I sat awkwardly on the couch, arms crossed over my chest in a protective manner. I could feel anytime someone in the room looked in my direction, which happen about every twenty-seconds. I sunk down deeper into my spot, keeping my eyes fixed on the movie that they were watch, though my mind was a million miles away. Or at least as far away from here as Rhys was. It had been hard for me to let him go. A couple of weeks ago I had been trying to figure out how to get away from him, it was funny how it all had turned around.
I let out a small sigh. I was building myself right into a migraine. Rhys had promised a couple of days, which had turned into a week. We had talked on the phone last night, instead of ending in “I love you’s”, it had ended with harsh words from me and a snapping hang-up. Part of me regretted that now, what if something happened to him and the last time we talked had been an argument. I dug my nails in deeper to my palms, swallowing the urge to whimper like a child. I felt like I was a raw exposed nerve, everything was so exaggerated.
“Oh, sweet little bird...” Xavier mumbled as he walked into the living room, spotting me sitting on the end of the couch. I flinched when he sat down next to me. I still hadn’t gotten over how he had helped to kidnap me. Though it had obviously not been to truly harm me, it still hurt to have been lied and tricked. His hand smoothed over my hair, petting me like I were a fragile animal. Which was ironic considering I was the only human in the house at the moment. I clenched my teeth, wanting the action not to be as strangely comforting as it was.
“Don’t worry Rhys will be back for you soon.” He said to me softly as if reading my thoughts, “And I doubt he would let anyone kill him before he could claim you. He’s a stubborn bastard like that. You and I both know that.” My cheeks felt hot and my chest blossomed with warmth at Xavier’s comment. It was true that Rhys was that stubborn. He probably would drag himself back to me even if he had no legs to stand on.
My lips twitched at the thought but I didn’t say anything. I was still mad and right now being mad kept me from feeling other emotions, ones that at this very moment, threatened to drag me under. I kept my gaze focused on the Television, hoping if I continued to ignore his presence he would go away. He didn’t. He continued to stroke my hair, the tension in my body leaving me even as I tried to hold onto it.
“You know I like you better as a blonde, it suits you more.” He remarked absentmindedly as someone shushed him.
I flipped a look in his direction, “Will you stop petting me, please?” I whispered.
He tilted his head, “Why? You obviously like it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.” My cheeks burned at his words. I was much too easy for these people to read. As much as I enjoyed the comfort that the contact brought I didn’t think Rhys would appreciate Xavier, of all people, to be the one bringing it to me. I narrowed my eyes as I unlocked my arms, smacking away his hand.
“Xavier, leave the human alone.”
I looked over my shoulder, meeting the harsh gaze of a red headed female. It was easy to tell that Kendrick’s pack wasn’t overly fond of humans. They had listened to his order to have me here and protect me should anything happen, but I knew they were less than happy about it. It had made this week without Rhys feel like a small eternity. They never called me by name, it was always human, said with a not to subtle look of disgust. All the silent hate was beginning to wear on me.
Xavier let his bottom lip slip out further into a mocking pout, “But look at her, Angel...” his gaze swung back to me, “She looks like a lost little pup....” I didn’t know if he was poking at me or at the other female, either way it wasn’t a good idea.
Angel didn’t seem inclined to agree with him, “I said. Leave. Her. Alone.” The words were more punctuated, almost a growl. She obviously did not want him touching me and from the dark look in her eyes, anywhere near me. I had been guessing at the relationship between them but I could see now very clearly that they were together, perhaps even mates.
“No need to be jealous, sweets.” He tried to soothe over, sending her blazing smile, “I was only trying to comfort her. She is without her mate, in a place full of strangers. I’m sure you can understand...”
“I’m not jealous.” She snipped, “You know how I feel about humans, yet here you are hanging on one. Who’s side are you really on, Xavier?”
Xavier seemed to lose all playfulness, stiffening up next to me. The tension in the room became thick enough to cut it with a knife. He stared at Angel for a long moment in silence before reaching out and giving my head another, purposeful, pet. I saw the spark of rage ignite in her dark eyes just before she reached for the closest item, a glass vase, and chucked it at him. He effectively pulled us both down as it soared over our heads and smashed against the television mounted on the wall. The sound of glass shattering had me cringing as it echoed through the room.
“What the hell, Angel?!” a deep voice growled, “You broke the fucking TV.” There were a few angry mumbles from the pack members who had been peacefully watching the movie.
“Blame, Xavier!” She snapped or more like growled.
Xavier sat up beside me, a deep growl bubbling in his chest as he stared down his female, “You are acting ridiculous, pointing fingers at everyone but yourself. I thought you were better than this, obviously I was wrong.” His words made me flinch. They were cruel dig that no one ever wanted to hear on the lips of something that they loved.
“How did you expect to react to a human in the house, Xavier? Especially his human...” She wasn’t backing down from the argument. It seemed like she was gunning for it, wanting to rip into something, most likely me. I poked my head up from to get a look around the room, noting the exits just in case I needed to make a quick getaway.
“I hoped you would realize that, after being around Dove...you’d see she isn’t like those people.” He pronounced my name slow and loud, “That she isn’t responsible for what happened two years ago.”
“She’s a human. They’re all the same to me. They take, and take, and take...they are parasites.” Angel held my gaze as she said the last word, making sure I knew exactly what she thought about me. I didn’t know what happened two years but it must have been something terrible to have twisted someone so much. I knew what it was to slip into that darkness at times, Silas had poisoned my soul in a similar manner. Yet, Rhys had slowly been healing that part of me, drawing out the poison with his heavy gazes and passion filled kisses.
Xavier shook his head, looking disappointed, ” I don’t know why I thought you could leave the past in the past...Where is the beautiful and kind woman that I fell in love with?”
Angel’s face softened slightly as his words, eyes darting around the room nervously as if she was only just now realizing what had happened. I watched her hand slide down her swollen stomach, cradling it as her eyes began to fill with tears. I looked around the room as well, noting how somber everyone seemed. Yes, whatever had happened must have been earth shattering to them to produce such a response. I couldn’t understand why their Alpha would allow me to stay here with them if it was going to cause them so much grief.
Her eyes caught mine, the sadness quickly turning back to anger. There would be no forgiveness, “They took my mate from me, Xavier. They took Denny from me...even if I could forgive that...” She pointed an accusing finger in my direction. “They stole our Luna from us, from our Alpha...You might be able to forget that but I can’t. I never will.”
The room became deadly calm at her words, Xavier stared her down with emotionless eyes, ” Then you are nothing but a self-centered and hateful bitch, who just so happens to look like my Angel. I don’t know this person, but whoever she is...she isn’t mine.”
I felt my heart constrict in my chest at his words, eyes widening. I didn’t want to be the cause of this. Angel’s face mirrored my own as she searched his eyes, “Xavier, what are you saying?” Her voice quaked.
“I think it’s pretty clear, Angel.” He reached over and laid his arm over my shoulders, he pulled me closer to him. It wasn’t anything sexual, it felt more protective and comforting, much like when he had petted my head. Still, I felt awkward and stiff beside him, “Until you can let go of the past, really let go of it...I don’t want anything to do with you. I deserve better and so does, Dove. We weren’t the ones that hurt you, Angel. We aren’t the enemy.”
“Xavier...” I whispered his name, feeling like he was being too harsh. The heart broken expression on Angel’s face was twisting my stomach into knots, “It’s really okay...I understand her feelings. No need to do anything drastic on my account.”
“I’m not doing this for you.” He replied flatly under his breath. I couldn’t quite grasp his reason for it then. What was he trying to teach Angel? And would she even be willing to learn it? I watched her with sadness in my heart, glancing to her stomach. I hoped she could find it somewhere in her heart to move forward, if not for herself, for her baby. She was obviously going to need him, and I had a very strong feeling that he would hold true to his words, baby or not.
“Please...Xavier.” Her hand gripped the material of her shirt, “You know I love you.”
“Not enough, not more than your hate.”
“Don’t do this. Please...”
“It’s already done, Angel.” There was such finality to his words. I had to look away from her when she let out a heart wrenching sob, looking completely betrayed and abandoned. Xavier’s grip on me became painfully tight, as if he was using me to keep himself anchored, to keep himself from going to his female. With great effort he managed to turn us from her, “Someone clean up this mess.” He snapped to the others who stood silently, looking unsure of what they should do.
Xavier walked us from the room, leaving the chaos behind. Once we were out of sight, he pulled away from me. I looked toward him to see the pained expression on his face, the shallow breaths that had his chest heaving. My heart broke again, any anger I had left for his tricking me flew away. I reached out and grabbed his hand in mine, “It’s going to be okay.” He turned his face, looking down at me. He said nothing.
“It will be okay...” I whispered softer. I didn’t know if it truly would be okay, but I wanted to believe it would.
I had to believe.