#Chapter 129: The Deal
I returned to campus with Nina with a weight lifted out of my heart in knowing that she was still by my side, but there was still so much we had to deal with. I still couldn’t shake the
feeling that my fated mate was truly the owner of the scarf my father gave me, but at the same time, Nina’s weak scent was too similar to not notice that there was something more to this.
Furthermore, my father still thought that Nina had run away overseas with her mother and her brother, and I worried that he would do something to her, like frighten her away for good, if he found out.
When we returned to campus, because of all of these things, I decided to drop Nina off at her dorm and part ways with her for the time being. I needed to figure things out, but I could only do that by going to the one place where I could clear my head and think straight: the empty hockey arena.
I parked my motorcycle and walked to Nina’s dorm with her. We walked slowly, hardly speaking, although I couldn’t help but steal the occasional glance over at her. She looked so beautiful in weather like this, with her long black hair poking out from inside her hat and her brown eyes sparkling with possibilities. My eyes wandered down to her body, and although I knew I shouldn’t be looking, I couldn’t stop myself from imagining how she looked that night in the shower… Her soft curves, her plump breasts, her smooth skin. I’d tried to keep myself from noticing how her body felt against me as we slept in the motel, but I couldn’t help it. Even now, I felt myself get a little hard thinking about it, and 1 quickly looked away and shook the thoughts out of my mind before it went any further.
Finally, we arrived at her dorm building. She stopped at the doorway and turned to face me. Her cheeks were rosy from the cold, and I thought I could see that her eyes were watery; whether it was from the cold or from her wanting to cry, I couldn’t tell.
“Will you come up?” she asked quietly.
I was a bit taken aback by her question.. I paused, considering it for a moment, but shook my head. I still had a lot to think about and I couldn’t get any thinking done when all I wanted to do was be inside of her. “I’m sorry,” 1 replied, averting my gaze so I wouldn’t have to see the disappointed look on her round face. “I need to practice for the g e game… And I need to think about some stuff.”
She was silent for a moment, but eventually nodded understandingly.
“Okay,” she whispered. Before I could walk away, she suddenly moved forward and lifted herself up onto her tiptoes, then planted a gentle kiss on
my cheek. Then, without a word, sheleft me standing on the steps with my face red from surprise.
I stood there for a moment, still feeling her cold lips on my cheek. I wanted so badly to run inside after her and carry her upstairs, but I couldn’t. So, I hung my head and walked to the arena, where I headed into the locker room to get changed so I could practice.
But it seemed, however, that I wasn’t alone in there.
My father suddenly rushed out of nowhere, grabbing my shirt and swiftly pinning me up against the wall with all of his strength. I struggled against him, but it was no use; he was too powerful as an Alpha for me to fight back very effectively, even though I was physically bigger than him.
“What did you do?” he snarled. “I told you to stay away from her — I even went out of my way to get you
something that belongs to your mate in order to help you stay focused —
and you undermine me by bringing her
A low, exasperated growl rumbled in my throat and I felt my eyes begin to glow. “You can’t just threaten people and force them to leave the country, dad,” I said. “Your beef is with her mother. Not her.”
My father released his grip on my shirt and stepped away. He almost seemed to shrink at the mention of Nina’s mother, and he passed a hand over his tired face.
“I’m only trying to protect you and our pack,” he said quietly. “Humans — they’re useless, fickle creatures. They don’t understand the concept of a mate bond like we do. She’ll only hurt you if you let yourself get involved, son. And, even more important than that, this arranged marriage is set in stone. If you back out now, it’ll be detrimental to our future.”
“Why?” I asked. “Why is it so important for our pack if I marry another CEO’s daughter?”
“Because she’s not the daughter of a CEO!” he barked. “She’s the daughter of the Alpha King, and by marrying her, you will become the next Alpha King.”
My eyes widened incredulously. I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing would come out; I couldn’t even think of a response for him.
“So,” he continued, “that’s why this is so important. If you marry this girl, you will ensure that the Crescents never return.”
“What about all of this ‘peaceful competition’ you and Ronan’s father talked about, then?” I asked. “I thought you decided that the tournament was a fair way–
My father shook his head. “It’s just a distraction. Meanwhile, I’ve been working tirelessly to ensure that this marriage happens, and you very well may have ruined it. I don’t want to do anything to hurt the girl, Enzo, but you’ve left me no choice.”
At the mention of Nina, I couldn’t bear it any longer. I couldn’t risk her getting hurt, and if this was truly as important to my father as he claimed….
“I’ll do it, then,” I said. “I’ll marry this girl. If you promise not to hurt Nina, and if you let her family come home, I’ll marry her without fuss. You won’t have to worry about us getting involved anymore.”
As I spoke, I felt my heart shatter into a million pieces. Of course, I knew that my mate’s scent was powerful all along, but I supposed that there had always been a small shred of hope that Nina could be my mate in the end especially since her scent was the same, just weaker. But, if marrying the Alpha King’s daughter would keep Nina safe, then I would do it.
My father was silent for some time
before he finally nodded solemnly and spoke.
“Shake my hand,” he said, sticking his hand out. “If you do as you promise, then the girl and her family can continue living their old lives.
I nodded, gritting my teeth as I shook his hand. “I’ll do it.” I paused then, and remembered something that Nina had told me about her brother. “I have one more condition, though.”
My father sighed and narrowed his eyes. “What is it?”
“Her brother,” I responded. “I want you to lift the curse you put on him.”
It was then, at that moment, that I knew that I was right about my father- – because he cocked his head and a
look of pure, unadulterated, completely innocent confusion spread across his face.
What curse? he asked.
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