I have to find Thomas, but first, there is something I need.
My feet carry to where I want to go before I can even think my plan completely through.
I dig through the drawers of my dads' deskpushing past papers, files and stress balls, looking for the little box he put there for mom.
I found it one a couple of years ago by accident and he explained that, as a human, mom needed to be able to protect herself in case something happened.
Sure, he has taught her basic self defense over the years, but even she knows, she no match for a wolf.
So dad got her a few things for reassurance.
My fingers skim the smooth wood of the box. I take it out of the bottom drawer and set it gently on the desk.
The box is unassuming and plain. Just simple oak with a brass latch.
Tentatively, I lift the lid, admiring the perfectly untouched contents.
This is probably not the best idea.
I'm doing it anyway.
I can't just do nothing! I did that last time and look what happened!
I wonder, if given the choice, would anyone else chose what I'm about to? Would anyone else be willing to sacrifice all that I have, all that I am?
No one said it would be easy, but it will be worth it. Right?
I wrap my hand around the cool metal and toss the box back in the desk.
I don't even bother to put it back exactly how I found it. I don't care enough.
If everything goes according to my half baked plan, my dad will know where I got it anyway.
Time is running out. It's like I can feel the minutes moving by way too fast. I need to find Thomas before we leave. He needs to know the truth.
This could be my last chance to tell him.
I keep my hand in a tight fist around the metal, as I run through the house.
The lawn is littered with at least two hundred people standing in little groups.
Women have tears streaming down their faces as they clinging to their sons, mates, brothers. Their crying and begging to come home safe a sad symphony echoing through space.
My mind flashes to when I last saw Cade alive and the familiar clench of my heart.
If it hurt that bad to lose him when I didn't feel the bond, I don't want to find out what it would feel like to have the bond break.
I pray these women don't find out either.
My eyes land on Thomas, talking to Ethan on the other side of the yard.
My entire body is pulled in his direction almost as if he is north and I am but a compass.
I quickly pass through the sea of bodies, careful not to shove. I am in a hurry, but I'm not heartless.
I give no warning. I dive straight into him, wrapping my arms tightly around his waist and burying my face in his chest.
Thomas freezes in surprise but slowly relaxes and hugs me back. My heart is beating wildly in my chest, but that's a good thing right?
I pull away but maintain eye contact while cupping his cheek with my free hand.
"Let me talk first, please," I cut him off and he takes a deep breath but nods for me to continue.
This is it. I am going to say my piece of truth. Spill everything out for him and hope that he is still with me in the end.
I have to take the risk, even though I am downright terrified of the response.
"Thomas, erm -" my eyes go wide at my sudden realization and my hands drop to my side.
How do I not know my mates' last name?! Okay, wait. He is the Alpha of his pack and I know all the Alpha's surnames. But what pack is he from?
I'm a horrible mate.
"I know I've been apologizing a lot lately, but I guess I have a lot to be sorry for. And I am sorry, Thomas." My voice breaks a little at the end.
I take a shuddering breath, adjusting the metal in my fist before continuing.
"I have been a horrible mate to you and you don't deserve that. You have been nothing but borderline perfect and I repaid it with hurtful actions because I was so conflicted and confused," my eyes meet his, "And I'm not anymore."
I close the small distance between us. We are so close that I can feel his chest expand with each breath. His smell is intoxicating and I can't help but want to freeze this moment and bask in it.
Bask in him.
Thomas uses my pause to his advantage. His warm hands leave a tingling trail as the skim my cheeks and move gently pass my ears, settling behind my head. I can see the emotions floating in his eyes as he stares at me.
"You give me too much credit. I -" Once again, I cut him off. We don't have much time left and I don't want to waste it.
"I don't give you enough credit, Thomas! I had been thinking only of myself and not about how you must have been feeling." my eyes drop in shame, and I let it wash over me.
I deserve to feel the shame.
"Alright everyone, two minutes." my dads' voice booms through the yard and sobs break out around us, women clinging to their families.
My eyes meet Thomas' and my resolve is absolute. There is no going back on my plan.
I can't, the moment of truth is here.
"I'm falling in love with you," the words come out in a broken whisper as tears begin to fall down my cheeks.
Thomas looks shocked, to say the least, at my confession. I can see the uncertainty flit through his eyes and guilt floods through me again.
I made him doubt me. I made him question if I would lie about something like this.
I would never lie about this!
Before he can respond, I wrap my arms around his neck and pull his lips to mine.
It takes no time for his strong arms to wrap around my body and hold me tightly against him. Our lips move in perfect sync. My body tingling and it feels like a fire has sparked in my chest, coursing in my veins.
My free hand grips the hair that sits just above his neck as I break away for oxygen. Thomas rests his forehead against mine, a megawatt smile gracing his handsome features.
"I love you too, Hailey. So much," I close eyes at his words, absorbing everything about him,
I lied before. This is the moment I would want to freeze. This moment of bliss.
The calm before the inevitable storm, where everything is so perfect and we can just hold each other as lovers do.
But I can't freeze time. No matter how bad I wish it, the stupid clock keeps ticking away propelling us forward.
"I can't wait to be your mate. To go to your pack and make it ours. To be the mate and Luna you deserve." Fresh tears are spilling from my eyes and racing down my cheeks, "I have been so selfish, Thomas. I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am. But I promise it will all stop after this. Just one more selfish moment is all I need."
I whisper, before crashing my lips to his in a kiss that is a lot slower and a lot more passionate than before.
I quickly lift my fist and plunge the needle into his neck, emptying all the wolfsbane from the metal syringe into his blood.
I stumble a little when he tears his arms from me and grabs his neck. More tears fall from my eyes as I drop the now empty syringe to the ground.
Thomas looks at me with complete betrayal written all over his face.
He collapses to his knees and a strangled sob leaves my lips. This is harder than I thought it would be.
Thomas' is trying desperately to keep his eyes open but the top half of his body is swaying like a small tree caught in a violent wind storm.
I hear my dad call out for those who are leaving, to shift and follow him. I run towards Thomas, capturing his face in my hands. He grabs at my wrists, but his grip is weak.
"I can't lose you. I won't." I force his heavy eyes to focus on me as best as possible.
I take a step backward and then another. The last thing I hear before shifting is a heartbreaking whimper and a soft thump as the rest of his body hits the ground.