Chapter 319 - I Warned You
Kaden's smile was once so warm that it could melt ice and snow. Lina had always been captured by his rare laughter, ripe like the rings of trees. When he grinned, all her worries were gone. It was a sweet dream and she was frightened that she'd be his worst nightmare. Now, the roles were reversed.
In his embrace, she remembered their old days of swords and carriages, of guns and palanquins, of pens and vehicles.
So, when Lina only felt teeth and no pain, she froze. At the last moment, Kaden retracted his fangs. In the last moment, he didn't take what he shouldn't. Lina felt her knees give out, but he didn't even let her slip an inch. She was right where she belonged.
"One last chance," Kaden mumbled, kissing the same spot where his teeth marks were. She'd kill him if she saw it.
Kaden brushed his lips against the curve of her neck, trailing upwards until he was at her jaw. Her scent filled his nostrils and he breathed in deeply. She was intoxicating. She was no good for him, Mia had said. Lina would do more harm than good, Mia warned. Everyone was telling him that he didn't need Lina, but only the two of them understood how much they needed each other.
"I think…" Lina said, but cut herself off again.
Lina would never admit it. She would never say it. Her next words were completely against everything that she had promised to her therapist.
Lina shoved Kaden away with so much force, but he didn't even move. She thought he'd at least have some courtesy. Kaden's firm body was like a mountain. Who in the world could move a mountain?
"What are you two doing?" Milo sharply asked, narrowing his gaze on the intimate couple. In the far beyond, he saw a shadow that flickered and moved. When he squinted closer, the person was gone.
What the hell? Was someone watching the two of them from afar?
"It's not safe out here, I literally blocked a celebrity couple from having an affair," Milo deadpanned. "The place could be crawling with paparazzi. I legit saw someone down the hallways, how did you not realize he was watching you?!"
"Come on," Milo said, grabbing her by the upper arm.
If Lina couldn't get away from Kaden herself, Milo would just have to do it for her. Just as Lina stopped Milo from taking another sip of alcohol at a club, Milo prevented her from getting high on a man that would only hurt her again. He tried to pull Lina away, only to realize Kaden's grip was made of iron and steel.
"Milo is right," Lina finally managed to say through a tightened throat.
"Why is your makeup smudged? Have you been crying?" Milo hissed, stepping closer to her. He was tugging at her arm, as if that could do anything.
Who had the strength to pull the prey from the beast's grasp?
"No," Lina lied, shaking her head and forcing a smile. She glanced up at Kaden.
Kaden reluctantly released Lina. She instantly touched her face and forced a laugh.
"I'm fine," Lina said. "The movie must've started. Let's head back, you're right Milo."
Milo frowned deeply. He rested a hand on her upper back and quickly began to guide her towards the movie theater. He felt a shiver crawl down his spine. He shuddered violently.
Kaden's crimson red eyes were watching them closely. He didn't move or walk until they were out of sight. Now… where did that peeping tom scurry to?
- - - - -
"You shouldn't have been with him," Milo lectured Lina. "The last time you two were together, you canceled your marriage! Do you even know what he gave you in the separation?"
"Keep your voice down," Lina said. She meant it. There were too many prying ears everywhere.
Lina was grateful to return to the theater with Milo and Kaden nowhere in sight. Or else, people would be talking. The second she slipped into the movie theater, she felt like she became more important than the actual film. Everyone was at the premiere to watch the film before it was released, but why did she feel like a larger spectacle?
When Lina returned to her seat, people were whispering. It didn't help that she had to politely cut through a few people's peripheral? vision to get to her spot. Twenty minutes after she sat down, she heard shuffled feet.
People instantly pushed themselves as close to their chairs as possible. Make way for Kaden DeHaven. People knew better than to get in his way.
"Where were you?" Mia whispered to Kaden with a deep frown. "You missed the intro where the heiress experiences the sweetest moments with her childhood best friend, gets forcibly betrothed, and they're living the dream until the hot military Commander saves her! "
Mia sniffed and sure enough, there was a faint scent of cigarettes on Kaden. She let out a sigh, glancing down at his hands.
"You were away for nearly an hour. How much did you smoke? It's been five years. I'm sure you went through enough packs to build a building—"
"Watch the movie," Kaden commanded.
Mia pouted to herself and quickly returned her attention to the front.
Lina slowly blinked. He had started smoking again? Lina didn't know. Did he always smoke? She didn't want to go around changing him, but that couldn't possibly be good for his lungs, right? But then, she nearly facepalmed. He was an immortal. He would never be able to get sick. He would never die. Cancer didn't affect him.
"Ohh the movie is reaching its peak climax," Milo whispered to Lina.
Lina numbly sat through the movie. She tried to focus, but how could she? She felt Kaden's presence behind her. He wasn't even looking at the movie. He was solely focused on her.
"This is so sad," Mia softly cried to Kaden. "Oh god, they have to separate."
"They're each other's ruin, you know," Milo tried to fill Lina in on the events that happened in her absence.
Lina's eyes widened. How did she not realize it sooner? This movie was exactly like their second life! Jolting in her seat, she let out a gasp and straightened up. Did Kaden know that? Her head snapped to him. He was calmly gazing at her. She could tell he knew. He always knew.
"Why do you even love me?" the actress sobbed on the screen, shouting across the room. "I am a wreck! Together, we do not belong."
"I fell in love with the broken parts of you—each piece that crumbled under my touch. Now, as I stand in the ashes of our love, I wonder if I was your ruin," the military Commander painfully uttered.
Lina could feel her head begin to spin. How did they know? Moreover, why was this becoming a movie? Kaden didn't break eye-contact. He held her stare, mouthing the exact same line.
Suddenly, a scream filled the air.
Lina thought it was the movie, but it wasn't.
Lina shot out of her seat in shock, just as the movie screen went black. The entire theater was plunged into pure darkness. Amidst the chaos, pairs of hands grabbed her. From the iciness, she knew it was Kaden attempting to haul her behind him.
"Nobody moves!" a familiar voice roared.
Suddenly, all of the lights flashed on. Standing in the aisle leading to the seats was no other than the man she had been chasing down the entire time.
The artist. He was holding a gun.
"Milo, run," Lina whispered.
Without warning, Lina grabbed her younger brother and shoved him behind her.
"T-that's my ex-artist," Lina frantically said to whatever she grabbed onto. Her head snapped up when she saw his black suit. Immediately, the blood drained from her face.
Lina had just told Kaden who the man holding a gun was.
"There you are," the artist called out, his head whipping round to her. "I was wondering where you were."
Every pair of eyes were glued to the two of them. The audience didn't know who the man was referring to, until they saw Director Lina.
"Sigh, it's a suitor gone crazy."
"What is going on?"
Lina swallowed hard. She slowly dropped her hand from Kaden's strong arm. She knew how wild this artist was. He was the same one who had painted her presentation room in red. She should've known it was a warning, for the color was like dried blood. But she never thought he'd show up here of all places, with a gun in his possession. Did this venue not do a weapon check?
"I trusted you!" the artist shouted. "You said you would help me succeed, you—"
Kaden reached for the gun behind his waistband.
Kaden, with inhumane speed, yanked out his weapon, but it was too late. It all happened in the blink of an eye.
Visions of white flashed before Kaden's eyes. A roar tore through his throat, wild and beast-like. Besides him, Milo let out a scream, but it was impossible.
Lina wondered what the commotion was about.
People cried out in fear, scrambling amongst themselves. Lina could barely register what was happening between them. All she felt was her body jumping forward to take the bullet aimed at Kaden.
Lina knew she was stupid. Kaden would never die from a gunshot, but she would. It was instinct for her to protect him… it was muscle memory for her to sacrifice herself for him. So, she did.
All Lina felt were her hands going cold and something warm dripping down her body.
"DOVE!" Kaden shouted in a tone that squashed all the frenzy. People stopped and gasped.
Everyone saw what happened. Everyone realized exactly who was shot. And it was not Kaden who pulled out a gun of his own.
It was Director Lina, with two bullets through her chest.
"I-I warned you not to move—" the artist stammered. "I-I—"
"YOU!" Kaden roared, pointing his gun towards the artist just as Lina whispered something to him.
"In our next life… let us meet again."
Then, everything went dark.
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