Chapter XIV - Talking Polar Bears

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Darius didn't come home for dinner last night. I came to bed a little after 11 pm and he's still not home. Not that I was waiting for him. Nope.

I wake up this morning with a big strong arm around my waist and a big warm body lying next to mine. I lift my head up to find him staring at me broodingly in the soft, subdued morning light.

His pale blond hair is sticking up everywhere. The lower half of his face is covered by morning stubble. Morning stubble looks hot on him.

"Hi," I whisper, then I clear my throat. My voice is croaky in the morning.

"Hey," he says. His voice is deep and husky, but unlike me, he sounds totally sexy.

"When did you get in?" I ask him, still half whispering.

"Around two this morning."

"Where did you go?" I feel like a nagging wife as soon as the question comes out of my mouth, but he surprised me by answering, "I went for a run."

His pink lower lip is shoved forward almost into a pout and his thick eyebrows are drawn down, but his light blue eyes are studying my every feature intently like I was the most fascinating thing in the world.

It makes me nervous, so I lower my eyes and study the medallion resting on his bare chest instead. It's made of a black metal. It's engraved with a raised profile of a lycan's head with three stars above it. There are a few symbols that I don't understand underneath it. It actually looks like a nobility crest. Maybe this is his family crest? I've seen some of the crests at the Banehallow Palace.

I gingerly touch the medallion and I feel like he stops breathing for a second. I feel him watching me as I let my finger trace the raised engraving on the metal. I feel his hand that's now resting on my hip tightening and his Adam's apple moves as he swallows. The heat from his hand on my hip burn through the thin fabric of my pajama bottom, sending delicious need straight to my core.

The air around us seems to grow heavy and I'm feeling nervous all of a sudden. Nervous Penny is not good. Nervous Penny tends to blab inappropriate things sometimes. So I say the first thing that comes to mind, "sooo.... do you have nightmares every night?" I have been wondering about this for a couple of days now.

"Almost every night, yeah," he answers, his voice comes out huskier than before.

"How long have you been getting them?" My finger keeps toying with the medallion. This time I move up to trace the thin black chain against his skin.

I hear his heartbeat speeds up and his draws in a ragged breath. It takes a while for him to answer. He swallows hard before he says, "a long time."

My own breathing grows shallow and fast, and I clenched my thighs together, but I keep going. "How long?" Gosh, I have to keep talking to keep myself from imagining all sorts of things I want him to do to me...or things I want to do to him. Which is not happening. Nope.

"Years. Years and years."

Asking for information from this guy is like trying to win one of those little soft toys from the claw machine thingy.

"You've been having nightmares almost every night for years and years?"

"It wasn't this bad before...it's just gotten worse." That answer leaves a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach all of a sudden and I pull my hand back down. Did it start getting worse three years ago?

"What are the nightmares about?"

"It's nothing, Persephone," he says in frustration.

As if he realized how abrasive his answer sounded, he adds, "it's just always the same thing now. Just the same nightmare."

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