Eight months later...
“You crazy fucking whore-” Ray yelled. Emma threw his jeans at his face, and he barely deflected.
“GET OUT!” Emma screamed, shoving him as hard as she could. He stumbled back a step but didn’t lose his balance. He jerked forward, and she had no time to react. His fist connected with her face, and she hit the floor hard before the full ache of it sunk in. Emma’s chest felt suddenly tight; she could barely breathe through the thick taste of blood that filled her mouth and started trickling down her throat. She turned over onto her side, and made tight fists against the floor, trying to calm herself. She could feel herself shaking with the sudden rage.
She heard the front door slam.
Emma pushed herself up hard, stumbling toward the bathroom. The lights in her apartment flickered each time she brushed a wall. Emma shoved through the door and leaned forward against the sink, heaving deep breaths. Wet hot tears started streaming down her cheeks, mingling with the blood that trickled down the side of her mouth in a steady trail. Emma glanced up at herself in the mirror.
She hated what she saw there.
Emma leaned down, burying her face in her arms.
“I’m not a monster... I’m not a monster...” She sobbed to herself, holding her head. The lingering pull of her heat had yet to fade, which made her emotional state all the worse. Emma sunk down to her knees, struggling to maintain her breathing.
She didn’t know how long she stayed like that, but finally, she felt herself calming. Emma pulled in another heavy breath and shoved herself up to quickly turn on the shower. The feeling of violation began to sink in, and she couldn’t get his scent off her fast enough.
Emma scrubbed herself until she was pink and raw, then she sat with her knees to her chest until the water ran cold.
It took way more effort than it should have to push herself off the floor of the shower. She wrapped herself in a towel and slowly made her way into the bedroom. Emma paused at the doorway, the scent of sex was immediately sickening. She moved to shove open her window, feeling the rage start to build again. Emma turned back and furiously ripped all the sheets and blankets off her bed. She felt the tears start to build again, but the slight burn of the bracelet on her wrist momentarily distracted her. Emma glanced down to the thin silver chain that had begun to glow a dull white. She glanced to the window again, and though it was daylight, she could still just barely see the outline of the full moon. It was setting. Emma took a deep breath and turned her wrist over to unhook the metal before it burned her further. She set it down gently on her dresser, and that’s when she noticed the leather wallet.
Emma stared at it for a moment, feeling a deep twisting in her stomach. Gradually she picked it up and flipped it open. The Oregon driver’s license was for a Ray Callow. Emma grit her teeth a bit, she hated him.
But that was the point.
If she hated him, she couldn’t bond with him, and if she couldn’t bond with him, she couldn’t hurt him.
Emma took the wallet and moved toward her front door, about to chuck it out when she stopped herself. She stood there for a moment and glanced back to the window again. With a miserable sigh, she shut the door. She couldn’t piss him off too much. By the next Blood Moon.. she’d need him again.
Emma tossed the wallet onto the table and moved back into her bedroom, trying to withhold her tears as she gathered up all her bedding to dump it in the wash. She glanced to the clock.
She was going to be late for work.
Emma slowly walked home from the restaurant, feeling rather hollow. She didn’t understand how someone could even function at this level of unhappiness. Emma barely paid attention to the people around her, and by the time she reached the bridge, she didn’t even remember how she’d got there.
Emma slowly moved up the steps. It was late afternoon, heading into the evening and there were still a good amount of cars on the road, but no one else on the walkway. A forested region lined the pathway, and the bridge ran over a steep canyon that dropped down to a river far below. Emma paused at the railing and glanced out over the forest. As much as she hated to admit it, this place, so close to the forest and nature, felt more home to her then she’d been in a long time.
Emma glanced further up the stream into the distance. Only seven miles away, there was a large pack. Some of their enforcers had visited her only a few days after she arrived there, just to set the ground rules of where she could and couldn’t go. Emma was used to it, most packs she came across were appalled by her mixed blood and wanted her to stay far clear of their territory to not unnecessarily tempt any of their males with her heat cycles during the Blood Moon. Some even threatened her with violence if she stayed. She bounced around a lot, for this reason, Boise had been the longest place she’d stayed since Browning, mostly, because there weren’t any large packs in the area of the city. The Gifala pack, the pack where the wolf boy who had developed an infatuation with her was from, was located in the Willamette Mountains in Oregon. They were the only one she’d come across that offered her a place among them.
Emma sighed and glanced down to the ravine far below. What kind of life was this? Always running, always afraid. It would be easier if she just jumped. Even with her healing, that fall would surely kill her. It was high enough...
Emma took a slow breath. Her mind had never gone that far before, but what frightened her the most is that the thought actually seemed to soothe. The thought of ending it all brought about a strange kind of relief. Had she really got to this point? Emma gripped the railing, staring at the flowing river far below. The sound of the rushing water was calming. Would anyone find her body way down there? Probably no human... the pack would likely find her, and see her disposed of.
Emma emitted a deep sigh and shoved away from the railing to continue her slow trudge back home, but her feet wouldn’t move. She glanced back to the railing and stared off into the distance. The setting sun glittered off the flowing river, and she watched it for a time.
Cars zoomed by behind her, and the clacking of the bridge’s road rumbled beneath her feet.
Why didn’t she just do it?
Emma felt a hot tear drip down her cheek, and her thoughts strangely turned back to Boise and all those months of harassment she endured by that persistent wolf. She didn’t even know his name; she’d never let him get far enough in a conversation to give it to her.
Why hadn’t she just gone with him? He was a shifter... Maybe.. maybe it wouldn’t have affected him the way it did a human. She hated admitting it, but she really did like him, and the wolf inside her that she so often denied existed had been elated at the prospect of joining a pack. Their kind were not meant to be loners, and her solitary existence had begun to wear on her more and more over the years.
No... she forcefully reminded herself. She couldn’t have risked it; there was a reason she kept her distance, from everyone. She didn’t want to hurt them.
Besides... after their last encounter, he wouldn’t want her now. She was a freak of nature even within the freak of natures. If he had really wanted to, he would have found her. She was still in Idaho and without the mountain range to avoid, where she was now in Hayden Lake she was actually a shorter distance from Willamette then Boise. She likely spooked him. He probably wanted to stay as far away from her as possible.
Emma knew it was for the best, but it still gave her a strange sort of ache.
Emma closed her eyes and tried to forget about everything. She hated that she really wanted to see him and she hated it even more that she missed his smiling stalkery face. She heard some footsteps heading up the bridge, and Emma quickly wiped her eyes.
With a deep breath, she turned and forced herself to head toward home.