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The Skull Ruler (Skull 3) Penelope Sky 2022/8/5 16:54:52

Now the tears were too strong to ignore. They flooded down my cheeks and dripped to my lips. I’d cried hours ago because I’d thought I lost him forever. Now I cried for the same reason, just under different circumstances.

Balto lowered his gaze, like he couldn’t stand the sight of my tears.

He wouldn’t be able to stand the sight of my broken heart either.

“And you still won’t tell me you love me?” I lifted my gaze and looked at him. “You’ll never get the chance to say it again, but you still won’t do it?”

He stared at me with his empty eyes, his face set in a hard expression. He was the cold and cruel man he described himself to be. Even now that everything had been said and done, he refused to give me what I wanted. He refused to let those words leave his tongue. “No.”

I sat on my old bed with a pillow pulled to my chest. I’d been there for hours, retreating to somewhere private after Balto broke my heart. He was a stubborn man who refused to change his mind despite the love in his heart. And since he never lied, I knew his decision was final.

Just when I thought I finally had the man I was supposed to be with, it was over. Balto was loyal and devoted, willing to make sacrifices most men would be too cowardly to make. He was willing to hand himself over to his greatest enemy just to protect me.

I would never find another man like that.

I picked up my phone and called Case.

He answered immediately. “Sorella, how are you?”

My brother’s voice usually comforted me, but now it did nothing to heal my wounds. “Hey…can I stay with you for a few weeks? Just until I get settled and find an apartment and stuff.”

Case was quiet for a while. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

“I can hear the tears in your voice. Did something happen with Balto?”

“Well…we broke up.” Just when the dust settled and it seemed like we could have our happily ever after, he ended it. He ended our relationship before it could turn into something more. I understood his reasoning, but when it came to love, reasoning shouldn’t matter. It was all about emotion. He’d sacrificed everything to save my life, so I expected him to sacrifice everything to be with me. I would do the same for him…if it weren’t so dangerous. If we had a relationship while he was the Skull King, we would never have children. It would be too risky. So, he had to make the sacrifice…I couldn’t be the one to do it. “Balto said he didn’t see a future for us…even though he loves me.”

“Well…he’s not wrong.”

I closed my eyes in pain. “You agree with him?”

“Objectively, yes. I know you want a family. I know what kind of life you want to have. You can’t have that future with Balto. Cassini, I’m telling you something you already know, so don’t get angry with me.”

“I’m not angry. I thought he would walk away from that life to be with me…but he won’t.”

“That’s a big sacrifice to make.”

“If he’s happy with me, it shouldn’t be that big of a sacrifice. If he’s willing to risk his life for mine, it shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

He was quiet for a while. “He told you it was going to end weeks ago.”

“Yes, but that was before…” Tears cascaded down my cheeks, and I tried to muffle the sound by keeping my lips pressed tightly together. “Never mind. I’ll pack my things and head over there soon.”

He sighed into the phone. “I’m sorry, sorella…”

“I know. I just… I thought he was the one. I know he’s not what I imagined my forever man to be like, but I love him so much. I love everything about him, from his constant scowl to the way he grunts instead of saying actual words. Evan wasn’t there for me when it mattered, but Balto proved to be a man worthy of me. He makes me feel safe. He makes me feel loved without even telling me he loves me. The idea of going out there and trying to find someone new…seems pointless. I’ll never find another man like him. I don’t want to bother looking.”

I sat in my private living room with the TV off. The sun had set hours ago, telling me the day had ended while I sat there and did absolutely nothing. My stuff was packed, shoved into suitcases that sat by the door. I was taking all the clothes Balto had bought for me because he wouldn’t have any use for them, and I certainly wouldn’t allow him to give them to someone else.

I didn’t eat anything all day because I chose solitude. I wasn’t necessarily ignoring Balto, but I had nothing to say to him either. Now that we were over, there wasn’t any reason to have a conversation.