Submission Is Not Enough(6)

By: Lexi Blake

Just for a second he wished they were here for a different reason. He wished he could bring her here and stay in one of the beach bungalows. It would be their honeymoon, but they wouldn’t be alone. He’d spent too many years without his brothers, and Erin had never truly had a family to love her. They would get married on the beach and then spend a week playing and fishing and being together.

They would sit under the stars and know they had a future. Hell, maybe one day he would convince her to have a kid or two. They would bring their children here, tiny boys and girls who would never truly understand that their parents had begun their lives here.

Was he dying?

“Hope, please. Please. You know you can save him. Open this fucking door.”

He wasn’t sure who was talking. Faith, maybe. All he could see was Erin.

“You have to go, baby,” he said. She was hauling his ass back to cover, but he couldn’t allow it. “Have to leave me.”

She didn’t say a word, merely kept moving. That was his Erin. She was a slender woman, but so fucking strong. She had walls built of concrete around her and so damn high it felt like he’d never breach them. Oh, but when he’d gotten inside he’d found what he’d expected. Sweet. Soft. Loving. All for him.

Would she remember him? Would she remember that he’d been the one to get Des killed, or would she remember he’d stepped into a bullet for them? For her? It would all be okay if Erin lived. Hell, it might be better. His brothers might not be ashamed of him. She might remember him as something other than a fuckup.

His vision sort of focused but it wasn’t Erin looking at him. Faith’s eyes stared down.

“It’s bad, Doc.” He didn’t recognize his own voice. It seemed to rattle out of his chest. Where had Erin gone? Had she run? Had Ten gotten her out? God, he hoped so. Run, baby. Be safe. God, he wanted her to be happy. He wanted her to find a man worthy of her who would love her and protect her and teach her it was all right to open up. She had so fucking much to give. He was always so possessive of her, but now, in the moment, he realized it would be okay. His love was larger than the singular possession of her body. He loved her soul and it would need someone. He would praise that man, be grateful to him.

Because he realized that moment that it wouldn’t be him.

Something warm touched him, holding his hand.

His girl. Fuck, but she was pretty. So little time. They’d wasted it in the beginning. He wished he could go back to that first day. He would look her in the eyes and tell her there would never be another woman for him. Not ever.

If he had to go, at least it was with her holding his hand. He loved that curly red hair and the way her skin was brushed with freckles. She hated them, but he could spend a lifetime counting them and kissing them.

“We need to move. They’re coming over the wall.” Brody was somewhere behind him, reminding Theo that Erin was still in danger.

“I can’t move him,” Faith said.

He opened his mouth to tell them all to run, but a shudder went through him as he tried to breathe. He could barely breathe. It hurt and Erin’s hand clung so tightly to his that he was sure she would crush him. Such small hands to hold all that strength.

Faith was talking. It was something about his lung. Definitely his lung. It was all kinds of fucked up. Couldn’t breathe. Pain flared through him, but he needed to talk. He’d promised Ten and now he needed reciprocity.

“Get Erin out of here, Ten.” A cough rattled through him.

Erin’s face loomed over his, his ferocious warrior. His queen. He so wished he’d been her king. “Don’t. Don’t you dare do this, Theo. You promised me.”

He’d promised her a lot of things. He’d promised to be better for her. He’d promised to give her everything he had. He’d manipulated their last assignment to get himself in her bed. This assignment. It had started out in Africa and they’d been posing as a D/s couple. He, the Master, and she the bratty, lovable sub. He’d used his position to force her to finally see him, to let him in. Months he’d had to work on her and now he saw it in her eyes. She cared for him.

He wasn’t going to keep all his promises, but he’d kept one.

He touched her face, memorizing it with his fingertips. He knew every inch of her body, but he always found something new to love about her. “I did. Promised I’d love you until I died. Kept it, baby. Kept it.”

Faith’s hand closed on his chest, making him groan. She didn’t seem to understand that he was done. “I need something plastic.”

“They’re coming.” Nick stood over him, his eyes not unkind as he looked down. But there was a gravity to them. Nick knew what Faith did not.