“You’ll get her back, sweetheart.” Tiptoeing, she kissed her son’s forehead, saying shakily, “Have faith, son. We’ll get her back.”

The prince’s eyes shuttered closed.

Have faith.

He inhaled deeply.

It was all he had left.

Faith.

When the Prince of Darkness descended from the jet with his family, he was as dark and as beautiful as everyone wanted him to be. All eyes were on him, and he played his role perfectly, charming the press, seducing the women that screamed his name because the trial had made him and his friends even more famous.

It was as if learning that they had suffered like any mortal being and yet managed to survive had turned them into gods overnight, and the prince’s bodyguards had to work doubly harder now, preventing women from literally throwing themselves at the prince.

After depositing his parents in their hotel room, the prince went straight to the party his staff had arranged ahead of time, and there the hysteria seemed even a hundred times worse. Women were actually undressing themselves in hopes of capturing his attention, and knowing that his every movement was being watched—-

The prince allowed his fingers to touch another woman’s breasts—-

His body to brush another woman’s body—-

His lips to touch another woman’s mouth—-

All the while feeling sick inside, knowing that while every fucking slut in the world was throwing herself at him, anything could be happening to Fawn—-

Anything—-

Anything—-

A girl suddenly flung herself at him, and for one moment his fingers tightened around her neck.

Temptation licked at him.

If he could fucking sell his soul to the devil now in exchange for her safety, if he fucking killed this girl in the devil’s honor—-

The prince pushed the girl away.

Have faith.

The music around him throbbed. The hours crawled past. The women moaned for him.

And the prince remained at the center of it all.

Pretensions made the world go fucking round.

His phone rang at four in the morning, and the sound made the prince accidentally snap the stem of the wine glass in his hands as he recognized the ringtone.

It was Noah.

His hand started to bleed, but he was immune to the pain.

He answered the call, saying hoarsely, “Just tell me if you got her back safe or not.”

Noah’s own voice was hoarse. “She’s safe, sir.”

He closed his eyes.

Thank You, God.

Tears fell.

“Do you want to speak to her, sir?”

“No.” He swallowed. “It’s all I needed to know.”

He ended the call.

And wept.

She was safe.

****

The prince was at the helipad by the time Fawn was flown in by the medical rescue team that he had on standby. When he saw her carried out of the chopper, he caught a glimpse of her face—-

Ah God.

Why?

She didn’t deserve this.

The prince lagged behind everyone, feeling like he was about to break any second.

Why did this have to happen to her?

Why couldn’t it be him?

Why?

As Fawn was rushed inside the emergency room, the prince heard someone scream, “Stay away from her!”

He spun just in time to see an older woman rushing towards him. He recognized her from photos, knew it was Fawn’s mother, and he stayed still, waiting for her to reach him.

She began slapping him, and he let her.

Someone pulled her back, and he saw Grant Bennett holding on to Fawn’s mother while Bennett’s parents approached him from the other side.

“We thank you for your rescue, but I hope you also understand that your presence is making Mrs. Cornwall distraught.” The senior Bennett was every inch the politician in the way he spoke, but the prince could see that the concern in the older man’s eyes was genuine enough, and it was this that made him nod.

Outside the hospital, a crowd of impatiently waiting reporters surged towards him, shouting questions that made the prince’s jaw harden.

Who’s Fawn Cornwall to you?

What role does she play in the trial?

Did Tic Tac Toe get to her?

The prince managed to make it inside his limousine before his control snapped.

Fuck them.

Fuck all of them.

They didn’t know, they didn’t fucking know the world had almost lost an angel because of him.

****

Fawn wove in and out of consciousness as she was wheeled out of the emergency room. Her vision blurred and danced, and she caught glimpses of familiar faces.

Her mother—-

Grant—-

Grant’s parents—-

And yet no matter how hard she prayed and wished, she could never quite make herself see the prince.

But surely he had to be here, right?

During the times she was conscious, she would ask whoever was with her about the prince, but no one was willing or able to give her a straight answer. The nurses would only give her uncomfortable smiles while Grant’s parents and her mother didn’t even acknowledge her questions and would change the topic all the time.

And Grant—-

He would mumble incoherently and never meet her eyes when talking to her.

On her third night in the hospital, she could no longer bear it, and when she had a moment alone with Grant, Fawn captured his hand, begging, “Is it because I look like this?”


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