Let's check in on Atria and her unexpected visitor ;) ...

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Scene 5: Bite

A.D. 2015

"I said you would be sorry."

So he had. And so she was. She'd always been, and if he'd come to make her pay, then she would kneel before him now and pay for everything. His words probably should've scared her, but they didn't. She had never been afraid of Axel Golde. More so of herself around him.

Her heart fell to his feet as he took a step closer. Then lifted to his hands, clutching a long-stemmed rose of darkest red, as he extended it over the doorstep toward her. The dark rose in his grasp, signifying that he owned her. He released it now. Returned her to herself.

"I was wrong," he admitted as he took her hand in his, pressing the stem against her palm. "I'm the one who should be sorry. And I am."

Rain caressed his chiseled face like all the tears he'd never shed.

"I was angry. Fucking furious. Will always be," he told her bluntly. "But am sane enough by now to know it's not your fault. So I'm sorry."

Had it not been for a thorn on the stem that presently grazed Atria's palm, reminding her of all the pain she'd endured and deserved, she may have just stood there in silence forever. "Yeah. Uh... all's forgiven, or whatever."

Axel arched a brow, as if he should be surprised. "Just like that?"

"Oh, please," she replied in her best I-don't-give-a-shit voice with a roll of her eyes. "You and I both have done way worse in the past. Fucked each other up in every way we could. And gotten over it."

He let out a sad, accidentally sexy half-laugh. "I guess we have. Still feel like shit, though."

"As you should," she stated, tone half-serious. Shifting to wholly serious with her next words. In the wake of what had happened, she figured she couldn't avoid addressing some deep shit. Even if only for a minute. "But hey - I'm sorry, too. In some sick way of mine, I cared about him, and it... it is my fault, at least a little bit. I'll have to live with that, and die with it."

Axel met her gaze and held it for a while. Hard. "Yeah, me too."

The silent stare they shared quickly became too long, too hard to take.

Atria cleared her throat. "Why don't you come in; you're all wet." And so was she, because damn if he didn't look fucking delicious.

He followed her in, running a hand through his thick coppery mane, a few shades darker now from all the drenching rain. Cocked his head as he surveyed the quaintly furnished foyer. "Playing house?"

Atria had already hastened to the living room, as far away from Axel as she could, because freaking hell, no man should ever be allowed to smell that good. "Staying with someone for a while," she explained, quick to dispel any suggestive suspicions before he could voice them. "It isn't like that."

"Like what?" he asked, as if he didn't know just what she'd meant, still at a safe distance away.

Then all of a sudden - shit! She could feel, could almost taste his presence just behind her. Had to grit her teeth against the urge to turn around and taste him up and down. Ugh. Goddamned gorgeous motherfucker and the wicked things he did to her. How had he moved so fast, without a sound?!

Because he was a fucking animal. Of course.

His lips were at her ear. Luscious. Lethal. "... Like this?"

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