The Hunter

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Chapter 25 ~ Lies

...Ryder’s P.O.V...

“What are you talking about? We haven’t been together for years?” My chest was heaving, desperate for air after the shock of Dimitri’s admission.

“Because I was losing you. Even when you came to stay, you still couldn’t keep away from him, so I purposely caught their attention and allowed them to follow us, don’t you see mi amore, we are perfect.”

“You depleted your food source?” I stated, realisation dawning on me like sunlight.

“Obviously, it wasn’t the smartest plan in the world but it got your attention - you always needed to protect me, all I had to do was to keep you away from him long enough - you would remember why we were so good together.”

“You lied to me, you put everyone at risk, you exposed the coven - all to be closer to me? We were never going to work Dim, never,” I incredulously replied.

“We would have. It used to be me you came to for everything, then he shows up and I’m punished and lose you.”

“No, we wouldn’t have...”

“Yes mi amore, it was never over for me.” My heart thumped wildly in my chest, I couldn’t believe this shit.

“So you put up those pulse things to chase away your entire covens food source? You have to go out of safety to get food - drawing the attention of Hunters... whom you were lucky, it was Arrow and not others but they still killed Kyle before we had a chance to explain. Risking the lives of everyone just for my attention and when that didn’t work, you go off boundary... again... to gain the attention of my parents, who previously drained you of your blood for their use, may I add… you allowed them to capture two members of my unit, exposing your coven… again… and after, you send them to a fucken cave… unprotected… grabbed my bag - burned down the manor and make it look like them, hauling a pulse machine so you look like a hero and feed me bullshit, so you can what?... huh?… what?... Act like the one who saved us all? Be here with me?” I was boiling beyond furious rampage. “How spot on am I Dimitri?”

“I did it all for you mi amore.” He believes his actions are justified, I can’t believe it.

“You stupid mother fucker!”

“Can’t you see? We are meant to be together… not him. You and I were perrrfect.”

“You played me? All these years pretending to be my friend, yet you had ulterior motives?”

He stepped closer to me, “because I love you, I’ve always loved you.”

I released a sigh, “Dim - the night you were turned was the night I was breaking up with you.”

“No,” he shakes his head drastically in denial. “No.”

“Yes,” I step closer. “I cared for you - at the time - but never deep enough to constitute as true love because I always knew I’d be leaving you behind. You made me feel something, within that moment. We were always moving on, it was never going to work. Then you were bitten and the guilt set in, it was all my fault… and now - you were more like a brother. Not now though. Now, I don’t give a shit. For years I have done everything possible to keep you safe, to keep you from turning into one them… oh my god, the things we’ve shared, the secrets I’ve shared with you... Dim, you betrayed me in the worst possible way after everything I’ve sacrificed for you - my unit has sacrificed for you. You are nothing to me anymore, nothing!” I turned on my heels and headed back to Ulric’s cabin.

Stripping off, seething from Dimitri’s stupid actions, the betrayal cut too deep, my mind was reeling, unable to piece together just how I could be so blind after all this time? No wonder he never stopped calling me his love, how could I have not seen his true intent?

Slipping on my running shorts and sports bra, black hoodie and Nikes before grabbing my iPod and strapping it to my arm.

“Rocky… where are you going?” Ulric stops me from heading out.

I tie my hair into a high bun, “I’m just going to work out Ulric, I’ll be on the other side of your training equipment.”

“What you need Rocky, is to talk, in the time I’ve known you, there have been massive significant events that have happened to you - things that should have broken you and yet you bottle them all up.”

“What are you trying to say, that I should break down? That I should cry?”

“If that’s what it takes to get you through?” He looks at me with sympathy in his eyes.

“Don’t pity me, Ulric, you know I loathe that look.”

“You can’t keep holding all these feelings in, one day you will explode.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“It’s unhealthy to hold all of this shit in, what he has done was crap… yes… but if I thought I was losing you I would have done anything, anything, to keep you near… can you understand?”

“I’m not talking about this.”

“Rocky, he’s in love with someone he can never have.” His voice suddenly became gentle, understanding and delicate.

“Ulric, what I need to do is work out, if I’m not back in an hour, then you can drag me in for popcorn and hair braiding.” I smile sweetly and sarcastically at him, standing on my tippy toes and pressing my lips against his. Our kiss is soft and gentle before I exit out the door and into the night.

The truth was I could understand, but why couldn’t he just tell me? Talk to me? We could before. There were Vamps in his coven that struggled with their new situation, the human bloodlust still haunts them and he risked countless lives in his scheme. I’d never been more disappointed and considering the way I grew up, that was definitely saying something.

This is what I needed, fresh air, clear mind, sweating out every piece of rubbish I just heard come flying out of Dimitri’s selfish mouth. His plan was stupid, lacking any form of inspiration, he had years to tell me how he felt, instead, he waits till I’ve found my better half and my life lays in confusion and ruin, to reveal his moronic infatuation.

He had risked the lives of everyone - human and Vamp - because he knew I would divert all of my attention towards him and his needs. He has fucked many, many other women, since our breakup, including the new addition to his coven not so long ago, so why now? Was this the Vampiric gene embedded and entwined deep within his soul that caused him to be such a selfish jackass or was he always like this? I just didn’t see it before, choosing to view him as pure and kind and well… human? Not that all of them are pure and kind.

But he wasn’t human, he hasn’t been human for years, could he be shifting into more of a soulless monster? Could it be because I always forced him to drink from animals?

I laid down after my brisk jog to warm up and crunched, my inner monologue consumed my entire focus.

Dimitri has said, that my relationship patterns repeat with Ulric, are they repeating? I know I love him, I know it hurts to be away from him, I know I feel like half of me is missing the moment Ulric is not around - so could I just be filling in time until I was to up and leave again? At the beginning… sure, I knew I was heading out towards Emerson to marry Gage and become Queen, but after one night, I very much fell head over heels. What if I was repeating my pattern? His soul was tethered to mine, now and forever because of our mate bond, what if I pulled the same crap and disappeared on him… he would die? I would be the cause of Ulric’s death?

The realisation struck me hard as I changed my position into burpees… Fuck no, I can’t think like that… I love Ulric with my whole heart and soul, even if I couldn’t say it and right now, everything that happened with Dim is playing on my mind. Ulric is everything I could ever want, need and more, the sun shines because of his love - he is my life, my future and the only one to ever truly understand what I need in love, even if it takes us a while to get there.

Satisfied with the decision of my inner ramblings and accepting of the fact, that this confusion is because of Dim’s stupid ass behaviour, I continued fiercely, pushing my body, feeling my muscles begin to burn as the sweat gathers across my skin.

Unaware of my surrounds, music blasting in my ears, I feel a hand wrap around my body and a white cloth covered my mouth… DARKNESS.

__________

I could feel something soft below me as I wriggled, trying to understand why I have a headache thumping harshly against my temples? I go to move my arm but nothing happens, tried to move my leg… huh, still nothing, was I even wriggling?... I hear voices, nothing but incoherent mumbling at first, so I focus in, attempting to really hear what’s being said.

...Do they know?...

...They’d have to by now, it’s been hours... Who? I wonder who they are referring too.

...Did anyone see you?...

...No way, I’ve been sneaking around that bloody pack for days and no one’s noticed...

...You are very talented...

...In more ways than one... Two male voices, huh, I recognize those voices.

...Does he know she’s here?...

...No, he’s so hyped up on blood, he has no idea which way he’s going… Hmm, why does that sound like kissing?

...What do we do when she wakes up?...

...We talk to her...

...Are you going to tell her everything?...

...Maybe, if she tells me what I want to hear... Me, they are talking about me?

...We are running out of time...

...I know, which is why we need patience with this, find the right words...

I hear the shuffling of feet and a door close. Fuck, they’ve caught me… wait, who?

I lay there for what seemed like hours, slowly coming out of whatever daze, they have me under. I begin to feel my toes and fingers again and my eyes, finally flutter open. Confused and disorientated, I looked around the room. There was very modern equipment, television, a bar fridge next to the king size bed, I lay on top of. A large Persian rug sprawled out on the floor under a lounge suite that looked extra comfy.

Where the hell am I? Truth be told, I thought I was going to wake up in a cell of concrete with mould on the walls, a leaky tap and a toilet on full display with my hands tied to the roof - not something that looked like a comfy hotel, all pretty and cozy.

I let out a groan as I roll over onto my back, still groggy and unstable. What the hell had they given me? Oh god, when Ulric finds me, I’m in so much trouble… Ulric?

Uh-oh, this was going to cause him panic, I had told him specifically, to find me after an hour, that I was just going to exercise off some frustration. I glanced down at my clothes, thankfully, I was still in the same ones I had before.

I heard the handle twist and watched as the door pushed open, struggling to sit up and face my kidnapper.

“Mathias?” My mouth flopped open.

“Hey, champ.”

“What the bloody hell? Does Dad know you brought me here?”

“That stupid prick knows nothing,” I breathe out exhaustedly.

“Mathias…” he holds his hand up to silence me.

“First of all, I’m sorry for the chloroform… I had no idea your body couldn’t handle it, you’ve been out for some time.”

“Why? You could have just called me?”

“No, champ I couldn’t. Your father has bugged all our phones, convinced Gage is screwing him over.”

“What? Why?”

“Probably because Gage is.”

“Hang on, slow down a bit. Why did you use chloroform?”

“I trained you… you’re lethal as fuck champ. I wasn’t ready for you to slam my ass into the ground, I’m old and without Vamp blood, I don’t heal the same way the others do.”

“Mathias, Dad cheated. That’s the only reason he won that day… now I understand because you trained me well.” His toothy grin spread across his face, Mathias was handsome for an older man, orange, fiery red hair, that reminded me of flames, with bright iridescent blue eyes and soft features with beautifully tanned skin.

“Thank you champ, I appreciate your kind words.”

“Tell me about Gage?”

“He has a plan. He’s come here twice to seek council with you but you were very hard to wake.”

“How long have I been here?”

“Two days.”

“Two days? Holy shit, he must be going crazy.”

“Your wolf?” He asked as if he knew a lot more than he was letting on.

“What do you know?”

“What do yyoouu know?” Mathias was mocking me, he sounded out the word, ‘you’, like a child.

“Mathias, I think of you as my father…”

“Ryder, I think of you as my daughter,” he cut me off but I couldn’t help but grin. I truly loved this man as more than a friend.

“But... you are withholding information from me and I should very much like answers before I kick you in the balls.” I exaggerate with a sweet, innocent smile on my face.

“Champ, when did you get so vicious?”

“I was built that way… now answers… please?” All joking aside, he knew I meant business.

“Gage wants you to still go through with the wedding.”

“What?” I screamed, “no way!”

“Hear me out, Ryder… please?” My hands swipe across my face as I try to calm my rising temper.

“Sorry, carry on.”

“It will be a ruse until he claims the throne and together you overthrow the old ways.”

“What do you mean?”

“I think he should explain more.”

“So where is he?” I huff out in annoyance.

“On his way champ, promise you’ll hear him out?”

“Fine, I’ll listen but then I’m leaving,” I warned with finality.

“Probably a good thing. A massive wolf has been staking out the compound, your Dads been going nuts.”

“Ulric!”

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