Beauty in the Beast

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Chapter 24

Once home, I took an incredibly long shower. I knew Nick would be coming to look for me sooner than later, but I just needed to wash the Mating Ritual from me. I toweled off and threw on some clothes that wasn’t Nick’s t-shirt. The last thing I needed was his scent all over me to remind myself of what I ran from. I accepted him in front of the whole pack, I could have ended this right then and there and just rejected him but I couldn’t. I went into this thinking, praying, that Derek would be the one to win that fight and I get I still didn’t know if I would reject him. But there was something about Nick that made me reach down to his belly that night. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I hated that he was right. Whenever we were around each other it was like an electrical current was sending chills down my spine. A magnetic force was pulling us together and quite possibly has been for the last ten years.

I was surprised by how much I was able to get done in my own home without seeing Nick, yet the whole time I couldn’t get him off my mind. I grabbed my bag and threw my phone in it before swinging it over my shoulder and taking off in a jog towards the hospital. I knew this was the last place I should be but I had a plan. The pack couldn’t be divided and going to see how my male friends were wasn’t going to be a good look for the new Luna. The pack needed their Alphas to be united and by seeing Derek or Emmett, it would cause more problems than I knew how to fix. But I couldn’t not go.

When I walked in the doors, every wolf’s eyes fell to me. It was like I gained a celebrity status overnight. I’ve been so used to being under the radar that I didn’t know how to react. Just be natural, nothing out of the ordinary here. I slid right by the front desk and went straight to the trauma unit. I knew that was where I would find them, and luckily for me I knew my way around the hospital from my recent stay.

“Emma?” I jumped at the sound of my name. Claire was walking over to me, a clipboard in her hand. “What are you doing here?” She asked.

“I’m wondering if I could get something.” I gave her my best smile in hopes she would believe me. “I need an ointment for Nick.” I lied. “He’s not healing as fast as I’d like to see and he’s too much of a hothead to listen to me and come see you guys, so I was hoping you could just give me something for him.”

“You know, I was surprised by the ritual. I didn’t know you two were close.” That makes two of us.

“Uh... yeah, we go way back.”

“We’re not really supposed to give out medications without seeing a patient, but I think I can make an exception.” She smiled back at me like she owed me something. I didn’t care, as long as she got the hell out of here that was all I needed.

“Thanks.” She turned and I dashed. I knew he was here, I could smell him. Right around the corner I turned, there he was. His arm was in a sling with bandages poking out from the collar of his t-shirt. He was covered in bruises from the flesh that I could see. My mouth opened but no words would come out.

“You shouldn’t be here.” He could sense me just as I could sense him.

“I had to make sure you were okay.” My mouth finally formed words.

“Physically? I’ll heal.” The pain was evident in his voice.

“Derek—“

“Look Emma, I’m sorry.” He stepped towards me and I felt something in the pit of my stomach. As he grabbed my forearm and caressed it, I suddenly realized what that feeling was: guilt. What was I thinking? I shouldn’t be here. “I would have died for you, but I made you a promise and right now I’m not feeling too great about keeping it.” As a male wolf his pride was feeling the most pain out of anything Nick inflicted on him physically. I didn’t know what to say to him. Nothing that escaped my lips would make him feel better. Abruptly, I felt a huge arm across my body, pulling me back from Derek’s grip. If I wasn’t caught I was surely to fall right on my ass. My gaze looked up to find Nick, his arm still out across me as he blocked me from Derek. I won’t lie, the low growl that escaped him scared the hell out of me. I knew he would find me, I just didn’t think it would be so soon.

Derek held his hand up in surrender while his injured arm just laid useless in his sling.

“Nick, don’t!” I had to try to reason with him before he killed Derek. “This is my fault. I came here, he didn’t ask me to.” Nick’s gaze didn’t leave Derek, I was sure this was going to escalade quickly if I didn’t do something quickly.

“You dare lay a hand on my mate?” Oh shit.

“I wasn’t going to try anything stupid, I was just saying my goodbyes.” Derek kept his hand up in protection.

“I could have killed you in the ring, but I didn’t.” He moved his arm from across my body and gripped my wrist tightly, but not enough to hurt me. “Should the opportunity present itself again, I’ll be certain to finish the task.”

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