Darkness has covered the sky, causing the temperature to drop. Jax is sitting on his office chair whilst I stand behind him, leaning on the cushion material. My hands tenderly graze his skin, leaving a trail of goosebumps behind either from my touch or the cold air. I lean down and give a small kiss on the sensitive skin behind his ear, causing a deep growl to escape his lips.
Jax turns his head and captures my lips with his. His soft, alluring lips help to silence the voices in my head and focus on nothing else but my mate. Jax being so near me has helped calm me down for the past few hours, but I know that I will fall apart as soon as he leaves me. I’m trying not to think about what has happened today, but I know I will have to face it any second now when Mateo arrives. Jax informed Dimitri and I that Mateo has entered our land and is being escorted to his office.
Only Jax, Dimitri, and I will attend the meeting as I told Axton to find Rose and stay with her. She would have felt Luke dying, and even if she didn’t care or love him, they were still bonded with each other, and if she doesn’t have support around her, she could die from the pain of losing her mate. She could be in such a terrible mental state that she could do something that no one would want her to do, so I told Axton to keep her safe until I could see her.
I think back to when Jax and Axton had a private discussion just before Axton left; I, of course, heard it, thanks to my improved hearing. Jax said that he won’t kill Axton but only because I was safe and that he killed Luke, and then something about Jax won’t rip Axton another arsehole today, but I got a bit confused as I didn’t understand what he meant, so I stopped listening.
Pulling away from Jax’s soft lips, I glance down at his body and see that all his wounds have already healed, like mine. It still feels strange that I’m able to heal from such drastic injuries after not healing for over a decade. I see Aurora, in my mind, puff out her chest proudly at my unintentional compliment towards her. Although rolling my eyes at Aurora’s silliness, I can’t help but feel happy that I have her back. I am complete when she is here.
A knock at the door is heard, pulling everyone’s attention. A member who I recognize, who fought earlier today, opens the door and bows his neck. “Alpha, Luna, I have Mateo from the council wishing to see you both.”
“Send him in, Isaac,” Jax says, already beginning to stand and make his way around his desk. Isaac opens the door further and gestures, for who I assume Mateo is, to walk in.
Standing taller than Jax - which I didn’t even know was possible -a tanned, golden man struts in the room, showing his pearly whites. His dark hair complements his hazel eyes that are shining at both my mate and me. Dressed in exotic clothing, Mateo pulls Jax into a hug. “Mateo,” Jax exclaims, “So good to see you.”
“You too,” Mateo responds. As he pulls away, he looks Jax over and mocks, “I see you’re still a short arse.” Jax rolls his eyes at Mateo’s comment as if he has heard it a thousand times and doesn’t say anything.
Mateo’s eyes filter over to me, and he says, “You must be the beautiful Hayley that Jax has told me about.” I walk over to Mateo to shake his hand with a small smile, but he pulls me into a bone-crushing hug. If he and Jax are friends, that means I can trust him as well - which doesn’t seem like such a hard thing to do as he gives off such a friendly demeanour. Not everyone is like my father. It’s time I forgive my past and live in the future.
Mateo takes a seat next to Dimitri as Jax shares the evidence we have against Bloodnight Pack. He firsts start with the photos of Mason meeting, who we assume was the Alpha rogue; Jax also informs Mateo that he killed him during the attack, which was only a day ago, the same attack when Lily got hurt. It feels like it was a lifetime ago. I will have to make sure I visit Lily after checking in on Rose to ensure both are doing the best they can, given the circumstances.
Next, Jax turns his monitor to show us all the CCTV that covers the entire pack grounds. The video first starts with Aaron and Aurora running with the pack close behind, then rogues leaping out of bushes and behind trees to attack us all. I close my eyes, not wanting to see the terrible sights all over again. All those innocent lives were lost. I’ve already lived through it once. I don’t want to see it again.
Mateo stays silent through the entire video, only taking notes on a notebook that I can’t see; however, I glance over to Dimitri, subtly reading it from a side view. I try to gauge his reaction to what Mateo is writing about, but his face reveals nothing.
The last video that is played is from only a few hours ago. I come charging into the open area and see myself ragging at Mason. When it gets to the part of me killing my father, I turn away again, not wanting to look at the savage me rip him apart. Jax leans over and captures my hand, rubbing in soothing, circular motions.
When we have shown all the evidence, Jax stands and turns the monitor off. “That’s all of it. I know the main problem is dead,” Jax says, meaning Mason, “but will the council come for Hayley and me?”
I never thought of it that way. If the council doesn’t see what we did as self-defence and justified, we could face serious consequences - we could be locked up, or even worse, killed. I’ve been so hooked on proving Mason guilty. I never thought I could also be putting myself and Jax in a dangerous position against the council. With waited breath, I look to Mateo for his response.
“No,” he states, shaking his head, “from what you’ve shown me, it is clear that Alpha Mason attacked first, so what came next is his own fault - he challenged you and faced the consequences. They would have been charged for attacking your pack as that is against the law, but as they are already deceased, nothing can be done.”
“What about Bloodnight Pack abusing Hayley? Do they get charged with assaulting a member within the same pack?” Jax asks. I can tell he is exhausted, not only from the dark bags under his eyes, but the way he speaks seems drained.
Mateo pauses for a moment and looks down at his notes. “I won’t be able to charge any members from Bloodnight Pack as if I’m correct, the persons who physically hurt you have been killed. Hayley, is that correct?” Mateo asks, glancing in my direction.
The only people who hurt me were Mason, Luke and Billy. Everyone else did nothing except allow it and watch. Shaking my head, I reply, “What about Billy? He hurt me the same as Mason and Luke. Can he not get charged?
“Billy?” Mateo asks with a frown.
“He is Bloodnight Pack’s Beta,” I reply in a rushed voice. He can’t get to live his life as if what he did to me didn’t matter.
“Do you have evidence to prove that Billy abused you?” Mateo asks. I have not felt one smidge of judgment from Mateo throughout this all, and I appreciate his professionalism. The worst thing someone can do is pity me because of my past. It’s so belittling. It goes against everything they are trying to do.
I turn to Jax, already knowing the answer. We don’t. Nothing proves that they abused me except for my word, which is a court would mean nothing. Looking down, I whisper, “No.” Jax comes over to where I’m sitting and wraps his arms protectively around me, so I don’t fall apart.
“I’m really sorry, but if you can’t support your argument, then there is nothing I can do,” Mateo says sadly. I know he is only trying to help, and I can’t blame him for not charging Billy and my old pack, but it’s frustrating when the guilty get to live free.
“So this evidence is pointless then? It proves nothing. Bloodnight pack get away with their actions as if they never happened,” Dimitri exclaims, frustrated.
“No, in fact, this evidence right here,” Mateo gestures towards the photos of Mason and the computer, “shows your innocence - that you didn’t attack first. You will face no backlash because of this evidence,” he assures. “Regarding the rogues, I believe you will have no more problems with them. The only reason they were attacking your pack was that Mason was bribing them into it, and as he is now deceased, they have no reason to.” Well, at least that’s one less enemy.
I look up at Jax to see him already looking at me. I give him a small smile to convenience him I am okay before I block the matebond so he can’t read how distressed my thoughts are.
What if Billy comes back for me? What if he wants revenge because I killed his Alpha and Gamma? What if he hurts the people I love? It feels like I’m back at square one all over again.
“Now that’s addressed, there is another issue that needs to be brought to your attention,” Mateo says. I turn to Jax with a frown, confused as to what else has to be discussed. “As you have killed the Alpha of Bloodnight Pack, you are now, therefore, the Alpha of that pack, and Hayley, you will become the Luna of Bloodnight Pack.”
Me? The Luna of Bloodnight Pack? How could I ever go back to the dreadful place with such haunted memories? Nothing has ever gone well for me on that land, and yet I’m being told I have to lead the people who never helped me when I was getting abused over something that wasn’t and isn’t my fault.
I turn to Jax to see him in shock. He must not have realised that he would become Alpha after he killed my father. I didn’t think of it either.
Mateo must be able to sense the uncertainty coming from both of us. “It is completely up to you with regards to Bloodnight Pack. You both have ownership of the land, but you could locate another person to fill in your positions if you would prefer. They would have to be, of course, of high status; otherwise, they may be unfit to run a pack, and I have to give you a strict deadline of a week to make sure that the pack is kept in order, but apart from that, it is completely your choice.”
I look at Jax to try to see what he is thinking. With wide eyes and staring ahead, Jax also blocks the matebond, so I can’t see the thoughts roaming around in his head. I give Mateo a small nod for him to know I understand what he means.
“Hayley, I want to formally apologise for not knowing about all the terrible things you have had to endure all these years. I can assure you that if I had known, I would have helped you immediately.” Tears slowly stream down my face at his sweet words as yet again, someone reassures me that what I went through isn’t my fault. Jax begins to stroke my back with his large hand, comforting me the way he knows I like.
“Thank you, Mateo.” A sad smile finds its way on my face as I blink away my tears. I was close to crying anyway. The smallest of things would have set me off.
“I best be off,” Mateo says as he claps his hands on his knees and stands.
“We’ll walk you out,” Jax responds. He intertwines our hands and gently lifts them to his lips, plants a small kiss on the back of my hand, and then starts to walk us out of his office. Simple things like that are what I appreciate. Nothing major, just the small, little, affectionate actions are what makes me fall deeper and deeper in love with this man.
We lead Mateo outside with Dimitri right behind, to where only a few hours ago was a grim battle. Bloodstains the grass, evidence of lives lost. Jax quickly stands in my way, blocking me from staring at where my father once laid in his own pool of blood. In fact, all the bodies are no longer littered on the ground - Jax must have ordered some members for them to be moved. “Thank you for your help Mateo, we really appreciate it,” Jay says, to which I nod in agreement.
“It’s seriously no problem. Contact me if you find any new evidence or have any further problems...but don’t bother me too much,” Mateo jokes. Jax playfully shoves him, resulting in Mateo doing the same to Jax.
After the pair finish laughing, Mateo says, “Take care, Jax. It was lovely to meet you, Hayley.” He gently kisses my cheek before he walks off into the forest, no doubt to shift and run to the airport.
“Bye,” I shout back at him, waving my hand. The main problem is dealt with now. All that remains is, what am I going to do about Billy?...