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“She found beauty in the strangest places, in the broken and forgotten. She knew the truest hearts were the ones that resembled hers.”


Spencer and his new pack informed of us the Shadows’ attack and kidnapping for the next two hours. In return, Dom and I recounted the last four days to them, all of whom listened intently to our story. They cringed when I told them about Callie’s attack, and Rey even looked down as if ashamed of her sister’s actions. When we reached the part about the Shadows and Controllers, Spencer’s expression filled with rage.

“So, not only do we have to worry about the Shadows, but we have to worry about the Controllers too,” Spencer said, nostrils flaring. “What the hell is so horrible about Elsa and me being together? Why are they so damn worried about two teenagers in love?”

“I never was able to get it out of mom and dad,” Dom remarked, “not even after you left. Makes me wonder if they even know. If we run into Karina and Justin again, we’ll have to ask them.”

“Yeah, if they don’t stick a hand through our chests,” Rey said. “I can’t believe Miles is dead…”

“Be glad you weren’t there to see it. No matter how tough you are, no one is prepared to see that.”

“Have you had any luck searching for Elsa?” I asked, wanting to turn the conversation in the direction of the reason I came. “I’ve made contact with her a couple of times, but only briefly, and it’s only when she’s in severe pain. They’re torturing her; I know they are. I don’t know how long she’ll be able to last.”

I heard Spencer’s heart speed up significantly. “We’ve made no grounds. We don’t have any leads. To be honest, you’re our only connection to her.”

“I’ll try contacting her again, then, see if I can glean anything.”

“Be careful. Don’t over-exert yourself,” Dom warned softly, placing a comforting hand on my back. Rey, Finn, and Spencer all stared at us questioningly, the gears in their heads turning. “For now, is there a place we can put our stuff? Do you have any free rooms available?”

“We’re renovating most of them, but we have one with two double beds if that’ll work for you,” Clara offered innocently.

“I don’t have a problem with it, but I don’t know if Anna’s sick of me yet,” Dom joked.

“You’d be dead if I was.” I punched him playfully in the arm. Turning to Clara, I said, “We’ll take the room.”

“Awesome, follow me!”

Dom grabbed our bags, and we were escorted to our room. It was the perfect size for two people, enough closet space for us, two sinks in the bathroom with an impressive counter area, giving us room to spread out.

Clara let us be while we unpacked. I put on some music to keep my motivation up because all I wanted to do was go to sleep, catch up on all the rest I missed out on between driving, running for our lives, and fighting for our lives. However, I knew the moment I closed my eyes, Elsa’s piercing screams would play on repeat in my head. I wouldn’t be able to get rid of them until I found her.

“We’ll find her,” Dom said softly, coming up next to me.

“How’d you know I was thinking about it?”

“Because it’s you and Elsa, and the only person she’d ever put above Spencer is you. You’d put her over everyone else you know. You’re connected in a way none of us will ever be able to fully understand.”

“Spencer does. Speaking of which, I think I need to talk to him. He needs to vent, I can tell. I’m in a special position where I’m not part of the pack, but I’m not against them either. I’m a rogue wolf, essentially, as are you.”

“How does that make a difference?”

“I know alphas. They don’t like burdening their worries onto their pack, not even to their betas. Look me in the eye and tell me you’ve never done that before.” Dom opened his mouth to speak but closed it just as quickly. “That’s what I thought. Come on.”

The two of us went downstairs. Mia, Jace, and Clara bustled around in the kitchen, cooking up a delicious smelling dinner. Finn, Rey, Lydia, Percy, and Dylan sat in the living room, researching something on their laptops. Spencer was nowhere to be seen. As if sensing my question, Rey informed me Spencer was out on the front porch. Dom and I thanked her and made our way out to him.

Sure enough, Spencer stood at the top of the stairs, staring at the vast, starry sky. A cold breeze rustled his hair, but he seemed unaffected by the freezing temperatures. I, however, wrapped my arms around myself. Noticing my discomfort, Dom placed his jacket around my shoulders.

“I’ll be inside when you’re done,” Dom told me, kissing the top of my head. I watched him close the door behind him before carefully approaching Spencer.

“Elsa’s out there, somewhere. Alive. I know that much,” Spencer said, not looking at me. “Ever since we discovered we were mates, I can sense her emotions before she tells me anything. Only when they’re extreme, which considering how laidback she usually is, isn’t often… but I can sense it constantly now. Agony. Mind-numbing pain. I swear my heart hasn’t beat since she left because it’s always constricting from sensing her anguish. I can’t get the thought out of my head: what if she’s dying? ”

I sidled up to him. “It’s all I feel too.”

“I’m lucky, though. I don’t hear her screams like you. I don’t know how you do it. You… you’re stronger than any of us could ever hope to be.”

“I wish that were true. I’ve already had multiple breakdowns. Dom’s only seen one of them. Elsa’s being tortured, and I’m not sure what’s worse: being tortured, or the pain of knowing she’s being tortured but not being able to do a damn thing about it because I don’t know where she is.”

“I’m sorry, Anna. This is my fault. I led us straight into an ambush.”

“You couldn’t have known. Based on what you told me, you were coming down to see me. I think it was more a crime of opportunity than a planned ambush. You were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and-”

Blinding pain crashed into my skull. An ear-piercing scream involuntarily escaped from my lips as I clutched my head and sobbed for the pain to go away. I crumpled to the ground, writhing on the cold stone, crying out for Elsa, my screams mixing with hers.

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