✔️| The Gift of a Curse {1}

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~ 21 ~

I sat on the right side of the bed as I watched my beautiful sleeping mate. She had woken up right before the sunset. The happiness and the relief I felt at that moment were indescribable; it was like I could breathe again after weeks of being suffocated.
Even though my instinct was to bury my head in her neck and hug her for as long as she would allow me to, I had to respect and accept that the person she wanted to see right after she woke up was Clay and not me. I did not feel jealous nor did I feel bitter. After all, I understand how it is like to have a strong friendship; one that would anchor you and keep you from drowning. I am glad that Shadow has a friend like that; someone who she knows she can count on no matter the place, the time, or the circumstance.
After the both of them pulled apart, Clay gave me a nod and walked out of the room. Even though I had dreamt about that moment for weeks, I still did not know how to react or what to say. However, I did not have to say anything because Shadow threw her arms around me and enveloped me in a comforting embrace which resulted in me shedding a few tears.
Eventually we both fell asleep in each other’s arms and I woke up when Clay returned to the room.
For two weeks, Clay and I stayed in my room with Shadow as we held on to the hope that she would wake up sooner than we all thought.
Although, if I am being honest with myself, I had another reason to lock myself in that room and it was to avoid facing the pack. I did not know what they thought about what I did, I did not know if they still were loyal to me. A part of me did not want to know, so I distracted myself with Shadow’s condition.
Clay and I took turns showering and we tried to take turns sleeping, but we always ended up sleeping on either side of Shadow. Even though we did not say much, we got really close; we bonded over our concern for Shadow. Also, he confirmed my suspicions about him being mute. What I liked the most about him, however, is the fact that his eyes held no judgment when he looked at me; just like Shadow’s. The only people who did that were my close friends. So, it was interesting and refreshing to see a stranger who did not judge my actions. People like him, and Shadow, rarely exist these days.
My eyes studied the male who slept on the bed next to my mate and I examined his face closely. Despite his hazel eyes being closed, I could still see the sadness in them even with strands of his brown hair covering them; it could be detected in every part of his face. In fact, I could see a hint of that sadness in every part of his face. His pale lips, his tall nose, his sharp jaw, and even his thick eyebrows. Whatever he went through in his life, it must have been not easy. In fact, I think it left wounds that will never heal. At least that is what his face hinted.
I got off the bed and walked to the fireplace that illuminated the dark room. I sat on the floor before the fire and I just glared at the flame. I brought my legs to my chest and hugged them as tight as I could while allowing my thoughts to take a dangerous path.
I kept thinking about Amara, and about the day I found her near the border. I stayed by her side for days; afraid to let her out of my sight, afraid to fail her again. Chance cried for days as he came up with endless scenarios of how Amara ended up in that situation. As for Nolan, he kept his cold façade although I could tell that he was angry at what happened to her. When I finally managed to leave her side it was when Nolan found out who committed such a monstrous crime.
I tried everything I could to make her feel better, to make her feel alive again. Sadly, nothing I did worked; she never truly recovered.
“You look like a balloon that is about to explode.” A figure stood by the fireplace.
“Well, that is how I feel.” I kept glaring at the fire in the fireplace.
“Our lives are going to change forever for a second time, are they not?” Nolan sat on the ground next to me and he crossed his legs under him.
“They already did.” I mutter.
“Xander, what are we going to do? Too many things are happening all at once. I am honestly starting to lose my balance.” My gamma turned his face to mine.
“I have been talking with Clay, and from what he told me the worst is yet to come.” I met his gaze.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, from what he told me, their former alpha is not the problem. The problem is the beta; Shadow’s brother. He wants to eliminate us, and according to Clay he is willing to do the unthinkable to do what he wants.” I nearly shivered at the stories Clay told me about Stefan Prior.
“That is... just comforting; do you have a plan in mind?” Nolan growled.
“I have an outline for one, but I am going to have to talk to Shadow and learn more about her brother before I know for sure what we are going to do. Also, I have to find the bravery to leave this room.” I growled at the last part.
“Well I believe that the key to leaving this room is in two steps. The first, you have to try to contact Amoux. He is your wolf Xander, and you have to accept him with all his flaws. The second, you have to know that while the pack is still loyal to you, they do not have the same faith they had in you before. You have to accept the changes that the last few weeks have brought; you have to accept that you cannot undo things that have already been done.” Nolan placed a comforting hand on my shoulder before he got up and left me alone with my dark thoughts.
I made my way back to the bed and watched Shadow sleep all night. The entire time I was focused on one thing, the sadness that was in her aura and in her sleeping face. As the sun started to rise, I made a note to talk to her as soon as she woke up. I wanted to show her that regardless of everything, I would never hurt her and I would always put her first.

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