Chapter 59 - Agony
Catherine hit the ground and came to her feet in one surging motion. Her whole being was focused on reaching Dillon, who fell to his knees while his eyes were still nailed to her.
She got no more than two strides away from her attacker before she was brought down even more forcefully. This time not by a horse, but by a man, a vampire.
Catherine fought to get free. She was almost unconcerned with her assailant as she tried to reach Dillon. She suddenly found herself overpowered and a blade pressed against her throat with cutting intent.
Only then did her brain register that she knew her attacker. Knew his scent. Knew his touch and knew his voice as he hissed in her ear.
“Leave your human, daughter, he no longer needs you. I can smell him on you and all over you,” Eduardo’s voice was a low growl, full of disdain and ice cold hatred.
“Dillon deserves what he got for breaking our agreement, and now you will get what you deserve,” Eduardo hauled her to her feet, but she was unconcerned with her own well-being.
Catherine’s heart ached as if it was torn from her very chest. Her mind had gone numb and all she could see and feel was the light fading from Dillon’s eyes.
She didn’t care what her father did to her now. She didn’t care about this war. Her whole world collapsed around her without Dillon. There was no reason for her to live and no life to go back to.
Dillon fell forward, and the sound that ripped from her throat was even more horrible than the pain. It tore through skin and bone in its intensity, and at that moment something in Catherine died.
Catherine stopped struggling, stopped moving and stopped screaming. It was as if she froze and if Eduardo spoke again, she did not hear him.
She wasn’t even aware that he pulled her to her feet and dragged her along to where his horse stood. Priest and Robert tried to intervene and were cast off like annoying flies.
“Let go of Catherine,” Aldrich ordered coldly, just as Eduardo Drake reached his horse.
“This is not your concern,” Eduardo bit out and turned to face Aldrich with a terrible anger on his face.
“Why don’t you take a moment and look past your fury? Take in the smell of her blood and then tell me again, how this is none of my concern?” Aldrich was the only one in the group of men that now surrounded them, that was calm, but Drake felt nothing for them. He could kill them all easily. All but Aldrich...
Eduardo hesitated, and his anger increased as the smell of Aldrich’s blood in her, reached his senses. He cast Catherine down on her knees with so much force that her face hit the ground and her helmet came off, it cut her cheek and split open her lip.
“Is my dear daughter now your whore too?” Eduardo asked as he casually stepped forward and kicked her in the side with enough force to land her right at Aldrich’s feet.
The sudden anger on Aldrich’s face was so fierce that the Drake had to visibly prevent himself from stepping back.
“Apologize to my daughter, Eduardo Drake and fast or... I will have your head, for this,” Aldrich bit the words out one by one as if it took great effort to speak past his murderous rage.
The shock on Eduardo’s face was almost comical, but no one found anything about the situation amusing.
“You cannot do this. We will take this matter before the council, and you will be the one to lose your head,” Drake threatened, and suddenly Aldrich laughed, but the emotion did not match the expression in his eyes, they were icy and wary.
“I just saved the entire council from getting slaughtered at your secret meeting,” the words were icy and rather matter of fact, but the innuendo was there. The threat...
Aldrich bent down and picked up Catherine in his arms as if she were a child and not a grown woman, almost his own height and dressed in battle gear.
He walked with long strides and ignored Drake until they were beside Dillon. He put her down gently. They both knew Dillon was dead and he could feel the pain in her as if it were his own. She was still dazed.
Catherine drew the sword out of Dillon almost gently. She turned him over and stared into his glazed-over eyes for a long moment, then she kissed his lips and closed his lids.
Blood tainted tears streamed silently from her eyes, over her cheeks and fell unheeded on his upturned face.
Robert and Priest came and took him from her arms. She did not move from where she knelt.
Catherine kept staring into nothing, unaware of the people around her and unaware that no one knew how to console her. Aldrich turned to Drake, and their eyes met and held.
“Catherine never betrayed you. She never did any of the things you found her guilty of, and I have proof of that, but that no longer matters.
She isn’t yours anymore. She will never forgive you for keeping her from her mate when he was dying.
Catherine is mine now. You better pray that the child in her womb survives this day because if she doesn’t kill you, I will,” Aldrich walked over to her. He would have picked her up again, but she stood on her own.
When he looked down into her eyes, he felt fear, not of her but for her. The light was completely gone from her gaze.
Not even that day in the face of dying did she looked like this. Aldrich felt his heart contract. He didn’t know if she could survive this.
He was n’t sure she could go on without Dillon. Neither of them even spared Drake a glance as they made their way past him.
“I never told him...” Catherine almost whispered and Aldrich frowned. He thought she was referring to her father.
“I never told Dillon that I love him...” She could barely speak the words, and if Aldrich could have taken her hurt away, he would have, but there was no way.
“I think he knew, daughter,” Aldrich tried to soothe, and a short, harsh bark of laughter echoed hollowly from her chest.
“No Aldrich, I do not believe in fairy tales anymore,” Catherine’s voice had gone hard and cold. Aldrich stopped her almost harshly as he grabbed her arm.
“You are pregnant with his child,” Aldrich wanted to wait to tell her, but he couldn’t now. The life in her was still so new, so fragile. Almost instinctively her hand went to her stomach, where pain still echoed. It was just one more pain in the pulsing ache of her being.
“That is impossible,” Catherine almost scoffed, but a little of the cold seeped from her eyes.
“I would not lie,” Aldrich’s simple assurance had her frowning. She knew the blood bond between them allowed for him to know such things, but at that moment she didn’t know how she felt.
Catherine just lost her mate and the man she loved, only to find herself face to face with her Eduardo and his hate. Then to find herself pregnant... This was just too much. She was so tired and so... angry...
“You will have something of his...” Aldrich murmured, and Catherine sighed.
“Go rest, or you will have nothing,” his words penetrated somewhere in the darkness that enfolded her. Catherine nodded, even though she knew she would never be able to rest. Not until every last Easterner was dead.