11. “I can’t wait to spend eternity with you.”

I couldn’t get her to leave my bedroom. She refused to walk around the castle or explore Vilokan with me. Instead, Pagan stayed huddled away in my bedroom where I was no longer welcomed without an invite. Father hadn’t exactly made a very good impression on her with his sexual escapades during the one dinner she had attended. Agreeing to let her speak with Wyatt had been the only thing I could think of to make her happy.

Opening the door, Wyatt walked past me without an acknowledgement. He hated me. He hated who I was and what I represented. Once, he’d been my friend. Throughout my life I’d watched him and wished I had a life similar to his. He’d been the friend of Pagan’s that intrigued me the most. He had the life of a normal boy.

I’d brought Pagan food that she recognized. The meals my father enjoyed were not something she would accept easily. His appetites were very odd in all things. Setting the tray down on the table beside the bed, I met Pagan’s gaze.

“He isn’t fond of me,” I said as I handed her a plate.

“No, he isn’t. But then who can blame him? You took away his eternity. He is now stuck here, forever.”

The hate laced in her words was more painful than anything I could have ever imagined. “I didn’t take his soul Pagan, my father did. I had no idea he was going to. Ghede answers to no one within our realm. He makes decisions that please him and he overindulges in anything pleasurable and corrupts enjoyable pursuits, making things that should be good and satisfying into depraved behaviors. Nothing I can say will stop him. I was a child when he asked me to choose a soul. I had no idea what the implications were. I chose you. I didn’t know then what that meant. You can hate me but try to understand I am not my father.”

Pagan was quiet a moment and I began fixing a plate of food. “Who is your mother?”

My mother wasn’t someone I really wanted to discuss. Ever. But with Pagan I would share everything. Even the painful things. “My mother is Erzulie, she is the reason my skin is pale and my hair is blond. She’s the Voodoo Goddess of many things. Love being one... vengeance being another. She takes many lovers and enjoys the same things my father does. I see her on occasion but for the most part I live with my father. She has never had any desire for a child but then I’m not her only one. She has several, many of whom walk the earth. She is not above taking human men to her um... bed.”

Pagan took small bites of the pulled pork I’d brought her and I sighed in relief. She needed to eat. I didn’t like the idea of her starving. Father would make her immortal soon. But for now, she needed nourishment.

“You don’t talk like your father either. He has a bit of a Cajun accent.”

Finally, she was curious about me. “I’ve spent the majority of my life following you. I adopted your accent so I would fit in with your life. I didn’t want to appear to you as an outsider.”

“So all those dreams I’ve had are real? Those things really happened. Are there more memories I’ve forgotten?”

Those were only small tid-bits of our life together. There was so much I wanted her to remember, “Maybe a few more.” I replied.

“A few more? That’s all?”

I didn’t want to hide anything else from her. I’d hid so much already. I set my plate down and stood up. If I was going to tell her this, I needed to be able to pace. It helped me think. Besides, having her perched on my bed made it hard to concentrate on much of anything else. My mind kept going back to the time on her couch, before Dankmar had consumed her heart. I’d never been that close to anyone.

“I’ve been with you many times in your life. When you were lonely or sad, I was there. When you were in danger, I was there. It was what I did. Father said you were mine and I should protect you. So I did. I’m sorry that you don’t remember. It wasn’t something I did on purpose. It’s just that I am soulless and your soul can’t remember me for long when I’m not near you.”

“Why did you want me to remember those times? The ones you’d picked out for me to dream about?”

I stopped and turned to stare directly at her. “Because those were the times I fell a little more in love with you.”

“You don’t love me, Lief. If you loved me you’d never have been able to hold me against my will.”

“I’ve told you I can’t control my father. He saved your life. He owns you Pagan.”

“No one owns me.”

She didn’t understand. I began to fear she never would. “I don’t want to argue with you. Not tonight. Let’s just eat. Okay?”

I went back to my plate and we ate in silence. When Pagan set her plate down, I did the same. “Are you full?” I asked standing in order to clean up our meal.

“Yes,” she mumbled.

I couldn’t make her forgive me. Tonight, I’d had all of this I could handle. Turning I headed for the door to leave her once again, alone. Just before I reached the door I turned back and tried one more time.

“What can I do to prove to you that I do love you? Anything except letting you go; because I can’t. I’ll do whatever else you ask of me. I want you to accept this. Us. Just tell me.”

She stared back at me without saying anything for a few moments. Then finally she replied. “Release Wyatt to a transporter. Don’t keep him here.”

Could this be the way to win her heart? “If I can convince my father to release Wyatt to a transporter then you will believe I love you and you’ll let this work between us?”

“Yes, if you hand Wyatt’s soul over to a transporter and I get to see this happen. Once I know it has happened and that his soul is where it belongs then I will stay with you. I’ll do whatever I can to make you happy. To make... us... happy.”

We could be happy. I’d make this happen. No matter what I had to do, I’d make this happen. “You have a deal. Get some rest Pagan. Tomorrow is a new day and I can’t wait to start eternity with you.”

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