Izabella (The Bloodstone, #1) ✓

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27. Mournful

I hadn’t seen Basil in days. When I was discharged from the hospital, he was nowhere to be seen. After searching the place, that was when I realised he left. Did he leave because of his shame? I did say I didn’t want to see him and quite honestly, I needed the distance. For the first time, my wolf didn’t yearn for him. She was just as broken as I.

I was conflicted, one side telling me I didn’t want a child, why was I crying yet how did it make me? I’d question my humanity if I felt nothing. Not only did I mourn the loss of my unborn child but I was sick by the way he went against my wishes. It was a violation I wouldn’t stand for and I didn’t care it was a part of his barbaric traditions. A part of me thought if he hadn’t gone against my wishes, the baby wouldn’t be dead. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so careless if I’d known. Bile rose in my throat but I forced it down, watching Hunter’s motionless body.

It’d been nearly a week since the attack and he didn’t show any signs of waking up. He was in a coma and Hailey wasn’t taking the news well. Wriggling my burning nose, I tried to fight off unshed tears. His complexion was grey and the circles under his eyes didn’t make him look any better. I took his hand and shuddered at his cool fingertips. I squeezed them but he didn’t return the gesture. Never in my life had I ever seen him this vulnerable, this weak and my insides crumbled at the thought.

I should’ve been a better sister. I shouldn’t have left. Why didn’t I call more? Why didn’t I visit? Because of my selfishness, I may never get another second with my brother. My nose tingled and my eyes burned with tears. I will not cry. Be strong, Izabella.

“You’re gonna get better,” I whispered with conviction. I squeezed his hand once more. “You’re gonna fight this,”

My brother was strong. I had no doubt that he’d wake up. He will wake up. The doctor said there was a large amount of wolfbane in his system and if he hadn’t been brought to the hospital, he could’ve died. It’s scary how fickle our lives were. Even as the strongest pack in the continental U.S, we were ambushed, almost broken.

The hunters that we found were taken care of; every single one of them put down like wild rabid dogs. How ironic. Those that died were buried respectfully. I was in a coma when the funeral happened. I went to their graves to honour their lives and to their families to send my condolences. Some of them were thankful while I sensed the judgement in others. Honestly, I didn’t know how to feel about that. The pack was on edge, skittish and whispers travelled of what’s going to happen without our Alpha. Daniel, my brother’s Beta and best friend, was able to handle the situation for some time but he cannot do it forever. He wasn’t born to lead.

What were we going to do with no Alpha?

The sound of the doorknob rattling distracted me for a second, and I turned to see mom walk in. She smiled shakily, closing the door softly as she took in Hunter’s appearance. The corners of her lips tightened and a glassy sheen formed in her eyes. Unable to see her that way, I walked over to embrace her. She accepted it eagerly.

“How’s Phoenix?” I asked.

“She’s getting better,”

I was glad. She’d gone through a lot more damage than any of us Steeles. Even though she woke before me, she still needed some rest. There were questions of her fertility and the doctors were still running tests for answers. She’d cried and I’d been there to hold her. I saw Cena watching from the shadows but he didn’t enter. I remembered their conversation before and the way his eyes lingered on my sister, the way he stood close to her and the subtle ways he sniffed her scent. Phoenix was just eighteen and I had no fucking clue how old Cena was. I assumed he was around the same age as Basil and I hoped my glare gave a clear warning to leave her alone.

“The Moon, She hasn’t shown me anything,” Mom whispered, leaning down next to Hunter’s head. Running her fingers through his short dark hair, she kissed his temple and her lips quivered when she said. “My sweet boy,”

Mom was an oracle and always had been for as long she could remember. Gifted to receive the Moon’s essence, she’d let us in on what She wished for the wolves. Hailey was one too, possessing the element of the earth while my mother, water. With these elements, water, fire, earth and air, it provided all we needed to survive and to continue our race.

Slowly, I made my way towards the door, knowing she needed some time alone with him. “I’m gonna check on Hailey,”

She didn’t say anything but just held his hand, praying to the Moon and continued stroking his hair. He was her first born and she loved him fiercely. I almost believed she loved him more than Phoenix and me. In her eyes, he could do no wrong; he was a mama’s boy. Nevertheless, she loved all her children, period.

No one was around when I walked through the corridors. Some wolves were at home still grieving. What was more twisted with everything was some pups were caught in the crossfire. I still heard the distant wails of mothers crying to the Moon, begging for mercy. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly and rubbed them, ridding the fatigue in them. To say the week was tough was an understatement.

It was complete hell.

Naturally, I glanced at the opened door leading to Phoenix’s room and froze when I caught Cena watching her. She was asleep. With his elbows on his knees, both his hands were clasped around her right one, placing feather light kisses on each finger as if it’d wake her.

His dark eyes darted to me. He didn’t say anything and neither did I. What could I say to him? Being close to Basil, he probably heard of what happened between us. Instead, I decided to focus on my sister instead.

“How is she?” I asked hesitantly.

A few seconds of silence stretched between us but he nodded, returning his gaze to her. “Resting,”

Biting my bottom lips, I walked through the threshold, folding my arms and said harshly. “She’s eighteen. If anything, she’s still a pup,”

It was better to warn him now than for him to face my father. Even though it didn’t seem like it, I knew he didn’t take Basil being mated to me lightly. If he tried to keep me in The Midnight Moon, that would’ve called for an unnecessary war.

Cena didn’t say anything but watched her attentively as if afraid that she’d disappear if he looked away. There was a small furrow to Phoenix’s brows and she stirred slightly, causing him to still. He touched her hair, massaging her scalp so tenderly the act looked so foreign for someone who looked so… terrifying. Immediately, her whimpers ended and her face softened. The sight of them together was so intimate that I had to look away. I didn’t expect his reasonable reply.

“Then I’ll wait,”

I was lost for words. For some reason, I expected to him act similarly to Basil. He was from a tribal pack, I suspected that yet acted as if he wasn’t. Still, he possessed this animalistic air about him that made him just as intimidating as any other Alpha.

“Where’s Basil?” I couldn’t help asking.

“Gone to make things right,” He said without looking at me. I frowned, not understanding what he meant. How? “He should be back soon.”

I nodded and slipped out of the room, continuing my quest in search of Hailey. When I didn’t find her in her room, I searched everywhere in the building and glanced out the window, finding her by the lake in the back garden.

She didn’t turn to me when I sat next to her. She stared at the lake, at her reflection, eyes raw with her tear stained cheeks. For a while, she didn’t say anything but then she dug her fingers into the grass, clenching them into fists and ripped them from the earth. I didn’t know what to say to comfort her.

“Can you feel Her?”

My reply was delayed. “I don’t know,”

I wasn’t religious like my mom or any other pack member. Have I ever felt the Moon…? I wasn’t sure. I spent too much time trying to stay away from the pack to ever pay attention. Right then, I wanted a sign, something, anything to let us know the survival of my brother and the pack.

Glancing at me from the corner of her eyes, she rubbed the tip of her nose. “Why him when we…?” Her hands fell to the swell of her stomach and her eyes welled with unshed tears. A lump formed in my throat as her stomach was a reminder of what I could’ve had. What I’d lost. My chest burned at the thought and I looked away.

“The doctors aren’t sure if he’d survive,”

“He’s going to survive,” I said with conviction, my gaze landing on the lake. “Hunter is a fighter, I know it.”

Hailey sniffled and I wrapped my arms around her shoulder, hoping my warmth would chase away her sorrows. She clung to me like a baby and cried until the sun lowered into the horizon, leaving a mixture of violent and indigo in the sky. Suddenly, electricity shot up my spine warningly and I glanced around, knowing we were being watched. I knew it was him and for the first time, I sensed his hesitation.

My scowl was a clear sign that read ‘fuck off’. He saw it and heard it in my thoughts. No matter how I tried to push him away, I couldn’t get him out of my mind; not only thoughts of him but the weight of his presence. I didn’t know how I’d get past all of this. I didn’t know if I could ever forgive him. Maybe time will tell.

There was a shift in the pack that was impossible to ignore. My brother’s health wasn’t improving but that didn’t deter my hope. The pack needed a leader, an Alpha, and his Beta, Daniel, couldn’t take on his responsibilities for too long. They were calling a pack meeting in a few days. Alphas from other packs were to attend as well. Something big was going to happen.

I knew what I had to do next.

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