Cursed By Destiny Page 48

I’d forgotten Liam had told Aric about the kiss. I was driven with need to explain this and a lot more, but Aric’s words struck me like a blow. I shoved his hands away from mine. “It’s not what you think. Misha was trying to bring out my abilities and—”

“Oh, I bet he was,” Aric growled.

Aric had been growling all night. Whether it was his fired-up beast or not didn’t matter. I’d reached the end of my patience and so had my tigress. “Well, now you know everyone I’ve ever slept with: you and Danny. That’s two guys. How many girls have you been with, Mr. Pureblood? Can you even count that high?”

“That’s different. None of them ever meant anything to me.”

“And that makes it better?”

“Yes, it does. You can’t seem to let go of anyone you’re intimate with. After all, here you are with Danny and Misha—”

“And you.” That stopped Aric right in his tracks. I stared at him, trying hard not to cry. I’d missed him so much and all we’d done was fight. My voice broke. “You’re right, Aric. I can’t seem to let any of you go.”

Makawee’s essence swept in like a gentle rain, extinguishing the majority of my wolf’s rage, but not all of it. She interrupted calmly. “Aric, please come with me. This is a time for celebration, not anger. And, Celia, Uri would like a word with you.”

Aric and I glared at each other the entire way to the main table, where Misha and Tye also waited. Tye flashed me another dimple and waltzed his way between us to stand next to Aric. “How’s it going, man?” he asked him.

“Shut the hell up,” Aric snapped.

Uri’s hands clasped my elbows and led me to Misha, passing Anara and the hateful “hello” scowl he sent my way. “Oh, lovely Celia, it’s so good to see you again,” Uri said. “The Elders and I were just discussing how vital you have been to our cause.”

Martin’s deep baritone voice resonated with a kindness I hadn’t expected. “You and your sisters have been most extraordinary.”

“Thank you,” I stammered. Martin had never been cruel to me. But seeing how he’d encountered Aric and me alone in the hall, his pleasantness surprised me. I looked around. The Elders and Uri all watched me. Even Anara regarded me with interest. They’d obviously been discussing me, which was bad enough. But I just about hurled when Makawee spilled the deets.

She clasped her hands and nodded approvingly when Misha slipped his arm around my shoulders. “We’re looking forward to seeing what gifts your children will possess.”

Aric shifted his gaze from me to Misha. “What?”

This isn’t happening to me.

“Misha and Celia have been talking about starting a family,” Uri explained like it was obvious.

Oh, sweet heaven, this is so not happening to me.

I threw my hands out like I was trying to stop a Mack truck. “Um, no— Wait!” I looked to Misha for help. Fang-ass had the nerve to smile angelically. “This whole . . . thing is being . . . misinterpreted.” It was no use; Aric’s face had darkened past red into vicious “I’m going to eat you” purple. And crap, his growls were worse than when I’d been with Tye.

Destiny popped out of nowhere, giggling like a toddler. “Uri, you have it all wrong. The tigress and the lion will mate.” She motioned to me, and to where Aric and Tye stood directly beside each other with a dramatic wave of her arms. “Their children will be the ones to keep the world safe from evil.”

She smiled with glee following her earth-shattering revelation, evidently believing this was the greatest prophecy ever. I stood there like someone had walloped me with a sledgehammer covered in poo. Tye danced his brows and gave me a wink. And at that moment, I thought both Aric and Misha were going to lose it.

Makawee angled her head inquisitively. “That is the future you have foreseen, Destiny?”

Destiny’s response was more enthusiastic than Tim’s at an edible underwear competition. “Oh, yes! It’s almost completely certain, Makawee.”

I wanted to run away screaming from this disastrous evening. Instead I excused myself like the lady I pretended to be and dashed for the bathroom. ’Cause that’s what women do when they’re faced with something they can’t deal with. My sisters chased after me. When they reached me they found me gripping the jade granite countertop and trying not to hyperventilate. It took me a few moments to enlighten them on my latest debacle.

Taran paced back and forth. “Son of a bitch. You’re supposed to make cubs with that werelion?”

“So says my Destiny,” I answered almost numbly.

Shayna focused on the stall in front of her as if the answers to my woes were etched into the door. “But you don’t even know him, like, at all!”

“Nor do I want to.”

Emme’s soft green eyes glistened with sympathetic tears. “I always thought you and Aric would find your way back to each other . . . no matter what.”

The ache in my throat intensified. “Yeah, I was kind of hoping for that, too.” My sisters watched me for a while, unsure what to say. Their kindness meant the world to me, but I’d taken enough of their time. They could still enjoy their evening. “Go back to your wolves. I’ll be out in a minute.”

They didn’t want to leave me, but seemed to recognize I needed a moment to catch my breath. When I finally deserted the bathroom, I couldn’t bring myself to return to the gala. I wandered through the foyer and onto the stacked-stone porch, where I took a seat near one of the outdoor fireplaces. Flurries continued to fall and the bitter cold chilled my bare legs. Yet the warmth from my inner beast and the fire made it tolerable.

Around me couples cuddled in corners. A few swept down the steps in their haste to find privacy. They had someone to keep them warm. Aric had more than a someone. He had two. I caught his scent and that of his dates as they led him past me. Their arms wrapped his waist and their bodies snuggled tightly against his. He might not have returned their affection, but he sure as hell wasn’t beating them back. He paused with his back to me, obviously having caught a trickle of my aroma. “Wait by my quarters,” he told them.

They kissed his cheeks and strutted off, stopping only to beam at Aric wickedly. He faced me then, his expression a horrible mixture of hurt and defeat. “I need to get over you. Don’t I?”

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