"It's better..." she croaked, trying to rise between them.
They ignored the shabby perjury, the cordon of fait accompli closing in an arc as she was forced back down, Sachiin taking her head and shoulders into his lap until the stripe of silver in Edward's hand became a knifeblade and she cried out, scrambling from torpor into desperate rigor and kicking out. Her feet caught a hold on Edward's trousers and shoved him backward, surprising him with the strength that was left to her. He reached across and seized her left arm, using it to drag her toward him and secure her head in the crook of an elbow while he pinned her flailing legs with one of his own.
"Get off me, you... fucking sadistic mental case!" she snarled, still twisting in his grasp; his hold tightened until she conceded and lay stiffly, breathing hard and shying from the hand he laid against her cheek. It found the buried heat and brought his fingers to the broken premolar directly despite the clenching of her jaw, a measure she was compelled to give up as blood poured from her gums. Susan screwed her eyes closed. "Don't let him do it... not him, please... I don't trust him..." she sobbed. Sachiin glanced up at his brother as she lapsed into despond between them, tears pooling in the hand he slid beneath her cheek. Edward loosed his hold, settling her head on his thigh and stowing her hair behind her ear.
"Prends ton courage á deux mains." he told her.
Blinking up at him slowly, she looked to Sachiin, who closed his hands around hers. Edward slid back her lip with the side of his thumb and in his free hand flipped the knife, swung the horn stock downward and struck the dead tooth loose. While she coughed out a cry he tore it free and Sachiin spat a wad of bark into his hand, watching the new blood well and flush the wound before applying his palliative chemistry, taking her in both arms and speaking again into her ear. The task discharged, Edward drew the face cloth from the pail and dropped the extracted tooth into the water.
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK
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