"No," he whispered, "no, you wouldn't waste your time lying to me." A brief, heavy pause before he added, even softer, "my love." He felt like he was pushing too many boundaries at once, sure that any number of things that fell out of his mouth were going to get him hurt more than he'd already been ripped open by Carrick's words and actions.
He swallowed again and kept talking. "I wasn't taught to read because my mistress thought it'd make me too dangerous." His voice was even softer than it had been before, barely holding on to volume though Carrick would hear him regardless. "She thought that as soon as I could forge documents and know what they said, that I'd either fake my way to freedom or somehow cheat her out of things or get myself sold to someone I cared for more or...any number of things. Like I couldn't just pull that information out of people's heads and use it to the same ends if I wished." He licked his lips. "I don't know what I did to make her think that, or if some other fae screwed her over...but it was never because I wasn't smart enough to learn. And...and when I decided I was going home with you come hell or high water, I think part of it was because I'd finally found a match in a master for my own intelligence and beauty and the other was...was the reputation that preceded you rippling its way through the pens. I'd rather be torn apart by a notoriously fickle and cruel vampire than whatever those idiot paranoid witches had planned for me. At the time, I couldn't have counted on falling in love with you, on giving you the trust I'd handed to no one before, but looking back on everything I don't think I could have ever done anything but whether I expected it or outright longed for it."