She pounded on the thick door as hard and loudly as she could.
When it began to open and she had her first look at his face again—his features a mask of puzzled bewilderment—the terrible pressure in her chest finally released in a flood, and it all seemed to spill right out of her mouth.
“Wha…?” he started to ask.
But the flood had already hit her.
“I am beyond vexed with you,” she seethed, flinging off her hood so he could see the full extent of her rage before she pushed past him to enter the watchtower.
Theron glanced out into the darkening evening as if to make sure she didn’t have anyone else with her, then he shut the door and turned, lifting his eyebrows sternly. “Please tell me you did not walk up here by yourself.”
Ignoring his question, she demanded, “Honestly, how could you do this to me?”
“Are you absolutely mad?” he challenged right back, just as upset as she, and stormed forward. “What were you thinking? If someone had seen you—”
“They would’ve shrugged me off as you! But no one saw me. And I was thinking about how mad I am,” she railed, lifting her chin to meet his swirling, livid gaze.
Theron scoffed. “Yes, I can tell you’re unhappy, but that gives you no right to put your very livelihood at stake to come up here and tell me thus.”
“It’s my livelihood to worry about, and my right to risk it as I please.”
“And you are one of two people left in this entire, bleeding world that I’m allowed to still talk to. So I refuse to let you be so frivolous with your—”
“Argh!” she shrieked, lifting her hands and curling her fingers as if to display her claws at him. “You are so maddening.”
One of his eyebrows arched, then he burst out grinning. “But am I maddening enough for you to want to kiss me senseless again? Please say yes.”
She snorted. “Hardly. You’re certainly maddening enough to make me want to wring your fool neck as hard as I can, though.”
Lifting his chin to put his neck on full display, Theron countered, “Well, take your best shot, little healer-in-training. But first, would you at least tell me what I did wrong this time that made you so mad? A fellow appreciates at least knowing why he’s being strangled.”
Xia sucked in an irate breath. Then her chin trembled. And finally, the tears that she’d been holding back all the way from Norbin’s pig pen came gushing down her cheeks.