Submission Is Not Enough(15)

By: Lexi Blake

“What did I do to the Russian dude?”

“Never mind about that.” Ian sat down beside him. “You have to forgive Case. He doesn’t understand. He’s never been through what you’ve gone through, and all he sees is that he’s losing his brother all over again.”

“I’m still here.”

“Are you? Tell me you’re not thinking about walking away.”

Theo was silent for a moment. “Sometimes I think it might be better for everyone. I do get why Hutch did it.”

Ian sat back, his shoulders up around his neck. “I yell about it, but I understand it, too. It’s hard to make the transition after something like that happens. I do get that.”

Now that he was alone with Ian that terrible numbness seeped into his system again. He was supposed to feel something for this man. He was supposed to feel something, anything at all. Yet most of what he felt was rage, and even that came in moments of blindness, as though there was some other Theo inside him and he was pissed. “He needed space. I think eventually he’ll come back.”

“I know you think about walking, but you can’t. You get that, right?”

“Because I have a kid.” It was all about the kid he didn’t know, didn’t remember creating.

“Because you love Erin,” Ian insisted quietly. “I know how hard the kid thing is. I do. Women don’t get it. They get knocked up and suddenly they’re a mom. She can feel the baby move and she has a connection. You don’t feel that.”

“No. I don’t.” He didn’t feel anything at all.

“And you never will if you don’t allow yourself to meet him. Charlie’s pregnant and she’s so excited, and all I can think of is all the things that can go wrong. I look at what happened to you and wonder what the hell kind of world I’m bringing another kid into. Do I have that right? And the minute I hold that kid in my hands none of those questions will matter because he’s going to be my son and all that matters is loving him. You need to meet your son. I know Kai wants to slowly reintegrate you, but I think you should be sleeping with your wife. You should be in the home you bought for her, sleeping beside her and letting her help you rebuild your life.”

He shook his head. “You don’t understand.”

“Not entirely, but I do know that deep down the man who loved Erin is still there. It’s the only reason I’m not kicking Nick out. He did you a favor. He showed you what’s still inside you.”

A raging beast? “I don’t know. I can’t be around her without something in me aching.”

“I’m not ready to give up on you and I don’t think Case and Erin could handle you walking away. The pain associated with Erin is all about her name, isn’t it?”

He wasn’t sure of anything. “I don’t know.”

“Robert said you watched her in the bar. He said you didn’t have any trouble at all until you found out her name.”

The entire conversation was making him anxious. “I have some trouble with her all around, okay? When I think about her, when I try to remember, I end up hurting her in my head. I have no intentions of hurting her. I’m not going to hurt anyone else.”

Ian leaned toward him. “Good, because you will not be allowed to hurt her. Not ever, brother. Know this. Understand this. You never put a ring on her finger, but she’s my sister and you’re my brother. I won’t let you hurt her because I love her first and foremost, and after that I won’t allow you to hurt her because I love you. So you are safe, Theo. Erin…she’s stronger than you think. I know you don’t remember this, but she kind of put you on your ass the first time you met. Don’t think she can’t take care of herself.”

The first time they’d met.

How had he met her? Why had she put him on his ass?

His head started aching and he groaned from the pain.

Ian sat back up. “Stop. Don’t even try. God, I’m sorry, Theo. This was exactly what I’m trying to avoid. You have to stop thinking. You have to let it all happen. Stop trying to remember her and let her be the girl in the bar. Come to the club. I’ll pair you with a nice sub and you can get back in the groove.”

“I don’t want a nice sub.” He wanted her. It welled deep inside him. He wouldn’t accept anyone but her.

And he couldn’t have her.

“Okay, I’ll pick a bitchy, bratty sub who’ll make your life hell.” Ian’s lips lifted. “You’ve tried it Kai’s way. Try it mine. You’re good with muscle memory. That means you’ll know how to work a flogger or a whip. Come to Sanctum and try it. One night. It’s all I ask. You don’t have to have sex with the sub. As a matter of fact, you likely won’t, but you can find your place again. You can find your power and help her find hers. Can you do that for me, Theo?”