I surprised everyone, myself included, by not shifting on the spot.
As soon as those words left Alex's mouth, my wolf just shut down.
That's the best way to describe how I feel right now. My wolf is there, but she's doing nothing. She's not angry or pacing but rather, in shock.
I'm not sure what to do about it, but I have bigger things to worry about.
My mom. Sam. Hannah.
However many more that are missing - taken by the same son-of-a-bitch that killed Cade.
Jake took us into our Dad's office, well I guess it's Jake's office while Dad is unavailable.
I stare at the table, not really seeing it as Jake and Alex talk with Thomas and his Beta, who I learned is named Ethan.
I don't even pretend to follow what they are talking about.
Dad and Mason are unconscious. The doctor suspects that Wolfsbane was involved, which would explain how so many wolves were taken out of the shelter.
I mean, my mom was is a pretty easy target. She is human, after all, but Sam... She could have fought back.
She would have fought back.
None of it makes sense though. Why kidnap? What is their end game in this?
"We did get one rogue and he's in the cells but he hasn't been questioned yet. Even if he tells us where they are, we don't have the numbers or strength to attack today," Jake's words push through the fog that had taken over my mind and my eyes snap to him.
"I can call more warriors from my pack to help with -"
"You have a rogue that was captured during the attack?" my palms slam loudly against the desk as I cut off whatever Thomas was saying.
All eyes turn to me and I glare back at Jake. Doesn't he know that before we even attack back, we should know why they attacked in the first place?
"Hailey, it's not -"
"No, Jake! We need to know why they attacked!" I shout but as soon as I say the words out loud, the reality of the situation hits me.
"You already know why they attacked, don't you?" both Beta's drop their heads at my accusation but Thomas and Jake stare at me with cautious eyes.
I take a step away from the table, hurt evident on my face.
Why would they keep something like that from me? Am I not involved in this too? Was it not my mate killed in the first attack and my family hurt and kidnapped in the second?
Jake takes a deep breath, his hands running through his hair as he thinks of his next words carefully.
"I know you smelt him when you got here. I saw it on your face, and he was here. But he wasn't fighting, Hailey, he was watching. I tried to get to him. but every time I made a break, I was intercepted by another rogue. I got so close," I can see the frustration on Jake's face, that once again, this rogue has slipped through our grasp.
"He gave an injured wolf a message before they left. He said 'I have what my girl wants back'." my heart stops and dread washes over me.
It's numbing, taking out my fingers and toes first but slowly traveling towards my heart.
Jake doesn't have to say who his girl is. He wants me and he's already taken everything I love.
The lamp smashes on the ground and before I can even register that it was destroyed by my hands, everything that was on the desk is scattered on the floor.
My vision is red and I'm on a warpath throwing everything that I can get my hands on to the ground. When I run out of things to throw, my fist goes through the wall like it wasn't even there.
"Enough, Hailey. You need to calm down." Thomas grabs my wrist before I can make another hole in the wall, his eyes inspecting my bloodied knuckles.
"Calm down?!" I don't even recognize my voice as I rip my arm from his grip, giving him a humorless laugh.
"My family is missing and for some fucking reason, it's all my fault because that nasty rogue wants me!"
"And we will get them back. This is why we didn't want to tell you. You need to keep a level head." Thomas steps towards me, but I react by pushing him away.
"That son-of-a-bitch Killed my mate!"
"I AM YOUR MATE!" Thomas roars, his eyes darkening and his breathing becoming heavier.
Thomas doesn't take his eyes off me but someone clears their throat.
"We're just going to... go... somewhere," Jake says, ushering Alex and Ethan out of the room.
The door clicks shut and I drag my hand down my face as tears begin to fall from my eyes.
He doesn't understand the pain I'm in. He doesn't understand that no matter what, Cade will never leave my heart.
He will always be my best friend, my mate. Even if I was given another, I can't erase that part of me.
"You don't understand. I -"
"No, I guess I don't understand. I am your mate, Hailey. ME! Not Cade." I stare at Thomas in shock, but before I can even think of how to respond he continues.
"I'm sorry you're hurt because you lost him, but I cannot bring myself to wish for him to be here with you instead of me. I know that sounds fucked up, but you don't understand. I never had another mate, you're it for me. Do you not feel the same bond I feel? Or do you feel it, but only accept it when it's convenient for you?" Tears flow down my cheeks as I grip my chest, hoping to force more oxygen into my lungs.
I feel like I am being forced to choose, Thomas or Cade. But how could I make such a decision?
It's not fair to ask that of me. There has to be a middle ground. One I just don't see yet, but that we can find once we both calm down.
"Are you done?" I ask, folding my arms over my chest.
I focus on my breathing, willing my own heart to calm down. Thomas takes a deep breath and runs a hand through his hair with a shrug.
"I cannot be blamed for not being Cade. I care about you. Hell, even though we just met, I might even be in love with you. But I'm not going to compete with his memory. It's not fair. My pack and I will help get the missing wolves and your mom back. But yes, I'm done." he turns on his heel and leaves before I can stop him.
I stare at the open door in shock, absorbing his words as more tears pool in my eyes.
He didn't say it, but that sounded like a rejection.
It sure as hell felt like one too.