After all the events that had transpired the past two days, it was that thought that plagued Marian as she tossed and turned in her bed, unable to sleep.
She and her father had dutifully endured Gisbourne's boring party; boring, that was, until Robin had livened things up with his audacious entrance. Marian couldn't help but be thrilled to see him, barely able to hide her amusement and delight when he'd suddenly appeared on the upstairs landing, just after Gisbourne had forced a ring on her finger. It was Robin's house, after all.
But then, his jealousy turned him into a mad man. His eyes were filled with hurt and anger and challenge, when he kissed her hand and slid Gisbourne's ring off her finger.
What had he expected her to do? He'd been there, had seen everything, when Guy had humiliated her before his guests, showing her off as though she were a pretty bauble, a trinket to be worn on his arm! A possession.
Robin should have been able to see that she had no choice. She had to accept the ring! He didn't have to be so unreasonable, making up charges of treason against Guy! Threatening to torture and kill him! Thank God Much had fetched her when he did, so that she could trade Robin's Saracen for Guy!
Robin's Saracen...a woman?
Marian pounded her pillow with her fist, trying to make it comfortable.
What exactly was his relationship with that woman? How long had they known one another? Had he met her in the Holy Land, and had she followed him to England?
Will had blurted out he loved her. Allan had said he liked her, whatever that meant. And Robin had been in no hurry to save her. As horrible as that was, it made Marian secretly glad.
He didn't love her, then. He'd been more consumed with punishing Gisbourne than with rescuing Djaq, proving he cared more for Marian than for his little dusky skinned...what?
No, Marian realized. Robin was not that kind of man. With all his charms and attractiveness, he'd always had opportunities to be unfaithful, if he'd wanted to seize them. But he hadn't. He'd been so true, never giving Marian any cause to doubt him. He was a true gentleman, who never put his own needs or desires above others.
And yet...why should he be faithful, when there was nothing anymore, linking them together?
They had broken their engagement when he'd told her he was leaving, choosing battle over marriage. Over her. The hurt from the memory of that stormy day was still raw, even after five years. It numbed her. Something had died in her that day, something vibrant and full of hope and joy, something she could never gain back.
Stop, she told herself. She didn't want to think about it!
Why couldn't she forget him? Why did he have to be so infuriatingly impossible to forget?
Even when he was thousands of miles away, she couldn't forget Robin. And now that he was home again, leading an incredibly heroic life, defying all the odds and the evil Sheriff Vaisey, selflessly risking everything to help the poor, and doing it all with cheerful good grace, Marian knew she was drawn to him still. More than drawn to him, really. He was irresistible, with his charm and his looks that scruffy new beard of his.
No wonder that Saracen woman had followed him all the way from Acre!
Trying not to care, Marian was nonetheless tortured by images of Robin being charming to the small, foreign woman. She had beautiful eyes, that one, as well as that lovely exotic complexion. And she was brave! She fought like a man! No wonder Robin had...had what?
What was their relationship? Not knowing was making Marian feel nearly as mad as Robin had been toward Gisbourne! She had to find out!
Much! Much would tell her everything! Even if he tried not to, Marian knew she could get the truth out of him!
Rolling onto her side and slamming her fist into her pillow several more times, Marian vowed she would pay Robin's manservant a visit come morning.