Waiting in Darkness

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Twenty four | Terrin

As Syn told me his story, I was filled with guilt. For decades he'd been powerless to stop those who desired him. He could do nothing but let them touch him. He never had a choice, didn't have the option to say no.

And I was just like them.

I'd never asked him if he wanted to go further. I had just assumed he would because we were mates. I'd been too wrapped up in my own lust and wants to notice his discomfort until he snapped.

Decades.

My mate spent decades as a whore for the werewolves' amusement. He had decades of animosity, of grudges, of trepidations to hold against my race and yet he had been the one put them aside and give his mate a chance, still wanted me despite what he had experienced.

And I had been the one to turn him away, to let my fears make a decision for me without giving him a chance to show me I was wrong about him. Syn had experienced our cruelty first hand, he had been subjected to it while I only had second hand knowledge.

My mate hadn't given up on me, not until I proved to him I was just like all of the others. I had wronged him like so many others and now he was done. He had lost hope for us, I realized as he unshackled me, murmuring nonsense about leaving him to go back home.

He wanted me to run away, expected me to do so. I was good at it after all, turning away from my problems instead of facing them head on.

But I wasn't going to run away anymore.

Running away is what Cleo had done to Hakota. She had run from him and hid for two years and then Hakota did the same, albeit by her request. But the physical distance between them had also widened the vast gaping hole between them spiritually and they were still having troubles bridging the gap to truly find each other.

I wouldn't let us be like them.

Walking away now wouldn't do us any good. Not when I knew we'd end up coming back together. Only if I waited until then, waited for Syn to forgive me solely on his own time, it would be ten times harder for us to be true and happy mates. I didn't want to suffer through a mending bond like Hakota and Cleo. Syn had suffered enough, as had I.

The bad outshined the good, the hurt lasted longer than happiness and if I waited, time would erase our good and strengthen the bad. I had to fix this now. Even though the betrayal and pain was still fresh so were the good parts of us.

"I don't want Heidi." I told him, looking up at him as he focused on unlocking my chains. He didn't say anything to me as he freed one wrist and then moved to the other. "She's not my mate," I said gently, "you are." Syn paused, closing his eyes and letting a breath before flashing them back open at the same time there was a click and my manacle fell free. "Aren't you going to say anything?" I asked quietly.

The lycan lifted my chin, smiling sadly at me before placing his lips on my forehead. I could feel him trembling as he pulled away, stroking my cheek with a soft touch that made my breath catch. "There's nothing left to say Terrin," he said as he pulled away, his knees popping as he stood.

Nothing left to say? There was so much to say. Too much to say. But we had never been good with words.

So I acted, springing to my feet and leaping on his turned back. My legs hooked around his waist and my arms snaked around his shoulders as my teeth sunk into his neck. We went tumbling to the ground, Syn's heavy weight crushing me as we rolled. He tried to wrestle me off but I only tightened my muscles, securing myself around him more tightly.

It was time this stupid bond actually helped someone. I was tired of it only causing problems by amplifying the bad emotions. It was time it strengthened the good ones too.

I retracted my teeth from my mate's skin, and relaxed my hold on him. Syn was able to pry me off him but rather than letting me go he grabbed hold of my shoulders and shook me roughly.

Still a bit dazed, all I could do was blink at him as he began yelling at me.

"What the hell did you just do?" He asked unnecessarily. "You marked me without my consent!" He shook me again when I didn't respond. "What were you thinking Terrin?"

"You'd have refused if I asked," I said simply, drawing the back of my hand across my mouth, to wipe away the blood. I pulled my legs in closer to me.

"Which is exactly why you shouldn't have done it!" Syn shouted.

"No, that's precisely why I should have done it," I corrected him. "We can not afford to pull apart any further and now our completed marking won't let us."

"What in the name of Lune is wrong with you?" He breathed, "I told you to go home Terrin!"

"I'm already home Syn. You are my mate, my home is with you."

He froze in shock, his mouth dropping open. Red crept up his neck and colored his cheeks. "You can't just say stuff like that!" Syn exclaimed once he recovered his wits, his entire face flushed in embarrassment. "I'm letting you go Terrin, just like you've wanted and now you pull this shit? Do you think this is easy for me?" He was ranting, trying to cover up his frazzled reaction.

I nearly swooned, my mate was just too adorable all flustered and embarrassed by a few words. I reached up and brushed my thumbs across his pink cheeks. Again my action made my mate halt. "Did you really think I was just going to let you walk away?" I cooed, "You know I never do what you want Syn."

"What is wrong with you?" Syn demanded, swatting my hands away. "Why are you acting like this?"

I know that my soft teasing tone and matching gestures were confusing the hell out of him. I never acted so sweet towards him but his reactions told me I had guessed right.

Syn desperately wanted someone to care for him, to cherish him and treat him like a lover. He wanted to be pampered, and he wanted sweet words and actions to assure him. He wanted a love he'd never received. In his past, every touch had been aimed not for his pleasure or comfort but the person touching him. He knew brutal and hungry, not soft and gentle. All of those times in the past I had assumed he wanted hot and fierce, it hadn't crossed my mind that it was all he knew. I had responded in kind because he was powerful, strong and authoritative and I had figured he needed a love to match. I had been wrong though, Syn was tired of the wild and unrelenting responses. He desired something more pure.

And my mate deserved everything he dreamed of. He deserved to be held lovingly and to be told sweet nothings. "Syn," I said calmly, reaching for his hand. When my fingers grazed his knuckles he drew in a sharp breath and flinched away. I paused, staring into his eyes as I tried again, this time he let me grab his hand. I brought it to the mark on my neck and then placed my own on his neck, my hand covering the still raw and bloody wound. The lycan's breathing grew ragged and I worried he’d panic so with my free hand I grabbed his other, our fingers aligning before I curled them, lacing them together. "Hakota told me that the bond makes it easy to feel your mate's emotions. In our case we won't be able to lie about how we feel anymore. And right now I know that you aren't ready to let me go," my voice dropped below a whisper, "that you don't want to."

His heavy breathing hitched as I leaned into him, my forehead against his chest. "And even if your lips still want to lie to me, this," I said bringing our entwined hands to his heart, "This can't lie to me. Every time I touch you, I can feel the way it quickens." I closed my eyes and just listened to the melodic thumping of his heart.

"This doesn't mean anything," Syn's baritone voice washed over me. My eyes cracked open but I did not move my head. I kept my ear pressed against his chest, feeling the way the vibrations of his voice coursed through me. "This need for my mate is beyond my control. It doesn't mean I automatically love you Terrin."

I smiled sadly and squeezed our fingers tighter together, "No it doesn't," I agreed, "but we already established you love me."

"Are you serious?" Syn's voice rumbled but he made no move to push me off him. His hand was still warm on my neck, encasing his visible claim on me. His hand was heavy, comforting and protecting. "You think that still applies?"

I sighed and kissed his skin before tilting my head up to meet the eyes of the lycan who was staring back down at me. "No," I admitted. I knew he was too hurt to feel that way, not when he felt other things stronger now. But it was there, love didn't disappear with a few words. "But you said it before," I reminded him. "If you said it once, you can say it again." I sat up, lifting my hand from his neck only so I could replace it with my lips. I kissed him softly, murmuring against his skin, "I will make you say it again." I pulled away slightly, letting his hand go so as I leaned back I could let my hands run across his shoulder, rising and falling over the muscles of his arms. I watched my hands glide down and turn his wrists so our palms would press together. With our hands pressed together I raised them between us, letting our callouses roughly scrape together as I shifted my hands over his. "I will prove I didn't want to hear it only one time," I rotated my hand the other way, "I want to hear it for the rest of my life," I confessed before moving my touch back up his arms and across his shoulders, my fingers splaying down across his powerful shoulder blades that flexed as my hands brushed over them to his spine. My fingers grazed over the bumps, leading back up to his neck and up the column on his neck my thumbs pressed gently by his temples, my hands cupping the back of his head.

"And how to do plan to make me make the same mistake twice?" Syn was breathless. I knew touch was important to him. Even if he had been abused with it before, scarred from those experiences, he craved this kind of comfort from his mate. It relaxed him, consoled him.

"Don't be cruel Syn," I scolded him, "it wasn't a mistake." I pressed my fingers firmly into his skin, making him wince and duck his head to ease the pressure, bringing his face closer to mine. "And you will say it again," I promised him, "because it's the only way you'll get me to say it again." We were so close, our breathes mingling, that it was hard for me to keep my gaze off his lips and trained on his eyes.

"Again?" His warm breath fanned across my cheeks. "But you've never–"

I closed the distance between us, whispering out the words before sealing our mouths together in a lip-lock, "I love you Syn."

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