She held the child tight, cooing in a dialect so old she herself had forgotten some of the words, slipping passed her mind like blood sliding down denied lips. Motionless, she waited, watching the storm dye the sky black. Hunger gnawed at her body, but after so many years of surviving the pain, she barely felt a flicker of its former power.
The figure beside her finally reached out and lightly brushed the child’s cheek. Whereas Anna was ice, Sprite could only be pure fire. The younger girl, the child’s mother, began to whisper.
Tell him that it wasn’t love
Say I tried – say I lied
Tell him I’m unworthy of,
What he feels inside…
Tell him that you heard me say,
What seemed right – just last night,
Simply seemed to fade away
In the light of day…
"Don’t let him know."
Anna turned, forcing herself to look at Sprite. She wore a chocolate cloak that covered the old bruises that never did fade. It hurt. It torched a raw and bitter anger that quickly edged to ice for Sprite’s benefit alone. Seeing her reduced, seeing her so helpless, there was nothing in the world that could bring back the old Sprite. "I won’t," Anna replied, her grip on the babe tightening with those words.
Tell him of the countless other lovers,
Whom I tantalized – victimized…
Tell him of the many other times
I played this heartless game – just the same…
Tell him what I really am
Is just a cold and empty sham…
I'll keep the promise never to tell Adam, Anna thought to herself.
He was the father. It had been her wolf that had given this child life, although he had been under a demon’s control at the time. Both Marco and Victoria had been forced to watch while Adam had his way with Sprite, her struggles and nerve-cutting screams heard by the pack, each member powerless to stop what they were seeing.
Dwayne, calling forth his newfound power, took control of Sprite’s mind, blanking it out, sparing her the shame, but Anna could not stop Adam despite her efforts, his need to please his new master outweighing everything else, even the cries of his own mate. Afterwards with the demon dead by Marco’s hand, Adam had literally gone mad, tearing at himself, trying to scratch out the evil he had done. It took Anna and Victoria combined to calm him down, to let him know that it wasn’t his fault.
Months of healing, months of the pack learning to trust each other again and to forgive. But Sprite had a secret that turned hell loose once more.
"What should I tell Marco?"
Tell him anything – but not that I love him!
Sprite said nothing, but she froze as she saw the wolf, coming out of the trees, stiffing the air. The female wolf and Sprite stared at each other, unspoken waves surrounding the two until a child’s cry shook them back to reality. Sprite took the child from Anna’s arms, placed the boy down in front of the wolf, a sob breaking free.
All we shared – all we cared
Make him hate my memory!
Make him glad he’s free
Paint me evil – paint me cruel
Say I broke every rule,
Make him feel like a fool for loving me!
The wolf licked the child clean, rubbing skin with fur, branding it her own by scent. Adam will never know that it had been Sprite and not Victoria that gave birth to his son for Anna had implanted the notion months before that Victoria was with child through her bond with Adam. Sprite had left, saying she needed the space, hiding the pregnancy from all, but Anna and Victoria.
Don’t let him know why I must leave him…
Why I must go so far away
For if he knew how much I love him
No power on Earth could make him stay!
"What should I tell Marco?" Anna asked again.
Sprite, crying, began to walk towards another life, leaving behind the man she loved and a child she will never claim as her own. It took Anna’s vampire hearing to catch Sprite’s reply.
"Just let me go."