We entered my bedroom to find Clay sitting on the floor next to the bed where Shadow motionlessly lied. When Clay’s eyes met mine his hand immediately abandoned Shadow’s and he got up as he gave me worried looks.
It took me a second to understand that he was afraid that I might hurt his best friend. And while I felt glad that Shadow had a friend that genuinely cared about her, I felt empty inside that his concern was justified. I could not trust myself, how could I expect others to trust me. Not to mention that Clay and I did not know each other, the only encounter we had is when I practically tried to kill him.
“Do not worry Clay.” Nick said when he noticed his friend’s unease. To my surprise, Clay did not reply.
“But you trust me, and I am telling you that he is in control. You know I would never do anything to put Shadow at risk.” Nick said before Clay gave me a look and reclaimed his place on the floor.
“Do not mind his attitude; he and Shadow have the tendency to be overprotective over each other.” Nick sat next to Clay.
“I am sorry we met at the worst time and circumstance. I hope we can start over. I am Xander, it is good to meet you.” I tried to sound happy to meet him, and I was, but the weight of everything prevented me from showing it. All Clay did was shake my hand; no words were said from him. I chose to not question it.
I turned to Nick; I wanted to handle things the mature and right way.
“Are Chance and Nolan okay?”
“Yeah. They are a little shook, but they are fine.” Once again, I was drowned in self-hatred. I could not understand how my friends stand by me considering everything I put them through.
I know I am lucky, but I cannot help but feel unworthy of the love and loyalty they have for me.
“Xander, we just talked about this.” Nick gave me a stern look. I ignored him and mind-linked Chance.
Can you come to my room please?
I am on my way.
In short three minutes, Chance knocked the door, but he did not enter the room.
“I will be right back.” I told the two men before I left.
“We did not want to disturb Shadow.” Nolan said once I closed the door behind me. I was surprised by his presence, but I was pleased by it.
“I am so sorry.” I said with a trembling voice before I pulled both of them into a hug. They hugged me back which resulted in me releasing a sigh of relief. Despite the negative emotions I felt towards myself, I still did not want those I love to feel the same way about me.
“It is okay.”
“Do not worry about it.” I selfishly hugged them for a few more seconds before pulling away. Thankfully, I managed to repress my tears.
“Did you inform Doctor Lewis’ family about what happened?” I asked.
“Yes, and the entire pack demands an explanation.” Chance gave me a sympathetic look.
“We did not tell them everything, but they know that you um… you know, and they seek to know how it happened. Also, everyone knows that Shadow is your mate.” At his words my heart dropped.
“Listen, I.. I wanted to tell you, I wanted to tell you so bad, but I just… I do not know.” I hit the back of my head with the wall.
“We know Xander.” Nolan gave me a soft smile.
“We know that you did not want to make a fool out of Shadow by telling everyone but her.” Nolan gave me knowing look.
“How did you…?”
“We know you Xander better then we know ourselves. And we would never want you to feel obligated to tell us things you do not want to share. You are allowed to keep some things to yourself.” Chance gave me a little pat on the shoulder.
“I appreciate it guys, but I want to discuss more important things.”
“You mean Doctor Lewis.”
“What do you plan on doing?” Chance gave me a confused look.
“The right thing. I want you to spread the word that I will be holding a pack meeting in three hours.”
“Why don’t you use the mind-link to make the announcement?” Nolan folded his hands together.
“I honestly do not have the courage to do that, I do not know how I will have the audacity to stand in front of them and tell them, but I know that I have to do it.” Both of them gave me an approving look which is more that I would have ever hoped. With a final side hug, they both walked away leaving me standing alone in the hallway.
Suddenly, I realized that I had not even felt Amoux since I woke up. The better part of me was concerned, yet I did not try to contact him because my other side was glad he had gotten quiet. I purged my mind from any thoughts about my wolf and walked back into my bedroom to find Nick talking and Clay listening to every word he said. By then, I had started to suspect that Clay is mute, but I figured that it was too rude to ask and I had bigger things to concern myself with.
“How is she?” I made my way towards the bed and hopelessly stared at Shadow. She had risked her life for my pack while I did the exact opposite.
I knew I had to pull myself together and maintain my emotions, but words are hard to apply to.
“The same.” Nick replied as Clay let out a deep frustrated breath. I could tell that he desperately wanted Shadow to wake up.
“I am holding a meeting to explain what I had done. The pack deserves to know.”
“Clay says that this is a wise and brave decision, and I agree.” Nick said as he gave his friend a smirk.
“But in the mean time, you should stay here for a while; maybe Shadow’s presence will ease your pain a little.” I immediately shook my head.
“I think it is time I stop pretending that she would ever choose to live her life with me detained in this territory. And the fact that she cannot feel the bond does not make my chances any better.”
“Xander, how many times have I told you to not think like that?” Nick got up so he could face me. Clay stayed in his place.
“Look, Josh told us all about how she cannot feel the bond and how you chose to not tell her that you are mates. I also know that when she did find out, she did not reject you. If anything, she believed you. So no matter what happens you must not give up hope. More importantly, you should not make the decision for her because it is hers to make not yours, okay?” All I could do is nod before I made my way to the bed and lied down next to Shadow.
I could see that Clay had slept on the floor while holding Shadow’s hand. I gave Nick another nod before I buried my face in my mate’s hair. My problems and sorrow would be there when I woke up. Therefore, I allowed myself to fall asleep as my mind battled between what my friends said and what my brain said.