He watches me, waiting. He wants more of a declaration than that. If I’m going to give him my soul, he wants it in writing. He wants words he can hold me to.

“I love you, Mateo. I love every part of you. You know I do.”


I swallow hard, but I nod.

It’s good enough. Relief courses through me as his weight comes down on top of me, his mouth dominating mine, and this time I kiss him back. I kiss him back with everything I’ve got, but he gives back. He may always take more than he gives, but right now he’s giving. He kisses me like I’m everything, like I’m his whole world, and since it’s the most beautiful lie he’s ever spun for me, I keep it as a truth. Maybe it will cost me more than I accounted for to love this man, and maybe it will kill me a little bit when I let myself remember why I shouldn’t. But I’ll love him anyway. I’ll let him consume me, and then I’ll stay with him when the spell wears off. When it hurts me.

He pulls his weight away from me, but doesn’t break the kiss. Then he pulls his cock out, not taking his pants all the way off, just enough to fuck me. He guides himself between my legs, pushing inside me. I moan against his mouth, locking my legs around him.

“You might regret this,” he tells me, like he’s giving me a heads up.

I laugh a little, nodding. “I know.”

“There’s no going back from this, Mia. If you go back on me now…”

“I won’t. I don’t want… I don’t want you to be disappointed in me. I don’t want you to remember me in the same category as Beth.”

“I didn’t know you hated Beth,” he remarks, bending his head to kiss my neck.

“I didn’t know she betrayed you,” I state, closing my eyes on a sigh as he moves inside me.

He pulls back to look at my face, smiling darkly. “Do you hate everyone who’s ever betrayed me?”

I nod, more fiercely than even I expect. I feel the loyalty to him pouring through me again, stronger than before. If I’m going to sell my soul for this man, I’m damn sure going to believe he’s worth the cost.

Then his lips meet mine again, his tongue sweeps into my mouth, and I believe he is. I let myself get swept up in the tempest, every thrust of his hips embedding him deeper inside me, not just physically, but emotionally. If my body is a temple, he’s the vampire I just invited into it.

He might suck me dry and leave me lifeless, but at least it will be one hell of a ride.

He comes back to my room every night.

Meg probably isn’t super thrilled, but now that I’ve committed myself to him, I don’t complain. He still likes to play games in bed, sometimes making me beg, making me worried that he means it. But then after we’re both sexually satisfied, I can tell it’s only a game because he pulls me against him, wraps me up in his arms, and kisses me like he loves me. He hasn’t said it to me again—I’m starting to wonder if he ever will—but I feel it, and that’s enough. He’s enough. Now that I’ve given myself over to it, it’s scary again. But it’s scary in the same way he’s scary—I don’t want to run away. I wanna let it catch me. I wanna know what thrilling horrors it’s going to inflict upon me.

I probably need therapy, but so does he. It works for us.

And I love that there’s an us. I like admitting I’m his—not his, because I’m his property and I’m not allowed to leave. His, because I’ve given myself to him. Because he wanted me.

I just don’t feel as good about it as I did before. It still doesn’t fill me up the way it did before it was broken. Or, it fills me up, but not with the same feelings. I felt like I was in heaven with him for those three beautiful nights, overflowing with warmth and a much healthier love. Now the love I have for him feels like a dark secret, something I’m ashamed of.

It’s not what I wanted. But it’s what I have, and I’ll just have to make the best of it.

I live for night time now. I live for his skin against mine, his lips on my neck, his hands in my hair. I live for his roughness, his gentleness, and every point in between. I live for him, period.

It’s harder to exist outside of this room. I feel like everyone knows I’ve given in to Mateo and betrayed Vince’s memory. I feel like they’re all judging me.

Vince never leaves me. Every time I let Mateo kiss me, let him have me, let him keep me, I come back down. I just don’t take it out on Mateo anymore. I don’t retreat from him, but my heavy mind still turns to Vince. Sometimes, when my mind is feeling especially mean, it drifts back to that night. It replays Mateo in our living room, saying horrible things to Vince. The last things he ever heard, and the words were so malicious. So hurtful. Those three blissful nights that I was so unashamed of, I should have been ashamed because I still belonged to Vince. I could’ve broken up with him after the first night, but I didn’t. I put it off.

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