Beauty in the Beast

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Chapter 12

I went straight to the training center after my “talk” with Nick. I needed to blow off steam and it was late enough that no one would be there. My dad gave me the rest of the week off of the bar to recover, so the training center was going to have to get used to me. I’ve never been there so late at night before, I had to admit it was kind of eery. I went straight to the treadmill and jumped on, turning it to a high run. After about twenty minutes I had to call it quits, not that I couldn’t handle it, it just made me want to shed my human skin and dart to the forest. I went to the punching bag and began a new work out. I’d be lying to myself if I said I didn’t picture Nick a few times as my fist connected with the bag. I stopped my fists and held the bag in place. I wasn’t alone. The door to the center opened and closed, footsteps coming toward me.

“I thought I’d find you here.” Emmett smiled at me.

“You could have found me at the hospital too.” Maybe I was a little salty about that.

“I’m sorry, Emma, if I could have been there—“

“You would have.” I finished his sentence. “I know. Duty calls and such.” I went back to my work out, punching the bag that kind of looked like Emmett now. He grasped my bag from the other side, holding it in place, his head poking out from the side.

“Are we having our first fight?” He was smiling at me.

“We’re not fighting.” I stated as I punched the bag with a little too much force. Emmett took a step back to maintain his balance. Emmett chuckled.

“Alright.” He said. “This isn’t fighting. Now tell me how you’re feeling.” He laughed as I punched the bag again. “It’s like that is it?”

“I’m fine.”

“Doesn’t seem like it.”

“It’s not you.” I stepped back and wiped some sweat from my forehead. I was still steaming from my encounter with Nick.

“Then what is it?”

“Your alpha.”

“You mean our alpha.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

“You sound like Derek.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I don’t know why I was so offended by his remark.

“You’ve suddenly lost respect for how our pack does things.” He actually looked hurt. “You’ve lost respect for our alpha.”

“I haven’t.” He looked at me like I was a traitor.

“Emma,” he put his hand on my shoulder. “I know you’ve been through a lot lately. But you should take some time for yourself and really think about life. You could have been killed, but you weren’t. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here but I think you need some help.” He smiled at me warmly and left me alone with that. He was right, I could have died. Hell, Derek almost did die. But Nick— he wanted to hide the truth. But Nick saved us. He put himself in danger to save me from the fire...again. That’s what an alpha does. He puts himself at risk to save his pack. Dammit. I was torn. And exhausted. I decided to was probably best to just go home and rest like my dad told me to do in the first place.

Sleep took me over almost immediately after my head hit the pillow. It was probably the best sleep I’ve had in ages. By the time I woke it was almost noon. I jumped in the shower, scratching my head as I shampooed my hair, looking for any signs of the gash in my skull that put me in the hospital, but there was none. Just a few days after the explosion and my head was completely healed.

My phone rang from the counter. I growled at it as I opened the shower doors and slid my finger across the screen, accepting the call. I pressed the speaker phone so I could hear over the sound of the water.

“Hello?”

“Emma—what in the hell are you doing?” It was so nice to hear Derek’s voice.

“I’m in the shower, what do you need?”

“You could have waited for me.” I couldn’t help but smile. Even in the hospital he could still crack a joke.

“Don’t you have enough nurses to use all your lines on?”

“That’s probably why they’re kicking me out.”

“What do you mean?”

“Doc said I can go home but she won’t let me leave unless I have someone take me home. I’d call someone else if there was anyone else.”

“Don’t be silly, Derek, I’ll be right there.” Derek never spoke of family or really any other friends. He didn’t ask me about my family drama so I never asked him.

I didn’t wait for my hair to dry, I just threw on jeans and a t-shirt with a pair of sneakers. Once at the hospital I checked in with the front desk and went to Derek’s room to take him home. I’ve never been inside Derek’s apartment before, it reminded me of home. There were no decorations or family photos on the wall. Everything was very bland.

“Damn Derek, would it kill you to put up a picture?” Hypocrite.

“Maybe if I had one to put up.” He laughed. “Hey, Em, I’m gonna get a shower. You can join me if you like.” I laughed. “You can stay if you want, but I’m pretty exhausted.”

“Hint taken.” I grabbed my jacket and slid it on. “Call me when you wake up.”

“I don’t need a babysitter.”

“But you need a friend.”

“Touché.”

I should have went home, but I couldn’t. I snapped my bones and fell to my knees. I closed my eyes and let my wolf take over. I leaned my head back and let a howl escape my throat. This was what I needed. I didn’t need someone to talk to, I didn’t need to think about pack life. I needed my wolf to show me where to go.

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