I feel so stupid, so guilty, and ashamed, and I regret that it took until now to know this. I look down at the floor, unable to look him in the eye while shame washes through me and my own stupid pride takes a dent.
He didn't break the bond, he didn't betray me, and in fact, he came home willing to fight for me, only to find me gone and it was too late. I'm mad at myself for the weeks of shutting him out, when one link and he would have told me to come home to him or came for me. Weeks of heartbreak, and loneliness, when he was always there waiting for me, looking for me, and not about to give up on us. He meant it… he really didn't, and I've held him at arm's length because I believed his pain and betrayal was something else.
"Why didn't you just ask me when I came for you? This could have been over then." Colton steps towards me, his voice now low and level with regret seeping in. A soft little movement closer towards me, to tighten the gap and surround me with his smell, and presence, and I stay still, eyes dropping to my feet in both apology, and mental fatigue. Finally, able to let go of some of this anger, and pain, and it leaves a gaping heaviness within me because I've been carrying it for weeks. It was all so unnecessary.
"I didn't think I needed to. I felt something... we're linked. I figured you knew that I knew." I sound feeble, small, tears stinging my voice as he moves closer. Colton slides his strong, warm hands up my arms, from my wrists, until one rests on each shoulder, and he exhales heavily as he pulls me the last tiny inches towards him, so we are only millimeters apart. His touch and heat soothing me with his gentleness.
"I had no idea you even thought it, or I would have told you, Lorey. I had no idea this was in your head and assumed you would have known I didn't mark her. I figured you were mad about how it ended, and that I made you feel like leaving was the only option. I'm sorry, baby, for everything, but I swear on my pack, on my life, on us, that I haven't done anything to betray the bond. I've stayed true to you. I'll project every memory you don't have of our time apart and prove it." His soft voice falls over me like a warming balm, and I break down into stupid little sobs and thrust myself at him to be held. I'm the one who needs a little forgiveness in this moment, so easy to break when I know he never did anything to make me hate him.
Colton doesn't hesitate and wraps me up in his arms tight and presses me to his chest, a full body hug, safe, and secure, as all the pain and heartbreak ebbs away and I cry for everything I've gone through these past weeks. Hating him, needing him, being broken hearted over him. It all seems so foolish and nothing now I'm wrapped up tight against him, with his breath on top of my hair, sweeping away all of it. The boy who was my rock, and my words of wisdom, right back here, where I need him, and he does what Colton does best. He holds me up and soothes away my anxiety and tears.
"I'm sorry…" It's a muffled, pathetic noise, I make against his solid, smooth chest, his skin on mine is like coming home to the best place in the world and being enveloped in warm cozy safety.
"No, baby. I am, for everything. This is my fault. I failed to do what I was meant to. I failed to nurture and protect my mate and didn't even figure out how much pain you were in over a stupid misunderstanding. Forgive me, Princessa…. Give me another chance to prove I can be what you need. What you deserve." Colton leans back, sliding his hand between us to separate us a little, guides his fingers under my chin and tilts my face up to him so he can look me in the eye. The watery mess of a girl having an emotional break, and he wipes my jawline with his thumb as he does so, to catch some drips waiting to let go. Taking care of me, how he always does, and it makes it hurt with more intensity. I've been so stupid.