Chapter 7 - Eden
Aunt B paces back and forth at the foot of my bed, and with absent eyes, I watch her. I wish I could say something useful, helpful even, to make her or I feel better. If I told her everything would be okay, I don’t even think I could believe it myself.
I sit and watch as my aunt gathers all my belongings, packing them all in a truck. She goes through the actions slowly, sure to fold all of my tops and bottoms perfectly so there won't be any creases when I unpack them. There is no talking, no senseless chatter between us, as she packs all of my stuff away. No, this wasn’t like my typical aunt and I, this was different. This was sad, this was me leaving permanently. I don’t know if I’ll ever see this house again, if I’ll ever even see Chicago again.
My father called several more times to see how things were going, and everytime Aunt B turned the phone to me for me to talk to him, I shoved it away. I have no words for him right now. I have nothing to say to my aunt either. I can’t even put this entire situation into words. What good would it do? It’s not like it would change anything. My father, in all of his selfishness, had decided to keep this entire life, this whole world, a secret from me. He said it was to keep me safe, well look where that got us now.
This situation doesn’t scream safe to me.
Cross-legged in my bed, I pick nervously at my cuticles. Movement is the only thing that suggests I’m still sane. I’m scared that if I stop moving, if I allow myself to bask in my current situation, that I’ll drown, and nobody will hear my screams. Even though my fingertips are now a bloody mess, I can’t stop peeling the skin away from the space around my fingernails. The stinging pain reminds me that this is all real, that this is all happening and no mate of mine can take away the pain that he or it has caused inside me, inside my family.
“They’re here,” Aunt B’s voice caused me to jump, startling me out of my dazed state of mind. I raise my gaze from my fingertips to her grave eyes without saying a word. She offers me her hand, and tentatively, I take it. Her hands are soft, warm and familiar. I know I'll miss their touch, their loving caress when she brushes my hair from my eyes. How often would I be allowed to see my aunt? If I was being moved to this so called ‘pack house’ with the rest of the Werewolves, why didn’t she live there? Why can’t she come with me?
I bite my tongue. I know that the only answers I will get would only cause us both more pain, and even though my aunts’ blue eyes are not faltering, beneath all that strength was a great storm. I give her hand a faint squeeze as we walk hand-in-hand to the front door of her house, and I see the lineup of Audi SUV’s through the glass windows before we even get to the door. Aunt B turns to me, giving me a soft smile and squeezing my hand gently, as if to say that she loves me.
A lump rises in my throat, drying my mouth out completely. My heart pounds relentlessly against my sternum, as though it’s a bird and my body is the cage that holds it captive. The feeling threatens to turn my empty stomach out as waves of nausea crash over me like a tsunami. Each wave getting larger and more aggressive. I clutch my stomach with my free hand as my aunt slowly opens the front door.
Standing outside the wide, white double doors is two men wearing black suits and heavily tinted sunglasses. I take a sharp breath in as I expect a dense fog of his scent to fill my lungs and take over my mind, but nothing happens. I find myself looking wildly around for his obsidian eyes or to get even a slight hit of his scent, but there’s nothing. He isn’t here. Though I can feel my despise for him coursing through my veins already, I can’t help but feel disappointment wash over me like an icy shower. My skin begins to prickle.
So, this man expects me to go and live with him, but can’t even pick me up himself? What a joke. I find myself grimacing before I even realize it.
“Miss Grimmwolf,” one of the men greets me, bowing his head. His blond hair is neatly combed back from his face, and his jawline is softly stubbled. I can tell that behind his dark sunglasses he is a very attractive man, or werewolf. Whatever they call themselves.
“It’s Montgomery.” I correct him through my softly gritted teeth. I learned today that once my father decided to leave his pack at a young age, he decided to change his name from Grimmwolf to Montgomery, so he could fly under the radar with ease. Though Grimmwolf is his true name, that did not make it mine. I am Eden Montgomery, a teenage human girl.
“My apologies, Miss Montgomery. My name is Stephen. I’ll be in charge of your personal security and also your transport to and from the Greywolf pack house.” He offers me a soft smile before taking the hefty trunk of my belongings from my aunt.
I glance from Stephen, to my aunt who now has tears swimming in her shiny eyes. The sadness in her eyes causes tears to brim in my own, and soon, a sob falls from my mouth as she embraces me. I bury my face in her chest and wrap my fingers in her messy curls. Her arms squeeze my waist, holding me close to her.
“Oh, my brave Eden.” My aunt cries, her body shaking softly. “I’m a phone call away, sweetheart.”
“Okay,” I murmur. My voice is broken by hiccups and sobs.
“He’s going to take care of you Eden. I promise you. He has all the answers you need.” Aunt B takes a step away from me and tucks my hair behind my ears. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I sob. My hands shake and my knees tremble as Stephen, gentle as ever, leads me to the blacked-out SUV. He opens the door for me, and I shakily climb in. He shuts the door, and I stare out the window at my aunt. Her emotions overcome her as she picks up her phone, talking to who I can only imagine to be my father.
Stephen climbs into the driver’s seat and turns the key over in the ignition, and the engine roars to life. My heart drops into my stomach as I have a flashback to the horrors of the night before, me starting my aunt’s car, me flipping her car, the glass shattering, everything going black. I take a deep breath in and clutch the handle on the door, squeezing it until my knuckles are white.
Everything is fine Eden. You’re alive. You’re safe. I repeat in my head.
“Everything alright, Miss Montgomery?” Stephen asks from the front seat, breaking the silence we’ve been sitting in for a while now. I exhale a deep breath.
“I was in a car accident last night,” my voice is soft and quiet. I’m not sure why I decided to share the information with him, but it’s too late now.
“I’m aware.” He says, his voice calm. I feel my lips fall into an ‘o’ and turn to glance out the window. All I see for miles are trees.
“Are, um, are you one too?” I can’t bring myself to say the word aloud, to ask someone if they’re a werewolf and actually mean it. It feels stupid to ask him, but I need to know for sure. Stephen chuckles softly, and I feel myself smiling a little bit. It’s a nice laugh.
“Are you asking if I’m a werewolf?” I look in the rear-view mirror to see his full smile in the reflection, his teeth are glistening white and perfectly straight.
“Uh, yeah, I guess I am.” I manage to laugh back delicately.
“Yes, I am. You won’t find many people in the house that aren’t unless they’re, um…” He trails off, and then I realize what he means.
“Half-breeds,” I finish his sentence. Half-breeds. That’s what I am to them. The air between us falls dead for a few moments.
“You really had no idea about any of this, did you?” Stephen’s voice is no longer happy and friendly, but business professional. I shift uncomfortably in my seat.
“No.” Is all I’m able to muster in response. My cheeks begin to burn red, and I turn to the window again, using my hair to shield my face from Stephen’s occasional glance through the rear-view. “How am I actually supposed to believe any of this is real?” I say, not looking forward.
“What do you mean Miss Montgomery?” He asks over the sound of the turning signal.
“How do I know this isn’t some elaborate lie and you’re not all crazy?” I chew my bottom lips, pulling skin off of it with my teeth. Again, Stephen chuckles softly.
“You’re really that skeptical, huh?”
“I guess that’s a good word to use.” I shrug.
“Deep down I think you believe it. I can imagine that the idea is pretty hard to wrap your head around between learning that you’re not human and that you don’t belong to yourself anymore.” He seems to struggle with the last part of his sentence.
“What do you mean I don’t belong to myself anymore?” I furrow my brows, turning to look in the rear-view again, but Stephen snaps his head down.
“You’re the Alpha’s mate. Your duty is to him now.” Stephen says with a weirdly emotionless voice. I scoff.
“Speaking of the Alpha,” I say using air quotations. “Why couldn’t he pick me up himself if I’m so damn important?” I don’t mean to sound as bitchy and defensive as I do, but it just kind of rolls off my tongue before I can help it.
“He had important pack business to attend to,” Stephen says. We’re on a familiar road now. The road that leads to the grey-brick castle with green spires. I scoff again. I’ve been in a ‘relationship’ for one day, and the honeymoon phase is already over. Wow.
I don’t understand why I’m so angry about the fact that he couldn’t come get me himself, but here I am sitting in the backseat with my fists clenched complaining to my personal security guard that Liam had sent for me instead. I just couldn’t believe it. All this bull (I don’t swear) about being so important and being mates, and the guy can’t drive an hour out of his way to pick me up for me to move in with him! I feel myself getting so worked up that I have to practice my breathing to calm myself. It usually takes a lot for me to get angry, but the thought of this Liam guy thinking I belonged to him, well that was enough to make my redheaded temper flair.
The SUV comes to a halt in front of the castle and Stephen jumps out, circling around to open my door for me. He offers me his hand as I step out, encircling my tiny hand in his much larger one. I realize that I’m quite attracted to him but feel a pang of guilt in my chest as Liam Greywolf's ebony eyes pop into my mind. Taking a deep breath in, I get a whiff of his scent in the distance which causes my heart to accelerate. Why is it that I’ve only met him once, and my body already reacts this way to him being nearby?
Mates. Is what my brain answers almost immediately.
“I’ll be showing you to your new room, Miss Montgomery. The Alpha will be along later to show you the rest of the house.” Stephen says with what seems to be an undertone of bitterness.
“Thank you, Stephen.” I nod to him, my voice curt as well. I can’t understand why he is being so cold all of a sudden. The man from the other SUV that followed us here pops open the trunk and takes my belongings out, lugging them behind him as he follows us through the double-wide doors and into the castle.
“Your living quarters are in the west-wing of the house, away from the busy parts of the house. Only you and the Alpha reside in the pack house.”
“What about you?” My brows knit together. The words leave my mouth too quick, but I’m sure I see the corners of Stephen’s mouth twitch upward.
“I live in the pack village, a few miles away with everyone else.” But I’m just a call away. His voice chimes through my mind and I gasp.
“How did you do that?” I stare at him with wide eyes and he chuckles.
“We call it a mind-link,” he smiles, leading me through hallways and up different staircases. “Members of the pack use it to communicate with each other. It’s especially useful when we’re in our wolf forms, because we can’t communicate otherwise.”
“You’re making it harder to not believe all of this is true,” I sigh. I’m a little out of breath from all of the stairs we’ve climbed, not to mention very lost as I’ve hardly paid attention to where we’ve been walking.
“Maybe that’s the point,” his smile makes my heart flutter.
“Am I able to do that, the mind-link thing?” Is there anything special about me that makes me not like the humans? Or am I just as useless to this world as a human is?
“I’m sure you’ll be able to learn. It takes a great deal of focus to know you’re tapping into the right mind.” He chuckles.
“Hmm,” I respond.
“Here we are,” Stephen says, stopping in front of a set of grand oak doors at the end of a long, dimly lit hallway. The doors look to be hand carved with swirling designs of leaves and other patterns. He gives the door and gentle knock before opening it up, allowing me to step into the room first. A gasp escapes my lips as I look around the room. It's unlike anything I've ever seen before.
Ivory walls are elegantly gilded with golden panes that frame three large windows that look out into the forest. In the centre of the room is a four-post bed with a white canopy. The posts are decorated with golden leaves, spiraling to the top of the bed. The floors sparkles with white marble, swirled with grey that twinkles where the evening sun hits it, smiling down on the beautiful room. A large television is mounted on the wall across of the bed, and below it is a large white dresser.
I walk around the room, gliding my fingers across the furniture that I can only imagine was extremely expensive, not to mention vintage. I caress the silk duvet with my fingertips, looking at the massive heap of pillows that decorate the bed lovingly. I can’t believe this is my room. It’s amazing and so elaborate. It’s a room fit for a princess. I turn to Stephen, who stands in the threshold with his arms crossed against his chest. I notice now that he no longer wears his sunglasses, and my heart drops into the pit of my stomach as I make contact with his beautiful green eyes. Man, do I ever have a crush on him.
“T-this is all mine?” I stutter, looking around myself. I could only imagine that I probably look like a deer caught in headlights.
“Well, um, yes. But it’s the Alpha’s room as well.” Stephen coughs. “Since you’re mates, it’s expected that you share a room.” My heart drops in a whole different way.
Share a room? With a man? I’ve never even enjoyed sleepovers with my female friends, let alone a man I don’t know. I’ve never even shared a hug with a man that isn’t my father. I’ve never had a boyfriend for goodness sake. I’m pretty sure Stephen is the first crush I’ve had since grade school, and he isn’t even the man I supposedly belong with. Across the room, beneath the windows, I spot a vintage ivory couch.
That, I think to myself, is where I’ll be sleeping.
“I’ll leave you to get settled, Miss Montgomery.” Stephen bows his head to me and begins to retreat from the room.
“Wait, Stephen,” I call after him before he can shut the door. He opens it a little and looks up to make direct eye contact with me.
“Yes, Miss Montgomery?” His voice is sultry, causing me to shudder.
“Um, you, uh, know you can just call me Eden, right?” I pick at my fingers again, looking away from Stephen’s heavy gaze. I may be naïve, but I know when a guy is attracted to me. My cheeks flush red.
“I’m not sure the Alpha would like that,” Stephen chuckles softly.
“Well he doesn’t have to know.” I chew my lip, forcing myself to look into his emerald eyes.
“Alright then, Eden.” Stephen says before ducking out the door, leaving me in the room by myself. Not only am I confused, but I’m what I can only imagine to be turned on. A feeling I’ve never felt before. If Liam is my mate, the man that the Goddess of the Moon who they call Selene, paired me with, why is it that Stephen has this effect on me?
I frown. I feel guilty knowing I flirted (even the slightest bit) with Stephen. I moved here to start a new chapter of my life with another man, but part of me wishes it was Stephen I was supposed to be with. After looking around the room more, I find the attached bathroom and decide to clear my mind with a shower. Just like the bedroom, the bathroom is also over the top. With large double sinks, a jacuzzi bath, massive shower behind a glass wall with heads coming from each direction so the water hits all the way around.
I allow the boiling water to massage my body, to help ease the stress and tension from my body. I still don’t know how I’m supposed to get used to all of this, to accept that I’ll be living here and that I’m expected to share a room with a man I’ve hardly even met before. I shudder as his obsidian eyes wash over my mind like the water from the shower runs through my hair. How can I come to terms with all of this? I step out of the water, which turns off automatically, and wrap myself in a towel.
I pull on my faded blue jeans and a white blouse that’s embroidered with blue flowers. In front of the mirror, I gently brush my long red hair that shines from the expensive, all natural, hair products that were in the shower. I stare at my blue eyes in the mirror, looking myself up and down. I don’t know why I care so much about how I look, but for whatever reason I do. The dark bags under my eyes give away my exhaustion and stress, and my cheeks are gaunt from not eating anything today. With that in mind, my stomach growls as if on cue.
With a sigh, I pick my dirty clothes up off the floor and open the bathroom door. When I walk into the bedroom, I am faced with a pair of eyes that look much less obsidian and more brown than I remember. My heart lurches into my throat as I find myself standing nearly face first in his chest. The bare skin of his arms brushes mine, and I feel as though I’ve been electrified in the best way possible, his energy coursing from his skin into my own. Heat radiates off of him, welcoming me to his touch. I gasp and stumble back from him, tripping on my jeans that hang from my arms. I fall backward, closing my eyes before my head can make impact with the white marble. Before I hit the floor, I feel his arms wrap around me securely.
“You’re quite accident prone, aren’t you?” He chuckles darkly and places me back on my feet as though I’m nothing but a doll. I straighten out my blouse, and scowl.
“What’s it to you?” I frown. He snickers in response, still standing tall and mighty in front of me. I look all the way up to meet his eyes, that look like a holy cross between chocolate and midnight. His ebony hair is tousled, the loose waves framing his face that looks as though it was carved from marble. His jawbone is sharp enough to cut through diamonds, and I find myself uncontrollably longing to touch the stubble that lines it.
“Feisty, are we?” His smile is beautiful, and the sight of Stephen’s crumbles and fades from my mind. Though we no longer touch, I can feel the electricity between us popping and fizzling, begging for the space between us to be closed. My body is alive and hungry for his hands to feel me, but I ignore the temptations to give in to him.
“Are you even going to introduce yourself to me?” I scowl at him. “You couldn’t even pick me up today, formally introducing yourself is the least you can do seeing as we live together now.” I hiss, and he chuckles, taking a piece of my damp hair in his hand, twirling it between his fingers.
“I apologize, I didn’t realize an introduction was possible seeing as your soul knows mine so well already.” He steps toward me, closing the space between us with our bodies. I chew my lip hard to stop my eyes from rolling back into my head. Feeling his body against mine felt so right it was wrong. I clench my fists, digging my finger nails into my soft palms to bring myself out of my mind that wanders off into the dirtiest of places. “My name is Liam Greywolf. I am the Alpha of the Greywolf pack. You, my angel, are my mate. My Luna.”