Ari couldn't see Sev's face, but he imagined if he could, he would find nothing but pain and heartache there. Sev's voice sounded so far away and wretched. And sad. No, not sad. Miserable. Dejected. In utter despair.
"I said fuck off." Sev stood up, keeping his back turned on Ari, but he could just see Sev's face in the mirror. He looked miserable, his head hung. "I'm such an idiot." He was shaking his head, his voice forlorn. "You just used me. You toyed with my emotions. You never had any intention of being with me."
Severin turned and walked to the locker room in silence. Discussion over.
Arion could only watch him leave. What the hell had just happened here? He looked down at the mat, at a smear of moisture – Sev's sweat. He reached out and dabbed it with his fingertips and lifted it to his nose.
Aaaahhhh. Severin. Pure and strong.
His gaze swept back to the locker room and that dull, throbbing ache awakened in his chest again. He had hurt Sev. Sev thought he had simply been using him, but that wasn't the case at all, was it? Arion had wanted what happened six weeks ago. He had never intended to cause Sev pain.
But he had, hadn't he?
Arion felt about an inch tall. He needed to get out of here.
Rubbing his thumb up and down his sternum, trying to ease the ache, he gathered himself and stood up. With one last look at the locker room door, he took a deep breath, blew it out, and hurried for the exit.
Rushing down the deserted hall in a fit of emotional upheaval, he reached the elevators and smacked the up button then looked back in the direction of the training center. Sev was in there, likely in as big a mess as he was. Probably wondering where it had all gone wrong. Wondering why Ari had used him, even though that hadn't been Ari's intention.
He needed to explain. He needed to apologize. He needed to somehow let Sev know that none of this was his fault. It was Ari's fault. All of it.
His thumb continued rubbing rhythmically up and down the center of his chest as the ache deepened. When the elevator door opened he stood there for a second. Then he took a step forward. Then stopped. Then closed his eyes and leaned forward on one outstretched arm pressed against the wall.
He couldn't leave Sev.
Turning back, he let the elevator door close as he began the hesitant walk back to the training center.
This was crazy. Ari stopped in the middle of the hall. If he returned to the gym, he knew how things would end up. He wouldn't be able to hold himself back from Sev. He wanted him. The scent of his sweat still invaded his nose, and it was a better high than a snort of cocaine or even cobalt could give him.
No, no. He could hold back. He would be able to control himself. He owed Sev that much. And he owed him an explanation…and an apology.
With purpose, Ari started walking again, holding his head high and pushing his shoulders back. The ache in his chest diminished as he neared the gym and opened the door. After stepping inside, he halted abruptly, his lungs pumping hard. Was he nervous or just keyed up? Was he afraid someone would see them and figure out what happened? Or was his sudden, erratic breathing caused by something else? Desire perhaps? Or his struggle not to give in to temptation and claim Sev's body as he had six weeks ago.
Fucking hells, maybe he should just bolt and do this shit later.
A sudden jolt of pain hit his chest. No. you need to do it now. You need to take away Sev's pain, you chicken shit. Suck it up, grow some balls, go in there, and apologize. Set things right.
Nodding to himself, he took a deep breath and stalked the length of the gym to the locker room, pushed the door open, and proceeded directly to the bay of lockers reserved for Tristan's team.
As he rounded the corner, he sucked in his breath at the magnificent, beautiful male who greeted him. Sev was sitting on the bench, his face already turned toward him, his guarded eyes red and full of tears, his thumb poised against his sternum as if he had been rubbing it.
Sev slowly stood up. "Why are you here?"
Suddenly, everything Ari had wanted to say escaped him. Like a fleeing antelope, his words bounded away, leaving him only with his breath, his body, and the vision of Severin in front of him. And the scent of Sev's sweat. And the memory of Sev's mouth on his, their bodies perfectly matched and pressed together. All he could do was stare and remember how incredible Sev had felt against him and in his arms.
Without a word, Ari charged forward, grabbed Sev, and thrust him back against the metal lockers with a loud clang as he came nose-to-nose with Sev, his senses spiking to DEFCON 1 as he panted with arousal.
"I didn't want her." His voice growled low in his throat.
It took a moment for Sev to react, but he didn't fight him or try to pull away. On the contrary, his body seemed to light up with as much heat as Ari was feeling.
"What? What do you mean?" Sev blinked in confusion. Or maybe he was just dazed.
Arion’s grip on Sev's shoulders stayed firm as his gaze danced over Sev's face. He was hungry for this male. Physically and emotionally hungry for him. "I didn’t want her." He spoke more softly this time. More reverently.
Sev licked his lips and it was all Ari could do to not lean in and quickly snag that alluring tongue with his teeth.
"Who?" Sev said quietly.
Ari could tell Sev knew he was talking about Chloe, but he seemed wary, as if he couldn't believe he was hearing him right."Any of them. I didn't want any of them." Ari couldn't have made a truer statement, because not only had he not wanted Chloe, but he now knew that he had never wanted a single woman he had ever been with. He had never been more certain of anything than he was right now. He had never wanted any of those females.