The Rise

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Chapter Seventy

The plants and trees were regrowing slowly. Today I saw the first sprout of green behind the packhouse in the last week. The Protectors were building a packhouse and a small community for us about a hundred miles away. And before winter comes, we would have to move everything from here to there, which included Luca.

I stared down at him. He was still lying deathly still on the hospital bed. If I brought him back to life, I wouldn’t have to move him. But if I did this to him, would he forgive me? If I put the man he hated the most inside of him and brought them both back to life again, could they get along? I had been avoiding this decision for weeks now.

These were two men that I loved, both in different ways but both in the same way as well. We were lovers. We were friends. We had spent time both hating and loving each other in a weird way. There was so much passion, so much betrayal, so much wishing for things to be different, and so much dread when they disappeared from my life.

Would things go back to the way they were if Damon’s soul merged with Luca? Could I see both of them at the same time? Could I tease their unique personalities apart when I was kissing them and loving them? Or would they just become more jealous of each other?

How would they fit in? Samuel was in charge of Damon’s pack now. Some people in the pack hated Luca. Some people in the pack hated Damon. Would it be a good idea for them to take back the pack? Is that what everyone would want?

Would Luca even want to be alive after what he’s done? He killed so many people and was fully aware. If I was him, I didn’t know if I would be able to handle that kind of pain. Knowing you were the cause of so many deaths, knowing you had hundreds of wolves’ blood on your hands that was so much different.

And, when the world found out that he was the one that did this, would they even accept him? Luca had hurt so much in his lifetime, I didn’t want him to hurt any more. He deserved to be happy.

Then, there was this other not so small problem. Valerio.

Valerio and I were destined to be together, but we also chose to be together in a romantic way. We weren’t coated in betrayal. We were organic. We were strong. And I didn’t want to give us up.

I knew that neither Damon nor Luca would like that. They were both set on having me, but I didn’t really want to be taken anymore. I was my own woman who could make her own choices.

And the deep truth was that I loved Valerio. I really did. It was pure love.

I walked over to the window and sat on the sill, staring out into the deep night sky. I was the epitome of good and bad now. The moon and the stars. My decisions were more than me now. Every decision I made would affect the whole species.

Dread and agony and evilness rushed through my veins. Joy and prosperity and happiness rushed through them too. We could thrive in a world that wanted to shut us out. We could become one with the humans.

But the choice was up to me. I could lead us down either path.

I parted my lips, a quiet sigh escaping my lips. “Tell me you’re still there, Love,” I whispered, fingers brushing against his mark. I didn’t know if he could understand me; he was just a soul after all. But hope was the only thing keeping me sane. “I know a way to fix everything, but nothing will be the same if I do.”

Either way I would be screwed.

Someone knocked on the door and let themselves in. Valerio’s scent drifted into the room, relaxing me immediately, but I didn’t look over at him just yet.

He walked in, his shoes barely chafing against the ground. “Mae.” His voice was soft and quiet and so inviting.

The three men that I loved were here with me. And I didn’t know what to do. I would be disappointing one, if not two of them with either decision.

“Have you made your decision?” Valerio spoke from behind me. He was closer this time, so close I could feel his warmth.

Do I raise Damon’s soul or not? That was my dilemma. Deep down, I knew which path that choice would lead me down.

After a few moments of silence, I stood up. And for the first time tonight, I faced Valerio. I placed my hands on the sides of his face and drew him closer, placing my lips on his. Taken aback, he stiffened for a second. Then he rested his hands on my waist and kissed me back under the moonlight.

I didn’t know how it was supposed to be or how I was supposed to end my story, but I knew that I was about to make the right decision.

When I pulled away, I rested my forehead against Valerio and closed my eyes. This was my decision. I pulled myself away from him and grabbed Luca’s hand. “Until we meet each other again.”

THE END... for now.

I'll most likely be extending this trilogy and making a part 4!

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