“Experts say that denying bad feelings intensifies them, acknowledging bad feelings allows good feelings to return.”— Gretchen Rubin
Newcrest The Malton
A knock on her door brought Keira back from her dreamworld into the stark reality.
“Don’t come in, I am not decent!” she yelled, frantically trying to undo the zipper of the gown she was wearing, only to find it had gotten stuck.
“Keira it’s me.”
She froze, her eyes grew big.
“Connor?” she asked, her tone filled with disbelief.
“Yeah. Can I come in? Promise I won’t look. I have to talk to you. Please.” he called through the door, his voice muffled.
With a defeated sigh, Keira gathered the gown up front and went to unlock the door, peeking into the hall, before grabbing Connor’s shirt and quickly pulling him into her room.
“You’re dressed!” he exclaimed barely keeping himself from stumbling.
“You looked!” she countered.
“Is that a … wait a sec … did that Josh … you’re not … are you …?” Connor stuttered, while staring at her as if she were an alien lifeform.
“No. Of course not! Josh and I literally just started dating officially! This is … this WAS supposed to be ours.”
Connor paled, staring at her.
“You bought a wedding dress?! When? Why didn’t I know that?!” he sounded completely shocked.
“Because the groom is not supposed to see, it was supposed to be a surprise and it was stupid that I had it. You and I were engaged, but both nowhere near ready to set a date, so I thought if I told you I bought a gown you’d feel obligated or think it was me hinting to get hitched ASAP. Back when my cousin Olivia was planning her wedding to Silas, she took me wedding dress shopping with her. I got bored waiting for her to come out and looked around the bridal boutique and when I saw this dress … you know they say when you find THE wedding dress you just know. I just knew, THIS was the ONE. Tried it on, was a perfect fit, like tailored for me. So, I bought it and kept it at my parents’ place. Anyway, the damn zipper got stuck, you think you can help get me out of this thing?”
Connor gave her a strange look, then went to work. It took quite a bit of finagling but they got the zipper to budge. Connor pulled it down, then halted.
“Wait … can I … can I see? Whole picture.” he asked.
“You wanna see me in the wedding gown?”
“Not like it matters, right?”
“Well, true I guess.”
Keira stepped away from him, twirled then struck a few poses, while Connor just stared.
“Why are you wearing it?” his voice sounded strangely hoarse.
“Saying goodbye. I am putting it up for sale on Fash4Cash. Maybe it will bring another bride better luck and I can use the money to buy something to wear for my new job.”
“Why don’t you just keep it for someday? You know … Josh or something.”
“Connor, that is such a dude-thing to say. First of all, Josh and I are in a brand-new relationship. We are lightyears away from anything serious – IF we ever get there. Way too early to tell. And honestly, I am not sure I EVER want to get married. Secondly, this was supposed to be OUR dress. You don’t recycle wedding gowns for the next guy. Eew.”
Keira went into the adjacent bathroom to undress and slip on something more casual, before joining Connor again. To her surprise he was still there. Relieved that he hadn’t run she asked her question.
“What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Oh, right. About … last time … in my room. I owe you an apology. For what happened and how I reacted. Everything was wrong. We shouldn’t have done that, and I shouldn’t have left like that.”
“No, you shouldn’t have. That really hurt.”
“Tell me about it. I know all about being left cold turkey and how that tears you apart.” Connor went to the cracked door of the bathroom, staring at the wedding gown hanging inside by the door, absent-mindedly fondling the fabric between his fingers until Keira pulled him away from the dress, shut the door, blocking it, while ignoring his jab at the reason why their relationship currently was so complicated.
“Connor, I came to see you the next day, to talk about all that, only to find out you went away for the weekend with little Miss Perfect. Who does that? What the actual fuck, Connor? You know how cheap that made me feel to find out you not only ran off in the middle of us doing the naughty, but beelined straight to Windenburg to pick up your rebound chick for a couple’s vacation?!”
“Don’t take it out on Lexie. She’s not a rebound and completely innocent in all this. I am the asshole, Keira. I should have never been so weak.”
“It was pure passion, Connor. You can’t fight that. I can’t fight that. Nobody can.”
“Can and will. We’re gonna have to. This can’t happen again.”
“Why? Because you felt something real again, with me, and it bothers you when trying to live your lie about some happily ever after with prim-and-proper Lexie cos you are just too stubborn to really forgive me?”
“What lie? And what happily ever after? Who’s getting married? My relationship is still pretty fresh too. That’s not even on our radar. Nor do I see any reason to rush into anything. You and I did that, under the multicolored dreamcoat of ‘passion and love’ and you see how that panned out.”
“I see what’s really going on. I know you, Connor. What you are really saying is that you’re afraid, because you haven’t told her. You know there’s a chance she’d run if she were to find out the truth about you. Doesn’t sound like true love to me.”
Connor held her stare, then averted his eyes.
“That’s what I thought. You are not sure about her; you don’t know if it even really matters for she doesn’t know your dark secret. You know the longer you wait, the harder it will be. Even if she is accepting, she won’t like that you kept her in the dark for months.”
“That’s hardly any of your business, Keira. Have you told Josh?”
“Of course not. You know Caleb wants us all to distribute that information with good caution, which means don’t tell everyone you meet for obvious reasons. Like I said, Josh and I only just leveled up to anything more than a platonic friendship last week. Let’s let that settle first before I lay something like ‘hey, BTW, I have fangs‘ on him. But he and his parents are easy-going. I don’t think it would be a problem.”
“Lucky. Lexie’s from a very conservative family and her father hates me. Absolutely everything about me. If he were to describe me to anyone who has never met me, I don’t even want to know what kind absolute waste of skin they would think I was.” the truth just burst out of Connor, it was clear he was affected by the perceived rejection, causing Keira’s tone to soften.
“Why would he? You are literally the perfect guy. Tall, handsome, a confirmed genius, a lifesaving, awe-inspiring doctor, funny, outgoing, polite, a gentleman. Let’s throw in the rich parents, not to mention the famous family members … I mean, what’s there not to like? His daughter won the lottery.” she told him, being supportive, just like she always had been when they were still friends, before the terrible break-up. Back when they confided in each other, told each other everything.
“Only he doesn’t see it that way. Trust me, he found plenty of things he doesn’t like about me. Starting with the long hair. He hates it. Says I look to young. Claims that patients can’t possibly take me seriously, let alone feel safe in my care. List goes on for miles. I don’t have to actually out myself to Lexie or him to know that he will never accept a vampire in his family.”
“That is bullshit! Did you mention any of that to your parents?!”
“Of course, you KNOW I did. Dad just cursed up a storm as it is the Cameron way, and we had to practically hold mom back with force to keep her from heading out to Windenburg to give Lexie’s father a piece of her mind. She also threatened me with terrible physical torture if I were to cut my hair.”
“Cut your … you’re not gonna do that right?”
“Am considering it.”
“Okay, I am with your mom. Do not do it!”
“You lost all rights to tell me what to do, or have an opinion on my choices, Keira.” Connor’s tone changed from upset to cranky.
“Wow! Ouch. Thanks. Put me in my place. Okay then.” Keira looked down, nodded.
Fighting the tears hard, she walked past Connor, hoping not to cry,
“Man, Connor, I know what I did to you was harsh, and honestly, I don’t even know why I am still trying so hard to fix something that you don’t want fixed at all. You hate me, so why do you keep showing up making it all harder. Honestly, sometimes I really wish I weren’t immortal, cos I think I know what I would do to make the pain and guilt stop! I can understand that you are still mad and even still hate me a little, but if you can’t even be my friend anymore … what’s the point?”
A heavy silence happened that felt like a long time, but was probably only seconds, until she felt him right behind her. Her knees almost gave out when he wrapped his arms around her, pressing their bodies close together.
“I am sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” his tone sounded genuine, soft, caring. For a split-second Keira just stood there like this, taking in the feeling.
Keira turned around to him, upset now.
“No, Connor, you shouldn’t have! Enough with your constant jabs and hateful remarks. That is starting to become torture! Look, I get it, I fucked up, I hurt you. That is literally the very last thing I wanted to happen. But I had reached my breaking point, Connor, I wasn’t in a good spot mentally and not able to make sound choices anymore. My fight or flight instinct was on high, me staying, trying to act as if everything was fine would have ended a lot worse than me leaving, trust me. I couldn’t stay. Why can’t you understand that!? I know, the way I did it was wrong, terribly so and I said a few things that I didn’t even really mean, and which came across really bad, I see that now, but I was drowning, I couldn’t breathe. I had to get away from everything and everyone, even you.”
“Yeah, I know, I was suffocating you.” Connor sounded hurt.
“Oh my God, Connor, not that again! Don’t make this about you! I know you know how I meant that. You know how I know you are purposely misunderstanding it, so I look like an even bigger asshole? Because nobody knows me as well as you do. Not even my own parents and I have always been close to my parents, just like you with yours. So, I know you are using that as kindling to keep the hate-flame going. I know you KNOW I never meant it like THAT, no matter how you try to spin it that way now. I already admitted I royally screwed up, I already hate myself enough for it, there is really no need to add oil to that all-consuming fire. I have been back for weeks now and still am trying to rebuild something resembling a life, not to mention I lost the most important person in the world to me. Trust me, I got punished enough. Really no need to add on.”
“No, I get that your life sucks a fat one at the moment but pardon me for not feeling sorry for you. My life was complete hell for a long time because of you, when I had done NOTHING wrong, and just when it finally started to make sense again, you come back and fuck it all up again. Keira, how would you feel if you had made me the absolute center of your life – and then – out of the blue, I had done to you what you did to me? Left you in the dust among the shambles of what used to be a life we were building together to – and I quote – see other people because you were suffocating me?! HUH?! How?! HOW Keira?!”
Keira looked close to tears, swallowing hard again and again, trying to suppress a volcanic eruption of pain.
“I know I shouldn’t have said that about other people, I don’t know why I did, I never meant it and deep down inside, underneath all that anger, you know I am telling the truth. You always were – and whether you like to believe it or not – still are the center of my life, Connor. But I am so tired of trying to explain myself when you don’t extend me to the courtesy to even try to really listen, let alone to consider my reasoning.”
“Maybe I just am tired of all the excuses. Nobody likes being thrown out like yesterday’s trash. If we had been fighting or one of us had cheated … ANYTHING, then maybe I could have understood such a knee-jerk reaction. But there was NOTHING wrong between us when you dumped me! And now you wonder why I can’t just drop everything and erase, rewind? That idea alone is insane! Who would forgive just like that?! This – THIS – is already me meeting you half-way. I wasn’t ever gonna even talk to you ever again, let alone be anything resembling polite or friendly – looks like I am not sticking to that resolution, but whatever THIS is that we are doing right now is as far as it can go. For my own sake, cos, Keira, I just can’t trust you anymore.”
“Why? Because I called you out on your bullshit, showed you why you trying to play the perpetual victim won’t fly? Why you trying to make ME look like the bad guy here for not welcoming you back with open arms just won’t work?”
“Get out of my room!”
“No, because I don’t run from my problems! That’s YOUR thing.”
“Sure you do! You are only here to apologize for just that, for running out on me, you psycho!”
“Psycho? Me? Ha, look in your special vamp mirror, and you will see a psycho. And no, Keira, I wasn’t running from a problem, I was running from you, from us. I know you are still dangerous to me, you make me vulnerable, you are my kryptonite! I am not made of stone, and I had told you that very day that I couldn’t stop loving you, that I can’t just turn it off like you had so you can go on a ‘fuck the world’ tour – literally! Who cares if you actually did it or not?!”
Before Keira could stop herself, she had slapped him. Hard.
“Fuck you, Connor!”
He took it, stood stiffly for a moment with his cheek aglow, before he seemed to explode.
He grabbed her head – for a moment did it startle Keira, but she just knew he would never hurt her.
Instead, she felt the same palatable, sizzling, crackling passion in the air between them like the last time in Connor’s room. The moment the realization hit her, he kissed her.
Somehow even this rough and rogue way of his made her feel something safe, close, happy, intense, something she didn’t want to stop.
She dug her fingers into his hair, pulled his head closer yet while caressing his lips with her teeth, just bordering on painful. He moaned, then grabbed her and literally flung her onto her bed, as he followed, he had lost most of his clothing, then began to rid her of hers, which she didn’t fight one bit.
The kissing was almost angry, but it slowed down and changed pace multiple times. Fast and slow, hard and passionate, sweet and crazy, energized and lazy and everything in between. The entire world disappeared again, just like last time, but unlike last time, Connor didn’t stop. Not until they were both done.
Collapsing backwards onto the bed next to her, both breathless, even as vampires, it wasn’t for lack of oxygen, but the tension releasing, Connor lay quietly for a moment.
“Oops, we did it again …” Keira sing-sanged the adjusted chorus to an old pop song from years ago.
“Oh my God, you didn’t just do that. Please slap yourself.” Connor’s voice sounded hoarse and husky.
“Why not? It’s true. What should I say? Sob apologies I don’t mean, while bursting into tears when I feel nothing but amazing? Don’t tell me you don’t feel good now too.”
This broke the magic, Connor sat up, scoping the mess on the floor for his clothing, then with vampire speed was dressed, not allowing Keira the show.
“I feel like shit, for many reasons right now, Keira, but you are right. We both know denying what we both felt when we were doing it would be lying to ourselves. Damn we are fucked up. I am starting to see why mortals hate us vampires. This has to be something vampiric. Maybe we’re losing our humanity …”
“No Connor, it’s not. Has nothing to do with being vampires. It’s very natural and as mortal as it is immortal. It’s love.” Keira determined, while slipping her sweater dress over her head.
“It’s lust.” Connor argued.
“Maybe that too, but it is also love. Deny all you want.”
“I never denied it, but what we just did had nothing to do with love. That was raw. It was lust. Primal.”
“It was lust because of love.”
Connor shook his head, then put both hands over his face, rubbing it, frustrated.
“Let it go, Keira. Just let’s not …” he grumbled.
“You could have showered first … no need for the sudden rush.”
“When I get home.”
“The bathroom is literally right there.” Keira pointed at the door just steps from Connor.
“My home is literally right over there.” Connor casually pointed in the vague direction of The Elysium.
“So, what now? Pretend this didn’t happen? Again?”
“Keira, nothing about anything between us is healthy. And what would you have me do? Call up Lexie and say ‘sorry babe, just screwed Keira’s brains out, second time in one week actually, oopsie, you know how those things go. How was your day?’ As if you would tell Josh.”
“For the hundredth time, Josh and I are barely a thing. We’re not official yet, let alone exclusive. I can nail you all I want.”
Connor looked at her with clear disbelief.
“Does Josh know that? Cos I am pretty sure he thinks you’re exclusive. I would, if I were him. Not to mansplain your lover to you here, but any dude who introduces you to his parents thinks you’re headed somewhere serious and exclusive.”
“Connor … seriously? Fine, then maybe we both just cheated again. But just accept the truth, the reality. And please finally hear me when I tell you that the things you always seem to imagine that I have done with all those many men in your mind, the things you are so angry and jealous about me doing while I was away, never happened. The entire time I was gone, not once, not a single time, have I been with another man. It was always just you, Connor. Until I came back to find you had replaced me with that Carrington chick. I didn’t mean to meet Josh, I wasn’t looking for a man, and I probably wouldn’t ever have met him, had you gone with me to my cousin’s wedding like your mom suggested. He is a wonderful man, brings a lot to the table, but unlike you, I am not in denial about what he and I have and don’t have. You are in complete denial about me and about Lexie. That is why what we just did again happened before, happened now and will keep happening. You and I, we’re compatible, we love each other, we are meant to be. Get over my mistakes and flaws, find it in your heart to forgive me and let’s start over. Let it go. I swear I have been punished enough for it. Let us both have a chance to really be happy again.”
Connor looked at Keira as if weighing off her words, shook his head, then headed for the door.
Before leaving, he said
“We really need to control ourselves better. Keira, don’t you even see how screwed up this is? How screwed up we are for doing this? How screwed up I am for trying so hard to keep up a relationship after cheating TWICE now, which is very much unlike me and does nothing for my conscience? How screwed up you are for chasing ghosts of the past?”
He hurried out, shutting the door swiftly, but quietly behind himself.
“Connor, you are wrong about so much about me. But you are right about one thing. We’re totally out of control. And out of our minds. You for thinking you can deny what is and always will be between us and me for thinking I can change your mind until you are ready to.”
4 thoughts on “Chapter 448) Out Of Our Minds”
They are so messed up and Connor is still too broken to forgive her even though he loves her. Kiera is so right, their ‘cheating’ was lust but born of love. Eventually they will wind up in bed again, it’s inevitable and that will probably mess with Connor’s head even more because it goes his against his morals. Then Lexie’s father will likely figure out he is a vamp, or at least related to one, or he’ll tell her what he is and things with Lexie will become even more complicated or perhaps even end. Connor is still hurting and doesn’t want to experience that hurt again so he’s trying to protect his heart. Kiera is also right that Connor won’t forgive her until he’s ready, no matter how much she begs his forgiveness and apologizes. 😭😭😭
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Clearly, these two are Soulmates in the vampiric sense, whether they realize it or not.
Hard to pick sides here. Connor is as right as he is wrong, so is Keira, the only ones we feel really sorry for are Josh and Lexie.
You are also right that probably nobody can imagine Lexie embracing Connor not being the perfect prince she seems to see him as, if she finds out what he really is. No way her dad would love those news.
Connor is not a cheater, it’s not in his setup, so that fact alone has to be killing him slowly.
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I have no words… They are vampiric soul mates, I just wish Connor would think things through and realise that. But until he does, this is going to keep happening. And even if he marries “little miss perfect” (thank you Keira) it will still happen. And he’s going to feel like shit! But it will still happen! They are like a match and a flame, hold the match too close to the flame and it ignites!
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A definite impasse. The only way to keep it from happening would be to keep them apart, but we tried that before and it made everyone even more miserable. So … now what?
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