“I wish it were that simple, Blaise. But we have to be careful. Promise me you won’t say anything to anyone about where we went last night.”
Blaise glowered at him. “You’re being ridiculous. We’re allowed to go to the Pleasure District, Eden. Else there wouldn’t be a Pleasure District in the first place. Those women are there for us, ripe for the picking. Tovar’s gift to his finest.”
But Eden hadn’t gone there for a woman. And they both knew it. It was an unspoken acknowledgment between them and had been for years. Yet now Blaise’s expression challenged him. Say it. Admit it. Admit your sin. Admit what you really went to Tartarus for.
“Promise me,” Eden choked out, his eyes locked on Blaise, desperate.
Finally, Blaise nodded. “Whatever you want, Lieutenant. You are the higher-ranking officer in these quarters, after all.” He held a hand to his heart in a mock salute.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You always have been so keen to dismiss what’s been given to you on a silver platter. Even as a kid. Most of us would have given our right hand to have the president as a stepfather, to live in his house, to hear his plans. And now, you’ve been promoted through the military. Almost as high as you can go, and you’re only twenty-five! What a hard life you live, Voss.”
Suddenly the ferocity of their sparring earlier made a different kind of sense. Eden’s eyes narrowed. “Watch it, Harker. It’s not like you lived a life of misery.”
“No, the life of a doctor’s son isn’t one to laugh at. But nothing compared to what you’ve had.”
Eden fought back his annoyance, attempting to keep his tone smooth and steady. “Blaise, why are you doing this? Comparing our lives? We both ended up here anyway, didn’t we? So why does it matter?”
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