Thomas’ head snaps to the side. The sound of my palm hitting his cheek reverberating in the space around us.
I hear a collective gasp but I keep my eyes firm on Thomas. His head is still cocked to the side and I can see the muscles in his jaw tightening. Slapping him didn’t make me feel any better, maybe one more wouldn’t hurt.
“Hailey! What the hell?!” Jake grabs my wrist in a firm grip, looking at me like I am crazy.
I shoot him the dirtiest look I can muster before I tear my arm from him, giving him a small shove away from me.
“Unless you want to be next, I suggest you stay the hell out of this!” I look to all of them in turn before zeroing my eyes on Thomas again.
“No!” I point my finger at Thomas as I take an angry step towards him.
“You do not get to tell me you love me one minute and then tell me you are leaving me the next!” I yell poking him in the chest as hard as I can.
“Dude.” I ignore both Jake and Ethan’s comments
My breath is coming out in sharp breaths as I continue to stare at my mate who won’t even look at me. The more time I stand here waiting for him to do something, say something, the more the anger dissipates and hurt takes over.
I try my best to will the hurt away, but it curls its long tentacles around my heart, squeezing all the fight from me. I thought we were passed all of this. I thought that we would finally be together as mates, no holding back. I love him and he loves me; so why would he try and leave me behind?
Is he still angry about the things I had done in the past? I don’t know how I can apologize for being scared. I don’t know how else I can prove to him that I want him and only him. Tears begin to swim in my eyes and I can’t help the small sob that chokes out of my throat.
“I k-know I’ve made m-mistakes, but I-I tried to show y-you that I was s-sorry.” My legs begin to shake and before I know it, my knees are on the grass and my tears rolling down my cheeks. My hand presses against my chest, willing the pain growing there to stop.
“Guys, can you give us some privacy, please?” Thomas’ sighs, his voice emotionless as he looks to Jake and Ethan.
“Hailey?” A strong hand touches my shoulder but I know it’s not Thomas comforting me.
I open my mouth to respond to Jake’s unanswered question, but nothing comes out. The knot in my throat is too big and the words are stuck behind it. So I settle for a nod and as I hoped, Jake knows it’s okay to leave us.
Their footsteps fading away is the only sound that disturbs the unsettling silence that has fallen over Thomas and I. I don’t want to be the first one to break but I can’t let him leave me.
“I’m so sorry for all I have done, Thomas.” my voice a broken plea, desperate for understanding, as I slowly lift my head to look at him standing above me.
“Hailey” Thomas’ voice breaks off into a sigh before he kneels down in front of me.
My heart leaps when he takes my face gently between his hands. The sparks jolting my heart into overdrive as I stare into the blue eyes that have practically overtaken my dreams.
“Everything is just so messed up for us.” and just like that my heart falls to my stomach.
“I know, I’m sorry. I’ve been-”
“Hey. I didn’t say it was your fault. We just keep getting our wires crossed. Seriously, I think we have had our fair share of misunderstandings to last a lifetime.” he gives me a soft smile but it doesn’t reach his eyes.
It’s true we need to work on our communication, mostly me, but still my heart swells at the thought that he didn’t blame me. Maybe there is hope for us after all and I will fight to my last breath to keep that hope alive.
My hand reach out and grip the fabric of his shirt.
“I am so sorry if I ever made you feel the way I feel right now. Like you’re unwanted.” my voice is small and just when I thought I had stopped crying, a few tears slip from my eyes.
I gasp as Thomas leans forward and kisses each tear away. The act so simple yet the meaning behind it so great.
“I’m sorry, Love.” he whispers as he pulls me into his chest.
His hands stroke my head and back in a comforting motion. I can feel myself practically melting into him and although I love the feeling, I have to know why he had tried to leave me behind. I pull away slightly, ready to ask him but it’s like he knows what I am about to say because he answers.
“After everything, I didn’t think you would be ready to leave yet. You’re mom just got home plus everything going on with your brother and what about Hannah?” His voice is soft, almost understanding and it confuses me.
“What about Hannah?” my eyebrows scrunch together in confusion.
“I can’t deny your past before me. Hannah is like your sister. I have to go back but I didn’t want to pull you away from them yet. I love you too much.” So many things are racing through my mind but one thing is absolutely clear to me.
I take his face in my hands and press my forehead to his. His eyes close and I can’t help but marvel at him. The peacefulness that takes over his face in this moment enhances the beauty of him.
“Thomas, you are mine. My mate. Where you go, I go, and my family will understand that and so will Cade’s.” My voice holds firm and I am proud of myself for not wavering.
He takes a deep breath and I wait for him to collect his thoughts but he surprises me by capturing my lips with his. The kiss is soft but holds so much that I am left instantly breathless as my hands wrap around his neck.
I was so foolish for pushing him away and I make a silent promise to him and the Goddess to never make the same mistake again. Thomas is my mate and although he wasn’t my original forever I couldn’t imagine any other. My lips continue to move against his and I put all of that into the kiss, willing him to understand.
He does and he responds enthusiastically, holding me tightly to him.