Fractured Souls: Chapter 23

Asya

I collect my bag from the baggage claim carousel and head toward the arrivals area where family and friends are waiting for the passengers. It takes me less than five seconds to locate Kostya. He’s leaning on the pillar further back while several women stand around, gaping at him. When he sees me coming, he walks over to me and takes the bag out of my hand.

“Are we going directly to the fight?” I ask, focusing on his face instead of people milling about.

Most of the men I’ve noticed at the airport are wearing casual clothes, but there are a few in business attire. I don’t freak out when I see men in suits anymore, but I still don’t feel comfortable around them. Thank God, Kostya is wearing a hoodie and jeans.

“Yes.” He nods and heads toward the exit as I follow. “But I’m still waiting to get the info on the location.”

“You don’t know where it’s held?”

“They switch the places often to avoid police raids. And since this is the last fight of the season, the exact location will be sent just two hours before the start. I only know it’ll be somewhere south of the city.”

“Why? Is there something special about it?”

Kostya presses his lips into a thin line and nods toward the parking lot. “I’m parked over here,” he says, avoiding eye contact. “We should hurry.”

“Kostya? Are you hiding something from me?”

“Of course not, sweetheart.” He approaches a black sedan and opens the passenger door for me.

I wait for him to get inside and start the car, then turn to face him. “What’s so special about tonight’s fight?”

“You haven’t watched the last match on the website?”

“You told me not to,” I say. “I watched the first ten, but I felt too sick to continue. I assumed the last one was the most violent.”

“It was.” He nods. “But that’s not why I told you to skip it.”

“Why then?”

Kostya is silent for a few moments, then takes a deep breath and shakes his head. “I think you should watch it before we arrive, Asya. So you can be prepared.”

“Prepared for what?”

When he doesn’t reply, I dig out my phone from my backpack and pull up the fight club’s website. After I log into the private area, I type in Pasha’s name and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Picking the video I skipped before, I click play. It starts like all other recordings, with the aerial view, then zooms in on the fighters. There’s an ache in my chest when Pasha’s face fills the screen. His left eye is a little swollen, and there’s a big bruise on his chin. When the camera zooms out again, I notice that he has a splint from his palm to the middle of his right forearm.

I press my hand over my mouth to stifle a cry. “How was he allowed to fight if he was injured?”

“There are no rules in underground fighting,” Kostya says. “As long as he can stand, he can fight.”

“What happened?” I choke out.

“He sprained his wrist in the fight before this one.”

“Pasha is right-handed. How can he fight with a sprained wrist?”

“He improvises.”

I watch as Pasha and his opponent take their spots at the opposite corners. They are more or less matched in size, but the other guy doesn’t seem to have any significant injuries. The bell rings and Pasha and the other fighter approach the center of the cage. For a few moments, they stay on the fringe, circling, sizing each other up. Then, Pasha suddenly swings his left hand at his opponent’s side. The guy dodges the hit and lunges at Pasha with his fist, aiming for the head. Pasha drops down and swipes his leg just above the floor, catching the guy behind the ankles with his foot. While his opponent is on the floor, he delivers a gut punch with an elbow. Almost as soon as the guy folds, Pasha punches him in the head with his left fist, then kicks him. And again. Blood sprays all over the floor, a few teeth dotting the red stains.

Yelling and cheering erupt from the audience. Pasha rises, grabs the guy by his ankle, and launches him toward the other side of the cage. The fighter lands on his side and stays there. The crowd goes crazy. The camera focuses on Pasha, but I can still see men in nice suits beyond the cage, jumping up, and clapping their hands. The view switches from the fighters to the big screen mounted above the cage. It’s an announcement for the next match. The one we’re heading to now. Under the words “Big Finale” is a graphic of a red skull and the words “Death Match” are also written in red. The video ends.

I lower the phone to my lap and stare at the road beyond the windshield.

“Are you okay, sweetheart?” Kostya asks.

“No,” I say, turning my head to look at him. “What does ‘death match’ mean?”

He keeps his gaze focused on the strip of dark ribbon ahead and squeezes the steering wheel. “It means the fight only ends when one of the fighters is dead.”

 

* * *

 

I thought I overcame my issue with men in suits.

I was wrong.

The moment we step inside the abandoned factory where the match will take place, I stop dead in my tracks and wrap my hands around my middle. The fighting stage with the chain-link cage is in the center and takes up less than a tenth of the space. Everywhere else, filling the room to near capacity, people are standing in groups, chatting. There are no chairs this time. There must be at least a hundred people, most of whom are men. Some are wearing jeans, like Kostya and me, but most are dressed in swanky clothes. A shiver creeps up my spine, the urge to turn away and run is so strong, I need to gather all my willpower to keep my feet in place.

“Asya?” Kostya asks next to me. “Are you okay?”

I close my eyes for a second. “Yes.”

“You don’t look okay, sweetheart. Do you want . . .?” He reaches out his hand and is about to put it on my shoulder, but I quickly step back.

“Please, don’t touch me,” I mutter. “I . . . I can’t handle it at the moment. I’m sorry.”

“Do you want to leave?”

I look up to find him watching me with concern. “I’m staying.”

“Okay. We’ll stay here, in the back. If you want to leave, just say so. Sound good?”

I nod and move my gaze to the fighting cage. It’s on the raised platform like in the videos. A man wearing black dress pants and a button-down shirt climbs inside and announces the start of the match, but I can’t pay attention to what he’s saying because I’m staring in horror at the mountain of a man entering the cage. I press my hands over my mouth to smother a cry.

“Jesus fuck,” Kostya curses.

We both gape at Pasha’s opponent as he paces inside the cage, flexing his monstrous muscles for the audience. He’s taller than any man I have ever seen.

“Don’t the fighters need to be evenly matched?” I whisper. The guy is more than a hundred pounds heavier than Pasha.

“Not here.”

“What are Pasha’s chances?”

“Before the injury? Fifty-fifty.”

“And now?” I choke out.

“Not good, Asya,” he says and looks down at me. “Let’s go wait outside.”

I want to say yes so fucking bad. That monster is probably going to kill Pasha. I heard it in the tone of Kostya’s voice, and I don’t think I can watch it.

“I’m staying,” I whisper at the same moment Pasha steps inside the cage.

The instant my eyes land on him, the tears I’ve been holding at bay burst out, blurring my vision. I bite the back of my hand, burying my teeth in the skin with all my strength as if physical pain can somehow dispel the feeling of dread. Pasha walks toward the center of the cage and stops, assessing his opponent. I can’t help but compare them. My Pasha is a tall guy and heavily muscled, but compared to the beast standing in front of him? Dear God, there is no way Pasha can beat him.

The referee turns away and exits the cage. There is a ring of a bell. Pasha’s opponent swings his fist, aiming at the head. Pasha ducks and kicks the guy in the stomach with his left foot. The brute doesn’t even move. He swings again, aiming for Pasha’s chest this time. Pasha jumps to the right, but not fast enough, and takes the hit to his side. I can’t breathe as I watch the opponent close in on him. But before the monster is able to strike, Pasha does a three-sixty spin, and the heel of his foot catches the guy on the neck. Pasha’s attack is cut short, however, when a large fist clocks him on the chin.

A scream escapes me as I witness Pasha drop to his knees. He spits out blood and makes a move to stand, but the beast kicks him in the back. The blow is so strong Pasha ends up sprawled facedown on the mat.

“Get up,” I whisper into my hand.

My heart is beating out of my chest as I watch Pasha push up, propping himself onto his elbows. He can do it. I know he can do it. He is almost up when his opponent approaches again and kicks him in his kidney. Pasha falls back down, rolling to his side. His face is turned toward the chain-link cage, directly in front of us. The crowd goes crazy. The applause, chants, and hollers are deafening. That damn beast walks around the cage, shouting something at the audience, laughing.

“Finish him!” someone from the crowd yells.

I stare at Pasha, waiting for him to get up, but he just keeps lying there, unmoving. He needs to get up, or the guy is going to kill him. I take off toward the cage.

Several more voices join in the cheering. “Finish him! Finish him!”

People are standing too close together, so I have to squeeze myself between them to get to the front. Bodies are touching me from all sides, making me want to throw up, but I keep pushing myself forward.

“Finish him! Finish him!” the chorus rings all around me.

I finally reach the cage and my eyes find Pasha again. He is still lying on the floor, his face is turned toward me, but I don’t think he sees me.

“Pasha!” I yell at the top of my lungs and vault at the cage.

 

Pavel

 

“Pasha!” a female scream reaches me.

I blink and focus on the person clinging to the outside of the chain-link cage.

“Get up!” she yells, grabbing the mesh structure with her fingers. “Please!”

I close my eyes. As if it’s not enough that I dream about her every single night, now I’m hallucinating that she’s actually here.

“Pasha! Look at me!”

When I open my eyes, she’s still there, just a few feet in front of me. If I reach out with my hand, I could touch her fingers where they’re gripping at the wire, shaking it.

“Please, baby! Get up!”

My breath catches. “Mishka?”

As I watch, one of the security guys approaches Asya from behind and, wrapping his arm around her middle, pulls her away from the cage. She just grips the metal mesh harder.

“He’s coming!” Asya whimpers, looking somewhere behind me. “Get up!”

The guy keeps tugging at her, yelling something. Asya’s fingers slip off the links. As the guard carries her away, rage explodes in my chest. He dared to touch her! He put his dirty hands on my girl, and he’s wearing a fucking suit!

I roll onto my stomach and rise to face my opponent. He’s standing in the middle of the mat, looking at me, blocking my exit. I launch toward him. When my elbow slams into his diaphragm, the air leaves his lungs and he stoops forward. Grabbing his head, I knee him in the face. He stumbles. My leap on his back is swift. Once my arms are coiled around his neck, I squeeze—applying pressure to the back of his head while simultaneously forcing my forearm against his windpipe. The guy starts thrashing around, trying to throw me off. Keeping my choke hold on him, I wrap my legs around his midsection and dig my heels under his ribcage, tightening my grip. He thrashes a few more seconds before he drops to his knees and falls sideways with me still hanging on his back. I keep squeezing, listening to the wheezing sounds coming from his throat. Somehow, I hear them despite the thundering roar of the mob around us. His body goes limp. And I snap his neck. The crowd goes wild. I get up and run toward the cage’s exit.

The security guy still has Asya, carrying her toward the back where three other goons are holding Kostya down. A murderous growl leaves my mouth as I sprint toward them. The sea of people splits, letting me pass. The moment I reach the asshole manhandling Asya, I wrap my fingers around his throat and squeeze. His hold on Asya loosens. As soon as she’s free, I let go of the man’s neck, grab him by the back of his jacket, and heave him to the side.

“Pasha,” Asya whispers behind me.

I turn to face her and just stare. I thought I’d never see her again, and having her here, standing before me, is tearing me apart inside.

“What are you doing here?” I bark. It’s killing me to be this close to her again.

Her lower lip is trembling as she watches me. The hand she’s pressing to her slender neck is shaking. She’s trying to keep her gaze on mine, but her eyes wander to the side every other second. I throw a look to the left where she keeps glancing and notice that some of the people from the audience have moved closer and are standing just a few feet away. Most of them are sharply dressed men. Suits and fucking ties!

“Shit, baby,” I mumble and take a step forward, wrapping her in my arms and blocking her view of the crowd. “Let’s go outside. Okay?”

She tilts her head up and, after a second of hesitation, places her palms on my chest. I close my eyes and inhale deeply. It’s hard to have her touching me, to be so close, to know I’ll have to watch her walk away again, going back into the arms of that fancy son of a bitch I saw kissing her. But I’ve already concluded that I’m one selfish bastard, and I’m going to take this opportunity to feel her in my embrace again, even if only for a short while.

I open my eyes and look down at her. “Want to hop on?”

The smile that spreads over her face as she strokes her hands up my chest feels like a knife burrowing itself into my heart. I bend and scoop her up. Asya’s arms wrap around my neck like so many times before.

“Release him,” I throw over my shoulder at the guys who are still holding Kosyta and carry Asya outside.

 

Asya

 

I can’t get enough of his scent. Yes, there’s sweat and blood, too, but underneath all that, there’s the smell I associate with happiness. Safety. Love. Home. Pasha. Squeezing my legs and arms around him even tighter, I bury my face in the crook of his neck and inhale. I missed him so damn much.

A car door closes behind me, and Pasha gets in the back seat of Kostya’s sedan. Even when he’s seated, I refuse to let go of him, and plaster myself tighter to his chest. I move my hand up his nape, but instead his dark blond strands of hair, short bristles tickle the skin of my palm.

“Why did you shave your hair?” I ask next to his ear and brush a kiss on the side of his neck.

“Because someone could have used it to gain leverage during a fight,” comes his cold answer.

I unwrap my hands from around Pasha’s neck and lean back to look at him. His left hand is at my back, caressing me over the fabric on my T-shirt.

“Why are you here, Asya? Did Kostya make you come?”

“No,” I say and cup his face with my palms. “I made Kostya bring me here.”

“Why?”

I look at his sad gray eyes and lean forward, pressing my lips to his. His mouth is set in a tight line, and he doesn’t respond. “Because I love you,” I say against his hard lips.

Pasha’s body stiffens under mine. “And what happened to your boyfriend?”

“What boyfriend, baby?”

“There’s no need to lie. I know.”

I straighten on his lap and stare at him in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

He grinds his teeth. “I came to see you last month. I saw you two kiss in front of your house, mishka.”

What the fuck? That’s nonsense. Today is the first time I’ve left the house since I returned to New York. I had no desire to see anyone or go anywhere. Unless . . .

I shake my head and reach for my backpack, taking out my phone. “Is this the ‘me’ you saw kissing a guy?” I ask and turn the screen toward him.

Pasha looks down at the phone, then takes it from my hand and looks closer at the picture on the screen. “Your hair is shorter here.” He looks up at me and takes a lock of my hair between his fingers. “And it was shorter when I saw you.”

“The woman you saw was Sienna. My sister.” I smile. “We’re identical twins. I thought I mentioned it.”

Pasha lets go of my hair and grabs me behind my neck. “It wasn’t you?”

“Of course it wasn’t me. I can’t even stomach the idea of touching any man other than you.”

His jaw clenches and he brings his forehead to rest against mine.

“You’re staying,” he bites out. “I know I’m selfish. And I know you deserve better. But I don’t really give a fuck, Asya. You are staying. And if anyone tries to take you away from me, I’m going to fucking kill them on the spot.”

“If you ever ignore one of my calls again, you won’t know what hit you.”

Pasha crushes his mouth to mine. His hand comes to the side of my face, brushing my cheek with his calloused fingers. His arm around my back squeezes my waist, almost squishing me. I take his bottom lip between my teeth and bite, then kiss my way along his chin to the side of his neck and inhale his scent again. When I get my fill, I move back to his mouth and let his lips devour mine. It’s unlike any other kiss we ever shared. Love. Anger. Hurt. Regret. Longing. Healing. There’s a lot, and at the same time, there isn’t enough.

“Where to, lovebirds?” Kostya asks from the driver seat.

“Home,” Pasha says against my lips.

“Home.” I nod.

 

* * *

 

“I can walk,” I say as Pasha carries me into his building. He didn’t let me move off his lap during the entire drive.

“I know. But I’m not letting you down,” he says as he approaches the security guy in the lobby to get a spare key. The poor man looks shocked at seeing Pasha in only his fighting shorts, all bloody, feet bare, and with me clinging to him.

I tighten my hold on Pasha and bury my face in his neck, where I stay until we reach his apartment. He carries me directly to the bathroom in his room and lowers me next to the sink.

“I need to take a shower,” he says.

“Okay.” I nod, slip off my glasses, and proceed to take off my clothes. Pasha removes his shorts and boxer briefs, then starts unwrapping the bandages on his left hand. I step closer and take over, revealing the bloody knuckles underneath.

“Will you keep fighting?” I whisper, brushing the wounded skin. “I don’t think I can bear watching you go into that cage again, Pasha.”

His hand cups my cheek and tilts my head up. “Then I won’t.”

I nod and look down at the splint on his right hand. “Can you get that wet?”

“No,” he says and unstraps it.

When he removes the splint I notice something new inked on the back of his hand, but I don’t have time to look at it in detail because he grabs me around the waist and carries me inside the shower stall.

“Let me see your face.” I motion with my hand for him to bend down. Pasha turns on the overhead shower, but instead of bending, he crouches in front of me. Water is raining down on him, small rivulets rolling down his bruised face. He looks terrible.

“Why did you do it?” I ask, brushing the tips of my fingers over the cuts and bruises scattered all over his face. “Why go back to fighting after so many years?”

“I hoped that if I got my head smashed enough times, I would forget about you. It didn’t work, mishka.”

“Good.” I pick up the soap from the shelf and lather my hands.

Pasha doesn’t move from his crouching position, just watches me with his head tilted up as I clean the blood and dirt off his face. I try to be as gentle as possible, especially around the bruises on his chin and under his eye. When I’m done with his face, I move on to his short hair.

“Now for the rest,” I say.

He stands up and lets me wash his chest and back. There are more bruises there—on his side, stomach, and some on his back—visible even under the ink.

“Jesus, baby.” I brush my palm down a wicked-looking purple mark on his stomach.

His arms are in slightly better shape. I wash the left one and move to the right, starting at his biceps, and continuing down to his wrist which is slightly swollen. I carefully lather the skin, then move his hand under the spray and watch as the water washes away the suds, revealing the new tattoo. The image is of a thorn-covered branch, done in black ink, its sharp spines pointing in all directions. Above it is a red bird in flight, its fluffy wings spread wide. It’s beautiful and sad at the same time. I place the tip of my finger on the design and trace the shape of the bird.

“It’s you,” Pasha says and brushes my cheek with the back of his other hand.

“The bird?”

“Yes.”

I look up from the tattoo and find his eyes watching me. “There’s only one bird,” I say. “Where are you?”

“I’m not there. Just you.”

“Why?”

He dips his head to whisper in my ear. “Because there was nothing left of me after you flew away, mishka.”

I squeeze my eyes shut, but the tears still escape. The water from the shower cascades down on us, reminding me of the day when he rushed into the stall fully clothed. I wrap my arms around his neck and press my cheek to his. “You shouldn’t have pushed me away.”

“I know.” His arm tightens around me, crushing me against him. “I wanted something better for you.”

I move my hand between our bodies and wrap my fingers around his hard length. The moment I start stroking him, he swells even more. “Come with me,” I say, taking his hand. I pull him out of the shower and he follows me to the bedroom. When we reach the bed, I push on his chest lightly until he’s lying down.

“It doesn’t get better than you, Pasha,” I say as I climb onto the bed and straddle his legs. “You’re the only man I want.”

I take his cock in my hand and tilt it to lick the tip. Pasha’s hand shoots up and grabs a handful of my hair.

As I suck—slowly at first, then faster—his grip on my locks remains firm. His breathing gets labored, so I switch to licking. I love it, this feeling of elation that spreads through my chest as I see him coming undone. I never would have thought I would enjoy going down on a man, or how much it would turn me on. But this is my Pasha. And I want to do everything with him. I take him into my mouth again—as far as he can go—and he groans as his warm cum explodes down my throat. I swallow it all.

His chest is rising and falling rapidly when I climb on top of him. His hand is still tangled in my hair, clutching at it as if it’s a lifeline.

“I love you,” I whisper, “so very much.”

He stares at me for a few moments, then presses his lips tightly together. “Are you sure, Asya?”

“I’m sure.” I lean and press my lips on his forehead. “Can’t you see that for yourself?”

He lets go of my hair, sliding his palm around my neck to cup my face and tilt my head up. I expect to see him smiling, but the expression on his face is serious.

“You’re very young, baby,” he says as he strokes my cheek with his thumb. “What if you meet someone along the way and decide that this . . . us . . . is not it for you? I don’t think I could survive watching you walk away again, mishka.”

I peer at him for a minute, studying his flattened lips, his crooked nose, and his metallic gray eyes that sometimes say more than his words.

“What is love for you, Pasha?” I ask and brush the back of my fingers down his face.

“The feeling of never being close enough.” His other hand comes to the back of my neck, squeezing lightly. “I have the need to somehow absorb you into my chest, so you’ll always be with me. Safe from harm. Only mine. Forever.”

I open my mouth to say something, but he silences me by slamming his lips to mine.

“I love you to the point of madness, Asya,” he whispers against my mouth, “and I really need you to be sure. Please.”

I bite his lower lip, then trail kisses down his neck and lower until I reach his heart. I can feel it beating wildly. With one last kiss just over his heart, I climb off his body and head into the walk-in closet. I open the drawer and slide my fingers over the ties folded neatly inside until I reach the deep burgundy one. It’s not exactly red, but it’s close enough. I take it out and head back into the bedroom. Pasha’s eyes follow me as I walk toward the bed, his gaze focused on the tie I’m holding.

“Mishka?” he straightens until he’s sitting on the edge of the bed. “What are you doing?”

“I want to show you what love is for me.”

I come to stand between his legs and take his hand, placing it on my chest, just over my heart. “You never asked me why I freaked out because of the ties. One of the first clients used his tie to choke me while fucking me. I thought I was going to die that night,” I say and raise the hand holding the tie, then drape the silky fabric around my neck.

“Asya, no.” Pasha reaches for the tie, but I take his fingers in mine and lay his palm back on my chest.

“Can you feel my heart beating faster than normal?” I move his hand a little up and to the left. “No. Is my breathing getting erratic? It’s not.”

With my free hand, I take one side of the tie that’s hanging loose over my front, wrap it around my neck twice and tuck the end into Pasha’s palm resting on my collarbone.

“Last week, I tried helping Arturo with his tie. I adore my brother, and I know he wouldn’t ever do anything to hurt me. My hands were shaking so much that I asked him to do it himself instead.” I lift my eyes to meet Pasha’s. “Do you see my hands shaking now?”

“No, baby,” he says in a strangled voice.

“Every single part of me is in love with you, Pasha. My body. My mind.” I wrap his fingers around the end of the tie and, keeping my hand over his, I pull on it. The silky material tightens around my neck. “Even my subconscious knows how great and unconditional that love is. So, yes. I’m sure.”

I release his hand and hold his gaze as he unwraps the tie from my neck. He does it slowly, careful not to pull on the fabric, and throws it to the floor.

“I’m getting rid of all of those anyway.” He reaches and scoops me into his arms, then throws me onto the bed.

I bounce twice, laughing. Pasha climbs on the bed, but instead of hovering over me, he takes my ankle and raises my leg to his mouth, placing a kiss on my toes. I giggle and try pulling my leg free, but he keeps his hold.

“Stop!” I wail.

“Not gonna happen,” he mumbles and moves his lips to the arch of my foot.

When his lips find the supersensitive spot on the inside of my ankle, I put my other foot on his chest and try pushing him away without success. “I’m ticklish. Pasha! No, not there!”

“Everywhere, mishka. I plan on covering your whole body with kisses. Every day.”

He trails the line of kisses up my leg to my pussy. I feel his warm breath as he gently kisses it before he buries his face between my legs, sucking at my clit. His hands glide up my legs and under my butt cheeks, lifting my ass. I choke on my breath and grab the headboard above my head, holding on for dear life as he slides his tongue inside me. My thighs and arms are shaking as if I’m burning with a fever, and my mind goes blank, focused solely on the sensation of his tongue on me. Suddenly, his mouth vanishes but, a moment later, I feel his cock entering me. He isn’t even fully inside and I’m already close to coming.

Pasha’s hand grabs the back of my neck. I open my eyes and find him looming above me, so big and ferocious looking with all that ink. My mountain king. The most beautiful man, inside and out.

 

Pavel

 

I can’t take my eyes off Asya’s. It’s as if they are holding me enslaved. I still find it hard to believe she’s mine. Slowly, I pull out only to thrust back into her again, as deep as possible. A small moan leaves her lips while her delicate arms go taut with strain as she grips the headboard above her. The sounds she makes are addictive. I pull out of her again, wrap my arm around her, and turn her around.

“I wish I had the words to explain,” I say next to her ear and kiss her earlobe, “how much I love you.”

I let my palms glide down her back while I trail slow kisses along her spine, all the way to her ass. Her skin is so soft it feels unreal, and I experience a slight pang of regret as I bury my teeth into her firm butt cheek. Then, I kiss that spot and position myself between her legs, thrusting into her pussy, absorbing her every gasp and moan. I move my left hand lower, between her legs, and tease her clit. Her body is trembling under my touch as my right palm travels up along her spine. I wish I could touch her everywhere at once. I rock into her with a steady pace for a few strokes, then increase my tempo. Asya lowers her head to the pillow and lifts her ass higher.

“Harder!” she cries out and takes a hold of the headboard again.

I grab her hips and thrust myself deeper. Her walls spasm around my cock, and as I hear her moaning my name when she comes, my restraint snaps. The headboard bangs against the wall while I pound into her like a man possessed.

“Are you mine, mishka?” I bite out between the thrusts. The need to hear her say it is making me insane.

“Always,” Asya breathes out.

There are so many things I wished I had in my life, but nothing compares to having her be mine. As long as I have her, I don’t need anything else.

“Mine!” I come with a roar, pouring my seed into her.

 

* * *

 

I tuck Asya closer into my body and pull the blanket over her. It’s warm in the room, but I’m always worried she’ll get cold. “Does your family know you’re here?”

“Yes,” she mumbles into my neck.

“And do they know you’re not coming back home?” I ask.

I’ve been dreading this moment. I don’t want to fight with her brother, but I will not let him take her away ever again. And if I need to beat the living shit out of him to make him understand, so be it. But what if she can’t handle being separated from them?

“I have only one home.” She lifts her face to look right into my eyes and smiles. “You. You are my home now.”

Something happens inside my chest at that moment. My heart skips a beat, and then I feel something slide into place. The jagged edges finally fitting together.


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