To Hate Love

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Chapter 40 Part 2

PLAY SONG MT EVEREST BY LABRINTH AT ***

“She remembered who she was and the game changed.”

-Lalah Delilah

“I have to,” I stammer, my words almost as shaky as my resolve. Romans glare slices through me and that shade of light blue turns navy, like a raging sea lit only by moonlight.

“It is not happening, Mae.”

“What choice do I have? They’ll kill him, I can’t-” I bite down the sob that tears through my body. Roman continues unpacking his suits into his large case, distracting himself with the menial mission.

“You don’t have a choice, you’re not going and that is the end of it. We will not be negotiating with these criminals and we most certainly will not give in to their blackmail,” he says, a guttural growl lacing his words.

The dusk of the third day after the threat was aired to me was setting over our room in the palace, darkness edging over the light and suffocating it. I’d spent all of the first day rewatching the video. Over and over and over again trying to find some hidden message. But there was nothing. Just that same ultimatum and Carters mutilated body being thrown to the floor on repeat.

The second I voiced my decision to Roman, the split moment that I explained to him the inkling I had that going there was an option worth considering I knew it was foolish. I hadn’t left my room without him specifically by my side since. Hadn’t been allowed and I don’t honestly blame him.

“I can’t just let him die, Roman. Please,” I beg, a method I had resorted to shamelessly in the some forty eight hours that had passed.

His eyes flickered like they always do when that pain I try so hard to subdue rises into my voice. He stopped what he was doing and held my gaze, unflinching. “And I can’t let you die.”

My breathing picks up and my face scrunches yet again, just like it always does when begging proves futile and my wasted hope turns to pain and then quickly frustration. “Its not fair, Roman,” I grit out, clenching my hands at my side. “It’s not fair that they can just do this and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.”

His hard exterior softens at the pain in my voice and he removes the space between us, embracing my body tightly. “It’s not and I’m sorry, Mae. You shouldn’t have to go through this, it’s not right,” he says, his open palm drawing soothing circles over my back.

I lean into his touch and shut my eyes, exhaling into the calm it offers me. When- if- they kill Carter who is next? Are they just going to work their way through every single living person I’ve grown attached to until I have nothing left?

“We’re doing everything we can to try and fix this. Elijah and his team have been working non-stop to try and trace the messages origin and the second they do we will do everything in our power to get him out,” he explains but anxiety still riddles my body. Time is running out and every time I think about what that means for Carter my chest feels like it is going to collapse.

“Then they’ll just find someone else. They’ll keep dragging people to the chopping block until I go there and it’ll be my fault,” I say and it sprouts a sickness in my stomach. Every single decision I make has roll on effects, every action I choose comes with its own reaction and it seems that no matter what, all options end in someone suffering.

I remember that one scenario they’d teach in school, the most generic question of morality and ethics. If you had to pull a leaver that would kill one person you love but save twenty, would you pull it? And then, the answer seemed so obvious, like there wasn’t room for it to even be a question of morals but common sense but now. I don’t want to touch the damn leaver, if I have to end the life of anyone I want to turn around to the person, the thing, forcing me to make the choice in the first place and put them where my loved one stands.

Because it’s not right. It’s like I’m playing a game of chess with peoples lives and I shouldn’t have that power, that burden all on my own. I think Roman can sense that. I think every time he returns to see me imploding with the burden he reassures himself that keeping me here is right. He’d let me yell and scream at him until the end of time and that is the honest truth.

As much as I despise Roman from stopping me leaving to help Carter I appreciate him because whatever ensues now is on his shoulders, not mine. He has taken away my choice so that I don’t have to make it, he really has just put his own hand on the leaver instead.

“It won’t be, you need to stop thinking like that, Mae. Sometimes you can’t help the situations you are put in,” he says softly and though I won’t admit it aloud, his words are comforting, “the risk of them harming you once you get there is too high and the effects of your death are too detrimental. When we locate the address of the message we will send soldiers there but we’ll also give them a message of our own. If they decide to harm your family or any member as a means of threat we will retaliate,” he says and I cave further into his touch, seeking solace.

“I won’t go.” His arms stiffen around me before they drop entirely and I look up into his blue eyes that glimmer with a sort of sorrow that tells me he doesn’t believe the finality in my tone.

“Maeve...” he says but I stand my ground.

“I won’t go, Roman I promise you I won’t. Just let me help get him out of there some other way, any other way,” I argue and his lips scrunch, holding back the words he truly wants to say. “I’m serious, Roman. I don’t know anything about encrypting coded messages or battle plans in sending out soldiers but I do know Carter and I know these people. That message was for me and whatever response goes back should come from me."

“There is two hours left until their ultimatum ends,” he states and I look at him, confused as to where he is taking this, “So we better get to the office fast,”

-

The halls surrounding Roman and I’s office is swamped with people buzzing around. None of them stop their tasks to acknowledge us, not one glimpse is spared our way as we enter the office room. Files upon files decorate his desk and to the side of the room a roll in pin board is covered with information, organised in mayhem.

“Elijah should be here any moment to fill us in on any news he might have but we need to prepare for the worst. If you wish to return a message then I suggest you begin drafting one now,” he says and I nod, moving over to behind my desk and taking a seat.

“What will you be doing?” I ask and he opens his laptop, already consumed by the task.

“Planning an attack if needs be.” The words make a shudder run down my spine, the idea of a psychical engagement like that...

I let his words linger in the air and pull out a blank sheet of lined paper, clicking my pen and touching it to the surface of the white sheet. I think for a moment about who is going to hear whatever words I scribe down now, my mind turning to Oliver. I simply can’t believe he would do anything to harm his brother, the notion itself an extremely hard pill to swallow. He adored his family more so than even me, protected them like they were his own kin.

If he was with the people who did that and had any idea that Carter could be harmed I know he’d try to stop it. There isn’t a chance he’d let that happen. I never truly met Olivers father, or his mother for that matter of fact. The only family of his that I knew were his brothers when they would come and stay with us in the city like they were the time the takeover was initiated.

But I doubt he’d let his son be harmed like that either. Me, I can somewhat understand, but his own flesh and blood? He probably didn’t know of Celina, either, or if he did maybe it was indeed his intention to save her from the wolves however convoluted that logic was. And even if Oliver’s father is a cruel man, Oliver is not. The phrase like father like son doesn’t apply to him, not if his dad’s standard is murdering and mutilating another human.

If Oliver is in there then that gives me a slither of hope that Carter has more of a chance to survive.

I begin writing the message, and rewriting it and editing it and changing it what seems like a hundred times for an hour until the door opens and Elijah walks in unannounced.

“There’s been a break through,” he says and I note the lines of stress that mar his face, the tired that shines in his eyes. Roman clicks a few buttons on his laptop before closing it and gives his Beta his undivided attention.

“The message sent to the Luna came through a server in our own grounds before it went out to the meeting you were in. The signal I sent out from here in that meeting was intercepted by another coming from this same place.”

My gut twists and I furrow my brows, “As in here?” I ask and Elijah nods. I don’t need to glimpse sideways to know that Roman wears a mask of concealed wrath.

“We don’t know the origin of the message itself yet but we are looking through the server we have obtained to track it down,” he says and the room becomes stiff.

“Who?” Roman growls, his lip raised in a snarl.

Elijah gulps. “Your father.”

Whatever stiffness plagued the room magnifies and my heart drops to the bottom of my chest. Marcus. Roman’s father who hadn’t been a thought in my mind since he declared his dislike of me being Luna wants me gone. I feel like a complete fool for not thinking about it earlier, for not even considering him as a potential enemy in all of this.

“Where is he now?” Roman asks, pure anger lacing his words.

“He is currently confined to his rooms under surveillance, your mother has been separated from him for the time being,” he says and I let my mind reel with the news.

I don’t know if Marcus is just plain stupid or if he has some method to all of this. I knew he didn’t want me as Luna but me being dead wouldn’t help his agenda in any way. “Has he confessed as to why?” I ask and Elijah exhales.

“Jayce was just beginning questioning him when I arrived but I believe it was his intention to separate the two of you for enough time so that an interim Luna could take power and then maintain it,” he says and I think about how I felt in that hospital room, hooked up to chords after fighting for my life.

“What about everything else? Surely his involvement has been stretched over time,” I say and he maintains his composed aura.

“We are investigating that now,” he turns too Roman and I follow his gaze to the Alpha that has been completely betrayed, “What would you like us to do with him?” He asks and Roman gives him an icy stare.

“Have Jayce interrogate him through whatever means necessary and then put him in the coldest cell we have. I don’t want my mother anywhere near him until it is time for her to say her final goodbyes.” My gut wrenches at the certainty in his tone. “I want the original location of that message sourced and men send out immediately, there is only an hour left. I want our servers to be easily reached, leave open a way for their people to communicate again,” he commands and Elijah nods sternly.

“Yes, Alpha,” he says before turning from the room in a hurried haste, his time swiftly ticking down.

The second the door slams shut I look to Roman, expecting him to burst out into a fit of rage only to see him open his laptop and resume his work, the scene eerily more daunting than him smashing through his desk.

“Roman,” I say warily and he turns his attention onto me, that rage bottled up, “Are you...” I start but I don’t really know where to continue with my sentence.

“I’m fine. There is no point in dwelling over it now, my father has always been an unpredictable man but this... It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest,” he says, continuing his work.

“Are you not mad?” I ask and he pauses for a moment.

“I’m livid but getting angry isn’t going to help anyone right now, most certainly not your family. You are safe here next to me and my father will get what’s coming to him in due course,” he says and though his response takes me off guard I see the logic in it. When you are a leader sometimes you don’t get to let your emotions take ahold of you, no matter how personal a situation is. It’s probably the thing that I have had the most difficulty trying to grasp.

I re-read through my message, my words that could determine the fate of Carter and refine it down to each letter. I look over to Roman intently working and exhale shakily, ready to hand over my final product just as the phone on Roman’s desk rings.

His hand snatches the device up instantly and he listens to the words on the phone, before looking at me.

“They’ve made a breakthrough in the server. The location has been disclosed and a team is on their way now,” he informs me and my stomach tightens as he continues listening on the phone.

His eyes look down at the note I clutch in my hands and then to the clock on the wall, reading twenty minutes until the deadline. “The server has a two way system, if you want to get that message to them then now is the time. Our forces should make it but in the event it isn’t enough...”

I nod, glancing down at my paper and hoping that it’ll help, even if in some small way. “Tell them I’m ready.”

-

The final mark of time for when I was supposed to agree to their conditions ticked by over half an hour ago and now Roman and I sat in silence, each in our own chairs of the office staring at the static screen of the television waiting. It’s the wait that is the most painful. The seconds that feel like days of wondering if he’d dead or not, if the decision I made was wrong.

It’s a fear that can only come from the dreaded unknown, from that absence of power over knowledge you so desperately crave, need, to survive. Every single tick of the grandfather clock sets me on edge all over again and makes my mind spiral into scenarios that haven’t even yet occurred.

When I glance at that screen I’m waiting for Oliver’s battered face to arrive next to Carter’s dead body. I’m waiting for Noah and Celina and Avery and Ellie-Mae to be lined up waiting for their lives to end until I concede and offer myself up. It’s torture.

Roman looks at me and I meet his gaze, looking at the pure sympathy that shines in his eyes, pain more intense than I can describe, “Maeve, I-”
The screen begins to crackle, an audio sounding over the silence of the static screen and I snap my attention to the television, hanging on the edge of my seat. My heart hammers in my chest and I gulp nothing but pure fear consuming my body.

I don’t watch the time as the screen flicks into full colour, the masked man from before filling up the entirety of the screen in what feels like milliseconds. The video stays focused on him, no sign of Carter at all.

“Humans are a species of mercy. W-we h-h-h-have considered your proposition and your friend will live for now.” Relief floods my body but it doesn’t wash away my anxiety as I stare at the screen through glossy eyes, “W-we are w-w-wiling to negotiate at a neutral meeting place of our choosing alone with our leader and you, Luna. Should ambush befall your friend will die and your pack will live to regret it.”

The video moves to Carter kneeling again, his body covered in scars and his mouth taped. But he’s alive. The hooded man walks over to him and stares at the camera, the grainy footage making his black clothes look even more pixilated. He pulls out a gun and rests it onto the back of Carters head and my entire body starts to shake.

“Our people will contact you with the time and place of the meeting. Fail to show, and he won’t be the only one to pay the price,” he says in that auto-tuned voice just as Alani is dragged out next to him, tears streaming down her face.

Carter sluggishly looks at her, like he’s under something but the second he notices her he begins to thrash within his restraints and the screen goes black.

A twisted sense of relief settles in my stomach and I look at Roman who’s expression of sympathy hasn’t faltered in the slightest. The door opens and both Elijah and Jayce enter the room.

“Did you see that?” Jayce asks and Romans expression return to its icy front.

“Yes.” The Beta’s turn their attention on me and I glance down, knowing that I look as pale as a ghost.

“There is no sign of their further contact within the video message but out border security is on red code alert to report of any suspicious activity should their terms be delivered in person,” Elijah recounts and Roman nods.

“This is a good thing. Our troops are still on their way to the base location to scout it out if nothing else but we have more time now. Our resources outstretch theirs by a mile, we will retrieve your family and any other potential hostages from their grip, Luna,” Jayce promises and I nod. He’s right, there is still hope.

I asked them to spare my family, to not put the lives of others in the way of matters concerning us but it was wishful thinking they’d comply. I might not have succeeded fully but I got somewhere, a step closer to getting him back and solving this issue.

“Thank you,” I say and Roman lets out a heavy sigh.

“The two of you can retire for the night, rest up and savour the time, we appreciate all the work you’ve done. I want the gamma’s working still on rotation and the two of you can start as early as you can tomorrow,” Roman orders and they both give him a closed smile.

“It’s no problem, Alpha,” Jayce says and the two give me a smile before turning.

“Wait,” Roman says and I stare at him intently.

“Pass me that bottle of moonshine,” he says, pointing to a bottle that looks like an ancient relic sitting on the shelf above the couch.

“You got it boss,” Elijah says, receiving the bottle and tossing it over to Roman who catches it gracefully before waving them out.

Roman’s laptop sounds with a notification and I glance to see the name Tiberius appear on the screen just as Roman closes the laptop, opening his draw and putting it away. “You thirsty?” He asks and I look at the bottle of moonshine then too Roman and the lines of stress that are prominent on his face.

I sigh, nodding, and he opens the bottle, taking a large gulp before passing it over to me. I don’t give a damn about cooties as I snatch up the liquid and mimic his actions, resulting in him taking the bottle way swiftly.

I start to cough as the strong liquid burns my throat, my face scrunching at the taste. “Easy there, this stuff isn’t designed for humans,” he says before taking another large gulp, the moonshines strength not affecting him.

He passes the bottle to me again and I take a smaller sip this time. “Everything will be alright, Mae. We’ll figure out this meeting together and things will be okay,” he says and I nod, taking another sip of the drink before passing it back to him.

“Thank you,” I say and he furrows his brow, taking another large gulp, “For stopping me from going,” I conclude and he shakes his head.

“Don’t thank me. If I were in your position and someone gave me the chance to give myself up for Diana I would’ve done it in a heart beat and I wouldn’t have even considered the consequences until it was too late. You were so much stronger than I would’ve been,” he says and I shrug off the compliment.

“It wasn’t just me,” I say, taking another sip, this one larger, “you have to take some credit as well,” I point out and he laughs dryly.

“Don’t be so modest, you wrote that message and that is what saved your family, you should be proud,” he says and a blush rises to my cheeks though I’m not sure if its from Romans words or the alcohol. Already my body feels buzzed, that feather light feeling sweeping through my senses.

Roman has another chug and passes me the bottle, “I’m proud,” he says, “you’ve done so much not just for this pack but for me. I thank the goddess every day for giving me the opportunity of being your mate and I try everyday to be worthy of that, even if it seems impossible now,” he says and I look away from the honesty in his eyes, unable to let them draw me in any further.

“I didn’t change you,” I say honestly, because it’s been my understanding that true change is something that you can’t give someone. You can’t transform a person if they don’t already have that ability somewhere within themselves. “I just lit a fire under your ass,” I joke and he laughs, the hearty sound making me smile.

“Well,” he says, cocking his head to the side before lifting the bottle in cheers, “I’ll drink to that,”

He takes another few gulps and I notice the way his shoulders loosen.

“I’ll drink to anything,” I comment, taking the bottle from him as he laughs, “Toooo,” I start, holding the relic out like Roman did, “whoever invented alcohol,” I say before having another sip and his laugh makes me almost snort out the liquid in my mouth.

I pass him back the bottle with a smile, “Who even did invent alcohol? Like how was that even a thing, some random just decided to eat stale grapes and got drunk?” I state in wonder and he swallows more of the liquid.

“It wasn’t actually invented,” Roman says and I tilt my head to the side, “It occurs naturally so it was more discovered,” he glances and the look on my face and laughs, “what?”

“What other weird nerdy facts do you know?” I ask, smiling.

“Okay miss doctor, did you know humans used to sell tomato sauce as medicine?” He asks and I laugh before shrugging.

“Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me,” I say and he laughs harder at that, the sound like a charming melody to my ear, enticing me into his aura.

“You know, your laugh sounds really nice,” I state and he smiles.

“Well, yeah, to you I’m sure it does. You could laugh like a hyena but my ears would still call it a melody,” he says and I gasp.

“Wow, I don’t think anyone has ever compared my laugh to a hyena thank you very much,” I say and he laughs again, mumbling an apology.

A silence drifts between us and I let my hazed mind reel once more. “What if this meeting isn’t enough?” I mumble, my words bordering on incoherent. Roman shrugs, not one hundred percent lucid, either.

“Then we’ll think of something else,” he replies and I nod, “things aren’t going to be easy from here on out,” he continues and not even the alcohol can prevent a knot from forming in my stomach.

“They don’t ever seem to be getting any easier,” I reply, sipping from the bottle once more.

Roman’s eyes flash with guilt, “One day they will but for now...” he lets out a large sigh and takes another gulp, “a lot of people will probably die,” he says candidly and the truth in his voice staggers the beat of my heart for a second. “People that I love, people that you love,”

He lets out a dry laugh that is void of any humour before taking another sip. “Starting off with my father, I suppose,” he says in a tight voice.

“I thought...” I start, my brows furrowed but I don’t have the heart to continue.

“He’s my dad, of course I love him, things are just... things were different for me growing up. I hate that I love him but it doesn’t change the fact that I do, even after everything,” he says and I look into his glossy eyes that stare down onto the hardwood of his desk.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble and he looks up at me. I didn’t realise how close we were seated to each other until he does, until that small gap of space between us lights up in friction.

He places a soft palm on my cheek and I look down. “You always apologise for things that are never your fault,” he states softly, like he is trying to figure me out.

“I’m sorry you have to go through that, not sorry in the way that I did it,” I say and he stays looking at me, his blue eyes masked in a happy sort of pain.

“When whatever is coming comes I-” I push my index finger onto his soft lips and shake my head, the movement making me slightly dizzy.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I say, removing my finger. “No more talking,” I continue and his gaze flicks down to my own lips, ever so briefly. Enough about war and pain and loss and suffering. If I am going to have to endure moths-years-more of that then I at least want now to be void of it.

“Sorry,” he mumbles, adding onto the pile of remorse that seems to heap up in the room. “I just want you to be prepare-”

I smash my lips onto his, closing that electric space between us and tasting the sweet sensation his mouth has to offer. Sparks roar down my spine, though my veins and settle deep in my core, lighting a fire deep within me, one that can only thrive with more fuel.

I pull back and his lips follow mine for a moment before we break apart and the silence that ensues now is different. “No more talking,” I reiterate and he nods.

***

“No more talking,” he confirms and his hand reaches out to tuck a loose strand of hair behind my ear, his palm moving behind my head, drawing it in closer to his body. His lips connect softly with my own and I let them, the sparks that shoot through my body like a drug I can’t get enough of.

He bites down softly onto my lower lip and I open my mouth to him, deepening the kiss. His free hand turns my chair so that I face him and the second he breaks from me, that same tongue collides with the mark on my neck and a shudder of pleasure rolls down my body.

I move my hands out to his chest but I don’t push away, instead I trace over the hard lines of his washboard stomach with my fingers, feeling his muscles tense beneath my touch making me want more. Crave more. He continues to line kisses down my jaw and I fumble with the top button of his white collar shirt, opening it to reveal that pristine golden skin that wraps over his muscles like a silky velvet over steel.

He breaks away from my body and in one clean movement he removes the shirt from his chest, taking away the barrier between us before connecting with my lips once more. I feel the vibration of a shudder travel through his own body when I touch his skin, my fingertips igniting sparks on him just like his lips do on mine.

He breaks away from my body and his blue eyes inspect mine, “Are you sure?” He asks and I wrap my arms around his neck, pulling him in again.

“I said no talking.”

A growl of satisfaction rumbles in his chest, a primal urge that he can’t contain and it makes that fire brewing in my core flare like a douse of gasoline. His hands move under my thighs and in one swift movement he stand with me wrapped around his torso, those large palms cupping my backside.

He turns us around and sits me on the edge of the desk, his mouth still connected to mine as his hand swipes the papers onto the floor. I tighten my legs around him and he continues to leave kisses over my skin, peppering them onto my jaw before moving down, stopping only at the crest of my breast where my shirt begins.

Those blue eyes connect with mine again, asking a question and I nod fervently, not wanting this, whatever this might be to stop. His hand removes my shirt and his soft lips continue to roam over my body, his hands moving along with them leaving those stirring sparks in their wake.

His lips pause when he reaches my the hem of my pants and he pauses again, the action making me squirm with annoyance. “Maeve,” he says lowly, that husky voice making me gulp.

I glance down at him, watching as he kneels before my body on the desk and the sight itself is nearly enough to make that knot in my core tighten to its breaking point. “Are you sure you want this?” He asks and I nod, my stare not breaking with his. I want to forget for one night, forget about absolutely everything that plagues this world and feel something else. Anything else.

I don’t know exactly what this is, there isn’t a word in the world that could describe it but I know it isn’t love and I don’t care. Love means nothing in a world that functions on desire, love is just some string of letters that makes people forget logic and do stupid things. It binds you and puts your heart in a guided cage made worthy by fleeting moments of happiness.

But I’m not meant to be caged. I never, ever was and I never will be. And when I look down at Roman, kneeling before me, I think of that and that only. My fight isn’t up, I just hold a hell of a lot more cards now.

<T H E R E B E L B A S E>

A soft bud of cotton, doused in water collides with Carter’s face as he sits slumped in his chair, his eyes unmoving from their focused attention on the floor. Images of what Maeve would be like after seeing that, relief and hope possibly flashed through his mind like photographs on a reel but for what? It was hard enough feeling that cold concrete floor press into his skin after the first video was taken. The imagining.

The cotton was taken from his skin and when it reconnected he flinched, earning an annoyed hiss from the woman hovering around him.

“Sit still,” she glowered, “If you ever want this to come off you need to stop moving so much.”

Carter repositioned himself in the seat and glanced into the mirror as the lady peeled of the makeup covering his face, revealing his red raw skin unscathed underneath.

“Sorry,” he mumbled and she didn’t acknowledge him as she kept undergoing her task.

Guilt was festering in his stomach, eating him alive as he stared at the shadow of a person he once was. The person he once was never would have done that, no matter what. But it was for her own good, they’d convinced him time and time again that it was what was best for her and he swallowed the pill but still felt it lodged uncomfortably in his throat. Maeve knew what was good, she wasn’t a fool, if she told Oliver what he said she did then-

The door to the dimly lit room opened and Carter didn’t let his attention stray from himself, pretending not to notice or care that Oliver had entered and dismissed the woman working on his face.

“You did well, dad wanted me to tell you that,” he says, folding his arms over his broad chest to lean against the wall. Carter remained silent.

“I wanted to say thank you,” Oliver continues, sincerity coating his voice, “I know that must’ve been hard to do.”

“Was she okay? In the message she sent, I mean. Did she look alright,” Carter asks and Oliver’s fingers move to the pendant on his chest, the one that used to rest on her golden skin.

“She’s healthy on the outside, they don’t mistreat her in that way but her voice... That message wasn’t from her, just like what she told me wasn’t from her. She’s being held hostage, Carter, just like Noah is,” he says and Carter looks to the ground.

“If we can’t get Noah out how will we get Maeve?”

Oliver sighs and runs a hand through his hair, “You heard what Dad said about Noah, how they’ve hidden him. He couldn’t find him but Maeve is a public figure, we know exactly where she is, who she’s with and how to reach her,” he explains and Carter picks at the flakes of crusted fake blood on his tattered shirt.

“What if she doesn’t want to come back?” He asks, voicing the question that had been tugging at him for too long, one that he surpassed for fear of the exact reaction Oliver holds now.

“Of course she wants to come back,” he spits, shock and anger lacing his words.

Carter turns to him and meets his fiery gaze. “But what if she doesn’t?”

“She’s my wife. No mating bond changes that and as her husband I think I have her best interests as my top priority. I was the one who kept her safe all those years while that mutt oppressed us, I protected her and I protected all of you,” he says defensively, the accusation his brother is making not sitting well at all, “the only reason this all happened is because I stopped protecting her. If I had’ve listened to my gut and stopped her from going on that stupid mission then none of this would’ve occurred, she’d be happy and safe with me. The man she chose to love,”

Carter flinches at the pain flashing in his brothers emerald eyes, the guilt that pillages though Olivers body evident in his face.

“She chose to go there. Maybe the problem was that we lied to her for so long, that we still are,” Carter rebuts and Oliver narrows his gaze.

“I never lied to her, I’m only doing this because it is what’s best,” he retorts but Carter doesn’t cower.

“You never told her of the rebels. I knew, Noah knew and so did you but she never did. If you hadn’t kept it all from her maybe she’d have known the direness of the situation. Keeping something like that from someone is just as bad as lying,”

Oliver shakes his head and gives his brother a once over before gripping the door handle. “I love Maeve, more than anyone I’ve ever loved before and I’d never do a thing to harm her. Sometimes you have to save the people you love from themselves first.” Oliver didn’t bother telling his brother about the meeting he missed out on and stormed from the room. Carter was too young to understand and perhaps him not being around for anymore meetings was a good idea.

Oliver kept his steely gaze in front of him and walked towards the office of his father, his conversation with Carter only solidifying his cause even further. There was nothing anybody could say or do to keep him from saving the woman he loved, not even her.

authors note

Cue the spiteful comments that are going to follow me around for a month

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.