Lucy waited patiently as crisp snowflakes fell from the heavens; the origins of their descent growing darker as a storm brewed.
She leaned against Marigold’s cabin as she heard the females inside. All she could hear were soft murmurs accompanied by Marigold’s sobs and hiccups. An hour had passed and her mate was still in hysterics. Having enough of it, Lucy finally knocked at the cabin door and was disappointed when one of Marigold’s friends answered and looked at her with revulsion.
Not even attempting to hide the disgust from her tone, the woman cocked her head and put a hand on her hip. “What are you doing here?”
Lucy’s wolf growled but Lucy refused to bite. Swallowing down the anger, she simply stared back at the female, unamused.
“I’m here to see Marigold,” she replied, noticing that the wolves inside the cabin had quietened.
Lorelle, the woman who stood in front of Lucy, turned her nose up at the girl. She had seen how distraught her friend had been; stuck back and forth between two people and to top it all off her mate was female! In her world, that was not right.
“She doesn’t want to see you. Haven’t you done enough? When will you leave her alone!” Her voice had risen a few octaves as she let the full force of her wolf shine through her eyes.
Lucy’s wolf responded immediately with a dangerous glow and the extension of her claws, which were still speckled with Adam’s blood, as she shoved her power down the female’s mouth. She had been rejected and fought for her female and now this woman dared to speak ill of her; as if her manicured nails had seen a day of hard labour in its lifetime.
Before Lucy could push past the ignorant female, Marigold’s voice piped up from the back of the cabin. “Let her in, Lorelle.”
Lorelle gasped before quipping back, “But Mari, you don’t need to talk to her.”
“Thank you for everything you have all done for me, but I can handle it from here,” Lorelle looked at her with disbelief, her body still obscuring Lucy’s view. “But-”
“I’ll be fine, you all should leave.” Lorelle sighed as Marigold’s friends left the cabin as they all sent mixed looks to the blue-haired teen whose aura was nothing less of impatience. Lorelle left last with a tight grip of her hand around Lucy’s shoulder and some angry last words to part.
“If you hurt her, and I mean in any way, then you’ll have me to deal with.”
Lucy ripped the pointed, acrylic nails off of her skin, which drove the darkness wild and pulled the female in close; her teeth grazed the shell of the pompous wolf’s ear.
“I’d kill you and mutilate the corpse before you could even lay a claw on me.”
Mortified, Lorelle pulled back and coughed; the rage burning within the hazel of her irises. A retort was hot on her lips, but with a sadistic grin, Lucy couldn’t help herself, “Better watch your back, the snow can hide a body for years. Not as if anybody would miss you in the first place.”
“Just you wait, you little bitch. I’ll wipe that smile right off your face. You think you’re all that?” Lorelle gestured to Lucy’s body, “Girls shouldn’t be mated to other girls. You’re a cancer, a leech!”
She pushed Lucy to the side as she stomped off in her Ugg boots; a horrid choice for the terrain. Pondering her words but not dwelling on them, Lucy entered the cabin. The sweet scent of her mate enticed her forwards. Closing the door and taking her shoes off, which she placed right beside Marigold’s; she ventured into the living area spotting her mate sprawled across one of the cabins couches.
Marigold saw her mate and straightened herself, rubbing the wetness from her eyes. The fire blazed and set a dimness across the room; the shadows dancing on every surface. Despite the lighting, Lucy could still see the anguish carved on her mate’s features. Marigold attempted to hide them but she was an open book; every word inked and in bold for Lucy to see.
“Sorry about the mess,” Marigold said in a pained attempt at breaking the tension that existed between them. Tension that happened to be created when one killed the other’s bond mate.
“It’s fine,” Lucy sighed. Two chairs were out of place and a lopsided jumper lay on the couch; but a part from that, the cabin laid in perfect order. Her mate was deflecting. “Can I sit down?”
Marigold nodded and diverted her eyes to the amber hues of the fire. The mate bond fizzled and sparked in her body at the proximity of her mate, but it did not excuse or heal her from the violence witnessed not even two hours prior.
Leaning back against the soft fabric of the couch, Lucy took a deep breath, preparing herself for a very awkward and difficult conversation. However, this had been three months of waiting, preparing, and fighting and here she sat, scared that one wrong word would frighten her mate away- forever.
She turned to face her mate, “how are you doing?” Even she cringed at the tone of her voice. Coughing to try make her voice softer, she sent a genuine smile towards her mate.
“I-I-I-m not sure, I feel....empty.”
Lucy’s heart twisted at the statement, but she hid her distaste easily. Focusing on Marigold and Marigold only, she tried to catch her wandering gaze, which was still avoiding her.
“I know it must be hard, y’know... what you saw today...” She wrung her hands together. Lucy’s nerves were frazzled being so close to her mate and with her wolf’s excitement only making her worse, she was engulfed by butterflies in her stomach.
“But we can finally be together. We can be mates.” Her voice was soft and sincere, but Marigold met her gentle approach with her unbridled pain.
“You didn’t need to kill him though!”
Her eyes watered as she could sense another sob making its way through her body. Marigold’s body shook; her little hands tightened into fists as her whole body tensed up.
Although expecting her response, Lucy still hurt at her words. She took a deep breath, forced back the urge to nip back at her mate, and tried to work another angle: comfort.
Placing her hand on top of Marigold’s shaking fist, Lucy rubbed small circles on her caramel skin. The shadows highlighted the utter torment on Marigold’s face, the red rimmed eyes, the downward curl of her lips and the sweat that made her curly black hair cling to her forehead; but Lucy was transfixed. Her mate was gorgeous.
“You were always going to choose him. I might not have been what you were expecting but I’m your true mate, something that’s so rare. I had to kill him or else I’d never get you-”
Marigold’s eyes streamed like a waterfall of bittersweet memories with Adam; the holiday to Paris, the boat trips through the Canal du Midi, the wine tasting in Burgandy; all simply gone. They became repressed and discarded as images of his bloody face, which was staring right her as he died, stayed at the forefront of her memory; paired with the brutality of Lucy that she hadn’t known or imagined, Marigold was a mess. Her sobs interrupted Lucy as the words washed over her, the memories instead replayed over and over.
Understanding, Lucy pulled her mate to her chest. While initially fighting back, the emotional fatigue from crying and the soothing embrace ushered Marigold closer.
“He could have lived....” She wailed, “c-c-could’ve found someone else.”
“He was competition. He wouldn’t have lived regardless, Marigold.”
The comment sent Marigold into another round of tears. It took twenty minute of consoling before Marigolds sobs quietened. Lucy’s wolf was pacing back and forth, visibly uncomfortable and upset. Her wolf didn’t understand why her mate didn’t want her; the very first words that Marigold had spoken towards Lucy were ones of rejection and here she was, comforting her without a true answer.
Stroking Marigold’s hair, Lucy put on a brave face. “Will you finally accept me?”
The words hung in the air as the cracking of the timbers were the only sound within the cabin. Outside the wind howled and hail pitter pattered against the glass windows.
Turning towards Lucy, Marigold sighed and closed her eyes. How exhausted she was.
“It’s so sudden... I don’t,” she hiccupped, “d-don’t know if I can.”
Lucy’s wolf flipped. While she could see the torment and pain on her mate’s face, she had also suffered. She had watched Marigold with Adam for months, knowing that they had continued to have sex. She had endured everything Titania had; the lack of eating, the insomnia, the heartbreak, the disconnection yet her mate sat there oblivious. Lucy knew Marigold wanted her, it was clear in her eyes and from their passion shared in the cupboard. But once again, Marigold was denying her.
Lucy’s walls built back up as she stood up, fists clenched. “I killed a man today... for you. For us!”
“I didn’t ask you to do that!”
Her sapphire eyes burned into Marigold’s, “You know fine well I had to! You forced my hand Marigold, what the fuck was I supposed to do when you were still with him! Still fucking him while I had to sit and watch from the side lines, abandoned! And don’t think I’ve forgotten about what you said to me when you first found out I was your mate...”
Marigold shuddered, she too remembered and cringed at the foul words she had thrown towards her mate. It was unfair, but the mate bond had happened so suddenly; she was certainly lost.
“What was it now?” Lucy watched her mate expectantly, “go on, tell me what you said.”
The fire had dimmed from Marigold’s eyes and instead exhaustion entered. Her lips struggled to say the words that had haunted her nightmares. She looked to her mate; her eyes showing that she was reluctant to say them, but Lucy was having none of it. She had a point to make.
She flinched at the tone but forced the words out regardless, “I said that you were too feral for me... and that I didn’t like girls.”
Cocked hands on her hips, Lucy sauntered towards Marigold.
“Feral is used for uncontrollable animals and I am not a monster. Just because the packs in Scotland are traditional and stick to their roots does not make them any less than the others. It’s a disgusting view.”
“You don’t like girls? Well that’s a blatant lie, I feel your wolf calling for me and I certainly saw how you felt when we were in that storage cupboard.”
“If you had given me a chance at the beginning you would’ve seen that I always had your best interests at heart, but you let stereotypes ruin this. You couldn’t grasp the fact I am more than that, can’t you see that I have always tried for you?”
She crouched in front of Marigold so their eyes locked. Lucy wanted Marigold to see the pain that she had endured, “I have gone through so much trying to win you over. I lost a part of myself when you rejected me. A very large part.”
Tears welled in Marigold’s eyes at the confession; one hand had unintentionally made its way onto Lucy’s shoulder, her wolf seeking to comfort its mate. Nodding for Lucy to continue, she bit down on her lip.
“If it wasn’t for Alpha Titania, I most likely wouldn’t be here,” she pulled her sleeves up and Marigold’s mouth opened wide at the faded scars that scattered them. “This was the only thing that helped me get through the emotions and self-hatred that I felt. I don’t want you thinking that I just killed Adam for fun. I was-am desperate.”
“I don’t know what to say Lucy, I’m sorry.”
Lucy’s eyes took in the confusion and distress and she sighed, “It’s in the past, I could’ve handled my coping mechanisms better.”
Marigold’s hand had moved up along the scars, tracing them delicately. Her eyes watered. She knew she had handled the situation poorly by ignoring her instincts, and her mate had suffered for it. Letting her wolf push forward, which she refrained from doing, her hand cupped Lucy’s cheek as she kissed her wrist, spending time on each scar individually.
Her wolf purred as Marigold continued scattering pecks along her torn arms. Months’ worth of self-harm didn’t heal in the space of a few minutes, but with the sparks erupting from Marigold’s plump lips, it certainly felt like it did.
While relishing the first contact with her mate in what seemed like eons, Lucy still didn’t have a direct answer. Her wolf paced once again, growling and whining within her head. Gently taking Marigold’s face away from her arms, she held it inches away from her own.
“I’m not asking for your soul right now Marigold, I just want a chance- a proper chance at us trying to work through this. No distractions, just us.” She whispered, “that’s all I ever wanted.”
Watching for signs, Lucy’s heart skipped when Marigold’s confusion cleared and determination sparked in their hazel depths.
Marigold’s voice was soft and sweet, “I’ll give it a chance, but we need to take it really slow, today was....” Her eyes flickered downwards.
Understanding, Lucy pecked her mate’s cheek. “Scary, I know, I know. We’ll take it very slowly. I wouldn’t want to rush it anyway. Thank-you.” Both mates blushed at the intimacy; the bond pulling both broken hearts together.
Marigold patted the space side beside her as Lucy grinned at the invitation. For a few hours both chatted away about Marigold’s life in France and Lucy’s love for books. While enjoying Lucy’s company, Marigold’s mind wandered; why had she denied such an extraordinary bond? Now that she allowed it to flow, its golden currents glided and circulated around her body and she finally felt alive. That her life had meaning.