Chapter Twelve: Hayley
Author's Song of the Chapter: Love Me or Leave Me Alone by Dustin Lynch
I’m standing beside Joey but I can’t help my eyes from wandering to where Crane relaxes amongst his pack. Crane’s eyes are locked onto his sister his body tense as if he senses danger. Glancing at Dusk I can clearly understand his tenseness as Dusk is staring down another female her eyes glowing a green warning. I notice the majority of the Wolves in the room have noticed this quite showdown as eyes zero in on the girl Dusk stares at, clearly they back Dusk. The other female ignores the warning when she glances at Noah, who is boyishly oblivious, before shooting a hostile look at Dusk. Dusk’s lip curls up in distaste, it is then that Noah notices something is wrong and reins Dusk in before she becomes violent. I watch as Noah captivates Dusk’s attention and things calm but I know a challenge claim when I see one, this will have to be dealt with and quickly. We can’t have anything getting in the way of Penny’s plans.
“We will break for dinner and begin beta ceremonies at midnight,” Penny announces soon after the last alpha pair are mated leaving only a few mateless alphas, the fire burns low on its embers.
The Wolves file from the cavern happier than I have ever seen them here, they are caught up in the emotions of the night. I don’t blame them it is hard not to be happy on such an occasion as being properly mated. Joey waits with me as I hold us back until it is us, Penny, and Draco left in the quickly darkening cavern.
“Kiki and Dusk are not going to get along, they need an immediate chance to work out their hostilities,” I state professionally after a long passage of silence, I didn’t want Draco to know this but I had no other choice since he wasn’t going anywhere.
“I figured such. Dusk is mission-critical so if it comes down to it we will deal with Kiki.” Penny replies as she works cautiously on temporarily putting the fire out.
Joey and I leave Penny and Draco to do so and head back through the empty tunnels. The silence between us is deafening, once we would have filled the silence with easy conversation. Now conversation seems so hard.
“So, those were pretty amazing,” I state boldly hoping to kick start our past in conversation ability.
A small uncertain grin spreads across Joey’s features as he recalls the evening of mating ceremonies. I can’t help the hope that is currently squeezing my heart for my best friend’s soul.
“They were, even their sins were,” Joey responds honestly.
My mind flickers briefly to the idea of a mating ceremony of my own but I shoo it away quickly as no such thing is possible.
“You know I used to think one day we’d love each other and marry with our own beautiful little ceremony,” Joey admits suddenly his eyes meeting my own.
“I did too for a while but, then I realized it was impossible. We never loved one another at the same time, we are better as best friends.” I reply baring the truth, in some ways, to Joey.
“I love you now.” Joey blurts, he steps closer to me causing me to laugh a sad laugh that cools his features.
A moment of bravery overcomes me and I try to say what I’ve always needed to say.
“I used to think your families killer was a monster the same way you do, but, seeing these Wolves has made me realize that through my memories the killer was no more than a terrified child who lost control of something dangerous. A child who would be haunted and remorseful for the rest of her life. Bad things happen, eventually, we have to accept it and move on. Do you understand Joey?” I ask him quickly but they are not the words I truly wanted to say.
I look away as shame over my cowardice heats my cheeks causing me to turn and hurry away before Joey can react before he can hate me.