A Gift from the Goddess Chapter 79

Warm. 

It was so warm.

Everything around me felt like it was burning, our skin already flushed enough from the training just prior.

…And I wanted more.

With one hand tangled through his dark hair, my other was tracing slowly down the front of his chest, feeling every muscle under my touch. And Goddess was it flawless. His body moulded against mine perfectly, as if it had been made to fit there.

… This is wrong,‘ a voice whispered inside.

And yet that thought only seemed to excite me further.

It felt a million times better than I thought it would, his mouth moving hungrily as it responded against mine. His lips softer than I would have ever imagined.

…Stop…

There was a sense of urgency, a sense of need as I clung to him, pressing myself up against him closer, desperately searching for as much contact as possible.

… You need to stop.’

No, I really shouldn‘t have wanted this, wanted him, but it was like a flood gate of buried emotions unexpectedly poured out, mixing with new ones I hadn‘t even noticed before. And the result was a desire shooting through me that felt insatiable.

His body then shifted under me, trying to sit up and I moved back to allow it, giving him the space he‘d need to get himself free without leaving too much distance.

But it was as he tried to bring his hands out to touch me, probably having momentarily forgotten the cuffs were even there, that I suddenly realised what was happening.

As the metal from the silver dagger loudly sounded out against the handcuffs, it was as if someone had just thrown a bucket of cold water over me.

….ENOUGH!

….And I immediately pulled myself away.

“Give me a second…,” Aleric said quietly as he began to free himself. He hadn‘t even realised my abrupt change in mood yet.

But, without waiting, I quickly stood up and took a few shaky steps backwards.

“…Aria?” Aleric asked, looking up at me now confused.

“I–I made a mistake,” I said, my heart still pounding heavily, my head cloudy.

…And I knew I‘d messed up badly.

Because nothing about our situation had changed. I still didn‘t know his future, I didn‘t know what would happen to him, or if there was some sort of trigger that would set him down the same path… I still couldn‘t trust him implicitly. Not entirely.

In fact, the only thing I‘d learnt about our situation over the last few months was that there were now even more factors from both inside and around us that were completely unknown. Especially that one ever-nagging issue….Power,

I‘d already once seen what his drive to achieve that had cost. Seen just what he was willing to sacrifice in order to reach that status.

…Who was to say what he‘d eventually be willing to do this time?

Was it just waiting inside his core, ready to change him into that power–hungry man once more without

any moment‘s notice? When dealing with the abilities of a Goddess, who could say for sure?

I‘d made a deal with him to keep our relationship professional for that exact reason. A way to avoid any conflict of interest should the worst–case scenario happen in the future.

And somehow I‘d already ruined it.

…Somehow I‘d almost fallen into yet another mistake, one that could have also had severe impacts on the pack… just like it had with Cai.

“What are you talking about?” he said, slowly standing up.

“1-I mean… I shouldn‘t have done that. That‘s not… That‘s not something we should do.”

“Seriously?”

But I didn‘t want to get into that argument now. No, I just wanted to leave. There was nothing good that would result from talking about any of this the day before my birthday.

And so I quickly turned around to walk away… only his voice called out after me.

“I don‘t get it, Aria. I really don‘t,” he said, frustration thick in his voice. “You made it clear that you wanted nothing to do with me in that way and I understood why that was.

I completely respected it. I didn‘t question it because, given everything you‘ve apparently been through, it would be stupid of me to think that I‘d ever have a chance. How could I when some bastard already well and truly f#cked that up for me?”

My heart was racing but I kept walking. I needed to remain strong and leave.

“So how am I meant to convince myself that you don‘t want me now? Not even the tiniest bit? … How the hell do I just let it go after you k!ss me like that?”

“I said it was a mistake, Aleric!” I yelled, turning back around. “I–I don‘t even know what I want… but I know being with you potentially jeopardises this pack if one day I can‘t make an impartial decision between you or their best interest.

I‘ve already seen a future where I‘ve given myself to you and seen what you did with that. You think I‘m stupid enough to let that happen again?”

“…So that‘s it then? This is what our future will look like together? Barely trusting one another, silently wondering if the other person will rip the carpet out from under them at any second?”

i bit my lip but remained silent, not having an answer for that.

“Actually, you know what? No. F#ck you, Aria,” he said, taking a step back. “I‘ve done everything humanly possible to prove to you that I‘m not him That I’m worth your trust and respect. And now.., this? You lead me on and then rub salt in the wounds for shit that isn‘t even my fault? Things from a past that I have no control over? Yeah, no… I‘m done.”

I could feel my blood rushing through my body furiously, my anger now tipping over the edge. It was fueled only more on from the emotional rollercoaster that had just occurred.

“Oh, you‘re done, are you? Just like that? After everything we‘ve prepared?” I spat back, seeing red. “So then am I taking this as your confirmation that you no longer want to manage the pack together? Because you should tell me that now. It‘ll be good to get that sort of information out in the open so I realise just

how lucky I am for walking away. Actually, I wish you‘d told me sooner. Because if I‘d wanted to make yet another catastrophic mistake by sleeping with someone, Aleric, I could have just run away to the Silver Lake pack for that.”

… That seemed to do it.

Aleric‘s eyes instantly turned dark and the loudest snarl ripped through his chest, an aura coming off him that would have made any lower ranks fall to their knees. He was angry to the point his wolf was now visible at the surface.

And I knew my words were a low blow. In fact, I instantly regretted what I‘d said. Somehow, I couldn‘t seem to help it though. It had left my mouth before I could stop it, being said purely out of my anger.

But seeing his reaction, his own fury and manner… well, it only succeeded in sweeping a sense of calm throughout my body. Immediately, all my anger left me as I stood before him, looking him up and down. The only thing he‘d managed to do was further reiterate one thing for me…

And that was that I was making the right decision.

“Case in point,” I muttered and quickly turned around, walking out the room before I said anything else I‘d regret.

However, the second the door closed behind me, an onslaught of anxiety and guilt immediately began to drown me.

…Why the hell had I just done that?

‘Because he‘s a lethal threat. A potential danger to himself and others,‘ the voice inside reminded me.

Oh, great.

I had almost missed it in the clutter of events earlier… but it appeared she was back, having taken the most opportune moment to return.

I fervently wished she would have just stayed gone since now was definitely not the time for her to be filling my head. No, I needed to figure out what to do next in light of everything that just happened.

‘I can handle this myself, thank you,‘ I hissed back internally, continuing on my way. I needed to cool down before deciding on my next move.

Inside my quarters I found Lucy walking about, organising a few things for me before tomorrow. She was kept extremely busy these days so it was rare to see her around.

“Miss?” she greeted, looking up in surprise at my appearance. “Is everything okay?”

But talking to anyone about it yet was the last thing I wanted right now.

“Can you please go and collect my bag and dagger from the gym at some point today? I left in a hurry and seem to have forgotten them.”

She looked as though she wanted to query me about it further but thankfully kept quiet, acknowledging my request with just a bow of her head.

And with that, I headed straight for my bedroom to rest for a while, now exhausted from everything that had transpired; including using my abilities. It was a room for privacy… and welling in my own regret.

I‘d somehow made things even worse than just the k!ss. Lashing out at him for what he said wasn‘t remotely called for, especially when I knew he was probably right. Or, at least, he was justified in what he was saying from his perspective.

Truthfully, I didn‘t even know if it was him I was so angry at. I had been keeping a barrier between us, purposely ensuring that I didn‘t get that* close, and now the thought of suddenly losing that protection scared me. Like I was grasping at any excuse to keep that distance, even though he really did appear to be different.

It seemed I‘d been pushing him away so forcibly that I hadn‘t even realised what had been happening inside me. Blinded to even the smallest possibility that I might have been getting too close. And now I‘d found out in the worst possible way after giving in to the desire all at once. A shock to say the least.

But then… what even was that? Just a momentary lapse in judgement or…? When had I even begun to see him that way again?

I brought a hand up to my lips absentmindedly, remembering how it felt. Remembering how his mouth had responded to mine…

And a burning flushed through my body.

After tomorrow.

I‘ll deal with these new… thoughts after tomorrow. For now, I just needed to cool off for a bit before I go and apologise to Aleric. I needed to fix what I‘d messed up so badly.

But as I thought about going to seek him out to talk, I became conscious of just how tired I‘d already become, my eyes quickly becoming heavy against my own will. I should have realised sooner that using my abilities to that extent with the collar still on would have had this side effect.

Okay, fine then.

I‘d have one small nap… and then…

The sound of heels clicking inside an empty hallway roused me from my sleep, waking me up to find myself standing inside the pack hospital.

The attached rooms were darkening, early night beginning to fall already outside as was evident from the few windows I could see.

…But how did I even get here?

I looked around for the source of the noise only to find Lucy walking, heading in the direction of my mother‘s office.

“Lucy?” I called out to her.

No reply.

…So it seemed as though I was having a vision.

Running to catch up to her, I then followed behind, letting her lead me to whatever it was I needed to see, but it didn‘t take long for us to arrive at our destination. Soon, my mother‘s office came into sight just ahead.

But before Lucy could even make it to the door, suddenly it was pulled open… and Aleric stepped out.

“Oh, Alpha heir,” Lucy said, having jumped a little from his abrupt exit. “I wasn‘t expecting to see you….-.”

And it was then that we both slowly took in his appearance, the situation now dawning on us.

Because his hair was dishevelled, his demeanour completely on–edge… and his hands… his hands were covered in blood.

“What are you…–?” Lucy started but then Aleric moved swiftly to be in her face.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he demanded, cutting her off. He looked just about ready to rip her throat out before his face finally softened slightly in realisation. “Wait…did Thea send you here as well?”

“Alpha heir, sir… please, I–I don‘t know what‘s going on,” Lucy stuttered out, trying to take a few steps back in distress. “I just came to get Doctor Chrysalis‘ status report for the young Miss. Aria‘s been sleeping sing

…But then she caught sight of it, her head tilting to the side. Behind him, there was a crack in the door which showed what was laying ahead just beyond it. Something that brought my attention to it also.

And my blood ran cold.

I quickly ran to the door but it was no use. It seemed I was limited to only the space Aleric and Lucy were present. However, it didn‘t stop me from seeing what I needed to… seeing the bodies I needed to.

After all, the two bodies of my parents lying lifeless were hard to miss.

“… What‘s going on?” Lucy asked, now painfully aware of the danger she potentially was in, “What does this have to do with Thea?”

Aleric spun his head around to see what Lucy had been looking at and then quietly cursed under his breath.

“This is Alpha business only,” he stated, turning his dark eyes back to her. “Orders from Tytus himself for the attempted poisoning to his person. The doctor was meant to be brought in until trial but then… well, Beta Jarrod found out and it didn‘t go so amicably after.”

“But… the plan… I don‘t understand.”

“Lucy!” he barked out to try and get her to focus, his tone then shifting. “If you don‘t want me to lock you upright now in the cells then you‘ll listen to me very, very carefully. You do not tell Aria anything. Anything at all. Do I make myself clear?”

…An alpha order.

Lucy couldn‘t do anything except swallow back her fear and nod feebly.

“Good. I‘ve got things I still need to… finish up here. You should leave.”

She didn‘t need to be told twice though.

Immediately, Lucy took a few shaky steps backwards to make some distance, terror wrought on her features, and, without hesitating for even a second longer, she then turned around and began walking quickly back the way she came.

“Oh, and Lucy?” Aleric yelled out after her, making her freeze mid–stride. “…You can tell Aria I need to speak to her when she wakes up.”

…And then my body lurched forward in my bed, gasping awake from the vision.

‘What the f#ck was that? What the f#ck? What the f#ck? What the f#ck?‘

I was shaking all over, a cold sweat covering me. There were just too many thoughts going through my head for me to be able to process at once.

But there was one more prominent than any other… none of this made any sense.

I looked towards the window and saw it was still somewhat sunny outside. This was good. It meant I still had time since, in the vision, the light was darkening.

Throwing myself out the bed, I did my best to hurry and leave. I needed to warn my mother and help her escape before Tylus gave the order.

But as I reached my hand out towards the handle of my front door, it was then pushed open from the other side….

And Lucy stood there.

“Lucy! Quick, we‘ve got to hurry!” I said, grabbing her hand to drag her with me.

If she was all the way here instead of near the hospital, then that was even better. It meant I had even more time.

However, under my grip Lucy barely budged, her face showing signs of anxiety. “Lucy? What‘s wrong?”

It was enough to make me finally pause for a moment, inspecting her more closely… …And, suddenly, it all seemed to click.

“…What time is it…?” | asked slowly, my heart starting to race.

She held my gaze intensely, her eyes only full of sadness. “…It‘s six in the morning, Miss,” she answered quietly. “…Today is your birthday.”

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