“If you’re going to dump me, just get on with it,” she said, furious. Misery and fury swamped her, and her entire body trembled. “Don’t think I can’t see it. You’ve been dancing around this for weeks and I told you that I’d fight you, but . . .” She trailed off, the words dying.
She slashed a hand through the air. “I don’t want to hear the excuses and the reasons and the lies. The bottom line is you don’t want me enough. So fine. It’s over.”
He grabbed her and hauled her against him. “You think I don’t want you?” The words were rasped against her lips and she tasted his blood, but she didn’t care.
His tongue pushed between her teeth as she gasped. All the rage he felt, and the pain he always covered, was poured into that kiss. She didn’t hold any of hers back, either. Because this was the last time, she realized. The very last time.
Curling her hand into the front of his shirt, she sagged between him and the wall as his tongue slid along hers, tasting her everywhere. And it was like the way he’d stared at her earlier—as though he was memorizing everything about the kiss, the way she tasted, the way she felt against him, the curves and hollows inside her mouth, as well as the curves of her body as he slid his hand down her back and grasped her hip to pull her closer.
They couldn’t be any closer unless they each dissolved into the other. She felt his erection grinding into her belly, his chest crushing against her breasts as she twined her arms around his neck.
And then . . .
Her legs wobbled with the speed with which he put her down.
He was three feet away and standing in the middle of the floor, staring out the back window.
“You think this is because I don’t want you.” His voice was flat, level even. She’d heard him talk to a cop, his adopted father, Abraham, and total strangers in that same tone of voice. But when he turned his head to finally meet her eyes, that blue gaze was vivid, all but burning. “Is that what you think?”
“You seem to make a habit of trying to walk away.” She wished she could sound as uninvolved. But her legs were shaking, her heart pounding, and just staying upright—without crying—took all of her energy.
He turned to face her. “The key word there is trying. I’ve been trying to walk away for years. I always knew things from my past would come back to bite me on the ass and I wanted you out of the way before it happened. It’s not because I don’t want you, Sybil. I want you too much. And I won’t let everything I am stain what you are.”
“Everything you are . . .” she echoed, shaking her head. As the words spun around and around inside her head, she found the strength—and the fury—she needed to shove off the wall. Glaring at him, she strode across the floor. There was still a smear of blood on his face and Sybil was tempted to hit him again. Her hand was starting to throb, but that didn’t much matter at this point. She was going to feel like a walking, bleeding wound here in a bit anyway.
“Everything you are.” She lifted a hand and covered his chest, staring at her widespread fingers. “What’s in here determines who you are.” She moved her hand up, pushed it into his hair so that her fingers now spread over his skull. “And what’s in here. The monsters in your past didn’t define you. They tried to break you and they failed. They tried to make you into a monster, but you made yourself into a man. You’ve defined yourself, not the past, as awful as it was. Not the monsters, not your evil father and not that bitch who whelped you. You did it, from the time you took the first step to leave right up until now, and you’ll keep on defining it.”
She moved back. “Are you really going to choose the past over me? Over us?”