#Chapter 79: New Beginnings
Enzo’s eyes were full of a mixture of anger, sadness, and what also oddly seemed like moderate excitement as he looked down at me. His hair and leather jacket were soaked from the rain, but he didn’t seem to care
“Can we talk?” he said.
“Uh, sure,” I replied warily, glancing over his shoulder to see a couple of girls exiting another building and staring at us, no doubt preparing themselves to start another gossip train about how I was stringing Enzo along or something. “Are you okay?”
“It’s my dad,” he said, turning and walking with me as he paid the girls no mind. He had his hood up to keep himself dry from the rain, but it didn’t seem to be helping much, so I held my umbrella out for him. We slowly made our way to a private spot in an alley between the hockey arena and the building where the indoor basketball courts were located, where no one would see us talking and start more rumors. It was also, actually, where Justin and I used to meet up secretly back when we were still together Being here momentarily made me wonder if Justin was okay “And the Crescents, and the Fullmoons…” Enzo continued. ” And Ronan, and Ronan’s dad, and the dean…”
“Hold on,” I said, looking up at him from where I stood with a puzzled expression on my face. “One thing at a time. What are you trying to tell me?”
Enzo sighed and ran a hand through his damp hair “So, my dad called me home yesterday When I got there, it was like a meeting between all of them. Ronan and his father were there They’re both Crescents. And apparently, they struck a deal between the Crescents and the Fullmoons, and they’re gonna settle this war with a hockey tournament, of all things.”
I furrowed my brow and ran a hand through my hair “That’s a good thing, isn’t it?” I asked. “No fighting or bloodshed.”
“In theory, yes,” Enzo replied. He leaned against the side of the building and stood there with his head hung for a moment before pushing himself off of the wall and starting to pace in the rain. “I don’t know if it’ll really work, but they kept talking about how the factions need to take a more modern approach to the whole thing…” He raised his hands and made quotation marks in the air with his fingers. “They said ‘We’re businessmen. Let’s be civil about this,’ but… I don’t know. I feel like it’s all for show. I feel like the Crescents are gonna do something much more sinister than play in a hockey tournament, and my dad’s being a fool. Not to mention whatever Ronan is up to. You know, he secretly told me that his father doesn’t know about the deal regarding you, and he asked me to keep it that way.”
“Or,” I said, walking over to Enzo and choosing to ignore the part about Ronan’s deal with the mystery woman, “they’re being truthful and genuinely trying to work out their differences without putting anyone in harm’s way.”
Enzo shook his head and turned on his heel, walking away for a moment toward the edge of the alleyway. He stood there for a while, looking out at the rain, before turning back to face me.
“I don’t trust Ronan,” he said in a low voice. “I don’t trust him or his father, and I don’t like this business with the mystery woman trying to capture you.We might just be friends, Nina, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not worried as hell about you.”
Enzo’s words hit me like a ton of bricks and made my heart leap in my chest. Hearing him speak about me like that made me soften toward him, but I stopped myself from getting too attached to that feeling.
“So tell your dad,” I said. “Don’t you feel like he should know about all of this? Maybe he can be of help to us.”
I watched curiously as Enzo bit his lip and stared down at the wet concrete for a moment. “I can’t,” he said. “I can’t trust him entirely, either Especially when it comes to you. I’m afraid…”
“Afraid of what?” I asked softly, walking up to him and placing my hand on his shoulder. “He’s your father What’s the worst he’ll do? We’re not together, either, so it’s not like he has any real reason to hate me.”
“It’s not just that!” Enzo exclaimed, abruptly pulling away from me with pain in his eyes.
I was shocked by his sudden outburst and took a step back, frowning, “What is it, then?” I asked, cocking my head.
Enzo was silent again for several moments. I could see him clenching and unclenching his jaw as well as his fists, like he was trying to find the right words but his brain was just a tangled mess of thoughts.
“Just tell me,” I said. I was frightened now by what he might say, and could feel tears welling up in my eyes for reasons unknown to me
“He wants me to marry someone,” he croaked “An arranged marriage He says..
1 felt my heart jump again, this time into my throat as an enormous, gut- wrenching knot formed in the depths of my stomach.
“He says that she’s my fated mate. And we’re supposed to be married on New Year’s eve.”
I didn’t know what to say. New Year’s eve was a few months away, but it felt so close now. Too close. Would I ever even see Enzo again after that? Would I even be able to call him my friend after that?
A sob caught in my throat as the
thought of Enzo being married to someone else crossed my mind. I knew we were just friends, and it would never work between us — especially if he had a true fated mate — but hearing him say those words still hurt like a knife straight through the heart
Suddenly, without speaking, Enzo
rushed toward me and pulled me into his arms, pressing his lips fervently against mine for what felt like an eternity. I was tense at first, but felt the umbrella slip from my hand as I eventually relaxed into him, letting the rain pour over us.
When he finally pulled away just enough so that our lips weren’t touching, our foreheads pressed together, I noticed that my cheeks weren’t just covered by the rain, but were now coated in my own tears.
I took in a sharp breath and pulled away. “Enzo, I can’t… We can’t do this. Especially not now, not if…”
He shook his head, making a bit of water drip on us from his wet hair as he started to take a few steps backwards. ” I know. It’s stupid… I’m sorry”
Before I could stop him, he turned on his heel and stormed out of the alleyway and disappeared in the rain as it began to fall even harder from the sky, leaving me alone again.
I leaned my head back against the wall and turned my face up toward the sky, closing my eyes as the rain fell on my face.