I miss you.
Enid gently touched her son’s back. “We have to go, Reid.” They were the only ones left at the graveyard, with Georgette’s own parents having left half an hour ago.
Reid asked quietly, “May I have a few minutes alone? I’ll join you in the car as soon as I’m done.”
She glanced at her husband worriedly, not sure if it was right to leave their boy alone. But when Payton nodded at her, she said reluctantly, “Okay.”
As his parents walked away, he turned to face Georgie again. He still owed her an answer to her letter, albeit a few days late.
It makes sense, Georgie.
I’ll make sure it does.
He inhaled deeply and his eyes began to burn.
I miss you, too.
As Reid turned away and started down the hill, he left behind him his old self, the one that had done its damnedest to please the world.
From there, he walked into a future that would eventually turn him into the Prince of Darkness. In the years that passed, everything that was corrupt and dirty soon came to be associated with his name. He wooed the world with promises of cruelty veiled in pleasure, beguiled them with the most delicious forms of iniquity, seduced them into glorifying both his real and imagined depravities.
And he succeeded…because Georgie was right.
Everyone loved a sinner.
Continuing on the path of self-righteousness would never have gotten him anywhere, but as the Prince of Darkness?
People from all walks of life begged for a chance to indulge in his tainted paradise. Through his never-ending parties, the prince was able to hear things, hidden truths and uncovered lies that he then silently fed to the authorities.
It was the kind of life that demanded the prince keep everyone at arm’s length, and for many years, the prince more than welcomed the isolation. Georgie’s death had killed his heart, and he never wanted it to beat again.
But then he met Fawn.
And the bloodstained foundation of the prince’s life began to crumble.
The prince’s limousine drove through the park near Christopoulos University, and upon reaching a secluded part, the limousine slowed down while behind it, cars in convoy parked by the curb. The prince’s bodyguards spread out, strategically positioning themselves to cover every possible vantage point. A message was radioed to the chauffeur, who then stepped out of the limousine to open the door for the prince.
All of this took place under a minute, by which time Fawn was left wide-eyed in awe, her pain temporarily forgotten at the sheer efficiency displayed by the prince’s security. The prince offered his hand to help her out and she took it gingerly, feeling more than a little intimidated as she came to stand beside him.
The chauffeur closed the door behind them and quietly walked away, maintaining a respectful distance from them.
An uneasy silence was born, and Fawn gulped nervously. If she had needed a defining example of just how different her world was from the prince’s, the extraordinary measures taken just to ensure the prince’s privacy and security were basically it.
It just begged the question, really.
What could someone like the Prince of Darkness want with someone like her?
The thought had her sneaking a look at the prince – and was immediately caught staring.
The prince raised a brow. “What is it?”
“It’s, umm, my first time to see your bodyguards in action. It’s almost like Noah got them to take dance classes, every movement seems like a choreographed art.”
“Noah will be flattered,” the prince drawled, “that you’ve likened his men, who are all former Marines, to dancers.”
“Shall we take a walk?” But it wasn’t really a question since the prince had already started walking, forcing her to hurry after him. The park seemed unusually empty save for them, and she wondered vaguely if the prince could have anything to do with that.
Surely that wasn’t possible. Right?
As they turned around the corner and headed down the sycamore-lined lane, the afternoon sunlight faded, with large, leafy branches forming a canopy above them.
The silence deepened as their shadows stretched on the ground, and her nervousness increased.
Calm down, Fawn.
But the words only made her more anxious, and she stumbled to a halt.
The prince stopped as well, emerald green eyes looking down at her curiously. “Fawn?”
She took a deep breath…before starting to babble. “It’s a joke, right? I mean, you can’t possibly want me to be your lover because that would make you masochistic, since you know I love Grant, while I don’t love you—-”
The prince’s teeth began to gnash.
“And there are so many other girls who’d be better, who wouldn’t turn you down like I did, several times—-”
“Fawn?” The prince interrupted her in a soft, silky voice.
She shut up. A moment later, she realized exactly what she had said, and she paled.
“Are you finished?” the prince asked with a gentle smile.
“Then it’s your turn to listen.” The prince’s smile disappeared. “First of all, the only reason you were able to resist me was because I was holding myself back the entire time.” When she opened her mouth to speak, he said pleasantly, “And if you say one word otherwise, I’ll prove it to you here, and to hell with whoever sees us.”