494 ”You’re not the only one moping around...” he had said. As if her personal moping were some mere childish behavior. As if she were selfish for not considering anyone else's feelings.
Crowne couldn't have delivered a better blow, not because of its harshness but rather the picture his words drew of her father, another person whom Crowne would have arued "moped" rather selfishly. Once again, drawing parallels between herself and one of her parents left her feeling punched in the gut- breathless, dazed and with a sharp pain in the general vicinity of her chest...
... and yet...
No, she told herself clearly. Those are two completely different circumstances. Crowne is wrong. I have every right to be upset, to want my space. This isn't just about separation- it's about completely changing... everything!
It occurred to her rather belatedly that at some point, she must have switched from thinking her protest to speaking it aloud- both Crowne and Noah were watching her with varying levels of curiosity and wariness. Too caught up to stop, though, she focused her attention on the elder of the two vampires, finding her stride. "Yeah, so what if I'm not the only one feeling sad here? Give me a break! Royce-" she was proud that her voice only wobbled a little in speaking his name "-isn't the one who had his entire world flipped upside-down with the discovery of the super-freaking-natural, so excuse me if I'm not recovering fast enough for your damn liking!"
Charlie had to take a quick break to breathe, and paused just long enough to realize how good it felt to finally yell at someone. Fear and uncertainty weren't the only things she had been feeling these last few weeks- there was apparently quite a lot of pent up frustration as well, and though none of it was actually Crowne's fault, she didn't feel an ounce of guilt over releasing it all on him anyway.
He was an immortal vampire and a jerk- he could take it.
"Look," she began again, slightly more calm, "I get that in your own stupid and pushy way you're looking out for Royce, which I understand and respect. And for what it's worth, I am sorry for whatever he's going through that I'm clearly the cause of. But really, what did you expect? I thought I fell in love with an ordinary guy, but it turns out I really fell in love with a werewolf, and-"
"... and I... I still love him," she finished, sounding surprised. Not that she expected to feel hatred or even dislike for him now that she knew, but... in spite of all that had changed, it surprised her to finally realize that her feelings had not. Not even a little. What was it she told Crowne before? That it was already too late?
But then came the chilling thought- what about now? Was it too late now?