Chapter 11

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After Drake left, I got up from my seat and walked inside the house.

"Is he gone?"

I turned in the direction where the voice came from. Ares was leaning against the top of the kitchen island, staring at me intensely.

"Yeah," I answered in a quiet voice.

He nodded his head towards the bar stools, motioning for me to go and sit down. Hesitant, I walked over and sat on top of one.

The way he was looking at me made me kind of uncomfortable, his gaze was so focused on my features.

"Do you miss them?" Ares asked after a while.

"Who?" I furrowed my eyebrows. "My parents?"

He nodded.

"I mean, it hasn't been that long since I last saw them, so..."

"Do you realize you might never see them again?"

My eyes widened. Was he serious?

"What? Why?"

A deep sigh came out of his lips, his hands combing through his messy, black hair, which was a bit distracting, to be completely honest.

"Because they hate me and my kind, and they would want to take you away from me, which will never happen, of course. Whoever tries to come between me and my mate is a dead person, and I would prefer not to kill your parents since you obviously wouldn't appreciate that."

The seriousness in his eyes amazed me and scared me at the same time.

"And what if I wanted to go back to them?"

"You already did, and I said no."

"If you loved me, you would let me go," I said, raising an eyebrow at him.

"Maybe," Ares leaned closer, lowering his voice, "but the thing is, I don't love you."

My throat became dry, and it was like I fell to the floor, yet I was still sitting there on the stool, struggling to even exist under his gaze. Why did those words hurt me so much? I certainly didn't love him – not yet, at least –, why should he love me?

"Rhea Vancura," he whispered, his face dangerously close to mine, "I don't love you. I adore you, with my whole entire being, and even more. There are no words in the entire universe that could help me describe what I feel for you. I felt like a ghost for such a long time, then you came, and it was like you brought me back to life. I couldn't possibly let you go, not now, not ever."

I was deceased. Shaken up. Frozen. Stunned.

Seeing the look on my face, Ares broke out in a grin.

"Too much?"

Blinking repeatedly, I shook my head, trying to come back to reality.

"A little bit," I gave him a small smile.

"Don't worry, I won't ask how you feel. I can only hope that you started at least liking me, but it's okay. Baby steps are still steps, I will wait for as long as I have to. We have all our lives ahead of us."

His smile was so sweet and sincere, I had to stop myself from tearing up.

"I do like you..." I smiled back at him.

"I'm happy to hear that."

"... as a friend."

The look on his face was priceless.

I was almost certain that his heart skipped a beat – not in a good way –, and his eyes seemed like his soul just left his body. His mouth fell open, but after hearing my laugh, he clenched his jaw.

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