Sick Puppies, actually. I love this band. I couldn’t remember if I’d played this song for you before, but if I did I apologize. I just love it, so I can listen to it endlessly. I used it in the Bar for Ainsley, who has an attraction to a man she knows is about to meet his mate. Because she’s filled with despair and loneliness, she offers to spend one night with him before he leaves on a mission where he could die… or find his true mate. There’s a desperation within her when she says goodbye to Helios and the song is the perfect counterpoint. Here’s the song and the post.
It was cold. Or rather, I was cold. I rubbed my hands up and down my arms as I held myself, staring out the window at the leaden sky. I was numb. I didn’t know what to think or feel. I’d done something completely out of character last night, but I didn’t regret it. Instead, I was just numb. The water turned off in the bathroom and I sensed Helios coming up behind me. He was showered, shaved, and dressed, and his serious face was back on.
“It’s almost time for me to leave,” he said quietly, his hands coming to rest on my silk covered shoulders.
“I know,” I replied in a flat unemotional voice.
Helios’ eyes searched mine in the window’s reflection. “Do you want me to come back here when it’s over?” he asked. His voice wasn’t tentative, but there was a question in his stormy grey eyes. He was asking me if I wanted him to come back to me. I wished I could tell him yes, but it wouldn’t be the truth. I turned around so I could look at him.
“Helios.” I reached up and touched his handsome face. “I’m not the girl for you. I know you keep picking women who don’t keep you, but I’m not a keeper. I will never have a mate,” I told him solemnly. “If you come back to me you are condemning yourself to a relationship with a woman who can’t have a relationship, a woman who can’t be your mate or give you the children you want.”
I shook my head and reached up on my tiptoes to press a quick kiss to his beautiful mouth. “I’m not what you want or need, Helios. I’ll pray for you to come through this safely and find who you’re looking for to complete your life. But don’t come back here for me.”
“How am I supposed to reply to that?” he asked me in a voice ragged with the beginnings of anger.
I shook my head. “Don’t. Really, it’s better this way. I’m not your mate and you need to find her. Why would you want to come back here and waste your time?”
He frowned fiercely. “Stop it. Being with you isn’t a waste of time, Ainsley. You’re a beautiful woman and you have a lot to offer.”
“No, I don’t. Please don’t make me pick a fight with you and send you from here angry, Helios,” I pleaded quietly. “Just say goodbye.”
Silence fell between us and I stared up at Helios. “I wish I could be what you want,” I told him softly. “But I’m not. Just keep an open mind. Your mate is out there. You may even find her in an unusual place. Don’t close off your options.”
Helios bent and pressed a warm kiss to my lips. “Thank you, Ainsley,” he murmured, his hand cupping my chin and his thumb teasing my lower lip. “You made this soldier’s time of waiting pass in a much more comfortable manner, and you took away my pre-battle bad humor. I’m sure Valerian will thank you for that.” He grinned, and I found myself smiling back at him. He was so damned beautiful.
“Be safe, Helios,” I told him and reached out to grasp his hands and squeeze them. “I’ll see you soon.”
“If you change your mind, Ainsley, you have my number,” he said indicating a note on the table by my cell phone.
I nodded and he walked to the door, turning to look back at me. There was tiny light in his eyes that pleaded with me, but I didn’t budge. I didn’t say anything. Resignation filled his eyes and he turned, opened the door, and was gone in a few seconds. I turned back to look out the window. Half an hour later, I heard the Land Rover leave the grounds. Another fifteen minutes after that, I heard the blades of the big helicopter. By the time an hour had passed, Castle McClaren was again empty and silent, but still I stood at the window staring into nothing.
This is what the rest of my life will be, I thought. This emptiness. I hoped my father died tonight. He had condemned me to this life, now I condemned him to death. Maybe then I would find a measure of peace. I turned and knelt before the fireplace laying and lighting a fire in the grate. I needed the flames and the heat. I needed something that would help me pull myself back up to the level of calm I’d had before Caden DeCameron had reappeared. I lay down on my bed and hugged the pillows to me, knowing that they would smell of Helios. Just a little daydream, I thought. A tiny, little one where I was free of my father’s legacy, and I could have a family and a future…
I closed my eyes and began my prayers. I prayed for the success of the rescue mission. I prayed for Helios’ safety and that of Nyx and Valerian. I prayed for Tristan to win the challenge and rescue his mate. I prayed for Derek’s magic to overcome my father and I prayed for my father’s death. It would be a relief for so many…especially me.