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Walking Away

I flinched when Aric announced his intention to marry me, and judging by the look his mother flashed me, she wasn’t too pleased with the idea either.

While Aric made his proclamations, I tried to catch his eye, but he was so on taking control he never looked her way.

Now that all the other’s were gone, and the only people left in the room were us, his mother and sister, Lady Leanor finally let loose her pent up .

“Why did you do that?” she hissed, turning angrily on him.

“Do what?” Aric asked, looking confused.

“You announced your engagement to Liberty!!” she yelled, waving her arm at me. “She is a former pet! And your father's plaything! You cannot make her your lady!”

Hearing her words hurt worse than anything I'd ever experienced before. She was right, I wasn't the one Aric needed at his side while he tried to gain control over the wreck his father had made.

All of the positive feelings I'd had when I'd awoken a vampire drained out of me as Aric raged back at his mother.

Their screams became more belligerent and heated, each using their words to cut the other to the bone.

Silently, I stepped from Aric's arms and slipped out of the room.

In the hallway I saw Henry speaking with Emily and a few of the other lesser royals I had seen sitting at the table. Not wishing to speak to any of them, I turned around and walked in the other direction.

Wiping the tears that ran down my cheek, I walked blindly through the halls looking for the elevator or even stairs.

I had to get away from here, from Aric. He would be a better leader without me making things more difficult for him.

"My lady," I heard a familiar voice call.

Turning, I saw Aida walking towards me.

"Please," I breathed, shaking my head. "Don't call me that."

"Ma'am?" the older woman asked looking confused.

"I can't be Aric's wife," I sniffed, looking at my friend. "I'm a pet, a plaything. I would ruin him."

"No," Aida soothed, wrapping me in a tight hug, "you give Lord Aric strength.

"He defied his father and started a war for you," she said. "Never, in a hundred years, would I have believed him capable of such a thing until you came along."

Hearing her words of encouragement brought me to my knees as sobs wracked my body. Aric had risked everything for me and I was planning on repaying him by running away.

"What about Lady Leanor?" I asked, looking up into her caring eyes. "She hates me."

"She doesn't hate you," Aida sighed, brushing my cheek dry. "She's just worried that with so many changes going on, that someone will try to use your past against him."

"I never wanted any of this," I said, looking at her. "All I ever wanted was to survive.

"When I was chosen for the hunt and Aric caught me, I figured that was how I would die. But he wasn't anything like I thought. He had his moments where he scared me, but the rest of the time he was kind and gentle."

"Lord Aric was always a kind soul," Aida sighed, thinking back to when she'd first met him.

"I love him," I admitted, not just to Aida, but to myself. "I don't want to leave."

"Then stay," she said, rising to her feet. "Stay and give him your strength. Ignore what anyone else says, be here for him."

Taking her offered hand, I let her pull me to my feet and wiped away my tears. She was right. Aric had turned his world upside down to save me,

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