The room is eerily quiet when I peel my sore eyes open. He was here. I can smell him everywhere. It's like sweet torture. The soft masculine scent soothes me and rips my heart out.
I look around frantically, hoping he's still close but he's gone.
An emptiness pits in my chest at the thought. I pull myself out of the bed, the monitors going haywire from being disconnected.
"Where are you going?" A nurse rushes in, trying to stop me from ripping the iv from my arm.
"I'm leaving. I'm fine now, my breathing is normal."
She gapes at me and I can see her mind linking.
By the time I'm changed and walking out into the hallway, Sorsha and Alpha Elijah are rushing toward my room.
"I'm going back to my room in the packhouse. I'll take it easy but I need to get ready for tomorrow."
"Lucienne, you can take an extra day to rest before starting the course. I'll bring the materials to you." Sorsha tries as they follow me down the hallway toward the exit.
"No thank you, I'll be ready to start tomorrow."
I try to smile at them but I know they see through it. I can't keep sitting here, I can't put off the course.
She pats Elijah's arm lovingly and he hangs back, letting us walk together. We walk in silence for several minutes until she finally breaks, grabbing my hand and pulling me onto the track outside of the training facilities.
"Walk with me a while?"
We walk slow laps around the track, an unspoken understanding passing between us. She puts her hand on my shoulder gently, "I know that this seems insurmountable, like there is no way up from here."
I look at her curiously, she's speaking from experience.
"You hear so many stories about mates meeting, and it seems like everyone of them saw each other across a field of wildflowers and ran into one another's arms, instantly in love. That isn't always the case. When Elijah and I met... there were things in his past that kept him from me. We weren't close at first and I was heartbroken. I could feel that he didn't want me, that he was torn."
My mouth drops open. To look at them now it seems impossible that they had a rocky start. It is evident to anyone that looks at them how truly bonded they are.
"My daughter also had a similar experience."
I've heard of their daughter. She's the Queen in the vampire kingdom, mated to the reigning King. Everyone knows who they are.
"By the look on your face I can see that you've heard of them. Not many people know the truth about the beginning of their relationship though. It wasn't love at first sight, Lucienne. I know you feel alone but many of us have had to fight for happiness with our mates. I've known Cole a long time, a very long time."
She stops walking and squeezes my hand.
"He's unbelievably stubborn. He's also incredibly loyal. He's dedicated his life to being a warrior, to helping people who aren't as strong as he is, to making sure that packs are safe. In doing that... he's had to...make choices, to do things that haunt him. He won't admit to that, but he's made impossible choices in the name of protecting people. I'm sure some of it haunts him. Finding you is something that he didn't expect. I know you're hurting, I know he's breaking your heart and it's unfair of me to ask this of you but... don't give up on him, please."
I don't know what to say. Of course I don't want to give up on my mate. I need to speak to him, I hope he will, at the very least, give me the opportunity to talk to him.
"I don't know what to do. We aren't children anymore, I need him to speak to me, to stop running away before we get the chance to even speak to each other."
She nods, understanding.
I have so much to think about. This is all so new, we can still fix it.
We walk quietly back to the packhouse, my mind reeling, playing her words over and over again. She pulls me into a tight hug in front of my door.
"Can I come get you for dinner?"
I don't want to be around anyone tonight. I need to gather myself and figure out how I'm going to try to approach him.
"I think I'll stay in tonight. If you don't mind, can you link Jordan? I would like to have our training session tomorrow morning before the program starts, if that's alright."
"I think that's wonderful! He is a fantastic teacher!"
When she leaves I walk into my room and freeze, the memory of the heart wrenching pain that I felt last time I was here making my tear up. It's not that I don't feel it now but... it's almost as if my body has grown accustomed to it. The ache is now a part of who I am.
I shake my head to force the thoughts away.
Instead of wallowing in my misery, I force myself to set up for tomorrow, gathering clothes for training and for after.
I lay in bed, mentally and emotionally drained, his hard blue eyes taunting me.
I wish I had heard his voice. It's hard to understand how you can miss someone that you've never spoken to. I miss him like I would miss water in the desert, it's deep and all consuming.
When I close my eyes, he's all I see. His tousled hair and furrowed brows, his lips, the scruff on his chin, they plague me. I force myself to lay down and deal with the misery, hoping the thoughts of him will lull me into sleep, however restless.