Chapter 25 - Tiberius (Part 1)
The night of the new moon was one that would haunt Tiberius for years.
After Crystal left and the lights were turned off, his beast went mad.
A caged wild animal howled his rage out to a deaf moon.
He slammed himself against the bars of the cell, tried to pry them apart, and tried to dig his way out.
That last one was a bad idea.
While he had managed to dig himself a hole through the concrete floor, the same metal of the bars blocked him, making up the frame of the cell under the concrete as well. The effort was futile.
He dug furiously until his flesh was stripped down to the bone before he gave up. Even with his fast healing capabilities, he couldn’t soften the scabs and completely torn off nails. He didn’t know how long those would take to grow back.
Exhausted and dejected, his wails echoed off the walls for none to hear as he collapsed to the floor.
Eventually, he fell into a restless asleep and woke to the sweet sound of his mate coming down the stairs.
He dragged his aching ass to the bars as she trotted down the hallway to meet him.
Goddess. The look on her face brought him to his knees. The glorious light of the moon could not compare to her angelic face.
He reached out and cupped her soft porcelain cheek with his rough palm. Her eyes were outlined in black like they had been the day before. Her black hair brushed back into a ponytail. He could smell the shiny strawberry gloss on her full pink lips and he fought against the urge to lick it all off.
Her eyes were bright, her smile wide, but it all turned to a frown when she withdrew from his touch and took his paw in her hands. She turned it over, examining the still tender, rough flesh and scabbed-over nail beds. Gentle fingers brushed over his rough, once shredded flesh, sending sparks to shoot up his arm and delightful shivers to dance along his spine.
She looked up at him with wide eyes. “What did you do?”
He reached up with his other damaged paw and cupped her face in both palms as he drew her closer and leaned his forehead against hers.
Emotion huffed from him as he stroked her hair without fear of hurting her with his claws.
He couldn’t tell her how utterly insane he went when she left and, in a way, he was glad because it would only upset her. How could he possibly sleep when instinct drove him to try and break free and run to her?
At least the new moon has come and gone, he reminded himself.
He hoped they could break the curse soon and seal the bond before the next new moon. He didn’t know if he’d be able to hold himself back a second time.
“Are you still struggling?” she asked softly.
He nodded. He knew he would feel more like himself once the light from the sliver of moon touched him tonight. He was simply happy to see her and know that she missed him as much as he missed her.
More than anything, he wanted to see that smile again. She was looking at him differently. Looking at him in such a way that made his heart surge with joy, sparking butterflies to dance in his gut, and warmth to spread down and curl his toes.
His throat rumbled his pleasure
“Last night was rough for me too. I was hoping I’d see you...”
A blush warmed her cheeks as she pulled away, her gaze lowered, a smile playing on her lips.
Beautiful. She was so beautiful and didn’t even know it.
“Can I let you out now?” She swallowed and lifted her gaze to meet his.
Those eyes... How could he say no when she looked up at him with such sorrow and longing? How could he look away or refuse when her soul called out to him every time those amazing gemstones gazed back at him? Stealing the air from his lungs and making his heart race, while at the same time feeling as though time stopped and nothing else mattered but her and this moment.
Squeezing his eyes shut, he lowered his head and pressed it to hers again as he drew in a haggard breath through his mouth—her scent too powerful for him to contain himself.
The worst of it was over, though he still wanted to sink his teeth into her flesh and take her like a wolf.
We’ve come so far.
Just look at her.
He drew back, her head cradled in the rough pads of his paw, and gazed at the contentment splayed out on her face. Her forehead smooth, eyebrows relaxed, lips slightly curved up, and her eyes lazily fluttering open to meet his.
She’ll say it when she’s good and ready.
He licked her cheek, making that smile spread wider.
Instead of wasting away the time he could be spending with her outside, he finally gave her a nod. He’d had enough. He wanted out of this cage he put himself in.
Straightening up, she called to her father and Alexander came. He looked him over with narrowed eyes and nostrils sniffing deeply before he unlocked the door and slid it open.
Crystal wasted no time running into his arms and burying her face into his chest and heaving a sigh.
Closing his eyes, he leaned his head down to nuzzle her neck. Lightly, he licked the place he’d mark her when she was ready and cherished this moment, knowing that she would break the curse any day now. She just needed to speak the words of her heart when they came to her.