Breathing heavily and sweat rolling down my face I shot up out of bed. ‘What the Hell kind of dream was that?’ I thought to myself.
I had brought Leah home from the lake after she had fallen asleep in my arms. Jack had followed us back and was currently sleeping in one of the guest rooms. I looked down to my right and saw my mate still sleeping soundly. I know I should have put her in another room in case she didn’t feel comfortable in here with me but I couldn’t let her go.
When she had curled up in my arms asleep at the lake, she looked so peaceful and content I didn’t want to wake her to see what she would like. So, I just brought her to my/our room. I had tried to leave her so I could get some work done, but once I laid her down she grabbed my hand and her face scrunched up as if she didn’t want me to leave.
Giving in, I had lain next to her and while holding her hand had fallen into a blissful dream.
Leah and I were at the lake. It was summer time, and I could feel the warmth on my skin and I could feel the love we shared for each other. I had looked over to Leah and seen that she was round with our child and a smile spread across my face.
Just as I reached for her, thunderclouds rolled in.
I tried to get to her, to get her to safety from the storm. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to reach her. I watched in horror and fear as she reached her hand out to me and was consumed by the storm that rolled in.
I screamed her name as the world around us disappeared into a dark abyss.
That’s when the real nightmare began.
I was in a room shrouded in darkness. I was barely able to make anything out while even using my wolf’s vision. What I did see made my blood run cold. I was in a stone cell with silver bars along one side. There was a pile of hay in one corner and a bucket in the other. What caught my attention was the small form that was lying atop the hay.
I tried to walk over and see what it was but I was stuck to my spot. I watched unwillingly as someone entered the cell and grabbed the form off the straw bed. I felt a growl rip from me when I noticed it was a small child. Neither the child nor the man holding her seemed to hear me so I growled louder in warning. There was no cause to treat this child like this. There was no cause to treat any child like this.
I wanted to rip the man’s arms off and beat him with them as I watched him torture and yell at this small human to shift. Just when I couldn’t take anymore, the child looked in my direction what I saw stopped my breath.
This child had Leah’s eyes. This child was my mate.
I looked down at Leah and again and I noticed tears running down her face. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t just a dream. It was one of her memories and she was reliving it through her own dreams.
Not even thinking about what I was doing, I reached over and shook her awake. I needed her to wake up. I couldn’t have her reliving these nightmares if they were true. I couldn’t have my mate hurting.
At first, Leah curled into a ball and tried to shrink away from my touch. When she became more aware of where she was, she visibly relaxed.
“Leah, honey,” I stated aloud. “You need to wake up sweetheart. You were having a bad dream.”
She opened her eyes fully and looked at me. I could see the remnants of the dream in her eyes and tears were still streaming down her face. I gathered her in my arms to try and sooth her. I wanted to take all of her fears away, all of her pain.
“Shh, it’s ok, love. I’m here. I won’t let anything hurt you.” I kissed the top of her head and gently rocked her while sobs shook her body. “Do you want to tell me about it?” I questioned when she calmed down a bit.
I felt her nod and take a steadying breath.
‘I know you say it was a dream, but to me it felt real. Almost, almost like a memory.’ I could feel the anxiety rolling off her so I ran my hand down her back and arm to let her know she was safe now. I felt her take another calming breath as she continued.
‘I don’t know how old I was. I just know that I was young. I was laying on something that made my skin itch but somehow it felt like I was used to it. I know that it was dark. That it was always dark. I just laid there waiting for someone to come. I knew if someone did come that I would hurt and it would be bad.’ She let out a shuddering breath and I just kissed her head again and held her tighter. Her arms wrapped around my waste, ‘I heard something creak and slam. Then, I was yanked up from my bed, and slapped hard. I couldn’t scream out. I knew even at that age I couldn’t talk. This man just kept screaming at me to shift. I didn’t know what he meant. He took out something sharp from his back and brought it to my face. I wanted to scream that I didn’t know what he wanted, but he took that item and ran it over my eye.’ I saw her run her finger along the scar over her left eye. ‘I guess that’s how I got this.’ She stated. ‘After that it was just more pain. More cuts. More beatings. Just as I was ready to pass out you woke me up.’
I know she was looking up at me but I couldn’t look at her. I just held her tighter and tried to calm myself with her scent and the feel of her in my arms. I wanted to find who hurt my baby even more now that she had told me this. I wanted to make him pay.
Struggling to keep my voice calm I asked, “Do you remember any more about your past? Or was it just this one memory?”
She sighed, ‘It was just this one memory. If the rest of my memories are like this one, I don’t know if I want to remember.’ With that, she curled up further into my arms and lay still.
“Do you want me to stay with you? If not I can always sleep somewhere else.”
She looked up at me with a small smile and lifted her hand to my cheek. ‘You can stay,’ she whispered into my mind.
Giving her a smile of my own, I shifted us so I could lay us down and pull the comforter over us. I pulled her close to me and had her rest her head on my chest while I wrapped my arms around her to hold her to me.
We stayed like that the rest of the night and eventually fell asleep in each other’s arms.
I awoke to warmth and tingles running along the length of my body. For a minute, I didn’t know where I was, and then I remembered the events from last night. I remember Devin waking me up from the horrible dream/memory. I remember talking to him about it and I remember him comforting me and staying with me through the night.
Opening my eyes, I noticed that I was still lying on Devin’s chest and he had his arms wrapped around me. Pressing me into his side. I looked up at his sleeping face and wanted to sigh. He looked so peaceful, but the tingles were doing strange things to my body. I could feel my wolf purring inside of me. She wanted me to do things to him that I didn’t understand. I was confused and frustrated with her, but looking at him all I wanted to do was reach up and touch his face like I did last night. Hesitantly, I lifted my hand and placed it along his jaw. He moved into my touch and nuzzled my hand with his lips.
I was about to pull away when he rolled on top of me. I didn’t know what to do as his head went to the crook of my neck, as his hands ran up and down my sides. I lay perfectly still as a rush of sensations went through me. I wanted to push him away. I wanted to pull him closer. This was driving me mad, even more so than my loss of memory. I made up my mind to push him away when he stiffened on top of me.
I opened my eyes that I had not realized I had closed, to see him staring down at me with a blank expression.
Quicker than I could blink he was off me and on the other side of the bed with his hands running through his hair. I watched as the dark locks fell back into place and I wondered what they would feel like in my own hands. Devin snapped his head towards me and I saw a dark and powerful emotion in his eyes. I hated not knowing what it was so I asked quietly in his mind, ‘Is everything ok?’
I saw another emotion flash in his eyes before he closed them and let out a shaky breath. “Yeah, everything’s ok. I’m sorry for what happened.”
I tilted my head and looked at him closely. ‘What are you sorry for?’
He opened his eyes and I saw they were filled with pain and a little fear. What did he have to fear?
“I didn’t mean to do that to you,” he stated.
‘No, I’m sorry,’ I firmly sent to him. ‘I didn’t mean to wake you. I just wanted to touch you again like I did last night. I didn’t mean to make you upset.’ I looked down at my hands as I said this. It was true. I didn’t want to make him upset. Somehow, it hurt me too if he was in pain.
He put his finger under my chin and raised my head so I was looking at him. There was a small smile playing on his lips as he spoke, “There is no need for you to be sorry. There are things we need to talk about, and what happened a few moments ago is part of it. I don’t ever want you to think that I don’t want you to touch me. I can’t get enough of you wanting to be near me. Don’t ever doubt that.”
I just looked at him. A lump formed in my throat as I nodded. I wanted to say something else but there was a knock at the door.
I know Devin will be pissed for coming to him this early but I could barely sleep last night for wanting to leave. After getting back last night, I had opted to sleep in one of the guest rooms. Only problem is I couldn’t sleep. I ended up pacing most of the night. It was now 6 a.m. and I couldn’t take it any longer. Making my way to the loft space of the house, I knocked on the door to the master suite. I couldn’t hear any voices but that wasn’t surprising as all of the rooms were sound proof.
Saying a silent prayer that Devin didn’t rip my throat out I knocked on his door.
I waited a minute and thought about knocking again, in case he was asleep still, when the door was ripped open and I was greeted by a growl.
Taking a step back, I held up my hands. “Whoa, dude, I just need to talk to you.” I stated, trying to show that I didn’t want him to outright murder me.
I watched as my best friend and Alpha tried to calm down. It was never a good idea to disturb a sleeping wolf. It was an especially bad idea when said wolf was with his mate. With what I needed to do, I was willing to risk anything.
I saw Leah come around Devin and place a hand upon his arm to try and sooth him. I smiled at that. She may not know what mates were or what she meant to him but she did know how to take care of him. She looked at me then and tilted her head as if she could read my mind. For all I know she can. She was different, but in a good way.
I felt a pressure in my mind. Someone trying to get past my mind block and I looked at Leah closely. She had closed her eyes so I’m assuming she wanted to talk to me. I felt my walls give and her presence was in my mind. I noticed a small smirk on her face as I heard her voice in my head.
‘What do you need Jack? Is everything ok?’
I stood there staring at her until a threatening growl brought me back. I looked at Devin and saw that he was close to losing control of his wolf. Quickly, I said, “Sorry, man, but your ma, uh, Leah is talking to me in my head.”
Devin froze and slowly looked down to his mate. Leah still stood with her hand on his arm and smile barely lifting the corners of her lips. He looked at her in shock and then the love and pride he had for her shone through his eyes. Taking this as an ok, I continued.
“Devin, Alpha,” hearing this, Devin looked back at me. “I found my mate, man. I need to get back to her.”
I saw happiness radiate from Devin’s face as he said, “Well what the hell are you doing here for? Go get her. I want to meet her.” He would have continued in this vain if Leah hadn’t stopped him.
‘What aren’t you telling him, Jack?’ she asked me.
Giving her a small smile, “I had to leave before I got to see her to come here and help the pack while you guys were busy.”
I could see that Devin felt guilty about this, but Leah looked thoughtful.
‘Ok. I get that you had to come back here to help Devin with the pack while he was busy helping me in the hospital. What I don’t get is why you didn’t leave sooner? Also,’ I had a bad feeling about where this was going, ’what’s a mate?’
Devin and I froze. Yep, a bad feeling.