Frederick was right—ever since I’d seen the first article on TV, I’d been fighting against time. Time needed to fix Tess. Time needed to fight her demons before I wasn’t able to anymore. Everything that’d happened to Tess was my fault and I’d wanted to undo my wrongs before it was too late.
It’s a lot to take in, I admit, feeling overwhelmed.It is for me as well, he agrees. If you get to a point where you want to meet with Lee, then I will be happy to accompany you. On the other hand, if you don’t want to see him again, I will support that as well. I don’t think it’s anything you have to decide today. Just give yourself time to think about it. I won’t let him pressure you. It’s your decision whether or not he ever has a place in your life. He has to accept that.
I’m still angry with you, Luc, I find myself saying. The fact I’m snuggled in his arms makes a mockery out of that statement, but my feelings of hurt and betrayal are still very raw. It’s ironic that he’s the one to wound me but also the only one able to soothe me.I know you are, baby. You were right when you said that my secrets are tearing us apart. I will tell you whatever you want to know, but can I ask for one concession from you first? I agree warily, hoping he doesn’t ask for more time. That’s the one thing I’m not prepared to grant. Turning beseeching eyes to me, he asks quietly, Can we go home to talk? As if thinking I’m going to reject his request, he quickly adds, I’ve never told anyone what happened that last day with Cassie, and it’s…hard to fathom talking about something so private in someone else’s living room. I promise that if you want to leave me afterward, I’ll bring you back here. Just…please?All right, I acquiesce, without protest. Truthfully, I’d rather be at his apartment while we talk. It’s not that I believe Rose is standing at her door listening—although she probably is. I feel more comfortable in the apartment I’ve called home for weeks now. Those walls sheltered me while I clawed my way back to sanity—and Lucian—after my assault. The one place in my life that has felt safe to me.
As if afraid that I’ll change my mind, Lucian stands, still holding me in his arms. Is there anything that you need to take with you? He looks distracted and I honestly believe he isn’t even aware he’s still holding me. I cherish his instinctive need to care for me. To be nurtured after so many years of neglect is something I will never take for granted.My bags are still at the door. We can get them on the way out. I wiggle and he tightens his hold. You can put me down now. I’m perfectly able to walk.
My heart stutters as he gives me a look filled with anguish. I’m afraid you’ll run from me again.
Luc, I begin gently, I’ve agreed to go with you. I’m not going to run. I told you where I was going earlier so it’s not as if you didn’t know. No matter how angry I get, I wouldn’t do that to you.I kissed him softly. Taking his life granted me power. I’m not afraid anymore. I’m in control of my fate, and I give it to you wholeheartedly. My stomach clenched, remembering his letter. But if you ever leave me a note again, after planning your death and telling me nothing of the dangers you’re in, I’ll kill you, too.
Q leaned back on the cushion, his energy rapidly fading. I did that to protect you.Well—I want to protect you in return. My heart lurched realizing just how vulnerable we all were. How quickly life passed—how much I wanted to live it. Marry me, Q. Now. I don’t care where or how.
Q’s fingers added pressure to the base of my skull, bringing me down to kiss him. His lips moved against mine in a dance belonging completely to us. His tongue entered sweetly, seductively. He didn’t kiss with misery or happiness or lust.He kissed me with reverence. Thankfulness.