She woke up with a start.
Her hair was entirely disheveled and her face was utterly flushed - her bloodshot eyes were wide, and the sound of her hammering heartbeat echoed in her suffocating room.
The blanket that was covering her body felt like it was scorching her and she eagerly tore it off of her skin with inhumane force making the innocent blanket fly across her room.
She growled before springing out of the bed, tears trailed down her cheeks - they were frustrated and annoyed tears, tears that felt like they were dragging her cheeks down with all of their weight.
She slammed her door open and angrily stomped through the long hallway with her head held high despite the obvious despair that coated the skin of her face.
She did not bother to shut the door to her bedroom.
She followed the scent that she knew far too well until she reached the room that was forbidden to everyone but one person.
Clarice inhaled deeply before opening the door to his room with so much force that the second the wood collided with the wall behind it, it made all of the decor and hung up artwork shake.
She was panting by now, thoughts and questions swirling in her brain, but she could only focus on one thing.
The fact that her mate wished to rid himself of the mark she had so rightfully placed on his skin - the reminder of his wretched words made her heart squeeze tightly and she nearly grimaced in pain.
“Cerberus! Reveal yourself. I know you are in here!” She called out to him hoarsely, her knees were wobbling but she mustered all the strength she possessed to keep herself up.
She knew he was in here with her.
His scent was the strongest in this room and she could hear the sound of his strong yet paced heartbeat - it enraged her to hear how calm he could possibly be after everything.
It took him a torturous minute to come out of the shadows he had been lurking in, and the second he did Clarice ran to him with her hand spread out.
In a swift second a loud smack echoed in the room and she could not deny how good the tingle that lingered on her palm felt as the result of slapping his cheek.
He did not look the slightest bit affected by her smack, and if it hurt, he did not show it, but she did not care - she just wanted to know she had inflicted at least some kind of injury on him.
“How dare you?!” Clarice growled out, despair written in her words as she glared intensely at him with a thick furrow in her brows.
He gazed at her robotically - no emotion in his stormy gray eyes, nor in his stoic face.
Her stomach churned, “how could you decide to do this? After everything?!”
This time, she noticed how the crack in her voice had affected him, she saw the way his eyes slowly averted from hers before he forcefully drew them back.
She knew he was trying to wipe away his humanity again, she just knew it, and she would rather die than allow him to do this again.
“Look me in the face and repeat to me everything you had said to that woman! Tell me it was all a lie! A ruthless joke!” Clarice pleaded, her lips tugged into a deep frown as she begged him to bring truth to the thoughts that pranced around in her head.
She believed that what she had heard had been an utter ploy, a malicious joke, or something she herself had made up, and she was begging him to tell her that she was correct.
With humanity or not, she pleaded him to tell her the truth.
However, he failed to respond.
“Please, after everything we have gone through, tell me you do not expect me to believe you will rid yourself of my mark!” Clarice cried out, her tear-glossed eyes looking down at his shirt covered chest and at the area where her mark laid hidden.
“Whether you choose to believe it or not, is not my problem.” He gritted out, his jaw clenched tightly making his jawline sharpen - she hissed.
“So you mean to tell me...” she inhaled, trying to calm her wild pants, “...that I heard correct? You do?”
He looked away from her with a snarl on his lips - this careless look on his face made her chest tighten.
She could not believe he was allowing himself to succumb to his beast once again.
“W-why?” She asked, her voice cracking painfully as she gazed intensely at him, the tip of her nose burning.
He cleared his throat, “I am tired of chasing after you. I need you gone. I can not even bare the sight of you right now. I.....” he stopped for a second and she held back a sniffle.
Her eyes widened hopefully, she suddenly expected him to change his statement and say he regrets everything.
“I need a break.”
Those words sent her heart plummeting down to her stomach.
“I-I do not understand..” she stuttered, her heartbeat echoing in her ears.
The longer she looked into his eyes the more she saw how they struggled to remain one color, and she noticed a slight twitch in his face the longer she stayed by him.
“You need a break? And for a measly break you wish to rid yourself of what ties us?”
She saw how her words made him nearly grimace but he held it back. She watched as his fists clenched tightly and she knew that his beast was stirring inside of him - she knew it because hers was too.
“You wish to rid yourself of me?”
Her voice came out brittle and barely audible but they both heard what she had said and she could not deny the wobble in her knees due to the intense look in his eyes.
Her brows were furrowed.
“Cerberus, talk to me. Please.” Clarice begged softly, her throat was burning, aching to let out loud sobs.
He turned away from her and that made her flinch.
“We can not keep doing this Cerberus, we-”
“Stop saying my name.” He ordered sternly, the sudden authority in his voice reminded her of the first time they had met and that made a quiet whimper leave her lips.
She was unsure of whether he heard it or not but even if he had, she did not care.
“You nothing! What you just need to do is leave! Rid yourself from my castle, I no longer wish to see you! I do not need a two faced bi-”
His voice was not his own, she knew it, his voice was coated in the darkness of his beast yet she could not deny the way the term he had forcefully stopped himself from using riled up her own beast.
“Say it.” She growled out, her voice no longer her own as she glared intensely at his broad back.
“Say it!” She repeated loudly, her voice booming in the room and echoing off of the walls - she felt utterly ridiculous due to the fact that she was still here but she was not done with him.
“Call me what you wished to call me for I can clearly see that you no longer have respect for me, but trust me dear mate when I say that I am most certainly not surprised.” Clarice stated, her voice husky and deep, the sound making Cerberus’ shoulders square.
“You can not bring yourself to respect the woman who was willing to turn her back to all of the pain and torment you single handedly have caused her. You can not respect her even after everything she has told you, all that she has pardoned, and all of the times she had given you her all after you had given her nothing but sorrow in return”
He turned back around, slowly.
“I pity you. Truthfully I do. One little word that had come from my mouth was enough to bring the big bad wolf to his knees, and it was a term he once used to describe himself.”
He growled warningly at her, the presence of his beast at bay.
“Only difference my King, is that when I had said it, I was only repeating a statement. I did not mean it. It had not come from the heart- however, the longer that I look at you, and the more time that I spend with you, I regret everything.”
His brows furrowed and she shook her head in disgust.
“I regret not turning my back on you the first time. I regret ever laying my mark on your skin. I regret ever meeting the likes of you. For you are far worse than a monster Alpha of All Wolfe Borne, King Cerberus Thorne.” The way his rightful name came tauntingly from her lips made his lips curl upwards in distaste but she did not care.
“You are a monsters biggest nightmare because even a monster has an end, yet you, you manage to continue on and on. But you keep going, keep going and then let me know if there is anyone waiting for you at the end, because the second I step foot out of this castle, I will never be returning.” She pointed unmistakably at herself with her lips curled upwards.
Her words made him freeze, and the second heartbeat that mingled with hers had stopped for a minute before it came back.
“After today I have no mate. You will tell that woman that when she rids you of your mark, she can rid me of my own, because I am finished. I no longer have any will to fight with you because no matter how strong and powerful you think you may be, you will never live up to your name because power comes in equality and understanding, and there is only strength in numbers. What would have been a better strength than having your own mate by your side? Standing by your throne?”
Clarice stopped to glare intensely at him and suddenly sneered in his face, “I guess you will never know.”
And with that she turned around and in a swift second she was out of his room and out of the castle - using the control of her beast to finally use its overly heightened speed.
The second she stood outside she did not bother to turn to look at the surprised guards - instead, she raised her nose and took a large inhale of the cool air.
The smell of earth and nature calmed her insides and she could feel the frustrated shaking of her body slowly come to a stop.
The adrenaline that once coursed through her veins was gone and everything she had said to the King through blind rage tumbled back to her and she felt her face fall.
She held back her sadness because she knew that what her beast had forced her to say was right - they both needed to be away from one another, and whether that meant they break their bond then maybe that was what should have happened long ago.
Maybe they were just not a proper pair.
She walked into the small hospital with a heavy heart, she could not wait to see her mother.
The nurses greeted her with a respectful bow that made her stomach churn - after today, or tomorrow, she would not be seeing them or anyone from the castle in a while.
“Is she in her room?” Clarice asked softly.
One of the nurses nodded and Clarice smiled back gratefully before walking towards the door she had grown familiar with.
She opened it slowly before entering the room and shutting the door gently behind her - her eyes instantly landed on her petite mother and she could feel her heart fall to her stomach.
“How is she?” Clarice asked the healer with her back pressed to the wall and her wide eyes still on her mother.
“She is fine. Healing, but fine. Last night was slightly trickier, but she got passed it. Tonight, she should be awake and a lot better.” The healer replied hoarsely while intensely taking in Clarices disheveled state.
Clarice could feel his curious gaze but did not say anything, instead she walked closer towards her mother and the second she reached her side, she took her mothers hand in her own and softly rubbed the calloused skin of her mothers palm with her thumb.
“Are you alright Clarice?” The healer asked politely, she could hear his genuine concern and decided to hold back the outburst of words her beast was pushing her to give him.
Clarice nodded before clearing her throat, “I am alright. A little shaken after last night, but fine. Even so, as long as my mother is fine, I am.”
The healer nodded, “I understand that. But something else seems to be troubling you today, I can tell, it is written in your-”
“Please.” Clarice gritted out in annoyance before inhaling deeply and calming herself down, “please do not question me.” Clarice continued, this time, her voice a lot softer.
The healer nodded, “I apologize if I have overstepped. I just have an ability to read energies, and yours my dear was slightly off and you know that a healers duty is to make sure everybody is at one-hundred percent, so...”
Clarice cleared her throat, her gaze trailing from her mother and to the old healer who had helped her many times.
The second their eyes were locked, she could feel as though an invisible force was removing the heavy weight from her shoulders and she could not help but sigh in relief.
He smiled at her before nodding his head curtly, Clarice could not help but gaze at him in wonder, even as he made way out of the room.
“Some time will have to pass between you two Clarice. Not a lot but enough. In that time, you both have a lot to learn. To grow.” With that he shut the door behind him and she could not help but feel her eyebrows furrow.
What in the world could he possibly mean by that?