His eyes met hers.

“They kidnapped Georgie and took turns raping and beating her, all so they could get to me.”

“Oh, prince.” She bit her lip hard, not wanting to cry because she didn’t want the prince to think she pitied him. “It wasn’t your fault—-”

But the prince didn’t seem to hear her. “They were hoping that I’d trade myself for her.”

The emptiness in his voice tore at her, and Fawn raised her eyes to the water raining down on them, hoping it would help her keep the tears back.

“They needed to kill me because of a fucking stupid vendetta against my parents, even though they had been dead for years. It didn’t have anything to do with me at all, and yet – I wasn’t the one who suffered. It was Georgie.”

Fawn could no longer bear it, and she shook her head desperately, whispering, “You don’t have to say anymore. Please, prince—-”

“But we’re just getting to the good part, parthena mou.” His smile was a knife to the heart, because it didn’t feel right, seeing the prince less than his usual cocky self.

I’m sorry, prince.

If only she had asked about something else.

If only she could absorb his pain in her.

If only.

“Georgie was rescued, and when I visited her in the hospital, she implored me not to blame myself for what happened to her.”

And again, his lips curved in a smile that made her heart bleed.

I’m sorry, prince.

“She’s quite the idiot, isn’t she?” The prince let out a hollow laugh, and the empty sound finished it for her, the cracks in her heart turning into fissures.

I’m sorry, prince.

“She’s not an idiot, p-prince.”

And the tears started to fall.

“On t-the contrary, I think s-she’s a genius, to h-have seen the truth about you.”

The prince wiped the tears that tracked down her cheeks. “You’re only saying that because you’re an idiot, too.”

She choked back a teary laugh. “Birds of the same feather, right?”

“I don’t think so. If you two could have met, she’d hate your guts.”


“She hates all girls who want me.” And again, a smile that didn’t reach his eyes, a smile that told her he wished he was the one who had died instead—-

I’m sorry, prince.

Fawn threw herself at the prince. “I’m sorry.” That they were naked, that she was still another man’s girlfriend and this man was more imperfect than anyone else—-

None of it mattered.

All that mattered was to make the prince stop hurting.

“I’m s-sorry, prince.” She hugged the prince as tightly as she could. “I’m so sorry for making you talk about this.”

“Idiot.” But the prince’s tone was ragged, and he inhaled deeply, the scent of her hair cleansing him like it was a gift from heaven.

“I’m sorry.” She tried to stop herself from crying, but she couldn’t. “When I asked you about your first love, I r-really expected you to tell me something like your first love w-was a porn star or the widow n-next door because you seemed like that kind of m-man.”


His arms went around Fawn—-

His virgin.

His angel.

His idiot.

She cried harder as his arms around her tightened.

“You really are an idiot,” he muttered against her hair. “How can you cry this hard for someone who’s been bullying you?”

“I don’t know!” Her words came out a wail, and despite everything he couldn’t stop the smile from touching his lips at the sound of it.

“Should I even continue with the rest of my story?” He was only partly teasing, but he was surprised when she nodded vigorously against his chest.

Raising her head so she could look into his eyes, Fawn said tremulously, “Only because I think you need to finish it.”


He pinched her cheeks.


“It’s annoying when you’re being perceptive.” He pinched her cheeks harder.

“P-p-pwince,” she yelped incoherently.

“I like it better when you’re an idiot.”

“It w-wurts.”

“Sorry, but this is the only way I can finish the story.”


“I know.”

She glared at him.

He smiled at her—-

A moment before breaking both their hearts.

“One of Georgie’s rapists got her pregnant.”





The prince’s fingers retreated from her cheeks, but Fawn almost wanted to pull them back, almost wanted to be a coward and hide behind her own pain.

Her own pain, which was manageable, compared to what the prince and Georgie had suffered.

She whispered brokenly, “I’m sorry.” She hated that they were the only words she could say, hated that there was nothing for her to do because Georgie was dead, and years had passed with the prince blaming himself.

“She chose to have an abortion, and she left me a letter before going into the operating room.” The prince’s tone became dull. “By the time I got the letter, it was too late. She was gone.”



“The words she wrote changed me. In her letter, Georgie said…if I couldn’t escape my past, then maybe I wasn’t meant to do so in the first place. She told me,” the prince continued dully, “that maybe I was meant to embrace it instead, that perhaps I should ruthlessly use my past to be the best I can be for those who needed me.”

Tags: Marian Tee Dark Mafia Romance Duet Romance
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