Chapter 15

“You're alive,” I say holding my father.

“It takes a lot more than a stake to kill your old man,” Armando tells me.

He holds me close. I know this is weird for Nero who is looking on right now. Hell right now I'm pretty fucking sure that it's weird for me as well. Nero seems to be speechless. Right now I have to admit that I'm beyond speechless as well.

Nero's silence is loud though. It speaks volumes. All these secrets have been thrown on him at once. I've inherited all my father's secrets and right now I'm wondering what the fuck he thinks about me hugging this incredibly sexy guy who looks my age and calling him my father.

Just at that moment a familiar face approaches. It's Countess Livia. She is joined by other King's guard. There have to be dozens of them. This was a full out attack.

“The rogues have scattered. The majority of them have been killed,” the Countess explains, “The main threat is gone sir. Victory!”

She's calling my father sir. My father is still in charge of the King's guard. It's clear right now. The other guards gather around my father. They are celebrating. Idiots. They don't know what's coming. They don't know what the fuck is coming.

“She's awake.”

“Who?” the Countess asks me.

I look towards the tomb...the hidden wall. My voice is a slow...slight whisper, “Lilith...”

The silence that has made Nero stand there like a statue spreads to the rest of the King's guard. The moment of victory that they had is gone. None of them probably ever saw her in person but the stories that they know must be enough that they are shaking in fear. They are frozen in place not sure how to react.

“Si—si---sir....” Countess Livia looks at my father.

She's lost and confused. The brave men and women who would follow my father anywhere were now stuck on stupid. And they had every right to be. It would mean nothing for my Lilith to kill every single man and woman in this room. She wouldn't even break a sweat. Deep inside they must know that too. Deep inside I think they can all feel it in the same way that I can. It's not the same connection. My connection is much stronger. My connection is much deeper but it's still there.

My father seems mesmerized for a moment but lets out his ordres, “Livia retreat. It's not safe. Take the Prince and Santos back to Eden immediately. Don't wait. Don't stop for anything. Keep moving...”

The feeling was getting stronger. Stronger and stronger. Just at that moment I see Armando making his way towards the room.

“Where the fuck do you think you're going?”

“Watch your mouth,” he tells me.

“Armando. I understand you're trying to play father right now but I'm going to have to get used to that. And you walking in that room is not going to help.”

“I just have to see her. I have to confirm...”

The look in Armando's eyes is clear. He was enchanted. It's the real reason he turned down Geneva so many times. He was in love. He was still in love with my Lilith and right now there is a spark in his eyes. There is a spark that I can't understand.

“She'll kill you.”

“She wouldn't hurt me...”

I grab my father's wrist hard, “I'm not going to take that risk. I'm still in shock that you're alive. I'm not going to just let you risk it. So you decide. It's me or it's her.”

I knew it wasn't fair to ask. I knew that I was playing the lost son game and acting like an injured bird. I didn't care. The King's Guard was already starting to leave. We needed to be doing the same thing. I didn't need my father going back into that room after I just found out that he was alive.

Armando grabs my hand, “I spoil you...”


The way back to Eden is long. It's silent. Nero doesn't leave me alone with my father. Maybe he doesn't really believe that Armando is my father. Maybe he does believe it but he just wants to be nosy. He isn't talking to me either. I'm a little concerned about Nero to be honest with you. No one really says anything until we get to the old building in Harlem that leads to the white gates of Eden.

By the time we get past the gates my father relaxes a little bit.

“We can pace ourselves now,” he explains, “Livia run on ahead and tell the king what happened with the mission. Tell him that I was successful but that Lilith is alive.”

Livia nods at the order and leaves. The other king's guards are also walking on ahead. My father clearly wants to talk to me alone but it becomes even more clear that Nero is not going to leave us at the edge of the forest alone. Nero's eyes are glaring at Armando and I.

“My father knows you're alive?”

Armando nods, “It was his idea. All of it.”

Nero is shaken up at that moment, “What...idea...”

“He made you challenge me. I let you stab me so that everyone thought you won...including you. We faked my death shortly after. Only members are the King's guard are aware.”

“Why? WHY the fuck would my father do some shit like that?” Nero asks, “Making me look like I won in front of the entire city.”

“If I didn't know better I would assume that you hoped I was dead...prince...” Armando spits the title at that moment.

I swear to god I think Armando and Nero are going to break out in a fight right now. I feel for Nero in way. I don't think he really wishes my father was really did. I believed him when he said he regretted stabbing my father. What I do believe however is that Nero was made to believe that he was more powerful than he was. For the first time in Nero's life he had proven to the people that he had what it took to be king and in a matter of seconds it is revealed to him that this is all some type of plot by his father.

The tension is growing so high between the two and this time I'm not going to miss the opportunity to lessen it a little bit.

“Nero is just surprised. That's all,” I defend him.

Nero doesn't seem to be wanting to completely play along. He is glaring at Armando and he offers up a hard, “Everyone is going to find out you're alive and my father is going to make me look like a fool in front of the whole city because Armando, the great had to fake his death. Yes. I'm surprised. So can I least get an explanation?”

Armando shakes his head, “Because someone was infiltrating Class O. We had to figure out who it was. The only way they'd make their move was if they felt like I was dead. So I faked my death and sure enough...Geneva made her move leading Santos to the other rogues.”

“I followed Santos. I protected him.”

“You hid in a tomb...” Armando responds, “And I assume you know a little bit more than I wanted you to know from following him. And here is the official story you are going to tell your father. You'll tell him Geneva kidnapped you and Santos followed you to rescue you.”

I'm confused by this, “Why?”

“He's trying to keep the secret of who you're mother is,” Nero responds at that moment answering the question for Armando, “You should know Armando is pretty good at secrets by now. What would my father do if he knew his beloved king's guard fucked the first ever vampire...”


It's thick---as fuck.

Armando nods, “I'm going to give you a word of advice. Prince. We both want to protect Santos so I'll say this nicely. You know that law that keeps someone from touching you?”

“I'm well aware of it...”

“If you let out a single word about Santos being my son or Lilith being his mother. I'll will be breaking that law...over and over...and over until there is nothing left of you.”

I gulp. Nero turns at that moment. He walks off at that moment.

“Nero! NERO!” I scream after him.

Nero doesn't listen. He's pissed. The way he walks off dramatically seems to prove it. The others are well on their way to the big stone city of Eden. I am so pissed when I turn to Armando.

“Really?” I ask him, “You knew damn well Nero wasn't going to say anything. Why would you threaten him like that.”

Armando shakes his head, “I don't know anything. I told you from the beginning. I don't trust any of these people with you. And I was right. Geneva was a snake in the grass and you trusted her.”

“Nero's different.”

“I could care less,” Armando explains to me, “I would fake my death a million times. I would fight every rogue. I would kill the king himself if he threatened you. So yeah...threatening a prince for good measure means nothing to me. And honestly he should mean nothing to you either. I know you think you love this boy---”

“I do love him.”

Armando rolls his eyes, “My job is to keep you safe. You talked to the rogues. You know what they expect from you?”

I nod.


Armando shakes his head, “Your mother will stop at nothing to make sure you follow her path. I have to stop her. Eden is the only place your safe. If these people find out who you are they'll think you're a threat and they'll remove that threat.”

“Maybe I am a threat.”

He raises his eyebrow at me moves to my side and grunts, cold and stern like always, “Raul?”

“You now about him?”

Armando sighs, “Of course I know about him.”

“Then you now that I can't go back to Eden. I killed Raul.”

“They don't know.”

I'm confused. I look at Armando at that moment.


“Milan didn't now what to do when you killed Raul. He called his brother for help. And Aiden did what Aiden had to do.”

I'm confused.

“What are you talking about?”

“He took Milan's place and he blamed the death on Geneva.”

As if Geneva was capable of ripping someone to shreds like that. I can't believe that Aiden covered it up. I should be grateful but right now I don't feel like I'm worth it. The men in my life were going out of there way to protect me and all I was doing was giving them more work.

“Milan would never agree to that,” I explain, “I saw how he was reacting. He hated me. He's going to run and tell people the first chance he gets what I did to his boyfriend.”


My father starts walking away.

“Armando...Armando...” I call out, “Dad!”

Armando finally stops, “Yes?”

“Where is Milan?”

“Armando explains, “From now on they won't be switching out. Aiden will be at the school with you. He'll be taking care of you. Now that's the kind of guy I can see you with. Someone who will do anything to protect you...anything...”


“I knew it was her...” Lucca tells me, “I didn't trust Geneva. Not one bit. The way she ripped up poor Raul.”

Camille doesn't hesitate to join in, “I know. God---look at Milan. Could you imagine? He looks so heart broken.”

School is back as though it never left. I'm sitting in homeroom with Lucca and Camille. They've been non-stop gossiping about the events that took place. Everything was so skewed. Facts were mixed with fairytales. Geneva was the traitor. Everyone knew about that. Her parents were arrested and it was big news all over the vampire network. They also just assumed Geneva killed Raul because that's what “Milan” told the authorities when they came.

I look over at Aiden right now pretending to be his twin brother. He's trying to act all sad but truth is he's not that good of an actor. He's not sad and I'm so confused on what he did to Milan.

“You should go say something to him Santos,” Lucca suggests, “You were the next closest one to him.”

“I'll pass,” I let Lucca know rolling my eyes.

“Milan is the city's love story right now. Everyone's talking about him,” Camille responds, “If I were you I'd use that little spotlight. The last thing you want to do is be associated with the prince who can't even win a real fight.”

That was the other thing. Just at that moment Armando walks in. Everyone knew he was back. He'd gone on the media and told them all about him faking his death so that Geneva could drop her guard and make a move. Within the day Nero became the target of media jokes, internet memes and just straight up slander for the fact that the Combat Sanglant was a fake.

“It's not like he knew Armando was throwing the fight. Nero still fought well,” I argue.

I'm attempting to stick up for Nero as much as I can. It hasn't worked and I can't argue with everyone. It's not hard to hear the other classes in the school whispering about him. They always talk about Class O but Nero has literally went from a hero to a zero over night because of this stupid ass thing.

He's acting like it doesn't bother him when he sees Armando walk into class but I know it does. I hate that Nero is going through this and as much as I love the fact that my father is back I just know that my father doesn't want me to end up with Nero.

He seems to be getting his wish. Nero hardly talks to me.

“Well if he fights so well how the fuck did Geneva just kidnap him?” Camille asks laughing.

What's worse was the fact that my father also told the media that Nero was kidnapped. Nero isn't even fighting against this completely false accusation. I'm sure he's not fighting it because he wants to protect me. But maybe that's why the resentment is also there.

The entire class I stare at Nero and realize that I had to make things right with him. He was going out on a limb to protect me and he had all of Eden feeding into this stupid ass assumption that he was this weak prince he wasn't worth shit.

I knew what Nero could do. Nero deserved to be king. Nero went into enemy territory to rescue me. Nero trained day and night to be Armando. Nero was strong.

“Are you two officially over?” Lucca asks me.

I don't know the answer to that. I didn't know where Nero and I stood. Luckily I don't have to answer my friends because the bell rings.

As I walk outside I find myself making my way over to Nero. Just as I get close I'm stopped by Aiden who quickly blocks me.

“Can I walk you to the next class?”

I roll my eyes and walk out the door.

“I can walk by myself. I am capable of at least walking without you and my father interfering.”

I can't resist being shady to Aiden. I know Aiden wants to protect me but I'm just worried about how far he was willing to go to protect me. I was concerned about it. What's even worse is that things are still weird with Nero. The last thing I need is Nero seeing me walking around with Aiden between classes. I look around. It looks like Nero booked it without waiting for me like he usually did. Ever since leaving Eden, Nero's been distant ant weird.

Aiden isn't leaving my side. We make our way between a crowd of A bloods who stare at me like I'm some type of weird phenomenon that didn't occur in nature. Aiden walks close the whole time. He is so much taller than most of the people in school, doming over me with his slim slanky mysteriousness seeming to even put more attention on me.

“Your father told me about what happened,” Aiden explains.“You meeting your mother has to be a lifechanging experience. I just want to make know. You're ok or whatever.”

“Me killing a boy isn't a life changing experience...but me meeting a woman who is asleep is?” I ask.

Aiden grabs me, pulls me up against the locker and presses up against me hard by pushing his hand over my mouth. It makes me nerovus when he does shit like this. He is pressed up against me on the school lockers and I'm completely shaken up by it.

“Don't say that out loud. You don't know whose listening.”

“I did...” I look around before whispering, “Kill Raul. And you know it. What did you do though Aiden? What did you do to Milan because he found out that I did it?”

“I buried the Garden.”

By the garden Aiden meant the massive forest that was surrounding the city of Eden on all sides. Aiden doesn't look like he regrets this when he tells me this.

“Jesus Christ...that is your brother.”

Aiden shakes his head, “He's a vampire. He's immortal. He'll live. He'll probably sleep and when he's over it I'll release him from the coffin I buried him in.”

Aiden looks like he has it all figured out. I have to admit he does have a sense of ease about everything he says. He doesn't seem to worry, stress or doubt himself like Nero does. Aiden is too cool for school. It's the main thing that separates him from even Milan. Aiden's swag is something that makes you feel like everything is right in the world and nothing can go wrong. I knew better than that. A lot can go wrong...especially in Eden.

“You make it sound so easy,” I explain to him before shaking my head, “ can bring Milan back. I can't bring Raul back. He's gone. He's gone for good.”

Aiden rolls his eyes, “Man fuck Raul. That shit sounds harsh but...fuck him. Straight up.”

“You can't say that...”

Aiden looks at me hard, “Why? Why not? Because the way I look at it you almost killed Raul once before. He should have been smart enough not to keep fucking with you. You keep poke the bear and it just might wake up again.”

The bear? All of a sudden I remember how I black out. All of a sudden I feel like just slamming my fucking head on the locker. I probably would do it if Aiden doesn't grab me and hold me back.

“I'm a monster.”

“No he was. You got to remember. He slept with Milan thinking that was the love of your life. Raul sold you out to press. Raul even sucked Nero's dick.”

My mouth drops.


Aiden shakes his head, “I didn't want to tell you.”

“You're lying.”

“Remember that one night Raul and Milan were arguing? It wasn't about you. He was trying to get under your skin. But it backfired on him when Milan found out instead of you.”

“You have to be have to be. He would have told me.”

“It was when you and Nero just started dating and Raul was being Raul again. So he didn't tell you. Which is exactly why you can't trust him.”

Aiden was looking at me dead in my eyes. He'd been holding this for the right time. Him and Milan were close...regardless of whether he buried Milan alive or not. Milan would have told Aiden about this a long time ago. This meant Aiden had been SITTING on this little piece of information.

“The relationship was fake in the beginning,” I explained, “If Raul did give Nero head our emotions weren't involved back then.”

“Convenient. So why come when your emotions did get in it he still didn't tell you anything?” Aiden asks, “Maybe he didn't even tell you about the fact that he was once engaged to Coco a while ago. Why do you think she was so upset?”

Aiden was building a case against Nero. It was clear. He'd been saving all his ammunition for now and he was taking shots. And right now was the worst time. Right now my heart hurt. Nero didn't tell me any of those things. Nero didn't warn me about any of them.

“That was in his past.”

“So when I do it...I keep too many secrets,” Aiden argues seeming annoyed by the situation, “But when he does's his past. How well do you really know Nero?”

“Stop it Aiden.”

My blood was boiling.

“How about this one? Remember that night I followed Coco? The same night you and Raul got into it. Guess who Coco had a quick meeting with?”

Just at that moment Coco appears. It's as though she hears us talking about her. My heart looks over at Aiden. I want to continue the conversation. My heart is racing a thousand beats a second. I swear it is. I am letting Aiden get under my skin with my relationship and it's working. Raul gave Nero head and he never told me? Nero was engaged to Coco and he never told me?

I just keep hearing Aiden's voice even as Coco is talking: How well do you really now Nero?

“So is that yes?” Coco asks.

“Sorry---what?” I ask.

“I said that I'm going on a hiking trip. I'm inviting the whole class plus some A and B blood types. We're going out into the garden this weekend. I was hoping you and Milan can join,” Coco states.

Why the fuck was Coco inviting me? Now that Geneva and Raul were gone it is clear that she has no other friends. Coco is desperate as fuck and it shows on her face. Aiden and I exchange looks. I can tell he's not really expecting Coco to say it.

“I should be able to make it,” he smiles.

I look at Coco. Aiden was about to tell me that she was meeting with Nero. Why the fuck would she be meeting with Nero? Why the fuck was she meeting with my man at ALL behind my fucking back?

And why the fuck was he not telling me.

The head with Raul and even the engagement was one thing. They were both wrong but they were before Nero and I really fell for one another. Maybe he just didn't tell me. Him meeting Coco at night was another story. That was something entirely different.

“I'll pass,” I tell Coco, brushing past her relatively quickly and making sure she knew what I felt about her.

I'm in Art of the Kill when Lucca and Camille are trying to convince me to go to Coco's little hiking trip. As they are talking I'm barely paying attention to them. I'm looking at Nero. He hasn't said there is a problem between us but it's different. He usually always lets me hang out with Lucca and Camille during class but in between class he'd always wait up for me. At night we always shared a bed. Things were different now. Nero was getting distant.

Could he be falling back in love with Coco?

“Santos...I know you can hear me with that sonic hearing,” Camille states.

I look over at her and place my hands behind my head, “What is it?”

“Tell Lucca this hiking thing is a bad idea.” Camille explains.

“I wouldn't be caught dead, Lucca” I respond rolling my eyes, “She doesn't have any more friends. No one talks to Coco. She's desperate for attention. Listen to Camille.”

I didn't think I would ever be telling Lucca to listen to Camille of all people but right now she was making sense.

Lucca shakes his head, “I'm not saying I want to go but I'm curious. What if Coco is up to something?”

“Like what?”

“I don't know. Don't you think it's weird?” Lucca asks, “Her bringing us out to the woods? Coco has never really been the out in the woods type of chick.”

“Neither am I. What if I sweat off my contour?” Camille explains giving a slight shiver.

“And Coco thinks the same exact way. Which is even more of a reason we should go,” Lucca crosses his arms, “It's weird that she wants to go hiking. Not a fancy party. Not a dinner date. Milan and Nero like to go hiking. This isn't something Coco likes to do. Plus. Nero is going. Please tell me you don't want your ex in the woods with that bitch?”

Lucca had a point. Right now I look over on the other side of the class. Nero is having a conversation with Coco. I don't know what they are talking about but Coco is laughing...slowly and gently. My heart is beating fast. I'm embarrassed if anything because it's clear Coco took her seat over there next to him. Normally Nero would be talking to Milan. Coco would be Geneva and Raul. Only thing Milan was really Aiden and Aiden hated Nero's guts. Geneva and Raul were gone. So I guess Coco and Nero came together by default...

Just as he starts to makes it the door opens and Dean Caesarian walks into the class. Everyone turns to him. Every time he walked into a class we all acted like we weren't having general chit chat and everyone was back to paying attention to what they were doing.

“Prince Nero. Come to my office after class,” Dean Caesarian states and then stops before leaving the class, “Bring Santos with you as well.”

My heart beats at that moment. Lucca and Camille look at me like I did something wrong. My heart is racing. What if the Dean is suspecting that I was the one who actually killed Raul and not Geneva. I feel a cold sweat rolling down my arm.

At the end of the class Nero finally does wait for me. He gives me a look when he sees me hanging with Lucca and Camille.

“Why do you hang out with them?” Nero asks me, “You know they're using you because you're with me and they think we'll end up getting married or something.”

We are walking down the hallway. It's loud but somehow the awkwardness between Nero and I makes things quiet as fuck.

“I like that about Lucca and Camille. Yeah they are using me, but at least I know their motives. No secrets,” I defend them, “Besides they did the same thing to Coco...when you were engaged to her...”

Nero doesn't stop walking. He doesn't seem to be effected by hearing me say that. I guess he just assumes it was a matter of time before I found out.

“Who told you?” he asks me.

“Does it matter?”

I want to argue with Nero. I have to admit it. I know that Aiden is doing this on purpose. He's trying to break Nero and me up. But the weird thing about Aiden trying to break Nero and me up is that Nero gave him ammunition to do it.

“No it doesn't.”

I grab Nero at that moment, “Is there something you want to tell me Nero? Honestly...”

Nero looks annoyed, “Like what?”

“You've been acting weird since...well since you found out who I am.”

Nero shakes his head, “Baby. Things are different now. That doesn't nececcessarily mean a bad thing does mean. I don't know. Things are different...”

He's tripping over his words. Nero isn't sure what to say.


“I'm bad with words. You know this...I'm trying here...”

“Just explain it.”

“I can't. Just listen. Things are different now and I just have figure out what I want,” he explains to me.

I don't like the sound of that. I don't like the way that he says it. It scares the fuck out of me. With that Nero walks away clearly not wanting to talk about this anymore. I feel like I'm losing him.

Or maybe I feel like I may have lost him already.

I know something big is happening when I notice the amount of King's Guard in Dean Caesarian's office. When we get into the office I realize King Arie is there. As usual he is with the elders. They surround the office making me feel like a nervous unqualified loser at job interview. Their eyes dig into Nero and I as we walk into the room. I can see Nero is even nervous and if the prince is intimidated by all these older vampires then I definitely am.

“King Arie,” Nero states.

I realize Nero never really calls Arie his father. I know Arie really isn't his birth father. Arie is just a vampire who took him as his heir. The comfort level between them isn't there. Honestly the more I am around them I don't think the love is there too. There is a connection a father and a son have. Even an adopted father and son. I could get away with probably doing or saying anything to Armando. Even though I'd only known him for some months I knew Armando would do anything for me. I just had that feeling.

The feeling between Arie and Nero was different. It was...cold.

“King Arie,” I bow.

“No need for bowing,” King Arie explains ignoring Nero and looking at me, “Captain Armando told me that you followed the traitor rogue out of Eden in order to save Nero.”

“Well actually...” I start off.

I contemplate correcting this lie once and for all but I'm cut off by Nero.

With a straight, almost solemn face Nero tells the leaders of Eden, “He did. He saved me and I'm grateful.”

“Interesting,” Dean Caesarian states, “Santos you were at the bottom of your class. How did you manage to save the Prince?”

The Dean is glaring at me. He's suspicious as fuck and he's not hiding it. A few of the others join him with the suspicious look. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders right now. I've never been the best liar. I've never been the best at secrets. Where the fuck was Armando when he needed him? My father was the king of telling secrets.

Once again someone comes to my rescue. This time it's in the form of Countess Roxanne in her childish body, “Oh baby Caesar...don't you know? People do the most amazing things when they are pushed to the limit. It's not hard to see Santos is in love. I think it's all really romantic...”

Roxanne smiles a little bit and gives me a wink. Caesarian doesn't seem even lightly less suspicious though. His forehead wrinkles. He doesn't trust me. He doesn't trust a single word of it. He's seen my grades and he's been monitoring me since I came to this school. I realize now that he is going to be a problem and I wonder if it's worth telling my father about...

King Arie doesn't seem as concerned though...not with me at least. King Arie shakes his head to Nero, “Maybe we should increase your guard Nero. Add several more than just Sinclair.”

“I'm not a child. I don't need more bodyguards,” Nero explains.

The rogues weren't after Nero anyway...not directly. They were after me. They only tried to kill him because he was influencing me.

“It may not be a bad idea,” Roxanne states, “Armando says that the Darkest is awake.”

“Can you boys confirm this?” the King asks.

“She's awake,” I confirm.

The elders all start whispering amongst themselves. There are at least a dozen of them in the room. There is something about a vampire like them. It's the way they hold themselves. It's the way they smell. They have this elderly thing about them that lets you know they've been around for quite a long time...some centuries even.

Dean Caesarian whispers something in the King's ear. It makes me nervous when the King nods. It's clear that the King takes the Dean's words to advisement and it really concerns the fuck out of me. He trusts the Dean but the Dean clearly has it out for me.

The King finally talks after a few seconds of what seems like internal debating amongst the elders, “We need not let anyone know about the Darkest. Right now many people are celebrating the fact that Armando actually survived the Combat Sanglant and is here to protect us.”

“He lost that fight,” Nero explains.

It comes out of no where. The room gets quiet. I'm definitely not expecting Nero to just come out of no where and talk back to the King like that. I don't think anyone is. Even the elders seem a little shocked by it.

The King doesn't skip a beat to throw Nero back down into the dirt, “By you? You should have known that you could never really kill Armando. We all figured that. Why else do you think I let you fight him? He exaggerated his injuries. Nero---lets be serious. You could never seriously harm Armando of all people.”

The words are sharp. They are sharp as all fuck. Nero's is breathing heavy. I feel so bad for him. The embarrassment gets even worse when the elders start laughing at him.

That's not what happened. I want to scream it at the top of my lungs. Nero was my hero. He went out to try to save me. He fought through the rogues like it was nothing.

“Be easy on him,” Roxanne tells the King like a grandmother protecting her grandchild.

“We don't have that luxury,” King Arie explains, “The Darkest is coming. For right now we need to make sure the defenses are prepared including making sure that we have the very strongest Class O and the very strongest heir.”

“I'll be strong enough,” Nero explains.

“Good. Because your boyfriend won't always be around to save you.”

Nero storms out of the room at that moment. I can tell he's pissed. He is steaming. The way he shoves open the door makes me think the door will come off it's hinges. He starts running down the corridor and I'm chasing behind him.


“Leave me...alone...” he says.

Nero walks away from me. The embarrassment has set in. I am beginning to see just how much Nero wants to please King Arie. He wants to please the elders. He wants people to know that he is worth being the next King.

At that moment it's clear all the things he wants.

And one thing else is clear.

He wants nothing to do with me.

Nero doesn't sleep with me that night again. He sleeps in his own bed. It's hard to be asleep and so I just lay up. I'm thinking about everything that has gone on. I'm thinking about Geneva betraying Eden for the rogues. I'm thinking about Nero growing so distant from me. I'm thinking about Aiden and my father with all their secrets. I'm thinking about Raul. Oh yes. Out of everything I think about Raul the most.

How can I blame Nero for not wanting anything to do with me?

I killed Raul.

He was protecting me, but protecting someone that doesn't deserve protection gets old.

I knew what I was and now so did Nero. Nero saw it first hand. He saw what I was capable of. He was there.

I was a monster. Plain and simple.

In the middle of the night I see someone move. I turn. Everyone's asleep. Camille is snoring like a fucking drunk sailor but beyond her loud recklness snoring I can see shadows moving. Then I notice the beds that are empty.

Coco...and Nero.


I get up when they go into the next room and follow them slowly. They are in there for a few minutes. God knows what they are doing and for a minute I think about going back to bed. Maybe I don't want to know. Maybe it's best if I don't know. But I realize that I won't be able to live with myself if I don't hear what they are talking about in the next room.

They are in the darkness making sure they are away from everyone so no one hears. Nero seems to have a smile on his face. Since we came back to Eden he hasn't smiled so wide. It is this genuine smile that I see as I peer from behind a wall.

“I've been waiting for this for so long,” he says.

My mind is wandering. This doesn't mean what it sounds like right? It could mean anything. They could be talking about any fucking thing in the world. Coco and Nero could be talking about anything right now. Maybe they are...working out...jogging in the middle of the night.

“Go ahead. Say it,” Coco commands in this blunt almost demanding way.

Nero's smile gets wider, “Ok. Well here it goes. Ever since I met you I loved you. Ever since I met you I knew you were the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And even through the upsa nd downs I realize that I always will come back to you. Nothing else and no one else matters. And I needed some time away from you to really appreciate what I had. I want to tell you that I love you and I want you to be mine forever.”


When Coco throws her hands around Nero...I die for the second time.

To read the next chapter go to