I woke up to musical laughter floating in the air.
Slowly peeling my eyelids open, I looked around the guest room me and Zea had stayed in last night. It felt so familiar to me; the cream walls and the purple design. Scanning over the room, I didn’t know why this room was the one I recognized.
Then I saw it.
Pushing myself off of the bed, I slowly walked over to the wall next to the bathroom door. I gently lifted my fingers up, almost afraid to touch it. The indent on the wall was deeper than I remember, and I could still see the horrible job he made in trying to fix it with spackle.
This was the room I had stayed in after our biggest fight. Axton had punched the wall when I refused to listen and locked myself in the bathroom.
It was back when I first came to this pack. Axton and I were fighting about a rogue who had crossed the border. He thought he should be executed for breaking pack law and crossing the border. He thought the rogue was spying on the pack. I disagreed with him. I didn’t want to have to sentence the poor kid to death. I was naïve.
It turns out Axton was right about that rogue. It was after I left here and I was taken by the rogue Cortez, that I realized letting that rogue go was a mistake. It turned out that he was spying on the pack. He had been infiltrating packs for Cortez all over the country.
The sound of laughter pulled me away from my thoughts of the past and I dropped my hand from the wall.
I quickly pulled on a change of clothes from the closet Axton had seemed to have stocked. Grabbing a pair of skinny jeans and a warm sweater on, I pulled my combat boots onto my feet.
Moving to the bathroom, I did my routine and quickly ran a comb through my hair, not bothering to do anything special, but just let the natural curls cascade down my back.
Feeling prepared, I walked out of the room and into the empty hallway. I almost kept walking, but the sight of the door across the way made me pause.
Axton’s room. Our room. Pushing all the memories down inside of me, I walked down the stairs and stood in the kitchen doorway as I took in the sight before me.
Walker was goofing around and Sawyer scolded him. I saw Reid sitting at the corner watching Zea closely. Zea sat at the counter laughing hysterically as she watched her father before her.
Axton was leaning over the counter as he placed a plate of pancakes in front of Zea. His smile beamed at her as I saw adoration in his eyes. It was almost… I stopped the thought immediately. I can’t hope for anything until I see who he is. I just hope he isn’t that same man who told me to leave.
As if he could feel me staring, he lifted his head slightly and connected his gaze to mine. It was like I was trapped. All his look made me want to do was push away all of the past seven years and just run into his arms.
But luckily Zea pulled me away before I acted on that impulse, “Mommy!”
Pulling my eyes away from Axton’s, I started to walk over to my little girl, “Good morning, sweetheart. What do you have there?”
“It’s pancakes! My favorite!” she yelled as she started digging into the food in front of her. I laughed slightly as I watched her make a mess of the syrup.
“You are making yourself all sticky,” I laughed.
“That sounds like a good trade to me.”
“Oh it does?” I questioned, laughing at her ridiculousness.
“Mmhm,” was the only reply she gave me as she shoveled more of the syrupy pancakes into her mouth.
I caught Axton’s eyes as he watched our exchange. He smiled at the goofiness that was his daughter, even if he didn’t know it yet. Our eyes caught and for a split second, it was like this was normal, just any other day for our family, but then reality set in.
Turning our attention completely to each other, my expression turned serious, “We need to talk.”
Nodding his head, he turned to Sawyer, “Hey, can you clean off Zea when she is all finished.”
“Thank you,” he told her before turning his attention back to me, “Come on.”
I followed him out of the kitchen and upstairs. Walking back the way I came, only this time he opened the door across the one I left. Moving past him as he closed the door, I took a seat on the edge of the bed.
The room was the same as the day I left. The same sheets on the bed, the same pictures on the walls, even the desk held the same papers. It was like seven years hadn’t gone by in this one room. It was like I never left it.
“Ellie,” Axton started and I allowed myself to look at him, truly look at him. He was the same, yet different. He was still muscled and tall and handsome, but there was an air around him that had changed. He wasn’t the same kid who was learning the role of alpha. He was the alpha now.
“I told you to stay away from her,” I warn him.
“You know I won’t do that. I won’t stay away from either of you. Please Ellie, I don’t want to fight with you,” he pleaded with me, “Please, just talk to me.”
“Axton. I don’t know what you want me to say,” I told him honestly.
“How about let’s start with the day you left,” he suggested.
“You know exactly what happened, Axton. Why bring it up?” I asked, looking at him, begging him not to make me relive it again.
“Because I don’t,” he said as he started to walk toward me before sitting down on the bed across from me, “I don’t know what happened because it wasn’t me.”
“Axton,” I breathed out, “I was there. You were there. What happened, it was definitely you.”
“No it wasn’t. I don’t know how, but who you saw that night, it wasn’t me. You have to believe me,” he said as he shifted closer, but it only made me scooch back.
“No I don’t.” But God do I want to, I thought.
“Ellie, you know me. Since the moment we met, you have known exactly who I am,” he said as he reached out. His palm rested against my cheek as the familiar warmth and electricity I had thought I would never feel again, coursed through my body by the simplest of touches.
“I thought I did, but I guess I was wrong,” I said, my voice sounding almost defeated as I thought about that day.
“You weren’t wrong,” Axton said as he moved closer to me, but this time I didn’t move back. It was like the constant electricity of his touch wasn’t allowing me to move at all, “Think about it, Ellie. Why would I ever want to destroy our bond?”
“I don’t know, Axton. Your reasoning wasn’t exactly the most important thing to me. You chose this. You wanted the life of a free man, and now you’ve got it,” I said as I pulled away and got up off the bed.
Maybe he’s saying the truth, Raelynn spoke to me.
“I never wanted you to leave, Ellie,” Axton spoke as he stood up from the bed, “It wasn’t me who said those things to you.”
I scoffed at the memories of me wanting to believe those exact words, “Really? You never wanted me to go? Then why would you want to mate with someone else?” I asked him, “Reid convinced me of that it wasn’t you. He told me that you were a wreak and that you never would have rejected me to go sleep with other girls. I believed all of it, only to come back and before I even cross the border, there you are. Ordering some rogue to try and kill me so you could mate with someone else,” I said, my voice deflated from the anger and only carrying the pain I had felt when I saw him.
“I can’t explain it. I don’t know what you saw, but I know I never would have ever let you go,” he growled as he stepped closer to me and I took a step back.
“But you did,” I said, “You rejected me, Axton. You chose to break our bond.”
“But the bond isn’t broken!” he yelled as he walked closer to me, but there was nowhere left for me to go as I pushed myself into the wall. He towered over me as he placed one hand on my waist and the other on my cheek. The sparks spread once again, “You feel it, don’t you. If the bond was truly broken, we would be in pain upon touching. We wouldn’t be feeling like fireworks,” he said as he whispered the last part in my ear before pulling back and staring into my eyes.