I was tired all the time.
I have survived being beaten and abused my entire life. I survived being hit by a car, physical therapy, mating, kidnapping, and traumas no one should ever have to endure. But nothing ever stole the energy from me as much as being pregnant.
It was strange knowing there was something growing inside of me. I was ignorant of just about everything to do with the world I now lived in. Nothing so much as being a mother.
Most of the time, I tried to ignore the fact that I was going to have to take care of another living soul in a short amount of time. Instead, I tried to concentrate on finding my missing sister.
It took forever to convince my mate, Devin, to follow my brother across the country to track her down. It took even more to convince Jack to stay with the pack to take care of them.
A frown marred my face as I thought of Jack, how he must be suffering. I know that he wants to be here, but he would not be any good for his mate, Emily, if he was. He would be going crazy wanting to do something instead of finding out all that we can about those that took her. We need more information. The last time we went on a hunch and busted down doors looking for her, the place was empty.
Now we had a lead. I did not want to lose it. Apparently, the spy from the raid that took Emily had an idea as to where she was being held. My new-found-brother, Alexander, went on ahead to talk to him. We were only about an hour behind him. I just hope we could get there soon.
I loved watching the different scenery fly past the car windows. It was amazing the things that were out in the world. There was so much I had missed out on being kept in the dark, locked away my whole life.
I wanted to get out and experience everything that life had to offer. I just had to convince Devin that it was okay to experience it with me. Ever since he found out we were having a pup, he has been even more protective than usual.
I love him like crazy, but I feel like I am back in that dark cell, chained to the walls, never allowed to go where I want. I know he does not mean it that way, but it is how I feel. Even my wolf is getting frustrated with our mate.
We have been snapping at him at the worst times lately. I feel bad after it happens, but I cannot help it.
The car pulled to a stop. I looked out the window, recognizing Alexander’s car, but little else around us. There was a small house and what looked like toys thrown about the ground.
Devin opened my door for me and helped me out. I wanted to growl at him that I was perfectly fine getting out of his car on my own, but held it in. Instead, I ignored him as I slid past toward the front door.
‘Leah, honey, what’s wrong?’ his voice slid into my mind. ‘You haven’t said anything to me almost this whole trip. Please talk to me,’ he pleaded.
I knew it was mean to ignore him, but I was fed up with his overprotective attitude. My wolf and I were stronger than him. We were his mate, not his possession. We wanted to be loved, not coddled. I know I should tell him all of this, but instead I said, ‘Nothing is wrong. I am tired from the trip.’ I didn’t look at him as I continued, ‘Can we please see if anyone is here so that I can rest? Maybe get some tea?’
He immediately, rapped his knuckles on the door in front of us. ‘Leah, please tell me what’s wrong. I don’t like being shut out. It hurts when you are upset with me, or when you won’t talk to me. Please? Just tell me?’
“Devin? Leah? What are you two doing here?” the question startled me. I looked sheepishly at the person in the doorway before us.
I noticed Devin rubbing the back of his neck in a nervous gesture and raised an eyebrow behind his back. “Can we come in and talk about this instead of standing on the porch?” he asked.
The light haired man I remembered from when Emily was taken let us in with a small gesture. He leaned against the door after closing it. Devin lead me to a couch in front of us as Cameron, I think his name was, asked, “Well, care to explain why you came all the way out here to see little old me?”
Devin was still ignoring him as he fussed over me. I was about to snap at him when Cameron spoke up, “Do you want any tea or anything for the mama-to-be?”
I gave him a grateful smile. Devin just nodded absently at him. Ugh, why does he have to act this way?
To make matters worse he opened his mouth and asked, “If you could, can you bring in some crackers or something? She needs to eat.”
I don’t need to eat, I need to find my sister. I need to stop wanting to bite my mate’s head off every time he opens his mouth. I need a lot of things, but I definitely do not need to eat.
I was going to scream at Devin through our link when Cameron spoke up, “Sure.” Heading into what was obviously the kitchen.
There was a commotion at the door leading from the kitchen to the outside. A small boy sprinted in screaming, “Uncle Cam-on!” and was lifted into the air by the light haired man.
A young woman followed the boy into the house. One look at her and my wolf was urging me to get up and go to her.
Not giving it another thought, I levered myself off the couch and made my way towards her. She stared at me, as my wolf broke down the barriers to her mind. I knew she was human, but her son was not. For some reason, I needed to talk to her, and the only way to do that was to get into her head.
Just as the last walls broke down, her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she crumpled to the ground. Luckily, Devin caught her before she could injure herself.
I wanted to growl at him holding another female in his arms, even if it was to help her, but I held it in.
“Leah! What the Hell did you do?!” Devin shouted at me, breaking me from my reverie.
Something in me snapped at the tone of his voice. Tears pricked the back of my lids and my lower lip began to quiver. My hands clasped together over my small stomach, and I turned running from the small kitchen. I did not know where I was going in this house, but it was small enough that I found the bathroom without a problem. Locking myself in, I sat on the floor against the door and let the tears fall freely from my eyes.
He had never used that tone with me before. I do not know what I did wrong for him use it on me now. All I know is that I needed to talk to the woman in there, and that was only thing I could think of. I did not mean to hurt her.
A silent sob escaped my lips as a knock echoed throughout the small bathroom.
The slamming of a door echoed throughout the house. Slowly, I set Quinn on the ground and went over to my sister resting in Devin’s arms.
With a quick glance, I could see that she was fine, just exhausted. After some rest she would be fine. Reassured, a quick flare of anger flashed through me. How dare Devin yell at his mate! She didn’t do anything! There was no reason to raise his voice at her, especially while she’s pregnant.
Didn’t he know that her hormones are going haywire and the smallest thing will set her off?!
Apparently not, as he had a grim set to his mouth, lifting my sister in his arms. “Where’s her room? I’ll put her to bed and explain why we are here?”
It was silent for a moment as I debated whether or not to take my sister from his arms. Sighing I said, “End of the hall on the left.”
He nodded and headed to put Kayla in her bed. Quinn followed close behind. Knowing him, he’ll stay close to his mom until she wakes up. The kid was going to be a great man when he grew up. It was evident just from the way he took care of his mom.
Knowing Devin wasn’t going to go after Leah, I did. I headed down the hallway, and noticed the only closed door was the bathroom. I knocked on it, but didn’t hear anything on the other side.
“Leah? Are you in there? It’s Cameron. Do you want to open up?”
There was the click of the lock as the handle was turned and there she was. This petite blonde with red puffy eyes and a small baby bump. She reminded me so much of my sister when she was younger that I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and protect her from all the evils of the world.
But another look at her face revealed that I was too late to protect her. She had a scar running down over her left eye and faint marks could be seen on her where her clothes didn’t cover completely.
Apparently, the evils of this world found her a long time ago. I just hope she never has to experience those evils ever again.
Without a word, I opened my arms, and with a slight hesitation, she launched herself into them. I tried to comfort her as best I could, but knew only her mate could truly comfort her the way she needed. Too bad it was her mate that she needed to be comforted from.
A growl reverberated down the hall. Leah stiffened in my arms. Lifting my head, I saw Devin a few feet down the hall in front of my sister’s door. I gave him a warning glare, but he just growled louder.
Leah slipped from my arms and fled into the bathroom, locking the door once again.
The growls cut off immediately, and I watched as Devin’s face crumpled.
With a frustrated sigh, I ran my hands through my hair and turned leaving him to stew in his own misery. Why do Alpha’s have to be such idiots when it came to their mates? Didn’t they realize how lucky they were to have someone to love them no matter what?
With that depressing thought in my head, I searched our cabinets for something to make for dinner.
Tonight was going to be interesting, to say the least.
I don’t know how long I sat in that disgusting bar, finally leaving after getting tired of the waitresses hitting on me.
I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings as I wandered around. The only thing going through my mind, I’m a father. I’m a father. I have a son.
After a while anger filled me. How could she not tell me I was a father?! How could she keep this from me?!
‘You left her remember,’ my wolf stated. It had been so long since I had heard him, it was a shock. I stumbled on the sidewalk, looking like a drunk after a binge.
‘That’s still no reason to not tell us we had a son!’ I growled back at him.
He just huffed at me, the image of our mate from when we left her flashing in my mind. He was showing me what I had done to her. Her eyes streaming tears, falling to the ground, one hand reaching for me, the other held protectively over her stomach.
Even then, I should have known she was carrying our child. I should have smelled it in her scent. Her son couldn’t be mine, could he? Then the images of her nervousness the week before I left her. The way she seemed to always be pale, and would hardly eat. Could it be true?
An image of her son flashed before my eyes. The dark hair, the light brown eyes. If he was my son, there was a possibility he was a wolf. If that was the case then it was no wonder the Council would be interested in him.
Then again, he could also be human. Stopping mid-stride, I ran my hands over my face and through my hair. I need to talk to her. I need to know if he really is my son. I need proof.
My wolf growled at me. Apparently, he believed it, but I’d been through too much—burned too many times—to believe the word of someone who was a spy. I need proof. I’ll ask for his birth records. I’ll get a DNA test—something—to confirm he’s mine.
If he is...if he is, we’ll take it from there. If not, Cameron was going to pay, and Kayla was going to suffer for having someone else’s child.
Pulling out my phone, I put Kayla’s address into the GPS. Turns out I was only a few blocks from her home. Following the directions, I made it back to her house in a few minutes. Without bothering to knock, I walked in and noticed it was quiet aside from the sounds of pans rattling coming from the kitchen.
Cameron was in there making dinner. There were pots and pans all over the stove, and what looked like ingredients for spaghetti.
Clearing my throat, Cameron jumped and burned his hand on one of the burners.
“God Damn, Son of a, Mother...”
“Uh, uh, uh, Cameron, no swearing in the house. There’s a child that lives here remember?” I chided him.
He glared at me over his shoulder as he ran cold water over the burn on his hand. “You could warn a person you know. Besides, ever hear of knocking?” He turned back to what he was doing, shutting off the water and grabbing a towel to wrap his hand.
“Well according to you the boy that lives here is mine, and Kayla is my mate. The way I look at it, I don’t have to knock.” We were both silent a moment as I watched him doctor his burn. Clearing my throat again, I asked, “You never did tell me why you were living here with Kayla and her son.”
I could hear a sigh slip past his lips—shoulders slumped—he turned, leaning against the counters, to look at me. He looked at me, considering a while, before he finally decided to speak. “How much did Kayla tell you about her family while you guys were together?”
The question threw me off. What does her family have to do with this? I just looked at him in confusion.
Sighing again, he threw down the dish towel, crossed his arms, looking at me up and down. “I’m guessing that you never asked, or you never bothered to listen.” I growled at that, but he kept going, “I’m her brother. Her older brother.”
All I could do was stare at him. He seriously expected me to believe that he was her brother? I mean sure, they had the same eyes, and hair color, but that was where the similarities ended. How could he expect me to believe they were siblings, when there were thousands of blonde haired, blue eyed people in the world.
He must have seen the skepticism on my face as he threw his hands in the air with a disgusted noise. “I can’t believe you!” he exclaimed. “The truth is staring you right in the face and you still choose to ignore what is right in front of you.” He pushed off the counters to stand in front of me.
Behind him I could see the water boiling over in a pot and the sauce starting to burn in a pan, but he didn’t care as he stared me down. “You know what Alexander? Let go of your stubborn pride and listen to the truth for once in your life. Kayla tried to tell you three years ago. I’ve been telling you since you got here. Hell, I’m sure our parents would tell you, if they gave a flying fuck about us! But until you get your head out of your ass you’ll never be the man you need to be.”
With that he walked around me, ignoring the dinner he had been working on. The slam of a door reached me.
Sighing, I turned the burners off on the stove, salvaging what I could of the dinner Cameron had been making.
I was in the middle of draining the noodles when there was a tug on my pants leg. Looking down, I looked into a pair of pale brown eyes.
Not knowing what to say, I lifted a brow in question. The little boy tilted his head and looked at me quizzically.
“Why you here?” his small voice asked.
I didn’t know how to respond to this little person staring at me, as if I was a puzzle to be solved. It was unnerving the way he stared me down. I was going to give him some stupid reason when he said, “You made my mommy cry. You bad man. I don’t like you.”
I froze with the pot of noodles suspended over the sink, a lump stuck in my throat. My wolf was whimpering in my mind. For some reason, this little kid telling me that he hated me hurt. Even more than the fact we made our mate cry.
Not looking into it too deeply, I cleared my throat and asked, “What’s your name kid?”
My voice came out huskier than I expected, but at least it was even.
“I’m Quinn,” he answered. Then he saw the pot in my hands, “What you doing?”
“I’m helping Cameron with dinner.” Then for some reason I asked, “Do you want to help?”
The little boy, Quinn, looked up at me with those light brown eyes and smiled. “Yes!”