“To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world,”
My hand slides around the wooden threshold of the door, running smoothly over points that had given me one too many splinters back when I wasn’t constantly cautious, careful. Back when learning from my mistakes wasn’t a big deal because all it took was a bandaid to patch things up and set them straight again.
I do ’t bother to glance back to where Roman stands just off the porch, waiting carefully on my next move, tracking my eyes step with those calculated eyes and no doubt my scent once I am out of view. It’s not just him that is a sight too hard to bear in this moment, but the large mounds of construction equipment behind him, ready to demolish my home in seconds. I remember the first time I got here, when it wasn’t a choice of where we lived and thinking to myself about how dreadful it was.
I hated it. Not just because the conditions were lamentable but for the fact that it was assigned to me by them. I hated that I had to smile when we entered and point out every positive aspect of the deteriorating structure to try and convince Noah and Carter that it wasn’t that bad. Even though I knew it really was that bad, Ollie knew it was that bad too. It took us months to repair the place to a point where we could be certain it wouldn’t concave on us in the middle of the night.
I would stay up on a harsh winters night, listening to the rain patter on the tin roof and drip through cracks into ready buckets, curled into the man beside me as my only source of heat and dream of that little apartment that I shared with Avery. I wonder to this day who lives in there now, whether it be a humans home, a wolves, both or maybe even neither.
I wanted so bad to escape this tiny little shack, escape the confines in which it restricted me and move somewhere better but that materialistic thought only really put me somewhere worse. They say karma works in mysterious ways and I can stand behind that logic because now I am looking at the home I once wanted to flee as though it is my new refuge.
The second I step inside the frame a creak bounces off the empty walls before silence envelops the space. Even when it was just me here working from home as the boys went to work it never felt this empty. There was always the chitter of birds perched on a windowsill or even a still whisper of the air as it drifted through the cracks in the wooden floorboard. But all the birds were gone and the wind wasn’t dancing anymore, there wasn’t a single static thrum in the air aside from the one provided by the buzz of machinery beginning to start up.
I inclined my head slowly to the living area that remained unscathed, not a cushion inched out of place. A thick layer of dust however filled the room, settled over the folded linen that I never put away and the basket of supplies that were never used again. It was a surprise the place wasn’t ransacked the second word spread of our vacancy but then again, we were right out on the edge of the forrest. People either did hold a shred of decency or couldn’t be bothered coming here to take anything. Either was plausible.
The only difference in the room lay in the empty mantlepiece, the honey jar that was once there gone and now in Noah’s new home. I turned to my left and to the kitchen, a single extended cabinet with a sink that stretched across the small wall. The washed pit still sat out drying, ever speck of water now effectively gone. I didn’t bother to open the cupboard, knowing I’d only find packets of food that were overrun by animals.
The stale scent of vacancy was enough to speed up my personal tour. I walked down the hall, past Noah and Carters room, the door slightly ajar and past the small bathroom that became the root cause of many morning arguments. I let my weight press into the wooden floor, not bothering to conceal the torturous creaks as I walked to the last door at the hallways end, still shut tightly like we left it when we hurried from the house that day. My hand hovered tentatively over the handle and it took a solid minute for me to wrap my fingers around the cool metal and twist, pushing the door slowly open.
The room was exactly the same as it was that day, not a single object out of place. The evening light that shone through the window illuminated the dust particles that floated in the air, looking like white specks against the dark wood panelling. I let my eyes linger on the bed in the centre of the room and for a moment I imagined Oliver there, laying with that mischievous smirk on his face and a chest of defined muscles on full display. But the image washed away fast, nothing more than a memory.
The lone closet was still open and a few shirts and objects lay scattered on the floor outside of it from where we had hastily grabbed our emergency bags. My eyes locked onto a small framed picture on the floor, coated in dust and turned upside down.
I lifted the picture up and turned it around, wiping away the dust with my thumb, my breath catching in my throat. All of us were there, me, Ollie, Carter and Noah all together in a picture from before all this happened. The two of them looked so much younger, just teens at the time. There were more as well, not many but a few images and objects of memorabilia that I had stashed away when we came here.
I didn’t need to think twice as I grabbed a bag from the closet, just a thin cotton one and began to place those precious items into safety. The thought of them trapped with me tightened the hurt in my chest but it also gave me some kind of comfort. I’d rather them be with me then demolished into the dirt by sunrise.
I glanced outside once more, out the window and then back to the bed, tears welling in my eyes as I stared at the room that meant so, so much. A room that I wish I’d cherished more when I had the chance and been grateful towards. A room that represented a completely different time and a completely different me.
My hand clenched around the thin straps of the bag and I didn’t turn around as I exited the house, passing by the scattered pots in the kitchen and the living room so void of life it was ironic. I couldn’t bring myself to stay a second longer, not wanting to give into the urge to inspect each crack and crevice of the home and resurface memories that hurt to even think about. Memories that I would never again have with people that I might never again see.
I walked straight from the open door and left it that way, allowing the wind to wash through the house one last time and fill it with more than emptiness, with perhaps that life that the forrest air offers its trees.
Roman stood at the base of the steps, just like I left him except his suited back was turned and a phone was raised to his left ear. It only took my prescience exiting the homes threshold for him to turn around, mutter something into the mechanical object and hang up.
His eyes moved to the bag slung over my shoulder but he didn’t comment on it, turning his attention back onto me. “We have to get back to the pack house,” he said, rather urgently.
My eyebrows knitted together as I took one final step from my home. “Why? Is everything okay?” My voice came out raspier than I’d expected, my emotions muddling with my tone.
“It’s Jenna,” he said and I think that my heart stopped beating for a moment, “she’s just had her child.”
We make it back to the pack house within ten minutes and the second the car rolls to a stop outside the entrance I grip my hand around the car’s door handle before stopping immediately, freezing. Nerves begin to flutter in my stomach and I turn to Roman, worry lines evident on my face.
“Maybe we should wait out here for a moment, give them some space,” I suggest, though my hand remains on the handle, ready for anything.
He gives me a bewildered look and shakes his head. “I’m sure it’s fine, Mae,” he says but I shake my head, removing my hand from the handle all together.
“No, no its okay. I don’t want to intrude on their moment,” I reply, picking at my nails. The realisation that they probably don’t want me there, that Noah probably doesn’t makes my stomach drop and my chest tighten. I’m his family. He said last night that I always would be but he also made it very clear that this is his home now and these people were just as much a family to him as me.
I had been torn from the only family I had in such a way that I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t want me back. Going to that house today… remembering how things were and understanding that they’d never be like that again… Maybe it would be for the best if I just went back to being on my own again.
“Nonsense, you wouldn’t be intruding on anything he is your brother,” he says and I avert my gaze from his piercing blue eyes, focusing instead on the leather back of the drivers seat, “he was the one who rang me, Mae. He was asking for you and he sounded pretty desperate,”
My head snaps over to his and I bite back the emotion in my voice unsuccessfully, “Really?” I ask and he nods, smiling a little.
“Of course, Mae. Of course,” I see a flash of pain on his face, agony at my agony it seems. Or something much, much deeper than that. “You have a niece or nephew in there that is waiting to meet you and a brother who needs your support. Go,” he urges and the breath I exhale is shaky but my nod is firm.
“Okay,” I respond, nerves biting away at me, prickling through my senses as I travel into the pack house, past the various rooms and people, stopping only to ask for directions in the foreign territory.
It’s only when I am paused outside the room where the newest member to my family awaits that I freeze. They are my family, maybe the fact we are not connected by blood separates us but they are all that I have. The only people I can turn to and call home are Noah and Avery, both of whom now have families of their own, lives of their own.
Maybe it is my fear of being rejected that stalls my rigid frame outside the white panelled door, a fear that is so daunting it eats away at my heart, making it palpate in constricting pain. It makes me feel slightly bad for how Roman feels on the regular, if this is a pain I give him constantly then how he keeps going every day I don’t know.
I shake all thoughts from my head, subduing my fears and twist that metal handle, pushing open the door to something new. To a life that holds future and not past.
The cry of a baby makes a sob bubble up in my throat and tears begin to prick at my eyes. Noah’s child. I gulp and wipe at the tears before they emerge, sniffling as I round a corner to find Jenna on a bed, exhaustion marring her features but a faint smile lingering regardless of the pain. Although someone is at her side holding her hand, her mother presumably but at this angle it’s hard to tell, Jenna’s attention is focused solely on Noah who stands facing the window, his arms wrapped around the child that is out of my view.
He turns around all at once and the light of the sunset behind him hits, illuminating him like a gift straight from the heavens and in his arms… Noah’s beaming smile gleams at me and then goes to the tiny bundle of fabric in his arms that wriggles a small arm outstretching to touch his chin.
I stand still, frigid in my place and slowly, with each step Noah takes in advancement towards me my muscles loosen and I relax a little more. “Meet your aunty Mae,” he says to the small child and the tear that spills over my cheek is unstoppable as the small face of the newborn hybrid appears in front of me, eyes still glued shut.
I reach my index finger out to its tiny hand and each little finger wraps around mine and I laugh through a sob, tears of happiness flowing from my eyes. Or maybe they are tears of hurt, knowing that such an innocent life has been brought into all this misery, that Noah is now never going to live a life like I’d once envisioned. But the way that his arms cradle the young child, the way his eyes twinkle and the soft skin, unscathed from any harm touches my own makes me think otherwise.
This baby might be a mix of two enemies, it may be looked upon as the embodiment of a deep rooted hatred between two races, but it could also signify the exact opposite. A symbol of a bridge that is not unachievable. A living, breathing example that there is room enough on Earth for everyone to coexist and that life itself is possible. For all people.
“Her name is Celina,” he says softly and I look at her, at tiny little Celina and smile broadly.
“Celina,” I say, my voice dropping into that same tone I use with all babies, all mushy and sweet, not an inch of room for malice.
“Noah.” He turns with the child softly towards the melody of his mates voice and makes his way over to her, lowering the child into her outstretched arms that cradle in on her baby the second it’s sitting safely.
Noah leans down and kisses her temple before moving to place a kiss on Celina’s forehead, pouring all his love and heart onto the two most important people in his life now.
Jenna’s head snaps towards the door and she clears her throat, “You may come in Alpha,” she says in a rasp, the croak from her efforts not yet erased.
I turn to the door and I feel a sort of stillness, a stillness that doesn’t belong to me.
“I do not wish to intrude,” Roman’s gruff voice bounces off the walls and I turn to Jenna who only smiles even more.
She looks back down at her baby, “It would be a gift from the goddess to have our two leaders in here. To have you bless our child in this moment,”
There is a slight hesitation from outside the door but eventually, Romans hulking frame walks into the room and his blue eyes lock onto mine. His gaze holds a sorry without him having to say it, an apology for intruding in on my moment. What was he even doing in the hall anyway?
He turns his attention onto the child and his vision locks in place, his body tensing up at the sight. He clears his throat, “Congratulations,” he says gruffly and Jenna’s smile widens.
“I suppose little Celina is also your niece now too,” she says and Romans muscles tense even more, “Would you like to hold her?” She asks and I see Noah tense but he doesn’t object, not when Jenna asks her leader with such hope and adoration. There are probably many wolves who would be blessed to have their child, their first born, held by their Alpha.
Roman stands still in hesitation and slides his gaze to me, silently asking permission. It isn’t my permission to give, which is why I nod subtly, watching his every move like a hawk. Noah gingerly lifts the child from his mates arms and walks hesitantly to us, stopping in front of the Alpha with a glare of caution in his eyes, a protective father already. If I’m not mistaken it looks like Roman is… nervous?
“Noah,” Jenna scolds from where she sits and Noah’s glare lessens but doesn’t erase as he places the child in Roman’s large arms, the tiny baby looking like a speck amongst his muscles.
Romans arms don’t budge as he looks down at the child, his face firm and stern as it always is. But his eyes hold a different story, a sort of apprehension swirls in those icy blue orbs, mixed with what I can only pin as longing. I place my hand on his bicep and he relaxes into the hold a little more, the creases of concern smoothing over on his face.
Roman lifts his hand and I watch carefully as he runs his thumb over her tiny forehead, making her eyes open and blink. Celina stares up at him, her mouth slightly agape as he starts to mutter something in that guttural, archaic language.
I tear my eyes from them for just a moment, long enough to glance over at Jenna who has tears streaming down her face at the sight, tears of joy.
The second Roman finishes the chant he leans down and kisses her forehead softly, the action making Noah tense further. Roman hands Celina back to Noah gently, who sweeps her up and holds her close to him, still wary of the man standing next to me.
Noah walks back to Jenna and hands her the child which she takes eagerly, but her gaze remains on Roman, “Thank you,” she whispers before staring back down at her baby.
Roman nods and I take ahold of his hand, tugging it towards the door slightly. “We should go, give the three of you some privacy,” I announce and Noah’s attention snaps towards me, “She’s beautiful,”
He gives me a closed smile and I take it as my cue to turn from them, taking Roman with me as I exit the room.
We don’t say anything to each other as we walk hand in hand to the large room we are staying in and it’s only when the door is closed behind us that he turns to me. “Dinner has been cancelled due to the birth, something should arrive up here later on,” he says and I nod.
“What did you do back there?” I ask, the question finally bursting from me.
He takes off his suit jacket and tosses it away, relaxing. “I blessed her, I asked the moon goddess for protection on her life and welcomed her into the pack,” he says and I furrow my brows.
“Does that… does that work?” I ask and he laughs loosely.
“Of course, if the goddess didn’t want her protection granted I would never have been able to give her that kiss,” he says and I think of my little niece, of Celina now protected by the goddesses powers.
“Thank you,” I say and he nods with humility.
“It was nothing,” he responds but I shake my head.
“No, it was something, Roman. Thank you. I mean it,” I say and he looks over my face, his eyes scanning with that desperate look of longing.
He takes a step towards me and I don’t move away, not as his hands reach and cup my face, those blue eyes peering down at me with so much emotion swirling in his eyes. “You would be an amazing mother,” he whispers and I glance down before looking at him again, watching as his Adams apple bobs.
“I know,” he starts, pausing again to find the right words, “I know you don’t want that with me but that doesn’t change the truth. If you were to have a child, adopted or conceived you would be an amazing mother,” he reiterates and my chest tightens.
I doubt the legitimacy of his words. I doubt them so much and maybe that is what hurts me. “I’m a literal orphan,” I say with a dry laugh, “I don’t know the first thing about mothers,” my voice drops and his hand moves to lift my chin.
“You are kind, and brave and clever. Everything about you would make any child lucky,” he says and I avert my gaze, unable to take the compliment.
“Well you’ll make a good uncle if bestowing protection charms is anything to go off,” I say and he smiles faintly.
A silence falls between us and his eyes flick down to my lips, I release my lower lip from where I had been subconsciously biting and meet his gaze once more. I lift my hand up to graze over his cheek, his smooth, freshly shaved skin gracing my touch.
“Mae,” he says softly, pained almost.
“I’m sorry,” I say and he furrows his brows, his hand moving to hold mine over his face, “I’m sorry you had to see that today,” I say and he doesn’t object. Having to look at a sight he will never behold, something he yearns for so much… it mustn’t have been easy.
His hands move down onto my waist and I mould further into his touch, that sense of security that had been washed from the vacant home I visited today filling me in a different way. I look up at his eyes and just as our gazes connect he lowers his lips onto mine, the action sends a thousand sparks fly through my body and I forgot, after all these weeks, just how good it felt to indulge in the pleasures of the bond.
Roman’s tongue flicks across my lower lip, asking for access which I grant, leaning further into him and devouring every sensation that flows in my veins as I do. His hands glide lower, both of his palms resting bow my backside and with one tug he lifts me up, making my legs wrap around his midsection instinctively.
He walks up slowly, his lips still connected to mine over the the bed, lowering me and taking his lips from mine, letting me breathe deeply, soaking in the oxygen of the air. He doesn’t stop though, instead he continues sending sparks through my body, gingerly kissing across my jawline and to my neck, adoring every inch of my body.
He trails his hand underneath my shirt, drawing idle circles on the skin of my abdomen and I arch my back int his touch before lifting my hands to his head, forcing his lips to connect with mine again. Pure ecstasy rolls over my body in waves and I forget, I forget about every single trouble that plagues my thoughts and it is like my body drifts into a different realm. A realm where worries wither away into nothing and the only thing that matters is the amount of freedom you feel.
Roman takes his lips of mine again and I gasp as his mouth connects with the mark on my neck, a soft moan erupting from my mouth before I can stop it. Roman’s chest vibrates with a deep growl of approval and he continues his assault on my skin whilst I muffle the sounds that threaten to escape my lips, much to his disdain.
His hands grip at the hem of my shirt and I aid him in lifting it off, laying with my top half exposed to him, completely vulnerable. Roman moves back a little and his eyes roam over my body, lingering on my breasts before connecting with my eyes once more. Pure lust swirls in his orbs, untamed, primal lust.
His lips collides with my collar bone and he begins to trail kisses along my skin, cherishing my body, praising it like I am his religion. His one true calling.
He glances up at me, asking for permission to continue doing whatever it is that he is going to do next. Asking silently for my approval of his pleasure and I can see that in his eyes, he doesn’t need to voice it because we both know, through this bond or the moment but he asks.
And I don’t answer. Not as doubt begins to seep back into my conscious thought, as the reality of what I am doing starts to make itself known. This isn’t hugging him at night for dependency its more than that. It means more than that. If we do this, any more than this then we are taking a step and I don’t know where that step will take us.
Before I can commit, before I can decide anything Roman growls in annoyance, his face scrunching into anger. The sight alone makes my stomach churn and me reach for a weapon only to find none, Roman hovering over my exposed body with rage masking his face sends panic running straight to my core, making whatever heat that had arisen turn ice cold.
And then his eyes gloss over, turning into that cloud of white and his face becomes more enraged as it does. I stop reaching, realising his anger is directed at whoever was persistent enough to ruin his moment, not at me and my reluctance. His face slowly changes, though, out of anger and into what I can only describe as fear, more fear than what he showcased today in regards to holding the newborn. A different kind of fear. The harrowing kind.
The second his eyes returned to their normal blue he moved of me with vigilance, glancing at the door before grabbing a blanket and covering my body with it.
I gulped, trying to mask the frenzy I was in after our…
“What is it?” I ask and he turns to me, not a trace of lust lingering on his face anymore.
He stares at me with sympathy and guilt, his entire face dropping. “Its Celina,” he says and my heart plummets to the bottom of my stomach.
“She’s been taken,”
It’s Sunday somewhere right?
PS: really unedited gr