I wasn’t expecting the answer I received from the doctor; I wasn’t even aware the bond could be
damaged, Sure I was used to the pain, but to know he hurt our bond? Nothing felt lessened to me. I still
felt for Valen despite not wanting to, still craved him despite hating everything about him. I just wanted to
go home and snuggle my son, smell his scent and let him soothe my racing mind.
Yet the way Valen looked at me, I could see his fear clearly etched onto his face. Could see how much
the doctor’s words scared him as he pressed his face into my neck. Valen finally understood the weight
of actions, and I could tell the burden was heavy for him to carry. His grip on my arms was tight like he
thought I was about to drop dead before his eyes. My heart twisted painfully in my chest with the way his
voice cracked as he spoke.“You want me to beg? I will fucking beg,” Valen told me before dropping on
his knees. He clutched my legs, and if the wall wasn’t behind me, I would have toppled over. I could feel
his warm breath caress over the skin under my blouse where it had ridden up. I felt the shake of his
shoulders and knew he was falling apart. I know I shouldn’t feel bad for him after everything he had
done, and maybe it was the bond, but the way spoke told me he knew the pain of losing a mother even if
he didn’t know her. I wondered what sort of man he would be if she raised him. Would he be the mate I
needed him to be, the father he needed to be for our son?
Most of all, I wondered If I could ever forgive him, even if it was only for Valarian.
” Please, if not for yourself. Do it for Valarian, don’ t leave him because of me, don’t do that to our son,”
He choked out, and before I could stop myself, I ran my fingers through his wanting to soothe the agony I
could hear bleeding into his voice.
“For Valarian, ” I whispered, the words not sounding my own as I thought of my son. The person in this
world that held all my broken pieces together, the child I carried to terin, the child I raised and loved. The
one person who loved me back.
” Please, ” Valerian begs, and I glanced down at him to see him staring up at me. I tear my gaze away. I
promised myself I could do it on my own, and I felt like doing this meant I was giving in, tossing
everything I worked hard for away. But I wouldn’t toss my life away. I could not bear the thought of
Valarian being in this world alone without me.
“Everly?” Valen whispered, and I looked down at the man on his knees, hanging onto me like he could
somehow put me back together if he squeezed hard enough. I watched his eyes brim with tears, and my
hand moved from his hair to cup his face on instinct. His stubble was rough against my palm, and I
brushed a stray tear as he blinked, and it careened over.
“I’ll do anything, but don’t make him grow up without a mum, ” Valen whispered, and his lip quivered as
he leaned into my hand before kissing my palm, sparks danced across it, and I bit my lip and looked
away from the broken man before me.
“I mark you, that doesn’t mean you own me, and you don’t force my hand,”
“I promise, ” He says, pulling away and I snort, my own tears spilling when I look back down, and he is
holding out his pinky.
“I’ll even pinky promise,”
“You know you can’t break one of those. They are sacred, ” I chuckle. He nods before standing, and I
look up at him.
“You won’t use your Alpha voice on me. You won’t mark me unless I let you,” I ask him, but he shakes his
“I won’t promise not to mark you, I won’t watch you wither away because you are too stubborn, I won’t let
you get to that point Everly, so don’t ask me to promise you that, ask for anything else but that,”
“But if I mark you, you can just turn around and do the same,” I tell him.
“I won’t. I can promise you not today, though?” he asked, and I sighed. He holds his pinky up and
wiggles it, and I roll my eyes.
“I promise to make it up to you; I promise to not use my Alpha voice on you anymore if you promise to
mark me before we leave this apartment, ” I chewed my lip while considering what to do, but he was
right, I would be killing myself out of stubbornness if I refused. And if I refused, he would probably mark
me anyway and take his chances.
” Everly?” Valen said, pressing closer , so his chest pressed against mine. He held his pinky up, and I felt
my lips try to tug in the corners over the silly little thing I had with Valarian.
“Okay, ” I tell him, gripping it with mine. Valen lets out a breath and dips his face toward mine and I press
further into the wall I am caged against. His nose skims across my cheek to my ear. My heart thumps
erratically in my chest at what I agreed to.
“Thank you,” he whispers next to my ear. His scent overwhelmed my senses, and I leaned into him,
soaking up his scent and inhaling deeply. When I felt his hand slip into my hair. A shiver runs up my
spine, and he turns his head, offering me his neck.
“Please, Everly, just claim me. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. Just do it,” he murmurs, and I
suck in a deep, shaky breath. I could do this, right, but at the same time, I hated giving him the wrong
idea. Yet my mouth watered at his intoxicating scent, overwhelming the part of me that was denying him,
and I felt my canines slip from my gums before sinking them into his neck.
Valen gripped my hair and pressed so close I could feel every hard line of muscle that remained hidden
beneath his shirt. My teeth sink in deeply, and warmth blooms in my chest before I feel the tether binding
him to me snap in place. Valen shudders against me, and his emotions slain into me like he just slapped
Guilt, overwhelming guilt so strong I nearly choked on it. Yet also immense relief that I marked him. I
wasn’t sure what to think as my teeth pulled from his skin, and I ran my tongue across the mark, sealing
it. Valen doesn’t let me go. Instead, he leaned against me and pressed his weight against me; when he
turned his face toward mine, he leaned down, pressing his forehead against mine.
“Now you own me,” he whispers before glancing at my blood-smeared lips. He moves his hand, cupping
my face before brushing his thumb across my lip and wiping his blood off.
“Now you have my heart, and it’s your choice whether or not you break it,” He said before pressing his
lips to my cheek.
“But please don’t, ” he murmurs, and I moved my hand to the center of his chest. I could feel his heart
thumping beneath it rapidly like a hummingbird’s wings fighting against stormy winds, and he sucked in a
deep breath at my touch.
“Don’t make me have to,” I tell him before looking away. Valen nods, dropping his head on my shoulder
and inhaling my scent as he presses his face into the crook of my neck, and I had to fight the reaction my
body had when his breath swept over where his mark should be laid. Every part of me urged me toward
him and made me want to curl up on his lap and let him hug away the five years of pain, let him fill the
void that was caused by him. However, I knew that was the bond speaking and that his emotions were
bleeding into me as if they were my own.
“We should get back to Valarian, ” I tell him, and he nods before stepping back.