“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it,”
The crisp metal of the gun melts into my palm, moulding perfectly in my grip like it was designed to be there and only there. I turn it over, glancing at the flash of my tattooed wrist and jerk my head as shadowed figures creep across the wall of the endless concrete hall. Dim lights line the roof, flicking as wolves drag in people, their faces concealed by a hood of black cloth.
My heart beat falters, mimicking the translucent lights above as the four bodies are slumped at my feet. I clench my eyes shut and open them again, blinking as if to remind myself why I’m here. Why am I here? The gun becomes heavy in my hold and I let my finer linger over the trigger, furrowing my brows as sobs rack around the room.
The guard rips off the hood of the first person, the only one of the four kneeling with some dignity. A spine of steel that won’t bend even in its final hours. A gasp shudders through my veins and escapes my lips, the gun beginning to shake in my tentative grip. Wrens eyes flick up and meet mine, her pupils covered in a white, clouded sheath and as I blink, a rotting hole appears in her forehead. Her eyes blink and the stare of death she gives me edges my body back-back into a firm wall.
A smooth hand glides around my exposed waist, sparks tingling on my skin as a hot breath moves near my ear and breaks the deathly chill of the room. I feel Romans smirk pressing into the bare surface of my neck before he mummers in a sibilant whisper. “You know what you have to do.”
The gun doesn’t feel like it was made for me anymore, no warmth or moulded connection seeping from its power. Just a cold, burning responsibly that clammers within my grasp. I try to unwrap my fingers from it, fear wracking my body as I attempt to untwine an endless knot between the weapon and I.
Romans hand clasps over mine, easing the shaking. Warm, comforting, guiding. He raises my hand up and point the barrel straight at the hole already gaping in Wren’s head.
“See?” He croons, that warm breath coaxing my mind and soul, willing me to listen. “You know what to do, Maeve, you have it in you.”
“No,” I stutter, shaking my head vehemently, leaning away from the living corpse staring at me, leaning back into Roman.
“Now don’t be afraid,” he says softly and I let out a sob, turning around and pressing my face into his chest, underneath his chin. Burrowing, hiding.
“No, don’t, I can’t, take me away Roman I can’t,” I sob, hoping that my pleas will be enough, enough for him to see just how vulnerable I am and take me away from this cellar. He can lock me in a room for eternity, chain me to his throne but I can’t be here.
“Sh, sh, sh,” he says, still holding out my arm with the gun lingering at the end, pointing at Wren. His warm palm cups my head into his chest, enjoying the power it gives him. “You can, Maeve. I believe in you. You’ve done it before, there is no difference now,” he explains, that sickly sweet voice sending shudders of fear ripping through me.
I try to respond but the words are lodged in my throat, like airing them will only let them wrap around my neck and choke me further. “Maeve, my sweet, sweet Maeve,” he mummers, gliding his lips over my mark and provoking a response from my body that I can’t control.
“Don’t you see?” He asks and the arm wrapped around my waist lifts, his grip jerking my head to Wren. “You’re just as much of a monster as me.” Our fingers move in union, pulling down on the trigger and sending Wrens dead corpse slumping onto the cold hard concrete floor.
Roman lets out a laugh and a door opens next to us, his grip on me loose to the point I can stumble from his grip and run through the open passage, pure fear seeing my every action.
“There you are!” Doctor Matthews appears and I look down at my forearm, the bare skin covered in goosebumps now adorned by a white coat. “We’ve been waiting on you Doc, she’s right through here but we’re loosing her fast,” he says and my feet move on their own accord, gliding across the bustling hospital.
“Who?” I mummer, confusion lacing my every word. Doctor Matthews spins around and gives me a baffled look before pushing open a set of double doors, surgeons in masks holding an array of equipment coming into view.
“A young girl. Human with a bullet wound to the appendix. She lost a lot of blood but thankfully you’re here now,” he says and my blood runs cold as Lucy’s pale face lies atop a bed, wires and tubes protruding from her limp body.
“She’s alive?” I whisper, tears glossing over my eyes and Doctor Matthews nods just as the other surgeons exit the room.
“Barely. But great news for you!” He exclaims and I furrow my brows.
I mummer, my mouth agape, “What?”
His broad smile doesn’t falter as his hands extend to either side go him. “Well this is your final exam of course!” He says with ghastly joy, “save the girl and you’ll become a certified Doctor, just like you wanted. Hurry now, times running out,”
He taps the watch on his wrist and then point to a clock on the wall, counting down from five minutes with a fervent pace. I twist around to scream at Doctor Matthews, tell him I have’t even trained to operate a surgery, not alone. But he has vanished and I am left next to Lucy’s dying body.
I rush around the bed to the table of tools, my face crumpling in horror at the ancient tools, falling apart with rust and all as foreign to me as an alien spaceship. “Maeve I’m scared, Maeve please, please I don’t want to die,”
My head whips to the speaker in the corner of the room as Lucy’s pleas fill the air and my hands fumble over the tools as I try to do something, anything. “I want my mom, I want my mom Maeve please,” Her cries fill the room, bouncing around the walls and mingling in with my own as I sob, staring at her open wound now bubbling with blood. Not again, not again.
The speaker starts to count down over top of Lucy’s repeated plea’s, those same plea’s from that same day and I place my head in my hands, begging for someone to make it stop. Roman, Ollie, the goddess, anyone.
And then silence fills the room all at once, the harsh drawn out beep indicating my failure slowly draws out into nothingness until the beginnings of a cheer start to fill the room.
I remove my hands from where they held my face and I’m not in the hospital anymore. I’m back, back in that courtyard surrounded by wolves, my eyes adjusting to the light in the same way they did when Roman dragged me from my cell, my body slumped on the ground. Except the crowd is larger, much larger and wraps around like I’m stuck in an ancient arena. And their attention… their attention isn’t focused on me at all, instead each of their eyes gaze over me like I’m just another insect adorning the dust.
Instead, they gaze with adoration at my mate who stands proudly in front of the wolf I shot. He isn’t a lifeless corpse like Wren, he stands tall and firm with his bare muscled chest on full display. His power on full display. Roman hands him over a glistening long edged blade that curves menacingly and the glint of the murderous weapon is reflected in the wolfs eyes as he stares directly at me. Smiling.
Roman pats him on the back, adorning that medal of death into his grasp before walking away as his pack member stalks towards me with lethal grace. I stagger up but my legs fail me, shooting with pins and needles as I collide with the ground again in a harsh thud. The roar of the crowd thumps through my skull as their assailant walks closer to his prey. To me.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I mumble over and over, my legs skidding across the harsh dirt as I try to manoeuvre myself away from him.
His smile only widens and I notice a thick scar running along his chest, a scar that one would get from surgery after a bullet wound, The bullet wound I gave him when I ended his life. Murderer, murderer, murderer.
I clutch my head tightly but the word doesn’t leave with my grip, repeating over like the cheers of the crowd. “I’m going to carve you up into tiny pieces,” the wolf says, his rugged voice full of a loathing one could only give their worst enemy.
“Please,” I mummer but he simply adjusts his grip on the blade.
Just like that, a gun appears in my hand, the same silver object of hope I used the first time entering my grasp like a shining beacon. The thick metal blade comes crashing down and I raise the gun, shooting through the crumpled face of rage before it can connect with my skull. The weapon topples to the ground along with the warriors body and the crowd starts screaming with rage.
They hurdle the names my mind echos like arrows, each slur piercing my skin as I turn frantically, trying to trace each one only for another to appear. Murderer, liar, selfish bitch, traitor…
My lips quiver as I try to apologise, my body reduced to a clambering mess. My arm moves on its own, controlled by a mind that isn’t mine until the barrel of the gun is pointed at my head. A sob escapes my mouth and I clench my eyes shut, trying to yank free from whatever binds me to the weapon, it’s chilled metal pressing into my skull.
“Do it! Do it! Do it!” The crowd cheers, some with joy, others with hate and others with pure emptiness as the command fills my head, my heart, my soul. Do it.
“Maeve?” I open my eyes at Olivers voice and there he is. Emerald eyes twinkling underneath the beating sun and skin glowing. So radiant, so full of life.
“Oliver, Ollie help, help me,” I beg and the edge of his lip raises in a smile, one that makes my gut wrench.
“Why are you doing this” He asks, each syllable a taunt. I look around for Roman, hoping that maybe some overwhelming sense of jealously at the two of us conversing will let him take Ollie away, make him stop. “Are you trying to save me?”
The stretched smirk on his face tears my heart in two, the final blow coming when an amused laugh passes his lips. If you ever want to see Oliver again then put that fucking gun down. Romans command clangs in my mind, as clear as the day he said it but I can’t. I try and try but the barrel of the weapon never leaves my skull.
“You should listen to them,” Oliver says with a sneer of disgust and I frown deeply, staring at him with nothing but shock as he steps forward. “You’re a liar and a murderer. You betrayed me didn’t you?” He taunts and I can’t formulate any words, only watch that sneer develop into deeper hatred.
“Of course you did. You fucked him didn’t you? Let him run his hands all over your body like the whore you are. Did you think about me? About your husband as you let another man touch what is mine?” He sneers, edging closer towards me.
“You never could follow the rules, could you? All you had to do was listen to me like a good little wife and none of this would have happened. Listen to them!” He yells and I flinch, tears streaming down my face.
“Do it, Maeve. Pull the trigger. Do it,” he encourages and I let out a mangled sob as my finger slowly pulls down on the metal.
“Do it!” He screams, his face inches from mine and I scream, loudly and harshly and before I know it my body is being shaken fervently.
“Maeve!” Roman hovers over my body, his large palms shaking me and I stare at him in pure horror, my mind still stuck in another world.
My entire body shakes and I look around frantically, not not caring about the gleam of sweat covering my skin as I grasp at Roman and lock my eyes with him, giving him my full attention.
“I killed them,” I let out with a shaky breath, gasping for air as I do. “I killed them, I killed all of them,” I continue and he places his palms around my cheeks, trying to send some shock of logic through the bond.
“Maeve, I need you to take a deep breath. It was just a dream, you’re here, you’re safe,” he replies and my face crumples with sorrow.
“I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer,” I begin to cry, harder than I ever have before and I hide my face in my hands as I break apart. Loud sobs leave my body as I crumble in front of Roman, the person I’m supposed to stare at with a hard front and a hard front only.
Vulnerable, that’s what I am to him. Exposed and raw and real as I let my burdens escape my body in cries. Everything becomes hot and stuffy and the heat exuding from his body, the comfort his bare chest tries to offer me only working to smother me as I struggle to breathe. I remove my hands from my face and wipe my tears as I hyperventilate, looking at the mimicked pain he holds, like my suffering hits him harder than any physical blow.
His hands scoop underneath my nimble legs that shake with exertion as he lifts me from the hot bed and walks in two large strides over to the balcony, opening it and letting the cool nights air rush into my lungs. He places me carefully down onto the cool concrete so my body leans against the rail and reaches inside the door, grabbing a cloth before crouching in front of me.
“I’m a monster,” I say and he visibly flinches before reaching out the cloth and blotting away my beads of sweat.
“No, you are the furthest thing from a monster.” His jaw clenches tightly and his words hold so much strength, so much power that I almost believe him.
“I’ve… I’ve done so many things,” my face begins to crumple up again as visions from my nightmare see into my mind, flashing before me. Tainting me.
“You have been through more than the strongest of warriors, Maeve and you are no where near a monster because of it. You are kind and considerate and you are going to do so much for the world, Maeve I just know it. Monsters don’t even think about doing the things you do,” he says and tears glide down my cheeks.
“Don’t let the mistakes of your past ruin your future, you’re stronger than that.” I gulp down the tight ball of emotion knotted in my chest and give him a nod as he wipes the tears from my cheeks.
I glance up into his ocean blue eyes and mummer, “I just want to be alone for a little bit,” watching his brows crease before he nods grimly.
“I’ll be right inside, if you need me then just say, Maeve. And if you want me to postpone our trip to Asia I will, all you need to do is say,” he says but I shake my head.
“I’ll be fine, I just need some time to myself,” I respond and he stands hesitantly before walking back into the room. All I can think of is Oliver’s face as he stared at me, hating me for what I’ve done. Who I’ve become and I settle my gaze on the moon shining brightly in the sky, letting my body slump. I close my eyes as I pray that my nightmare stays just that.
“Do you have everything you need?” Roman asks as we step onto the private jet that he insisted was from The Eclipse Pack, which I soon learnt was the official name for the Asian packs.
“Its a little late now even if I did forget,” I comment taking another step and entering the lavish jet, a major upgrade from the crammed plane we came to France on.
Roman lets out a laugh, “True, but I can always have someone send anything over should that be the case,” he says and I am silently grateful for his regular composure. After last night… I am thankful that Roman isn’t tiptoeing around me like most normal people would do after seeing a girl freak out like that.
“This plane is very…” My eyes land on a large bed at the base of the plane, more so the line of rose petals scattered on the floor leading up to it. And the fake candles littered around love heart pillows and a towel swan with champagne. “Extra,” I add, turning around with raised brows just as Roman lifts his head from the luggage he carts, his skin going a couple shades paler.
He moves forward to the bed and mutters, “Shit,” before trying to scoop up the roses and put them away.
“Why exactly did we get this plane from the Eclipse pack to fly there?” I ask and he lets out a huff, scratching the back of his neck. It never gets old, watching a grown wolf far too large for the cabin of this plane, stand awkwardly.
“Its… they gave us this plane as a mate moon gift. It was organised since the ceremony as a present and I guess it was convent to give it to us now but…” his eyes run over the nature of the plane and he grimaces, “I didn’t expect them to include all this,” he says and I let out a dry laugh.
“This entire trip has been a mate moon?” I ask, finding the predicament quite entertaining actually, “And they gave us a plane? Isn’t that a bit much?”
Roman lets a loose breath out of his mouth, “Its an Alpha thing. The bigger the gift, the bigger the boast I guess. That, and our packs have very tight ties so a large gift is normal. Regarding your question, yes, this had been-or was supposed to be- our mate moon. Just without the same kind of fun,” he mumbles the last bit, scanning his eyes over the scenery and my stomach coils tightly.
I shift on my feet a little. “Right, well I think I’m going to just go sit down ready for takeoff. Theres been some more trouble on the human front so I better get working,”
Roman furrows his brow and I won’t lie in admitting that a slight surge of power runs through me at his lack of knowledge. “Trouble?” He asks and I nod.
“The education board had a minor blip in their first meeting regarding the curriculum. There is still much debate on human-wolf matings should they arise in a school environment. Of course the concern is mainly for high schoolers but the issue remains in whether it should be taught and what is to happen if a student doesn’t want it.” I can tell the subject strikes a nerve within him because it is a difficult subject to get around without offending anyone. That, and his stance on whether humans have a choice in the goddesses mating bond is pretty obvious.
“Issues were bound to arise and it probably won’t be the last one either,” he says as we slide in wither side of a booth and buckle in. “Having were-human schools will probably be good in terms of inter school relations and allowing couples to find their mates should they reside in another pack. It’s probably best to wait and see what the board agree on before making any further interventions,” he comments and I am surprised at the lack of control he wants to hold over the predicament.
“I agree. If they can’t battle it out then we’ll have to and that’s never any fun.” A chuckle escapes his lips at my successful joke and a smile lingers on my own. It is the truth though, I’m not here to be a dictator. That completely defeats the whole purpose of what I am trying to achieve, so if they can come to some kind of conclusion then that’d be a whole lot easier for me.
“There haven’t been any uprisings as of yet, some of the packs that allowed more freedoms initially have has a few issues with talk of riot but most people are still settled,” he comments and I’d be interested to learn more about which packs had which laws before hand, something I should allocate time to research into.
“The calm before the storm,” I comment and he nods.
“Exactly. People are still wary, I think they are just too focused on taking advantage of the new laws like they are only going to exist for a brief time to give any push back. It’ll come though, when they realise it’s a solid movement,” he says and I nod, dreading the day, the new arrival of issues for me to battle.
“It might be a good idea if we release a statement following your own on the war threats. If we let the public know of the change then maybe it’ll help to move out of the angered phase quicker, although I’m not sure… If the humans don’t remain angry then there are bound to be some wolves who are. It’s not a solvable issue,” I point out and he makes a sceptical look.
“There will most definitely be wolves who are still angered, but having them under pack law should help them to understand- or at least abide by- the new reforms,” He says and I nod, because I agree.
I am still holding onto the idea that once these laws are in place I’m getting a way out of this bond and leaving Roman. I’m not over what happened, I want us all to move on and I want whatever hate that one species has for another to dissolve so that both can live in a peaceful existence but I know that is wishful thinking. Someone is always going to be mad at someone else but the wolves are out now, there’s no going back into hiding like those hundred years ago now and I don’t think that one species wiping out the other is the best solution so co-existence has to work.
Not one over the other. Not like now and not like before. Something different.
“What’s going on in that mind of yours?” Roman says, a slight smile playing on his lips as he cocks his head to the side. I didn’t even notice his observance.
“Just thinking about the future,” I mumble and he smiles. Not our future, I want to add, but its best to leave him hoping-hoping that even if romance is off the table I’m willing to rule beside him. Telling him what I truly want, the equality I strive for isn’t a smart move. Not yet.
No wise person tells a king outright that they want them to take off their crown. No wise wolf tells an Alpha they want to lead. Challenging his power isn’t in my best interest right now, it may never be but if I am going to broach a subject that will no doubt trigger the primitive part of him that yearns for power I’ll do it when we aren’t in a flying tin box.
Letting my thoughts brew like red wine in my mind isn’t just a precaution but its also a strategic move in this never ending game of chess. Red wine tastes better when left to age, and when I pop the bottle on my ideas I want them to taste so good that Roman has no choice but to agree.
“Are you thirsty?” Roman asks and I nod as he pulls out a bottle of red wine from a cooler near the booth along with two glasses. “What?” He asks and I smother the wide smile on my face.
“Nothing,” I pipe and he laughs again, pouring me out a glass which I take happily.
“You’re in a good mood,” he comments and I raise a brow before taking a long sip of my wine.
I’m not in a good mood. Pass the bottle pls.