I woke up with a warm thick throw over my body. Frowning, I realized I had shifted while sleeping and was completely naked underneath. I noticed that Liam was no longer by my side. A rush of panic rolled through me and immediately I shot up from my sleeping position to a sitting position. Pulling the blanket around my body, I looked around the small cave.
I found him sitting on a rock. During the time that I had fallen asleep, he had pulled on a plain cotton t-shirt and some sweat pants. He looked up when he heard me moving. Our eyes connected. In those mahogany-colored eyes, I saw a mixture of inner turmoil and an overshadowed ghost. He looked distraught and upset.
"I thought you left me," I whispered but the voice echoed within the walls of the cave.
It was still raining terribly outside but I can see that it was around mid-day already the next day. We were deep in the cave that only a little bit of light entered the cave from outside. He stood up from his seat on the rock and walked over to me. Crouching down, he touched one side of my cheek with his rough calloused hand.
"I'm sorry," he said in a pained voice.
He didn't say what he was sorry for. Maybe he was sorry for leaving me. Maybe he was sorry for hurting me. I reached for him but he dropped his hand and stepped back. I can feel him withdrawing physically again. He was going to leave me.
Desperation hits me like a strong wave and I fought to stand up only to trip over the blanket. Before I could fall flat on my face and possibly injure myself, he had his arms wrapped around me to steady me.
"Don't leave me," I pleaded.
"I hurt you again, Sage," he distressed and tried to right me so that he can pull away again. I grabbed at his shirt and tugged him closer to me. Dropping the blanket that was wrapped around me, I wrapped my arms around his shoulder. The blanket fell to my torso and was held up by the connecting space between us.
I hid my face under his chin. My heart throbbed painfully. I have never loved another person as much as I loved him. I have never cared for anyone as much as I cared for him. This feeling of loss and hurt was unknown territory to me and I was scared.
"I know you aren't perfect, Liam. I knew that when you marked me. I have learned to accept who you are. I'll be here for you. I have never--loved or cared for anyone the way I do for you. When you disappeared on me, I was deeply hurt and worried. You put me through hell by not returning. You left me but you knew where I was when I had no clue where you were," I said weakly, fighting back the tears that were stinging my eyes. I held him closer. Furtively, I WAS comforted by his musky, masculine scent and the warmth of his body.
"I love you fiercely but at the same time, I don't think I am strong enough to feel this way all the time. To feel like I love you so much I have no control over my own actions. To love you so much, my thoughts are consumed by you. I can take the hurt and pain that your beast inflicts on me because I know he loves me just as much as you do but if you leave me again---I-I won't be able to take it, Liam," I admitted the truth.
"Sage..." his voice was filled with tormented demons and his arms remained rigid at his side. He still refused to touch me. "I can't hurt you."
"I'm strong enough for this. I'm strong enough for you, Liam. Don't be afraid that I would run the other direction when I see the worse in you," I argued, feeling frustration welled up inside of me. I'm desperate to cling onto him but I was also hurt by his rejection to accept me.
"I can't control him. He's dangerous and has already hurt you twice. If he did it again, I don't know if I would be able to stop him. I can't stop him. Can't you see? When he takes over, I'm not me." Liam made a guttural sound of frustration.
I pulled back enough to look at him but still had my arms firmly wrapped around his shoulders to keep him near.
"Do you love me?" I questioned, looking into his eyes.
His jaw ticked with emotions and his eyes flickered with pain.
"I love you," he professed hoarsely.
My heart skipped in my chest happily. I moved so that my hands cradled his cheeks.
"Then let me love you. I won't run away, Liam. Let me decide when it is enough. Don't run away from me because it would hurt me more than anything else," I pleaded.
His eyes glossed with unshed tears and his lips were pinched into a firm line. No words came out of his mouth and my hopes started to crumble even when I knew he was afraid and hesitating because of me. If I have to put myself into his shoes then he has every right to hesitate. He didn't want to hurt me because he loves me.
"Then we should end it?" The words cracked with shattering emotions. It felt forced to come out of my mouth but hearing it hurt me so much more.
He closed his eyes tightly. "I can't let you go. I spent the last two days, fighting myself. I missed you every single second. I wanted to run back home and back into your arms."
"You're my mate, Liam. The bond between us is sacred but our hearts are beating as one. You love me as much as I love you. Don't fight it any longer, Liam. I'm not afraid-"
"But I am. I am afraid." His eyes opened and raw emotions flew them like a movie script. His throat worked hard as he swallowed his own pain.
"I had a dream that you died in my arms. You were bloodied and pale. It was a dream but it killed me. Never. I would never allow myself to hurt you like that. I can't do it. I can't hurt you," he mumbled, shaking his head. He began pulling away. Agitated and confused.
"Liam," I pleaded, grabbing onto his arm while clutching onto the blanket. "Please, don't leave me."
He looked back at me.
"If you leave me, I swear I won't forgive you," I promised him.
"Kitten..." his voice was filled with anguish.
"I swear I'll run away. You'll never be able to find me again. I'll run from you. From everyone," I began spewing. Tears were running down my cheeks now. Blurring my vision as I looked upon his tormented face.
He turned and pulled me into his arms. Crushed me to his chest. I sobbed into his chest. He buried his face into my hair. His thick, muscular crushed me to his chest that it was almost hard to breathe but to feel him giving in to me and not leaving me, it was more than welcomed. I wrapped my arms around his waist.
"You are too good to me," he rasped in a tight voice. "Alright, I won't leave you. I won't ever leave you."
"Even if you hurt me?" I sniffled.
He stiffened. "I can't control that part of me, Kitten. If you mean it, that you would stay by my side regardless, I'll never leave you. I'll only leave you when you are tired of me."
"That day won't come," I muttered with another sniffle.
He sighed and caressed my hair. Again, he buried his nose and inhaled.
"I missed you," he whispered.
"I missed you too," I replied.
He pulled back just enough to crush his lips to mine. It started out light and soft but it soon grew more demanding. The days we spent apart, fighting to the forefront. It expelled into the air and filled the space of the cave. It felt nice to feel his soft lips against mine again. It feels amazing to feel his hard body against mine. To smell his scent. To be in his space. I wanted everything. The blanket dropped into a pool around my feet. A harsh, feral sound vibrated from deep in his throat before he tore his lips away from mine.
Breathing hard, he looked down at me.
"As much as I want to spread you across the cave floor and make love you in every single way possible, I don't think it is the right time," he said thickly. Lust lingered in his voice. His eyes were deep with barely restrained desires.
"I don't mind it," I replied honestly.
He released a short laugh and shoved a hand through his hair. My stomach chose this moment to grumble in protest. It has been a while since I ate.
"We should find something to eat," he said.
"But I'm fine," I muttered.
"I'll not let you go hungry, Sage. You look paler since I last saw you. Have you been eating?" he inquired.
"I ate when I can," I drawled out slowly.
His eyes narrowed into slits. He didn't believe me for a second. Liam took an intimidating step towards me.
"Have you been eating, Sage?" he asked once more.
"Well, I haven't exactly had the appetite to eat for the past two days. I was filled with anxiety and worry. Each time I thought about you, I felt like running into the woods blindly just to find you," I grumbled, feeling disgruntled with his demands.
"I'm taking you to the nearest diner. You'll eat and then we would go back home. I'm sure your parents are freaking out at the moment," Liam said.
At the mention of my parents, I realized that he was right. My dad was probably tearing the pack territory apart to find me. I have never gone too far without letting them know. Last night, I was desperate to catch up to Liam. I didn't even think or care.
My stomach grumbled again. I realized I was really hungry. Liam was right. I haven't had a decent meal since he disappeared. Sighing, I nodded my head in defeat. Then I looked down at my naked form. Well, we both looked down at my naked body.
"So, am I supposed to walk into a diner naked?" I asked.
"No," he growled angrily. He disappeared into a cave and came out with a small military camo backpack. He pulled out a t-shirt and sweat pants. "Put this on."
He watched me yank on his t-shirt. It reached just below my bottom and then his sweat pants which were by far bigger than my hips. I had to pull the drawstring so that it won't slip off. Then I focused on combing through my hair to get rid of tangles. Once I looked decent enough, or at least, I think I looked decent enough, I stood in front of him again.
"Ready," I announced.
He walked up to me with a pair of his running shoes. It was definitely big on me but was better than nothing.
We ran in our human forms after the rain cleared. Granted it was a lot slower than our wolf forms, it was still faster than a normal human being. The nearest town was ten miles out. We made it there in under an hour.
We entered the nearest diner and quickly broke our fast. Then I told him I needed to really clean myself up, so we stopped by the local grocery store where we bought personal items. We didn't bother checking into a motel. We swung by a nearby stream and cleaned up the best we could before renting a car and heading back home.
Liam was in the driver seat; his attention was focused on the road ahead. I took the opportunity to look at him. A part of me was upset with him because he ran but a part of me knew why he did it. I couldn't fault him for it. A person with a traumatic past like his, can't just get over it like it was a dream. He spent at least five years under that camp.
He must have felt me staring because he turned to face me. Then his eyes dropped down to my hands that were in my lap. Slowly, he reached over and intertwined his hands through mine. Squeezing it tightly.
"I love you, Kitten," he said and I can hear the apology in his voice. The amount of love that linked to those four little words. I also know that he won't be running again by those words and the strength of his hands laced with mine.
Love is a scary thing. It leaves you desperate and in pain. You want to run from it because its too much but you can't stop loving even if you run.