Hello again! So I got a few requests in my last story, asking me to do Chapter 95 (when Cress and Thorne officially get together) in Thorne's POV so here it is! I hope you enjoy it! I'm thinking I'm going to do chapter 9 as well, when Thorne gets his sight back, but only if you want me to! :) Let me know any other chapters or scenes you want in Thorne's POV! Thanks again for the lovely reviews!
Thorne had been pacing his room for the past thirty minutes. He had been in a meeting with the president of the American Republic when Scarlet commed him, telling him that Cress was being brought out of the suspension tank. He had been elated; not for the fact that the president had offered him the most incredible deal of his life, but because Cress was alive and that he was going to see her again. The news the president had for him paled in comparison to the news that Cress was all right and all he wanted to do was leave the meeting and find Cress but he knew he couldn't do that. Not when the president already didn't like him very much.
So when he was finally dismissed, he went straight to Cress's room, which was across the hall from his, but she wasn't in there. He debated going to the clinic to see if she was still there but decided he'd rather see her where there wasn't a bunch of nurses poking at her. Where they could be alone.
Thorne had stayed up half the night rehearsing his speech for her and he felt a flutter in his stomach every time he thought of her. There was so much he had to say to her, he didn't know where to begin. He didn't bother sleeping last night because every time he closed his eyes, the image of his hand burying the knife into Cress's stomach was the only thing he could see. Sleeping was not going to happen until he saw her again. Until he knew for sure she didn't hate him for what he had done to her.
He felt a flurry of nerves in his stomach. What if she didn't forgive him? What if she changed her mind and decided she didn't love him as much as she thought she did? He knew she deserved so much better but he wanted to prove to her that he cared about her. That he would do anything she wanted. He'd even sell the Rampion for her if that's what she wanted. Anything to make her happy.
Thorne glanced down at the cast that cocooned his right hand. Cress had shot off two of his fingers in her attempt to save Cinder and Thorne couldn't help but smile. He thought she was incredibly brave for what she had done, although Cress probably felt guilty for it. Whatever guilt she felt at shooting off his fingers was nothing compared to how bad he felt for stabbing her.
He stopped his pacing at the sound of voices outside his door. He walked over and listened, barely making out the muffled voices. Cress must be back, or at least he hoped she was back. He took a deep breath, his heart beating fast. He wanted so badly just to rush into her room and pull her into his arms and never let her go, but he didn't think she'd appreciate that in her condition. Thorne leaned his head against the door, closing his eyes. Why are you so nervous? It's just Cress. Yet, the more he repeated it to himself, the more nervous he got.
Finally, after what felt like hours, he opened the door and stepped into the hall. The door to Cress's room was closed. He stepped up to it, taking a few deep breaths, before raising his hand to knock‒
The door flew open and Thorne jumped, clasping his hands behind his back awkwardly. Cress blinked up at him from her seat in the strange floating chair. She wore nothing but a thin white hospital gown and her hair was adorably ruffled. She looked tired but her eyes were wide as she looked at him.
"Captain," she breathed.
"Sorry," he said, rocking back on his heels. "Were you leaving?"
"No. I...I thought I'd come see you."
Thorne stared at her for a moment before a grin lit up his face, feeling more relieved than he had in days. The fact that she wanted to see him after what he had done to her told him that she didn't hate him as much as he thought and he felt elated because of it. He leaned down and placed his hands on her armrests. "You're supposed to be resting," he said, pushing her backward and shutting the door with his foot. He prayed they wouldn't be interrupted. "What can I get for you? A portscreen? A masseuse? Whiskey on the rocks?"
He gave her a teasing grin and barely heard her whisper, "You look…"
Expecting a compliment on his cleanly shaven face and neatly combed hair, his smile widened only to quickly disappear when he noticed she had tears in her eyes. "Oh, hey, what are you doing that for?" He crouched down in front of her and she looked down at her hands, avoiding eye contact. "I don't think crying will feel very good in your condition."
She bit her lip but didn't respond and Thorne wondered if she was actually angry with him for stabbing her. Swallowing down the panic, he took her hands in his as gently as he could. "I'm sorry," he said. "I wanted to be there when they brought you out of the tank, but I was in a meeting when Scarlet commed to tell me, and I couldn't leave, and I thought...I didn't know…" He exhaled, feeling frustrated. Why was it that he could never find the right words to say to her? She must have thought he was incredibly dense.
"A meeting?" Cress said, her eyebrow furrowed.
Thorne grinned, barely able to contain his excitement and happy for an excuse to change the subject. "You'll never believe this. President Vargas himself wanted to meet me. The actual president of the American Republic. Guess what he said."
She scrunched her nose in thought. "He's giving you a medal of honor for your bravery?"
"Close enough." Thorne beamed. "He's giving me the Rampion."
Her eyes widened and Thorne jumped to his feet, pacing in front of her. "Well, I mean, he's leasing me the Rampion, but I can start making payments to purchase it from the military. Cinder asked him to pardon me if I promised not to steal anymore, yadda yadda, and she recommended me and my crew to head the efforts of distributing the letumosis antidote. But I need a ship to do it, which is why President Vargas made the deal. You should have seen how unhappy he looked about it. I don't think he's my biggest fan, but‒he still did it."
Cress clapped her hands in delight. "I'm so happy for you!"
Thorne stopped his pacing to look at her. "Can you imagine, me, in a legitimate job?"
"And a job that's helping people." She nodded, still smiling. "I can imagine it very easily."
"I'm sure you're the only one." He grinned at her in adoration and she looked down, a blush flaming her cheeks. She frowned when she took in the cast on his hand.
"I'm‒I'm sorry about you hand." She tucked her hair behind her ear, the expression of guilt clear on her face.
"Don't," he said quickly, waving away her apology. "Scarlet and I are going to start a missing-fingers club. We might let Cinder be an honorary member." Thorne sat down on the edge of the bed, staring down at his cast. "Plus, I'm thinking of getting some cyborg replacements. You know how Cinder's hand does all sorts of tricks? I thought it might be nice to always have a toothpick handy. Or maybe a comb." Despite the words that were coming out of his mouth, he wasn't really paying attention to them. He was, of course, thinking about Cress and the image of the knife sticking out of her stomach and her blood coating the marble floor…
He looked up at Cress and swallowed. "I'm sorry too, Cress. I...I nearly killed you and‒"
"Levana almost killed me."
"I was the one holding the knife. I felt it. I felt it happening, and there was nothing I could do…"
"There was nothing you could do," she said, looking at him in complete understanding. It made his heartbeat speed up slightly.
He settled his elbows on his knees and hung his head, still feeling guilty. "No, I know." He dragged his good hand through his hair, noticing a small bite mark between his thumb and finger where Cress had bit him. The memory almost made him smile. "I know, logically, that it was her, not me. But...Cress." He heaved a sigh. "I will have nightmares about that moment for the rest of my life."
"It wasn't your fault," she leaned forward slightly and Thorne gulped.
"Cress, that's not…" Massaging the back of his neck, he peered up at her and noticed that she was blushing again. "I…" Come on, Thorne. Tell her now, say it. He opened his mouth to say the words that hung between them, the words he'd been trying to say for a while now, but all that came out was: "Will you stay on my crew?"
"Your...crew?" She blinked, confused.
"I know." He cleared his throat. Stupid stupid stupid. "You've spent your entire life in space, removed from civilization. I understand if you say no. If you want to stay here on Luna, or even...even if you want me to take you to Earth. I'm sure you could stay with Kai for a while, who, you know, lives in a palace." Thorne felt an odd twist in his gut that he soon realized was jealousy. "Which is probably really tempting compared to the cargo ship I'm offering." Of course, she should stay with Kai. He was an emperor after all. Why would someone like Cress want to stay in a spaceship with a thief when she could stay in an extravagant palace?
He stood up, suddenly nervous again. What if she chose Kai instead of him? He started pacing again. "But Wolf and Scarlet are staying on‒just temporarily, until the disease in under control. And I had an idea. This assignment will take us all over the Republic. Not that we'll be doing much sightseeing, but there'll be...um." He paused, running his hand through his hair again. "Forests. And mountains. And all sorts of things. And when we're done, if there's anywhere you want to go back to, we could do that. And stay for a while. Or I could take you...anywhere. Anywhere you want to see." He was still pacing but he glanced over at her in hope. Choose me, he thought. Stay with me.
"You're offering me a...job."
"Ye‒no." He hesitated, struggling to find the words. "I mean, sort of. You know, this went a lot smoother when I practiced last night."
Cress titled her head and scrunched her face up, looking even more adorable if that were possible. "Captain, I'm still on a lot of medication, and I'm not sure I'm following you."
He looked down at her hospital gown and floating chair and inwardly groaned. "Spades, I am bad at this, aren't I?" He had nearly forgotten she was still recovering from getting stabbed. Thorne wanted to slap himself. Stupid stupid stupid. "Do you want to lie down? You should lie down."
Without waiting for a response, he leaned down and gently lifted her from her floating chair, and carried her to the bed. He heard her let out a soft hiss of pain as he eased her on top of the covers. "Better?" He asked.
He still had his arms around her and was practically on top of her but he made no move to get away. "Cress, look," he sighed. "I'm obviously no good at this. At least not when it's...when it's you." He frowned and his fingers curled, gathering the flimsy material of her gown. Perhaps if he were better at speaking to the girl he loved, it wouldn't be so difficult to not feel like an idiot around her. At least there was one thing he knew he could always do. "But I am good at this."
He leaned closer and pressed his lips against hers, pushing her down into the soft pillows. He felt more than heard her gasp and dig her fingers into his shirt, pulling him closer. He felt her lips move against his and his heart pounded so fiercely that he thought it would burst. He brought his knee up for leverage, to keep from crushing her, and kissed her harder, brushing his casted hand up her side and to her face. Tracing her jaw with his bare thumb, he groaned softly and moved his lips to her jaw, down her neck. She tilted her head as he moved to her shoulder, breathing heavily.
He paused. He needed to tell her. If he didn't tell her now, he would never be able to. He needed to be brave. But as he thought about it, the more afraid he became. It really was scary, being in love with someone. And despite the fact that he had told the words to plenty of other girls, the words were so much more difficult to form when he was with Cress. Perhaps it was because it was real. And with those other twenty-three girls…
Thorne breathed, remembering the conversation he had with Cress so long ago. "Twenty-three," he whispered.
"Mm?" She hummed and Thorne resisted the urge to kiss her again as he pulled back, feeling even more worried than before.
"You once asked me how many times I'd told a girl I loved her. I've been trying to remember them all, and I'm pretty sure the answer is twenty-three."
Cress blinked and pursed her lips. "Including the Lunar girl who kissed you?"
"Are we counting her?"
"You said it, didn't you?"
Thorne's gaze darted to the side, a small blush rising up his neck. "Twenty-four."
She gaped at him. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Because I need you to know I never meant it," he said, keeping his gaze locked on hers. "I said it because I thought that's what you're suppose to say, but it didn't mean anything. And it's different with you. This is the first time I've been scared. Scared you'll change your mind. Scared I'll screw it up. Aces, Cress, I'm terrified of you."
She continued gaping at him and Thorne continued.
"Here's the thing." He crawled over her legs and lay down beside her on his side. "You deserve better than some thief who's going to end up in jail again. Everyone knows it. Even I know it. But you seem determined to believe I'm actually a decent guy who's halfway worthy of you. So, what scares me most"‒he twisted a lock of her hair between his fingers‒"is that someday even you will realize that you can do better."
She shook her head. "Thorne…"
"Not to worry." He kissed the lock of hair and smiled. "I am a criminal mastermind, and I have a plan." Clearing his throat, he started to check things off in the air. "First, get a legitimate job‒check. Legally buy my ship‒in progress. Prove that I'm hero material by helping Cinder save the world‒oh, wait, I did that already." He winked and she smiled at him. "Oh, and I have to stop stealing things, but that was probably a given. So I figure, by the time you realize how much I don't deserve you...I might kind of deserve you." He grinned smugly. It wasn't quite the speech he had planned for her but judging from the smile on her face, it did the job. "And that's how that speech was suppose to go."
"That was a good speech," she said.
"I know." He scooted closer and kissed her shoulder.
"Captain?" She said after a moment.
She was looking at him with hope in her expression. "I think I'm in love with you."
He let out a breath of air, feeling his body relax next to her. He smiled at her, remembering the first time she said those words to him in the desert. He had politely turned her down then, thinking it was only the fever talking. Now, he lay next to her, there was no fever, no danger, no threats. Just the two of them, together, and he realized she was probably just as afraid as he was. "I should hope so, after all that." He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her temple, finding that the words he'd been struggling to say were much easier now. "And I love you too."