Twisted Fate

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Chapter 63

Astrid

Usually, when one tells another a life-changing detail like that, they expect an immediate response. I should say something, but my brain is spinning, and my chest feels like it weighs a thousand pounds.

Intaking a sharp breath, I look down and wonder if I could escape this conversation without dying. My guess is probably not without a few broken bones. Maybe I didn’t hear him correctly.

“Um… what?” I can’t look him in the eyes. He’s giving me wide, soulful eyes that tell me he’s about to pour his heart out. He’s going to rip it out of his chest and lay it at my feet just for me to stomp all over it. I’m incapable of giving him what he wants.

What we both want…

Please, please, please be wrong.

“I don’t want us to reject each other.” No, don’t say it. “I want to be mates,” He clarifies. My beating heart jumps out of the cart and splats on the concrete below us, leaving me to deal with the aftermath. I’m so jealous of that heart.

Perhaps I was too comfortable in my little fairytale bubble to realize the hard reality of it all. We could steal kisses, and have intimate moments, but the truth was always staring us in the face. We could never be together.

There’s only one question I have for him. “Why?” His siler eyes darken with hurt and I almost take my reaction back. But I can’t. Someone has to be the bad guy and it might as well be me.

He grabs my hand and intertwines our fingers; the sparks gliding a delicious tingle down my arms and all the way down my spine. Stay strong. Don’t allow him to break down your walls.

Who am I kidding?

Those walls turned to glass the first time I tasted his lips.

“Because you’re the smartest, most ambitious, and beautiful she-wolf I’ve ever known. It took me a long time to come to terms with it, but the truth is, I don’t want to live my life without you in it.”

He doesn’t me that. “It’ll never work.”

“We’ll never know unless we try. We could be happy together.”

“Arlo, stop,” I shake my head because this is too much. I hadn’t even realized tears were falling down my face. He frowns, reaching up to wipe them away. I swallow down his words that feel like blades tearing through my windpipe. “You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“I do.” His voice takes on a resolute tone as he takes both of my hands in his, and as much as I want to pull away, his warmth brings me comfort. Damn him. “I know I’m not the best option. You should be with someone that can give you marriage. Pups. A future. I want you to have it all, but I can’t stand the thought of letting you go or seeing you with someone else.” A dark expression crosses his face as he says the latter, and I believe him. He would never let me move on, even if I tried. Hell, I couldn’t see myself having another mate if it wasn’t him.

I wish I didn’t have to do this.

“We can’t,” I can barely speak without crying. “I know we made a promise to keep each other safe and I’m so sorry that I led you to believe our friendship was something more, but-“

Friendship?” He spits out the word like venom. “Don’t give me that shit. Not when I know you want more from me.”

“No…” My voice cracks. “I don’t feel the same.”

He lets out a defeated sigh and runs a hand through his hair. It’s killing me to see him hurt, but I can’t bear the thought of what the council would do to us if we gave in to our desires. They would destroy us both.

“Look at me,” he demands. When I hesitate, he lifts my chin with his fingers and makes me look into his eyes. They’re swirling red and I can sense his demon-wolf fighting for control. “Look me in the eyes and tell me you want nothing to do with me.”

“Why are you making this more difficult?” I snap. It’s bad enough that rejecting a mate is already soul-crushing, but now he wants me to add more to that fire.

“I just need you to tell me right here and now. Tell me I mean nothing to you, and I’ll never bring this up again.”

Silence. I say nothing more because I’m afraid of letting the truth slip free. Unfortunately, I think my silence speaks more volume. I can tell by the look on his face as he leans closer, resting his forehead against mine. I close my eyes.

He knows. Of course, he knows.

“I’m scared,” I whisper, feeling more vulnerable than I have ever in my lifetime. “My family would be so disappointed. The council will come looking for us…” I list off all the reasons we shouldn’t, desperately trying to save myself from making a huge mistake.

“Your family loves you. They might not be very supportive in the beginning, but they’ll come around. As for the council, I have acquaintances who could help us fight that case. We’ll be together every step of the way. They can’t keep us apart.”

“I will not leave my pack. I’ve worked hard my entire life to get where I am today, and I’m not just going to give it up,” I say solemnly. “You have to understand my loyalty to my family runs deep. And as much as I care about you, I can’t leave them.”

I’m fully expecting him to argue or change his mind after that. What comes out of his mouth next leaves me shocked.

“The Blood Rose pack is the last thing I have of my mother. I’d never leave it to someone else,” He says, “So yes, I understand how you feel. My pack needs a Luna, but River Ash needs their alpha more. We’ll figure out a way to make it work, I promise.” Something inside my chest shifts at his words. How the hell did I get so lucky to have a mate who cares about my pack?

It’s crazy how one little moment can change the way you’ve perceived things entirely. I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. It would go against everything I know. Have I been looking at this all wrong.?

From the time I was a young pup, I can remember always thinking of others before I did something for myself. Some will say it’s a good quality to have, but it gets tedious at times. I want to be selfish for once in my life. I don’t want to think about the rest of the world’s opinions.

I want to get exactly what I want.

And it’s him. It’s always been him.

“Okay.” I take one last look at the sunset before I change my mind. One last moment of peace because after this, things are going to get extremely tough. But at least it will be worth fighting for.

“Okay?” he hesitates, unsure of my response.

“I’m willing to try and make this work. You and me.” I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted on my shoulders and I can finally breathe. The sight of pure happiness on his face makes me grin, and I swear this is the happiest I’ve ever seen him.

I wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him until the Ferris wheel begins to lower us back to the ground. “You’re mine,” he says against my lips.

“Yours.”

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