Twisted Fate

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Chapter 57

This story was put on the backburner for awhile due to crazy life changes. I’m sorry it took me so long to come back. Thank you reader for sticking around.


Astrid

“Where are MY GOLDEN SLIPPERS?”

My mind slips in and out of consciousness as I toss around in bed. It feels too early to even think about opening my eyes. I wouldn’t mind sleeping a few extra hours today, but I’m almost certain there’s a huge commotion going on outside my bedroom window.

Did I just hear Ms. Hattie screaming over some golden slippers? I don’t think I’m dreaming.

When she hollers once more, I finally open my eyes. Groaning, Arlo sits up in bed, equally annoyed with the interruption. “Fuck,” he hisses from across the room, and well, I’m not sleepy anymore. Something about the way he says fuck in a raspy voice makes me want to straddle his lap with my clothes off.

“What’s today?”

I swing my arm over the bedside table without lifting my head from the pillow. It’s 6:30 am and the harsh lighting from my phone nearly blinds me. “It’s Saturday, October 1st.”

Arlo instantly recoils and falls back, the small mattress creaking a complaint. He rubs his face and glares at the ceiling as if it’s his worst enemy staring down at him.

“Let me be first to welcome you to your first day in hell,” he deadpans.

Did I miss something?

The screaming continues, but this time it’s not Ms. Hattie. “I already told you, I don’t have your stupid slippers!” That raging bitch tone helps me put the pieces together. Ms. Hattie thinks Louisa stole her slippers.

“Louisa, you are the biggest liar! I know you borrowed my precious slippers last year for the festival and I want them back NOW.”

I’m willing to buy Ms. Hattie a brand-new pair of slippers. Hell, she can upgrade to a nice, expensive pair of heels, any color of her choice for all I care. I just want them both to shut up.

“Can’t she find another pair of slippers?” I fold the pillow up to my ears as Ms. Hattie unleashes another ear-splitting scream.

Arlo folds his arms over his stomach, a humorless chuckle. “Those golden slippers are very special to Ms. Hattie. If Louisa doesn’t find them soon, then she might get her head chopped off.” In that case, I hope Louisa dropped those slippers into the abyss.

A sharp whistle cuts through the bickering and I can hear Nicolas telling Louisa to go back inside the house to look for the slippers while he helps Ms. Hattie look back at the shop. Neither of them is pleased, but the screaming has stopped, so that’s a good sign.

Finally, some peace and quiet. Maybe I can go back to sleep. I close my eyes, but sleep doesn’t come. I change positions, fluff my pillow, count sheep on the ceiling. Nothing.

Screw it. I lift up on my side to look at Arlo who’s lying wide-awake. Shirtless. God, I want to lick my way down his tattooed chest. I bet he’d look so sexy with his head thrown back while I-

“What’s so important about October 1st?” I force the naughty thoughts out of my mind before he can catch the scent of my arousal. No point in torturing both of us if we can’t mate.

Torture? You had his tongue down your throat last night, dumbass.

“Spooky season,” Arlo answers simply. “Halloween is the busiest time of year for the coven. Tourists come from all over the world to see the festivals and visit the haunted museums. And of course, Ms. Hattie’s famous gift shop is always at the top of list. That’s why she was so upset over her golden slippers. She wears them every year with her costumes. She claims they bring her good luck.”

“Oh, wow. So the coven goes all out for these Halloween festivals?”

“Oh, you have no idea. The witches work really hard to put on a show for the tourists. Without the coven, the festivals would be boring and simple. They’ll probably make use of the extra hands and get the wolves to help set up.” I wouldn’t mind that at all. Now that our pups are safe and at home, we could use the festival to brighten up our days.

A loud knock at the front door follows Arlo’s statement. “Arlo, wake up! I’ve got something for you,” shouts Nicolas as he repeatedly bangs on the door.

Arlo groans, throwing the covers off the rest of his glorious body, “Here comes the worst part.”

Either I don’t know the definition of fun or I’m not seeing the torture in this. “Which is?”

He turns to look at me with dread. “Being stuck in Salem for 31 days and forced to help decorate.” He’s being dramatic. This should be fun!

~

Arlo wasn’t being dramatic. This is hell. But I’m no stranger to the fire breathing women who run around barking orders in everyone’s faces.

The only difference is they’re witches, not the scary she-wolf who may or may not slash your throat for ordering tulips instead of lilies for the wrong event. These women got nothing on Grace Collins. If I can handle my mother, then I can certainly handle the 4foot witch who’s shoving brushes in my hands and demanding I paint something for Ms. Hattie’s parade float.

“You’re the real artist here,” she tells me. “I can’t keep up with that woman’s high expectations. The float has to be perfect!” she throws her hands up and mocks Ms. Hattie’s accent.

I laugh and give a reassuring pat on poor Agatha’s shoulder. “That’s alright, Agatha. I’ve got some great ideas for the float. Ms. Hattie will be pleased with both of us.”

I take about five minutes to convince Nicole and Derek to help me with the float. Okay, scratch that, convince isn’t the right word. Force seems more like it. I dragged both of them by the arm and threatened to cut their fingers off with my sword. They value their fingers, and couldn’t disobey their alpha either, so…

Astrid= 1

Nicole and Derek= boo hoo, you’re stuck helping.

We’re all staying here for free, so it’s only right that the wolves contribute their helping hands to make things easier for the coven. I’ve only been helping for about an hour to realize how stressful this time is for them.

Nicole and Derek glare at me from across the yard as I smile and say, “Tada,” at the hay wagon with supplies. Their faces remain dull, but my smile only widens because Nicolas arrives just in time with chicken wire and wood.

The Halloween parade is in three days and if we want to finish, we cannot waste our time. The guys get straight to work, but Nicole doesn’t move an inch. “Shouldn’t the person who’s in charge of the float be present for the setup of the float.”

I roll my eyes at the attitude in her voice. She crosses her arms and rants on about the unfair treatment like the bratty teenage girl she acts like sometimes. If I didn’t love her so much, I would’ve slapped her a long time ago.

Derek’s frustration reaches its limit before I comment. “Get your bony ass over here and help me unravel this wire!”

“Who are you calling bony ass?” she charges towards him, and then the arguing begins.

Nicolas and I don’t attempt to stop them. Somehow Derek has successfully tricked Nicole into helping while she bad mouths him. She’s so heated she doesn’t even realize when she’s halfway done setting up the wire.

“Ugh! Hecate, save my ears,” Nicolas groans. “Do they always fight like children?”

I snort. “Try living in the same pack with them.”

“I feel sorry for you.”

But it’s me who feels sorry for him. At least I don’t fall under the commands of Louisa.

We spend the majority of the afternoon working on the float until my workers give out on me. I don’t fight them on it because truth is my hands are cramping up from all the painting. And I could use a nap.

Later in the evening, I wake up and head inside the house to check on Blair, since everyone is busy. Her health has improved very little over the last month. The dizzy spells and nausea are gone, but the headaches have only gotten worse. Sometimes it’s so bad she can barely open her eyes or speak. On those days, she stays locked up in her room, sleeping the day away.

If it were a common cold, Ms. Hattie’s potions would have been efficient. I don’t say much, but I’m really starting to worry about her. Even more now as I watch her pass out on the bed from exhaustion.

“Blair?” She doesn’t respond. I touch her forehead and she’s burning up so badly, I throw the blankets to the side and run a wet cloth down her face and neck. My fingers feel like ice running down her flushed skin.

This is bad. I’ve never seen her run a fever this high. I debate on calling Ms. Hattie or Louisa for help. Surely, they will have something to make the fever come down. Luckily, I don’t have to think about it much longer because Louisa walks through the bedroom door before I can grab my phone.

I breathe in a quick, relieving breath. “Oh, thank god you’re here. Blair is running a fever and I don’t know what to do to make it stop.”

She doesn’t say a word as she rushes to the bedside table, dumping out all its contents. Most of the time Louisa doesn’t show any emotion, but I can see the darkness in her icy blue eyes as her trembling hands rummage through the medicine drawer.

Finally, she finds what she’s looking for and tips Blair’s head back, pressing a bottle to her lips. Blair moans in resistance but is forced to swallow.

“Make yourself useful and run the cold water in the bathtub,” Louisa demands tersely. In any other situation, I’d make her ask me nicely, because I’m sure she’s only being a bitch to get a reaction out of me. But Blair’s wellbeing is more important right now.

Despite Louisa’s bad attitude and death glares, I help her put Blair into the bathtub. She doesn’t say thank you or respond to any of my small talk. We sit there in total silence as we wait for Blair’s temperature to drop.

It’s an awkward thirty minutes before we’re able to take her out of the tub and place her back in bed for the night. I’m hoping with a good night’s rest she’ll be better by the morning, but I’ve been hoping for the same thing for a week now.

When Louisa’s attitude becomes unbearable, I get up to leave. “I’ll be back in the morning to check on her.” Usurpingly, she doesn’t respond.

Before heading out, I make sure to grab my purse and phone in the living room. Louisa is standing with her back against the back door when I turn around. Her eyes are zeroed on me and I’m a little unsettled by the way her hands are hiding behind her back.

“Don’t you find it strange how fast Blair got sick?” the question sounds more like an accusation. A loud click follows her words and I know she’s locked the door. I don’t like where this is going.

She stares at the tiled floor in consideration. “She was fine until the moment I left her with a stranger in our house. Anything could have happened while I was gone. I shouldn’t have been so careless.”

Is she really trying to blame me for Blair’s illness? Maybe she didn’t mean to say it like that. “What are you talking about, Louisa?”

“You were spending a lot of time with her. Alone. My wife is a caring person and sometimes people take advantage of her niceness.”

“Do you really believe I would purposely sabotage my friend’s health?

She laughs mirthlessly. “Friend? I didn’t think a she-wolf like you could befriend a witch. I’m sure your daddy has warned you all about girls like us.”

Unbelievable.

The only other person in this house is the sick one, and I don’t want this conversation to escalate into something dangerous. If Louisa is claiming that I would do something shady to Blair, then there’s no telling what lies she’d tell the others. As much as I hate it, I have to be the bigger person here.

“I would never do anything to hurt Blair.” There is so much more I could say to her. Instead, I shutdown this conversation. “It’s getting late. Goodnight, Louisa.”

I move around her cautiously, but she steps in front of me before I can reach the door. “What the fuck did you do to my wife?” she hisses so close to my face.

This girl is insane. She can argue with the wall for all I care. And that was how I planned to leave her while I calmly made my exit. Until she slapped me hard across the face.

Bitch.

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