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Chapter Thirty Five.

Clarice Mont

She cradled her hand to her chest while crying silently to herself.

Her bottom lip quivered as she struggled to remain calm.

She was using her uninjured hand to rub alcohol on the punctures in her skin - even though she had been marked, she was still as weak as ever and the wound had not closed as fast as she had expected it to.

Probably because she had been given the injury by her mate.

Those do not heal as fast, on the skin or in the heart.

She squeezed her eyes shut tightly when she pressed the soaked cotton ball onto the bloody holes - she could feel as her stomach churned and groaned aloud in pain.

All her groans came out sounding like heart wracking sobs.

Her heart was beating rapidly in her chest and there was nothing she could do to tame it.

She flinched at the burn that kept repeating over and over, every single time she dabbed the cotton ball on her skin.

The small trash can beside the toilet was filled with bloodied tissues and a bunch of used cotton balls that were covered in blood and long dried.

The stench of blood and alcohol in the bathroom made it properly smell like a hospital and it caused her to cringe.

She heard a knock on the bedroom door but did not bother to answer as she kept accessing her wound that would not stop bleeding.

She had felt firsthand how deep the wound was, especially when she had felt him press his claws deeper until they barely grazed her bone.

Another knock echoed in her eardrums causing her to growl in agitation and in pain - she accidentally swiped the cotton ball too hard on her skin, tugging on the open wound.

“Clarice, I entered the room. You did not join us for breakfast and I got worried. I apologize for just barging in.” Rettacus’ voice soon invaded her hearing and she hissed at the remembrance of slamming the bedroom door shut and not locking it when she had blindly ran inside earlier.

Thankfully, she had locked the bathroom door, so she had one less thing to worry about.

Her eyes were stuck on her pitiful reflection in the round bathroom mirror and her heart sank to her stomach.

Her eyes were bloodshot and bright red, the skin all around it tinged pink as well.

Her orbs were struggling to remain one solid color and changing from light to dark repeatedly.

Her lips were swollen from all her gnawing and slightly glossy due to all the tears that had cascaded down her cheeks and onto them.

“Clarice?” Rettacus called out softly, she could hear how worried he was and it made her squeeze her eyes shut tightly while holding back broken sobs.

She did not want him to see her like this, especially not after everything.

She tried to hold her breath and stabilize her body in hopes of him not hearing her, but she knew that he could smell her scent and she knew he could smell the blood.

Especially when she heard a low growl from directly behind the closed door followed by a loud bang making her jump and drop the cotton ball that was in her hold.

“Clarice! Open the door! Are you hurt?! Please open the door!” She could hear his worry and the fear that made his voice crack as he yelled out to her while knocking rapidly on the door making her eyes burn even more.

She cleared her throat making the banging stop and she exhaled shakily, “I-I am okay.”

She hated how broken she sounded, and how hoarse her voice was, but she could not change it. She could not change who she was.

“Clarice. Please open the door.” He begged her making her place her palm over her trembling lips in hopes of holding back the strangled sob that made her chest rumble but to no avail.

“Clarice!” He stated once again, making her flinch before hesitantly walking closer to the door and unlocking the knob.

She stumbled back while waiting for him to open it himself. She could not do it.

Her eyes were downcast and she could feel as her lips etched downwards forcefully while salty tears endlessly pooled down her cheeks.

She heard as the door creaked open, but did not have the dignity to look up.

“Claire-” Rettacus froze when he took in Clarices broken state.

His eyes lingered on her bowing head, on the poorly cleaned yet still bloodied forearm that she cradled to her chest then trailed to the small garbage bin that was overflowing with dirtied cotton balls and tissues.

He let out a shaky exhale, “Goddess.” Before running to her and gently pulling her closer to him.

She had not realized what he was trying to do and flinched roughly in response to his sudden touch causing her wound to scrape against her shirt making her cry out in pain.

He hugged her to his chest and his warmth instantly soothed her.

She allowed her bloodied forearm to hang to the side safely whilst she allowed Rettacus to cradle the back of her head gently and rub his hand soothingly down the length of her back.

She leaned her head into his chest while tears silently trailed down her cheeks.

He could feel as her body twitched against his and he struggled to keep his cool.

He had to breathe deeply through his nose and squeeze his eyes shut in order to hold back his wolf that so badly wanted to force him to shift and attack.

He wanted to do anything that would avenge his poor Regina.

“What happened?” He asked softly, trying to keep his voice calm and whisper like as he spoke to her - he knew the situation was dire.

Especially after everything.

His question made her shoulders tremble and a sob escape her lips - it broke his heart to see her like this.

He could feel as she shook her head against his chest and he pushed the side of her face deeper into his warm chest - before anything he knew he needed to comfort her.

“I-I” she stammered in between sobs, he frowned sadly.

“You do not have to tell me anything Clarice.” He told her, sensing how close she was to another breakdown.

“I have to leave.” She cried into his chest while grabbing onto his bicep and pulling her head back.

His brows furrowed and he could feel as his heart stopped.

She cradled her neck to look up at him and he took a good look at her bloodshot eyes and freshly tearstained face - struggling to hold her gaze.

He was utterly disappointed in himself. He had given her a promise, and he had not stood by it.

He shook his head, “no please I can-”

Clarice shook her head, “No! I can not stay here any longer!”

He heard her pants as she spoke and he knew how hard it was for her to form proper words - especially while crying so much and being in the amount of pain he knew she was currently in.

“Rettacus. If you respect me as much as you say you do, then you will listen to me!” She told him while struggling to catch her breath.

She eyed him through blurry vision but he could see how sure she was of her statement and that made his face fall.

She gripped his bicep tighter and his hand absentmindedly went to her cheek to wipe away the tears that he could not stand to look at.

“Please, give yourself just a day. A day to think this through.”

She cried while leaning into his calloused palm - she did not feel what she had so badly wished to feel and it made her stomach churn in distaste, but she did not distance herself.

“No. Like I said...” she stopped to sniffle, “if you respect me as much as you say you do, then you will help me. I need to leave this castle, or else he will kill me. He does not know how to lov-”

“But he marked you!” Rettacus stated, abruptly cutting her off while gripping her cheek tighter - not enough to cause pain but enough for him to feel that she was still there.

She nodded while stammering, he could tell how much it pained her and her wolf to say these things but he knew - deep down he knew - she had proper reason to.

“He marked me to help me. All he ever did had a reason. He is a strategic yet ruthless man, and the longer I stay here, the more I fear for my life.” She told him, she could feel as her wound began to throb and it sent stabs to her chest that made her wince.

He noticed and shook his head, keeping her face angled upwards with his palm so that she could not avert her broken gaze from his.

“I gave you a promise Clarice, please, you can not fear for your life-”

She pulled herself away from him roughly before revealing her bloodied forearm, her eyes - no matter how tear-filled - suddenly looking feral as she glared intensely at Rettacus.

“Look at what he has done to me!” She cried out, her voice getting deeper than ever making him swallow roughly.

Now he had proper sight of her wound and he took in the deep bloodied punctures with a grimace on his face.

“I most definitely can fear for my life here! Especially if he was able to dig his claws deep into me with no remorce.” She stated hoarsely, no matter how deep her voice had gotten the betrayal and hurt that her tone held could be heard anywhere and that nearly made Rettacus fall to his knees.

They stood silently in the bathroom while gazing intensely at each other for a second before Rettacus ran a hand down his face then sighed loudly in despair.

“Alright. First we will tend to your wound properly then tonight make a plan. I sincerely apologize to you over the fact that you had to undergo this Regina.” His words sounded forced, even to Clarice, but she did not care.

She did not care if he was sad to see her go. Especially when being here made her sad.

It would be a win-lose situation on both ends, but now, all that was on her mind was getting away from that monster.

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