Chapter 6 - Eden
It was the absence of warmth in my bed that woke me up and it was the horror that I was in my own bed and not in a hospital after the events of last night that sent me running into my bathroom to examine my body. I feel as though I shouldn’t be alive after flipping my aunt’s car, yet I don’t have a scratch or even a bruise on my entire body to show for the accident.
“No, no, no, no…” I pace back and forth in my bathroom with my hands on my head. “This isn’t possible. There was a car accident. You are not crazy Eden.” I repeat these words to myself. I can’t help but feel as though I am losing my sanity. Tears of anxiety and frustration begin to fall from my eyes, streaming down my cheeks and pooling in the hollow of my collarbones.
I can remember, clear as ever, driving away from the party. My aunt and that man with the obsidian eyes were fighting in such a raw, animalistic manner that was so terrifying I needed to get away. They were baring their teeth at each other and growling so inhumanly. I was frightened so I ran.
I had gotten outside and I remembered I had my aunts’ keys. In my horrified frenzy, I jumped into her car and started to drive. I’ve only driven a handful of times in my life, and only in parking lots, I don’t even have my license. I was driving so fast, and before I knew it the car fishtailed and flipped. I remembered hearing the top of the car make impact with the ground and then everything went black.
His black eyes took over my mind again. I don’t know what it is about him, or even who he is for that matter, but I can’t get him off of my mind. Every time I close my eyes, I see his eyes or his face or his perfect jawline covered in handsome dark stubble. Thinking about him makes me shudder and feel things I’ve never felt before. I don’t understand it, but I feel as though Aunt B might have the answers I’m looking for. Somehow, I feel like everything that’s going on with her is connected to him.
Now was my time to get answers.
I used to believe my aunt and I would never have secrets. Now, however, as I tread carefully through the house that I used to feel so comfortable in, I feel tense and scared for what she might have to confess to me. My hands are clenched in fists as I make my way downstairs, where I can hear my aunt speaking on the phone in a hushed tone. You can do this, Eden. I assure myself. When I get to the bottom of the stairs, I see Aunt B sitting on her ivory sofa. Her curly mane is in a low pony and her eyes are streaked with tears.
“Aunt B?” I call, my voice is hardly a whisper. Her blue eyes flick from the floor to me and a small frown falls upon her lips. She looks like she had been crying all night and it makes my eyes begin to tear up.
“I’ve got to go Will, she’s awake.” She sighs into the phone, obviously speaking to my father. “Yes, I know. I’ll see you next week.” Then she clicks off the call and gets to her feet. Her paces are quick and graceful as she glides across the floor to take hold of me, but just as she is about to envelope me in her arms, I find myself staggering back uncontrollably. I can’t help but cower as I envision my beloved aunt as the animal she was acting like last night. The terrifying creature with ebony eyes and sharp canines. That’s all I'm able to see now.
“You have to tell me what happened last night Aunt Beatrice.” My voice is stern, but my quivering lip gives away my true emotions, my fear. A few tears roll down my cheeks as I put distance in between my aunt and me. “I know I was in a car accident Aunt B, don’t lie to me, but I don’t even have a bruise on my body to show for it.”
“Yes, Eden. There was a car accident, you flipped my car into a ditch running away from the party.” My aunts voice is calm as ever and she gently takes my hand in hers. I stare at it. The hand that should have a third-degree burn on it, but that somehow managed to heal as well.
“Then tell me what I’m doing walking? Why I don’t have a single bruise on my entire body? Tell me how your burn healed instantly?” Tears fall from my eyes as I fall into hysteria. I feel as though I’m going crazy, like none of this can be real.
“Please Eden, calm down. This will all make sense with time, come and sit down. I’ll tell you everything you want to know.” She tugs my hand softly and wraps an arm around my shoulders, allowing me to cry into her neck. I feel like I’m crumbling with the stress of the unknown. We take a seat on the couch and she pulls me close to her, running her fingers through my red tangles.
“Why can’t I stop thinking of him Aunt B?” I rub my eyes with the heels of my hands. His dark eyes haunt the corners of my mind and my body craves for his touch. I’ve never been touched by a man, let alone craved the touch of one I didn’t know. I can’t wrap my head around why I can’t stop my mind from wandering off to thoughts of the stranger who seemed to act so strangely protective over me.
“He’s not like you Eden, and neither am I. You see, sweetheart, though we look like you, we are actually very different. We come from a very ancient and complex race that those raised in the human world like you, call Werewolves.” My aunt places her hand in the crook of my neck, caressing my jaw with her thumb. Her blue eyes stare solemnly into my own. I can’t help my reaction, but before I can withhold myself, I snort and laugh in her face. I am quick to slap my hand over my mouth.
“Okay, okay, that’s funny but you can tell me the truth now Aunt B.” I shake my head, tucking my hair behind my ears and wipe away my tears in preparation for her real answer, but she continues to stare into my eyes with complete seriousness.
“I’m telling you the truth Eden,” she shakes her head at me. “I can shift forms from human into a Werewolf, but your father cannot because he didn’t inherit the same genes I did. That being said, he chose a human life with your human mother. He never thought it would be possible to have offspring that carried the Werewolf gene since he carried so little himself, but here you are. The mate to one of the strongest Alpha’s this generation has ever seen.”
“Do you realize how absolutely insane you sound right now?” I furrow my eyebrows at her, shifting uncomfortably on the couch to put some space between us. “Can you please, for goodness sake, just tell me the truth?”
“The truth is that the Goddess of the Moon, Selene, created Werewolves in her image and gave them the freedom to shift form from man to wolf. She gifted us with mates, who are our other halves and she gave us abilities far beyond those of mankind. Believe me, Eden, for you’re special like me and like Liam Greywolf, the man you belong with. Your mate.” Her voice is stern and her grip on my hand tightens, stopping me from shrinking further away.
“If I’m special than can I shift into a wolf?” I raise a brow at her, scowling with disbelief. She must be so wrapped up so deep in this crazy cult that they have her head screwed on the wrong way. To make her think she can actually turn into a wolf? To have her believe that I belong with this man who is a complete stranger, not to mention a great deal older than myself? No, it’s all madness, it has to be.
“No, you can’t. Since William had you with a human, you’re are what my kind calls a half-breed.” My aunt sighs as she rests her arm on the back of the couch and leans her head into her hand, rubbing her temple softly.
“How do you expect me to believe any of this craziness?” I laugh, but not because it’s funny anymore, but because I don’t believe her. I don’t want to believe her. “This is absolute madness, you’re insane.” I get up from the couch, running upstairs.
“Where do you think you’re going?” My aunt chases after me, a frown on her lips.
“Chicago. I’m going home.” I don’t turn to face my aunt because even though she’s attempting to fill my mind with insanity, I still can’t bear to see the hurt on her face.
“You’re home isn’t Chicago anymore Eden. It’s in Oregon now with Liam, with me. I’m sorry Eden, but I can’t let you leave.”
“I can’t believe you think I’d ever listen to this story. I thought you of all people would never lie to me Aunt B, we’ve never ever keep secrets.” I feel the tears begin to brim my eyes again, spilling over and practically sizzling on my hot cheeks. My aunt snatches my hand and whirls me around, falling to her knees. Tears stream down her cheeks as well, relentless.
“I know that in your heart, you know I would never lie to you Eden, so please believe me. Believe what I’m telling you is true. You can’t go anywhere because you belong to Liam now. He’s going to come here tonight to retrieve you and take you back to his home where the rest of the pack lives. I’ve already told your father Eden. If you don’t believe me, believe him.” She digs her phone out of her pocket. I stare into her teary blue eyes, hesitant to click the call button below my father’s name. I look from the screen to Aunt B, who urges me to call.
I click the button.
“Hello?” His voice chimes after two dial tones. “Hello, Beatrice?”
“Ask him.” She nods her head. A large lump grows in my throat, making it impossible to talk clearly.
“Dad?” I croak.
“Oh Eden, my baby.” His voice is smooth but also gruff, the same way I’ve always remembered it. “How are you doing?”
“Dad,” I say again. “Is it all true?” I manage to squeak out. The line is dead silent for a few seconds, then I hear as he takes a deep breath before answering me.
“Yes honey, everything your aunt told you is true.” My mind reels, and I feel my knees begin to wobble. “I’m sorry, I tried to hide you from this world. I didn’t think anything like this ever happen, I-” I hang up the phone and collapse to my knees, sobbing.
What did any of this even mean? Werewolves… are real? I still refuse to believe it. How can it possibly be true and no person on this planet knows about it? How could it be that my aunt, my father, and I come from a family of Werewolves? It can’t be. As I lift my head from the blank screen of the cellphone to the teary blue eyes of my aunt, I feel myself hit a wall of horror and realization.
It makes sense. From her healing instantly, to her obsidian coloured eyes and animalistic behaviour last night. The way everyone reacted to me being at the party, how estranged I felt because I was the one person that nobody knew. And lastly, he made sense. The way he behaved with my aunt, like two angry dogs barking at each other, ready to attack one another over their territory. Now, my aunt, the woman who I once thought loved me the most, is trying to send me away with him? With a man she is telling me is part wolf? An Alpha, whatever that means?
“Y-y-you’re a Werewolf?” I gag on my words as I slide myself backward on the dark hardwood floor, pointing a shaky hand at her.
“Yes Eden, but you don’t need to worry. Our kind doesn’t hurt your kind, and you know I would never do anything to hurt you.” Her words don’t stop me from being afraid. My aunt, who I once believed I knew inside and out, is actually a Werewolf.
“No, no, no, no, no…” I shake my head, repeating myself so much it sounds like a blur of one long word. My aunt takes my face in her hands and leans into me. I stare mindlessly into her stormy eyes, lost in my disbelief.
“Yes, yes, yes, sweetheart.” She strokes my hair, tucking it behind my ears and away from my damp cheeks. I know that she’s telling me the truth, that she’s trying to be kind and soothing, but I don’t want to believe her. I don’t want to accept the horrifying truth that I live in a world where Werewolves exist. I’m not ready to accept that something I’ve believed to be fiction my entire life is actually real, and that I supposedly belong in their world.
“I know this isn’t what you want to hear my love, but Alpha Greywolf will be here in a couple of hours to take you back to his home. It’s better that you collect your things now, so you’ll be ready when he gets here.” She sniffs back some of her tears, and I can see the pain in her eyes. She doesn’t want to hand me over to him, but she has no choice.
“W-why do I have to go?” I sob, creasing my brows.
“Because, my Eden, if a Werewolf is separated from their mate for too before they’ve marked them, it is possible for them to go feral.” Aunt B caresses my cheek gently with her cool finger. The question bubbles up in my mind, however, I’m too afraid to ask. Feral? Did she really mean that he or I could possibly go insane if we kept apart from each other for too long?
I turn my head to look out the window, to the think forest framing my aunts’ home. Would it be possible for me to run away? To escape this fate that has been thrown at me without my choice? Could I run into the woods and find my way back to Chicago? Could I run away and start a whole new life for myself? Keep on the move and never allow myself to be followed or found?
“There’s no sense in trying to run, sweetheart.” My aunt sighs. “Liam has his scouts all over the yard, the second you’d even try to run they’d catch you and take you back to him. You might as well just go with him the easy way.”
I don’t respond to her, but only watch as she gets to her feet. She offers me her hand when she’s up, and I shakily give it to her. With a small heave, she pulls me to my feet. I feel as though I weigh one-thousand pounds, like someone has tied me down to a weight or placed it on my chest.
“Come on Eden, I’ll help you pack.” Aunt B wraps her arm over my shoulders and leads me to my room. My feet move slowly, one foot in front of the other, as though I’m a robot. My eyes remain focused on my toes, watching my feet take one heavy step after the other. I squint, noticing a little spec on one of my small toes and focus in on it. It’s blood, one small spot of dried up blood was all I had to remember the night that changed my entire life.
This is all real. This is really happening.