21. Fatal Flaw
Hours passed when dusk settled. I watched the warm tangerine glow fade before glancing over my shoulder at the dining table where the other wolves sat having their dinner. I just finished mine, not that I couldn’t with Basil breathing down my neck. I swear, he thought I was pregnant but I couldn’t be; I made sure of it and he saw it.
My eager eyes followed each of them as they walked out of the dining room. I noted Phoenix standing in the corner, her shoulder scrunched up with her arms crossed, staring at the ground. Cena stood close, looming over her petite frame as they spoke.
“I won’t allow it,”
My frown deepened. Won’t allow what?
Basil’s presence was so close it robbed my attention. My gaze settled on him and instantly, thoughts of Cena and my sister faded. That’s what he did to me; he sucked any cognitive processing running through my brain. His eyes flashed with desire and the answer was so clear, it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out what he wanted - me.
We hadn’t been together since the last full moon. Heat pricked my skin as static waves stretched between us. Surprised, I pulled away, breaking the spell. I looked over his shoulder to see some men from the previous meeting entering the Alpha’s office. Returning my gaze to his, I jerked my chin in their direction.
“You should go,”
He tilted his head to the side and his eyes narrowed into slits. “You’re not coming?”
I bit the inside of my cheek, taking a deep inhale. “I’m sure they’d prefer I didn’t go and I’ve got some cleaning up to do,”
Running his fingers through his chocolate brown mane, he sighed, giving one last look over before spinning on his heels. I released a gush of relieved air, heading to the sink and stood there, waiting for his footsteps to pass by.
Until I heard the loud, shrill bang of the office door, I pulled away and reached for my rucksack underneath the counter. Tossing it over my shoulder, I stood to my full height. There was nobody in the corridors which made everything perfect. Impulsively, I rushed out of the dining room, not noticing the dark figure huddled at the corner by the table. Keen to leave the building, my senses didn’t pick up on another presence completely, forcing me to contain the strangle cry bubbling in my throat. I recognised the vibrant green irises piercing through the darkness.
“Hailey!” I gasped, placing my hand on my pounding heart. Any second more, it would’ve jumped out of my chest. “What are you doing here?”
“Grabbing some leftovers,” Green irises lowered to the bag in my hands. I stiffened at her quizzical expression. “On the run?”
“Uh...” What could I say? I cursed myself, mentally, searching for a liable excuse. “These are my stuff from The Bloodstone. I forgot them in the truck,”
Her brows raised as she touched her swollen stomach. “Oh, okay, don’t let me stop you,” She hummed to herself, returning to her somewhat midnight meal. I stalled a little too long, watching her as he scarfed down the last pieces of chicken.
Was that how pregnancy was supposed to be? Suddenly, images of me in her place flashed through my mind. Without thinking, I touched my own stomach, my lips thinning into a grim line. Not now, not yet at least
I snuck into the back garden and thankfully, she didn’t notice. Pregnancy brain, I guess, but I didn’t dwell on the thought too long. The night was quiet and a warm breeze whistled by as the trees clashed against each other. I scanned my surroundings before jogging towards the fringe of the trees, crouching to my knees. I searched for clothes that would camouflage my appearance. Black was the perfect colour and it would blend well with the darkness masking the forest.
An owl hooted into the dreary night when I jogged deeper into the forest. It sounded so eerie I took it as a warning and lightened my pace the closer I got to the hunters’ campsite.
I paused for a brief second, lifting my head to breathe in the toxic air of wolfsbane and burned wood. The odour trailed a path for me to follow and I lowered my body when I saw a flash of light crackling through the dark sky. My ears perked when I heard low murmurs wafting through the air - a majority of them were men.
My eyes wandered to a small, white van that was a few feet ahead of me. Slowly, without making a sound, I sidestepped to the vehicle. The side door faced my direction, giving me the opportunity to see the contents inside. Chills ran my blood cold at what I saw, my mouth feeling like the Sahara desert as I faced the equipment of death.
Rows of silver bullets were lines perfectly on the ground while tanks of wolfsbane glared daggers at me. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach. They knew... they knew we were here!
Seeing it only made everything more vivid, more real. Despite the deadly undertones these weapons presented, they were useless. I knew The Midnight Moon had developed their own sources of equipment to counter these attacks. We were more than prepared but still, the prospects were frightening. Maybe the council was right to attack first, especially when the death was right outside our doorstep.
My fear laid under the fact that they knew of our existence and I was here, all by myself... unarmed. Paralysed by the overwhelming emotions, I thought of what to do next. I didn’t get the chance to though...
A dark shadow washed over me and before I could see who it was, someone flattened my body to the ground. Panicked, I thrashed around, my breathing laboured as terror slammed into my body light a freight train. He was too strong, I couldn’t escape but it didn’t stop me trying to fight.
“Quiet,” He growled in my ear, his grip on my lips tightening and the pain throbbing in my cheeks screamed his rage. “Stay still,”
And I did. I didn’t want to rile his anger even further. No, he wasn’t angry, he was pissed. How could I blame him, I lied, quite possible almost put myself in danger. My eyes were glued to the single hunter a couple feet away from us. Controlling my breathing to the point where I wasn’t, I’d fear he’d hear my rapid heartbeat. Naturally, I wanted to kill him as a possible threat to my pack but I didn’t stand a chance against all five of them.
Basil’s low breaths fanned my ear. He was so still against my back yet extremely heavy. I couldn’t tell him to back off but he tried to alleviate his weight as much as he could without drawing attention.
An eternity went by until the hunter returned to his crew and Basil dragged my body backwards, still holding my mouth as we faded into the darkness. The further away we were the scene of campfire and vans disappeared from my vision. Eventually, they disappeared from my vision. Once we were at a safe distance, he released me, pushing me against the bark of the tree, his muscles bristling with tension.
His white-hot glare could’ve sliced me into a million pieces. “Are you fucking insane?”
His growl thundered through my body, forcing me to tremble at the inexplicable fear invading my body. When I didn’t reply, he slammed his hand right next to my ear. I was sure from the crunching sound, there was a hole. Too shaken to even move, I kept my gaze to the ground.
“Answer me, goddammit!”
“I... I don’t know,” I said quietly, so quietly I felt small. I’m a fucking idiot.
“Glad you think so,” He said, listening to my thoughts. “Fuck, what if something happened to you? This could’ve been avoided. Come, we have to warn your brother,”
He grabbed my hand and together, we rushed back to the packhouse to deliver the bad news. I stumbled most of the time, my limbs too weak to keep on a straight line. My mind was too preoccupied to focus. It got to the point where Basil lifted me in his arms and completed the rest of the journey for the both of us. I held onto his neck tightly, his scent calming my agitated nerves. But the anger boiling inside him didn’t soothe me completely. It only made me realise how much of an idiot I was. However, I was woman enough to admit my foolishness. Guilt crippled me to the point where my own thoughts worked against me.
What have I done?
What have I done?
What have I done?
The mantra was a haunting echo and a throb pulsed through my skull. At that moment, I wished I listened to my dad, to be patient; instead, my pride got in the way. I couldn’t shake off the lingering sense that I’d been caught, targeted.
The pack was in danger and it was all because of me.