“What will you do with him?”
“Death is too easy for him. I will make him pay for the rest of his life.”
I lift the gun and aim it at Aldridge’s head. “I thought you said you wouldn’t kill him.”
“I did, but I will kill someone.”
My hand moves and takes aim exactly where it needs to be, to the blood I will spill today. Right now.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t know?” I say, aiming right between Z’s eyes.
“She was a distraction. She was clouding your judgment. Sybil deserved better. She raised me too, she was like a sister to me. I couldn’t let your whore—” he starts to say, but I shut him the fuck up.
His body drops to the ground. Aldridge starts to shake uncontrollably. I turn to Maxwell. “Set it up.” I don’t need to say more because he knows the plan. What the plan has always been since Ivy went missing from my island.
Aldridge framed for it.
“I’m taking her home,” I say to Alaric. Wrapping my arm around Ivy, I lead her out of the warehouse.
“Cut out his tongue,” I hear Tobias say as we walk out. Ivy shivers in my arms, but she doesn’t object. She knows this is what needs to happen to protect us. To protect her.
Tobias doesn’t like people to talk, and I can’t say that I blame him. All the deaths will fall on Aldridge, a sale gone wrong.
She will finally be safe. Now to tell her.
Something is wrong. Something is very wrong. Cyrus won’t look at me. He won’t speak to me. He won’t even touch me.
He held me as he walked me to the car, but now we are driving, and instead of talking to me, he stares out the window.
“Cyrus . . .” I start to say, but I don’t know what to say after that.
A weird foreboding feeling claws in my skin.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
How could he be? I’m not. After everything that has happened, I’m not okay. He killed the man responsible for the death of his sister, the man who took me, the man who wanted me. The past few days have been a shitshow, so I understand why he’s like this, but still, I expected more.
I expected him to hold me.
I wrap my arms around myself.
I turn to look out my own window, and that’s when I see it. We aren’t heading to his compound; we are entering the city. In the direction of downtown.
Where I live.
“Why are we going this way?” I ask, looking back at him. He, however, is staring out his window. His jaw is tight, shoulders tense, but it’s his clenched fists that worry me.
“It’s time for you to go home.” His voice is robotic, lacking all the warmth I have come to know.
My hands reach out to touch him, but I stop myself before it connects with his skin.
“Why are you acting like this?” I ask, but he doesn’t even glance toward me at the sound of my voice. “Look at me, goddammit.”
That makes him turn.
Still, he doesn’t speak, and I’m transported to a time before. When his walls were down.
They are once again in place, and I hate it.
“Please don’t do this. Talk to me.” I reach out my hand and go to touch him, but instead, he takes my hand in his and places it back on my lap. The movement infuriates me.
“Don’t make this harder.” He turns his head to gaze out the window. He won’t look at me.
“Make what harder? What is this?” I say, demanding he speak to me.
“I was wrong about you being the sun, you are a blazing comet in the sky. You burn bright, but you aren’t meant to stay with me. I’m letting you go.”
Those words feel like daggers in my heart. “What if I don’t want to be let go?” I whisper.
“It’s not your choice.”
“Like hell, it isn’t. Look at me. Tell that to my face.”
I hope when he does, I will see the lie. But when he looks at me, I feel like ice has spread through my veins.
“No. You don’t get to tell me it’s over and then call me your sun.”
“What do you want from me?”
“I want you to admit you love me. Because I—”
“You want me to admit I love you. Of course, I fucking love you. I will and have killed for you. You are my everything. You are the only light I see in my dark world. But it isn’t fucking enough.”
“It is to me because I love you too.”
“But do you? You don’t know if you do. And if you stay, you will never know. Right now, you might think that, but next week, next month? Next year.”
“So, this is a test?”
“It’s not a fucking test. I love you, and I’m letting you go. No test. No tricks. I’m doing the right thing for once.”