My life hadn’t always been hell. That was why diving into the fire was unbearable. If I had been born in this torment, it would have been normal. I didn’t know if it was worse to know love and the inevitable pain of it being ripped away from you, or if it was worse to never know love at all. I was sure of one thing, though. If I hadn’t known love, I wouldn’t have known hate the way I did.
“Ivy,” I chanted, as if saying her name would summon her.
It worked if I did it long enough.
“I don’t like it when you leave,” I whispered.
“I have to leave sometimes. We’re not attached.”
“We are now.” I pressed her hand harder against my cheek.
She leaned in and kissed my forehead. “You can’t hold me here forever.”
“Watch me.” I opened my eyes, daring.
“One day, you’ll talk and it’ll sound way less convincing.”
I scoffed. “What?”
“Right now, you sound like a female, but one day your voice is going to get all low like one of those werewolves and no one will listen to a word you say.”
Ivy nodded. “Brutes. All of them. You’re a male, so that means you’re a brute. Do you even have a brain in there?” Her eyes twinkled, so I knew she was teasing, but part of it felt true. Ivy never meant to hurt me, I knew that when I looked back on these memories, but I also knew vampyres were little more than thralls to vampires. That was to say, we were barely above humans or even werewolves.
“I’d prefer you to cooperate,” the guard said.
“I’m sure you would, and I’d prefer not to go.”
“A piece of advice. Your new match isn’t one to mess with.”
“I’m so scared.”
The guard’s lips upturned. “You should be.”
“Why? She’s not allowed to break me.”
“I don’t know anything about this breeding stuff, but I wouldn’t want to fight her. I know that much.”
All right. My interest was piqued. “Who is she?”
“Lisette Cheriz. She’s a slayer. White Team’s first.”
Dark days were ahead, some of the very darkest, but they’d give way to the brightest light.