F O R T Y - S E V E N
Serenity was only gone for an hour but it felt like ten years.
Ten long, sad, and lonely years that had me contemplating every decision I’ve ever made in my short lifetime.
I groaned and fell back into the dry, cracked, and patchy land that was a familiar part of my home.
“Great Zephyr” I muttered to myself “Way to fudge up the little piece of happiness you had left.”
“Ooh...” a familiar amused voice sounded from behind “GQ used the F-word.”
I sat up so fast that I felt the blood rushing down my head.
“What are you doing here?” I questioned “Shouldn’t you be with my Ma...Serenity?”
I coughed quickly to hide my almost Mate fumble.
Serenity’s Uncle smirked down at me before making a ‘Whoosh’ sound and whip-like motion.
I cocked my head to the side in confusion and he sighed.
“Kids these days” he muttered “They’re so sensitive that they don’t even know when someone’s fucking with them.”
“You sure are related to Serenity” I sighed “You both love to curse.”
Ethan grinned before plopping down next to me “She curses like a sailor?”
I nodded and his grin widened “It’s comforting to know that my niece received the fun genes of the family. I was so worried that when I died, those spectacular genes died with me.”
“Is there a point to this conversation?” I asked sarcastically “Or are you just here to rag on me and talk about yourself?”
Ethan whistled “GQ has claws underneath those neatly manicured hands.”
I gave him a droll look “Please, leave me alone.”
“I don’t think I will” he grinned “In fact, I think I’ll spend the night with you. You know, just to keep you company while my niece has you by the balls.”
“Now do you prefer to be the big spoon or the little one?” He intertwined his hands with mine “Because I’m comfortable with either one GQ, but I should warn you, sometimes during the night I might lay my head on your chest and nuzzle underneath your chin.”
“You’re very touchy feely” I snatched my hand back from him “And very annoying.”
“And you’re very posh” he said “Like a male Spice girl.”
I gave him a blank look and he shook his head in disbelief.
“Even I knew who they were and they were way before my time” he rolled his eyes and then sighed “Now can you tell me why you lied to my niece?”
“What do you mean?” I feigned ignorance.
He gave me a drool look “Really? That’s how you want to play this?”
“If I didn’t even tell her” I snapped, dropping the ignorance is bliss act “Why would I tell you?”
“Because I’m persuasive like that” he shrugged “And since her father isn’t here to kick your ass for lying to his precious baby, it’s my duty as her Uncle to find out what your intentions are with her and deem if I should let you live or fuck you up so bad you’ll be drinking your food through a straw.”
“I would like to see you try” I mutter “But, I have no doubt that your niece would do so much worse.”
“I have no doubt that should would” he grinned “But unfortunately, as her mate, she would pull her punches just to spare your pretty face.”
I groaned “I’m literally stuck in Hell with my worst nightmare.”
“Aw! Babe!” Ethan gushed “That’s so sweet! I love you too!”
“When is Serenity coming back?” I demanded.
“When she feels like it.” he replied.
“And when would that be?”
“Don’t know” Ethan shrugged “I’m not her so how would I know when she decides to come back?”
“Can’t you communicate with her?” I asked “With the Pack Link?”
He shrugged “Don’t know.”
My temper, which was slowly rising since he joined me, flew to a hundred “How do you expect me to talk to you when you aren’t being forthcoming with me?”
“Isn’t that annoying?” He smiled wickedly “Withholding information about something so important to someone?”
I glared at him “It’s not the same thing.”
“Isn’t it?” he leaned closer to me “I’m keeping information from you the same way you’re hiding information from her.”
“I would tell her if I could” I growled “But I can’t!”
He stared at me for a full give minutes before replying “You really can’t say?”
I slumped “I really can’t say.”
“Because I made a promise.”
“To myself” I said “I promised myself I wouldn’t say anything about the incident, not even to Serenity.”
“Because she would hate me” I whispered “More than she already does.”
Something clicked in Ethan’s eyes “This has something to do with why you can’t come into our home, doesn’t it?”
I remained silent, avoiding his eyes.
He suddenly jumped up, his face turning red, and grabbed me by the collar of my shirt.
“Tell me what you did to the bond” he sneered in my face “Because you did do something.”
He pointed to the Matthews Elysium “If you really are Serenity’s mate then you shouldn’t have a problem passing through those doors.”
“Cut the ‘if’ bullcrap” I growled, pushing him away from me “I AM her Mate and you know it.”
“Do I?” He let out a sarcastic snort “Why can’t you enter our home then?”
“Because I can’t!” I roared “My father made sure that I couldn’t!”
He reared his head back in surprise “Your father?”
“Just leave me alone” I turned away from him, slumping back down in my makeshift chair “And go home.”
“Uh...” A soft voice said hesitantly from behind us “Am I interrupting something?”
I jumped up so fast that you would have thought there was a fire somewhere.
“SERENITY!” I rushed to her “You’re back!”
She gave me a weak smile and glanced at her Uncle “Do you mind if I talk to Zephyr for a minute?”
He nodded but made no move to get up and give us our privacy.
"Alone?” Serenity emphasized.
He stood up but gave her an unsure look as he walked back towards the Matthews Elysium.
She just smiled at him reassuringly.
Before he disappeared completely, he tapped his temple “I’m just one mind link away.”
I glared and him and he gave me a smug grin that said ‘I never denied our mind link.’
I turned my attention back to Serenity when she slumped forward into my chest.
I frowned and looked down into her emerald eyes, which unsurprisingly, were gazing into mine with a nervous look in their depths.
I stiffened “What’s wrong?”
She bit her plump lip “Did you know about the Gate?”
“The Gate?” I asked, looking down at her in confusion “The one your family guards?”
“I know that your family guards it” I said slowly, not really sure where she was going with this “But that’s just about it.”
“So you don’t know what’s down there?” she pressed “Or what the Matthews are guarding?”
“I think only a select few Matthews members know what they’re guarding” I shook my head “Why? Did something happen?”
She pulled away from me and sat down in the spot her Uncle just vacated. After a few minutes, she started to bite the end of her thumbnail and her knee started bouncing uncontrollably.
“Serenity” I said softly, placing my hand on her knee to still it “Are you okay? Tell me what happened.”
“Zephyr, what did we come here to retrieve?” she placed her hand on top of mine “I need to know what we came her for.”
“Hades said we needed to collect something” I said slowly “Something that your family has.”
“And what do they have,” She gripped my hand “That he could possibly want?”
“I don’t know” I said honestly “But he said that we would know it when we see it.”
“And you believe him?”
“Somewhat,” I nodded my head slowly “Hades likes to give the bare minimum of information when it comes to retrieving his stuff but he never lies when it comes to us being able recognize what it is we need to collect.”
She was quiet for a full minute, most likely processing the information, before she detonated like a bomb.
“So this whole adventure was some sort of joke for Hades sick sense of humor? He wanted to see how long the Wolf girl would last in this god-forsaken hellhole trying to find one of his precious toys?” She seethed, pacing back and forth “Why am I really here Zephyr?”
“We were sent to retrieve something Serenity” I said more forcefully than before “And the only way Hades can obtain it is with a Matthews wolf.”
“But why me!” She gritted her teeth “Out of all the Matthews Wolves, why me?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why did Hades choose Serenity Matthews?” she let out a small laugh “Why did he pick the loneliest, most introverted and pessimistic person in the whole family? Why not my brother? Or my Father? Or one of my cousins?”
“Would you rather have them experience this?”
“Of course not” she scoffed “But why didn’t he pick them? They’re better candidates than me. More experienced with fighting and definitely more optimistic.”
“I can’t tell you why he wanted you” I said softly “But I can tell you that you’re more capable than anyone I’ve ever met before.”
She shot me a look “Be serious.”
“I am being serious” I said, grabbing her hand and pulling her into my lap “What happened while you were over there Princess?”
“I saw the gate.” she whispered.
I raised an eyebrow “Really?”
She nodded “And it’s pretty fucking scary.”
I chuckled at her choice of words “I kind of guessed it would be considering that a bunch of badass wolves are guarding it.”
She smiled at my small use of a profanity.
“I have a bad feeling about this Zephyr” she bit her lip.
“Bad feeling about what?” I freed her lip with my thumb “The gate?”
“Among other things” she nodded “But mostly the key.”
“The key?” I scrunched my nose “The one those creeps were talking about?”
She nodded “When I mentioned it to the Chief, he tensed up and immediately went on the defense.”
“He did?” I asked, smoothing my thumb across the small piece of skin on her hipbone that was expose when her shirt rid up “Research what? The key or the gate?”
“The key?” she groaned “The gate? I don’t know anymore! But he freaked out and ran away at the mention of the Key.”
“And you think this key is the reason why we’re here?” I asked her softly.
“It’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than we initially thought” she said “And I think the Blood Moon tomorrow has something to do with it.”