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       I grabbed Ava’s arm. She was hurrying down the wooden path in the trees, not looking up fro the ground. She flinched, a sigh escaping her as she realized it was only me.

           “Ava… where are you-“ I began

           She said, “I really have to go talk to Roman.”

           “He’s not in Finn’s cabin,” inserted Victoria.

           Ava raised her eyebrow. “Then where is he?”

           She pointed in the direction from which Ava had come. “All the way at the end. A couple of huts down from yours.”

           Ava groaned in frustration, but spun around and headed that way.


      I raised my hand again, telling myself that- this time- I’d really do it. I would knock on Roman’s door and just talk

           I was at a loss for what to do. Not only was there this whole “Marking” me thing, it was even more fucked up because now Jace is officially named Alpha. And Roman didn’t even seem angry about that.

           Mustering all my courage, I pounded my fist on the door and took a small step back. Roman answered the door, a few beads of sweat gathered at his hairline, which was messy, as if he’d just woken up. His eyes were red and damp, and there were creases in his forehead from furrowing his brow when he thought.

           I threw my arms around him and pulled him to me. I just wanted to comfort him. He looked so broken- and I couldn’t help but think it was because of me. ****, it probably was because of me.

           I was such a bitch. Maybe it’d be better if you just didn’t do anything with either of them. Just be… friends. But the thought of never feeling Jace’s or Roman’s arms around me was unbearable.

            “Te amo,” he whispered in my ear. And there were those time when I wished I’d taken Spanish in high school. “Mi querida.” He pulled me closer to him, and I pushed us through the doorway and into the living room.

           I fell onto the green couch, which was to my right when I entered. It seemed that all the huts-cabins-houses- call them what you will- had about the same layout.

           Roman put his arm around me and held me close to him. Placing my hands on his chest, I allowed myself to look up into his eyes. “What’s going on with you?” I asked.

           He leaned in to kiss me, and I moved away.

“I’m sorry I’ve been keeping things from you.”

I shook my head. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m done dealing with stupid relationship drama. Just… Roman, I know you’re upset. You wanted to be Alpha.”

“No, I didn’t, I just-“

“Okay, you’re right. You didn’t want to be Alpha. You didn’t think you’d be beneficial and the best choice for the pack.” He stared back at me blankly. “I’m right, aren’t I? And you’re angry because it was okay when you thought that you weren’t good for it. But to have Joseph think that Jace was more fit to lead the pack than you? That’s different. And I understand, Roman. Really, I do.”

“Did Jace tell you that Alpha gets first pick in their Mate when they’re named? He should’ve been betrothed to someone. He was, actually. He’d been engaged to Infinity for a while. Infinity called it off- said she had a dream. She wouldn’t tell anyone what it was about,” he told me.

I asked, “What makes you think I’ll be Alex’s mate?”

“What do you mean, Ava?” he asked, exhaustion worming its way into his voice.

“Don’t I have a choice? Roman, what if I don’t want anyone to Mark me?” I suggested. He searched my gaze for any trace of something to tell him that I was lying.

“You don’t want him to Mark you?” he asked, confusion clouding his features.

I shrugged. “I don’t know what I want, Roman. I’m a seventeen year old girl. I’m new to your world, and I don’t know what any of this means.”

He wrapped his arms around me and squeezed. I noticed a bag sitting on the table, filled with so much stuff, it seemed to be about to burst. “Going somewhere?” I joked. His expression was blank, but his cheeks reddened slightly.

I disentangled myself from Roman’s arms and opened the bag. Some clothes fell out, a warm thermos, and a water bottle, along with an iPod and Roman’s phone.

Noticing the piece of paper behind the backpack, I unfolded it and began to read-


Mi querida,

Te amo. My dear, I love you. I love you so much. I don’t know how to say this, but I’m leaving. I want this to be easy for you- because it’s so hard for me. I feel like I’m interfering with everything. I snatched you from your family, your friends- your entire life. And now- now I feel as if I’m trying to force you to hand over your heart.

I cannot do that, Ava. I love you, and my heart aches when we’re apart, but Jace deserves you. Maybe he knows that. Maybe not. I refuse to hurt Jace, and I’ve already hurt you too much.

This is goodbye, from me to you.



           Tears clouded my vision at the last few words. I turned to find Roman avoiding my gaze by focusing on the apparently extremely interesting jean fabric of his pants.

           “Roman,” I choked. He raised his head, our eyes meeting. “Don’t go.” My voice cracked on the last word.


           Something crumbled to pieces inside me. I think it was my heart.

 Her tears were too much for me. I sighed and crossed the small room in a few long strides, pulling her to me. 

“Shh,” I whispered, stopping to plant a soft kiss on her forehead. “Lo siento, mi querida. Te amo. Te amo. Te amo, Ava. Lo siento, mi querida.”

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