His heart was hammering under the layers of his skin.
He could not help but allow the pads of his fingers to linger on the skin of his tan chest, right above the darkness of his areola on his left pec.
He could feel as slight sparks of electricity zapped the delicate skin of his index finger as he traced the outlines of the punctures his mate had left in his skin.
He had never in his life felt such a feeling before and that had been why he had locked the door to his bedroom the second he had entered it.
He had not wished for anyone to walk in on him as he explored all of these new feelings and took in his mark.
He could not deny the feeling of the monster inside of him that practically slammed its large body on the metallic walls he had raised in his head, nor the pain of fighting what came so naturally to him.
But he had promised his mate he would try, and that he will.
After everything, he would give all of his might.
He felt his mind fly back to the ball that had just finished and could not deny the rage that pent up in his stomach before he allowed it to diminish entirely.
All of Clarices hateful words replayed in his head but he willed himself to keep in mind what happened soon after.
The way the girl poured her utter soul to him in the moonlight and was willing to give him her all after he had done so much worse to her.
His heart throbbed at the memories.
He had no right to have gotten so angry at her after hearing all she had said to her father - lies or not.
He had been a complete and undeniable monster to her during the entire length of time they had known each other, and even he himself could not deny that.
He swallowed roughly before running a hand down his stubbled cheeks.
He was beginning to utterly regret everything he had done but the beast inside of him kept twisting those emotions and willing him not to care.
It was hard to fight against it after ages of complying to whatever the inhuman part of him wanted, but he knows now it is time to change.
He knew that soon enough his entire truth will have to be spilled and that irked him.
He wished he could change his entire past but he knows he can not.
He bit his bottom lip before growling to himself and shaking his head.
He stood up from the edge of his bed and walked to the bathroom - he was determined to wipe away anymore thoughts from his mind with a quick shower.
And once he stepped foot into his bathroom, he immediately began to strip out of the dirty articles of clothing left on him.
His slacks and undergarment.
He sighed deeply before shutting his bathroom door and walking into his large marbled shower, sliding the large glass door open before stepping onto the thinly tiled floor.
He turned on the water and felt as the cold liquid cascaded above his head and he welcomed the feeling of the fire that had been burning him all night finally dying.
He squirted some of his shampoo into his large hands before closing his eyes and rubbing it into his long hair.
As he massaged his scalp he felt his mind drift to places it had certainly been before.
He could feel those familiar petite hands gently grab him from behind and he held back a soft gasp.
He could feel as her body pressed up behind him, utterly bare and his jaw clenched tightly.
He could feel as her plump lips kissed the rough skin of his shoulders and he could not help but growl and snap his eyes open, ready to devour her whole.
But the second he spun around, he was shocked to realize that there was nobody there and that he had only imagined that scenario.
He growled loudly again but this time in frustration before turning back around and pushing the handle of the shower upwards, making the water that had suddenly felt hot, even colder.
Another fire had built up inside of him, and there was only one way it could be extinguished.
She smiled softy to herself, she was braiding her damp burgundy locks in her dimly lit room and gazing at her reflection through her vanity mirror.
She felt like she was flying on cloud nine and she basked in the feeling.
Her canines were aching as memories of earlier replayed in her mind and her cheeks tinged pink.
She had no idea where she had gotten the courage to have done what she had, but she was proud and happy.
She was proud of herself and how far she has come, and happy that any crisis with her mate has been averted.
Clarice sighed softly to herself, her eyes were the lightest they have ever been and she had to bite back the wide smile that longed to overtake her face.
Her mind drifted to the woods earlier and the way her mate had utterly worshipped her under the moonlight.
Her thighs involuntarily clenched and she had to force her body to refrain from heating up again.
A gentle knock on her door resonated throughout the room, instantly cooling her down and bringing her back to reality.
She tied the end of her long braid and turned around slight on her chair, not bothering to stand.
“Yes?” She called out politely, her brows furrowing as the question on who could be outside her door at this hour came up in her mind.
She heard a throat clear, “it is me Marcello. I must share some news with you.”
She stood from her chair instantly when she could sense his worry, her legs flew towards the bedroom door and she roughly tugged it open.
Her wide eyes connected with Marcello’s sunken face and her heartbeat picked up.
“...the King?” She asked while gulping, her voice was breathless and he could sense her fear.
He shook his head while nervously scratching the back of his neck, she huffed out in relief before taking in the clothing on his body.
His suit was still on, but the once clean outfit had a round spot of blood coating it and her eyes widened.
“Marcello, speak.” She ordered, her heartbeat mingling in with her sudden pants.
He inhaled shakily, “your mother is with our healer. She had undergone an attack.”
Clarice nearly stumbled back as the words registered in her mind, her eyes glued on the spot of blood on his coat.
Her knees wobbled and she watched as her vision blurred, “w-what?”
Marcello swallowed roughly before clearing his throat, “upon dismissing everyone from the ball, we heard some ruckus and yelling in the woods, upon arriving to the scene we found your mother on the ground, covered in her own blood.”
Clarice gasped loudly and her shaky hand flew to her trembling lips as she held back the sob that made her stomach clench painfully.
The happiness she was previously feeling had entirely diminished and she was brought back the emotion that was very familiar to her.
“W-who...” she trailed off, unable to form words as she held herself on her doorframe, her knees turning to jello and her tearful eyes not once averting from the blood that was on Marcello’s coat.
He understood what she had wanted to ask and lowered his gaze nervously, scratching his wrist as he pondered over how to tell her.
“We have her attacker in a cell.” He stated, however his strong voice was no more and his words were very soft, almost wary.
Clarice looked up at him, a feral look in her bloodshot eyes, “who is it?!” She growled out through a sob.
He licked his lips before scratching the front of his neck, his Adams apple bobbing up and down frantically.
“Who is it?” She gritted out impatiently, her fear was evident but he could tell that she had an idea over who it could be.
After a moment of silence that consisted of Clarice intensely glaring at Marcello through all the tears that pooled down her cheeks, he finally spoke.
“Your father. Your father attacked her Clarice.”
She felt light headed, his lips continued to move but she could not hear a single thing that left him.
Her vision was blurred to the point where all she could see was black and she struggled to remain standing.
Everything felt slow but her fast heartbeat continued to pound in her chest and ears.
Her mind drifted to the ball and the way she noticed a change in her father, and how harsh he had been towards her mother.
She knew it was bad, but she did not think it could be this bad.
She regretted everything. She regretted not leaving with them because she knew for a fact that this was all her fault.
She was to blame. She could have prevented this from happening but instead...
Instead she allowed herself to bask in the happiness she clearly was not allowed to have.