Alex gagged Derek with tape just as his Alpha instructed him to do, and the room fell silent again. More Omegas found their way to the security room and filled the small space. Some had minor wounds, but no one was really hurt. Emmett squeezed his way through the crowd to reach me. His hand was warm on my arm as he gave it a gentle squeeze.
“Here.” He tried to hand me a damp towel, but I didn’t understand. Instead, he lifted it to my face and gently wiped it across me before pulling it away and showing me the smeared dried blood on the towel.
“Thank you.” I took the towel from him and wiped it around my face, trying to get the blood off me that I didn’t realize was still there. I handed it back to him when I was finished, but I must have missed a spot because he raised it to my face again and wiped gently by my ear.
“I didn’t mean to cause any trouble between you and Nick.” He muttered.
“You didn’t.” I assured him. “Derek is trying to get Nick to kill him, so he won’t have to give up Jackson. He wants the easy way out.” It was obvious Derek was only trying to stir up trouble.
“Can I ask you something?” He looked around the room, making sure the others were occupied before turning back to me. I nodded and waited patiently for the question. “If I would have been the last one standing in the ring, would you have accepted me as your mate?” I couldn’t help but to be startled by the question. It was so out of the blue, but I owed it to him to be honest so he could move on with his life with no what-ifs.
“No, I don’t think I would have, Emmett. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry. I was crazy to think I would have had a chance with you.”
“You did, Emmett.” I put my hand over his to ease his pain. “You made me realize I didn’t have to be alone. I’d been closed off for years, not only with my friends but especially with the thought of having a mate.” I truly felt pained by how I used Emmett, but I knew he would fight for the right female in another Mating Ritual and she’d be lucky to have him as her mate. “I’m sorry it took me so long to give you closure.”
“You’re wild at heart, Emma.” He said with a chuckle. “Nick is probably the only wolf in this universe that can come even close to taming you.” I smiled back at him, but our conversation was cut short by Nick entering the room again.
“Everyone back in their groups.” Nick began. “I want every inch of this building covered. Detain but don’t kill Jackson. Daniel will have eyes on everyone we can through the security system.” Nick avoided my eyes as he spoke to the Omegas. “Go.” With that command, the Omegas all filed out of the security room, leaving Daniel at the desk, Derek still gagged in his chair, and Nick and I standing awkwardly in the room together.
“There’s no way he could have left the property.” Daniel noted as he scanned the screens in front of him. “Someone would have seen him, we have too many wolves to have missed him.”
“Which means there’s probably a panic room somewhere in this bunker.” Nick turned to Derek. We both knew Derek would know where Jackson was hiding, and Nick was willing to get dirty to make him talk. To my surprise, Nick didn’t touch Derek, instead he walked over to me. “You need to go.” He stated.
“I’m not leaving.” I shook my head. If I wasn’t there to stop him from killing Derek, no one would. “You said we wouldn’t separate. I’m not leaving you in here.”
“I don’t want you watching what I’m about to do.”
“Then don’t do it.”
“You can’t keep protecting him, little wolf.” His voice softened as he spoke to me, but I couldn’t let it be a distraction.
“He’s not all bad, Nick. I can help him.” I knew it was a lost cause, Nick would never let me help Derek the way I thought I could.
“Go stand outside the door and keep watch. The Omegas have taken out the mutts, there’s no threat besides Jackson and he won’t be roaming the hallways looking for trouble. You’ll be safe out there.” I shook my head; I couldn’t let him do this. “I’m not asking, Emma.” Although I had no obligation to follow his order, I knew I wasn’t winning this fight. He would toss me out of the room with force before he let me stay and watch him torture Derek.
I closed the door behind me and leaned against the wall. A wave of exhaustion washed over me, and I slid down the wall until I found the ground. Pulling my legs to my chest, I rested my chin on my knees. I covered my mouth as I heard the first scream from Derek. Tears welled in my eyes as I thought of the wolf who saved me from isolation all those years ago. I tried to tell myself that that wolf wasn’t the same wolf as the one Nick was currently torturing. I closed my eyes as another scream bellowed through the building. I covered my ears with my hands after more and more screams came from Derek. With all the screaming I had no idea how Nick was getting any information from Derek, which meant he wasn’t going to give up his father-figure.
Time went by slowly, but this time it was too quiet. Why wasn’t Derek screaming? Was he finally giving Nick the information he wanted? I uncovered my ears and opened my eyes. Or maybe he was dead? I stood to my feet and went to the door, opening it without permission. Derek was slumped over in the chair, his face bloodied to an almost unrecognizable state. The door shut on its own behind me and I stood there frozen, staring at the bloodied wolf.
“He’s alive.” Nick responded, but he didn’t look at me. He was leaned over Daniel’s shoulder as they looked at a monitor together.
“You know where to find Jackson?” I asked.
“No.” Nick stood upright and finally turned to face me. “He passed out, but he wouldn’t talk.”
“Now what?” I asked.
“Daniel’s trying to find something that would connect the security room to an outer door, but so far nothing has come up.” I turned to Derek and saw just a tiny flicker of movement. He was never unconscious; he was faking to get a break from Nick so he could recover to handle more torture. He was smarter than anyone gave him credit for.
“Let me try.” I said. “I’ll talk to Derek alone when he wakes up.”
“Absolutely not.” Nick shot me down.
“I’m not asking, Nick.” Nick turned to me and narrowed his eyes at me. This wasn’t the time to feel badly about turning the tables on him, but the pain he tried to hide behind his eyes was there.
“Daniel,” Nick didn’t break my eye contact as he spoke. “Give Emma the room.” Daniel instantly stood and walked out of the room without a single peep. “Do not untie him.” He instructed me. “I mean it, Emma, whatever good you think is left in this wolf is not there. Don’t trust him and don’t let him trick you into letting him go.” I nodded in agreeance and he rubbed his eyebrows in frustration. “For once in your life, please listen to me, Emma.”
“I will.” I tried to convince him that I could handle the task at hand but honestly, I was praying to the Moon Goddess for guidance.
“Scream if you need me, I’ll be right outside the door.” I nodded again and he left me alone with Derek. I looked him over from head to toe, his face was broken open and bloody from many different wounds. His fingers were bent in different joints and his pant leg was blood from another wound. I took the towel Emmett used to clean me up and began wiping Derek’s face. He kept the act up and didn’t move an inch as I cleaned up.
“I know you’re awake, Derek.”