Dirty Blood, Chapter Twenty-Three

In Wes’s apartment after the dance/attack on the road

WES

 

 

Tara stared back at me. It was all I could do not to rush across the space and crush her body against mine. I’d just admitted to wanting Vera’s vision to come true. The part about Tara and I—together—being our destiny. Not to mention I’d told her everything. Finally. That part felt good. At least up until Jack found out what I’d done. After that, I’d be dead meat.

I couldn’t tell by her expression how she was taking it, or whether it had been a mistake, but it hadn’t been nearly as scary saying the words aloud as I’d expected. Scarier than that was the fear of what she’d think that I’d been holding it all back. That I’d essentially lied. Tara hated lies.

 

And I couldn’t lose her. Not now. After everything we’d come through.

 

“You don’t want that?” she asked, cutting through my worry. Her voice broke on the last word. My arms ached for her, if nothing else than to soothe her fear.

 

“It’s not that,” I assured her quickly. “I want that very much.”

 

Her face lit up. Relief, happiness? I’d take either.

 

My palms itched to touch her. I couldn’t sit still any longer. I went to her, prying her hands from her own arms where she’d hugged herself against everything I’d told her, and pulled her against me. My hands went to her back, her shoulders, her hair, soothing and stroking. I waited for her to pull away. Any minute, she’d rail at me for the way I’d handled things.

 

“I do owe you an apology, though,” I said, keeping my arms around her as I spoke. “I was irritated at having my future decided for me by some vision. I was stubborn and unwilling to admit I was falling for you, even when I already knew I had. I kept trying to push you away, along with my feelings for you. It didn’t work, obviously, but I am sorry I ended up hurting you.”

 

She pulled away far enough that our eyes met. “That’s the reason for the mood swings?”

 

“Yes. I’m sorry.”

 

She frowned. “You should’ve told me.”

 

“I know.”

 

“Vera can’t—I mean, this pull we feel for each other—did she do that?”

 

“No. She can’t do something like that. The pull is real. If I’m right about you, it probably has something to do with both of us being mixed.”

 

“Like our body’s sensors don’t feel danger around the other?”

 

“Something like that.”

 

She considered that and ever so slowly, the frown faded, until finally her lips curved upward. “I forgive you.”

 

My knees trembled in relief. “You seem to be taking all this vision stuff pretty well.”

 

“I guess I’m just glad to finally know what everyone’s been keeping from me. Not that I really believe what Vera saw, but if I did, well … you can’t mess with destiny.”

 

“I guess not,” I agreed. I felt the words building in me, rising closer and closer to the surface. The thought of saying them out loud terrified me but they came anyway, unbidden by conscious thought.

 

“Tara, I love you,” I heard myself say.

 

I sucked in a breath. Fighting that Werewolf earlier tonight had been easier than this moment. I searched her expression, my lungs ready to burst.

 

“I love you, too,” she whispered. Then she kissed me.

 

Inside the darkness of my closed lids, I basked in the warmth of her response. She loved me too. The fact both terrified and excited me. We’d never be safe together. Vera’s visions were true enough. With Tara by my side, we’d always be fighting or looking over our shoulders. The fact that we were Dirty Blood was bad enough. But, together? United? Both sides would undoubtedly see it as a threat of epic proportions. I’d known that all along. It’s one of the things that held me back.

 

But right now, in this moment, with my hands in her hair and her mouth molded against mine, it didn’t matter. We’d fight it. We’d beat them. Wrapped in the gentleness of her embrace, I silently vowed to do whatever was necessary to make my destiny come true.