Sentinel, p.21
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Sentinel, p.21

         Part #5 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
 
Page 21

 

  A volcano erupted inside me.

  I opened my mouth and screamed. I didn’t recognize the sound. Windows cracked. Shards of glass fell, and stopped before they hit the floor.

  It wasn’t enough—the destruction wasn’t enough. It could never be enough. Every cell inside me had been violated on a level I couldn’t begin to comprehend.

  The room shook and the building shuddered as I took a step forward. My feet lifted off the floor. Below me, the tile warped and peeled up, breaking apart in large, uneven sections that rose into the air. Another shockwave of akasha rolled out from me. Blue light pulsed, incinerating the flooring.

  In a flash, I felt the rage and shame of being so broken by Ares.

  I hadn’t mourned all those who’d died at the hands of Ares until that moment.

  I hadn’t feel the loving embrace of my mother’s arms or the loss of her all over again until that very second.

  I felt the damage that’d been done to my body and head all over again.

  I tasted the bite of fear and the tang of fury when I remembered the condition of Aiden’s hands when I first saw him after waking up. I tasted them again when I remembered seeing Marcus’ mangled face.

  I felt the horror of pulling the trigger and killing Lucian.

  I felt it all.

  I felt alive, as if I was finally awake, and it was too much.

  Another scream tore through me, and the walls trembled.

  The door opened behind me, and I slowly turned around, breathing through my nose. Seth stood there. My feet touched the floor.

  “You need to try to calm down,” he said. “Or you’re going to bring this whole building down. ”

  Calm down? Oh, shit was about to get real up in here.

  I flew toward him, my arm snaking back. My fist cracked off his jaw, snapping his head back. Seth stumbled a step and bent over, clutching his face. The burst of pain flaring across my knuckles felt damn good.

  “Gods,” he grunted.

  Jerking my leg up, I slammed my knee into Seth’s stomach. A harsh expletive exploded from his mouth as I grabbed fistfuls of his shirt and shoved him backward. He caught himself against the wall with one hand.

  “Okay. ” He spat out a mouthful of blood. “I’ll admit I deserved that. ”

  The stupid cord in me didn’t understand the violence, but it liked that I was touching him. For that reason alone, I dropped down low and spun. I took his legs out from underneath him. Seth folded like a paper sack, hitting the destroyed floor on his side.

  I vaulted to my feet and then dropped into a crouch.

  Seth was back up in record time, his golden brows slammed down. “Okay. You want to work out your aggression. I’m all for that, Angel. ”

  “Don’t. ” I dipped under his arm and sprang up behind him. “Call. ” I slammed my hands down on his shoulders and brought my knee up. “Me. That!”

  Seth twisted away before I could say hello to his spine. He faced me, pushing the longer strands of hair out of his gleaming eyes. “Come on. Bring it, Angel. ”

  The sound that came from me would’ve sent most people scurrying for the hills.

  He lifted his hand and gave the universal “come get some” sign. “Work it out of your system. You can’t kill me. ”

  I wasn’t sure if my anger was so much directed at him or if he just made for a very convenient punching bag, but I launched myself at him. I hit him in the midsection, knocking him backward. We crashed into what was left of the desk and toppled over it. In a rather impressive feat, Seth shifted and hit the floor under me, taking the brunt of the fall. I was on top of him, straddling him. My arms rose up and I brought them down on his chest, over and over. I hit him, and I kept hitting him. His face blurred through the sudden wetness in my eyes. What the hell? The dampness rose and spilled over. My hands ached, but I couldn’t stop. Tears streamed down my face and the whole time…the whole time Seth let me hit him. He didn’t raise a hand. He didn’t stop me.

  My body shook and my arms ached. The sobs came from deep within me, from that dark and rotted-out place that had cropped up when Ares shattered my bones. My fists landed against Seth’s chest once more, weaker this time, and I couldn’t lift them. I hunched over, my chin dropping to my chest, and I cried so many tears I was sure I was going to drown the whole world with them.

  “Stop. ” Seth gripped my arms. “Come on, Angel, stop. ”

  I wished I could, because crying on top of Seth wasn’t my ideal way of licking my wounds in private. It was a whole lot of pathetic and awkward, but it was like the seal that kept me from crying had been broken. There was no turning back now.

  Seth made a sound, and then he rolled. A second later I was lying on my side. For several long minutes, we were stretched out the floor like two idiots, his arms like a vise, restraining me from doing any more damage to him or the poor, unsuspecting room. It took more time than usual for the tears to finally ease off, and for me to calm down enough to speak.

  “Why you?” I asked, my voice thick and gross-sounding.

  Seth sat up slowly, pulling me into his lap, my back against his front. “And why not Aiden?”

  I didn’t answer because it was obvious.

  “You would’ve killed anyone else who came in this room. ”

  My head hung limply. “That wouldn’t have stopped him. ”

  “I had to tie him up and stash him in a closet. ” When I stiffened, he tightened his arms and laughed. “I’m just kidding. I didn’t do anything other than use my deadliest weapon—logic. Apollo may’ve had to restrain him a bit, but he’s right outside this room waiting. ”

  “Logic?” I laughed, and although the sound and feel of it didn’t hurt, it sounded strange to me. “You never used that before. ”

  “I know. ” He was quiet for a long moment. “But I’m very familiar with this kind of rage, Alex, and I know what you felt. And you haven’t really dealt with everything until now. Aiden thinks he knows how you feel, and maybe he has an idea, but I know what you felt and I know what you went through. ”

  I was still ashamed that anyone had been privy to those horrible, wretched moments when I’d prayed for death and wanted it more than I’d ever wanted anything. It was so weak, and I had been so broken, flayed open to the core.

  Seth rested his head on mine and sighed. “I wasn’t lying. I never wanted something like that to happen. Out of everything I have done and caused to happen…it’s the one thing I can never ask forgiveness for. ”

  And I wasn’t sure I could ever truly forgive him. I knew he hadn’t done this to me, but he’d played a significant part in all of it. But I was too tired and just…too done with everything to hold onto the anger anymore, because it was doing what Ares and his sons wanted. It was chipping away at me, killing me.

  I relaxed and closed my eyes, concentrating on the steady rise and fall of Seth’s chest. A little part of me still felt lost, and I wasn’t sure when I’d feel whole again or if I really ever would, but I knew what was happening right now. It was that connection between us and the calming effect it had.

  Seth had done this before. He’d used it to calm me down when I’d had nightmares, and he’d used it to connect and control me, but now, when I was at my most vulnerable, he didn’t twist the connection back on me. He used it to help me.

  * * *

  Some time passed before I was in any condition to stand and face things. My legs and arms felt strangely weak. I glanced over my shoulder at Seth and cringed. A deep crimson stain was already spreading across his jaw. “Sorry about your…face. ”

  Our eyes met, and an uneven grin appeared on his face. “No, you’re not. ”

  “You’re right. ”

  Seth stepped forward, and I eyed him wryly. “You know you can take a time out, right? Take the rest of the day to just, I don’t know, deal with it all. Get some rest. ”

  I was exhausted in the way one felt only after going through an
emotional upheaval. The idea of laying my little head down on a soft pillow was more appealing than eating cheese fries loaded with bacon. “I’m sure Apollo has a reason for showing up other than yanking those freaks out of me. ”

  “He can wait. ” Concern flickered in Seth’s eyes, and it was odd seeing that. As long as I’d known Seth, it was rare to genuinely see him care about someone other than himself. Then again, I wasn’t giving him credit. I’d changed. He’d changed.

  “No. I’m fine. ” I turned to the door. “We don’t have time for me to take a nap. ”

  “We have time. ” Seth followed me. “Not like tomorrow is going to be any different than today. ”

  Who really knew if that was true? Denying the urge to agree and go find the nearest bed, I opened the door. It was slightly off its hinges, so it scraped the floor and opened only halfway. I sighed as I squeezed through. I wasn’t surprised when I saw Aiden and Marcus leaning against the opposite wall. Both seemed to relax a little when they saw me standing and obviously not looking like I’d stuck my hand in an electric socket.

  Though I did come to an abrupt halt when my gaze centered on Aiden again. It was like seeing him for the first time—the broad cheekbones, the full, expressive lips, his dark, unruly hair, and those brilliant smoky-gray eyes. A veil had lifted from my vision, and I couldn’t—didn’t want to look away. How much had Ares’ sons affected? Everything, it seemed.

  Marcus’ gaze shifted over my shoulder, and his brows rose. A small grin tipped up the corner of Aiden’s lips. No doubt he was happy to see that I was unscathed while, on the other hand, Seth looked like he’d run into a wall.

  My uncle recovered first, stepping forward. “Are you okay, Alexandria?”

  “Other than the fact I just spewed out two gods like a drunk college chick? I’m feeling fabulous. ”

  Relief shuttled across his face. He clapped a hand on my shoulder. “There’s my niece. ”

  I cracked a grin at that while I kept an eye on the two guys. Aiden and Seth were eyeballing one another like they were about to start boy-fight, round two.

  Marcus squeezed my shoulder and then dropped his hand. For him, that was a whole exercise in bonding, and I was okay with that. I turned, catching Seth’s attention. My eyes narrowed and his rolled. Raising his hands in surrender, he pivoted around and headed into the dean’s office. Marcus was right behind him. Before I entered the room, Aiden caught my arm and stopped me. We were alone in the hall.

  “Alex,” he said, his voice low and rough.

  Turning to him, I looked up and met his gaze. My mouth opened, but a sudden knot clogged my throat. I threw myself forward, pressing my forehead against his chest and breathing him in. He shuddered, and then he wrapped his strong arms around me. He dropped his head, pressing his cheek to the top of my head as he held me in a tight, heart-melting embrace. I clung to him like a deranged baby monkey, soaking in his warmth and the absolute feel of him. There was a lot we needed to talk about, but this hug? Gods, I needed this hug.

  I needed this hug from Aiden.

  “Shit, Alex…”

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll