"You are my mate." Decebel was trying to keep his calm, he didn't want to scare her. "You bear my marks, we share a mental bond, my wolf knows you, and you love me."
His last words were a slap in Jen's face.
" I love my Decebel, MINE! You are not him. So don't you dare try to use my love as leverage to get what you want."
"I want YOU!" Decebel stood up from the bed and was fighting the phase. His eyes were glowing bright amber. "You are mine, Jennifer, and if the Blood Rites are what will save your life, then that is what we will do."
"I'm not a bloody possession, wolf. And if I were, I sure as hell wouldn't belong to someone who doesn't know who I am." Jen hated that there were tears running down her cheeks, hated that someone had that much power over her.
"You act as if it's my fault that I don't remember you. I wouldn't have been cursed if you hadn't asked me to save your friends. I let you talk me into leaving you, my mate, to die. You must make me weak if I would leave you to that fate. I can't imagine choosing anyone over my mate, ever."
Jen's mouth had dropped open when Decebel had said she made him weak; he had spit it out like it was disgusting. Her hands were balled into fists and she thought she might break a tooth from clenching her jaw so tight. But he wasn't done. He obviously felt like he hadn't stomped on her heart enough.
Decebel knelt down on her side of the bed, getting within inches of her face. He was shaking with rage as he grit his words out.
"I won't give you up. I won't go back to a lonely, dark existence. I won't let your selfishness take your life from me, take my mate from me. I don’t remember how we were before, maybe I gave into your every whim, maybe I cowered under your obviously Alpha nature, but no more. I am your mate, it is my job to protect you – even from yourself."
Jen could hardly breathe as she listened to Decebel, her mate, her love, dictate to her and call her selfish and completely disregard her feelings. She was about to tell him to get the hell out of her room, without hitting him. But he just couldn't leave it at that. He had to continue to be an asshole dominant who thought everyone should bow to him.
"I may never be the man I was before the curse, I may never be the man you loved, and I may never love you. But fate gave you to me and we will learn to make the best of it."
Nothing on earth, not her weakness or pain, not the blood she could feel beginning to flow from her nose and ears, not even her love for this wolf could have stopped her.
Jen pulled her hand back and slapped Decebel as hard as she could across his face, a face that she longed to look at for the rest of her life. She shook as tears poured from her eyes. She could hardly see as she reared back and slapped his stunned face again. He just knelt there, the shock of her actions still not penetrating his mind.
"GET OUT! GET THE HELL OUT NOW! I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN!" Jen took a deep breath as she leaned forward and tried to push Decebel away. She screamed as she felt a sharp pain in her side, like a knife sliding into her. She was trying to talk around the gurgling in her throat – she realized blood was bubbling up from her stomach.
She was gasping for breath as she tried yelling again, but it only came out in a weak broken voice. "Don't come back." She looked him dead in the eyes when she spoke her last words before she passed out. "I don't want you."
Decebel reached for Jennifer as her body fell forward. Her blood once again soaked his shirt. As he held his mate in his arms, he realized he had gone too far. He had been the selfish one and now he'd possibly lost her for good.
His heart began to squeeze in his chest and breathing became difficult – Decebel didn't even notice when the door flew open with a bang and the room began to fill with people.
"What the hell happened to her?"
Jacque and the others had just arrived in the house when they heard the screaming. At first Vasile told everyone to wait, that it wouldn't be wise to interrupt them, especially if Decebel wasn't in control of his wolf. But as soon as the yelling stopped, Jacque had had enough. With Fane on her heels, she burst in the room just in time to see her best friend slump forward, blood pouring from all sorts of areas where blood should definitely not be pouring from.
Alina, Sally, and Jacque all stepped forward to take Jen from Decebel and all jumped back at the same time when he snarled in warning.
Vasile's voice rose above the snarl. "Release her, Beta. NOW."
The power of the command had Decebel handing Jen's body over even as he tried to fight the compulsion.
"Peri," Vasile turned to look at the fairy, "bind him."
"You think that wise?" she asked him.
"He isn't safe. Bind him."
Peri nodded once. "So be it."
She walked around to the other side of the bed where Decebel still knelt on the floor. His shoulders slumped in defeat and he didn't fight her when she placed her hand on his chest and murmured unintelligible words.
"It is done," she announced, then walked out of the room to leave the wolves to care for their own.
After they had gotten Jen back on the bed, all the ladies went to work. Sally placed her hands on her friend again and cleared her lungs. Meanwhile, she looked for any other damage, making sure to not leave any part of her unexamined.
When she took her hands away she began to slump back, but strong arms were there to catch her.
"I got you, Sally mine," she heard Costin whisper in her ear as he placed her in a chair. Sally looked up to watch Alina, Crina, Jacque, and Cynthia clean blood from Jen and change her clothes. She was breathing, her heart was beating – But for how long? Sally wondered solemnly.
Several hours later, as darkness descended, Jacque and Sally sat next to an unconscious Jen. Every once in a while Jacque would run a warm washcloth across Jen's forehead, needing to do something.
"What do you think happened between them?" Sally whispered, not knowing why she felt the need to be quiet.
"I have no idea. But Decebel's a dominant Alpha wolf, which means he's prone to saying stupid things."
Sally chuckled weakly at Jacque's words. Knowing she really wasn't joking made it even funnier.
"She won't last without his blood."
"I know," Jacque answered, then continued tightly, "She won't live without the bond."