Unraveled: Chapter 13

LEANDRA

There are no words to describe what I’m feeling. My heart is full even though it’s bleeding. How is that possible? How can I feel complete and torn at the same time? I have no idea, but I’m looking at the monitor, and I see two tiny figures so clearly, and I can hear their heartbeats. It’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. With each thump, the broken pieces of me slip back in place. The gaping hole I’ve felt for weeks narrows, and the void dwindles, and I haven’t felt this whole in so long. It’s almost…magical.

My world has been turned upside down and inside out, but while I stare at the image of my growing babies, all I feel is this immense wonder and love, bursting with new hope for the future. How could I not when the two little beings I’m carrying are a part of me and a part of the man I love? Everything else fades away, and nothing else matters. The past? Inconsequential. Old grievances? Trivial. My own pain? Insignificant.

After the first ultrasound, I was overcome with fear. But now, all I feel is awestruck by the life growing inside me. I feel hope, and life no longer seems so dark. I don’t know what changed. Maybe it’s the way Alexius clutches my hand, his fingers interlaced with mine. He squeezes lightly every time the doctor points at the screen, telling us what we’re seeing, how our babies are growing.

Maybe it’s because he’s here. No. Not maybe.

It is because he’s here. It’s not just seeing my babies and hearing their heartbeats that make me feel complete. It’s him, too. It’s because we’re together.

I glance up at him, and my heart expands. It’s easy for Alexius to hide his emotions with his unreadable expression. He always has me guessing what he’s feeling and thinking. But now, he can barely disguise the awe and wonder in his eyes as he stares at the monitor. Everything I feel reflects in his blue irises, and he looks at me like I’m everything. Like I’m all he needs. We’re no longer two pieces of this love story. We’re one, and the life inside me is proof of that.

“Everything looks great,” the doctor says, and Alexius and I look at him. “So far, you have a healthy pregnancy, and your babies are growing just fine. Have you decided if you’d like to know the genders or keep it a surprise?”

My breath catches in my throat, and Alexius’ eyes grow wide. “You can see that?”

“It’s still early at fourteen weeks, and it’s never one-hundred-percent accurate, so I always caution my patients against having their mind set on the gender based on what we see on the ultrasound. But I’m seventy-five percent sure of the gender of this little one here.” He points at the monitor. “The other one is a little shy today, but hopefully, he or she will give us a better view at the next ultrasound.” He looks at us. “So, do you want to know?”

Alexius looks at me questioningly, and I’m sure my heart is about to leap out of my chest. I shrug. “I don’t know. Do you want to know?”

Alexius pulls a palm down his face, his eyes fixed on the monitor. “I think I do.” He looks at me. “Do you?”

I’m bursting at the seams to know whether we’re having at least one boy or girl. My curiosity gets the better of me, so I nod. “I think I do, too.”

The doctor smiles, still pointing at the baby in question. “It looks like you’ll be having at least one little girl.”

I suck in a breath, and the room goes quiet. “A girl?”

“Looks like it,” the doctor confirms, and I look at Alexius, who’s still staring at the monitor, speechless.

“Oh, my God.” I swallow back tears.

“A girl,” Alexius whispers like he’s almost afraid to say it out loud, his eyes gleaming with what looks like shock and amazement.

The doctor removes the transducer from my belly, wiping away the remaining gel. “I’ll see you again in four weeks’ time. If you have any questions or concerns, you have my number.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” I say, and Alexius simply nods as the doctor leaves the room, almost knocking over one of the staff standing outside the door with a clean set of towels.

“Not now,” Alexius barks, and the poor man scurries out like a pack of rabid dogs was just sent after him.

I give him a disapproving stare. “Was that really necessary?”

Alexius lets out a low grunt, and I merely shake my head, not wanting anything to ruin this moment. “I can’t believe it. This is so surreal.” My heart is racing, bubbles of excitement popping inside my stomach. “One of them is a girl,” I whisper in disbelief, and I want to cry and laugh simultaneously. “We’re having a little girl.”

“Yeah.” Alexius lets go of my hand and turns away, staring out in front of him with his palm over his mouth.

I pull my shirt back down and throw my feet off the side of the bed as I sit up. “Are you okay?”

He doesn’t turn to face me, and the sinking feeling slowly trickles back.

“Alexius, say something.”

“I, ah…” he turns to face me but doesn’t look at me, “I have to go.”

“No!” I leap off the bed and put myself between Alexius and the door. “No. I’m not letting you leave again. Not before we talk.”

He still can’t look at me and turns away, stalking to the other side of the room.

“Where have you been?” I ask, pushing myself away from the door.

“I told you. I’ve been taking care of some things.”

“And what things need taking care of with you not being here with your family?”

“Leandra,” he rubs his temples, “I can’t do this now.”

“You don’t have a choice. We’re doing this now,” I demand. “And stop giving me some bullshit excuse about dealing with things. You’re avoiding me. You’re avoiding talking about what happened. But disappearing and pretending we don’t have shit to work through will only make it worse.”

“How in the name of fuck can things get any worse?” he yells, finally looking at me, his eyes wild and fierce, but their radiance is gone. “Tell me how things can get worse, Leandra.”

“By letting it fester,” I snap. “If we don’t fix this now—”

“We?” He arches his brows. “We? There is nothing we need to fix.”

“How can you say that?”

“Because you didn’t do anything wrong.” His voice slams against the ceiling. “I fucked up! Not you. Me.”

I stare down at my hands, fidgeting with my fingers. “I don’t think we’re beyond fixing. We still have something worth saving.”

“How? Huh? How the fuck do we fix this?” He slams his fist into his chest. “I hurt you. I fucking hurt you, and I don’t know if it’s something we’d ever get past.”

“First, I’m assuming you’re referring to what happened with Isaia, because you didn’t feel any guilt after getting me pregnant and locking me up in my room. So, no. You didn’t hurt me. Not that day, anyway. Second,” I step forward, both desperation and determination pulsing through my veins, “after what we just shared, after seeing our babies, hearing their heartbeats, knowing we’re having a little girl, I know we can get past it. Just don’t disappear on me again.”

“I had to leave.” His wipes his fingers down the side of his mouth and over his chin. “I had to get the hell away from you because I can’t look at you without thinking about what I almost did, how close I came to hurting the one person I love more than anything in the entire goddamn world.”

“If it’s your conscience fucking with your head, maybe you should try apologizing. It’s the only thing that lulls that inner voice reminding us of our regrets.”

He gives me a deadpan look.

“Yeah, I know.” I cross my arms. “A Del Rossa never apologizes.”

“It was never my intention to hurt you.”

“I know that.”

“I wanted to kill my own brother, for Christ’s sake.” His jaw is clenched as he spits out the words. “And not in some juvenile brother-kicks-younger-brother’s-ass way. I wanted to really kill him. Coat my hands in his blood after tearing his motherfucking heart out. Even now,” he drops his arms at his side, “when you walked in here with him, I nearly cracked my fucking teeth trying not to lose my shit with him again.”

“Alexius, listen,” I step closer, “you need to stop. Isaia is not in love with me.”

He scoffs, placing his hands on his hips.

“He’s really not,” I continue. “He thought he was, but he realized that what he feels for me is a very strong friendship. But it’s not love.” I shake my head lightly. “I can’t explain it, and neither can he, but we’ve had this special bond ever since he walked me down the aisle. But he’s not in love with me, I swear it. To him I’m more like the sister he never had.”

“Somehow that still doesn’t make me want to kill him any less,” he bites out, his jaw clenched. “I don’t think you understand the magnitude of what I feel for you, how protective I am of you, how determined I am to give you everything you want.”

My heart skips a beat.

“Ask me for ashes, and I will burn the world to the ground. Ask me for blood, and I will slaughter every man from here to Bangkok and bring you their hearts. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”

I rush to him, reaching up and cupping his cheeks in my palm. “Just love me, Alexius. That’s all I want.”

“Me loving you is the problem,” he says, placing his hands over mine. “I didn’t see it before now. Lying to you, switching your birth control and getting you pregnant, I didn’t regret doing that because I love you. Locking you in your room, keeping you here like a captive, I didn’t regret that either because I love you.” He eases my hands from his face, his thumbs pressing gently in my palms. “Beating my brother, holding a gun to his head while fucking you in front of him like you’re nothing but a goddamn animal…I regret that because I love you.” He scoffs and lets go of my hand, taking a step back as he rubs the back of his neck. “And today, hearing my babies’ heartbeats, seeing their tiny little figures on that screen, finding out I’m having a daughter,” he lifts his brows, a tormented hue of blue glimmering in his irises, “what kind of father will I be to a little girl if this is how I treat their mother?”

To see the pain in his eyes is unbearable; it’s twisting my insides. I want to take it away. I want to touch the sadness I see in him and drown it, destroy and take it away even if it means carrying it myself.

“I know a lot has happened,” I murmur, trying to calm the storm with a gentle tone. “I know it’s going to take time—”

“What is this, anyway?” he interrupts me. “For weeks, all you wanted was to get away from me. And now you, what?” He gestures toward me. “You had a change of heart? A moment of enlightenment?” His voice is laced with sarcasm, and it fucking irks me.

“I was angry, and rightfully so. Yes, you hurt me with everything you’ve done, but while you were gone, shutting me out, I realized that it doesn’t matter what happened or what lines were crossed. I love you. I fucking love you, and nothing will change that.” I stomp my foot, and I’m aware of how childish that might be, but I’m so frustrated, angry, scared, and fucking annoyed because just a few moments ago, I was high on excitement and filled with hope, only to have it squashed.

I half expect his mask of indifference to settle on his features, but there’s this faraway look in his eyes, as if he’s somewhere else. “Love is not the butterflies you feel when you’re with someone. It’s the brokenness you experience when you’re apart.”

My heart hiccups, and I place a palm on my chest. “That’s beautiful.”

He looks at me and shrugs. “It’s something my mom said to me once.”

“She’s a wise woman.”

“Yeah.” He takes a sharp inhale. “But I’m pretty sure it’s not that simple.”

“Nothing about our marriage, about our relationship, is simple, Alexius. But there’s one thing that became painfully clear and simple to me in this room today.” I walk closer again, refusing to look anywhere except in his eyes. “I would rather live with the burden of loving you than suffer without you.”

Abruptly, he reaches out and pulls me against him, the air bursting from my lungs, and I quiver with a sudden surge of urgency to have him claim me again—to bend my body to his will and make me his filthy little slut again.

His fingers weave into my hair, and my lips part as I welcome his possession. His eyes are molten silver, and he pins me with a fervent stare of a thousand different shades of blue. I recognize the desire that burns within their depths, and it makes me hyperaware of my own need, arousal pooling between my legs.

He drags a finger leisurely down my chest, over the swell of my breast, stilling for just a moment when he reaches the peak of my pebbled nipple. I hold my breath, anticipating his next move, wanting him to palm my breast, suck the hard nub, and ravage my body as only he can. But his gaze falls lower, his hand now tracing down my abdomen and flattening his palm on my stomach. “Your belly has grown.”

“It has. I’ve also grown impatient.” It’s a challenge, and he sees it as such, pulling his lips in a snarl, his blue eyes flashing with a familiar hunger I’ve come to recognize so easily.

“You are everything to me, Leandra.” His voice is low and rough. “Nothing will ever change that. But—”

“But nothing,” I say. “You are mine, and I am yours. That’s all that matters, and if you don’t see it, then you’re the stupidest fucking man I know.”

His mouth collides with mine, his kiss fire on my lips, and I return it with everything I have in me. It’s not just about loving him or about him loving me. It’s about needing each other, unable to exist without one another. He needs to understand that what we have is more important, stronger than any ‘what ifs’ held in the past.

My palms are flush against his chest, and a moan echoes off my lips onto his when he rolls his hips, his cock hard and ready, and I can’t stop myself from reaching between us, palming his thick shaft. He lets out a labored breath, his lips parted, and wraps his fingers around my wrist as if it’s an attempt to stop me, but he doesn’t. Instead, he spreads his palm over the top of my hand, urging me to stroke him harder, faster, as he thrusts his length deeper into my eager hand.

“I can’t control myself with you,” he says against my lips.

“I don’t want you to.”

“I hurt you the last time.”

I pull back, jerking my hand, and slap him across the face. “Stop!” I grip his cock harder in my palm and lick my lips as I lean closer. “Were you so fucking possessed that you missed the part where you made me come?”

His eyes search mine, his lips glistening from our heated kiss.

“Were you so caught up in the madness you didn’t realize I liked it?”

“What was there to like? I lost my shit, and I used you to prove a point to my brother. It was fucked up.”

I continue to stroke his dick through his pants, lifting my shoulder as I press harder. “Someone once told me if you want to do something simply because it thrills you, you do it. The world is unraveling, and we have every right to unravel with it.”

He licks his lips, and I can feel his body vibrate, his eyes dark and turbulent.

I loosen his pants and snake my hand inside. The second I wrap my fingers around his smooth cock, he hisses, shoving himself deeper into my palm.

“At Mito, you told me I’ve been a predator all along. You were right. I’m not prey. I’m just like you, and together we do fucked-up so goddamn well.”

Precum beads on the tip of his cock, and I rub my thumb over it. My body is nothing but flames. My panties are soaked, and my pussy throbs, needing to feel him inside me more than I need my next breath.

I force my hand in deeper, palming his balls, and he snarls while biting his bottom lip as he leans his forehead against mine, his eyes rolling closed.

“Unravel with me, Alexius.”

He grabs my hand, stopping me from stroking him, his expression feral.

I lick my lips. “Now, give me what you promised. Love me until death us do part.”

His mouth is on mine once more. His kiss is hard and desperate, like he’s trying to taste my soul. Our tongues dance and duel while our lips claim unapologetically. His breathing is rapid and labored as he pulls back. “Take off your pants. Do it now.”

I obey and pull my pants off, kicking them to the side. He takes the hem of my shirt and pulls it over my head as he forces me to move backward. I gasp when I feel the cold wall against my back, and Alexius drops to his knees in front of me, his hand guiding my leg over his shoulder, his lips tracing up my inner thigh.

I’m all sensation, and my instinct is to close my eyes and lean my head back, but instead, I thread my fingers through his soft hair, slanting my head so I can look at him and relish the sight of such a powerful man on his knees for me.

I brace myself by gripping his hair tighter, his lips brushing against my smooth sex. My legs start to shake, my core tight and slick, and I moan out loud when he snakes his tongue into my pussy, licking a long, leisurely stroke through my slit, then flattening his tongue deep in my cleft.

“Alexius,” I whimper.

“Shh.” The vibrations of his lips ripple to my core. “Keep quiet.”

I suck my bottom lip, watching him roll his tongue as he eats me out. He clamps his lips around my clit and sucks hard, causing me to swallow a moan. It’s intense, almost too much, and I have to lean my head against the wall, closing my eyes as I arch my back. I push his head closer, burying his face deeper into my cunt. There’s a low growl that reverberates from his throat, causes my core to quiver, and I’m so close—so fucking close, and I feel it starting in my toes, my muscles tense and tight, desperate for release.

I buck my hips against his face, and he slips a finger inside me. “Oh, my God,” I whisper breathlessly, rocking myself into his mouth.

“That’s right.” He dips his tongue where his finger enters me and drags up before flicking it against my clit. “Fuck my face, stray.”

“Jesus.” I look down at him and try to spread my legs wider, thrusting my hips downward and rocking my wet pussy onto his face. He moans against my sensitive flesh, his finger pumping faster as I grind into him, my clit throbbing.

“Alexius, I need your cock.”

“I want you to come on my tongue.”

“And I need you to fuck me.”

Abruptly, he grips my thighs with his fingers biting into my flesh, pulling me down harder onto his face. He sucks my clit hard, and I can’t stop it. I cry out, my body convulsing with pleasure, and I claw at his hair, pulling and pushing, fucking his face and riding out the orgasm that leaves my body and mind in fragments of ecstasy.

His tongue doesn’t stop, his finger pumping my pussy, milking every last drop of my orgasm. Finally, my muscles relax, and if it weren’t for his arms wrapping around my waist, I’d collapse because I have no strength left in me.

Alexius stands, his lips glistening with my cum. “Please fuck me,” I whisper, even though I can barely stand. “I need to feel you inside me again.”

He places both hands on the sides of my neck, easing down my naked shoulders, leaning his forehead against mine. “Not today, stray. Not today.”

Before I can say anything, he pushes away and walks straight out the door without looking back.

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