Forever in the Past and Forever in the Future by Neener Beener chapter 20
Bronx looks like a swamp monster as he walks towards me with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. I stand up when I see him, putting my hands over my mouth with a little gasp.
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We make eye contact. With all the mud, I can’t read his expression, but I can feel his pain. Not physical pain, emotional pain.
“I need you, ” he growls as he walks past Milo and Lenora. He leans over, wraps his muddy arms around my waist, and picks me up. He doesn’t even break his stride. He just keeps walking. There’s a squishing sound where his skin contacts my clothes. Welp, I guess this outfit is done for.
After listening to everything Milo and Lenora just told me, I had no idea what reaction to expect when Bronx got back, but it certainly wasn’t being thrown over the shoulder of a swamp monster.
“Uh, bye guys. Thanks for the talk,” I wave at Milo and Lenora. They wave back with confused looks on their faces.
“Want to tell me what’s going on, Bronx? ” I ask as he climbs the stairs.
He just grunts as he carries me, wrapping his arms around my legs in a tight bear hug up the stairs to the fifth floor. Instead of going to my suite, he opens the door to his apartment and kicks it closed behind him. He carries me all the way to his bedroom and sits me on the edge of the bed. Instead of sitting up and looking at me, he lays his muddy head next to my hip, his heavy, muddy chest is in my lap, and his arms still tightly around my waist.
I smooth his muddy hair as he silently holds on to me as if his life is depending on it. I can feel his emotions, he feels tormented. Maybe his life does depend on it? I feel helpless seeing him like this.
“Bronx, sweetheart, please talk to me. Please. Whatever it is, I’ll listen, ” I soothe him.
The most unexpected thing happens next, silent sobs start racking through him. My eyes grow wide. Uhh, what? He’s crying? Now I definitely don’ t know what to do.
I pull his arms off from around me and slide off the bed, into his lap, and lean against him. He puts his head against my shoulder and continues to cry. He shakes his head back and forth as he sobs. His whole chest heaves as he whimpers and tries to catch his breath. We sit like this for some time until he starts to calm down. It’s clear this reaction isn’t just because of witches. This is built up stress that he’s been holding on to for a long time. I feel a twinge of guilt knowing I am part of that stress.
I lean away from him so I can look at his face. Like a big baby, he won’t look at me. He lifts his face to the ceiling, stopping me from seeing his tears but it’s my turn to wipe tears away. Well, tears and mud, but you get the idea. I press on his chin gently, pushing his face down so he is looking at me square in the face. It’s the first time I’ve seen him with no eyepatch. At first glance, it was a bit jarring to see a long vertical scar where an eye should be. The thought of his scar is fleeting as I look into his eye and see all the pain he has been holding on to.
” Bronx, what’s going on? ” I use a gentle tone as I caress his cheek, “Please don’t hide from me. I can take care of you just as much as you do for me. Please trust me.“
He looks at me with a tear welling up again, “I can’t pile this shit onto you, Kas. You’ve been through enough. This is my burden and mine alone. I just -I don’t know what to do with it. The biggest threat I’ve ever sworn to protect my pack from is witchcraft. After what I went through when I was in the military, I’ve fought tooth and nail to keep witches and other creatures off of my territory. That bitch didn’t just take my eye. She took part of my liver and almost killed me. It’s my job to keep my pack safe.”
“Now the one thing that can help my mate, the one f*cking thing, is exactly what I have fought so hard against for years, ” his voice is shaky as his lip trembles, ” I don’t know what to do Kas. I need to do what’s best for you but I also need to do what’s best for the pack, and right now those things are conflicting. I’m not just an Alpha, I’m an Alpha Regent. The word of my decision will get out and everyone will judge me. Maybe even question my authority, regardless of what I decide.”
He squishes his muddy head into the crook of my neck and takes a deep shaky breath. I let him stay like that until his breathing settles. We’re both going to need showers after this.
“I bet that smells like nothing but mud, ” I joke, trying to lighten the mood. I ‘m also trying to stall until I figure out how I should reply to what he just told me.
“Huhuh, no you always smell like fresh rain and lilacs. Oh, what do I smell like to you?” The sounds of crying fading from his voice.
“Coffee and dark chocolate, it’s almost like a mochaccino, ” I giggle. He laughs a little before sighing deeply.
I pull him away again so I can look him in the eye, ” Bronx, next time, just talk to me. Especially if you or Saint are mad. I ‘m your mate. I’m not as fragile as you think I ann. We’re supposed to be in this together, right? This is not just you and only you.
This is you and me as a team. I’m here to support you in all things and if I’m going to be Luna someday, it’s also my responsibility to keep the pack safe. We can talk through these sorts of things if you just speak to me instead of walking away. Besides, I would never want you to make a decision that would be bad for the pack. More importantly, it’s not up to you to make decisions like this on my behalf. We can talk through the pros and cons and decide what is best together.”
“I ‘m sorry. I didn’t want to hurt you, Kas. I didn’t want to say something in anger that would push you away or make you think you did something wrong, ” he looks me in the eyes, trying to read my expressions.
He’s been treating me with such care for the past few weeks. It’s like I ‘m a bomb that’s going to go off at any second. Yes, I still have a lot of healing to do, but I ‘m working on it. Who knows, maybe I’ll never be fully over all the crap I’ve endured, but I know it was in the past. He is my future.
I take a deep breath. Trying to explain how serious I am doesn’t seem to be getting into his head. I need to take action. Here goes nothing. I grip both sides of his face and look him straight in the eye as I slowly pull him toward me until our lips touch. Lex is going bonkers in my mind as I pepper his lips with little kisses, each kiss a little longer than the last. I finally close my eyes as I feel butterflies in my chest. The little kisses morph into one slow and soft kiss.
His back stiffens at first contact but Bronx quickly relaxes and pulls me tight against him, holding the back of my head, deepening the kiss. Electricity sparks between us as the kiss becomes more passionate. He adjusts his arms so my entire body was pressed closer to him. I feel him growing harder against my butt. I’m sure he can smell my arousal as he presses his tongue against my lips and I allow him in. We’re both breathing heavily as we sit in each other’s arms on the floor of his bedroom, losing ourselves in each other.
He finally pulls away trailing little kisses across my face and clears his throat. He had a big smile on his face, “You kissed me.”
”Noooo! Don’t stop now! ” Lex pleads.
”I’m sorry, I should have asked if it was okay,” I reply to Bronx, ignoring Lex.
”Oh Goddess, Kas. You never need to ask if it’s okay to do that. I – uh – I’ve never kissed anyone before, so I wasn’t expecting it,” he confesses shyly. “Really? I just assumed you’ve had girlfriends before.“
“Uhh, I-well, I’ve been so focused on military training and the security business and leading the pack plus, I’ve never given up hope that my mate was out there somewhere. I wanted to save myself for her. I’ve never had a girlfriend.“
Well, that’s a surprise. It was the first kiss for both of us.
“Well, as much as I would like to continue kissing you, we, unfortunately, need to get back down to the conference room. Why don’t you go get your shower and meet me in my suite in half an hour? We can talk about this witch problem before we go back downstairs.“
He nods in agreement and gives me one more tight hug before he helps me stand up and walks me to the door of my suite, both of us covered in sticky mud now. He gives me a small kiss on the forehead and goes to get his shower. I look down the hall to see James trying not to make eye contact with a little smile on his face.
“Don’t worry, James, ” I call out, winking at him, ” We’re all safe from the swamp monster.“
“I heard that! ” Bronx’s muffled voice comes from his apartment.
James smiles as I giggle and go inside my suite to get cleaned up.