“It happened on one of those Saturday nights when we four were out. You and Daniella had gone to the washroom and we were waiting on you. Not many knew that I was the King yet – since my father wanted me to have a normal education in the human world.” Reece began, everyone was staring at him, except for April who had gone off to the command center.
“I remember thinking that I should have gone with you, but you both seemed fine and honestly I didn’t have to worry about any werewolf elements and any attacks on the King’s mate. What I didn’t count on was human interference.” He paused for a second, I saw his eyes turn the slightest black before he regained control.
Daniella spoke for him anyway, taking the story ahead. “You were rather drunk – and it didn’t help that you were such a lightweight. But we were still new friends and you’ve always been shy. So I stood outside the door and waited for you to finish your business. Except that five minutes later, you still weren’t out.” Her words got darker and I knew something had happened.
“I tried calling out your name and you didn’t respond. At first I assumed that you’d passed out inside, I couldn’t hear anything because of the loud music at the club. So, I broke down the door and there I saw him.”
I gasped, not recalling this at all. But the words brought some eerie feeling all over me. Creepy crawlies running over my body. I looked between Daniella and Reece but none of them wanted to continue. Reece looked positively livid and Daniella was close to guilt. I had no idea what was going on!
“He was in the bathroom with her. She was down on the floor, and he was on top of her. You’d passed out cold, perhaps because you fell, or maybe from the alcohol. Things went crazy then. Reece and I came out and only saw red. I think Reece nearly beat him within an inch of his life when Daniella intervened. He was about to shift when he snapped back and realized that Flora needed him first.” Grey spoke, looking at Xena and answering.
I felt sick. I got up and then sat back down. Then got up again. I needed to throw up. Nobody said a word as I processed this information. I could feel all their worried eyes on me as I semi paced, trying to make something out of this. How could I not remember anything from this? I couldn’t be completely blank, now could I?
“Why don’t I remember this?” I asked, looking at Reece and he shrugged. “The next morning when you woke up you didn’t remember anything. We were all so worried and didn’t know how to bring it up so we just let it be. We thought that maybe in a day or two or the next time you drank or something it’d come back to you but it didn’t.” He confessed. I could see why they’d do that, why make me miserable? Ignorance was bliss.
“No. He didn’t get there. You were fully clothed.” Daniella said immediately, but her words didn’t reassure me. Just the thought of someone groping me that night had me feeling so sick. I couldn’t remember anything, but my imagination was running wild. I spun around on my heel and ran to the washroom, throwing up.
Reece’s hands were in my hair, holding them up and out of the way as I chucked whatever little food I did have in my system down the drain. His other hand was gently patting my back and running soothing circles all around.
“I am so sorry, Flo. We should have been there. I don’t know what I was thinking. We should have been there. I am so so sorry.” He kept chanting and I shook my head. “No, it’s not your fault.” I croaked, washing my face and reaching for the hand towel hanging on the side. I was still supremely disgusted by this, but a part of me was happy that I didn’t remember such a gruesome event.
Xena poked her head in through the door, looking at me and I gave her a small nod, we didn’t need words between us. Five minutes of deep breathing later, I was back outside with everyone else. Daniella was evidently upset, and I placed a hand on her shoulder to let her know that I didn’t blame her for this either.
“Obviously I couldn’t let it go, I still wanted to rip his head off, but I knew that we were on the security tapes of the club and we’d be the prime suspect after the beatdown I gave him. So, I sent Cole in to dig up dirt on him and get him locked up or at the very least far away from you, without arousing suspicion.” Reece continued, taking his place back at the table.
“He’d been stalking you for months! We broke into his house and found tons of pictures of you all over the wall! It was crazy. Naturally, we had to do something about it and make sure he was a thousand miles away from you. His name is Jeff Kurt. He was a thirty-year-old creep and he’d served time for stalking in the past as well.” Cole informed, his findings making me feel a second round of oncoming nausea.
“Only, we didn’t have to do anything. Apparently, the beating from Reece was enough to scare the shit out of him – or so we thought. I kept tabs on him, and he’d already moved away to get this: Europe. Ugh we were so stupid!” Cole swore, getting up from the table angrily. Sienna gravitated to him, trying to calm him down.
Xena was the first to respond to the silence, “So, are you saying that you think all this has been masterminded by a...human?”
Well, this was unexpected.
“We don’t know that. Maybe he was a werewolf who’d gotten his hand on some masking perfume. Maybe he was hired to shadow her, and then befriend her once again when she moved away for a clean break. But he is not your friend, and he is definitely not your brother, Xena.”
“I can’t believe that...that he was with us for a whole year. He pretended to be family! We went to movies and carnivals together!” I yelled, horrified. I was sure Xen felt as betrayed as me. He had basically used her, with such a personal emotion, to get to me. This was horrible, this was inhuman! This was fucking sick.
I sat quietly, trying to process this as calmly as possible, meanwhile Xena decided to release her anger in another way. She got up, composed, walked across to the kitchen, opened a cabinet and then removed a large mug. I thought she was going to pour a cup of coffee or alcohol, but seconds later we heard a loud crash and saw her standing fuming over the broken glass. She reached up for a couple more and then:
I placed my hands on my ears but didn’t stop her. It was her own therapy, I supposed. Nate got up and approached her softly, but still maintained a respectable distance as she raided yet another cabinet. Smart man.
“Ohhh I can’t wait to kill him!”
“How dare he?”
When she was about to reach for another glass item, he swooped in, taking advantage of the short pause and caught her hand in his, refusing to let her move. “Calm down, you’ll get hurt.” He told her, politely, but firmly. I knew he had a point, she was moving around in a pool of glass shards and she wasn’t even wearing shoes. She glared at him for a microsecond before slumping into him, her body still rigid, but letting him hold her anyway.
“I think you’re still very tired from the marking.” Nate told her moving his arm around her waist and bending slightly to put his other hand below her knees. He picked her up as swiftly as a doll and stepped out of the open kitchen to where we were.
“I think I am too.” She told him, her voice broke. My heart broke with it. I stood up to get to her, but Nate shook his head subtly at me. I wasn’t offended, I knew he was doing the right thing and my hovering wasn’t going to work.
“Let’s get you upstairs, let’s get some sleep.” He cooed softly and I couldn’t see her face, as it was buried in his chest but her head bobbed up and down and he took that as a yes. I nodded back at Nate in understanding. She needed this right now, I remembered how tired I was after being marked. And to find out that the only family she had besides her dad was a fraud, well that was something so bitter, that she deserved a little escape for a while. They made their way to one of the rooms and we all just looked lost.
Sienna moved to sit next to me, where Xena had been and placed an arm around my shoulders. “We will get him. I promise.” She told me, and Reece growled in agreement. I nodded, every inch of my skin still feeling disgusting at what had happened.
“I wish I could remember something.” I told them and my mate shook his head vigorously. “Why would you want to remember that?! It’s best that you forgot it! He’s nothing but a sick creep.” He nearly shouted, apoplectic. I shook my head, raising my hands in mock surrender. “I think it would give us some sort of a lead, you know? Maybe he said something or told me something I don’t know.” My spirits were down, but I could tell that Sienna, Reece and Cole didn’t agree with this. I guess their protective instincts took over everything else that was needed.
“I mean you can always try-” Cole began before he abruptly stopped. He looked nervously at Reece and I caught on immediately. I narrowed my eyes at Reece and held his gaze as I said, “I order you to finish that sentence, Cole.” I could see Reece’s eyes going blank for a second, but I willed my own mindlink to break into theirs. To get into Reece’s head. “Reece, stop it. This is not going to help, what he has to say will help.” He gave me a frown and then threw a mean glare at Cole but otherwise stopped meddling.
“It’s a small trick. We used it more as an interrogation method but I think it can help jog your memory.” He told me, cryptically. I nodded for him to go on, Sienna was looking between us very confused and Daniella matched Reece’s expression.
“It works on everyone else because they’re below the Alpha King, so I don’t know how it would work on you, but we can try.” He continued. Reece got up and paced, “listen to me you don’t have to do this, it’s not important we can find another way-” I shushed him.
“He basically uses the Alpha Command on you.”
“But he’s used it before, it hasn’t worked.” I pointed out, and Cole’s eyes went wide. “He has?”
“The day Brianna got here, remember? He lost his shit and asked her to kneel.” It was the single most terrifyingly powerful moment in my life.
“That was around you though, not on you. And it didn’t have half the force the full command has.” Sienna supplied, ignoring Reece’s glare. If looks could kill she would be six feet under by now. I nodded immediately. “Okay! Let’s do it!” I rose from my seat to move to Reece but he shook his head adamantly.
“No. I am not doing this to you! NO!” His voice boomed but truth be told I wasn’t scared in the least. There was no way I was backing down and out of this. “Reece this might be our one chance to figure this out! Find out what is going on!” I protested, but she was adamant.
“No! We just wait for Grey and April to get back with information on him!” He insisted, shaking his head and not listening to a word I had to say.
“Reece! Come on, he’s anyway not picking up our phone! If he has to go dark then he will do it properly! We should explore all possible leads and chase them down to the end!” I argued heatedly, we were both standing in the middle of the hall, a test of wills.
“Reece come on! There is so much I haven’t asked of you, beginning with what you and Noori are hiding from me, but this, give me this! This is my one chance to help Xena!” I yelled, a last attempt to melt him. He froze for a second and then pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. The action made him look older, as if all the tension had taken a toll on him. I stayed rooted to my spot, looking at him with determination.
“Flora you don’t understand, why would you want to relive those memories? It will hurt you.”
“And that will hurt you, but it must be done.” I told him, turning around and walking away from him, pacing. I didn’t let him see that this was a scary idea for me too. He had to agree. “It’s not accurate. I could put you anywhere in your past. What if you go back to the night we split up?” He protested but I shook my head. “I still need to do this.”
“I think this is a very bad idea.” Daniella spoke up, between the two of us but I shook my head. “It will be fine. And it is important.” I reiterated. It seemed like only I could see the big picture here!
“I agree with Flo.” Sienna mumbled. Well, Sienna and I could then.
Reece growled in anger before walking right up to me. “I can feel that you’re scared, mate.” He groaned, his tone merciless. I decided not to lie. Walking a step towards him I made sure there was only an inch of space between us. I then looked right into his eyes and said, “I am. It’s true. But I also know that it’s the right thing to do for everyone. Can you say the same?” I issued my challenge and he swore.
“You’re going to be the death of me,” he said, and then stormed right out of the room.
“So it’s a yes then.” I announced, more to prepare myself than to the others.