That night I couldn't go to sleep. I kept twirling my mother's ring, praying she was ok despite the obvious. I knew my mom was strong, I just prayed she was strong enough. I knew first hand what James was capable of and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
As I was twisting the ring on my finger, I felt something weird in it. I took it off and looked on the inside, and I couldn't believe what I found. Engraved on the inside of the ring was a phone number.
Running to my bed, I snatched my phone off the bedside table and quickly dialed the number. The phone only rang once and then someone answered.
"I was wondering when you would call," said a familiar voice.
"Where is she?" I asked clutching the phone to my ear.
"That can wait. Let's talk for a little bit. I must say, it is wonderful hearing your voice again."
I held back a gag, and did my best to talk to him calmly. "Please, don't hurt her."
"Don't worry, darling. That wasn't even her finger. I knew you would never forgive me if I harmed her, so she is quite ok," he said in a soothing voice that just made me cringe.
"Let her go, James. I will do anything, just let her go." I pleaded with him.
"My name sounds so wonderful on your lips. And you know what I want, darling."
"Me," I whispered.
"Bingo, so if you want your mother, I want you to walk outside and walk east until you reach a river. Swim across and wait right there for me. Make sure you're not followed. I would like tonight to go without one of your mates dying. See you soon, darling." With that he was gone, and I just sank onto the bed. I knew I had no choice but to go meet him, and it scared me more than words could express.
With my decision, I put a coat over my night gown and crept to my window. I knew someone was probably posted outside my door, so the window was my only chance. I looked at the trellise that led to the ground. Making sure I didn't snag my clothes on anything, I carefully made my way down, avoiding the roses' thorns as I went.
Since my sense of direction was horrible, I had to use my phone to figure out where east was. Once I was pointed in the right direction, I made sure I hadn't been seen then made my way into the woods.
Despite the creepy setting, it was really peaceful in the woods. All that was heard was the cicadas, and the wind rustling the leaves on the ground and in the trees.
Even though I was going to meet a phyco, human torturerer, I was strangely calm. I barely felt fear, but I knew in this case that was a good thing. Fear was something that distracted you, and I definitely couldn't afford that now. My mother's life was on the line now, and I couldn't let anything happen to her.
After about an hour I finally reached the river that James told me about. The water was cold as I swam across, but I kept my mind off that by focusing on the task at hand. When I stepped out of the water I wrapped my jacket back around me. I had thrown it across the river before I even went in. I was thankful I did that as I sniffled, already starting to show signs of a cold.
Recalling James's instructions, I sat on the ground and leaned against tree that was a few feet from the river. As I waited I started to get tired. The coldness of my clothes and the air was starting to cause my body to shut down and I tried to fight knowing who I had to meet. Finally I couldn't fight anymore and my eyelids closed unwillingly, and my world went black.
Layla. My mate.
I actually had one, and it was hard to wrap my head around it. I was always against the idea of one, but just looking at her made me rethink that.
She was absolutely amazing. She was so beautiful. Her golden hair framed her slender face and made her hazel eyes glow which made the green flakes in them light up. She had such a small stature, but she held herself like a queen. Even though she was small, she looked regal and confident.
She looked like a queen. My queen.
But I could never have her. I posed to much danger to her with my . . . . condition. I could never get close to her. I would only hurt her, and if I ever did that, I would never be able to forgive myself.
Even if nothing was wrong with me, I could tell she loved Adrian. It was obvious in the way she looked at him. I already told Adrian that he could have her. I was already prepared to live alone before she came into my life, and even though it was a thousand times harder to accept now, I was sticking with my decision.
Looking up from the book I was reading, I rubbed my hands down my face. I needed to tell Layla to reject me. I needed her to get away from me, before it was too late. If I believed my brother wouldn't treat her right, I would not let her go with him, but I could tell, he loved her. He treated her like the goddess she was and practically worshiped the ground she walked on.
I was glad she was getting what she deserved. She had a heart of gold that was truly too good for this world. I hope Adrian doesn't let anything happen to her. The day she falls will be the day, I would believe good in this world doesn't exist.
Ripping myself away from my thoughts, I shut the book in my hands and stretched as I stood up from my desk. I knew what I had to do, so I headed for Layla's room. I didn't want Layla to get any feelings for me, which I knew would come later as the mate bond grew stronger between us. I already loved Layla more than I could say, but I knew this was the right thing. I loved her so much, and I knew I had to let her go.
When I reached her door, I excused the guard I had assigned to her. He nodded respectfully to me then left the hallway. Taking a deep breath, I knocked on the door and waited for her to answer. When she never did, I slowly cracked her door open and looked inside. She wasn't anywhere in sight. I stepped more into the room and walked to where the bathroom was. The door was wide open, and I knew she wasn't there.
I was about to call her name, when I felt cool air blow in my face. Across the room, her window was wide open. I ran to it and smelt the air. Only her scent was here, so she left on her own. A growl ripped from my lungs, and I spin around while mind linking my personal pack to gather in the ball room. It was the only room big enough for a gathering, and I knew this would take a lot of people.
As I stormed down the hallway Adrian caught up with me. "What is going on?"
"Layla. She's gone." I said through gritted teeth.
"H-how?" he choked out.
"She climbed out the window." I watched as he punched the wall and then ran his hands through his hair.
"She went to get her mom. I should have known she would do something like this. I should have been there for her!" He was now clutching his head, basically ripping his hair out, but I knew it was best to not interfere. I knew he had to get it out of his system, so I just waited for his break down to take its course.
After a while he called down, and I wrapped him in my arms as he broke down. I knew how he felt, but I had to keep a brave face on for him. Even though it was just be a few minutes, I was technically the older brother.
When he calmed down, I said the only thing I could say at this time. "We will find her, and when we do, we will kill this guy once and for all."