"Close, but not quite."
I run my fingers through her hair, looking over at the Masons. Shannon's facing me, her parents standing behind her, smiles on their faces. Blake stands immobile, tears streaming down his face, his hand covering his mouth.
"You look like you got the shit kicked out of you," Sorina says loudly, finally letting go of my neck to stand in front of me.
"Watch your mouth," I say sternly. "Yes, I did get the shit kicked out of me, often. But, I'm still here."
"You're my hero, Lily," she says with pride.
"And you're mine." I reach out to run my fingers down her cheek. "Now, there's someone I need to see, sweetie."
She smiles up at me, taking a step back. I turn and take a step toward Blake, limping slightly. I try to push through the pain and take a full step. My knee protests and I almost hit the floor. Delicate, steady hands snake under my arms supporting my weight. I look over; Shannon's face only inches from mine.
"Thanks," I say, smiling at her.
I glance at Sammi as we move slowly to where Blake's standing. She's covered her mouth and nose with her hands, an endless trail of tears moving down her face. Her eyes meet mine and I wink. Turning my gaze back to Blake, he straightens, steadying himself.
"Hey," I whisper, stopping in front of him.
His breathing's uneven, eyes burning. Lifting his hand, he gently trails his fingers over my bruised cheek and I wince.
"Say something, Blake."
"Please tell me this isn't a dream," he whispers, his voice low and full of pain.
"You think I'd look this bad in a dream?"
"Oh, baby," he breathes, his hands darting out, pulling me to him.
His lips on mine muffle my cries. Everything hurts, but I don't care. I've waited two months to feel his kiss again. I move my hands into his hair, pulling myself tighter against him, ignoring the stabs of pain protesting the hold.
Tilting his head, the kiss deepens and the too familiar desire he elicits courses through my veins. His hands cup my ass and he lifts me with ease, wrapping my legs around his waist, my knee protesting with sharp, shooting pains. This is where I belong.
"Say it," he growls against my lips.
"I love you."
He moans, capturing my lips with his again. I pull away, looking into his eyes.
"I love you. I should've said it before I left. I love you."
I lean down, devouring his mouth with mine, forgetting everyone and everything else. He presses a hand into my back, and I break the kiss, screaming in pain.
He stills immediately. "How bad are you hurt?"
Slowly, he places me on my feet in front of him. Dresden and Vlad move to either side of me, pain evident on their faces, as well.
"Take your shirt off," Dresden says.
"Lily, do it, now," Blake snaps.