As we walked away from the garage, I sighed discontentedly.
"It's so wrong what Emilia's doing to Alex," I said, speaking my thoughts.
"He's a werewolf," Thorn said, shrugging.
"He's still a person," I said, through clenched teeth.
"Thought you loved me," Thorn said, smiling to himself. "You sound like you hate me."
"I don't hate you," I murmured. "I just hate the way that anyone can be seen as inferior. I mean, ... in today's society! I thought we were advanced enough to know that everyone was equal."
"Was it even okay for you to date a human?" I asked, annoyed.
Thorn looked pained. For the second time since his arrival, the walls in his eyes came down.
"No one would have said it was low to date you," he murmured, gazing straight ahead as we arrived at the car.
"But then I spoilt it, eh?" I asked quietly.
The walls flew back up so fast it was a wonder they didn't knock him out or hurt him somehow.
"You ruined your life. You've never questioned my want to kill you but here's the answer anyway: I'm repaying a favour."
"I guessed as much," I whispered.
We climbed into the car and Thorn drove me home. When we arrived, I decided that I wanted to lead us up to my room. When we got there, I turned to face him and asked "What can I do for you, Thorn? How can I prove...?"
"Shut up," he interrupted.
My mouth closed and I sighed.
He shook his head slightly.
"You never made me this mad before," he said quietly, his expression wonderfully soft but devastatingly tragic because of the brevity of his moments of nostalgia and because of his rigid belief that that part of our lives was over. "I always used to feel certain that you were only ever good for me." His brow furrowed deep above his eyes. "And look where that got me."
Filled with pain and longing, I leant in and kissed him. To my surprise, he didn't push me away, but nor did he respond.
I put my arms around his neck and continued, trying to remind him of the most beautiful moments of our relationship, almost trying to teach him how to love again.
‘Knock all my mental walls down,' I whispered with my thoughts, knowing that he could hear me. ‘Find the soul of my mind and prove I don't love you. You never proved it. Not once.'
And stunningly, I felt the touch of his mind - pain-ridden and full of despair like mine. He had given up on contradicting me all the time. He moved in slowly, tentatively, like a child creeping through the shadows of their house to investigate a noise in the dead of the night.
‘Deeper,' I thought quietly, still kissing him.
He passed through the sea that was my thoughts, tingeing them all with cold but also filling them with anticipation because I knew what he would find: he couldn't deny it once he saw.
‘It's going to hurt,' he thought quietly, with surprising gentleness.
‘I don't care,' I thought. ‘I'd take a bullet for you.'
He slowly waded through the thick fog of my consciousness, ignoring all the thoughts and memories which must have crossed his path as they journeyed steadily through my mind in never-ending circles. I paused in my kisses and rested my head on his chest as slowly I felt myself try to reject him. He pushed on, causing flashes of pain like lightning in the darkness.
‘It'd be easier if I knocked you out,' he thought.
‘Okay,' I replied unwaveringly.
There was what felt like a mental shove, though conveying concern for me as it happened, and I blacked out, dimly feeling Thorn's hands on my waist as I slackened against him.
I awoke on my bed and the first thing I noticed was the sunlight pouring in through the window.
"He hypnotised you," murmured Thorn, who was sitting beside me gazing towards the golden rays of sunbeam too. "He told you to think in a way that would suggest you were in love with him and I believed what I heard because I'm a stupid, damn fool who never really stopped loving you either." Towards the end of his statement, Thorn's voice softened as it became the tragic cry of some wretched man who cursed himself for his idiocy. The next thing I knew, he had pulled me up into his arms and was hugging me tightly, saying "I'm so, so sorry. For being blind, for losing faith in you, for hurting you in all those awful ways. He almost crushed me as his grip tightened and he whispered "I almost killed you. To think I almost killed you!"
"Can't... breathe," I gasped.
He let go instantly.
"Flora!" He spoke my name like I had just returned from a miraculous, death-defying journey, like he never wanted me to go away again, like I was the most special person in his life. Like he had before.
I smiled weakly, my ribs still aching slightly.
"I love you," I told him.
"I love you too," he replied, without hesitation. "And I was so stupid, so awfully stupid..."
I put a finger to his mouth, my expression gentle.
"You didn't know what had happened. It's not your fault."
I removed my finger and he said "I never believed any other vampire could touch you while you were mine. I was such an idiot to forget but that was how it felt. You belonged to me, Flora: my darling, awe-inspiring witch."
"I'm still yours, you hot, romantic vampire."
He grinned. "Swap romantic for seductive and we'll be doing what we loved best in the blink of an eye."
I stared at him in overwhelming euphoria for two seconds and then whispered "You hot, seductive vampire."
He pinned me to the bed and started kissing me with a passion that would have blinded me had it been visible, deafened me had it been audible and melted me had it been physically hot. His fingers orchestrated my sensations and his fangs added blasts of fire that turned to steam the ocean I was drowning in.
All I could think was ‘He sees! Oh wow, he sees!'