A Sin of Her Own

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Chapter 52

Angus, Garth and Eóghan took charge of training as Titania spent her days hovering around Brett. His admission and heightened emotions bewildered Titania but she found herself trying to distract the male from his spiraling grief; something that now seemed intrinsic to her. The loss of his close family member had hit an exposed nerve, much like a dentist rooting in a mouth without anesthetic and Tilly’s passing had caused the proud Alpha male to bow down. Raw and defeated.

Titania remembered herself how hard it was to disown her own parents. Family trauma would peel away anyone’s deeply laid walls to crumble until nothing was left. No matter how long they had taken to build - and she’d learnt that the hard way.

Are all the preparations ready? She asked her Beta as she finalised the food and drinks order. Not a moment later, Eóghan responded through the mindlink, Yes Alpha, a couple more hours and the wolves from Ash Crescent will be here. Border patrol have been informed and we’re just finishing decorating the spar hall.

Brilliant, let me know when it’s all ready. Don’t forget the band. She added. Let’s aim for 6pm, gives me time to drag Brett’s arse out the cabin.

He sniggered, Good luck with that Alpha, he’s as stubborn as you are.

The cheek. Titania cursed but smiled at the accuracy, You may have a point, hence why I need enough time to try get him to attend his own surprise party. Just make sure everything’s ready on time.

Such a heart of gold, when did you become such a sap? Eóghan teased, I’m happy you’re trying to cheer him up. Tilly was such a sweet wolf.

I can’t have his sour mood in Duskfall. It’s ruining the atmosphere. Titania avoided his suggestion as she refocused, Link me when it’s done.

She had coerced Brett to train with her and Lucy in the forest, away from the preparations that were kept hidden from the Shetland male. A feat easier said than done as he fought tooth and nail to stay in his wolf form lounging on his cabin bed. Having none of it, Titania had dragged him outside by rifling his wolf - which took to the chase immediately. But even as she fought him in her wolf form, his preoccupied state made it child play. His hits lacked strength, his dodges lacked accuracy and his muscles seemed to be two steps behind, unlike the usually overbearing and focused male. It was clear that the sleepless nights had drained his will to be functional.

“And I thought I needed more practice.” Lucy tutted as she motioned to Brett. Titania smacked the slouching teen over the head, “Ouch! I’m not lying though... you ran circles around him!”

Brett sighed but said nothing. Instead picking at the frozen ground underneath his fingertips. His eyes signaled that he was a thousand miles away from Duskfall.

“Haven’t you learnt any manners?” Titania chided, “And no surprises there, I run circles around most, remember I’m an Alpha so me winning is no secret. Now drink up, just because we’re finished in wolf form doesn’t mean we’re not sparring. If you want the Beta position you need to prove your worth.”

“My mother taught me plenty of manners, it’s you that I learned the opposite from.” Titania growled at the comment as Lucy continued, “I’m not worried about the others or Garth, he acts too much like a child for a so-called adult to beat me to the title.”

Titania scowled as she finished her bottle of water, “I wouldn’t count him out. He was appointed my Gamma for a reason, so don’t talk the talk unless you can walk the walk misses.”

Lucy grumbled but got into position with her fists up. “Then let’s go! I wanna smash his face into the high heavens as he begs me for mercy, the Beta position will be mine! Mwahahahaha. All mine!”

The manic villanesque cackling had Brett’s eyes flickering momentarily to a carefree Lucy as she practiced some random punch combinations against an invisible foe. His shoulders sunk as he hugged his knees to his chest, the joy bringing his thoughts back to his deceased sister. With a gentle tug of his shirt, Titania drew his attention back to her.

“You see what I have to put up with?” She teased but at the forced smile that took over Brett’s features, she got to her feet and offered him a hand, “First spar is reserved for me and you. If I recall correctly I’m 12-9 up, which is generous considering how hard you hold back. Give it to me, no holding back at all... maybe letting go will help with your... uh, emotions.”

He acknowledged her suggestion with a nod, “I’m not sure that’s a good idea. You’ve riled my wolf enough for today. ” He said in reference to her sneaky methods for getting him training in the first place.

“And it worked didn’t it? You’re outside doing something rather than wallowing so fucking hit me you moody piece of shit.”

"Don’t." He warned as his wolf peaked through his eyes at the taunt.

“Don’t what? Oh, this?” She hit his chest as she circled him, “Did that hurt?”

At his stone cold glare, she prodded the bear, “Want a plaster for your big boo boo or are you gonna go back to your whining and crying cause it seems you’re pretty good at that. It’s all I seem to hear.”

Titania didn’t understand how to healthily release pent up emotions but what she did know, was how to express them through physical activities, be that sexual or through violence. By goading Brett, she was hoping he’d crack and unload the pain she watched haunt his every waking moment. He needed to release the torment.

Watching the interaction, Lucy smirked as Brett lost his composure as Titania’s insults hit home. To showcase how unhinged he was, he gave in to his bondmates retorts within minutes and lashed out; not common from his usual stoic demeanor. Although hesitant to begin with, Brett was hesitant no more as he hurled the two wolves that bit at him. With his wolf in the driving seat and Brett finally letting go, all reservations were off as he allowed himself to revel in emotions other than grief, misery and despair.

The sun’s dimming light set through the giant conifer trees as sweat, blood and claws flew through the frosty January air. There was not an animal in sight as they hightailed from the wolves, scattering from the thunderous roars that disrupted the calm of the undergrowth.

Albeit exhausting, Titania couldn’t help her smirk of satisfaction as her body bared the brunt of Brett’s ferocious attacks: not that she minded. Her plan had worked as all three wolves were scratched and bruised, muscles aching from the exertion of their three-hour training session. Brett’s chest heaved as his eyes sparked with life. The fiery hot anger was now replaced with a small sense of peace. However minuscule, it was a great improvement from the week of turbulent emotional episodes that flickered between nonchalance, tears and solitude. Every punch, kick and bite had seemingly drained him to a point that now his brain was focused on the throb of his wounds rather than Tilly.

With a knowing tilt of her lips, Titania slapped Brett’s back. He returned her gesture with a roll of his eyes. He did feel better, seemingly all he needed to do was to stop isolating himself and face the guilt head on. Brett knew that his injuries would heal and his misery would continue, but for now, he let the burden weighing down on his chest evaporate. Titania motioned to Brett and Lucy to head back, both females hiding their excitement from the celebratory plans well.

It’s all ready to go? Lucy mindlinked Titania while Brett was too caught up in his own thoughts, walking a few paces behind the two.

Yeah, I’ll take Brett to clean up then we’ll meet you in the hall. Keep the Ash Crescent wolves away from my cabin, I want to surprise him.

Lucy squealed inwardly, I can’t believe we’re having another party! I got Marigold the cutest dress and my parents and sister will be there with us too! I’m going to get so drunk.

We need some happiness after everything we’ve been through. Titania’s face hardened, Don’t do anything stupid and don’t go wondering through the woods if you’re getting pissed. She gave Lucy a knowing look, just like the night they’d gotten close through both of their rejections.

Yes mum. Lucy mocked as she cracked her neck, I’ll buy you both some time to get ready but don’t be long cause I can’t promise that the boys won’t demolish the pig. Honestly, if you’re worried about manners then you gotta go teach em’ some.

Titania agreed with the teen. Her males certainly lacked in the grace and decorum department. With an exchanged promise to Lucy to be ready within the hour and for Lucy to keep the pig in one piece before she and Brett arrived, Titania hurried Brett into the shower while she got their outfits ready. Perplexed at the new kilt, shirt and sporran that lay in front of him, Brett voiced his suspicion. Luckily for her, he thought she was taking him on a date. None to ladylike, she snorted in his face and promptly told him to ‘keep dreaming’. Keeping Lucy’s promise within twenty minutes of the hour time limit, the pair were finally washed, dried and preened in a new kilt and a knee length emerald dress. Titania even piled her raven tresses in a loose up do and adorned some dark red lipstick.

As the pair walked closer to the centre of Duskfall, their feet crunching through the hardened ground, Brett slipped his hand into Titania’s, to which she hesitantly accepted. The warmth from their brief contact had Brett’s heart buzzing with pinpricks while Titania’s skin shivered with delight. The two walked in comfortable silence. Small stolen glances and smiles shared made the walk pass quicker than anticipated and soon the sound of bagpipes filled the evening breeze.

“Bagpipes?” Brett quizzed, his expression confused, “You sure this isn’t a date- wait...I recognise the song... What is this?”

As they entered the heart of Duskfall, the pair were greeted with hanging fairy lights strung from every cabin, the sweet smell of a buffet, and music that skipped merrily through the cheery atmosphere that had wolves up and dancing around the huge bonfire lit brightly for the world to see. Brett paused in his steps as his eyes took in the scene, greedily absorbing the life and vibrancy that emitted from all those present. His nose twitched as he stared down the smirking Alpha female that tried hard to keep her face straight.

“I smell home? What... how-“Before he could finish, Brett was tackled by his Beta Kalïs in a hug that had the male teetering in his stance. He gripped the male tightly as more members of Ash Crescent surrounded the ex-Alpha male. Small touches of support made their way to Brett in the centre as the wolves shared their Alpha’s grief. They’d lost a packmate and had been separated through Brett’s decision to disband the pack. Although as the twenty Ash Crescent wolves all held each other as tears fell, it was clear that the love was as apparent as ever.

“We’re here for you Alp-... uh, Brett.” Kalïs stumbled, “We would’ve came sooner but we had issues with the Council.”

“I didn’t expect this at all... I thought you were still back in Hillswick? I can’t wrap my head around this.” Brett’s arms released his closest friend as he waited for his answer but wasn’t surprised to find that the Beta’s eyes darted straight to Titania who was watching the interaction with a smug smile. Almost missing Kalïs’s next words was worth his intense study of his bondmate who looked utterly delectable. Mirth filled her eyes as Brett’s heart swelled at such a gesture.

Kalïs’s voice dipped low, “Your lady over there has let us stay in some of the Southern caves, at least until we can get the herd numbers back on Shetland. She’s persuasive as heck.” He slapped his friends back, “Wouldn’t take no as an answer.”

“That sounds like Titania.” He mused before his eyes widened, “You’re staying? This seems to good to be true!” With a huge grin, he hugged Kalïs tightly once again, ignoring his protests as he squeezed the life out the male.

Chuckling at Brett’s eagerness, Kalïs broke free as his packmates giggled alongside them. “We’ve got a feast and whisky galore. Tonight, we celebrate, both for our pack and for Tilly.” As Brett froze at the name, he reassured him, “For the life she would’ve wanted you to have. We all loved her too...”

Titania watched on at the intimacy between the Ash Crescent wolves. Feeling like an on watcher intruding on a personal moment, she meandered to the centre of the party: wolves dressed in dresses and kilts swinging their partners around as the band played in the warm comfort of the lit hall. Banners and fairy lights added a dim hue to the atmosphere as the place was filled to the brim with glee - an emotion that hadn’t been present in Duskfall since the arrival of the other packs.

Joining Lucy, she danced with her wolves. Feeling their enjoyment through her glimmering pack bond that filled her very being with purpose and meaning. Her mentee, Lucy, couldn’t be happier as her family accepted her relationship with Marigold with welcome arms– no judgement whatsoever to the two females that now found their love blossoming. Their only complaint was the reclusive behavior and impulsiveness of Lucy’s attempts at her life, to which she’d received a ear waggling and extra patrols around the Southern caves. In comparison, to see Lucy in such a moment, arms wrapped tenderly around Marigold in a sparkling silver wrap dress, in utter bliss and contentment, made Titania’s grin widen - as if it could’ve gotten any bigger as she waltzed the night away.

Eóghan had her swinging back and forward to ‘Strip the Willow’ before a rough hand stopped them midway. “Can I have this dance?” Brett’s low baritone had Eóghan sending Titania a bow and a suggestive wink, before disappearing to the buffet table.

“Stealing my dances are we now?” She huffed, hands on her knees as she took a deep breath to fill her lungs from the exertive dance. However, all she could scent was Brett’s deep honey musk that seemed to suffocate her and drown her all at once.

“Thank-you.”

The sheer sincerity that peppered his tone had Titania’s head quickly meeting his.

He stepped closer, “I mean it. I’ve had such a hard time with Tilly’s-” A swallow had his Adam’s apple bobbing, “I’ve struggled. And today... this,” he motioned around him, “is exactly what I never knew I needed. It couldn’t get more perfect than this.”

His bare chest brushed against Titania as he engulfed her in a hug. The difference from his packmates and friends, was that Brett held her like a delicate piece of china, not because she wasn’t fiercely strong and capable, but because he treasured her and what she represented. He always would.

With his body flushed with adoration, he lent down and let his lips brush against Titania’s forehead. At the widening of her eyes and the rosy tint to her ears and cheeks, he decided then and there that if he could, he’d stay in that moment for the rest of his life.

Their imperfections were perfection.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2020 Ella Gorman/L.J Elleson. All rights reserved.

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