To Hate Love

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Chapter 22

“Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”

-Lilo and Stitch

Hope. A four letter word that has left me completely torn apart at the seams yet can bind me back together in just moments, stitched up like a ragged doll that’s been through hell that is still, somehow, against all odds, in one piece. Walking through different parts of the pack, hearing what Roman had to say about the meeting… it all sounded so promising. If only what has been implemented here was the set up right from the start, honestly I can’t lie and say that humans would have achieved this level of progression if left undisturbed.

Its a shitty thing because as great as Romans knowledge and resources as a leader have contributed to this becoming a reality, I’ve played just as pivotal of a part. It makes me feel guilty as hell, I knew of the problems that plagued the world before and yet I passed them off to someone else. Voted for leaders when I had little faith in them just to say I’d played my part. It took being kidnapped by a werewolf, held against my will and burdened with a task written in the stars for me to actually do something.

Its like a spark has been ignited again, before all I was running off was smouldering pieces of hot coal and now… now it’s different. Things are different. As much as I wish it didn’t have to be me who sparked that light I’d do virtually anything to keep this flame alive. I know what they say about what power does to a person, that it gets into your mind like some kind of rot and corrupts you from the inside out but I don’t care about the power itself. I care about what I can do with it.

Power to me is a means to an end and once that end is achieved I have every intention to drop it like a hotcake. I don’t want to be someone living in luxury, living with the power to do what I want to who I want whenever I want. All I want is to make the world a fair, equal place for humans and wolves to live. Or at least lay down the foundation for that and then I’m out. How I’m going to get out exactly is still unknown but like I said, that hope spark has been ignited.

The stove top behind me lights up with a large whoosh and I jump back, startled to find Roman stood next to the large burning flame with a pot in his hand. He looks over at me mischievously, a sly smile playing on his lips.

“Sorry,” he says, taking an apron from behind the door, one meant for a maid by the sheer size difference of it in contrast to Romans body and placing it on. His lip raises in a slight snarl, the smirk somehow magically transported onto my face as I stare down at his apron, dotted with strawberries and laced in a pink frill. His blue eyes snap over to mine and I try to hide my smirk as his eyes rove over my body.

“Wanna trade?” He says and I knew it was coming, my longer length black covering would be much more appealing to a domineering Alpha such as himself. My smirk lifts up ever so slightly and I shake my head.

“I’m not fraternising with the enemy,” I answer, making him laugh in a defeated way.

“That’s unfortunate,” he mumbles dismissively, turning around to a large slab of butter on his board and moving it into a pot. “How about some music?” He says over the sizzle of his food as I move my sliced chicken into a separate bowl. He walks over to his phone and turns on a stereo that sits on a fridge.

His pan bursts with more noise. “Careful you don’t burn that,” I say, turning back to my new board and resuming slicing my leek finely.

“What happened to that competitive streak?” He laughs and I turn to see him smiling over the pot, stirring gently with a large wooden spoon, his black hair hanging slightly over his face. So domesticated. So out of his element.

“I don’t feel like eating burnt.. whatever it is your making,” I say, looking over his basic ingredients. I half expected him to serve up some horse heart as a wolfish delicacy so the sight of flour and sugar is relieving.

“You doubt me now but just you wait… I don’t loose challenges,” he states nonchalantly.

“This isn’t a fight to the death, brute force will only ever get you so far,” I reply, finishing chopping the last of my ingredients as I move to my own stove top. Thank god for his money putting us at opposite ends of the room, crouched near him trying to share a stove top would’ve been hell.

The music starts up and I turn around just as Roman grips the packet of flour too tightly, his strength getting the better of his as his back shirt is covered with the white powder. “Told you,” I say and he chuckles looking at me with white tipped hair and I let out a snort.

“What?” He says, defensively as he attempts to wipe the product off, perfecting the method of simply making it worse in turn.

“You look like a singer from the seventies,” I say and he responds with a hearty laugh, getting my reference to cocaine without missing a beat.

“Did you enjoy today?” He asks over the disco music that plays out and I shrug, concealing my eagerness to have what I saw today shared with packs like my old one as soon as possible.

“The days not over yet,” I point out and his smile shrinks into one of understanding. I haven’t tasted whatever concoction he is brewing up over there yet and I’m not making any statements I can’t fully support.

“I think that getting the system in packs everywhere under New Moon is really important and the sooner it can get there, the easier things will be. I don’t see tensions being smoothed over in our lifetime, perhaps not even the generation after us but one day things might get better,” I say, looking over to see him nod.

“I agree, I was thinking actually and if we work perhaps for this next week on finalising a first draft that can be sent out to the packs and that way the leaders can get some sort of grasp on the issue and whatever questions they have can be dealt with earlier on,” he replies as I place the pasta in the boiling water and begin to simmer the contents of my sauce.

“That’s probably a good idea. I have a few meetings and paperwork to read through to go ahead with the eduction section and start getting hospitals ready for the influx of patients before they open. I might talk with the Beta females and propose that either or both of them help with those aspects so I can focus on that with you.” They are much better with organisational skills I’m sure, if the ceremony is anything to go off.

“I’m sure they’ll be up for that, Jayce was telling me that Astrid was eager to get in more hours of work before she nears her due date,” he explains and I nod, continuing my cooking.

I start humming to myself as a familiar song comes on the stereo and I continue adding in the ingredients of my food, stirring away as it simmers in the pan. The scent of garlic and onion as it fries fils the air, its addictive scent making my mouth watery. I hadn’t eaten at all today besides the few tasters I had at the markets, exploring the packs just put me completely off the idea of food.

I guess it made my mind reel about the time when I wasn’t living like I am now and about the thousands of others still living like that. It made my stomach swirl with unease the entire venture, both from the anticipation of implementing this across all packs and what it meant for me. What I had to give up.

It could take years until I feel like I am at a point where the change is at a stable point, hell decades even. It could take a lifetime. My freedom is still on the table, the picture of me and Ollie living out the rest of our days in a cottage somewhere secluded, just the two of us, hasn’t vanished. One way or another I am going to get there, I just have to take a detour for the time being, that’s all.

I walk over to the fridge and take out a bottle of white wine, grabbing Romans attention quickly. “Its for the food,” I state and walk over to the pan, adding in a fair dose of wine in it before glancing at Roman to find his back.

I lift the bottle to my mouth and take a quick swig, placing it on the counter and wiping the evidence from my mouth. “Not in the mood to share?” I jump at the proximity of Romans body and turn to find him stood too close for comfort.

He reaches his arm over me, his warm body pressing into mine as he snatches up the bottle. I whip around so fast my mind spins a little, a crease already formed between my brows as I reach to take it back and scold him for trying to confiscate it from me like I’m a child only to find him with the bottle lifted to his lips as he takes two large gulps.

He smirks extending the sparkly liquid back out to me and I look down at it with a sneer. “Great. Now I can’t have anymore,” I say and he cocks his head to the side in confusion.

“Why not?” He asks and I turn back to my sauce, stirring the creamy contents slowly.

“You’ve gone and put your germs all over it,” I say, looking back to find him stood with a raised brow.

“Its not like you haven’t tasted me alread-” his comment is cut off as he sniffs the air, an action that once again reminds me of the mans shapeshifting abilities. “Shoot,” he says, running over to the pot just as a smoke drifts up.

I stifle back a chuckle that threatens to escape, focusing on testing the pasta in my own pot. I turn around to see him mixing ingredients together in a bowl, his pot sitting idly on the bench. I suppose he figured that salvaging the food was the best choice.

I search around for a strainer and turn the stove top off, lifting the pot of boiling water over to the sink and emptying the pasta. The steam rolls off the food in waves and warms my face and I return the pasta back into the pot, adding the sauce and placing a lid on.

“I’ve just got to finish cooking these mushrooms and grate some cheese and then dinner is ready, how much longer will yours take?” I ask and his lips scrunch together in thought.

“If you go ahead and set it all up in the dining room I’ll be out there in like ten minutes tops. I’ll chuck a timer on for my food so it won’t burn,” he replies and I nod, focusing back on completing my food.

Once I had the table set up in the dining room, equipped with a fresh bottle of wine and two plates of steaming pasta, Roman entered in his goofy apron and sat down with a large grin on his face. He ate three servings. Three. Entire. Servings.

I kept in mind when making it that he would perhaps be hungry for it and so I made more but even after licking the last plate clean he looked eager for more. One was enough for me, especially considering I am going to need to test out the food Roman has made but the guy chomped through it like it was nothing. I suppose he has the metabolism of a wolf in the wild, able to retain as much intake as he wants but even then, I’ve eaten with him countless times and he usually eats relatively moderately.

The only time he paused eating was to engage in conversation with me which surprisingly flowed easily, the wine helping the words come out smoother. “You’re going to be sick,” I say and he looks up at me from his empty plate with a smile.

“I am not passing up the opportunity to eat your cooking, not when it tastes this good I mean damn,” he lets out a low moan from his mouth, titling his head back and the action makes something stir deep in my core. “I seriously don’t care if I have to increase my daily workout regiment if it means eating this pasta every night. It is somehow even better than the first one! How?” He says, complete joy overcoming him at the simple food that is pasta.

“Who says I’m going to make you pasta every night? I thought we were well past the idea of me being a housewife,” I retort and he chuckles.

“Which is exactly why I’ll eat until I’m sick,” he says and a laugh passes my lips at that, my brow raising as if to say touché.

Plus, to be fair to the guy he has been out running on the beach every morning without fail since we got here aside from today.He awakens at the unholy hour of five am to go running and-only because I may or may not have spied him to note his daily schedule- comes back to train for a further hour in the Chateau’s gym.

“Are you ready for dessert?” He asks smugly and I nod, standing up to collect the plates. Romans hand shoots out and he ushers me back into my chair. “Don’t worry about that, I’ll take these back and when I return you are going to have the most delicious dessert of your life,” he promises and I smile softly, taking a sip of my wine as he retreats into the kitchen, carrying the used items with remarkable balance.

Maybe he would have been a waiter in another life. An amusing thought.

Roman takes his time in the kitchen returning after about fifteen minutes with three plates, placing them down onto the table with grace. Brownies covered in sprinkled icing sugar with a side of ice cream fill my plate. It looks like someone has ran the brownie over and tried to reassemble it back onto the plate in a heap of chocolate.

I glance up at Roman who looks at me with uncertain eyes, round and full of curiosity. “Did you drop this on the floor?” I ask and the vulnerability wipes of his face replaced with a scrunched up look that tells me his answer is-

“No.” His voice comes out defensive which makes me more wary before his expression softens somewhat. “When I took it out of that tray thing it was stuck to the bottom and I also had to just scrape some black bits off but on my life it didn’t come into contact with any floor,” he promises so wholeheartedly that I find peace of mind.

“Did you not think to line it with baking paper?” I ask.

“Baking paper? Why would I put paper in there, no, look just trust me. You are going to love it,” he says and I look back at the brown mush on my plate, the smile I force coming out as a grimace at best.

I tentatively lift a forkful of the stuff up to my mouth, shifting under his intense gaze a little before lowering the fork a bit and giving him an are you serious? look. His blue calculating eyes, transfixed on catching any tiny hint of reaction at me eating his food break from their trance and he diverts his gaze.

Take two. I lift the fork again to my mouth and shove the whole lot in before I can back out, my muscles tensing slightly as I wait for the taste of burnt brownie and dirt to flow over my tastebuds. But it doesn’t, its like tiny little fireworks have been lit inside my mouth, each bursting another new flavour that tastes even more decadent than the last. Holy shit, this is honestly the best bite of brownie I have ever had, counting the special ones Avery would make for us when we were stressed before exam week.

I lift another large forkful of the crumbling brownie into my mouth and close my eyes, savouring the mouth-watering taste. My gaze is met with Roman smiling when I open my eyes and I take another large bite, closing my eyes once more as if being in complete darkness will make me enjoy it more. Close off one sense and let the other take the reins.

“Do you like it?” Roman chuckles and I let out a moan in response, the sound falling loose from my lips before I can stop it. I gulp down the food in my mouth quickly and peel open my eyes to see Roman with a darkened gaze, lust swirling in his blue eyes. A tight knot forms in my stomach and I lift more food to my mouth to stop me saying something stupid.

He shakes his head ever so slightly and the look passes, replaced with a small smile as he simply piles more brownie onto my plate, as if in hope that the more brownie I eat, the more noises I’ll be inclined to make.

-

My feet are light on the floor boards as I retreat from the room, stealing one glance back at Roman who grips tightly onto a pillow where my body once lay. My fingers clench around my phone and once I am within safe distance from awakening the slumbering beast I turn on my flashlight. I travel down the stairs and through the corridors, careful not to make so much as a loud breath as I venture past rooms and down the narrow hallway leading to the kitchen.

I encase my hand around the door knob, twisting gently as I bite down onto my lip in anticipation. The door opens with a slight creak and I hold my breath, waiting for Romans bounding steps but when I hear none I continue into the room and close the door behind me. I’m far enough now, he cannot possibly hear me from this distance whilst unconscious.

Yet still, I tiptoe over to the fridge and lick my lips at the large plate of excess brownie that looks, in all honesty, like a pile of dirt. I take the plate out and sit down on a stool, eating a large spoonful of the food without the stress of hiding my love for it from Roman. I understand why he was so intent on eating my pasta, I know that this probably doesn’t even taste nice to someone with regular taste buds but for some reason, its perfect to me.

The buzz of my phone in my pocket pulls me from my admiration and I jostle in shock, pulling it out quickly to silence the sound and stopping when I see an incoming call from Noah on the screen. My brows furrow and I answer the call, holding the phone close to my ear.

“Hello?” I ask, only to be met with a silence on the other end that sends my intestines intertwining into an unbreakable knot.

“Maeve?” Noah’s voice responds, his tone frantic enough to make me put my spoon down without a second thought.

“Noah? What is it? Is everything okay?” I ask, his ragged breaths calming down on the other end of the line.

“Its Carter. Mae he’s alive, him and Alani they are both okay,” he says and my heart plummets deep into my chest, so deep I think it leaves a dent.

“What?” I croak out, my throat tight.

“They are okay, both of them, they made it to the Rebel base and they are okay,” he reiterates but his words quieten as if there is something more and my mind reels. The cloud of relief fogging over logic slowly becoming more transparent.

“How… how do you know?” I ask and I am met with another pause of silence.

“I saw my father today,” he says and my head snaps over to the door, listening out for any eavesdroppers.

“What?” I whisper into the phone, concern over coming me in a wave. “Your father? The man who sent you the threat?” I ask, my unease not settling in the slightest.

“Yes,” he replies, his voice holding shame and slight disgust. “I was out on a run on the pack borders and he stopped me. Just out of the blue, it took me off guard but he said he was there to save me… well, save my soul at least,” he spits out and my jaw tightens.

“What do you mean? Noah I need more detail than that please, is Ollie okay? Is he at the base? How do you know?” I ask in rapid fire mode, that creeping feeling of being left secluded in the dark scarier than any monster under my bed.

“He didn’t mention Oliver, I didn’t even think to ask, not after what he proposed. He told me that there was still time for me to get redemption before I die, to atone for the sin of being mated to Jenna and creating demon spawn. Demon spawn, Mae. That’s what he called my child, what he spat out with a disgust I’ll never forget,” he says bitterly and my heart wrenches for him, having to hear something like that from the man who was supposed to raise you, love you, must be hard.

“What does he mean by atone for your sins?” I ask and I can hear him audibly gulp.

“He told me that if I… he gave me his hunters knife and told me that if I wanted to die an honest man that I’d put it through your heart,” he says and a chill shoots down my spine.

“What?” My voice is emptier than I intended it to be, the simple word now an effort to get out.

“I told him that I couldn’t, that you were our family and explained what you are too Oliver and he became anxious, telling me that if I were his son I would do it amongst other things before he sensed patrol guards coming. That’s when he told me about Carter and Alani before leaving, vanishing into the woods before I could stop him. And now here I am, telling you,” he explains and my heart thunders a million miles in my chest.

“Are you okay?” I ask, shoving my tangled emotions into the deep dark pandoras box cradled in my mind.

“I’m fine I-” He pauses mid-sentence and my heart stops. “Maeve I have to go, I need you to just stay safe, trust no one and look out, please, I don’t care if that means staying near your brute of a mate just do it okay?” He rushes out with worry and I nod my head, forgetting that he can’t see me for a moment.

“Okay, I’ll talk to you late-” Three short, sharp beeps return my goodbye and I place my phone down on the bench, suddenly not in the mood to eat anymore of the sweet food, my stomach wanting nothing more than to heave up its contents.

The door handle to the kitchen twists an I take ahold of my spoon, ready to yield it as a weapon when Roman enters, his frown softening upon seeing me. “Maeve? It’s two in the morning,” his eyes flick down to the spoon in my hand and then to the brownies, a smirk forming on his face. “Wow, I didn’t know you were that impressed by my culinary skills, I must say I’m flattered,” he says and I don’t have the capacity to make up some jovial response.

Noticing this, he looks at me with concern, walking up to me slowly. “Are you okay? Your heart is beating a hundred miles an hour,” he says, that blue gaze transfixing on my chest.

I force a smile. “You just gave me a fright. I thought that my pillow dummy fooled you… I wasn’t expecting company,” he doesn’t return my smile and stops in front of me, concern still dominating his face.

“Maeve I can sense you are not alright, did something happen?” He asks me, placing his warm palm onto my cheek, cupping my face in a way that makes me think I was moulded for it. I want to curse his werewolf abilities or the bond or whatever allows him to read me like an open book but instead I reluctantly move from the security of his hold and those big blue eyes.

“I got a call from Noah,” I admit, knowing I’ll have to tell him sometime.

“Family troubles?” He says with slight sympathy and I let out a dry laugh.

“You could say that,” I respond, gulping tightly, swallowing whatever mirth appeared when the severity of it arises yet again.

“Whatever it is, Mae, I’m sure it’ll pass. He might not be your brother by blood and I know the two of you have a rocky relationship but you’ll work through it,” he says with encouragement and I want to chuckle at that too. The one time he actually semi-succeeds at being a comforting person he is completely wrong, his words of sentiment will no doubt vanish entirely soon.

“It’s not about him, exactly…” I let out a huff, unsure of how to tackle the topic.

“What do you mean? Is it Jenna? The baby?” He queries and I guess this is how I appeared to Noah, like a manic journalist.

“Its the hunters. They want me dead and they tried to get Noah to be their personal hitman.”

authors note

Bet you thought there’d be a food fight.

completely unrelated meme, im tired, y’all know the drill, tell me what you think, love yah, go and eat three servings of pasta because Romans borderline addiction is so relatable and *cough cough* aslightcameosorta oh! and vote :)

yawn,

khalesi

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