Chapter 13

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Sean had watched Cinder work tirelessly all afternoon after the 'Occupation Officiation.' Her goodbye with the King was both revealing and puzzling; it fully confirmed their intimacy but left questions as to the unmentioned trouble. Something had Cinder deeply upset, to the point that she was trying to keep herself busy, running from her feelings and what she was struggling with.  They entered her room and she said nothing as she walked to her armoire and selected a dress. Sean walked over and stood by the door in his usual spot and again averted his eyes, staring at the back wall, trying to give her what measure of privacy he could. She walked to the room divider and threw the dress over it to hang in wait while she bathed. Sean remained standing by the door but kept the divider in his peripheral as a precaution. 

He heard her enter the water and begin washing herself. He had noticed as the full moon grew closer that his senses were continuing to sharpen and even the smallest sounds could be heard, like Cinder lifting the soap and then putting it back down after working up a lather. He was discovering a whole new sensory world around him as they continued to sharpen from his already sharp human senses. Even if he wasn't intentionally listening in on Cinder so much for details, he could pick them out; like the sound of washing her body versus washing her hair. After a moment he heard the water still. She was trying to muffle the sound, but he could still hear; she was crying. Sean was torn with what to do. Did he remain unmoving and act as if he didn't hear or should he respond? Witch? He heard her trying to pull herself together. Silence. He heard her breaking down again. Cinder. Get out, Cinder. I'll call for Sebastian. – No, don't. He could hear her crying fully now. She knew he could hear her and she quit trying to muffle the sound. Come on, witch, get out and cover yourself. He heard her get out of the water, still crying.

She walked out of the bathroom holding a towel around her still crying, while her long, wet hair dripped on the floor. Sean walked over to her with a caring sigh and a concerned look on his handsome face. She stumbled and looked like she might fall with the intensity of her crying, so he reached out to steady her with a hand on her shoulder. Her knees gave out and he caught her with both of his hands. Sean knew this had something to do with her brief conversation with the King earlier. Would you like me to call for the King, instead? She shook her head, resting her forehead on his chest and her crying intensified. She was clinging to his tunic while he held her shoulders. She stepped into him and he hesitantly surrounded her with his arms. What is it, Cinder? What do you want me to do? She gave no answer as she wept, soaking his tunic from both her wet hair and skin but also her hot tears that came from the thought of losing Adrian. He was going to have to marry some werewolf woman and could never be hers, once he was ready to produce an heir. Her heart was breaking and it hadn't even happened yet. 

He was still holding her up as she sank against him even more. He sighed and reached down and scooped her up in his arms. He walked her over to her bed, so she could lay on it because she seemed unable to stand with her weeping, but she refused to let him go when he tried to set her down. She met his eyes for the first time all day and her heartbreak and deep sorrow could be seen in them plainly as they glistened with tears in an endless flow. He felt the familiar pulling of compassion looking at her crying and reached out and brushed her tears away with his thumb. Don't cry, witch. Tell me what has you so upset. He was bending over her and she pulled on him causing him to catch himself with a hand on her bed. He sat on the edge of her bed, still looking in her eyes. You should let me call for Sebastian or the King, Cinder, he thought in a patient but patronizing tone for her. Almost like he thought the repeating of his advice to be irritating and a waste of his time. 

Cinder desperately wanted to be held but she felt torn with Sean's offers to go get Sebastian or Adrian. Adrian was the reason she was crying, and she didn't want Sebastian to see her like this, crying over Adrian; she didn't want to bring either of them any pain because of it and she knew how busy both of them were at that moment. That left her Sean. Sean, please just hold me for a while. She saw a strange look come across his face that she had never seen before on him; uncertainty. Cinder, I really think I should call for Sebastian or the King. Let me. She wasn't sure why he wouldn't just hold her, she couldn't read his thoughts. Hold me. Please, she mentally pleaded with him, looking into his green eyes with hers, not hiding her grief from him in the slightest. She could see the moment his softened as he sighed and reluctantly gave in.

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