My lips moved, but my tongue forgot how to form words. Shocked, I sat there as an icy shiver danced down my spine. Goosebumps raced over my skin. Seth had fed off me?
“That’s the kind of . . . of thing I am.”
Lifting my gaze, I saw him drag his hand through his hair. His fingers spasmed around the strands, tugging them briefly before his hand dropped to the nape of his neck.
“I have a . . . a problem. I’ve had one for a while now, and I tried . . . I’m trying not to be that person, but it’s in me, and it comes out. I know it’s going to again, and when it does, I don’t care who I hurt—what trust I break. In that moment, I don’t care who I’m hurting. Even you.” The raw edge to his words cut deep. He turned slowly, his chest rising sharply. “I don’t want to be that person. Gods, not with you, but I am.”
Suddenly, he was in front of me, clasping my cheeks. My heart jumped in my chest. “Every day I want you, Josie. I want everything about you. I see you and I want to get between those thighs and spend a lifetime there. I want to get so deep in you that you can’t tell where you end and I begin. I want to taste you and fuck you until I don’t know anything else. Constantly. I want more than that. Not going to lie. I want to hold you.”
I couldn’t breathe as his gaze held mine captive.
“I want to be with you. I want to spend every day with you. Every hour, down to the last fucking minute and second,” he said, his voice rough. Cutting. “But that’s not all I want. What’s in you? The aether. Fuck.” His eyes closed briefly and when they reopened, they burned with unholy light, shocking me. “I want that just as badly. Yeah. I want that. I had that when you were coming on my knee.”
My heart pounded fast. His words created a mixture of disgust . . . and God, lust. That was there, too, responding to his words. There was something wrong with me. There was something definitely wrong with him.
“I cannot be trusted,” he said, holding my chin so I couldn’t look away, so that I had to hear and see those words. And I saw his words. I heard them. “And you know what? You’re the only one who doesn’t see it. You think Alex doesn’t? That Aiden doesn’t? They do. That’s the kind of person you’re willing to anger the gods over. That’s the kind of person you’re willing to make a deal for and give up gods know what for.” Dropping my chin, he straightened, letting his hand fall to his side. “I am not worth that.”
Seth walked away again, and the numbness faded. Emotion rose inside me, as violent as a hurricane battering the shoreline. Hurt exploded in my chest just as fury burned red-hot in the pit of my stomach.
“How many times?” I asked.
There was a pause. “Does that even matter?”
“How many times?” I shouted this time, not caring if anyone heard me.
His head fell back. “Just once.”
I let that sink in. I wasn’t sure if that changed anything or not. I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to do with this information. The back of my throat burned as I stared at his rigid back. I couldn’t even really think. “When?”
Seth didn’t answer for a moment. “I did it the . . . the last day I trained you. When we were arguing and then . . . making out. I lost control and fed off you.”
My mind raced back to that day. “I don’t understand. I didn’t feel anything. The last time I was fed off of, it hurt.”
His spine seemed to stiffen even more. “It doesn’t always hurt. It can be done so that it doesn’t.”
I sucked in a sharp breath. He’d been all over me that day, and I had . . . I shook my head, so . . . so freaking numb. And suddenly, it made sense. Why he’d pulled away immediately afterward. It wasn’t just because he thought he wasn’t worth it, but also because he’d done something wrong, horribly wrong. To me.
And he’d never fessed up to it. Not until now.
Seth had fed off me.
I shot off that bed like a rocket. He faced me just as I reached him. I didn’t even think as I cocked my arm back and punched him right in the stomach. Seth doubled over with a grunt.
“That,” I said, shaking as I forced myself to step back. “That is for feeding off me.”
“Gods,” he gasped. “I deserved that.”
“How could you?” I demanded, hands clenching into fists again. “How could you do that after knowing Hyperion had—he had done that to me?”
“I . . .” He didn’t finish that statement, because what could he say?
I wanted to hit him again. I wanted to kick him. Gods, I wanted to whale on him. Tears filled my eyes as I continued walking back, until I bumped into the bench. I wanted to . . . I wanted to shake him and I wanted him to never have told me what had happened. “Why didn’t you try harder?”
He straightened and he sounded like he’d swallowed glass when he spoke. “I didn’t realize what I was doing at first. That . . . that doesn’t make it right, but as soon as I did, I stopped. That’s why . . .”
“Why what?” My voice cracked.
Seth looked away. “That’s why you weren’t hurt. You were just tired.”
“Just tired,” I whispered, remembering falling asleep while eating. My legs shook and I sat down heavily on the bench. I tried to make sense of this. “So you stopped when you realized what you were doing.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that I did it.”
Did it? Or not? I had no idea. Nothing to base this on. I mean, it wasn’t like he’d cheated on me or had been abusive in the way normal people were, but this was a betrayal. This was a big deal.