Once I had finished brushing Hayley’s hair completely, I sensed that she was drained, so I helped her lie down in my bed. For the first hour she lied down but kept her eyes open the whole time, watching me, but after that, her eyes drifted closed and her heartbeat steadied.
I sat on the window seat, just staring at my beautiful mate. It pains me to know how badly she has been treated. She doesn’t know that I know she has been raped, and I won’t force her to tell me. She has been through enough. I know there is more to the story, but I will patiently wait. I thought I wouldn’t have a mate and yet here I am. The moon goddess has blessed me with the best possible soulmate. I will cherish her till the day I die.
To know that someone could hurt such a fragile, delicate human, but then I realized they are what makes her who she is, so those scars littered on her body are beautiful, and I will tell her that every day.
I mind link Linda, who is the manager of the clothing store in the pack grounds, and ask her to get a size XXS in all women’s clothes and leave them outside the packhouse door. As much as I would love for Hayley to wear my clothes for the rest of her life, she might not feel comfortable with it.
I don’t take my eyes of Hayley until I see the sunrise, peaking through the window. I stand and shut the curtains, as not to wake her up.
For the first time, I glance down at my shirt and notice it is covered in dirt from when I carried Hayley over to my room. Sighing, I turn into my walk-in wardrobe and pick up a black tight muscle tee, some grey joggers, and a clean pair of boxers.
I have the fastest shower possible; to not wake my mate. I change in the bathroom as I don’t think it would a good idea for her to see me walking out in just a towel. I brush my hair then head back to my bedroom to see my mate sitting up awake, staring at a photo of me and my little sister Ella, on my bedside table.
I come closer to let her know I am in the room, and when she turns to look at me, her eyes are filled with sadness. Does she think Ella is my girlfriend? To clear up the confusion I say, “That’s my little sister, Ella. She’s twenty.” A look of relief washes her face. She gives a tiny “Oh,” and looks down into her lap, biting her bottom lip.
I walk over to her and crouch beside the bed. She stares down at me like she was trying to solve the answer to an unknown question.
I realize she needs to get some food in her system. “Would you like anything to eat?” I ask. She quickly shakes her head back and forth. Trying to calm her down I say, “You can come down into the kitchen with me, and watch.” She waits a few moments, then softly nods her head.
I help her stand, and start walking to the door with her right behind me. I mindlink the whole pack to stay out of the packhouse until later tonight, as I didn’t want her to be scared. I mind link Dimitri, asking if it would be alright if he took over for the next couple of days for me. He happily obliged.
We walk down the stairs, although she struggles and her legs nearly give out multiple times, she makes her way down on her own, refusing any of my help.
We pounder into the kitchen and she is taking every detail in. Pulling her out of her thoughts, I say, “I’m going to make you a slice of toast, but you only have to eat half of it.” She responds with a nod and a thank you.
I start walking over to the toaster and plug it in. As I reach to grab the bread, Hayley peers behind me, trying to see what I am doing. When I turn my head to look at her, she quickly takes multiple steps back and looks down. “It’s okay. You can look,” I say, and then an idea hit me. “Why don’t you sit on the counter, so you can see what I am doing. How’s that sound?”
She peeks up at through her eyelashes and shuffles on her feet in nervousness. “Yes please,” she says, carefully.
She comes closer to the counter and tries to hop onto it, but her arms are too weak to lift her. I cautiously walk over to her, grab her skinny waist, and lift her to sit in the edge of the counter. Her eyes bore into mine. I couldn’t seem to look away. She was my everything.
She is the first to look away and gazes out the window. I take that as my cue to continue making her food. As I take the slice of bread out of the packet, her attention turns back to me. I place it into the toaster and press down the switch. She watches intently, intrigued by the toaster.
I turn to pop the kettle on and start preparing a peppermint tea. I pour a bit of cold water into the cup, as to not burn her mouth. Once the tea is prepared, I take a sip of it, then hand it to her. She delicately places the cup to her lips and takes a mouthful.
I warn her, by saying that the toaster will make a loud noise when the bread springs out, and it does just that. She still jumps a little, but not as much as she would have done, if I had not warned her.
I pull the butter out of the fridge, and start coating the bread with a knife. She stares directly at the knife, being skeptical. Once I cut the slice in half, I place the knife in the sink, far away from us. She immediately relaxes after that.
I place the plate next to her and hand her one half. She looks at it and brushes her fingers over the crumbs, completely fascinated. Once she was done, after a few more strokes, she looks at me. “It’s okay, you can eat it,” I say. I pick up the over half and take a massive bite, already eating half of it. I swallow all of it and only then does she take a mini bite out of the corner of hers.
She seems to enjoy it, as she quickly takes another bite. I warn her to eat slowly, otherwise, she might feel unwell. She finishes the slice in five minutes and feels full after. This exaggerates how malnourished she is. She takes the last sip of her tea and places it back onto the counter.
Remembering I need to talk to her about the counseling sessions, I help her down from the counter and lead her into the living room. I thought the living room would be a good place, as she has felt trapped enough in her life, so I don’t want her to have to stay in just one room. I lead her to sit down on the sofa, whilst I switch the TV on and chose to find something more appropriate for her. I settle on Despicable Me. Once I place the remote back onto the sofa, she picks it up and inspects it. I turn to look at her, and find her watching closely to the movie, seeming drawn to it.
Fifteen minutes later, as she seems at ease, I chose to ask her about the counseling sessions. “Hayley?” She turns and looks at me. “When I was talking to Tom, he recommended that you see a counselor, to help process and deal with everything that you have gone through. The sessions might help your memory come back as well. You don’t need to if you don’t want to, but I think it would be a good idea. What do you think?” I ask.
Her fingers fiddle together, whilst she nervously chews on her bottom lip. She peeks up at me and says. “Yes please.”
A wide grin set on my face. “I’m glad you said that, mate.”
At the word mate, her eyes start to glisten. “You’re my mate?” She asks me. She must be getting comfortable around me. “I am,” I reply. I see the clogs ticking in her head, and she starts lifting her hand to my face but drops it back into her lap. I give her an encouraging smile and tell her, “It’s okay. You can touch me.”
Slowly, she lifts her hand, and gently places it on my cheek. She sees the scar and starts stroking her thumb across it. “You have... scar too. Like me,” she says, struggling to form a full sentence. I make a mental note to remind myself that she will need teaching on how to talk correctly.
“I do,” is my stupid answer. My mind goes foggy, as her thumb continues to stroke my face, causing a tingly sensation to cover my body. I close my eyes in complete bliss.
She then traces her fingers all over my face - my eyebrows, my forehead which is completely and abnormally relaxed, down my nose, over my lips, and back to my cheek. When I open my eyes, she is staring back at me. I reach my hand up to hers, which is resting on my cheek, and stroke it.
I ask her, “Do you know about mates?” She gives a nod. “I just want you to know, we can go at whatever pace you need. We can take things slowly. I will always be here for you. I will always protect you, and I will always cherish you. I will stay with you, no matter what,” I say, sincerely. She sheds a few tears, which dive onto the sofa beneath us. I do not move to wipe them away, as I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.
She drops her hand back into her lap and then turns back to the TV. I can tell what I said meant a lot to her, and I will keep reiterating it until she believes me...