Chapter Twenty: Hayley
Song of the Chapter: A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life, I don’t think anyone has. The humans cower away from the intense heat Dusk and Noah are producing while the Wolves are captivated with them. Red and blue flames crackle in between Dusk and Noah’s bare-bones lighting up their figures as their eyes glow an intimidating green and electric gray. The remains of the two Wolves Dusk fought are quickly burnt away turning into ashes that swirl into the sky being carried away. The swelling river water steams as it comes in contact with them turning into instant vapour. The Colonel stands with Joey at the edge of the ridge and his eyes are alight with excitement that doesn’t sit well with me, I don’t want to overthink it and ruin everything so I push my unease aside. Suddenly the entire sky electrifies before a bolt of lightning shoots down striking Dusk and Noah creating a blinding light that has me blinking furiously as I wipe at my eyes. The loudest crack of thunder I have ever heard follows as I press my hands to my ears black spots dotting my slowly returning vision. One of the betas, Carl, raises a hand to the sky, instantly the clouds begin to disperse lightning until only a light drizzle remains. When my eyes finally re-adjust I turn my gaze back to Noah and Dusk, they have returned to normal the only hint of what they are beneath their skin is the scorched ground around where they stand. Dusk moves quickly up the ravine, Noah on her heels, as she heads for where Victor has become surrounded by humans. They part easily for Dusk's new respect instiled within them at what they’ve witnessed. Crane and I jog over close so that we stand next to Noah as he watches Dusk.
“Are you okay?” Dusk asks Victor as she kneels down to meet him eye to eye.
Victor visibly shakes where he sits on the ground Diana holding his upper torso up from the ground. Deep bite marks bleed thick streams from his thigh where either Perry or Kiki got a hold of him. Victor’s face is visibly pale as he holds onto Pauline’s hand tightly. Victor’s eyes turn up to Dusk’s and his jaw sets.
“I’m dying,” Victor tells Dusk, his voice is thick with attempted hidden emotion.
Dusk kneels down to Victor ripping the pant leg open so she can get a good look at the bite mark. Victor winces as she pokes at the skin gingerly assessing it.
“Yes you are dying but, you don’t have to be if you choose to let me help you,” Dusk states gently.
“Help me, do you mean turning me into one of you?” Victor questions visibly not happy at the idea.
“No I mean heal you, do you trust me?” Dusk prods as Victor swallow back a small spasm of pain.
“We trust you, please help him in any way that you can!”Diana begs her voice cracking and I know she and Victor have some kind of relationship.
Victor gasps his eyes fluttering before they roll closed as his body shakes in pain, he is losing consciousness. Diana and Dusk share an acknowledgement, an understanding. I hold my breath hoping that Dusk can help Victor, I don’t know how powerful Wolf’s healing ability truly is. Can it truly save one on the brink of death, change the way of life? Everyone watches curiously as Dusk switches places with Diana before biting into her wrist, her own blood riveting down her arm. She presses her wrist tightly to Victor’s slightly parted lips and waits.
“Drink Victor.” Dusk whispers as she closes her eyes letting them flutter as she takes in shallow breathes.
“Will this really work?” Diana questions no one in particular as she holds herself tightly watching Dusk and Victor.
“Before I was a Wolf I was stabbed, a killing wound. If it hadn’t been for Dusk I would have died in minutes. It will work.” Noah reassures Diana gently.
As if Noah’s words give Victor a boost his throat moves and he quickly begins to drink. We watch in pure wonder as the once killing wound on his thigh heals up. Muscles stitch back together as the skin stretches over closing up the wounds completely until only a scar of the injury is left. With a gasp, Victor pops up taking in quick breaths. Unlike with healing me Dusk doesn’t teeter or appear weak as she stands moving to Noah’s side where he gives her his blood to heal her own wounds. Together they are stronger than they were before.
“I told you this would be a pretty cool idea,” Victor says to Diana who has crouched before him, a goofy smile spread across his lips.
Diana let’s out a shaky laugh before punching him in the shoulder, he fakes hurt before popping to his feet inspecting his new scar.
“I left a scar, figured you wouldn’t want me to get rid of it.” Dusk shoots Victor a sideways smile that he responds to by moving quickly and hugging her.
Dusk is extremely gentle when she hugs him back, the gesture is a sign of great respect born between us and the humans. Penny stands close by a beaming smile on her face at the quick progress that we have made. I glance around briefly and notice that Colonel Chaplin and Joey are standing very close together talking in hushed tones. When Chapline claps Joey on the back my suspicions rise, I nudge Crane who turns looking down at me. I motion towards where Chaplin and Joey stand, he quickly turns his attention to them listening in a way that I don’t know-how. As if Joey can feel Crane’s gaze he turns to meet Crane’s eyes ending the conversation with Chaplin before they move to join Penny’s side. Crane tracks them his posture taking on an uneasiness that spreads quickly through all of the Wolves as they sense his mistrust of those two.
“I’d say that’s quite enough for one day, shall we retire to you’re new dwelling for the next while?” Penny calls out as if she’s sensed the tension.
Penny motions for Dusk and Noah to join her, they do as we all follow. Crane and I fall back into the pack as Crane is clearly in thought.
“What we’re they saying?” I ask Crane quietly as his eyes flicker down to me beside him.
“I only caught bits and pieces, something about a chip. The chip could be the centre of controlling this project. Any idea what that means?” Crane suggests his tone confused.
I pause racking my mind for anything I might know about a chip but I don’t come up with anything. In all my time here I’ve only ever heard of one chip but Penny got rid of the idea early on. Now it would have been bad news but back then it was just another crazy idea of John's. I don't think they are discussing the same thing.
“No, it’s new to me,” I say mostly being honest and Crane nods as if he already knew that.
We go on in silence listening to the excited chatter around us. I want to be just as excited as the rest of the Wolves but I can’t be, something about Crane’s overheard words bothers me. Fear needles it’s way into my soul, an unremovable fear of something yet to come. Crane grabs onto my hand holding it tight trying to reassure me but I know that same fear has settled into his soul as well. Everything is changing around us, moving so quickly in what seems to be in the right direction yet, something wants to drag us back the other way. Penny leads us a long way before the group around us gasps as we all pause. I turn my eyes to Sicora following her eye-line up, before us stands something magnificent. I knew Penny worked quickly building living quarters for the Wolves and the army to live in together for this experiment but I could never have imagined this, Penny has outdone herself. Standing before us is a cliff face, built into it is a living dwelling as I can see balconies and windows in the rock above us.
“Welcome to your new home away from home for the next five months of this test run.” Penny states before she ushers the Colonel away and Joey joins a group of humans who have met us at the entrance to this grand building.
My eyes flicker to Joey and his eyes meet my own. I watch as his eyes flicker down to where Crane and I hold hands and a grimace crosses his face before he turns back away from me. I frown not able to hide the hurt that causes me, I want Joey and I to remain, friends, even though what I am has come forth. I had hoped it wouldn’t matter to him in the end because it’s me but I should have known better than that. We move for the entrance in a big wave of people. Crane pushes through people getting us up close to Dusk and Noah so he can follow them. I’m surprised as exhaustion begins to settle into my bones over today’s events but then I notice many people are yawning around us. Today has been a hard day of training. Crane exchanges words with Noah and Dusk as we follow them up a long weaving staircase coming out into a beautifully rustic living space that branches out into many hallways. Moving into one of the hallways Noah and Dusk break off from us entering into one of the doors along the hallway leading me to assume these are bedrooms. I’m right as many doors open and close behind us the group quickly growing smaller as people claim beds and sleep. Crane leads me deeper into the mountain down the hallway before he comes to a stop in front of one of the doors. Letting my hand fall from his own he turns to face me, his eyes meeting my own.
“Will you stay with me, Hayley?” Crane asks cautiously his eyes wanting to hold mine but than flickering away unsure if he will be able to handle my answer.
I don’t respond right away as I try to decide if it’s a good idea. If I went back to the humans or the facility than I might learn valuable information from the others, in the same sense if I truly want to explore this thing between Crane and me than I should remain here with him.
“I can sleep on the floor…”, Crane starts his eyes remeeting mine at the same time as I say, “Yes, I’ll stay with you.”
My response registers with Crane who opens the door up for us allowing us to enter an empty bedroom. It’s dark but a low-light flickers on overhead as soon as we enter lighting up the rustic room. I enter the room ahead of Crane who gently closes the door behind us. I move into the center of the room as I take it in, in reality, all I can think about is the man behind me. I’ve never been this alone before with Crane and the notion has butterflies swirling deep in my stomach. I’ve never been with anyone before, I never thought I could or would want to be. I still don’t know if I’m really capable of being with Crane properly, in the way we should be. Suddenly his hot breath on my neck breaks me from my thoughts as his fingers run gently down my arms. I lean back into Crane feeling the curve of his body press into my own. I turn my head up to Crane’s to find him looking down at me an undeniable hunger in them. Even with that hunger, Crane is gentle as he hooks his fingers under my chin tilting my head closer to his.
“Hayley, I’d really like to kiss you,” Crane whispers his voice taking on a rasp that makes parts of my body come to life.
I don’t answer Crane’s words instead I push forward pressing my lips to his. The kiss starts out gentle and chaste. Quickly one kiss becomes many as the turn from gentle to hungry on both of our parts. My heart beats a million miles an hour as my body literally hums with every touch from Crane, it’s a reaction I’ve never felt before. I’ve never experienced this deep hunger for another person before, it scares me as much as it excites me. For once in my life I’m not hiding from my true self, I’m not holding anything back. Crane grabs my ass hoisting me up so that I can press my knees on either side of his waist as he backs us up so that he is pressed against the wall. I love how he is giving me the majority of the control letting me set my own pace. I dig my hands into his white hair pulling lightly as I nip his lower lip between my teeth causing him to let out a low groan. Things are heating up quickly, almost too quickly. I’ve only ever been with one person before and that was a short fling with another Wolf that I found at a low time in my life. My thoughts are beginning to scatter as my brain turns to mush my body taking over for me. Crane holds onto me tight, his strength starting to cause an ache in my back where he supports me with one hand the other on my ass still. Getting frustrated at the hint of my own weakness I kiss Crane more desperately wishing the ache to go away, wishing my own Wolf strength to make a reappearance. It doesn’t and eventually, the ache turns into a more prominent pain that causes me to flinch under Crane’s hands. Quickly Crane sets me down moving from in between me and the wall and putting distance between us. I don’t turn to him as I breathe heavily. Pain worse than the one I just experienced slices through my heart at my inability to act in the ways that I desperately want to. I want to continue with Crane, I want to push the limits. It’s these pure needs that tell me I truly am Crane’s mate even if I can’t act on it. The drive within me to make love to him tells me just how quickly I’ve become attached to him. Tears prick at my eyes as frustration bubbles through me and I lash out at the wall violently. My knuckles burst open at the action but I don’t feel the pain, all I feel is a deep sadness settling into me. What if I can never be who Crane needs me to be, what he needs me to be? The tears burst from my eyes running quickly down my cheeks before falling to the floor. I blink and next thing I know Crane has me embraced in a tight hug as my body shakes while sobs rack my soul ripping me apart inwardly.
“It’s okay Hayley, it’s okay. It will take time, we can’t expect it to happen overnight. It’s okay.” Crane whispers in my ear as he caresses me letting me fall apart in his arms.