CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
I feel myself slowly wake up, but I choose to keep my eyes closed for a little while longer. The sunlight attacks my skin; it indicates that it is in the middle of the day. My heightened hearing tells me that I am the only person in the room, and my heightened sense of smell tells me that I am in Alec’s room; his scent envelops the air.
I still have difficulty breathing; I can feel the soreness in my chest. However, it is not as bad as it was when I first regained consciousness, but it is bad enough that I still have to make my breaths as shallow as possible.
I want to talk to Accalia; I want to feel her presence, the quietness in my head is intolerable especially since I cannot get Diamanda’s death out of my head. I am no longer forced to see her die again, but I longer can neglect the feelings that are connected to it; I cannot pretend that they never happened. It is almost like my chest hurt from the memories and not my injuries.
I open my eyes slowly; afraid that when I open them I will be detained in another horrendous memory, God knows I have so many. My grip on the duvet that covers my body tightens as I hesitantly face the sun’s blinding light.
I sigh in relief when I see that I am indeed in a bedroom; I am in the real world. Despite the panting that it causes, I manage to get out of the bed and wash up in the bathroom. I am tempted to take a shower but I know I am not strong enough to stand on my feet for more than two minutes.
When I get out of the bathroom, I yearn to change my clothes since I can feel the sweat on them, but I know that nothing in the closet will fit me. Still, I walk into it and examine the manly clothes inside. I cannot change my pants, but I can change my blouse.
I take my blouse off and grab the first hoodie I see and put it on. Its smell confirms my initial belief; I am in Alec’s room; the hoodie reeks of him. I take a shaky breath as I lean on the shelf and slowly walk to the long mirror by the closet’s door.
I almost cringe at the person that stares back at me. It is not my pale skin, or my chipped lips, or the bags that are under my eyes; it is my aura; you can tell that I am sad just by staring into my eyes. Reliving Diamanda’s death is going to burn for a while and it clearly shows. I glare at my reflection one last time before I make my way out of the closet.
I walk to the window to see that the Open Wound territory has not changed since the warriors’ attack. I want to lie back in bed and let my weak lungs rest. However, I desire to inhale some fresh air even more. Thus with a sigh I make my way out of the room. I hear no voices, no movements; I am completely alone in the house. I do not wonder where everyone is as I step into the sunlight.
I let out a sigh of relief as I feel the soft breeze collide with my skin. No one is near the house; I take the opportunity and start walking towards the woods. I know I cannot shift because Accalia is weak, but that does not mean I cannot admire nature in my human form.
I take small careful steps and I lean on the trees every once in a while. I do not want to exhaust myself to the point where I cannot walk back to the house or pass out in the middle of the woods.
Thirty minutes after walking and panting, I find myself standing before the most beautiful view I have ever seen. It is a waterfall and a lake that are surrounded by pure nature. I sit on the cliff and I watch the water fall into the lake. I also admire the flowers and the plants that cover the ground around the lake.
Despite the sadness that consumes my soul, I cannot help but smile at the extraordinary view; it is the most innocent thing I have seen in a long time. It is refreshing. After all, nature is the only constant on this earth.
My smile drops when I hear movement behind me. I do not dare turn around and I do not dare move a muscle. I am in no shape to fight anyone. If anything I will end up killing myself just by attempting to fight. Nonetheless, if I am being attacked, I will not go down without a fight.
When I feel the body move closer to me, I wait until it is only a few centimeters away before I lunge and drop the person to the ground with me on top of them.
I take a deep breath as I look at the person under me to see a wolf that gives me a playful smirk. It can easily push me off and slit my throat with its claws but it does not. I look into its eyes and it finally clicks; the wolf is Alec. When I try to smell his scent, my theory is confirmed.
“Alec?” I ask with a weak voice. I cough a little as I struggle to breathe. Within seconds, the wolf beneath me is replaced by a built muscular body with skin that is kissed by the sun.
“In the flesh.” The alpha gives me a smile.
“You should be in bed, and here you are miles away from the house and panting like you are inhaling toxic gas.” Alec gives me a stern disapproving look.
“I did inhale toxic gas, remember?” I mutter as I try to get off of him. As a result, the alpha grabs my waist with both hands and pushes me against his own.
“You know what I mean… and why do you want to get up? You are the one who victimized me and threw me under your body. Although I have to say, I do like this position.” His gives me a smirk. I am a little taken aback by this new playful side of him, however I kind of like it.
I push away from his face, but since he holds my waist in an iron grip, I end up sitting on his stomach. When I try to move, he growls. I suddenly come to the humiliating realization that he just turned, which means he is completely naked.
I look into his eyes to see that they are no longer that beautiful crystal blue. Instead, they are a peculiar shade of brown. They are not black, which means he is still in control. Silently, I move myself to sit on the upper part of his body. I watch as his eyes gradually turn back to normal.
“So, what are you doing here?” I ask when the quiet becomes awkward.
“What am I doing here?” he gives me a raised eyebrow before he continues talking.
“I went to my bedroom to check up on you only to see you nowhere to be found. I followed your scent and it lead me here. Why did you leave the bed? You are still not fully recovered.” As if to answer him I cough for a few minutes before I answer him.
“I needed the fresh air; I was getting a little too confined inside the same four walls.” I decide to not go into detail.
My mood immediately turns sour when I remember it, and I forcefully push myself away from Alec and sit on the edge of the cliff in my previous spot. Moments later, the alpha sits next to me.
“You know, even in your sleep I could see your distress and sorrow. You do not have to talk to me about it, but I just want you to know that you can always talk to me about anything. I am here to listen, okay?” His words press a button inside my brain, and instantly my tears emerge.
“Hey, it is okay, it is okay I got you.” Alec immediately notices my watery eyes and cheeks. He pulls me into a warm and comforting embrace.
Minutes later, I am sitting in his lap with my head against his chest and my hands grabbing his shirt as I cry my grief and heartache away.
I have never cried like that in front of anyone except for Clay and Nick. However, I am way too emotional to care.
I cry for my sister.
I cry for Clay.
I cry for Nick.
I cry for Joshua.
I cry for Alec.
I cry for myself.
Eventually I run out of tears and I can no longer breathe properly, and I just hold on to the alpha who comforts me like my life depends on it.
“Can I tell you something I never told anyone?” Alec asks me with a smooth voice.
“Yeah.” I mumble still maintaining my tight grip on him, although, he does not seem to mind.
“While you were still unconscious, Clay and I spend all our time with you waiting for you to wake up. However, there was this one time when Clay went to talk to Nick and it was just you and me in the room…” I feel his heartbeat increase and his breathing becomes a little uneven.
“You were sleeping, and I wanted nothing more than your comfort, so I lied down beside you. Eventually, I fell asleep. I do not know how, but my consciousness forced me to see the day that resulted in me committing the ‘the triple crime’”. It is obvious that it is hard for him to share, but I am not going to stop him from talking. One of the reasons being the fact that he comforted me a few minutes ago when I needed a shoulder to cry on. Another reason is that I have always been curious about the crime that ruined both his reputation and his life along with his pack’s.
“There is a female in the pack, her name is Amara; she used to work in the pack’s orphanage. I would always see her there playing with the kids whenever I went to visit the orphans and see if they needed anything. She was a warm and a kind person; the kids loved her like she was their actual mother. She had a dream of one day becoming in charge of the orphanage; she told me so every time she saw me. I admired her ambition, and how she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life.” I can detect the hopelessness in his voice, and I know that whatever he is about to say, it is tragic.
“Was? Knew? Wanted?” I whisper.
“She did not die if that is what you are asking. Although, I reckon it would have been better if she did; it would have been less torturous for everyone including Amara herself.”
“What happened to her?” I dare ask.
“One day, I was walking near the east border when I heard a whimper. I followed it and I found… I found… She was covered with blood, and she was beaten up so badly. One of her eyes was missing, the entire left part of her body was burned, and three nails were placed in her right shoulder.” I shiver as I think about what that poor girl had to endure, and I find myself agreeing with Alec; she would have been better off dying. No one should live with such pain; such trauma. I want to cry for her, but I do not. She deserves better than that.
“Chance, Nolan, and I took turns to look after her during her recovery. Sadly, while she physically recovered, the mental damage was permanent. She became suicidal, and would spend most of her time hallucinating and it always ended up with her screaming like she was being murdered. The only people she felt safe around were Chance, Nolan, and me. For some reason, we were the only men she trusted to be around her. Eventually, when I finally realized that she will never be the person she was before, I had her moved to a cabin in the middle of the woods; no one is allowed to even get near that cabin.” I can feel the ire radiate from his body, and I pull my arms around his neck and rest my head on his shoulder.
“You left her there alone?”
“No. Caroline, the head of the orphanage at that time decided to relinquish the orphanage to stay with Amara and take of her.” Alec looks down at me and pulls a strand of my hair away from my face before he continues.
“One night, I was lying in bed torturing myself with my thoughts when Caroline mind-linked me and requested that I go to the cabin as fast as I could. When I arrived there Amara was having a tantrum, she basically destroyed the cabin. When I tried to calm her down she told me… she told me precisely what was done to her; how her flesh got brutally burned. Her words killed my soul in the most merciless way. When I finally managed to calm her down and put her to sleep, I darted out of the cabin and ran in my wolf form to Josh’s house.” I pull away from him so I can look at him properly. I want to see his emotions through his eyes as he tells me exactly what he did.
“It took days, but Josh was finally able to track the people who tortured and maimed her with his magic. I went to their pack, kidnapped all six of them and I took them to the cave by the border. All I remember is Amoux becoming violent and somehow managed to overpower me to the point where I do not even remember what I did to them. All I know is that I woke up in the cave covered in blood and the six bodies were there. I tried really hard over the years to recall how I killed them, but I cannot. I even had Josh try some of his spells to attempt and help me extract these lost memories from my mind. Nothing worked. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I will never remember what I did.” In a way I understand where he comes from. Nonetheless, if I was in his place, I would not want to know what I did.
“Anyway, that one time I was sleeping next to you, my subconscious basically forced me to relive the moment I found Amara. I do not know how it happened, but ever since it did, I have not been able to go and visit her. I mean, it has been five years and Amara has not made any kind of progress. I visit her almost every day and every time I go to that cabin I notice that she actually gets worse. Sadly, I cannot do anything more than what I already did for her. I am not sure I can bear seeing her like that with these memories fresh in my mind.” I see a lone tear run down his left cheek.
“Did you not go to the Amazonians?” I ask with confusion.
“I did, but for some reason they refused to even see me and hear me out. I was confused by that; the Amazonians are known to be fair and just. I was perplexed by their actions. Thus, I reached out to other alphas; they all turned their backs on me. Ultimately, I decided if getting Amara justice is not others’ priority, then I am going to get her justice myself even if it will not fix what was done to her.” I immediately know that my choice to not judge the notorious Alexander Cresswell even before I met him was the right thing; though I never doubted my belief. People are not always what they seem, and their actions do not define them. Sadly, almost everyone on the planet does not comprehend that.
“What about Amoux?” I ask him because I can see that he wants to say more, but perhaps he does not know what to say. So, I try to assist him.
“What about him?” He does not wipe his tear away as he looks at me. He shows me his naked emotions without any filers. For some reason I am glad that he trusts me with his raw feelings. Although, I think it has to do with the fact that we are mates.
“Did he overpower you again after you killed Amara’s abusers? Other than what happened with Doctor Lewis I mean.” He looks at me with pure shock and fear.
“How do you know about that?” His voice quivers.
“Nick he put my subco…”
“Yeah, I know he told me.” He interrupts me impatiently.
“Yeah well, while he was with me in the magical landscape, he told me everything.” In an instant, he looks down at my lap. I can feel the shame and the dread in his aura.
“Alec?” I put my hand on his cheek and make him look into my eyes.
“I am pretty sure I told you this before, but I am going to say it once again. I am not the type of person who judges others no matter what they do. I am certainly not going to start now.” I try to give him a smile but I cannot stop thinking about how the both of us were forced to see the darkest and scariest moment of our lives. It cannot be a coincidence, I do not believe in such things especially not when my brother is an enemy of mine and this pack.