Numbers Page 62

’’You don\ know me anymore. I\m not the same.’’

’’Let me get to know you again.’’

’’The past is behind us.’’

’’You lie now? That\s a trait of a human.’’

’’It\s not a lie.’’ He seemed insulted.

’’We are our past. It shaped who we\ve become.’’ She tapped her chest. ’’I lived to be with you, and then I survived after that horrible day so I could make the ones responsible pay for your death. You were in every one of my thoughts. Did you forget about me? What we were? All the years we spent sharing our space? Deny it, and I call liar.’’

He growled in the back of his throat.

’’Tell me that you never think about the future we could have had if that day hadn\ happened. Try to picture how it would feel to kiss and claim me. I think about it often.’’ She openly studied every inch of his body that she could see. ’’I hurt to touch you.’’

’’F*k.’’ He spun away, giving her his back.

’’That\s a crude way to put it, but that too.’’

He snarled, spinning to face her again. ’’I can\ do this. It was too hard to lose you the first time. It took me years to put my life together and find peace over what happened after you died.’’

’’I\m not dead.’’

Some of his anger faded. ’’I\m grateful.’’

’’I\m more than grateful that you\ e here with me. It\s a miracle and a gift. You\ e trying to throw it away. How can you do that? All we ever dreamed about was being allowed to be together without anyone stopping us.’’ She glanced around, and then pointedly regarded him. ’’No one is here. It\s just us. This is our chance.’’

’’I\m not the same. Too many things have happened. You\ e not the same.’’

She grew silent, catching the pain in his last words. ’’If I hadn\ allowed that feline to mount me, would you still be across the room, or would you be holding me? Be truthful.’’

He looked away. ’’I don\ know.’’

It injured her heart, hearing the broken tone of his voice when he rasped the words. She\d hurt him so deeply that it might be impossible to forgive. Grief wrenched at her so strongly that she was grateful to be leaning against the door.

’’Talk to me. Please? Tell me what you\ e thinking and feeling.’’ She\d already told him why it had happened and how she\d suffered. Now he needed to tell her.

He paced the small space between the bed and the closet, staying away from her. He finally stopped and snapped his head up. ’’You were mine. You knew it would kill me inside so why didn\ you just let me die?’’

She understood. ’’It would have torn me to pieces if they\d brought a female to you and if you\d mounted her, but after I thought about it for a while, do you know what I finally realized?’’

’’What?’’

’’You\d help me heal that pain once they let us be together. We\d have each other to console. I knew I was the one you wanted, not someone else. I thought you knew the same about me.’’ She fought tears. ’’I knew you\d hold me and make me forget everything but you. It\s what we always did for each other. Our love was too strong for them to break, no matter how hard they tried.’’

Tears shone in his eyes, but he quickly blinked them away. ’’We were young.’’

’’In years maybe, but we grew up fast there. They didn\ treat us as children.’’

He took a deep, shaky breath. ’’I don\ know how to get past this.’’

A memory flashed of when they\d been kids. He\d endured a beating when they\d taken her away for a medical checkup. He\d thought they were going to hurt her and had fought to protect her from the techs. She\d returned to their space, and it was the first time he\d been chained to the wall. He wouldn\ even look at her, had just snarled.

He\d snapped at her with his fangs when she\d tried to hug him, snarling for her to go across the kill-zone line on the floor where humans belonged. Even after they\d let him go, he\d refused to go near her. He\d slept on the floor instead of sharing their mat. He wouldn\ speak to her. She\d cried and pleaded, but nothing had worked. Then in desperation, she\d come up with a plan. A plan that might work as well today as it had then.

Hero just needed space. He couldn\ think with Candi invading his home. She had refused to leave so he needed to. The only problem was that she blocked the door. He refused to touch her. It would be too much, and he couldn\ handle it. Not right at that moment.

’’Why don\ you go in the bathroom and get dressed?’’ Her gaze lowered down his body. ’’It\s too mean to stand there in front of me when I can\ touch you.’’

He noticed the way she looked at him and fought his natural responses. Just thinking of se* reminded him that she\d given herself to another male. It was ingrained in his mind, burned there from the years of pain he\d endured from it. He would have taken a thousand beatings rather than have her step inside their cell with the stench of another male all over her. To know someone else had kissed her and stripped her bare killed his se* drive. He growled, his rage rising fast. He could handle anger better than the pain.

He bent and snatched up his jeans. He even had the sense to remember to yank a shirt out of the closet. He stormed into the bathroom and locked the door, needing that barricade against her. He\d forgotten underwear but it didn\ matter. He dressed, his actions stiff and jerky. He stood there when he was done, not willing to face her just yet. He stalled for a while by washing his face and brushing his teeth. He even picked up a brush to comb out all the tangles from his wet hair.

He unlocked the door, took a deep breath. He had to make her understand that he needed time to think. She had allowed the male to mount her, thinking she was saving his life. He just had to work that information into his mind longer so the pain could dull a little. It was just too fresh. He stepped out and glanced at the door where he figured she\d be. She was there all right, and utter shock slammed into him.

Her borrowed clothing from Medical was in a pile at her feet. Her legs were bare all the way up to mid thigh where one of his discarded tank tops now covered her body. Her arms were above her head, stretched high. He barely noticed that since his shirt gaped open on her sides, the large armholes revealing a lot of skin from her hips upward. He noticed then why her arms were up. She\d used two of his belts to secure her wrists and the ends of them were closed in the top of the door.


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