My mom knew that she wouldn't be able to comfort me. her fingers gently comb through my hair as my tears slowly stopped falling.
My body and mind feel numb. I try to force myself not to blink because when I do, I see Cade's face.
But the white walls of the room are the perfect canvas for the ice blue eyes that I met on the field to dance.
Either way, I am haunted by what could have been or what could be.
I can't help feeling like if this Alpha is somehow my mate, that it's disrespectful to not only Cade's family but to Cade as well.
He's gone from us and yet somehow I get a second chance at happiness?
What have I done to deserve that?
Cade is the hero, not me and yet I get another chance?
Guilt floods through my body like molasses, turning my blood cold. Would it be selfish to accept another wolf when I don't deserve it?
Is it fair to this Alpha?
"Mom, this is impossible right?" my voice is thicker than I thought from all the crying.
"I once thought werewolves were impossible," she says softly.
I know she is trying to help, but the situations are a little different. She was a human mated to a wolf. Of course, she didn't know werewolves were real, but that doesn't help me.
"What do you feel?" she asks, turning to face me.
"Confused," I shrug my shoulders in defeat.
Usually, my mom is good at knowing what I feel, how did she miss this?
"That's not what I'm talking about. Dig deeper," my eyebrows knit together in confusion but she just stares at me.
I don't know what I'm supposed to feel. Sadness that Cade is gone or happiness that another is trying to claim me?
I take a deep breath trying to calm the chaos that is my mind.
I am suspended in nothing as I inhale the intoxicating scent of woods and fresh pineapples.
My wolf comes alive with excitement and anticipation. I now know what she meant. I know what I feel.
I feel my mate.
He's nearby, calling out to me like a sirens' song. Beautiful and hypnotic, hazing my every thought.
My wolf urges me forward and I don't even realize I moved until I'm staring at the front door of the pack house. My hand presses against the wood.
I can feel him just outside the door.
I can hear the growls and shouts without even opening the door. Do I want to even know what is going on?
If it was rogues they would have told us, right?
Either way, my family and my mate are out there.
I twist the doorknob and open the door revealing the madness outside.
Everyone stops dead in their tracks as if someone paused a movie.
Dozens of eyes stare back at me as I step through the threshold and onto the porch, but only one pair of ice blue eyes has my heart thumping wildly.
His chest rises and falls rapidly and a few men have a tight grip on his arms.
Everything about him is drawing me in, from his messily styled hair to his perfectly sculpted jaw.
How did I miss the call of him before?
He pulls his arms from the grasp of the men and runs through his hair as if it's some natural instinct.
But my mind (and wolf) only noticed the way his muscles flexed with the movement, under his shirt.
"Hailey, he's fighting for control. Let us handle this." my dad steps in front of me, cutting my view of my mate.
I look at him like he spoke a foreign language. Why is the Alpha fighting control?
And if that's the case, wouldn't I as his mate, be able to calm him.
But he couldn't calm you when you shifted on the field. My subconscious reminds me as my eyes scan over the clearing.
Pack warriors from both sides stand on our lawn and Beta's stand by their Alpha.
Alex and Mason wear similar stoic expressions, but their eyes hold something else.
Something I can't place.
"Let me handle it," I say to my dad, stepping around him.
"Hails, it's dangerous-" Jake grabs my elbow to stop me.
"I would never hurt my mate!" The Alpha growls out, interrupting the rest of what Jake was gonna say.
My body thrums with an energy I have only ever dreamed about when I hear his voice again.
I give Jake a small nod. Alpha Thomas won't hurt me.
Still, I see the apprehension in their eyes as I turn back to face the still agitated Alpha.
"I'm sorry about all this, Thomas," saying his name out loud for the first time affected him as much as it did me.
I see the small shiver that passes through his body. He tore his arm out of his Beta's hold and closed the gap between us in a matter of seconds.
His strong arms wrapped around my body and for a moment, everyone disappeared.
My arms slowly found their way around his neck and a growl of satisfaction sounded from his chest as he buried his face in my neck.
"Mine," he gently placed a kiss at the junction of my shoulder and neck.
My knees wobbled. I wonder if this is what it would have felt like with Cade?
I pull away like I was burned when I remember Mason and Alex are among the forgotten crowd.
I don't want them to think I've forgotten Cade. I could never!
How am I supposed to navigate this?
"I'm sorry, I got overexcited. I'll control him." Thomas reaches out for me, but I back away a few steps, even though it was difficult to do.
"I can't-" my voice wobbles as I take another step away, but I can't even think about what I should stay.
"Hailey?" a little voice rang out from the porch.
I turn to see Hannah being picked up by my dad. Her pigtails messy looking like she just woke up from a nap.
"Hannah baby, go back inside, sweetie." he coos softly, but she doesn't even look like she's listening.
"Hailey, who is that man?" he voice calls through the air but I can hear the apprehension in her voice.
Before I can respond, a warm hand wraps around my waist pulling me into a firm side.
"I'm Thomas, Hailey's mate and who are you sweetheart?" if I was thinking even a little bit, I would have moved or spoken.
But I don't. I'm too absorbed in the warmth of Thomas and I didn't see what was coming until it was too late.
"No," Hannah cries, tears welling in her eyes, "Hailey is Cade's mate! They said so!" I snap out of my trance and try to run to comfort Hannah, but Thomas' grip had tightened around me.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I see Mason rush towards a now hysterical Hannah. But my eyes are focused on the blue eyes swirling with black as they stare at me with an unreadable expression.