The opening of the door to the specially hired interview room had ended another of his father's cross-examinations of Kaen's handling of a minor House matter. Bored, he had looked up and been captured and swept away by a pair of frightened, navy blue eyes.
It had taken all his strength to block the connection between them, and as much as he knew it had hurt her, it had almost killed him. The fact that she was a Negative Psi had not even registered. It meant nothing to him. But the fear of becoming someone different, someone not L'u-cif-er Da'anil Kaen, and the fear of someone knowing every hidden aspect of himself had driven him to lie and deny elska.
He'd honestly thought the pain would end. It hadn't. It had dulled, but never completely disappeared.
At first Kaen had kept silent out of pride and fear. L'u-cif-er Ini Ben had been a hard man. Had Kaen admitted his lie, claimed elska, and taken Kara as his wife, the old man would have cut him off, taken his name, and probably driven the pair of them off planet. The younger Kaen hadn't been prepared to deal with the loss of everything he'd known. Later, when he'd realized he was half a person without Kara, he'd have defied the galaxy for her. By then, though, it was too late.
She'd been un-Housed. Her existence had been negated. Even all of House L'u-cif-er's resources hadn't been able to trace her. He hadn't even been sure she remained on Byshen. The one thing he had known was that she was alive, somewhere. He would have known if she were dead.
The only thing he could do then was to refuse shthor. The idea of binding himself to any woman other than Kara was repulsive. The thought was enough to make him physically ill. It was penance too late.
The glow globes showed the set of Kaen's jaw as he crossed the sand toward the house. He wasn't seventeen anymore. He knew what he wanted and he wasn't afraid. Kara might hate him, had every right to; but her soul was his, and he would have her mind and heart too. Rloog had given him another chance. He wasn't going to waste it.