Hycinth was gone...
Ever didn’t have to confirm it with words. His haggard expression, hard lines etching his face, deep brown eyes glistening with agony, told me all I needed to know. He stood inside the door of the study, rigid and unmoving, looking at me like he’d just been sucker punched.
I knew the feeling...
Neither of us said anything. We just stared at each other, communicating with the reflection of our souls in our eyes because mere words were obscenely inadequate at the moment. I’d known Ever my entire life. He was my best friend. He knew absolutely everything about me, good, bad and ugly. I didn’t have to speak for him to hear the unspoken question on my lips: What the fuck do I do now?
I seriously had no idea.
After a long moment, Ever finally broke the silence. “Fuck. Leander, I...” his voice hitched, “I’m...sorry.”
What did one say in a moment like this? Maybe there was something appropriate. Unfortunately, I’d drank so much in the last hour, my brain was floating about in my head. Not exactly conducive to intellectual thought.
Lifting the bottle of bourbon clutched in my fist, I tilted it once in his direction before bringing it to my lips and guzzling it back. The 90 proof whiskey left a fiery trail down my throat and drinking it like Kool-Aid made me cough and sputter. When I could finally catch my breath, I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand.
My father watched our interaction silently, his expression stone-faced, but he couldn’t hide the trauma slithering in the back of his eyes—my pain was a kick-in-your-ass reminder of his own.
Crossing the room, Ever sank into one of the comfortable leather chairs.
“Did you tell her precious pack was still in one piece?”
“I spoke with Luca,” he replied, gravelly voice thick with restrained fury. “It wouldn’t have been a good idea for me to talk to Hycinth.”
Couldn’t help but agree with him there. Eyes unfocused, I stared at nothing.
“You were right...he didn’t know they remained.”
I rested my outstretched arm on the side of the chair. I might have been ridiculously inebriated but not too intoxicated to make sure I didn’t drop the only thing that mattered anymore—the bottle of liquid destruction clenched tightly in my hand. Light reflected off of the amber fluid inside. I let my head fall back and closed my eyes, not bothering to reply.
“Leander...” Ever began hesitantly, “earlier...you didn’t say whether or not you told her...” He trailed off without finishing, but I understood the question perfectly.
Lifting my head, I held his gaze and replied through my teeth, “I didn’t have to tell her...she already knew.”
"What the fuck?” Ever lurched to his feet, fists clenched, his entire body trembling with anger.
The sound of glass breaking caused me to turn to my father. He’d just crushed the glass of whiskey he’d been holding in his hand. Blood dripped from his hand onto the hardwood floor, but he made no move to release the glass shards from his closed fist, too stunned by my revelation.
Ever paced away, muttering to himself, “There is no fucking way. No. Fucking. Way!” When he reached the other side of the room, he spun around. Pupils dilated fully, no trace of brown remained, only blackness mirroring his rage. “Are you sure?”
“Oh yes,” I spoke snidely, “Apparently, Luca explained the violence...and you’ll be happy to know, my little mate told me she was sorry that I had to find my mother like that.”
Ever’s mouth dropped open, but I couldn’t focus on him because, without warning, fur exploded out of my father, bits and pieces of ruined fabric flung across the room from the ferocity of the shift. A great black Wolf stood on all four paws, shaking, and then he flipped around and tore through the open doorway. Hate so strong, his intention radiated through the mind link, “Destroy her!”
On my feet in a fast second, Ever and I raced after the enraged Wolf. As much as I hated Hycinth at that moment, I couldn’t let him kill her.
“She’s already gone, Cyril!” Ever shouted from behind me. I hoped he was right. I hoped Hycinth was long gone because I wasn’t sure I could stop my homicidal father.
There was no response, only snarling as the black Wolf in front of us didn’t slow down. Racing through the open living space, he headed toward the front door. Realizing the doors were shut, there was only one step of hesitation before he veered off course and threw his massive body through the window!
Glass shattered, giving way to his unrestrained force.
My steps faltered, the alcohol making it hard to maintain my function.
Ever and I chose to exit through the door rather than follow his path of destruction through the window. Once outside, the coal black Wolf spun around. No one was there. Head swiveling, he sniffed the air in several directions and then began to paw the earth in frustration.
I sank to the ground.
“She’s not worth it, Cyril.” Ever held out his hands as he approached the incensed Wolf warily.
The Wolf ignored him, bucking and clawing up dirt and dust beneath his feet.
Ever tried again. “I’m so fucking sorry for what happened with Isabelle and your...” his words choked off, emotion making it unable for him to speak. He swallowed thickly and waited while my father continued his rampage over the grass and into the nearby flower garden.
Flowers, plants and shrubbery, all jerked from the ground by powerful canines, his big head shaking the offending plant life back and forth, snarling and growling before spitting it out and starting on the next.
My head swam. My legs felt like jelly as I just sat there, unable to get up, tears coursing down my cheeks for his pain...and mine.
Finally, breathing heavily, huffing big breaths of air in and out of his lungs, the forlorn Wolf collapsed to his haunches. Snout reaching toward the sky, he let out a heart-wrenching howl.
My Wolf was screaming inside. His entire world had been destroyed. He understood our father’s rampage and wanted to join him. I’d been fighting my Wolf’s urge to shift since we law saw Hycinth earlier. The depth of his pain was unfathomable. There was darkness in his thoughts. It scared me. If I released him now, I didn’t know what he would do.
Abruptly, my father’s Wolf took off toward the forest. I watched him go, understanding he needed to run it off.
Ever dropped to the ground across from me, resting his elbows on his bent knees. There was still fire in his expression.
Looking down at my empty hands, I realized I’d left the liquor behind. Dammit.
“What do you need me to do?” Ever’s question was short and to the point.
“I want it all gone,” I grunted out the order. “Not one damn thing left.”
Ever replied through gritted teeth, “Done.”
I didn’t want any reminder of the woman who’d played me so completely. But then again, I was the fool for not remembering her DNA. I’d let the bond cloud my judgment. I saw what I desperately wanted to see—a beautiful soul with a caring spirit.
But Hycinth was neither of those things...
...she never could be.
Ever pulled out his phone. Thumbs briskly dancing across the surface, he stared intently at the screen and asked without looking up, “Do you want to return to your old room?”
“Not gonna sleep in any room I shared with that bitch,” I muttered, my words slurring.
He looked up at me. “Which one would you like then?”
I glared. What a stupid question. I wouldn’t like any of them...because liking something implied I cared, and I truly didn’t a fuck.
...not about anything.