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Love of the Damned - Chapter Thirty Two

He did his duty, and came to her aid, returning her to her reality. In truth, he would much rather the woman he loved stay by his side forever. There was never an answer to the important question.
Chapter Thirty Two: The Missing Love

Dream Sequence, Year 1600, the Midnight of the Angels War "Anastasia."

She opened her eyes, and blinked several times at the man in front of her. Fingers stroke across her cheek, waking her with their cool touches. She caught that hand and sat up, dragging a hand down her face before speaking groggily.

"It's so late," she murmured, falling onto the bed again.
Arms gathered her into Alex's chest, and they wrapped around her and held her close.
"It's okay. Sleep. I will carry you."
"But-"
"Ana, there is no time. I have got to get you out of here. The war has quietened down a bit down there. I did my damned hardest to avoid seeing the Archangels and the fallen angels. Come on. We need to get you out of this Dream Sequence before the Archangels come."

She nodded, and then her eyes drifted close again. She sagged into Alex's embrace.
"Okay, It's okay. I got you," he swept her into his arms and carried her toward the window. He kicked open the windows with his legs and stood on the windowsill.

"I can fly, Alex," she said softly, her head on his chest and her eyes raised up toward him. She tried to lean away from his chest, but then he wrapped her close in his arms. She took a deep breath and had no choice but to press against him. Still…

"I can fly. Just let go of me, and I will fly with you."
A darkness shadowed his eyes. He cupped her cheek and stroke her lower lip with a thumb.
"Am I unworthy to hold you now, Ana?"

The words cut through her like a knife. She shuddered, and let the pain fade away.
"No. But I am unworthy to let you hold me," she replied softly, slowly shying away from his fingers.

She felt him stiffen, and sighed inwardly. She knew if he was angry with her, then it would be better than forgiving her.
"Please, Ana. We need to talk," he whispered, his fingers dancing on her cold cheek stubbornly, "promise me you will let me talk to you."
"If that is what you want," she said numbly.

He nodded, and then his gigantic white wings burst out from behind him, and they were in the air. She closed her eyes, and then they hurtled though the wind, she was too nervous to look...

And opened her eyes only when she fell onto a soft bed.

***************************************************************************************

Present time, Night

She was back in he 21st century.

She sat up, and found Alex sitting on the edge of the bed looking at her.
"You are not going there again, Ana, do you understand me?" He said softly.
"I can't control when I go into Memory Dreams."
"Anastasia, I am not always there to protect you."

She flicked her hair back and set her eyes on his.
"Fine. Then don't. I was an Archangel, I can take care of myself."
"By bringing a Mate back to Heaven, you mean?" He cut her off. "Who is he, Ana? Oh, don't, let me guess. Vincenti. Yes, It's him, isn't it? Because you love him. Because you trust him to be MORE WORTHY than me."
"Alex-"
"How is he better than me, Ana? Can you tell me that? What make you choose him instead of me?"
"You wouldn't understand."
"No, you are right, I wouldn't. I should've let you go centuries ago. But I didn't, you know why? Because you are too important. I don't know why I am so much in love with you, when there could be dozens of women who can love me as much as I love you-"

She felt anger rising in her. She swung her legs off the bed and took a deep breath.
"Do you know why you are in love with me? It's not because I am important to you or anything. It's because you don't want to lose me to another man. You loved me in 1600, and that love actually ended when I was cast down with you. Your jealousy and your possessiveness is what chained you to me. Dozens of women, Alex. You have dozens of chances. So what if I belonged to another man? What is WRONG with ME trying to find love elsewhere? You wanted me, Alex, and you still do. But you can't stand the thought of me loving and wanting another man. But I can't play this game with you. If I could choose between you and Louis, I would choose Louis absolutely. Because I cannot chain you to me. I need to set you free."

Silence rang after her words. Alex sank onto the bed, and stared at her. After a while, he spoke.
"You would give me to another woman, without even thinking about how I would feel."
"…Yes," her lips were numb.

She heard his sharp intake of breath, and looked at him. He looked as if he was in great pain. His green eyes darkened with anger, and his whole body shook. His wings were reddened with a pinkish glow. He was angry.

Good. She told herself. I need him to hate me. Hate me once and for all.
Then his next words completely shattered her heart.
"So this is how you feel. Well, Anastasia, you should've made that clear long ago. Then you won't have to put up with me for so damn long."
She closed her eyes, blinked back her tears, and swallowed the rising lump in her throat. She took a deep breath, and turned back to him, and smiled bitterly.
"You are right. Of course, I should've. But I wanted to see how far you would go in chasing after me."
"Well I hope you are satisfied with your observations," he said acidly, his eyes cold with anger.

She didn't dare say another word. She couldn't. She needed to be cruel, in order to set him free. She knew he saw the truth in her eyes, and his eyes softened. He reached out, as if to take her in his arms, but she shook her head.
"I can't. I am sorry. I just can't," she whispered.
His fingers raised up to her face, and the tips touched her. They were ice-cold.
"Ana."

She flinched away, and walked away from her bed to the door. She opened it, and lowered her eyes.
"There's no point in you staying here any longer. Please leave."
"Please, can't we talk about this?"
"No. Alex, don't torture yourself over me. You need to walk out this door, and then find another woman who is worthy of you. Please. Leave before I do something worse to you. Just… I am begging you."

His eyes hardened. He turned away from her, and unfurled his wings. He flung open the windows. Without another word, he launched off into the air.

She watched as he disappeared into the night, and finally, the tears came. It was such relief that she actually laughed through her tears. She sank down onto the floor, and curled up into a ball, crying out all her self-loathing and hate and… oh, everything that went wrong between her and her angel.

He is not your angel. And he will never be. Because you are too selfish and self-centered and you hurt him too damn much. Think about it, Anastasia. So what if he accepted you? Forgave you? You will never love him as much as he remembered. She sobbed into her knees, and only stopped when she felt so tired.

Her door opened. And arms came around her. She wanted to break free, but then he rested his chin in her hair.
"What is it?" Louis asked tenderly.
"Let go of me. I don't...." She flung her arms out wildly, her eyes frightened. She retreated to the end of the room and balled her hands up into fists. "I don't deserve you. I don't deserve anyone. I need to-I have to-"

She was gasping hysterically. It was embarrassing. She wanted to stop herself but suddenly she couldn't breathe. She needed to get her anger out, every ounce of feeling trapped inside her body.… She staggered toward the window, and leaned over the windowpane, gazing down at the busy night streets below. She blinked, and leaned further… she could touch the lights… she really could if she just…

"Damn it, Anastasia, what are you doing?" Strong arms circled her waist, and pulled her back. She struggled wildly, and Louis wrapped his arms around her, pinning her arms to her sides.
"Stop it. Just stop it, Ana, or I am going to stop it for you." Her brain was a mess. She found it very hard to register the voice. But the words he spoke dripped into her brain like honey. She turned around, clutched at his shirt, and stared him down with her desperate, watery eyes.
"Yes. Yes, stop it for me. Do anything, just… just stop me from doing things to hurt him. I don't want to hurt…" She was sobbing again. Damn herself. She clutched at his chest, trying to get her point across.

"Ana, stop," his hand was on her back, patting her like a child. "It's okay. I am here. Everything is gonna be alright. You just need to calm down. Okay? Can you do that?"
She took a shuddering breath, and sagged against Louis. He caught her with an arm across her stomach, and pressed her against him.
"Breathe," he looked down at her, and traced her lower lip with a finger. His blue eyes were sharp, but softened with concern. "Do you want to sit down and just… cool it?"

"Yes," she murmured, and fell onto the bed, supported only by Louis' strong, firm arms.
He held her close to him, his strong male scent spreading to her brain, cooling the angry fire inside her. She buried her head into his chest, and closed her eyes as tears slid down her cheek. His hands tangled in her hair.

"What were you thinking?" He said after she had calmed down a little.
"What?" She looked up at him tiredly.
"You were going to fall out from that window, Ana. You could have died."
"I just wanted to make amends for what I have done to the people I love."
"Including me?" He stroke her hair.
"Yes. Including you."
"Hmm, I don't know if I am supposed to be flattered or offended about that," he rubbed his face against her.

She smiled in spite of herself.
"Ana, how can I help you forget someone who loved you centuries ago? I have been doing so much, doing everything I can, to help you forget, to make you love me. You have no idea of the future I have planned for us, Anastasia…."

She looked up at him, seeing the desperation is his gorgeous face.
"I am a lost cause, Louis. I can hurt anyone, but I don't want to ever hurt you. But I can't keep my promise. I will just keep hurting you, like how I hurt him."
His finger traced her face.
"He is always in the way, Anastasia. I can make you happy, and every time I thought, I got close to you, you shrink further away," he brushed his finger down her cheek. "Sometimes, I wonder whether you really wanted me."
Bouquets and Brickbats