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Unbound (Forbidden Bond Book 1)(5)

By:Cat Miller



Her mom still stood there motionless and without turning to look at Dani, she finally started to speak.

"Your father and I were very much in love. I really don't know what to  tell you, because, honestly, I don't know much." She choked on the  words. "It's difficult for me to talk about." She turned around, still  not looking directly at Dani.

The sight of the silent tear running down her mother's ivory cheek was shocking. Dani had never seen her mother cry.

Tessa struggled unsuccessfully to hold it together, while Dani watched  in silence. She took a cleansing breath and wiped away her tears. She  looked at the wall just above Dani's head, refusing eye contact.

"We came from different," she paused, "worlds. His family was unwilling to accept an outsider."

Her mother's confession floored her. She didn't know what she had  expected to hear. Maybe he was dead, or some James-Bond-type undercover  agent who couldn't be with them for their safety, never knowing when one  of his archenemies might appear to take vengeance by hurting his  family. She realized that they were childish imaginings, but it was  better than the truth of it.

"So … you're telling me that he's out there alive and happy? We just  aren't good enough for him and his high-class family?" She wasn't able  to keep the shock out of her tone.

"I have no idea how or what he is doing. I haven't seen him since the  day you were born, and I'm sure it wasn't you they objected to, baby. I  was the problem. At least that's what I was told. I never actually met  any of them myself." With that statement, her mother went to her room,  her untouched plate forgotten.

Dani immediately wished she could take it back. She had caused her mother pain in order to get an answer she no longer wanted.

They just weren't good enough. Dani had a father and a family out  there, somewhere, that didn't want her. She finally understood her  mother's need to see her strive for the best. She couldn't stand the  thought of Dani being below some perceived standard. They never spoke of  her father again.         

     



 

The phone rang and brought Dani back to the present with a jolt. Her mom  looked at her expectantly. "Lucas has already called three times this  morning. Did you two have a fight?"

"No, everything is fine," she lied and grabbed the cordless off the  wall, leaving to take the call in the living room. She didn't want an  audience.

"Hello?"

"Danielle, finally! I've been calling your cell all night. I'm so sorry.  I don't know what happened. It's all fuzzy, but I'm so sorry. Please,  Dani, don't leave me like this. You have to let me come over and say  good-bye. Please talk to me," he pleaded, without letting her get a word  in.

When he finally paused, she said, "Lucas, you have nothing to apologize  for, and I'm just sorry I tried to make you do something you didn't  want."

He cut her off. "I want it! I do! I'll come over right now and pick you  up! Last night cannot be the way we leave this. … " He trailed off.

"You can come over, but not for that. I have to load my car up and get  on the road. We won't have much time, but we can talk a little." She  tried to soothe him because he was right. They needed to part on better  terms.

"I'm on my way. Be there in ten. I'm already in the truck. See you  soon." He hung up as if he didn't want to give her a chance to change  her mind.

He shouldn't be so worked up, she thought. It's not as if he'd turned  into some weird, black-eyed freak last night. Obviously he didn't  remember that little tidbit. Strange, considering she noticed it first  in his memory. And what the hell was that about? People don't see other  people's memories!

Dani washed her breakfast dishes and just made it to her bedroom when  there was another knock at the front door. She would say good-bye to  Lucas, and, afterward, she would have to say good-bye to her mom. Ugh …

Lucas tapped on her bedroom door.

She took a deep breath and tried to force a smile, but as soon as the  door opened a crack, he barreled through and tackled her onto the bed.  Dani shrieked and laughed.

Her mom shouted up the stairs, "All right, you two! Leave that door open!"

"Yes, ma'am." Lucas had to answer because Dani was too busy trying to  escape the grasp of the infamous Tickle Monster of Perry Hall. He  stopped the monster abruptly after a moment and held her close to him,  kissing her softly, in a way that washed away all her hurt feeling from  the night before. The kiss said everything they needed to say without  the words I'm sorry.

After her car was loaded, there was nothing left to do but say good-bye.  He kissed her and held her tight for a long minute before walking away  wordlessly. Watching Lucus drive away left a lump in her throat. This  separation would be tough, but they'd get through it somehow.



Her mom worked so hard to make their little house a home for the two of  them. The thought of leaving her alone was causing great tidal waves of  guilt. Her mom, on the other hand, was prancing around like the proudest  peacock at the zoo, overjoyed at Dani's accomplishments.

Thankfully, there was no tearful parting with her mother, due to her joy  at seeing Dani have experiences she hadn't been afforded. She gave Dani  some cash, a credit card for emergencies, a big hug, and a little white  box. Tessa smiled widely and instructed Dani to open the box later.

Then Dani was off on the long drive to New York State. It was a lot of  time alone to think. She pondered the past and dreamt of the future. She  worried about Lucas and decided to call him as soon as she got settled.  Mostly, she thought of the night before. She remembered the hunger  she'd suffered and the shock of seeing her eyes in Lucas's memory. She  thought about how insane it sounded to think it possible to see another  person's memories. Was she going crazy? She couldn't worry about that  yet. First, she had to focus on school. Insanity would have to wait  until she had more time to deal with it.





Dani arrived on campus amidst a flurry of incoming students and their  parents. There were people everywhere carrying boxes and suitcases to  their dorm rooms. Parents were bidding farewell to their aspiring  scholars with an equal mix of smiles and tears. She found her building  and made her way through the first-floor common room. It was a large  room with scattered seating areas and a large wall-mounted flat-screen  TV in each corner. Also on that floor were restrooms and a canteen with  vending machines, microwaves, and dining tables. The crowded halls were  almost impassable, given all the students, parents, and luggage.

Dani ran a gauntlet to reach her assigned room. She pushed open the door  to see a petite Hispanic girl staring at the beds. Her dark hair was  cut in a short, slanted bob, and her deep, brown, almond-shaped eyes  almost lent her features an Asian look. When Dani entered, the girl  turned and smiled as if they were already friends and she'd been waiting  for her to arrive.         

     



 

"Well, it's about time. Which bed do you want? I didn't wanna pick one  without you. I kinda like the bed by the window. What do you think?" she  chirped.

Dani was going to like this girl. Most people wouldn't wait for their roommates to stake their claim.

"I think finders, keepers. The other side of the room looks good to me."  She held out her hand in greeting. "I'm Dani. It's nice to meet you."

"Where are my manners?" The girl blushed. "My mom would be ashamed of  me. I'm Olivia." She took Dani's hand into both of hers in a nervous  greeting.

"I don't know about you, but I'm kind of freaked out." Dani moved her suitcases to the bed farthest from the window.

With that Olivia seemed to sag with relief. "I was afraid it was just me  being a sissy about moving away from home. I know I should be excited,  and I am, but this is a big deal. I've never been away from my family.  Having a roommate will be new for me, also. I have three brothers and no  sisters, so I've always had my own room."

"I'm an only child, so I know what you mean." Dani surveyed the rest of  the room. It was clean and not what she would call spacious for two  people, but the closets were big enough, and there were small desks on  either side of the room. She hadn't brought much with her anyway. The  door opened again, and several boys who looked like male versions of  Olivia carried in boxes, suitcases, and a minirefrigerator.

"Get out of the way, Stripes!" the tallest one barked at Dani. "This thing is heavy!"

"Excuse me." She moved out of the walkway. Here we go again, she  thought. She had been on campus for twenty minutes and already she was  getting cracked on for her hair. It was a new record.

A brunette woman with ivory skin and an attitude followed the boys. She  smacked the boy in the back of the head and said, "Liam, you better  apologize before I give you something to be sorry for, boy."

The youngest-looking boy snickered. The woman eyed him harshly. "You  will be next, Patrick." Then she turned to the third boy and said,  "Reilly, go grab the last box from the truck."

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