Chapter 65 –Dreams & Expectations– Raine's POV

When we returned home, pent up emotion flowed through me strongly. Too much had happened over the last few days. I wasn't ready to go to bed. I knew sleep wouldn't find me anytime soon. Alaric sensed my mood and suggested, "Would you like a glass of wine? We can sit on the balcony for a while."

I nodded appreciatively. He disappeared into the kitchen and I made my way to our private balcony. It was quite large with comfortable seating. I sank down onto a plush bisque-colored couch and gratefully eased my feet out of my six inch stiletto heels.

When he returned, I was startled for just a moment to find he had removed his shirt. I guessed he also wanted to get comfortable. He settled next to me and handed me a glass of wine. He bent his knee and rested his foot on the nearby ottoman. I noticed he had removed his shoes and socks as well.

Neither of us spoke for a moment. The only sound was the ice in his glass clinking together as he swirled the bourbon absentmindedly. I sipped the wine appreciatively.

After a moment, he asked quietly, "What happened?"

The tone of his voice caused anxiety to run through me. I whispered, "What do you mean?"

"Tonight. And in the weeks before you came here. It is clear now that there was much more between you and Micage than just sex. I want you to tell me what happened," he explained. There was a hard edge to his voice, and I suspected this conversation was not optional.

"Why would you want to know that?" I breathed. From my personal experience, most current boyfriends didn't want to chat about their significant other's ex.

"Our situation is unique, to say the least. Now I understand why you were so panicked when I told you Armand and Cage would be attending our mating ceremony. You let me believe you were worried about Armand, but that wasn't the case, was it?"

"No," I whispered honestly, not exactly sure what to say.

His jaw tightened as he processed my answer. He asked, "How far had your relationship progressed, before you realized you were promised to me?"

Oh shit. I hesitated and bit my lip.

The longer it took me to reply, the darker his features became. He demanded, "How far?"

I breathed, barely above a whisper, "My lineage was revealed at the beginning of our mating ceremony."

"Fuck!" he exhaled. He stood to his feet, his drink still in hand, and paced to the other side of the balcony.

"Alaric, please..." I pleaded for him to understand.

He refused to look at me.

I crossed the balcony and touched his bare shoulder tentatively.

He still didn't turn to face me. He set down his glass of bourbon, and growled low in frustration as he stared out into the night, "Our circumstances are unchangeable. If it were within my power to release you...Maybe I would. Maybe I wouldn't. At this point, I honestly don't know."

His words took me off guard. I had assumed he would want his freedom as much as I would.

Finally, he spun around. His hands gripped my hips possessively, and he continued fiercely, "But I cannot change what is going to happen,  and you belong to me now, not him!"

Tears breached my eyelashes. Struggling to maintain my breathing over the frantic anxiety in my chest, I gasped, "I am trying. Really I am. I don't know how to do this! I don't know how to change my heart!"

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