Prey

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Memories So Painful

"My mom," I gasped, suddenly realizing I hadn't thought about her since my brief letter.

Turning to Aric in panic, I could barely get the words out.

"I have to go to her!!" I panted. "I don't want her to find out about what happened to me from anyone else.

"Please Aric," I begged, tears forming in my eyes.

"Of course my love," he replied, reaching up to wipe the tears from my cheeks. "We can take the plane and be there in forty-five minutes."

Hearing the word 'plane', I felt my knees buckle at the memory of the last time I'd been on the plane with Lord Lothaire.

Seeming to realize his mistake, Aric grabbed me around the waist and held me close as I started shaking at the memory.

Despite Januarius' blessing of peace, the memory terrified me. All the things I'd been subjected to at Lothaire's hand flashed through my mind as if they were happening again.

"Liberty," Aric whispered, "I'm sorry."

I couldn't stop the sobs that escaped as I wrapped my arms around his body, my nails digging into his back, searching for something to anchor me to the present.

"What's wrong?" his mother asked, seeming to be confused by my reaction.

"Father brought her here in the plane," Aric explained, hissing as my nails dug in harder.

"Oh dear," Lady Leanor gasped.

"I don't know the details, and after speaking with Aida I don't want to," Aric replied, stroking my hair as my body shook painfully.

"Liberty," he whispered, his cheek pressed against the top of my head. "It's going to be alright.

"Hey," he added, trying to make his voice sound cheerful, "maybe we could bring your mom here. Do you think she would like that?"

"Maybe," I sniffled, wiping my face against his shirt front before looking up into his beautiful eyes, " but I really want to go home."

"I can't leave Seattle right now," Aric said, smiling down at me, his hand caressing my cheek, "but if you want, I can ask Henry or Emily to drive you back."

"No," I gasped, clinging to him tighter. The thought of being that far away from him made me ill.

"Then it's settled," he said, looking to his mother. "Could you make the arrangements?"

"Of course," Lady Leanor replied with a smiling nod, reaching out to rest her hand on my shoulder.

"Liberty," she added, her voice soft and soothing. "Would you come with me while I do that? I think it's time you and I got to know each other, and I know Aric has a lot of administrative problems to deal with."

I looked up into Aric's eyes, wondering if he minded.

"Go with my mother," he urged me with his own soft smile, "I will be close if you need me."

"Okay," I nodded, rising on my toes to kiss his cheek before reluctantly stepping out of his warm embrace.

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