This is one of my favorite scenes in the book. Molly has been holding herself together but she’s fraying at the edges. She’s holding so much inside it’s getting harder each day to just get through it. And Gage sees it. He needs her to break when they’re in private. When he can help. Knowing she’d be mortified if she fell apart in public.
Bound By Magick: GOING UNDER by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2013, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
“So stop letting them rob you of rest and eating right.”
The man thought he was so clever with that reverse psychology thing.
“Oh really? You’re going to try to play psychologist with me now?”
“Someone needs to.” He paused. “Doesn’t it make you mad, ever? That they’ve stolen your life too? You talk about how much Rosa has lost. But what about you?”
“I said I don’t want to talk about it!”
“Yes, because swallowing it helps.”
“How about you? Hm? What have you lost?”
“My uncle for starters. Friends. More members of the clan than I can count.”
“Your girlfriend.” Wow, that sounded petty.
He shook his head. “You’re usually so smart. She wasn’t my girlfriend. She was a woman I liked and had dated a few times. She left. But you? You’re more to me than someone I like and date. Watching you punish yourself over and over makes me want to shake some sense into you.”
“Even when I say I don’t want to talk about it? Repeatedly?”
He grinned and she sighed at his appeal.
“Especially then. Because you’re a liar. That’s the problem. Normally you’re strong and take charge and it’s hot. You’re good at your job and everyone loves you and all that. And that’s hot too. But when you try to pretend you can just ignore the welling emotions inside, that’s dumb and you’re not. Your magick just overflowed in reaction. That means something.”
She stood, trying to keep her cool, but her hands shook and she knew he noticed. “I used to have a simple life. I had a good job. A firm I built with great clients. I had a beautiful apartment with a beautiful view. I wore nice clothes that no one ever threw flour on. No one ever called me a whore or a demon. I used to have lunch in quiet little places with linen tablecloths and servers who called me Ms. Ryan. I used to have lots of things I don’t have now. It sucks. I’ll get over it.”
“But you’re pissed off, aren’t you, beautiful?”
“Hell yes!” She took off her bracelet and threw it, instantly embarrassed. “See what you do to me?”
He laughed. “Tell me more. What do I do to you? To all that careful reserve? Hm?”
“You poke and poke and you think it’s funny but one day you’re going to pull back a stump. Fair warning.”
“You throw things when you’re riled up. Goddamn, I love that.”
She threw her hands up, seeking patience, but she had none left. “I’m so glad I can entertain you.”
“You know what this is about. They’ve stolen your life. You talk about how angry it makes you that they’ve stolen Rosa’s life. Or other people’s lives, but how about yours?”
“I don’t have time to be angry.”
She chewed her lip, losing the war inside to keep everything back. It would serve him right if she just unloaded it all over him.
“You want me to go first? Huh? I’m fucking outraged that I can’t go to a family dinner and hear my uncle telling one of his stories. I’m even more outraged that humans are treating his death like it doesn’t matter. Some humans,” he amended. “I’m sick at having to watch the toll on people I care about. You’re losing weight, Molly. I can see that look in your eyes when you’re approached by someone new. Wary. I’ve watched you change over the nearly two months you’ve been here. Gotten harder.”
“I’m so tired.” She scrubbed hands over her face, knowing she was making a mess out of her makeup and not caring. “I’m tired of having to be on guard all the time. I don’t know how people do it. I used to love meeting new people. Now I have to worry if they’re going to attack me. Verbally, physically, whatever. I hate the look on people’s faces when they find out I’m a witch. Hate that change from friendly to distrust or outright dislike. I hate that I have to be guarded every minute of the day. It takes so much energy just to leave the room here. I hate that I lost my father and my best friend and I’m expected to move past it because somehow their deaths didn’t count. My life never used to be like this.”
“Doesn’t that make you mad?”
He whispered those words and she felt them as if he’d screamed instead.
“Yes. Does that make you happy? It fills me with rage I can do nothing about. It feels futile sometimes. Like I’m just going through the motions of life and not actually living it. It feels like I’m not doing anything at all. Just treading water. I feel totally unnecessary and useless. I’m failing. I hate to fail.”
The tears came in a hot rush, blurring her vision as the first sob tore through her.
“And yet you get up and leave this room every day. You go out into hostile crowds and tell the truth. And they believe you. You do make a difference. You’re not failing. Molly, you’re my hero. I’m not lying. I admire you so fucking much.”
“You’re the only thing that feels real.”
And it was true. Right then Molly discovered something about herself. She loved so hard. Harder than she’d ever imagined she could. She loved this man who pushed her so she broke with him and not out there where no one could help her. It was so much and too much and not enough and she couldn’t seem to do anything but slide down the wall and cry big ugly tears.
And he was there, his arms around her, holding her tight as he rocked back and forth, just letting her cry.