I throw my body face down on the soft mattress with a groan. I spent the last hour walking through the woods by the border as I talked to Accalia about anything and everything. I know I should be focused on the situation at hand, but I am feeling a little discouraged to do so.
I want to help this pack that is why I came here. However, it is hard to aid people who do not appreciate the help. I am not expecting gratitude; that is not why I did what Nick asked. I do, however, await respect, but I will never admit it. Therefore, I will leave this territory by tomorrow morning; I assume Clay will accompany me.
A knock on my bedroom’s door causes me to roll onto my back and glare at the wooden door.
“Shadow is busy, please leave a message. She will get back to you… never.” I mumble bitterly. Even though my voice is low, I know that whoever is behind the door can hear me. The low chuckle that follows informs me who is behind the door which results in me sighing. I am in no mood to talk to anyone right now.
“Pity, I was hoping I could talk to her.” Alec says as he open the door and gets in.
“You should be focusing on the crisis that is coming your way.” I do not try to be shy about my distaste for seeing him.
“Is something bothering you?”’
“Or is it my presence?” He continues when I do not answer. Alec sits on the end of the bed, our skin almost touch.
“I am just in no mood for company.” I reply as I move away from him a little. I cannot bring myself to sit; I am way too exhausted.
“I know the feeling.” I get the sense that I am not meant to heart it. Thus, I do not comment on it, although, I can feel the tiredness and frustration in his aura.
“Why are you wearing Nolan’s shirt?” Alec asks once he notices that his friend’s clothing is covering my body. I did not have time to take it off; I actually forgot that I am wearing it.
“That is a long story.” I chuckle and then frown when I see his eyes turn black.
“Alec? Are you okay?” I get up and place my hand on his shoulder. The notorious alpha closes his eyes for a few seconds. When he opens them they are back to their beautiful glassy blue color.
“Can you take it off please?” The way he says it takes me of guard. Usually, when an alpha wants me to do something they tend to yell at me, and sometimes use their alpha voice.
I already established that Alexander Cresswell is not like the rest of the alphas. Nevertheless, I am a little taken aback that he actually says it as a request. I also do not miss the fact that he says ‘please.’
I am so amazed that I do what he asks without even realizing it. Accalia does not like it, but I ignore her simply because I avoid thinking about why he does not want me to wear Nolan’s shirt. The tension is so thick that I force myself to lie back on the bed so I can pretend that I cannot detect the bizarre looks the alpha gives me.
“Do your witches have a plan?” I ask even though I know the answer. I just need to distract him so he would not do something to piss me off or weird me out.
“They have been trying to figure out the spell that was used to transfer silver into gas. Unfortunately, they have nothing, and we are running out of time.” Alec leans on his back until he is lying on the bed next to me.
“Good.” I stare at the roof as I go through what I am about to tell him.
“Good?” Alec turns his head so he can face me; his eyebrow is raised in question.
“Yes, because I have an insane idea that you will probably say no to.” I turn to him.
“Then why tell it to me?” He gives me a teasing smile.
“Because you are out of options.” I give him a smirk in retaliation to the glare that I receive.
“Well dazzle me Miss Prior.” Alec moves around and places his head on my stomach. My first instinct is to push him off of me, but I remind myself that there are important things that we need to discuss. I can always push him off and then tell him my idea, but for some reason, I immediately push the thought away.
“I assume you have heard that I was able to mind-link Clay.” My heart clenches as I say his name, but I push my emotions way too far that I almost forget I have them. Alec hums.
“I was also told of the specifics of the conversation you had.” The news that my best friend brought appear to be adding on the notorious alpha’s distress.
“Well, I am positive that reaching his mind again is physically impossible; I got drained from a couple of minutes because we have been away from our pack’s territory and the distance does not help. So, what if Josh creates an invisible wall or a barrier on the border? That way the pack members will not be affected by the gas. The warriors, however, will be weakened.” I look at Alec who turns his head around on my stomach so he can face me.
“I am sure that none of them will hide too far away from the border, I mean no matter how fast they run some of the gas will find its way into their lungs. So I was thinking that Josh and I can cross the border to meet up with Clay, capture the warriors, and throw them in the dungeons.” I am so proud of my idea that my smile almost breaks my face. Sadly, Alec has to ruin my moment.
“You do realize that if all the warriors except for your friend disappear then the alphas will know that something is wrong. Both you and him with be the first suspects.” I can see his eyes starting to turn black, but he manages to contain himself well enough.
“Well, I am a believer of one step at a time. Besides, we need to make it through the next dawn before we think about the morning.” I feel a sense of shame for saying that when I myself had thought about tomorrow morning. My hand finds its way to his hair for the second time today.
“But worst case scenario we say I warned you so you slaughtered them before they had the chance to attack. “
“And how would we explain your friend surviving?” he tries to get up but I do not let him. If he does he will reject my idea.
“It is common knowledge in the Red Eclipse pack that I would do anything to keep Clay safe, and he would do the same for me.” I see his jaw clench, but I overlook it.
You seem to overlook many things these days. Accalia suddenly decides to bless me with her presence.
So what if I do?
Well, I feel like you are trying to ignore something. Something that will forever change our lives, I just do not know what it is.
We can think about it tomorrow if we stay alive. I reply before pulling her to the back of my head.
“We are not doing it.” Alec’s voice is final, but that does not stop me.
“All of it! Shadow, you would be making yourself a traitor; an enemy to the nation; you would become just like me.” I feel the rage and the discomfort rise in my chest when he acts like he deeply cares about my well being. I do not want to be ungrateful for that, but I just cannot shake the feeling that there is something I am missing, something he is not telling me. In addition, the fact that he has admitted that I am a part of his curse does not make things better, if anything they make the situation ten times more confusing.
“I am already a traitor, I disobeyed my alpha’s direct order and I interfered with his plans.” I yell.
“What order?” He asks in a calm way, my words seem to be unexpected on Alec’s end.
“That is irrelevant.” I shake my head as I dismiss the subject.
“This plan is the best thing we have given that we are literally out of options. Not to mention that dawn is in about eight hours.” I hiss at the stubborn alpha.
“We are not going through with it!” His voice is raspy and his eyes are almost completely black.
“Why the hell not?” I push him off me in frustration. Alec lands on the floor with a thud. He does not seem to acknowledge it as he stands up and points a finger in my face.
“I am not allowing you to leave the territory, it is dangerous.”
“One, that is not your decision to make, it is mine. You might be an alpha but that does not give you the right to tell me what to do or control me. Two, you do not get to put my life above your pack’s life. I do not care what you told me about your curse, because whatever it is you are not telling me it should not stop you from wanting to keep your people safe no matter the consequence. I thought you of all people would know that, I guess I was wrong. Even with your claim for your love for this pack, you still make selfish choices for unknown reasons.” I am out of breath by the time I finish yelling at Alec whose eyes are bitch black; his wolf is in control.
How in the world do you always manage to piss off every alpha that comes your way?
Shut up Accalia! I hiss at her.
I am serious. Not only that, but Nolan does not like you too. I mean if you manage to bother beta Chance you will break a global record.
I do not need you to remind me of my less honorable situations right now! I try to block my annoying wolf, but she just bursts out laughing in my head which gives me a slight headache.
I am too focused on my conversation with Accalia that I do not notice Alec – or rather his wolf- walking towards me as if I am his prey. Even though he has a murderous look on his face, I somehow feel certain that he will not harm me. I try to detect the origin of this feeling, but I come up empty handed.
“A penny of your thoughts?” Alec’s wolf asks as he gives me a wicked smile. I do not like that smile one bit, it hides something.
“I am not in the mood to share…”
“Amoux, my name is Amoux.” His voice is a lot deeper than Alec’s.
“I would introduce myself, but you already know who I am. “I take a few steps away from him. I feel overwhelmingly nervous around him. His aura is so strong it does not demand respect, but rather something else.
“Shadow Prior.” He says my name with a purr. As a result a shiver runs down my spine, I do not know what is happening to me.
“Well, I am going to go and talk to Joshua.” I start walking to the door when suddenly an iron hand grabs my arm and throws me on the bed. Before I can react Amoux is on top of me.
“What the fuck are you doing? Get off of me you freak!” I know that talking to an alpha’s wolf in such a way can have horrific results, but he truly freaks me out.
“You are not going to face the warriors.” His tone is threatening. Even my pride does not hesitate to admit that this is the most I have ever been scared. Alec is moral and decent, but that does not mean his wolf shares the same qualities. Our wolves are animals, so naturally they lack morality and understanding in some scenarios.
“It is my choice, and why do you care?” I hit his shoulder and start hitting him with my legs. Sadly, his is a lot stronger than me; he successfully pulls my hands above my head and detains my legs with his own.
“Amoux what are you doing?” I ask with gritted teeth as his face gets way to close to mine.
“I know you can take care of yourself, and I certainly trust Josh to protect you.” He replies studying my features.
“I do not need protection.” I try to break free from his hold, but Alec’s wolf seems to be stronger than anyone I have ever met, including Oliver.
“But what I cannot bear is for you to do to yourself what was done to me.” Amoux gives me a sad look, but I am way too angry at the situation that I do not care.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Amoux growls as he gives me a smile.
“I like it when you curse.”
“I am glad, now answer my question.” I decide that I like Alec better than his wolf.
“You know what I am talking about; you will be a traitor and an outcast and abomination for standing against the alphas. I know how it feels like, and I would not wish it upon my worst foe. I cannot let my own mate experience it if I have something to do about it.” My heartbeat stops for a moment, my breathing hitches, and my eyes become watery. His words keep ringing in my ears over and over again nearly deafening them.
“What… what are you… you… you just sai…” I cannot form a coherent sentence.
Yes I am here Shadow. She is shocked as much as I am if not more.
What is he… what is he talking about?
I do not know. And with that she blocks me, she seems to be shaken. I try to reach her but I get distracted with Amoux caressing my check with his free hand. I immediately shake my head vigorously to try and shake away his hand.
“You just called me your mate.” I avoid looking into his eyes; I do not think I can handle the look they will bear.
“You are my mate.” He growls in content as his hand once again finds its way to my cheek. When his finger traces my lip I bite him causing him to growl in anger.
“I am not your mate.” I say confidently even though my heart is about to give out from how fast it beats.
“Yes you are.” He shakes away his anger and buries his face in hair. I try to pull him away but that backfires when suddenly he is in between my legs, he grunts at the position.
“Get off of me.” Every limp in my body fights off his touch. He pulls his face away enough to face me. All I see is honesty and longing, but he is making it hard to believe him and feel sorry for him.
“You are not my mate, if you were, my wolf would have sensed it.” I feel Accalia’s eagerness to hear an explanation, she believes him.
“You do not have to rub it in my face, I know that.” Amoux growls at me.
“I do not understand.” I whimper. Amoux gives a soft smile and lets out a whimper himself. He loosens his grip on me, but he does not pull away from me.
“That is our curse.” He lets out another whimper, and a tear slips down his eyes.
“I do not…” I look him in the eye as he gives me a sad smile.
“We did not know what the curse the Amazonians’ witch put on us was until we saw you in our parents’ house with a bleeding shoulder. We knew you were our luna, but you just looked at us like you did not recognize us as your mate. It did not take us long to realize that the curse is for our mate to not feel the mating bond.” Accalia’ words ring in my head.
I feel like you are trying to ignore something. Something that will forever change our lives, I just do not know what it is.
Now I know what it is, and I realize that deep down I had my own suspicion. There is a long list of times when his actions had me come up with various explanations, and each time us being mates was one of them, and each time I overlooked that one explanation, it has been right in front of me this entire time.
I become so overwhelmed that I push him away from me with a strength that I did not know I have. I walk back and forth as I try to control my breathing. I feel the panic attack that has been threatening to happen all day starting to occur. From the side of my eyes, I see Amoux Watching my every move as I digest what has just happened.
At one point, my knees give out and they collide with the fluffy carpet on the ground. I can feel the oxygen refusing to enter my lungs.
“Shadow!” I feel two strong yet gentle hands rest on my cheeks. My eyes become blurry from the tears. I reach out for him because I am scared; I feel like life is being sucked out of my body.
“You are okay.” Amoux tries to comfort me but he fails.
“I cannot… I cannot breathe.” I say between gasps. Amoux’s hands tighten a little on my cheeks as he kisses my tears away.
“Just calm down, you are okay. I just need you to calm down and focus on your breathing.” I can feel his breath against my face. It is so warm.
I close my eyes and try to do as he says. I think about Clay in an attempt to calm myself down. It backfires when I recall what happened earlier today. My heart skips a beat.
“No, no, calm down. You were doing well. Just think about your sister, how you grew up together all the times you had a fight over a doll, or any good memory you have from being a kid.” It takes a few minutes but eventually my breathing goes back to normal and my tears completely dry.
“That is good.” I open my eyes to find glassy blue ones staring directly at me. They hold so many emotions that I almost have another panic attack.
“Alec?” My voice is a whisper.
“Yeah, it is me. I am so sorry Shadow, I did not mean…”
“You… you are…” I look down at my lap suddenly finding it weird to look at him.
“Shadow, please let me explain.” Alec begs and holds my hands in his.
“I just need some time to process.” I do not think I can hear him talk about how we are mates and how I was so blind to see it.
“Of course, I understand.” I can see a tear slip down his eye, he tries to hide it, but I see it.
“It is fine shadow, I understand. No woman would want to spend her life with a murderer like myself.” He violently wipes his tear away. His words are like a knife to my heart, I do not know why they affect me so much when I cannot feel the bond between us.
“Alec…” I call him as he attempts to get up.
“Shadow I told you it is fine. You do not have to…” I cut him off by jumping into his lap and hugging him as tightly as I can. The alpha immediately wraps his arms around my waist.
I know that this is something that prevents me from leaving this pack, and I know that I have to deal with this, but now is not the right time.
“Alec, listen to me.” I pull away from him enough to be able to see him. He, however, does not let me get off his lap.
“I cannot lie and say that I feel the bond or that I love you. What I can say is I am willing to learn more about this; all of it, I am willing to get to know you even though I cannot promise that I can give you what you want.” Reluctance clouds his eyes even though it is clear that he wants me to give him a chance. The notorious alpha is not hard to read. “Why?” Alec’s voice breaks.
“Well, I guess I have known that there was something there I was just trying to pretend it is not there because… Well the reason is too long to say out loud.” I chuckle as I wipe my face before I continue.
“I have only been here for two days. But in this short amount of time, I have seen that the alphas are wrong about you. I know that you have made mistakes in the past, but I am not shallow; I do not judge a person based on one action. I know that you love your pack deeply, you love your friends, and you love your home. You have the things the other alphas lack; you respect others, you do not use your title to get what you want, and you are not afraid to show your feelings. You…” I get cut off with his lips covering mine.