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The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 32

“Gods.” Pain flickered across Seth’s beautiful face as he took my hands again, folding his around mine.

“And when they finally came for her, they . . . She was dragged out of the room. Just dragged across the floor like she was nothing more than a piece of trash.” Tears blurred my vision and then my body jolted at the realization. “Mitchell—Mitchell is still there, Seth. We have to get him.” I pulled my hands free once more and started to rise from the bed, but Seth blocked me with one strong arm. I turned wide eyes on him. “Mitchell is still there.”

“You need to keep sitting.” Seth’s voice was too level, too calm.

I stared at him. Keep sitting? “You don’t understand. We have to go back and get him. Seth, he was in bad shape, and I hadn’t seen him in—I don’t know how much time passed, but he won’t survive much longer.”

If he was still alive, but I couldn’t bring myself to think that.

Seth gently turned me so that my back was once again flush with the small mountain of pillows. “I get what you’re saying, but you’re not going back there.”

I opened my mouth.

“You are in no shape to go anywhere right now. I’m not saying that to be an ass, but the last thing you need to be doing is roaming around, let alone putting yourself in danger.” Those amber eyes seemed to glow. “You need to be right where you are, resting and getting better.”

“I’m fine,” I denied, my hands balling into fists.

His brows flew up. “Have you seen yourself, Josie? There is barely an inch of skin that isn’t bruised. You’re exhausted and can barely stand, and I can’t feel—” He cut himself off.

“Can’t what?”

His gaze searched mine. “I can barely feel any aether in you, Josie.”

My stomach churned. “They . . .”

“I know why, Josie. I see the bite marks.” Those eyes turned luminous and a jolt of electricity filled the air. “Right now, all you need to be concerned with is getting better. That is all. Please.”

A couple of moments passed before I could speak. “I can’t just sit here and pretend that Mitchell doesn’t exist.”

“I’m not asking you to do that.”

“Than what are you asking me to do?” Reaching up, I knocked a strand of hair back from my face. “They have him, and trust me, he will not survive much longer.”

Seth didn’t respond.

“If you won’t let me go, then you can go back to where you found me. You can try to find him and get him—”

“No.”

Stunned, I blinked and then drew back. “Please. Please. I can’t just forget about them—about Mitchell. You can’t ask that of me. We have to help him.”

A muscle flexed along his jaw. “I don’t expect you to forget about him.”

“Then you can go and look for him,” I argued, ignoring the roiling sensation in my stomach. “You can do that and I can stay here.”

“Right now, they have no idea where we are, but we’re not warded against Titans or any other god. I’m not leaving you. Not again. You’re my number one priority. You are what I’m focused on.” His gaze met mine. “You’re all that matters.”

Frustration rose like a swelling river within me. It mingled with the very real pain that had settled into every joint and muscle, giving way to the terror that still hummed under my skin. “But you already left me!”

Seth flinched as his back stiffened.

I wanted to take back those words, but I couldn’t and I couldn’t stop what came out of my mouth next. “You left me already. You left me, Seth. So I wasn’t all that mattered to you a few weeks ago, so how can I be all that matters to you now?” Needing space, I scooted over. Seth went to block me again, but I shoved his arm away. “Don’t.”

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