The sound of my hammer hitting nail echoed through the desolated woods in a steady beat. My eyes are focused on installing roof shingles but my mind keeps wandering back to earlier today.
Honestly, I headed out to town for supplies but I had somehow ended up following my mate to school. I watched her during her Resource hour. She looked serene underneath the maple tree with her head leaned back. Her wild burnt umber hair was still a strewn mess around her shoulders like earlier today. I liked that look about her. I like how wild and free she looked.
Then I saw that boy hand her some treats. It infuriated me that he dared to provide for her so intimately but it didn't infuriate me as much as the look in his eyes when he looked at Sage. Anybody with eyes can see the apparent shine of adoration in his irises.
Thankfully, my mate is oblivious to his attention. I remained on school grounds watching her just for a little bit longer. I knew where she was even if she didn't tell me. I found her on the second floor. I held my breath the second her eyes scanned the edge of the woods. I questioned for a second if she saw me but I have a feeling she only felt my presence.
The leaves have fallen from all the trees into an eccentric blend of red, orange, and yellow on the ground. A rush of autumn breeze rushed passed me and snapped me back to the work at hand.
I don't know why I am fixing this abandoned cabin but I had replaced the front door, windows, and even cleaned out the cabin. It wasn't my job. This wasn't my home.
It was getting late. By the time I finished with the roof, it was around six in the evening. Gathering my tools and cleaning off some scraps, I was going to stop for the night.
I heard soft footsteps below me. My sister's natural scent carried along with the wind to where I was at.
"Liam?" she called out from below me.
I leaned back on my heels to look down at her. She wore a light brown jacket. Her black hair tied up into a high ponytail. The wind blew and she worked on sliding a few strands of black hair behind her ear.
I got down from the roof. Together we walked inside my cabin. The fireplace in the living room was burning logs and keeping the cabin warm. Katya walked in and her eyes widened in surprise when she saw what I have done to the place.
"Wow." She chuckled while looking at me with a grin.
I walked into the kitchen and turned on the kettle before reaching for two coffee cups for her and me. She slid into the wooden stool on the opposite side from me. I catch her removing her jacket and fixing her hair before settling her eyes on me.
"You fixed the place up. It looks really nice," she smiled.
"I don't know how long I would be staying here," I shrugged.
Her eyebrows furrowed. "What do you mean? You're still not thinking about leaving, are you? Rose told me that her daughter is your mate."
I stopped midway in placing her tea bag into her cup and looked at her briefly. The mentioning of my mate's name made my heart skip a beat. Katya was also upset. I can see it on her face. Sighing, I placed the tea bag into her cup.
"Liam, I know it is hard for you to settle into a pack. We were on our own for so long but this is home." She was looking at me with beggar eyes.
Home means a lot to me. It means a lot to both Katya and me. We yearned for a home for the longest time.
"I can't stay here, Kat. You know that I can't stay here," I replied stiffly.
The kettle shuts off and I moved to pour her a cup of tea and myself one. I slid her cup over to her. She accepted it into her hands but she kept her eyes on me.
"So, you are just going to leave your mate behind?" she questioned.
"She's better off without me," I muttered the truth even though it was hard to admit.
"How can you say that? Don't you want a home? We had been on the run for most of our lives and now that we have a place to call home, you are still running," she argued.
A flash of anger vibrated through me. My beast snarled and I felt a blinding rage bubble to the surface. Instantly, I lifted my eyes to look at her. Katya has seen this side of me before.
"I know, Katya. You don't have to remind me. I know where home is. That is why I have been running for seven years. To keep home safe. To keep you all safe!" I growled.
I threw the cup in my hand. It flew and hit the cabinet to my right. Instantly, it shattered upon the violent impact.
"There is nothing to worry about---"
"I have been having more blackouts every day, Katya. You can't tell me that everything will be fine because it isn't. I can't even remember what the fuck I did last night," I growled in frustration, shoving a hand through my hair.
"It's ok. I'll work it out with you. We can work it out together. I'll take you in to go see a therapist or a doctor---"
I laughed at what she said because the idea was ludicrous. It was absurd because she wasn't the only one who thought about that. I didn't just spend the last seven years doing nothing. I have seen every pack doctor and therapist there was.
No one knows what I am.
A sad look falls over her face and she began sniffling. It stops me from getting pissed off at her. Even my beast stalls for a minute not knowing how to handle the situation. We looked at her together. Shit, I am a horrible asshole. I made a pregnant woman cry.
"This is all my fault. You wouldn't have been like this if I looked after you. If I had stopped him from taking you away and inserting those injections into your bloodstream---"
I stopped her yet again from blaming herself. Katya has always blamed herself for what happened to me. We were captured. She couldn't save me because we would both be dead then.
"It wasn't your fault," I sighed before turning to face her again.
"Mom told me to take care of you." A tear slid down her cheek.
"It wasn't your fault and you did take care of me," I assured her.
Katya did everything to keep me safe. After our mother died, she did what she promised our mother. She took us away from the camp. We ran for years and lived up from eating live animals but we were finally safe from the Alpha Rogue that captured us.
"Liam, I just want us to be able to fit in. I just—just want you to be able to fit in. I want you to find happiness too. Can you try not to run? Can you at least try? I don't want to lose you too."
Sighing, I nodded my head. Katya was worried for no reason. Even if she hadn't asked, I wasn't going anywhere soon. With Sage, my plans of leaving have changed a little or complicated things a little.
She looked down at her cup of tea and played with the string of the tea bag. Her eyes were still filled with sadness.
"Do you remember when mom gave birth to..." Her voice dropped. It was still hard for her to talk about it.
"I remember," I replied to her.
She sighed. "I am afraid, Liam. Hunter doesn't know this but I am afraid of childbirth. It was one of the reasons why I have waited so long to give him what he wanted. He has been so patient and so sweet. He is the best mate anyone can ask for but what if what happened to mom happens to me?"
Our mother died shortly after giving birth to our stillborn baby sister. Katya delivered the baby but it traumatized her a lot. I remember waking up several times in the night to her screaming and piercing cries. She did that for several months. So, I could understand why it took her this long to finally allow Hunter and her to have pups.
"This place is different. It isn't the dungeon, Kat. You'll be fine. Hunter will do everything to keep you safe and that pup of yours will be born and become a great Alpha. You have nothing to worry about," I assured her.
She blinked several times before meeting my eyes with her own.
"This isn't the camp. This is home," she replied but I can tell she was trying to reassure herself.
I nodded before replying, "Home."
She finished her tea before standing up and walking to the door. I followed behind her but was surprised when she turned around and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. She hugged me tightly and buried her face in my chest.
"I remember you being taller than me," I replied.
She laughed before punching me in the shoulder. "Shut up."
I smirked and watched her walk out of my cabin. Lights appeared down the driveway and I see Hunter's truck come to a stop. The driver's door opened and Hunter came out. His headlights were still on and I watched him come to the head of the truck to meet my sister. They exchanged a few words before looking my way and then Hunter leading her to the passenger seat. I am guessing she came here without telling Hunter but knowing Hunter he knows where Katya is all the time.
Once they were gone, I headed back inside and took a shower. After showering and drying myself with a towel, I pulled on some grey sweats and crawled into bed. Laying on my stomach on the queen size mattress with my feet hanging over the end, I looked out the window and thought about Sage.
I thought about how good it would feel to have her warm luscious body nestled against mine in bed. To feel her lips against mine and god knows how long I have stared at those lips. I haven't stopped staring at them since seeing her at the dinner. It was all I could think about.
Turning onto my back, I tucked an arm underneath my head and placed one hand on my bare abs while I looked up at the ceiling. I recalled a memory of Sage when she was five. I had returned from school to find Gamma Judah arguing with Alpha Hunter. Sage had punched a boy for calling her cute. She was a handful as a pup. I don't think she has changed very much. The defiant look in her eyes earlier today said as much. There was no doubt that she would be the type of woman that gets under my skin. I don't think that was particularly a good thing but my beast says otherwise.
Just today, he seemed calmer than usual while holding her up against the tree. It was almost like he was intrigued by her and wanted to study her closely in every way possible. For the first time ever, my beast has encountered a prey he didn't simply want to kill.
I closed my eyes and pictured Sage again. She was no doubt the most beautiful creature I have laid eyes on. Seven years did wonders to her body. She has grown to become a woman in every single way and she is all mine. Just that thought was enough to drive both my beast and I mad with possessive needs.