Numbers Page 87

’’I\ll tell him the truth.’’

’’No! He will kill you.’’

’’I wouldn\ blame him.’’

’’Please? I don\ want you to die, or for him to have to live with another death. Just go and never speak of it. Don\ think of it again. Forget. I have.’’

He hesitated. ’’Anything you need, anything I can do, contact me. I took the name Dreamer.’’

’’I will. Please, let this go, Dreamer. For me and for yourself. It\s the past. Go in peace.’’

He nodded. ’’I\m glad you are alive.’’

’’I\m glad you survived as well.’’

She backed up and closed the door, her heart pounding. Fear and dread consumed her. What if Hero ran into the feline leaving the floor? What if Dreamer decided to confess to him that he was the male who\d mounted her so many years before? If it opened up old wounds anew, would it make him so angry and upset that he would decide not to be her mate anymore? Would Hero kill him and be locked up?

She paced the living room and didn\ know what to do. She was torn between telling Hero the truth and keeping silent. A few minutes later the door opened and Hero entered, a smile on his face.

’’You seemed to enjoy your first cooking lesson.’’

’’I did.’’ She stilled and tried to slow her heart rate.

’’You should take a nap.’’

’’Will you lie down with me?’’

He nodded. ’’Of course. You are to sleep though.’’ He approached her. ’’Nothing else.’’

She loved him with all her heart. The last thing she wanted was to see him hurt or angry. The words to tell him who had visited refused to form. ’’I know. I would just like to be held by you.’’

His expression sobered. ’’Are you feeling well?’’

’’I\m fine. I just want to be close to you.’’

He pulled her into his arms, lifted her, and carried her to the bedroom. ’’I\m not going anywhere.’’ He laid her on the bed and bent, removing his shoes and then hers. He stretched out alongside her and opened his arms. ’’Come here.’’

She curled into him and rested her cheek on his chest. ’’It feels perfect right now.’’

He kissed the top of her head. ’’It does. Sleep, Candi. Get some rest.’’

She closed her eyes and focused on him, instead of the unfairness of their pasts. They never should have been parted. She blamed Dr. C and Evelyn for being taken away from her male.

’’Hero?’’ It was getting easier to say his name.

’’Yes?’’ He stroked his hand down her back, his fingers playing with her hair.

’’Do you know what happened to Evelyn? Was she caught?’’

His body tensed.

’’I\m sorry. Forget I asked.’’

’’No. It\s all right. I was taken from that facility before it was raided. Once I was freed from where they held me captive, I asked about her and Dr. C. They weren\ able to find him, but I identified her from photos they showed me of known Mercile employees. She died after what they did to us was released to the public. She had to know the authorities would come after her, and she had family who knew she worked there. Most humans were horrified to learn about us, and what was done. She chose to take her own life rather than face the consequences.’’

Candi felt torn. She\d hated Evelyn, but a small part of her still grieved. The doctor had been a big part of her childhood, even if it had been mostly bad interactions. ’’I\m glad she isn\ free, but it hurts a little,’’ she admitted.

’’We were given counseling when we were freed. Perhaps you should get some. It helped to talk to the shrink. Some of the techs and doctors were so bad that learning they died somehow, or are locked up, is comforting. Some weren\ so awful, and that leaves us feeling conflicted. They were wrong for what they did to us, but they were all we knew for so long.’’

She nodded. ’’I wanted them to pay for what they did to us.’’

’’The shrink I spoke to compared us to children who had been raised by severely abusive parents. I didn\ really agree with that since we were never treated as if we were human at all, but I was assured it\s normal not to feel total relief over discovering they met with unhappy endings. It shows we have compassion, something they never had for us. Evelyn made her own choices, Candi. She could have saved us by calling the human police to tell them what was happening but she didn\ . She helped keep us prisoners and viewed us as test subjects. I know she was nice to you occasionally, but there were many times she wasn\ . She had to know that Dr. C killed your mother, but she protected him. She allowed him to bring you to that place and treat you as if you were a test subject too. Remember that. It helps alleviate any bad feelings we may feel over their fates.’’

’’Thank you. I was so filled with rage all these years, and all I thought about was revenge. Now I just want to be happy with you.’’

’’I want that too. We\ e together again and that is what matters. They couldn\ keep us apart forever.’’

’’I love you.’’

’’I love you too.’’ He wrapped his arms around her. ’’Now try to rest. We need to get you stronger and healthier. That\s our future.’’

She bit her lip, still unable to shut her mind down. ’’Can I ask you something else?’’

’’Anything.’’

’’Do you want to try to have a baby with me?’’

He tensed, but relaxed quickly. ’’We\ll discuss it in a few months.’’

’’I\m not saying now. I just want to know if you want to try at some point.’’

’’I would never do anything that would put you at risk. You\ e the most important thing to me.’’

’’I\m going to get better and stronger. I\d like to try to have a baby with you.’’ She opened her eyes and lifted her chin to peer at him. ’’I was afraid when they explained about breeding experiments to me. I feared, if they allowed us to be together, we\d have a child and they\d steal it from us. I was terrified because I knew you\d attack them to keep us together and I\d lose you both.’’ She paused. ’’They can\ hurt us anymore. Will you think about it?’’

Tears filled his eyes. ’’Only if Doc Trisha is certain you wouldn\ be in danger. I can\ lose you again. I won\ .’’

She nodded. ’’Only if Doc Trisha thinks it\s safe.’’

’’Then I will agree.’’


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