At least, that's how I see it. Yesterday I finally reached the point in the story where two of the main characters made that first connection. It's going to be a rocky road for them over the next five books, but they've started the trip. This was not the first time they've been alone or even the first time they've talked, but it was the first time they managed to find a little chink in their own prisons so they could reach out. Disa is seriously fucked up from a lifetime of near solitude and decades of torture. Sorvjorn is less so, but he has plenty of demons of his own.
This is not a romance novel. There's no couple HEA at the end of book one. Instead it's a slow unfolding of a friendship that may or may not get to something else. I don't know yet. The characters are still too new to one another to know what will happen. I thrive on the unknown and chaos when writing so this doesn't bother me in the least. Still, the click moment. I love it and I am impatient to see what happens next.
“No,” Sorvjorn said as he forced his feet to stay in place. “No, don’t cry, Disa. Please.” He lost the battle of wills and shuffled closer, hands at his sides. “I don’t want to make you cry. I won’t touch you. Promise. I know you don’t want me touching you.” The words stabbed in his heart, but he couldn’t entirely blame her. He was too big, too different, to attract much attention from the prettier women. “Look, I’ll go get wood. You light that lantern, Disa. Get some light in here and close the window and I’ll bring back wood.”
Disa’s head lifted and he smiled at her. “The door doesn’t lock on the outside,” she said.
“So?” Sorvjorn asked, puzzled.
“So, how will you lock me in? What if I run off?”
“I’m not your jailer!” Sorvjorn said hotly. She recoiled from his anger and he winced. “Disa, I was worried about you. I am worried about you. But if…if you don’t want me here I’ll go get you wood and something to eat and then leave you.” He wouldn’t go back to Laelia who would lecture and interrogate him.
“I’m a freak,” Disa said. “Why would you want to be here? You could be anywhere. With anyone.” She shuffled to the window and pulled it closed after knocking snow from the sill. “I don’t understand.” In the dark she turned and stared at him. “You touched me.” It was half an accusation and Sorvjorn didn’t know how to respond. “No one touches me. Not even the ones who like to scare me and threaten me. No one touches me. But you did. I don’t know why.”
Sorvjorn watched as she tried to light the lantern on the counter. He added oil to the list of items to buy. “Disa,” he said when she gave up. “I don’t think you’re a freak. And it sounds selfish to say it, but part of why I like being by you is that you keep us calm.” Disa’s laugh was short and sharp. “Not just him,” Sorvjorn said. “Laelia forces him to be calm. She makes us two people and we aren’t. We’re one person and we don’t fight around you. I don’t know why.”
In his coat she looked small, but she wasn’t. He liked that she was almost as tall as him. He didn’t like how thin she was because it meant she wasn’t eating. “You need me.” He almost missed the words, intent on staring at her. She was pretty. What were a few scars? Or even more than a few? He wanted to kiss her.
“Uh, yea,” he managed. “I think so. Liked touching you. Like being useful.” They weren’t so different, he thought. “Won’t touch you though, Disa. Promise. Only, maybe someday, you might like to hold my hand. Would like that.” She didn’t say anything. “I’ll, uh, go get wood. Will you wait here for me?”
“I will,” Disa said and he smiled. He left her there in the freezing room and hurried to the market. He took a wrong turn twice, but was back in less than an hour.