After the meeting, I dismissed the room and put the entire pack on high alert.
All that was left was me and Ellie. I stood in front of my desk as she sat in a seat across from me with her head hanging, lost in thought. She refused to look at me. No matter what I did, or what I said, after she said that Cortez would kill her for not healing him, Ellie just refused to make eye contact with me.
My wolf kept yelling at me to comfort her and to kill Cortez; and although I did agree with him, it also felt like she was keeping something else from me.
“Ellie,” my voice barely broke above a whisper.
She just shook her head and continued to look at the floor.
“Ellie,” I say again, this time moving in front of her and placing my hands against her cheeks to lift her face, “Please look at me.”
“Axton,” her voice cracks as if she is on the verge of tears.
I rubbed my thumbs in circles to calm her before speaking, “Ellie, why didn’t you tell me any of this or that you were a healer?”
“Because I’m not,” she cracked.
“But you healed that girl.”
“No, I didn’t,” she argued, “I can’t heal anyone.”
I shook my head before kissing her lightly, “Ellie, why didn’t you tell me you were a gifted wolf?” I asked.
“Because I’m not!” she screamed, standing up abruptly before throwing her hands up.
“No Axton!” she screamed at me, “I’m trying to tell you, but you aren’t listening.”
“What are you trying to tell me then?” I ask, trying to understand but coming up completely blank.
“Mommy!” Zea came charging into the room, carrying a small teddy bear that Sawyer had gotten her. Both our attentions were immediately on her as our conversation drifted to the back of my mind.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Ellie asked as she bent down and picked Zea up into her arms.
“I had a bad dream.”
“What about?” I asked as Zea rested her head on Ellie’s shoulder.
“A mean man who wanted to hurt mommy,” she cracked.
“Shh, sweetheart. No one is going to hurt me. I’m fine,” Ellie soothed her.
I gave my daughter a soft smile, “I promise Zea, no one is going to hurt her. I won’t allow it.”
“Are you sure?” she whispered.
“Absolutely,” She nodded her head before clutching onto to Ellie’s neck harder, “Why don’t I take her to bed?”
Ellie nodded her head as she handed our daughter to me, “I think we could all use some sleep.”
Looking her over, I could see the exhaustion coming off her in waves. She’s been up for over twenty hours now, “Come on.”
Pulling Zea closer to my chest, we headed for the door and moved up the stairs. Every movement screamed silence as we walked. A pin could be dropped and still heard.
Carefully carrying Zea into her room, I gently laid her down into her bed before drawing the covers up to her chin and giving her a light kiss on the top of her head.
“Goodnight,” I whisper to her as I draw back and lead Ellie out of the room.
“She’ll be alright,” Ellie said quietly to me as she shuts the door behind us.
“I’m worried about both of you,” I tell her honestly, no more secrets. I put my hand against her cheek as she leans into my palm, “I can’t lose either one of you.”
She closes her eyes for a moment as she just breathes, a light smile on her lips as she looks up at me, “You won’t, not again.”
I didn’t spare a moment as I lifted her into my arms, connecting in a heated kiss. Passion screamed between us as I carried her into our room, not breaking apart for even a second. I kissed every each of her neck as I moved to my mark, causing a moan to come from her.
I pull back for a moment, taking in the feeling of finally having my mate, “I love you.”
Her face lit up in a bright smile as she grabbed my collar and pulled me back to her as I moved to the bed, “I love you too.”
I wake up to gentle touch of an angel.
Looking down, I watch as Ellie traces a few of the scars on my chest. Pain and concern were clear as she gently touched each line permanently placed into my skin.
“They don’t hurt,” I whisper to her, causing her to stop tracing the lines as she picks up her head from my chest to look me in the eyes, “Not anymore.”
“How?” it was all she asked, but I knew what she wanted to know. When and why.
I placed my hand against her cheek as my other arm rested on her back, “When I got to the pack house that day, the place was destroyed. Everything was ripped to shreds, and I could smell the rogue scent. So, we went after the rogues. All of them. We killed many of their cells looking for you. I got the scars during those attacks,” I slowly guided my hand down her face and arm until I reached her hand, bringing it up to my chest, to the deepest of my scars. The one that had cut through my heart, “Well almost all of them. This one was from an attack on the pack.”
“When did that happen? I don’t remember hearing anything from the other packs.”
“About three years ago,” I told her, “It was one of the largest attacks any rogue has ever planned on this territory.”
“So much has happened these past seven years,” she whispered as she placed her head back onto my chest, “We’ve lost so much.”
“There’s beauty in things that are lost,” I tell her. She gives me a wondering look before I continued, “When you find what was lost, you get to fall in love with it all over again.”
I shuffled through the reports on my desk. Walker had brought me all of the reports of missing pack members from seven years ago, and based on the size of this pile, there were over a hundred.
“How did I miss all of these?” I almost scream as I slap the latest file onto my desk.
“You were distracted. Losing your mate can do that to you,” Walker commented as he looked up from the file he was on.
I rubbed my hands across my face as I thought about how much I let slip, “If I had just been more focused or if I had just read these back then, I might have found Ellie sooner.”
“You can’t beat yourself up about what ifs and what could have been,” Walker told me, “You just have to focus on the here and now. You have Ellie back and you have Zea. Try not to spend too much time looking back.”
I nodded as I took in his words, “You’re right. I need to focus on killing Cortez here, in the present,” I growled out.
“Sounds like a good idea,” I look up to see Ellie standing in the doorway. She stands hesitantly in the doorway, “I don’t want to interrupt anything, but Axton, do you have a moment to talk?” she asks me.
“Of course,” I answer immediately, standing up and walking over to her. I was about to leave when I looked back to Walker, “You can take a break for a while. You’ve been here longer than I have.”
He smiles at me, “I haven’t been here for you, Axton. I’ve been here for me.”
Ellie laughs at that, “Are you hiding from Sawyer again?”
“Yes!” he exclaims, standing up, “She wants to redecorate our room again. This will be the fourth time in two months. I love her but she is driving me crazy with all of it.”
I laughed at this, “Admittedly it’s weird, but it’s Sawyer. You know how she likes to change things.”
“But not this much,” Walker all but whined.
“That’s because she’s-” Ellie stopped herself midsentence for a second, “She’s under a lot of stress. You should be there for her,” she scolded him, “You ready Axton?”
I nodded at her, “Yeah I’m good. Let’s go.”
We walked out of the office and straight out of the house. She grabbed my hand as she pulled me onto the forest path that runs through the territory. Mostly made from patrol running back and forth from the border.
“What did you want to talk about?” I ask, curious to the topic.
“Not yet,” she says as she pulls us to a stop to stand in front of me, “First, I have to do this.”
She slides her arms around my neck as I pull her into a kiss. I pull her closer to me as my hands wrap around her waist, deepening the kiss even more. When we both are breathless, she pulls away with her amazing smile on her lips.
I smile at her as I sneak another kiss, “I think that should be how we start all of our conversations.”
“I think I agree,” she laughs as she steps back slightly to start walking on the trail again. It was a few moments before her demeanor shifts to more hesitant, “I wanted to finish the conversation we were having last night.”
“Alright,” I tell her, “You were telling me that you weren’t a gifted wolf.”
“Because I’m not,” she says.
I pull her forward so I could look at her, “Then how was that little girl healed?” I ask her, “The light coming from your hands and the way you describe how you healed her are the same from reports of other healers, of other gifted wolves. So why don’t you believe it?”
“It’s not about belief,” she tells me as she starts walking again, “I know for a fact that I’m not the healer that saved that little girl that day.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, confused on why she kept denying it.
“When I asked earlier, you said that you didn’t know a lot about gifted wolves,” she started, keeping her eyes on the trees and the sky as we walked instead of me.
“I know the basics and what I’ve read in reports,” I tell her honestly.
“What do you know about pregnant she-wolves?” she asks.
“What?” I ask confused, “What do you mean?”
“I’m talking about a gifted wolf when it’s still young, when it hasn’t even been born yet,” she says, her voice quiet among the silent forest.
I stop walking for a second, slowly trying to understand. I was about to ask her to explain, for I had a feeling I knew what she was going to tell me, but I didn’t get a chance.
It happened in a split second. I didn’t even register what was happening until they were already on top of us.
A rogue snarled as the rest attacked us. There was six of them, all in wolf form, ready to kill us.
Pulling Ellie behind me, I shifted and cut the first one off. I grabbed onto the fur of his neck, twisting to snap his neck as two more jumped on top of my back.
Looking over to Ellie, I saw as she defended herself from one of the rogues as a different one snuck behind and rammed into her legs, knocking her down. Growling out, I twisted my head to the rogue on the top of my back, biting into his side as I shook the other one off me and throwing him into a tree.
Running right at the one above Ellie, I sank my claws into his side as we both snarl and bite at each other. I ripped and tore at him until I finally got my claws right into his throat. Using all my strength, I tore into his skin and killed him.
Turning back to Ellie, I watched as the rogue lashed at her, but she kicked it right in his side. She grabbed a branch from the path and drove it into his ribs. He fell to the ground, instantly dead.
Another growl sounded from behind us as we both prepared for the last wolf to attack. Watching his eyes, I growled out at him as he snarled at us. He started to sprint towards us when he jumped.
But instead of landing in front of us, he flew backwards into a tree. He went to get up, but the second he did, the tree split, impaling the rogue.
Shifting back, I stared at the dead wolves as I looked at the last one, “What was that?”
“That was me,” I prepared for another attack as a man stepped out from behind a tree. He was tall with auburn hair. I noticed he was wearing a dark cloak as he walked closer to me. I could feel energy and power coming off him, but not like a werewolf. He was something else, “I’m here to help.”
I was about to ask him who he was when I felt a sharp pain across my stomach.
Mate! Knox screamed to me.
I turned the second I felt it. Staring at Ellie, I watched as she pulled her hand away from her stomach. It was covered in blood as the red bled into her clothing, “Axton,” she breathed out, collapsing onto the ground.