I heard footsteps all around me, and then a voice spoke in my head.
“Who are you?”
It was a stern male voice that I immediately recognized.
I spun around to face him and my eyes scanned a huge black wolf and the four other wolves closely behind him.
“Asher?” I thought in my head, hoping he could somehow hear me like I heard him.
“Liza?” He spoke in my head again.
I frantically nodded my head to confirm who I was.
All I wanted to do right now was jump into his arms and beg him to never let go.
But I faced two problems. I didn’t know how to shift back, and I didn’t have any clothes to change into.
Asher walked behind a tree and a couple seconds later, walked back in his human form with basketball shorts on. Where did he get those?
“You have to shift back Liza.” He said softly.
“I don’t know how!” I thought, frustrated.
“Close your eyes and picture yourself in your human form.” Jay’s voice said in my head.
So I did exactly that, but not before going behind a tree.
“Um, Ash. I need some clothes.” I called when I was back in my human form.
“Oh yeah, here you go.” He muttered and a second later I saw a pair of shorts and a T-shirt at my feet. Where did he store all these clothes?
They were too big but I wasn’t complaining, at least I had something on.
I walked out from behind the tree and ran into Asher’s outstretched arms.
“I missed you.” I whispered, trying hard to hold back my tears.
He stayed silent as we stood there in each other's arms.
“What did he do to you?” He whispered after a while, taking me by surprise.
Tears again threatened to break free but I blinked them back.
“I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
“We should go.” He snapped, obviously frustrated, before ending our embrace and stomping away.
Why wouldn’t she tell me what happened? I was her mate, she could tell me anything. Did she not trust me?
I looked over my shoulder at my little mate who was practically jogging to keep up with me and softly chuckled at how cute she looked. My frustration was forgotten when my attention was on her.
She heard me laugh and glared daggers, so I slowed down my pace to walked beside her.
“It’s nice of you to join me.” She remarked sarcastically, rolling her beautiful steel eyes.
I stayed silent and wrapped my arm around her waist, pulling her as close to me as possible.
“What are we?” She suddenly blurted, looking anywhere but at me.
“What do you mean?” I asked, scrunching my eyebrows in confusion.
She let out a nervous laugh, “I’m your mate but I’m not your girlfriend or anything.”
I nodded, understanding what she was getting at.
“Will you do me the honour of being my girlfriend?” I asked causally, although my heart hammered in my chest. I'd wanted to ask her to be mine since the day we met, but I didn't want to scare her away. I never wanted to rush her.
And part of me was terrified that she'd reject me.
“I'd love to.” Liza replied without hesitation, looking down at the ground in an attempt to hide her blush.
A smiled made its was onto my face and my inner wolf howled with joy.
“You’re cute when you blush.” I told her, gently putting my hand under her chin to tilt her head up so I could look her in the eyes.
Her cheeks grew even more red when she met my gaze, and my smile grew.
As we continued to walk through the forest my mind wandered back to everything that happened in the last twenty-four hours. I had no idea what happened to Liza and it was killing me.
“You don’t have to tell me right now, but I would really like to know what Jason did to you. You can tell me anything.” I broke the silence. I needed her to know that she could trust me.
She pulled away and looked up at me, her eyes swirling with pain and frustration.
“I don’t want to talk about it”
And before I could say anything she was storming away in the wrong direction.
“The pack house is that way.” I called after her, pointing in the opposite direction from the one she was going.
“Thanks.” She mumbled, turning on her heels to go the right way.
My stubborn little mate.
When I got back to the pack house I locked myself in my room and wouldn't let anyone in. I needed time alone.
I looked at my alarm clock and was shocked at the time. I spent four hours locked in here.
Four hours without Asher.
I opened the door as quietly as possible and stepped into the hallway, wondering where Ash was. But I didn't have to wait long for the answer to that question because my eyes instantly landed on him, fast asleep sitting against the wall across from my door.
"Aw." I cooed, unable to keep quiet. He looked so cute and peaceful when he was asleep.
His eyes shot open in reaction to my voice and instantly met my gaze.
Relief flooded his face when he realized I wasn’t locked in my room anymore.
He gracefully jumped to his feet and walked over to me.
“Hey.” He whispered, pulling me into his arms.
I happily returned his embrace, giving in to the comfort it brought me. Being in his arms felt so right.
It felt like home.
“I’m sorry I avoided you.” I apologized, feeling truly bad for shutting him out.
“I’m sorry I upset you. You don’t have to tell me if it makes you uncomfortable.” He replied, placing a soft kiss on the top of my head.
“I don’t want you to get mad. And I know you will if I tell you.” I voiced my concerns. I knew Asher wouldn't judge me for what happened, but he would be furious with Jason, and I was scared of what he would do when he found out.
I could feel him tense up under my arms, alarmed by my words.
“I’ll try to stay calm. If you want my mom to be in the room or maybe Becca and Jay, so they could keep me calm I-”
I cut him off before he could say any more.
I knew I would have to tell him eventually, I might as well get it over and done with.
I took his hand and led him downstairs and into the living room.
“Can you ask Jay, Becca and your mom to come?” I requested when we were sat on our usual couch.
“Sure thing.” He agreed, using the mind link to do as I asked, and a couple minutes later the three of them were in the room sitting on the couch across from us.
“Okay Liza, tell us what happened, and start from when you were taken.” Asher spoke, turning to give me his full attention.
I easily told them everything that happened up until right before I passed out in the basement. Did I really want them to know everything? It wouldn't hurt anyone if I kept the last part to myself. They didn't need to know, right?
And what if they attacked Jason and Madison after I told them the full story?
I knew I sounded crazy, but violence wouldn't fix anything. I didn't want anyone else getting hurt, even the people that hurt me.
“Um, well, H-he.” I stared, but hesitated.
“Go on dear.” Mrs. Mitchell softly encouraged.
The truth will set you free a voice in the back of my mind coaxed me.
Tears pooled in my eyes, “H-h-he took advantage of me.”
I looked down and my hands in shame, tears now falling down my cheeks.
“What?” Jay and Asher yelled, anger clear in their voices.
I looked up and saw Mrs. Mitchell and Becca staring at me in pity.
My cheeks heated up in embarrassed, but I was also relieved. It felt good to get it off my chest. It wasn't healthy to keep everything bottled up inside.
Asher jumped up and Jay followed suit.
“That bastard!” Jay yelled, shaking in anger.
I swore he was almost more upset than Asher. But I had no idea why. I wasn’t really anything to him.
In the blink of an eye the two were heading for the front door, no doubt to rip Jason's head off, but I couldn't let them.
"Don't hurt him" I desperately called after them.
They stopped dead in their tracks.
“He deserves to die.” Asher growled, shaking so violently I thought he would shift at any second.
“No he doesn’t, it’ll just make more problems for us. Besides, I don’t want a murderer for a mate and boyfriend.” I argued.
He seemed to calm down a bit when I called him my boyfriend, and my heart swelled at the affect I had on him.
“He can’t get away with this.” Jay interjected, trying to rile Asher back up.
“Liza is right. It will just make more problems.” Mrs. Mitchell chimed in.
What surprised me was how quiet Becca was. She always had something to say, it was a miracle that she hadn't said anything yet.
“We’ll talk about this tomorrow.” Asher said in his commanding alpha voice, effectively ending the discussion.
“Let’s go to bed.” He suggested to me, taking my hand and leading me to my room.
Once we were inside and snuggled into bed Asher faced me and brushed some hair out of my face.
“I’m sorry this happened to you. I wont let it happen again. I’m never letting you out of my sight, I promise.”
“Okay.” I whispered as my eyes grew heavy. I didn’t notice how exhausted I was until now.
I finally closed my eyes and began to doze off when Asher spoke again.
“Yeah?” I replied, half asleep.
“I love you.”