"Not fast enough. Shifting time in midst of an attack is not less than five seconds. Both you and your wolf have to be at one. Your main goal together is protection for your pack members and Alpha. Now AGAIN!!" William ordered to all 200 wolves below him. Black Heart had a large training field with a platform to watch over every one of their warriors. He paced the length of the platform watching and timing how fast they were shifting from human to wolf and back again. His father stood at the end with hands behind his back with a small smirk on his face. William knew that look, Phillipe Everhart was truly pleased at what he was witnessing.
'très bon fils.' (Very good son)his father commented over their link. 'Merci père' he replied feeling proud of himself.
"Much better. In groups of five, fifteen laps around the grounds. Let's go." he ordered once more. Arms folded he watched as they grouped into five, he took note of how they simply went with anyone and not look for their best friends. They helped the weaker one in their group and paced themselves exceptionally. His eyes landing on one she-wolf who was running ahead of her group not caring for the others. Head phones in her ears she continued her laps with not a care in the world. He turned to his father who too noticed the lack of participation.
William signaled Ryan and Mark who were also surveying the wolves and pointed out Charlotte. Ryan's shoulders slumped in defeat as he tried to call out to her but no response. Mark walked to the next running marker to draw her attention. He did get her to stop but she brushed him off and continued her laps. William growled under his breath at her defiance in one jump he made it off the platform and rushed up to the next running marker. Charlotte stopped in her tracks momentarily then made way to continue pass him. He shot out his hand and held on tightly, "Let go of me." she spat.
He ignored her and detached the headphones and phone from her then held them out behind him. Ryan came up to retrieve them watching his Beta with questionable eyes. "How in the world did you become Beta of this pack? Do you know what is loyalty? Family? Safety?" he growled.
"I earned my position. Who are you to question it." she returned trying to pull away from him. "Charlotte what is with you?" Ryan asked lowly stepping closer to her.
"We don't need them. Why are we even taking orders from them" she snapped her voice getting louder.
Curious glances were thrown their way as the other wolves passed them, she was drawing a crowd bringing attention to herself. William and Ryan was confused as to why she was acting this way. "Is there a problem Beta Charlotte?" the heavy french accent of his father joined the trio in which both men stepped back and allowed him through.
Phillipe kept his eyes on her as she hesitated to answer him truthfully. He nodded to his son who called out to the other four who was grouped with her. "Since your beta do not know the meaning of team work you all would be doing the obstacle course now." William ordered. They looked at Charlotte who kept her head held high and walked pass them.
"Not so fast mademoiselle. Any sign of no teamwork you all would be doing it again and again till I see all five of you working as a team. I think you should get to it. The rains are coming again." Phillipe said coldly. Her back stiffen as she continued her walk this time with her team mates. The three men looked on as the group made their way to the training course. "How long has she been like this this?" William asked terribly concerned.
"Since Alpha Jacob's attack." Ryan answered before going back to the other wolves. "Is that her?" his father asked as they slowly walked to the course. He nodded his answer yes while ruffling his wild hair at loss with Charlotte's attitude.
"Her wolf is angry because she is denying whatever her wolf wants." Phillipe said squeezing his son's shoulder in support. William stopped with his head low, "Maybe...Maybe I should give her what she wants. A rejection." he said hating the words that came from his mouth.
"Où est mon fils qui m'a dit qu'il ne sera pas renoncer à la femme qu'il aime?" (Where is my son who told me he won't give up on the woman he loves?) his father asked bringing his son's face up to see his eyes.
"Dad. She's denying her wolf and hurting herself in the process. Grayson is uneasy and needs her wolf but Charlotte won't give in to him, me or her wolf. She wants to be free of me." William felt lost to the world witnessing the love Renae showed for Jacob how determined she was to find him. The woman took a bullet for her mate. He envied his best friend for finding that kind of love a second time around, a forever love.
"I know you wished for this since you became of age do you want to deny yourself this chance to prove to her that the mate bond is right? That you two are meant for each other?"
He turned over his father's words as they reached the course, standing at the sidelines. Charlotte was still on her lonesome, her movements showed pent up anger as she took the course skillfully. "I hate to see her like this father." he confessed, "I want to hold her till I see that smile again. I need to hear her say my name with love and not disgust."
"Then don't give up." Phillipe said bringing in his son for a fatherly hug."Il est temps que je laisse les choses à vous ne pensez pas? Laissez-moi jouer grand-père. Oui?" (It's time I leave things to you don't you think? Let me play grandfather. Yes?) he teased William.
"Can it old man. Let me get your future daughter first."
Phillipe laughed and left his son to his training praying to the Goddess that everything goes right.
"FROM THE TOP!" It was the fourth time he shouted that order and it grated her nerves whenever he spoke. Charlotte stopped mid swing of the bars dropping to the muddy pit below. The loud grumblings of the others reached her ears but she paid them no mind. She just wanted to be alone but only took part in this training because of her position and didn't want R.J to look bad.
The torn look on her best friend's face as they left in a hurry from the company cemented as to why she didn't want a mate or any committed relationship that involves feelings. One phone call can make you go crazy with worry or lifetime heart ache. She didn't need that in her life and she would prove it every one. Prove to them that you can live a life without being attached to someone while pursuing your dreams.
'That life isn't for us Charlotte and you know this.' her wolf snapped. The anger was too much for Charlotte to handle it brought her to her hands and knees. Mud splattered over her face and body as the rain made contact with her back harshly.
'Mila. Stop. Please. I beg of you.' she begged her wolf.
'NO. He was right. You're so selfish. You agreed to be mateless. You agreed to reject him. You didn't even give him a chance. Let me out. I need to be with him.' Mila shouted fighting to shift into her wolf form. Charlotte's body ached as she fought with her wolf, no one would understand why she doesn't want this. She thought her wolf would understand but apparently not.
Strong arms wrapped around her body calming her wolf instantly, his scent alone made Mila retreat and bask in the comfort her mate was giving her. "Charlotte please stop this." he begged. She shook her head no, struggling to get out of his hold but no luck. She simply slipped on the mud while the rain matted her hair against her face blocking her vision.
"Tell me what's wrong. You're hurting your wolf." he said in a defeated tone. The hurt was there, she heard it and even felt it as he loosen his hold on her. She stayed still her head turned away from him, no one spoke only the rain covered their silence.
Should she tell him? Tell him the reason why she truly didn't want him as a mate and just maybe he would grant her the rejection she wanted.
"Why are you really here William?" she asked over the rain. He focused on his mate how closed off she was being but still asked a question that had a very deep answer. Knowing that she wouldn't appreciate that answer he stuck to the ordinary answer. "Jacob needs me." he said with a straight face. Her heart ached with his answer and was surprised that it affected her so much. No, she didn't want this. Keeping up the nonchalant facade she continued, "His mate have everything under control. You can leave you know."
William chuckled but deep down Charlotte just crushed his heart with her words. He stood and turned his face to the big raindrops falling from the sky wanting them to wash it all away. "Would you believe me if I tell you right now that I love you? Did you even believe me when I first said it?" he asked smiling sadly to the grey skies.
No answer. No snide comment. Nothing.
He roughly pulled her up, pushing her hair from her face he was about to say something but stopped when he caught her red glossy eyes. She was biting her lips so hard he thought they were going to bleed. "Oh baby" he cooed caressing her cheek with his thumb.
"I don't want to be like them." she cried lowering her head wanting to be out of his arms.
"Like who baby?"
"My mom. Renae." she listed taking his hands away from her face and slowly walked over to the covered benches. It didn't take long for William to come sit beside her. He didn't say nothing nor wanting to push her, Charlotte was lost in memories as she stared out into the scene before them unseeingly.
"My dad was in the army, a sergeant. One of the best and bravest his team told me when they came to console my mom and I. He missed my seventeenth birthday. I didn't make a fuss because he's in the army right, it happened before he would just call and sing me happy birthday. His men would be back up singers as he gave me the rock star birthday song. But. No call. I waited for three days. No call. On the fourth day I didn't get a call, I got a visit from the Washington Office two fellow army men and a shiny black car. They didn't have to tell me anything. Daddy wasn't going to sing me happy birthday ever again.
Mom. My mother became a ghost, she no longer saw any one not even me. She stayed in their room and slept in his jacket every night. The house was no longer filled with music and laughter just sadness and silence. His death consumed her they were mates after all. It lasted years, she refused to come out pass our porch she just wanted to be closed to daddy. She missed my high school graduation, I didn't mind because I know seeing her sitting alone in the audience would make it more real that daddy didn't get to see me cross that stage. I learned from a young age how a mate bond can give and take away. I didn't want to live that same pain my mother did.
And with Renae, I saw how she was near destruction when she heard of Jacob being attacked. Do you know that she's still in his hospital room?It's like four days now since I've seen my best friend. Her attachment to him made her lost to the world. I don't want to be like that to the people around me if I ever lost my mate. Living this career driven life would hinder it all for me."
William stayed quiet as he processed her true meaning in rejecting him. She was protecting herself though in her mind it was the right thing to do it was destroying herself and her wolf also.
"I can promise you the world and that may never happen. I can promise you that the rains would stop and shine for the rest of the week and that wouldn't happen. I can go to my knees and promise you that I would never leave your side and that promise can be broken by life itself. The whole reason why mates are given to us is to take that chance at a new life with someone. Someone who would care for you. Comfort you and love you. Give that person something to live by even after your death." William told her all of this with his heart on a platter for her. He was practically asking her to take a risk in life with him, let him show her that it was okay to be scared. That they would be scared together and overcome it all.
Charlotte replayed his words in her head with a very pushy wolf telling her to listen to him. Promises are meant to be broken even mate bonds but can she risk her heart. Go against her firm decision?
'You can do this. WE can do this. Everything happens for a reason.' Mila said softly.
Her heart thundered in her chest as she made her decision, she was going into this head first heart later. Her trembling hand reached across to Williams clenched ones, with her touch he slowly opened his to accommodate hers. Treating her delicately, afraid she would pull back and leave for good. Charlotte intertwined her fingers with his and squeezed them briefly.Her body relaxed as the mentioned electrifying tingles from your mate flowed through her. It was still there even after she rejected him. She denied him and yet he's here.
"Don't you ever leave me alone in this world Everhart." she said with a small shy smile.
"Why would I want to do that?"