I couldnt quite believe I'd slapped Demrin, and I was having a harder time justifying it. He was staring at me like he'd never seen me before in his life, like we hadnt shared so many stolen moments. One of my hands was resting upon my stomach, which after four months could no longer hide that I was in fact very pregnant.
"We need to talk," I told him softly, hoping my voice might reveal how sincere I was trying to be. Adder's words still rang in my head, his reminder that I didnt know who the actual father of the baby was, and until I found out I needed to be on good terms with the both of them. If I had to bring my child into a world of such suffering and pain, at least it deserved a father who would look after it and protect it.
"S0 talk," he said eventually, in a voice so nonchalant it hurt. As if nothing even mattered to him anymore. Maybe it didnt.
A mournful sort of sigh fell from my lips. "I dont want to fight with you anymore," I murmured. Part of me wanted to reach out for him, to rest my head against his chest as I had so many times before, when breaking apart would have been so easy to do. Demrin had been the one holding me together, keeping me safe from the monsters and nightmares that plagued this world.
Demrin managed to keep his expression perfectly blank. "Well, I'm not entirely sure I want to be around you," he told me. The venom in his words stung me deep, seeping into my veins and numbing me. "Because every time I let you in, you turn around and hurt me. I've always been your fall back. Your second choice. First with Everette, and then with Adder. You only want me when they dont want you."
For a long while I could only stare at him, blinking slowly as I tried to take in everything he'd just said. Wondered absently how much courage it had taken him to finally be honest with me. I bit my bottom lip gently at the thought of it all. Perhaps he was right; perhaps I'd never been quite fair to him. He'd stood by me, never betrayed me. And I'd tossed him aside like an outdated wardrobe whenever something else came along.
I wanted to say I was sorry, but doubted he would believe me. Instead I merely dropped my violet gaze to the ground. "Well," I started, but then I wasnt sure what to say after that. If Demrin didnt want me in his life anymore, I supposed there was nothing I could about that. But if the baby within me was in fact his child, he couldnt simply turn his back on that.
As if he could read my mind, he quietly said, "If the child is, uhm, mine, that will change things a bit."
I looked up to him once again, through lashes soaked with tears I hadnt even noticed I'd been crying. "I dont want you to feel like you have to stay with me."
"I wouldnt," he said coldly, quickly. "I would need to be there for my child."
Those words sent a pang through me. I started to turn away from him, if only to try and stop my heart from breaking. Maybe find Adder and tell him that he'd be wrong, that saying sorry didnt fix everything. And maybe some things couldnt ever be repaired.
"Calla, wait." Demrin's voice had grown much fainter, much sadder. Like he might have felt bad for saying such hurtful things. I spun around to meet his gaze once again, starlit green against my own violently bright eyes. "Look, sooner or later you're going to have to choose who you want to be with. And I dont want you to settle with one of us just because of the baby. You have to make yourself happy sometimes too. But you cant keep changing your mind, because you're hurting me. I can only take so much, Calla, before I fall apart."
Demrin never gave me a chance to reply, just started to walk away. I watched him go, disappearing down the length of the corridor. Soon he had reached the end, and just as he was about to turn to corner, there came a massive crashing noise.
My reflexes sent me to the ground, covering both my head and stomch. Protecting myself as well as my child. I tried to look around, to gather where the noise had come from, but a thick layer of dust had fallen over everything. "Demrin!" I tried to call out to him, but my voice was lost as a wave of coughing took over me.
Squinting through the demise and darkness, I looked around and tried to get back to my feet. When I looked up, the shock was enough to send me sprawling back to the floor. For above me, where the second story of the manor should have been, was nothing but the crystalline night sky, dotted with stars. And peering down upon the mansion, with a devilish gleam in its eyes, was a monstrous black dragon.