Everything about him was the same. From the sharp, arrogant angles of his jaw to the pitch black of his hair. He stood with the same rigid tension, the same restless frustration. An animal, caged in, waiting to be released.
He hadn’t let it consume him. Yet. But it would. The imperfections of a man he used to be would creep to the surface until he became the same controlling, cold, difficult leader Syr was. The man they both used to be, some distant lifetime ago.
Still, looking at him, she found it hard to believe it. Standing right there, just a few feet away, was the man she’d loved, all over again.
Sure, there were differences. His eyes, eyes that always burned like melted gold, were softened by his fragile humanity. They held something she’d always wanted to see in Syr. Tenderness. Compassion.
Just looking at him made it hard to breathe.
She drowned in him, so painfully beautiful, so heartbreakingly flawed. She’d known, hadn’t she? Some part of her knew that that he would wear the same face that still burned so clearly in her memory every time she closed her eyes.
So, why did it hurt so much to look at him? Why did it make every one of her nerves scream, begging to be held by arms she knew were strong and warm?
But they weren’t his arms. They were someone else’s. A stranger with his face.
Memories of Syr haunted her. Whispers he’d made in the dark, locked in her arms. Looking down at this version of him, with more rounded shoulders and lean, shapely legs, she imagined he would be more tender, more giving.
Loving him would be easy.
No violent outbursts. No distant daydreams. Kisses that meant something, that were slow and leisurely instead of rough and desperate. He would make an art form of loving her, instead of tearing her to pieces, left to float away on the wind.
She relished the fantasies it formed in her mind, but his face always transformed to Syr’s, to the darker spirit in his eyes, the wicked glint in his smirk.
He’d been difficult to love, but it didn’t change the fact that she did love him. It had always dangerous. But she’d been willing to take the risk because once he was hers, heart and soul, he’d be hers completely.
Except – he was gone now. Without returning the sentiments that carved at her heart and sat waiting on the tip of her tongue.
She blinked away the tears.
She couldn’t show weakness. Not now. Not when they’d come this far. Instead she focused on this Syr, and found her traitorous thoughts wondering if they were words he could say.
Three simple words that would mean so much, if only he really meant them.