Chapter 23: Janice P.O.V
God, I hated when James was depressed.
But now, it wasn't just James. It was everyone. And everyone depressed is even worse than everyone panicked, or scared, or miserable - because when you're panicked and scared and miserable, you still have hope.
None of us had any hope now.
We just knew what Natalie had to do.
And, although Dwennon was dead and we knew we could save Theo (so there was a little bit of joy in that), none of us liked the decision that Natalie was now forced to make.
It was early in the morning, maybe four or five o'clock. When James went to burn Dwennon, all of us ended up coming outside to hold hands by the bonfire.
If only it were just a bonfire, and not the execution of a traitor.
None of us wanted to go back inside.
Natalie was sobbing through the whole thing. At least, when we were looking through the book, we might have been able to find a cure. But there was no cure to weakness. And so, now we all sat in front of the rig, looking at Theo, not speaking.
None of us wanted to tell Natalie to just get it over with, because we couldn't. We had wanted this to come happily, a decision willingly made, and it didn't even come close.
I was still alive, but barely.
Weak, dehydrated, and hallucinating, I floated through bright green fields, over lakes and canyons, stood atop of the Eiffel Tower.....
It's funny what happens when you're dying.
I couldn't believe it.
And somehow, I knew that it was all my fault.
If I had told him sooner, if I hadn't kept my secret from him, if I had just trusted him like I should have, then Ashley wouldn't have kidnapped me, she wouldn't have gotten to Theo, and he wouldn't be dying right now.
I walked over to Theo, running a hand over his still soft (albeit sunken) cheeks. If I could cry, I would have, but my eyes were red and raw and my eyelids were swollen, and the tears would no longer flow.
"Do you need a moment?" Emma asked, standing.
"That'll be great," I choked out.
Slowly, everyone left.
And then it was just me and Theo.
I threw my arms around his neck and cried softly into his shoulder. The tears would not flow, but the sobs still racked my body.
I felt Theo stir underneath me, and I looked up. "Natalie?" he asked, softly, his voice a dry crackle.
"Yes, Theo. It's me. I'm so sorry!" I sobbed. "If I hadn't been so stupid, so weak, so afraid, then you wouldn't be here! This is all my fault, I, I-" I stopped trying to talk and just cried, cried into his shoulder like the weak person I was.
"It's not your fault," he wheezed. "If anyone's, it's mine. I shouldn't have let Ashley manipulate me like that, even if she was a siren, I should have called for the pack and....."
He trailed off, and I continued to cry. There was nothing else I could do.
"Natalie?" he asked again.
He sighed. "I know what you have to do," he croaked. "I guess that, ever since you told me you were a werewolf, I knew that it was going to happen eventually. And, truly? I'm cool with it. Don't worry. I'll be fine."
I looked up at him, surprised. "Are you sure?"
He nodded slowly. "Just get it over with. The faster you do it, the faster I can be with you again."
Before I had time to react, he tilted his head down and kissed me. After a few seconds he pulled away, and closed his eyes.
A tear, one that I had thought wouldn't flow, dripped down my cheek nonetheless.
"I love you."
I started sobbing again, but I managed to choke out, "I love you too!"
Not being able to stand it anymore, I bit him.
I heard Natalie shout, "I love you too!" but after that there was no warning.
It happened so fast.
Her teeth sank into my neck, and the pain of the skin cutting made me cry out. I bit my lip and bore it, but then she withdrew and fled, sobbing, from the room.
I opened my eyes.
That was it?
All this fuss, the tears, the hysteria, all for one bite?