This follows The Whipping Girl.
Camilla trembled as her husband unbuttoned her dress. It was not because of his touch, but because of the anger she knew would follow as he stripped her, and as he saw the evidence of her strapping. She tensed, and her anticipation was answered as her garments fell away and he saw the fresh bruises on her bared bottom.
“What did that miserable brat do this time?” Abraham ground out. His fingers traced the marks on her backside with a tenderness that did not match the fury in his voice. Camilla still bore the prints of his teeth on her shoulders; they were not a pair afraid of violence, or the pleasure that could be found through pain and control and tears. These were not his bruises, though, and not given with his blessing. These made him feel powerless, and it was not a feeling he sat well with.
“I’m going to kill her,” he yelled, walking abruptly away, quickly reaching the other end of their one room cottage and pacing back again. She turned, looking at him wide-eyed from the puddle of fine skirts around her, imploring him to calm down, saying simply, “Abraham…”
She spoke timidly, counted on her submission to hook his protective instincts and quiet him. It usually did, but this time she saw lightning in his eyes. This time was different, and fear gripped her heart at the sight of him. He was a woodsman by trade, and stood there looking grizzled and strong, sweat from the day’s labor dried and salty on his brow. He turned and walked through the front door, grabbing his axe from its home leaning against the roughly hewn wood of the house. Camilla scrambled to pull up the heavy dress and give chase, struggling with the sleeves and finally running after him, dress open in the back as she grabbed his arm tightly.
“You can’t! You’ll be hanged! There’s nothing to be done, Abraham.” She could feel the beg in her voice, a desperation that usually she loved to feel for him, but now it was for the pain he might endure instead of her, and that hurt worse.
He turned, putting his free arm around her waist and pulling her to him. They stood for a moment, foreheads pressed together, her hands around his neck and her fears calming, until he pulled away and looked her squarely in the eyes. “Go. Get back in the house.”
“Abraham! No! You can’t-”
“Go. Go now.” There was no bend in his tone, no give in his expression. Tears leapt into her eyes. She spent so much of her time doing as she was told. She followed the orders of the princess. Of the king. Of every bloody noble in the kingdom. But to Abraham, she had promised her obedience freely. And so, throat closing with grief, she turned, and walked back into the house.
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