Chapter Twenty Three.

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We left my parents in the hotel room.

I could tell how badly dad was itching to be a part of this. How badly he wanted to be needed and useful, but I made sure he knew that I know how badly he wants to help and that I appreciated him all the same. I've never asked him before if he misses Castrum, but something tells me that he does.

Walking back into Castrum, knowing now that Dalton hadn't chosen to up and abandon me, but that he was actually on his way back to me when he was captured, was hard. I don't know this place without him, and I don't want to.

I can't believe I wasted so much time. I'll never forgive myself for doubting him if I'm too late...The thought makes my stomach ache and Pedro holds my hands beside me as we ride the elevator up to his suite. "We are getting him back." He whispers to me.

"How?" I snap, then lower my eyes, ashamed. "I'm sorry, I'm just-."

"I'm worried too." Pedro kisses the side of my head. "We have to remain strong and we will get through this together. Dalton's a fighter. He is going to be ok."

I don't say it out loud, but that's what worries me most. Even if it weren't too late yet, Dalton has trouble with authority. I don't know if he can keep his smart mouth shut, even if it means keeping himself alive.

Thinking of his mouth just sends on a whole new wave of fear and nausea. He has to be ok. He has to. I don't want to know a Castrum de Petra where Dalton doesn't exist. It doesn't feel right, and it won't until I have him back here.

My mind spins, searching for a clue or a way. Anything that could be helpful. Hell, for once a vision would be nice. One that helps instead of confusing me more.

I decide then.

I've got to trigger one, even if it means I won't like what I see.

I've got to know one way or another.

Pedro goes into his room to meet with Mathew and Fallon. I see her has the door shuts, looking for me, but I can't fill her in right now. I have to be doing something. I can't feel useless anymore.

I turn sharply to my own room. The last place I was with Dalton. The last place I might ever be with Dalton. I push those thoughts aside, but I hear my door catch behind me.

"Rose?" Lance sticks his head in, then follows me over to the bed.

My heart sinks when I see him. I don't have time for this. Dalton doesn't have time for this. "Yes?"

He shuffles on his feet, uncomfortable. "I just-." He can't find the words and I look down with guilt. "What was going on with you and Dalton? I mean, did I miss something?"

"Lance, I can't right now." I sigh and he bites his lip.

He looks away, focusing on the far wall instead of me. "Rose, you know I have feelings for you, right?" He shrugs his shoulders. "I mean, I thought we were on the same page, but now I feel like I've totally missed something. Or misread."

I stand, my heart and my head at odds with each other. "I care about you too, Lance." I admit. "And I do know how you feel about me. And a year ago, or even a few months ago I would have been over the moon to hear those things from you. I had a crush on you for years. But things are different now."

His eyes just stare, unblinking. "Because of him?"

"I don't know, Lance." I shake my head. "Maybe, but maybe because of me. I just don't know where my feelings are at right now, and until I can be sure he's safe, I can't let my mind go anywhere else. I'm sorry."

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