“Was it really necessary to send her away?” Gerick was attempting to keep the accusation out of his voice, but he wanted his king to be fully aware of the disapproval. “It isn’t just you who feels her absence.”

Cypher closed his eyes as he thought about the past couple of months that Lilly had been with him and his people. They had grown to love her nearly as much as he did. She was kind and understanding, willing to just listen when someone needed to talk. She had definitely brought something back to their kind that had been missing, compassion and hope. Cypher never thought that he would find a mate, and his people were convinced that they would eventually fade away as the magic continued to fade from the human realm. Cypher wasn’t sure if that was what would happen, but he understood what they meant. They felt insignificant, without purpose and unsure of what to do while they watched their king flounder his way through his existence, trying to make sense of what he needed to do next.

Humans simply did not understand the importance of a mate in the supernatural community. A mate was more than a spouse, more than someone you just spent your life with, or procreated with. A mate in the supernatural world was the completion of something that was not whole. A mate filled a space that no one else could.

Lilly was that person for Cypher. She was his, and through him, she was his people’s as well.

“Gerick,” his voice was soft as his head fell forward and a rush of air left his lungs, “I would not have sent her away if I had thought there was another option.”

“I know that. But by sending her away you have brought fear into the hearts of our people.”

“They should be afraid!” Cypher snarled as he whipped around and his eyes bore into Gerick’s. “My brother has nothing good left in him. Anything worthy in him died with his woman, and all that is left is an empty shell, yearning to be filled with the blood, sorrow, and grief of others. They should be afraid,” his last words come out in a near whisper.

Cypher knew that his words were cruel and that his anger was misplaced, but that did not help him keep it under control.

“I will be leaving in a little while to go to the Romanian pack. I’m going alone. You will need to keep an eye on the perimeter. The blackness in the air hasn’t grown any thicker, but it has not abated at all either,” Cypher’s voice had lost some of the edge and he was beginning to lock up the emotions that were threatening to consume him. He didn’t have time to pine over his mate. He had an enemy to defeat and he could not defeat him by standing in this throne room whining about things he could not change.

Lilly was gone, at least for now. Once the threat of his brother had been neutralized he would go and get her back. He only hoped that her heart did not move on while he fought to keep her safe and alive.

Decebel closed the door quietly behind him as he walked into the room Jennifer and he shared at the Romanian pack mansion. He watched quietly as Jennifer went into the closet and began bringing out clothes and laying them on the bed. She didn’t look at him or even acknowledge that he was in the room, so he waited. He didn’t have any idea what he was going to say to her, but he was terrified that as soon as he opened his mouth it was going to be to beg her to stay and plead for her forgiveness. He had hurt her so much in the past month, and he knew that she would only continue to hurt. What choice do I have he growled to himself. He wanted to save the life of their child, and he didn’t want to put Jennifer in a place where she had to choose between him or their baby. This was the only solution he could come up with, and he knew Jennifer would tell him it sucked and to come up with something new, but he was fresh out of new.

“Are you going to tell me why you are okay with letting your pregnant wife fly halfway around the world with a woman who is being hunted by a crazy warlock?” her voice was calm and even.

Decebel took a step towards her but she held up her hand to stop him.

“Answer me, B,” she told him firmly.

“I love you, Jennifer. I love you more than any man has a right to love. That is all you need to know.” He tried to implore her with his eyes to just trust him. But could he really ask that of her when he knew he was planning on ending his life without telling her.

“As romantic and fuzzy as that sounds, it’s a crap answer Dec and you know it.” Jen grabbed her suitcase from the closet and started putting the clothes she had laid on her bed into it.  She let out a dry laugh that said she was anything but humored. “I mean seriously, after all we’ve been through together? After all we’ve done together, you honestly believe I will just take what you’re telling me and act like I have my head shoved so far up my butt that I can’t smell the shit you have spewing from your lips?”

His eyes widened at her language. He was use to her being crass, but even for her this was intense.

“Yeah, I said it,” she threw her arms out wide, “what are you going to do about it, Alpha? Tell me another sweet nothing and hope that I choke on it so I can ignore the fact that my mate is shutting me out and shipping me and his unborn child off to another country without so much as a  ‘bye babe, hope our baby lives through delivery.’ Come on, Dec. What the hell is that?!”

Decebel turned abruptly and slammed his fists into the wall tearing through the plaster even as her words tore through his heart.

“HOW COULD YOU EVEN THINK SUCH A THING?” he snarled but kept his back to her. “You have no concept of the pain that I am going through right now, mate.” he turned slowly to face her as his breathing increased and he fought for control to keep from phasing. “The thought of you gone, where I can’t touch you, can’t hold you, can’t be there if you need me, is like a hot skewer being shoved into my gut.”

“How am I supposed to know Decebel?” she snarled right back. “You won’t let me in. You hide your thoughts from me. You keep your touch from me. It’s like you can’t stand to be with me. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO THINK?” Tears were sliding down her cheeks and she had abandoned the half packed suitcase.

Their eyes met and the pain they both felt radiated between them. Decebel stumbled forward and fell to his knees in front of her.

“Please, I know I don’t deserve it, but please trust me,” he whispered against her stomach as he leaned against her.

Jen closed her eyes and soaked up the contact as she ran her fingers through his dark hair. It had grown enough in the past couple of months that it dropped in front of his eyes, adding to his off-limits allure.

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