’t do any of them. See?
…Had she even said ‘no’ yet?
He pulled away from her and sat beside her on the bed. He was just watching her – focusing on her face intently. She tried desperately to hide any trace of confusion at this sudden stop. She was trying so hard that she failed to notice that she was gazing straight back into his eyes.
So she hadn’t realized his hand had moved until she felt it on her ankle. It climbed across her skin and played for a few tantalizing moments against her skirt hem before reaching under. His fingers slid up the line of her leg with theatrical slowness.
And all the while he was watching her with that damn smile, breaking down ever flicker in her expression with those eyes of his. She could feel goose bumps tightening across the skin of her legs and she knew she was trembling.
He had passed her knee now and was working his way along her inner thigh.
Now she was breathing too fast. Any hope of maintaining composure was rapidly fading into the night. And still he smiled, watching with delight what the horrible anticipation was doing to her.
He stopped his ascent for a moment as he reached the garter belt that served as her mace holster. He slid his index finger underneath the silky fabric and thumbed at the lacy edge of it. And then, after a moment, he pulled the garter down and off her leg, mace and all.
She stared up at him in helpless disorientation as he held the heavy spiked club with the garter belt attached easily in one hand and returned her look with an almost criminal level of smugness. “You know, Filia, I always thought,” he said, “that any woman that went around with a mace in a black, satin garter belt under her dress couldn’t be one hundred percent innocent.”
Maybe it was hearing that familiar snide tone in his voice, maybe it was what he said, maybe it was the sight of him casually holding her favorite weapon. Whatever the case, something went click in her brain.
“Give that back!” she shouted at him.
“Oh?” he said, looking in surprise at the mace as if only just now seeing it. “Did you want this?”
And then, to her immense surprise, he handed her the mace. She’d been sure he wouldn’t. She held it uncertainly.
“There,” he said. “You have your weapon. You’re not completely helpless. Does that make you feel better?”
It didn’t. For some reason at this moment she felt far more nervous armed than unarmed.
“Now,” he said, sizing her up. “Run.”
“What?” Filia exclaimed, now completely out of her depth.
“Run,” Xellos repeated. “If you don’t want to be here, then leave now. No one’s trapping you.”
All she could do is stare at him, opened mouthed (which was probably a little dangerous in the circumstances). What could he possibly mean by this sudden offer of freedom? No matter what he claims, Xellos doesn’t do charity.
And then the growing realization came over her that Xellos was wrong. This was a trap. It was just the kind you were supposed to walk into knowingly.
This wasn’t charity. This wasn’t concern. This wasn’t integrity. This was all about changing the story. If Xellos hadn’t made this offer then this would be the story of the poor girl who got taken advantage of in the dark and hungry night. Now it could be the story of the girl who willingly and knowingly gave in to her desires. He didn’t think she’d really leave.
He didn’t think she’d leave! He thought he had her exactly where he wanted her. He thought he could get her to actually say she wanted to stay. That’s probably what he wanted to hear; because that would be his ultimate victory over her, wouldn’t it?
And what really hurt her deep was that there was a chance that he was right. Her heart was wavering and she didn’t feel like she could lift herself. And soon the moment would have passed and then her silence would be as good as a ‘yes’.
It took every trace of pride and willpower she had to lift herself off the bed and stand a bit unsteadily on the carpet. She gripped her mace close to her as though hoping it would impart some hidden strength. She walked to the door with as much dignity as she could find in the shaken depths of her soul. She grasped the doorknob with a shaking hand.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have enough pride and willpower to stop herself from looking back at him.
His expression changed as soon as her eyes fell on him, but she’d seen the look just for a moment.
He doesn’t want me to leave.
The look he was giving her now was a sort of half-smile, with one eyebrow raised as if to say: ‘Well?’
She opened the door, stepped out into the hall and quickly closed it behind her.
She wanted to collapse against the doorframe and just breath for a few minutes in great gulping breaths and maybe cry a little in case that would help. But she couldn’t. If she did then Xellos would hear her and he would know. Maybe he’d even open the door to her again knowing that she had nothing left with which to resist him. This spurred her away in an emergency boost of energy. She scurried down the hall with the thought of hiding under the covers in her room forever hanging like a distant oasis in her mind to a man dying of thirst.
She didn’t end up hiding under the covers. Doing so had failed to make her disappear completely from the world and thus wasn’t worth it. Anyway, it was too hot and stuffy under there and Filia was feeling overheated for reasons she’d purposefully decided not to examine.
She also decided not to cry on the basis that it probably wouldn’t help her situation, just moisten it.
So she’d taken up a chair by the window and let the cool breezes of the night wash over her. She breathed deeply into the night sky like it was a giant humidifier. She was calming down by fractions, but there was still a long way to fall.
She wasn’t really getting anywhere by consoling herself with logic because she wouldn’t allow herself to think in complete sentences. It was possible that finishing her thoughts might have caused her more panic than cutting them off; but still, thoughts like ‘Why do I—’, ‘And then he—’, and ‘It felt so—’ weren’t very productive.
One thought managed to come out whole without the editing board in her brain freaking out. It was: What am I going to do?
She cradled her mace in her arms like it was an especially spiky child. She didn’t have an answer to that.
You don’t have to do anything, she thought, trying to make the large mental adjustments necessary to make the world okay again. This is just like all the little fights you’ve had with Xellos except that it’s… uh… different. But you left when he didn’t think you could. You won. Not with flying colors I’ll admit, but you did win. You don’t have to worry about it anymore. Just forget it.
She sighed. Could it really be that simple? It didn’t feel like this was over. Would he try to finish it? Would he come for her at the moment when she was most vulnerable?
…Well apparently being alone with Xellos made her very vulnerable, so he could pick his time.
But no, that wouldn’t be like Xellos. He’d offered her freedom because he didn’t think she would choose it. So he wouldn’t go to her. He would wait for her to go back to him and trap herself once more.
That seemed to fit, but one pang of doubt resonated through her mind. She’d seen his face before she’d left. It hadn’t been the look of evil enjoyment he’d been sporting before. He wasn’t watching her struggle to fly free from him like a moth with half a wing burned away. He looked… regretful.
But he wouldn’t come for her. He couldn’t. Doing that would be admitting that he wanted her and not the other way around. He wouldn’t do that after trying to prove that she needed him but he didn’t need her.
She bit her lip reflectively. This needs to stop. She knew she wouldn’t sleep, but nevertheless she was exhausted. She knew that if she sat up all night thinking about the things she was thinking about that she’d go mad. She needed to think normally again. The chances that this was all just an insomnia-tinged hallucination were remote, but the chances that the world would be a saner place in the morning were better. She just had to wait.
And don’t think about it, whatever you do.
She looked down at her mace, and was aware that cuddling it made her look more than slightly crazy. She could probably put it back now.
She reached down the side of her leg and stopped, her expression frozen. She patted up and down her leg in a panic. But no. That’s right…
That son of a b****! He stole my garter belt!
Filia had been wrong about not being able to fall asleep. Apparently she hadn’t been traumatized enough to stop exhaustion from exacting its inevitable toll on her. She woke up the next morning with her face partially fused to the carpet in a mass of drool and hair, having halfway fallen out of her chair. She’d had… strange, probably entirely meaningless dreams that she really couldn’t remember much of anyway.
That she couldn’t remember much about anyway!
The next unpleasant surprise the morning gave her was when she realized that the person in the mirror was her.
She’d been too embarrassed to even think straight. She had seriously considered the notion of barricading herself in the room and never coming out again. She’d dragged the armoire halfway in front of the door before finding the will to go on.
That was then. This is now.
She’d barely spoken to her traveling companions at breakfast and when they hit the road. The forced normalcy of it all was helping, but some things you just can’t fix by ignoring them.
She had her cloak drawn close to her, and tightened high up by her chin like a scarf. It looked stupid, but there was no way she was wearing it any lower what with the... Well, best not to even think of it.
As it was she cursed Xellos at every gust of wind that threatened to tear it away from her. You never knew; it might actually be his fault.
“Hey Filia, why’ve you got your cloak like that?” Gourry asked, all concern.
“I’m cold,” she answered shortly.
“Really?” he said, looking around at the clear, sunny day. “Seems pretty nice out to me.”
“It seems as though Filia’s got her own weather pattern going on,” Xellos observed in his cheerful please-smack-me-in-the-face-Filia tone of voice.
She took a few deep breaths and tried to stay calm. She didn’t even want to be angry at Xellos right now. Thinking of Xellos at all was bad bad bad. Sure, it starts out with ‘Damn you, you horrible, villainous creep!’ but somehow it always morphed from there to the bed… and from the bed to the dreams…
She was doing her best to just block it out, to drown it away with background noise. She just needed to concentrate on something else. Not anything mentally taxing, just something she had to focus all her attention on.
…Ah, she had just the thing! Recitations. She’d learned a few of those at the temple classes when she’d been little. Now… how did that one go…
Seven are the virtues cherished by the righteous of heart,
To keep the purest, most innocent from sin far apart.
Yes, it had been a poem to remember the seven virtues. It was a behavioral aid guide that all the young dragons got taught. Xellos would probably have called it propaganda. But anyway, he was all for propaganda. He didn’t like other people’s propaganda but he expected everyone else to swallow his.
SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!! Filia screamed at her own brain. Why would you even think something so— UGH!
She would’ve clawed her own eyes out if she hadn’t been well aware that this wouldn’t black out the image in her head. She set her face in a grimace. She never would’ve thought of anything that… that vulgar even the day before.
She closed her eyes. The poem. The poem. If ever I needed that poem it’s now.
First from the chains of arrogance we must free,
Reverence and modesty through kind Humility.
“What’s the matter, Filia? Your face is red,” came his voice.
Speaking of arrogance…
“Shut up,” Filia automatically replied. And, when she’d decided to make at least some pretense of explanation, she added: “It’s just a little hot out is all.”
Then before the bounds of restraint far advance,
We curtail our weaknesses with bold Temperance.
“And I thought you said you were cold.”
Not quick to anger, or prone to give back offense,
Serenity and forgiveness make up dear Patience.
“Leave me alone you despicable, filthy-minded monster!”
Oh well. She’d never been very fond of Patience anyway.
“Filthy-minded?” he repeated with a mockingly bemused expression. “Are you sure you aren’t thinking of yourself?”
Don’t listen to him!
And let it be said that we observe with clarity,
Kindness to the poor through acts of Charity.
“If you say so, Filia.”
And may our efforts be more than just the pretense,
Of hard work, devotion, and good-natured Diligence.
“You okay, Filia?” Gourry asked. “You seem kinda edgy today.”
“At least moreso than usual,” Zelgadis commented from behind them where he and Amelia and Lina were walking at a slightly slower pace.
“I’m fine,” she said through gritted teeth.
Creatures great and small through our deeds we bless,
Through tenderness, compassion, and lasting Kindness.
“Filia’s just a little wound up today,” she heard Xellos explain with the pride of someone who’d done the winding.
“Oooh,” Gourry said, as though finally reaching an understanding. “I get it. She’s just a little cranky. Don’t worry about it. I learned from traveling with Lina all about how to be sensitive to girls’ feelings during that time of the m—”
A rock flew out of nowhere and inexplicably hit him in the back of the head. It was a red letter day for bizarre phenomenon.
Filia gulped. Block it out. Block it out. Block it out. One more couplet…
And lastly, if pure and innocent we claim to be,
Then it must be said that we practiced Chastit—
Filia bit down on her fist to keep herself from shrieking.
It wasn’t fair. She’d been practicing chastity all her life. You’d think she’d have gotten really good at it by now!
“What do you think, Filia?” Xellos asked so quietly that only she heard. “Am I not being sensitive enough to girls’ feelings?”
Stop… standing… so… close.
It didn't all fit in one post... so read on for the next part.