I awake to the pack doctor giving my mate directions to the clinic, Ryker wastes no time in setting me down in the bed and covering up my body from any ones eyes.
“Alpha Ryker, I need to do a thorough examination of your mate and I think it would be better if you weren’t in here for it.”
“I’m not leaving unless she asks me to.” he responds quickly
“Please, can he stay?” I plead with the doctor.
“Of course, just try not to attack me when I remove her clothing.” the doctor begins pulling down the blankets, his rubber gloves irritate my skin but I don’t say anything.
The doctor asks me to sit up and remove my shirt, Ryker tenses and growls next to me but doesn’t get in the way. I abide the docs orders and he gently palpates my entire torso, checking to see how many broken ribs I have and if he thinks I could possibly have internal bleeding. It hurts me so fucking much but I let him continue, he swabs the bite marks and as soon as the exam is over he covers me back up. Next he examines my leg, it’s still sensitive to the touch and he knows that it needs to be reset, luckily enough they will put me out while they set it and cast it up.
Once I come too I see the doctor standing at the foot of my bed, once I’m fully awake he explains everything quietly.
“I don’t see any sign of internal bleeding or any indications you may need surgery, but your ribs are all broken and will take time to heal. Until than I would like you to disinfect your wounds, a good shower and hydrogen peroxide will do the trick. I was going to suggest a nurse help you shower but I think you’d be more comfortable with your mate helping you.” Nodding i watch the doctor leave the room and Ryker helps me stand, handing me the crutches and we begin to head for the bathroom. Ryker wraps my leg carefully with a plastic bag so I don’t saturate the casting.
The shower has all the essentials I need, a loofa, shampoo and conditioner, and body wash. Ryker twists the faucet on, as it warms he comes to me, he stands behind me but pauses as his fingers find my bra clasp, I nod and he undos the hooks. Crusted blood makes the removal of my bra painful and I grunt out.
Rykers eyes change from human too beast, he’s trying to hold back. Instead of pulling my underwear down he just tears both sides and they fall to the ground, Ryker doesn’t make a move to undress himself but I begin undoing his belt.
“Alethea, don’t. I’m trying to take care of you, not the other way around. I don’t need taking care of.”
“I just want to shower with my mate.” it’s a pathetic beg that comes out of my mouth. Gulping Ryker nods letting me remove his pants.
Guiding me to the shower he holds onto me afraid that I’ll slip and break something. The hot water feels amazing, I wash away the scent and grime of Samual, the bite marks sting but I know I’m washing away his saliva.
Rykers still as a statue behind me, his hands on my hips dig in slightly. Scrubbing my hair with the shampoo, Ryker grabs the loofa and squirts some soap onto it, he carefully drags it across my body, it doesn’t hurt as much as I thought it would but it still stings.
My mate helps me rinse the suds out of my hair, massaging my scalp gently. After I’m all clean Ryker turns me around so I’m facing him, his arms bring me to his chest and for awhile we just sit under the hot water holding onto each other. Pulling away I grab the loofa and squirt soap onto it so I can clean Ryker but he stops me.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea baby.” he whispers huskily.
“Why not Ryker? I want to take care of you too.”
“I haven’t seen you in a month and now we’re showering together and your naked body is pressed against me, I’m only a man Alethea not a saint. I don’t want this, not right now.” he puts the loofa down and shuts the hot water off, wrapping me in a towel, I stare as he wraps a towel around his waist.
“I’ve missed you Ryker.”
“You’ll never even begin to understand how much I missed you baby, I’m so sorry.” he closes his eyes and breaths deeply, grabbing a spare towel he drys my hair.
“Are we staying here tonight or are we driving home?” I sit on the comfortable hospital bed.
“It’s late and I don’t want your body to be stuck in the car any more today.” I nod lying back on the bed and closing my eyes, I’m exhausted. Patting the bed I wait for my mate to join me but he doesn’t,
“I need to tell Ares’ that he’s no longer needed and that I appreciate everything he’s done for you. I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t leave me.” I start panicking, my heart racing a million miles a minute.
“Okay baby I wont leave.” he gets into the bed pulling me into his chest. The flood gates open and I bawl into my mates chest.
“I’m supposed to be this incredibly strong woman but all these horrendous things keep happening to me and they keep chipping away pieces of me. How am I supposed to be the strong female I used to be when the universe is destroying me?”
“Alethea, the universe will always try to tear you down because of the beautiful person you are, but it’s not chipping pieces of you away it’s adding to your armor. My beautiful mate, you are the strongest female I’ve ever known and you still are. You just survived being tortured by a psychopath, you’ve survived losing your family and you survived the pain I caused you when I lied about being the one who killed Orion. You are strong, you are perfect.” he whispers pressing a kiss to my head.
Grabbing my mates face, I pull his lips down to mine. Ryker stops before our lips can meet, he’s so hesitant and now I’m afraid what Samual said was true, that Ryker would smell his scent and reject me.
“You don’t want me after what he did to me, do you?” I pull away, their’s no way he couldn’t hear the hurt in my voice.
“No that’s not it at all Alethea, I’m just, I don’t know baby, it doesn’t feel right kissing you after what you’ve been through.” his voice laced with confusion
“I understand.” I whisper, turning away from him.
“Alethea.” he sighs quietly
I don’t respond to him, instead I cry to myself. My shoulders shake but Ryker doesn’t comfort me, he’s tense behind me.
“Damnit Alethea, I blame myself for losing you! I shouldn’t have brought you to the meeting and I sure as hell shouldn’t have let him take you! I don’t know how he treated you and I don’t know how to forgive myself for you getting hurt.”
“Samual was his name, he bit me to press his scent into my skin, he told me that you’d reject me because you’d be repulsed by my scent. Every single day he’d bite me, lick me and kiss my skin, after that he’d beat me with whatever was in reach, most of the time it was metal chains.”
“I’m not going to reject you Alethea, his scent will disappear faster than he could imagine. You’re the love of my life Al, I could never leave you.” he murmurs.
“You’re not attracted to me anymore because of his scent Ryker! You won’t even kiss me.” my voice cracking.
“You think I’m not attracted to you because of his scent? You think I wont kiss you because of him? I don’t want to kiss you because I’m afraid of hurting you even more than he did!” his voice raising slightly.
Flipping around carefully I stare into his eyes angrily. Theirs no way he’s going to decide what I need when I know damn well what I want.
“I want you to erase his lips from my skin, I want you to erase his scent from my body. I know what I want Ryker and I know what I can handle.” he stares at me, stunned beyond words. All I wanted was for him to kiss me.
My eyes flicker from his eyes to his lips, his hand holds the back of my head and pulls me down to his mouth. Our lips mold together perfectly, just like I remember, Rykers lips make me forget that Samual had his mouth on mine.
Together we erase the outside world, his lips deepen the kiss almost painfully but at the same time it’s just the right amount of pressure to elicit a moan from me. As much as I wish he’d keep going and make me forget what has happened this last month, he pulls away from me, my chest hurts.
“I’m not going to make love to you Alethea, your body is broken. I refuse to be the one who hurts you even more.”
Nodding we stay silent while he holds me, we don’t know what to say to each other, no words are enough to make me okay. My lungs are angry, I’m starting to hyperventilate and Ryker doesn’t know what to do to calm me. Hyperventilating turns into full on sobbing which eventually turns into silent sobbing where no noise escapes my throat.
“Shh baby I’m here now, I’ve got you and I’m never letting you go.” his body rocking me gently.
The door to my room opens, I don’t know who comes through but Ryker immediately stiffens.
“I can feel her anguish outside the room, it’s driving my wolf insane.” Ares is next to the bed reaching his hand out to touch me but Ryker is quick to grab his wrist halting him completely.
“Why is it you feel the need to touch what isn’t yours?” Rykers voice is angry but quiet
“Because you’re not able to comfort her, I can make her pain stop.” Ares spits back.
“How could you possibly make her pain stop? Nothing will make this pain go away but with time and security. I am taking her home tomorrow where our entire pack will do anything to keep her safe, I will die for her Ares.”
“You almost did die for her Ryker, I don’t believe you can keep her safe. She doesn’t belong leaving with you.”
“Are we really having this conversation right now while she’s suffering? You’re trying to stake this claim on her when she’s already claimed. We are done with this conversation, Alethea doesn’t need this right now. You can try and convince her to stay with you some other time. Get out.”
Ares fingers gently caress the back of my head, this time Ryker doesn’t stop him, but I can tell he’s not happy about it.
Rykers cool lips feather kisses across my forehead, calming me slightly. Tilting my head I open up my neck to him, his teeth grazing my mark just like I wanted, needed. Hot teeth sink into my flesh bringing me euphoria, making me forget for just a few minutes, my fingers digging into his biceps.
“I’m so in love with you Alethea, you’re my sun.” his voice lulling me into slumber.
“You are my moon.” I whisper back closing my eyes falling into the darkness of sleep.