Chapter Twenty Seven: Lust or Desire
Anastasia jolted awake on her bed, while he watched her sitting at the edge of the bed. He was burning. Burning with anger and jealousy and... oh, everything.
She ran a hand through her hair, her eyes scanning the room, then rested on him. Immediately she dragged her legs up to her chin, and wound her arms around her kneecaps protectively. Her eyes were guilty, and very pleading.
"I get it, Ana."
"No, you don't. I-"
"Ana, for the love of God." He closed his eyes, and squeezed his forehead. It was all so freaking tiring. He tried so hard to explain the truth to her, to tell her how much she meant to him... Hell, he even turned his back on the other angels for her. He was so tired of chasing after her, protecting her from herself, and yes, from other men. But enough is enough. If she made her choice to find another Mate, no matter how much it pained him, he would be happy for her because she could return to Heaven with a new Mate. Which is what the Archangels want, isn't it? And maybe... maybe it was supposed to be like this all along... that she belonged to someone else, not to him.
She was standing in front of him when he opened his eyes. She was so beautiful, her lovely hair, cascading down her back, her eyes so clear and so sincere. Every ounce of energy he had mustered to resent her, to resist her, melted. There was only her. Lovely, sweet, faithful Anastasia. Who loved him.
"Alex." She whispered his name. "I am sorry for what I did. I don't have an excuse for it. It was just... so confusing. And he... he told me the truth. I thought... I thought I could trust him. That is all, Alex, I just wanted to trust someone."
"You could trust me." He said in a low voice. "Anastasia, even in dreams, it is you that I love. In reality, the flames of that love only burn higher. I tried avoiding you, but I couldn't. Not anymore. Not when you are so close to learning the truth..."
He gripped her wrists and tugged her against his body. He spun around, hearing a gasp from Anastasia, and pinned her to the wall with his finely muscled body. He cupped her cheek.
"You don't know... how you can hurt me, Ana." He whispered to her. The rainforest scent radiating from her made him dizzy and almost lost focus. "It's not the first time I have fallen in love with you, Ana. And I never regretted loving you. Every time you came to my life, I just loved you more. You are my reason for fighting, Anastasia. And I will fight for you, and your love until you are in love with me again. I can make you-" He set his teeth. "Love me again."
She gazed up at him, a little dazed, then she hooked her hand at the back of his head.
"Shh..." She murmured, pressing his head to the crook of her neck. He inhaled, and was almost overwhelmed by her sweet scent. "I am not the woman you loved in 1600."
He closed his eyes, as the pain washed over him.
"Is this the end then, Anastasia?" He whispered. "Have I finally lost you, after two hundred and half years fighting for you, loving you?"
She traced her finger down the back of his head.
"How can you understand how I feel, Alex? You tried so hard for me. I don't deserve your love anymore, do I deserve you?" She whispered defeatedly. "How can I love you knowing that I am wrong for you?"
He seized her hand and held it up between them. His green eyes burned with passion, as if they could burn her to a crisp with just a glance.
"Don't try sugarcoat things for me, Anastasia. I know you. I know you more than you know yourself. I-"
"But I don't know YOU, Alexander." She cut him off.
"I tried explaining what I am to you, but you ran off with him. You ran before I could tell you the truth, for the love of God." He tugged her close and pinned her against his body with a hand on her waist. "By God, I will never let you run off with anyone ever again."
She held his face in her hands, and pressed her lips against his forehead briefly.
"Alexander, you can never make me love you again." She whispered softly.
"No, listen to me, Alex." She cupped his cheeks and tilted his face to look at her in the eyes. He could read forced determination in her eyes, and, they were darkened by tears. One of them slid down her cheek, and he caught it and stroke his finger down her face. "I don't care who I am in the past, whether yesterday, or last month, or last year, or last century, or even... 1600. I know I had loved you in the past, and that is why I am so attracted to you the first time we met. And it explains why you kept showing up for me. But Alex... you deserve so much better than me."
"I deserve YOU, that is important, Anastasia!" He said forcefully, glaring into her eyes. "Is it Louis Vincenti? Is that why you are rejecting me? Is he really so much better than me? Tell me!"
She took a step backward, and laid her hands on his chest.
"Alex, I spent the night in his bed." She whispered. "I am guessing you know already. When I... did it, it was him I was thinking about, not you. Please. don't you understand, Alex?" She dropped her hands and shook her head. "I already hurt you once, and I would hurt you again. Look at me. Can you imagine me in YOUR bed?"
Numbness overwhelmed him. He swallowed, and closed his eyes. Yes, he knew. He knew she slept with Louis Vincenti. And yes, the answer was definitely yes when she asked whether he could imagine her in his bed. But it was pain all over again when she told him, she had sex with a lousy mortal who knows NOTHING about her. He was crazed with jealousy, and that jealousy only made him fall harder for her.
No matter what she did, he loved her.
Even if she doesn't love me.
He opened his eyes, and found Anastasia moving at the other side of the room, folding up her covers and making her bed. Her hair swung forward, hiding her cold, determined face. He appeared at her side in a blur, and put his hand on hers.
"Ana. I don't care."
Her eyes snapped up at him through her hair.
"You don't care whether I am a slut or not?"
"You are not a slut. You did what you did because you... because you love him." His fingers dipped toward her palm, and slid them into her cold hands. "Anastasia, that does not make you a slut."
He felt her tense up, then she sank onto the bed, and put her head in her hands.
"God, why do you have to be so generous and forgiving, Alex?" She said softly, her voice muffled by her palms. "And why do you have to be in love with ME? With ME, a woman who practically cheated on you?"
"Anastasia, I can explain everything to you. What you are, and why I am in love with you. But I just need you to keep the Hooded man away from your dreams. I have tried doing so much to find out who he is, but... but I have a feeling that he also knows you in reality. And that is dangerous, Ana." He pried her hands away from her face and held her face gently. "If he means to hurt you, the least you can do is to not give him the chance of hurting you in your Memory Dreams. But I promise you, Ana. Whatever he does..." His eyes grew hard and determined, "I will never let him hurt you. I will make sure you are safe, okay?"
She sucked in a shaky breath and opened her mouth. He startled himself and her with pressing a kiss to her lips.
"Don't." He whispered, cupping her cheeks and looking into her eyes almost pleadingly. "There is only so much a man can take, Ana."
She leaned in close to him, and touched her lips to his hesitatingly. He seized her wrists and deepened the kiss. His hands moved down her face, past her neck, to her bare shoulders. He slipped his hand underneath the thin shirt she was wearing and moved it over her chest, not quite touching her. She responded almost passionately, clutching his shoulders and fisting a handful of his shirt. She walked him backward, and pressed him against the wall, kissing him desperately, as if she...
As if she needed him. As if she loved him.
But he could tell the difference of her kisses. In 1600, a long time ago, she had kissed him with almost every ounce of her body. She had been almost rough. Almost too fast. From the very beginning, she had wanted to be in his bed. But as a mere angel, he could never... consummate... with an Archangel. It was a sin. And lust was not supposed to exist between angel and angel. But Anastasia... she was the most fiery, most passionate, most sexual Archangel he had ever encountered. And back then, she had WANTED him. Of course, he was crazy about her, wanting to take their love into a new level as much as she did. However, Archangel Luke was in the way. Somehow, he had KEPT them from going too far, because, as Alex suspected, he was as much in love with Ana as anyone could be. And why not? He was Ana's perfect potential Mate. He was an Archangel, everyone loved him, and if he becomes Ana's Mate, it would be the most perfect coupling of Heaven's most beloved Archangels.
Anastasia gave up all that for him. So that is why he would like her to understand that she had given up as many things as him. She could've been loved by an Archangel who loved her with a deep passion and pure desire. Instead, she chose a mere angel, she chose HIM.
But no one expected this. No one expected Anastasia after a few centuries to fall in love with someone who is neither Archangel or Angel, or Fallen Angel. Someone who might as well... who couldn't be... a mere human.
So, who was Anastasia's new love interest?
She leaned back her neck, and his lips moved down her throat, to the base of her neck. Her sweet, seductive scent overwhelmed him, awakening his... could it be desire or lust?
"Alex..." She breathed.
He moaned in a low grunt. God, when she said his name like that... it made him lose all the control he had.
He could take her right here, and now.