Chris's words boomed over Mydkejen's head, dampened by the earthen walls. Udorl rolled sloe eyes upward and giggled, as if the disparagement had nothing to do with her. She ran her palms from the collar of her tunic downward, smoothing the material against her torso, all the while batting her eyes slowly at Chrishton. She parted her lips and seemed to lean forward on her toes in anticipation of his next move.
" . . .yer the one should keep yer hands ta one fuckin' woman at a time ya noble little shit fer brains."
With the impact of Chris's words, Mydjeken's head jerked to the side and he shut his eyes, his lips visibly twisting with unspoken words of anger. He exhaled harshly and looked back at Christon, cringing to see his face so close. Mydjeken scooted his foot back on the stair as if to step backwards, but to do so would give Chris even more ground on him. He shifted sideways on the stair instead, putting only a few more inches laterally between himself and the bigger man.
Mydjeken rubbed the sore side of his face with the heel of his hand. He dropped his jaw slightly and wiggled it side to side, testing for injury. Finally, he lifted his hand to sweep his hair from his forehead. Tinged with sweat, the shock of black stood almost straight up from his paled face.
"I . . ." he faltered and sighed, a heavy groan from the bottom of his lungs. " . . . I hand you the fittest screw in the city. No problem. Fucking--hospitality. I thought we were clear from the start about one thing--Dorcas is hands-off." Mydjeken closed his eyes and held his palms up toward Chris as he said this last part.
Mydjeken's words were quiet; only Chris's booming voice could have been heard from the front room. While Mydjeken was speaking, the sound of Dorcas's steps had changed. There was only a slow, rhythmic creak of floorboards during his soliloquy, which ended with a final loud creak at the landing of the stairs above. The curtain pulled open and Dorcas's face appeared above, backlit. Her expression was of worry; she had been drawn by Chris's loud outburst that was followed by quiet.
"Wot's . . . goin' on?" she called down the stairs, her hoarse voice carrying over the heads of Chrishton, Mydjeken, and Udorl, in turn.