“You may love me, Domenico,” she whispered, “but you don’t love me enough.”
“I was wrong. I should have explained about mating---”
She flinched again.
It made him want to punch something. Could he ever stop hurting her? It seemed like everything he had to say was going to cause her pain. “I was hedging my bets.” He swallowed. “I didn’t mate with you because I wanted to be sure of every step I make…that everything I did would help me hurt my father---the way he had hurt me before.”
Domenico knew that revealing the truth would only cause him to look worse in Misty’s eyes but he wanted the truth to be out completely. “I…was blinded by revenge. I did marry you to spite Dio, but it was only at the start and…I fell in love with you.”
Her smile was sad and void of hope. “But not enough to make me your mate in the truest sense.”
“We can mate now---”
Misty swallowed back her sobs. “I don’t want to be mated with you…in any way. I can’t believe you’d think I’d want to.”
He could feel her drifting away from him farther and farther with each word she uttered, and it frightened Domenico. She couldn’t leave him. She couldn’t. He wouldn’t be able to survive it.
He reached for her again, but she took another step back. The movement hurt more than a sword to his heart, and the distrust in Misty’s eyes seared him like boiling acid.
He had promised to love her. He had promised to protect her and cherish her and yet here she was, her body shaking at the effort she was exerting to keep her tears at bay.
Domenico swallowed. “Misty, please. I was stupid back then. I’m not going to hurt you again. You’re my life.”
“No.” She closed her eyes. “I’m not.” And then she whispered something inaudibly. A strong gust of wind blew into the night, and tension suddenly cracked in the air.
Domenico stiffened, expecting an attack. And then he looked at Misty, about to ask her to go back inside so they could talk – just talk – but what he saw made him shout, “No!”
She was disappearing bit by bit.
She was gone.
He fell to his knees. “MISTY!”
Misty had been gone for three days now.
Domenico hadn’t slept for all those days.
He could not and would not forgive himself if something had happened to Misty.
How stupid, how stubborn, how proud he had been. And right now, with Misty gone, he couldn’t even remember why it was so f**king important to always have a back-up plan.
Those plans were supposed to help him in case things between Misty and him would not work out. In case he couldn’t make Dio regret his words with Misty’s success.
But now he realized too late that all those plans meant nothing.
Dio had regretted his words. He had done so long, long ago.
And there was no back-up plan. There couldn’t ever be. If Misty was gone - Life. Did. Not. Work. Out.
Misty’s siblings were still here with him, and Domenico drew comfort from the fact, knowing that it gave him a connection to Misty, tenuous it may be. He had also apologized to them with utter humility, had revealed to them the extent of his mistakes, and they had…forgiven him. But their eyes told him that if Misty chose to leave him, they would go with her without question. And if Misty chose to hate him, they would do so, too.
Their loyalty pleased him, even though it did mean potentially losing not just Misty but her whole family in the process. He had truly lucked out with Misty. He had not only gotten a princess without compare but also family members that were a true credit to the pack.
Someone knocked on his study door.
“Come in,” Domenico said flatly.
Kevin entered the room. “You have a visitor. The Castellano pack leader…”
Domenico shook his head with a frown. “I don’t want to speak with anyone---”
Misty’s brother cut him off grimly, saying, “He has a message from Misty.”
Domenico stalked past Kevin immediately without a word. He saw Aurelius seated in his living room and demanded right away, “Have you seen her?”
Aurelius shook his head and stood up. “My son---”
“---has relayed your wife’s message,” Aurelius finished. He handed Domenico a scroll that sparkled as if it was made of crystal.
Domenico rolled it out.
Seeing Misty’s brother frowning in confusion and fear, Aurelius explained somberly, “It is a sworn statement that in the event there is a need for a call to arms against the vampires and those who ally themselves with them, the Faeries would willingly end their self-exile from humanity and earth to battle with the Lyccans…in honor of their adopted sister, Misty Wall.”
“Where is she?” Domenico asked, white-faced.
Aurelius was suddenly unable to meet his gaze and Domenico felt fear enveloping him. He had faced death countless times but he had never been this terrified.
“Aurelius, dammit,” he said hoarsely. “Where is my wife?”
“With this pact,” Aurelius said slowly, still not meeting his gaze, “Misty said she has fulfilled her obligation as wife to the Moretti Heir. With this…she is asking for the cutting of ties.”
Kevin strode forward. “What do you mean?”
“It’s…something more permanent than divorce or annulment which humans use to terminate a marriage. With the cutting of ties, Misty has sworn never ever to see Domenico again.”