"You love Jen. She loves you. There is only one difference –"
"It's kind of a doozy. I don’t remember her." Decebel interrupted.
"You are pining for your mate. Not just your wolf, but you. You won't eat, you're giving up. And you aren't even bonded yet. If that's not love, then what the hell is?" Vasile crouched down in front of his Beta and looked him in the eye. "I'm going to unbind you. You will go to her tonight. You will make this right. She needs you, and more than that, you need her."
Decebel closed his eyes and nodded once. Immediately he felt unseen bonds fall away and he could move again.
"She told me she never wanted to see me again."
"Decebel, neither you nor Jen ever do what the other tells them to. It seemed to be working for you both, why change it now?" Vasile winked at Decebel, who looked very confused at his Alpha's words.
Before Vasile walked away he gave one more order. "Eat something. She is going to need your blood."
Decebel winced at the knowledge that he hadn't taken care of his mate. He had left her broken, in pain, and needing him. Wow, what a catch he was. He snorted a disgusted sound at himself, then headed inside, anxiety filling him as he wondered what his mate would say.
Decebel pushed the door open gently and entered her room. She was asleep, her breathing even and calm. He walked slowly and quietly to the side of the bed and knelt down as he looked at her beautiful face. Her blonde hair fanned out across the pillow and Decebel couldn't resist picking up a few strands and bringing them to his nose. He breathed in deep, pressing the soft strands to his face. As he took in her precious scent, cinnamon and vanilla, he realized something. He remembered that scent.
A sharp pain suddenly pierced his mind and he felt like his brain was trying to burst through his skull. Images began flying through his mind, almost like movie clips. Seeing Jennifer on the side of the road, her body badly burned; a hospital bed, her eyes narrowed in anger; rolling an IV pole down a hospital corridor with Sally chasing her; tumbling naked from a steam-filled bathroom.
Every now and then he would hear conversations along with the images. He saw Jennifer on a plane staring daggers at him. Then on a bar, beautiful, her hair fllying behind her while she danced; in a gym doing that sexy dance with Crina and Marianna; in a garden, they are standing in a gazebo, he tells her he wants her as they sit on a swing, then they're standing and he has his hands on her hips, holding her to him.
He saw their first kiss, remembered being angry – Jennifer had been touched intimately by another – then he marked her. Jennifer pulled him to her and kissed him fiercely. He felt the emotions of that moment rush over him, the lust, the love, the utter joy at having her in his arms.
He continued to kneel on the floor next her bed, grasping the side for support as more and more memories flooded his mind. The memories were only half of it – the emotions were what wracked his body. His breathing was labored and his heart felt like it was going stop at any second.
He didn't know how long he knelt there with his eyes closed. But finally it was over and he was in the present, in a house beyond the veil, his mate weak, dying, hurt by his incompassionate words. The curse was broken.
Decebel looked up at Jen's face. Her eyes were still closed. Unable to stop himself, he leaned forward and gently pressed his lips to hers. He kissed her forehead, her cheeks, her chin. He just wanted to hold her, to be close to her.
His breath stopped when her eyes opened – they looked like beautiful blue orbs.
Jen saw it the minute she looked into his amber eyes. The recognition.
"You remember," she whispered softly, afraid to hope.
Decebel nodded. "Every. Precious. Second." His voice was thick with emotion as his eyes began to glow.
Jen tried so hard not to, but it was useless. It started with her body beginning to shudder, she couldn't control it. Her hands shook as she lifted them to cover her face and her lips trembled as a sob escaped, and pain, joy, fear, anger, and love stronger than anything she had ever known beat into her already-broken body. The tears that filled her eyes and flowed down her cheeks soaked her shirt and the blankets.
She felt Decebel's arms around her as he picked her up and put her in his lap, taking her place in the bed. He whispered her name over and over. He professed his love, he spoke in a mixture of English and Romanian, and every word made her cry harder. This time when he brushed her hair from her face, it was with familiarity. He held her and touched her like he knew her. That thought seemed to push her over another ledge she didn't see coming. Jen didn't think about the pain as she pressed closer to Decebel. If she could have climbed into his skin she would have. She buried her face in his neck, knowing she was getting him wet, but needing to smell him and feel his skin, needing his warmth to seep into her body.
Jen had no idea how long she cried. She only knew that Decebel never stopped rubbing her back or her hair. He never stopped talking to her, reassuring her. He told her about seeing her for the first time, their first kiss, the moment he knew he loved her. It was like he was trying to convince her that he remembered. He didn't have to, she could feel it.
She finally pulled back enough that she could look at his face. He reached up and wiped the tears from her cheeks as they finally abated. He smiled tentatively. Jen figured he was probably afraid she would throw him out again, but she didn't think she could handle being away from him any longer.
"I love you," he whispered to her.
"I've missed you," Jen whispered back.
Decebel pressed his forehead to hers as he listened to both of them breathe. Jen closed her eyes, basking in the closeness and, when she felt his lips against hers, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him tighter. She was so very weak, but nothing could stop her from having this kiss.
Decebel pulled back, knowing he needed to be gentle with his mate. Though the curse was broken, the bond still wasn't restored. He couldn't feel her in his mind nor could he look into hers. She was still dying. He ran his thumb gently across her lips as he looked at her.
She was beautiful, she was his.
"Baby, you need more of my blood."
Jen nodded. "I know."
"The bond won't be restored until we complete the Blood Rites." Decebel said these words very carefully. The last time they had spoken about the Blood Rites he had acted like an ass and was worried bringing it up might anger her again. He didn't want her to be angry with him. She might not let him hold her if she was angry and at the moment there was no way he could let go.