4. Can't Be
Addie had been squirreled away in her bedroom with Clark and Hunter for a couple of hours before she heard any word from her father.
Hunter was hyper alert as he kept watch. He went from the door to her windows with a panicked frequency. Since he was wasn’t part of the pack he felt out of the loop since he had no mindlink with the pack. In all honesty, he didn’t believe Addie at first when she said it was okay to leave the confines of her room.
Sweetheart, it’s safe to come out now. Her father mind linked with her.
Hunter had come over once he saw the glazed look on her face. Breathing out a large cathartic breath when he saw she was relaxed, he asked her about it.
“Who was it? What did they say?” Hunter asked urgently.
“It was my father. He said it was safe to come out now,” she told him. She watched as his face went from mistrustful to complacent when he saw no tells of a fib in her face. “I wouldn’t lie, you know. I have no reason to.”
“I know,” he told her walking towards the door. He looked out into the hallway as if to see if any looters or armed men were around then opened the door fully. With a sigh, Addie followed her mate out of the room and down the stairs. It was nearing lunchtime and her stomach was begging to be fed.
Taking out some of the leftovers from dinner the previous night, she placed a good portion of the spaghetti on a plate and into the microwave. Without thinking, she heated it up and placed the plate along with a fork and spoon in front of Hunter. She repeated the same thing with Clark and set about making herself a plate as well.
Forking the noodles onto the spoon, she twirled it before placing the bite in her mouth. Her tummy grumbled appreciatively and the three ate in relative silence before hearing the back door opening and shutting in the quiet of the house.
“Addie?” It was her father’s voice. Until that moment, she hadn’t realized how worried she had been for him. With her mother taken down by hunters and her twin sister gone by rogues, she was terrified of losing her father as well.
“Daddy?” She called out. There was something in the tone of his voice that set her nerves on edge. She quickly moved from the kitchen to the back porch where her father was standing still, knees bent slightly and his face a puzzle.
“What’s wrong? Did the rogue get away? Is everyone okay?” Adeline walked up to her father and shook his arm to gain his attention.
“What? No-everything is fine. Just complications,” he said to her. He seemed completely unraveled and chaotic. She hadn’t seen him in such a state since her sister’s life had been taken.
“What sort of complications? Where is the rogue?” Addie looked worried and there was a faint growling noise emanating from the kitchen. Hunter could hear her words no doubt with his superior hearing and she was sure he could sense the tension in her voice.
“He’s in the cells. The complications-well, the wolf says he can sense his mate in our pack,” he told her.
“But-but he’s a rogue!” she was shocked. Most rogues had either lost their mate or were kicked out of the pack for crimes that would get most humans sent to prison. Only a few would willingly leave their pack.
“He-he doesn’t smell like a rogue. His story is-interesting. If it can at all be believed,” Corbin told her.
“I would like to meet this rogue who is not a rogue and find out why he thinks his mate might be here,” Addie said strongly. She had a wicked sense of being able to tell when a person was lying to her. She could pick up their tells almost faster than the lie slipped out of one’s mouth.
“No-he is being interrogated at the moment by the Alpha.”
Addie looked down at what she was wearing. It was nothing special but good enough to interrogate a prisoner. “Is he in silver?”
“Well, yes,” her father stated hesitantly.
“Then I will be fine,” she stated. Looking at her father whose eyes seemed panicked she added, “Hunter can come with me to see the man if you are concerned for my safety.” She smiled a bit. “Think of it as a test.”
Hunter was already behind her, crowding her space as if the rogue were already right in front of her instead of in the cells.
Adeline walked out of the back door, letting Hunter follow behind her. He kept his pace next to her as her smaller legs walked swiftly towards the underground bunker that the pack called The Cells.
Pulling up the metal doors that were fit snugly into the ground, she walked down a flight of steps into a dank and dim hallway with her mate close behind her.
At least the place used to smell dank and almost moldy. There was a faint smell of sandalwood and mint and she wondered if the place had been recently cleaned or maybe someone had burnt some incense to take away the unpleasant stench of wet soil.
As Addie walked down the hallway, the smells became more pronounced and she was wondering if they were burning incense right at this moment. Whatever it was, the scent was heavenly and she had the absurd urge to ask the guards for her own supply of the fragrance. Though she was not normally one to burn any incense at all.
The long hallway eventually opened up to a long room filled with jail cells. Though the bars were made of iron, most of the cells came equipped with silver chains attached to silver cuffs to keep the prisoners weak.
She heard sound coming from the back of the room and saw that Alpha James was standing in front of a cell watching the one prisoner she had come to visit. She felt her wolf become restless but she ignored her and cut the link. She couldn’t afford to be distracted at a moment like this.
Walking up toward the Alpha, she ignored the prisoner and like a good subordinate greeting James with a bow of the head.
“Alpha,” Adeline spoke with reverence to the man who was like a second father to her. “I have come to interrogate the prisoner, with my father’s permission of course.” She added at the end.
James nodded at her, trusting her instincts implicitly. He knew of her special skill and trusted her as much as his own children and Beta.
Adeline looked towards the darkened cell. She could see the outline of a well-defined body clad only in shorts. She focused her eyes so she could see him more clearly and was astonished at the howl she heard in her head.
Shaking her head, she spoke. “What is your name, Rogue?”
“Cameron Jones,” he spoke looking up at her with a soft glint in his eye. “My little mate.”
Before she could utter another word, Addie blinked rapidly at the man in the cell before turning on her heel and heading down the hall. She was heading back out to the fresh air of the outside and didn’t even hear when Hunter called her name. Her wolf fought every step she took away from the two men who claimed her as mate.
She didn’t know how she made it as far as she did, but she came upon a small cottage near the treeline and before she could hesitate, knocked on the door to the cottage.
The door opened after thirty seconds and a kindly looking elderly woman ushered the Beta’s daughter into her small parlor at the front of the cottage. One where this woman did most of her work in.
Not all packs were so lucky to have a true blue shaman as part of their fleet, but the Willow pack was fortunate to have had the wherewithal to procure her services on a permanent basis.
“What can I do for you, my child?” the woman asked her with a toothy smile. Her age could have been anything from 60 to 100, and her leathery skin had a sheen to it that made Adeline think of the skin of a ripe apple.
“Shaman Riki,” she spoke, her voice wobbly from fear. “I have a-situation I need your advice with.”
“If it is about your mates, I already know,” she told the girl.
“You-how?” she asked.
“I foresaw it,” she simply said to Adeline.
“-didn’t I tell you?” Riki guessed correctly. “It would have been remiss of me to mention it. First, you probably wouldn’t have believed me and second, it is not for us to tempt fate. If you were to have known about this ahead of time, you may have done things differently and I personally know the mistake that would have been. The things you have done and seen in the last 24 hours were meant to happen-without my helping it along.”
“But-no one has two mates, Shaman,” she told the old woman. “I have never heard of the like. How can this be? Two halves cannot be split into three. I cannot split my heart.”
“I suggest you ask that second mate of yours,” was Riki’s reply. “His past may show you why you have received the gift of having two mates.”
Addie bristled a bit at the word ‘gift’. It would be hard enough to be attentive enough for her Alpha mate, but the rogue one? It would unthinkably difficult.
“What do I do?” she asked, more to herself than to the Shaman.
“The only way to break a mate bond is to sever it completely,” Riki told her sternly.
“But, how-” she asked.
“Death, of course, my child.” Addie immediately shook her head. She would not do that. To kill her mate, or even one of them would be akin to killing a bit of herself. A bit of her heart and she could not allow that to happen.
“Is there no other way?” she asked timidly.
“Speak to the boy-that’s all I ask. His story I fear is a sad one and once you are aware of it, you may feel you understand why this has happened.”
She wondered how she would tell Hunter, her other mate, about this. Faintly, she thought she heard his voice.
“Addie! Adeline!” It was indeed Hunter’s voice that she had heard. It was coming from outside but Adeline felt she couldn’t bear to speak with him about what Riki had told her just yet. She resolved to speak with her father and the boy first. She didn’t need Hunter going all overprotective over her about her other mate. She didn’t know the man well enough to know that he wouldn’t harm Cameron out of sheer jealousy. Wolves-especially Alphas- were known to protect their loved ones to the death.
Adeline slipped out the back door of the cottage with Riki’s help. She walked along the edge of the trees before making her way towards the cellar where Cameron was shackled in silver.
Walking slowly down the corridor towards the cells, she looked down at her feet. She smelled he Alpha was still there, along with her own father.
“Adeline?” her father called to her softly and she brought her face up to his. He was looking at her with trepidation as if the next words would sting. “This rogue claims to be your mate. Only you can tell us the truth. Is he speaking falsehoods or were you given two mates?”
Addie looked at her father, unsure of what to say. Instead of answering, she made a request.
“Unshackle him,” she told a guard. The guard immediately stilled at the odd request.
“But-” her father started.
“He will not harm me. And yes, he speaks true,” she said with a slight waver to her voice. God this was awkward.
Out of her periphery, Adeline saw the Alpha give a slight nod to the guard. He opened the door to the cell and she walked to the dim corner where Cameron was strung up. As soon as the shackles came off, his hands went to his wrists which were red and raw.
Adeline upon seeing the state of the skin on his wrists immediately walked into the cell and up to her mate, looking down at them and cupping the back of his hands with hers.
“Are you okay?” she asked quietly looking up into his face. She watched his eyes lock onto her as she took in his appearance. He had shaggy dark brown hair and piercing green eyes the color of clover. The fragrance of sandalwood with a touch of mint nearly made her knees weak. The scent was muskier than Hunter’s and she realized with dread that another person had come into the room.
“Adeline?” Hunter’s voice was soft and inquisitive as he took in the scene before him. His mate was so close to the man who said she was his and he immediately held back a snarl.
“It’s okay, Hunter. He is not a rogue and will not harm me, lest in the end he harm himself.” She was sure of this as she was sure of anything. Not a bit of malice was written on his face and she knew for sure then that she was his, as she was also Hunter’s.
“I’m fine, Dearest.” she heard Cameron speak and knew he didn’t know her name. “If that was the worst pain that I would have endure before meeting you, I would gladly go through it again and again.”
A faint growl was heard as Hunter couldn’t keep his beast at bay.
“Enough!” Alpha James boomed with his Alpha tone. “It is obvious that there is some explaining to do and I would like it if we could do that elsewhere. This place stinks.”
“If you don’t mind Alpha, I would like to have a word with my mates in private first,” she asked of him politely. “I have a feeling there is more to this story than an error on the part of mother nature or the Moon Goddess-whichever you prefer.”
“It is your choice, Adeline,” he told her in a softer tone. “I will leave you to speak alone with your mates in my study. I will head back to the training grounds to observe.”
The Alpha looked over at his Beta with a stern look. “Come, Corbin. We should let them talk this out. Perhaps there was an error in this...situation. But it is no business of ours to interfere with it. If your daughter says he is safe, then she is.”
Grabbing hold of Cameron’s hand, she walked towards Hunter with a somewhat mystified look on her face. She had no idea even where to begin the discussion, but heading towards the study seemed the only rational thing to do at the moment.
“Come on, Hunter. We need to talk about whatever...this is,” she said as she grabbed his hand as well.
They left the damp confines of the underground chamber behind them, leaving the place silent except for the occasional drip of moisture on the ground.