This chapter describes child abuse and mental illness – you have been warned.
Xyen bent down, kissing me. Gently this time, as our lips molded together. Giving us time and room to enjoy the sparks that came from this simple and tender action.
I could feel him already grow hard inside me again. As if sensing my desire for more build inside me, he deepened the kiss. His strong arms wrapped around me and pulled me into his hard chest. Effortlessly he lifted me and walked us over to the bed, where we made love the way it’s supposed to be.
Later he was lying next to me, holding me close to his body. I relaxed into his hold, as my mind wondered what just had happened. I think he raped me, but--- I didn’t feel violated.
How fucked up do you have to be for that to happen? I had worse thing happen to me than that. Much worse...
I sighed into his skin, feeling his warmth wrap around me like a safety blanket--- no! A stronghold. The walls I had build around me were crumbling and I felt vulnerable and exposed. But in his arms--- he made it feel less dangerous. He made me feel safe and--- loved.
Who the fuck loves you and puts a gun to your head? I wondered. Although I knew he wasn’t going to pull the trigger, it was still wrong.
I felt his hold on me tighten and he gently kissed the top of my head.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, his husky voice sounding like velvet against my ear. “I’m so sorry.”
To say I was surprised, would be an understatement. You’d be more likely to meet a rainbow-farting, golden unicorn in Time Square, than hearing an alpha apologize! Alpha’s NEVER apologized! They didn’t even apologize to their mates, no matter what they did!
It was the wolf’s way…!
Yet, here was probably the most powerful alpha around--- apologizing to me. Now, had I been a normal human--- It wouldn’t be enough! What he did was grotesque, wrong and having his balls ripped from underneath him wouldn’t be punishment enough!
But I was a Hunter!
I grew up with these creatures. Alphas, lunas and rogues…! The cast system, that made the most terrifying dictators look like toilet humor. Wolves followed power, led with force and loved with a fiery passion that even put infernos to shame. They didn’t bow down, they didn’t give up and they died with honor…
And yet… Here was an alpha, apologizing to a nothing like me! The only reason he said it, was if he meant it. He truly and utterly regretted it…
I didn’t reply. Not because I didn’t want to, I just didn’t know what to say. To show him, I accepted, I took his hand in mine and pressed his callus skin against my soft lips. I knew that his wolf probably hated him for apologizing and I didn’t want to push him further, by making a big deal out of it. I wasn’t going to be proud or stubborn. He said his sorry’s and I accepted it. No matter what or why he’d blown up like that – why he’d put a gun to my head – it didn’t matter. No matter what he did, I’d always feel at home with him…
I snuggled closer and rested my head under his chin. Listening to his steady heartbeat. Well, what the hell did I expect? He didn’t kill his mate, of course he wasn’t going to kill me…
“I did kill her,” Xyen entered my train of thoughts. I frowned and looked up, surprised. Not by his confession – I already knew that was bullshit – but seriously?! Did he just read my mind? A mysterious grin, that didn’t hold any answers, spread across his lips, as he pulled me close and kissed the top of my head. “I would never hurt you, Lizzy,” he promised, gently caressing my cheek. Without thinking I leaned into his touch, feeling the sparks tickle against my skin. “I did kill my mate,” he said again, taking a deep breath. “But I didn’t mean to.”
I looked up and caught his eyes. Sorrow and regret! He didn’t even attempt to hide them from me…
“What happened?” I asked and sat up, readying myself to hear his side of the story. He looked at me, as if debating with himself – or his wolf – on whether or not to tell me.
“Our daughter,” He sighed in the end, and I felt a sting in my gut. He had a daughter?! “Iren,” he continued, and a sad smile lingered at the edge of his lips. Just saying her name, made him smile at the memories he had shared with her.
A time that was cut all too short…
“She drowned when she was 2-years-old,” he continued, his voice strained by holding back his tears. “It was an accident.”
It was one of those typical scenes. They’d just turned away for a second and then she was gone. His pack had come together and searched for her. When her track disappeared by the river, terror had gripped Alpha Xyen’s heart. For the first time in his life, he felt truly afraid…
“I’m sorry,” I said, but I could see in his eyes, he was far off somewhere.
They’d fished her small and still body out of the waters. Never in his life, had he felt so helpless and powerless. Seeing what he was supposed to care for, what had been given to him to protect--- gone! He failed. He failed his only child…
His mate was hysterical. He held her tightly in his arms. Afraid of what she’d do, if he let go. Afraid that if he didn’t hold on to her, he’d disappear as well…
“Do you know what’s it like?” he asked, his tormented eyes meeting mine. “To lose a child?”
“I do,” I confessed and lowered my eyes. My fingers fiddling with the helm of the duvet. “She wasn’t mine, but--- Sif was my baby.” My heart hurt just thinking about it. “I saved her from the Initiation, when she was just a couple of hours old. I took care of her, I fed her, I changed her…” I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. “She slept in my arms every night. She was mine!” I sighed, as the feeling of complete and utter helplessness and defeat washed over me; not at the same caliber as in the beginning, but the pain was still there.
“And then she was taken away.”
“Then you understand,” he said, just stating the obvious. “The emptiness that’s left behind…”
“Like someone dug your soul out with a scalpel and now you’re just hollow?” I finished his sentence and nodded. Yeah…! I knew the feeling…
Xyen sat up and to my surprise, wrapped his arms around me. For a while, we just sat there. Two broken people trying not to fall apart.
“I didn’t blame her…,” Xyen broke the silence. “Ivory. I didn’t blame her for grieving. We were both grieving in our own way.”
He walked into their bedroom. Seeing his mate pained him. She’d cried herself to sleep yet again and he hadn’t been there for her. He’d often walked in like this: seeing her in bed and asleep. Having cried herself to sleep. He would lay down next to her and hold her until morning, before disappearing again. Seldom having slept himself. All he could do, was to give his mate some comfort and rest during the night.
That night things changed…
“She locked herself in her room and I---,” He grinned dryly, no humor in his voice. “I buried myself with work,”
I could relate. Training every day was the only thing that kept me sane when she was gone. Pushing myself so hard, I literally was too tired to realize that the bed was empty every night. Doing everything I could, not to think about it…
“After about a year, I thought things were getting back to normal,” he continued. “Not the way they used to, but--- close enough.”
He fell asleep that night and woke to his mate’s gentle kiss.
He smiled at her.
And she smiled back.
“That’s when…” he trailed off his words, as if trying to choose his next ones carefully: “Things started to happen.”
Everybody had been on alert and alarm. A child was missing. His heart was racing. His mind begging and pleating the Moon Goddess not to let another one of his pack suffer the loss he had…
“There was another accident; a baby went missing and almost drowned. But somehow Ivory managed to save it.”
She cried, as the small child cried for air. Leaning against his chest, he held his mate’s sobbing figure. Everybody praised her, thanked her. She saved her! He kissed her and thanked her.
He was so happy…
But in his guts, he knew something was off…
“I didn’t think much of it. I was glad tragedy didn’t strike another family like it had ours. And she was happy. At least for a while…”
It had been a month since the last incident. He watched, as his mate took a child for a walk. It wasn’t unusual for the children to flock around their Luna. But something about the look in her eyes, had him worried.
He chose to shake it off…
“Then it happened again – this time it was a little boy. He was older and again Ivory was the one who managed to save him,” he said, his voice shaking with anger at his own naivety. How he’d been so stupid not to do something before everything… “He was always terrified off her after,” he continued, grinding his teeth. “They thought it was shock, but that’s when I stared to suspect that something was up.”
He let people talk, thank, and praise his mate. But he wasn’t so sure, that this had been an accident. He had his doubts about whether or not his mate – his Luna – was indeed the savior she pretended to be…
“So I followed her.”
He watched in horror, as his mate pushed the child under water. Seeing the small girl fight for her life. Seeing the sick look in his mate’s eyes, as she shushed the child; muttering empty promises and scolding her for the fight she was putting up.
She was sick!
“She kidnapped the children and drowned them in the river that took our daughter, before reviving them. Playing the part of a false savior.”
He jumped at her, pulling them away from the river. He managed to get the child out of the water, but not out of his mate’s hands.
“When I confronted her, she claimed to be innocent,” he said, his voice shaking. “I told her she needed help…”
His mate had been and acted like a completely different person. Screaming one moment, before breaking down in tears. Ripping away his defenses and putting his guard down.
And he played right into her hand…
“She jumped into the river, still holding the girl---”
She’d managed to push him back, because he didn’t see it coming. The last thing he saw, was them disappearing into the depths…
“The poor thing was terrified. Screaming and crying---calling for her mother…”
He didn’t think but jumped in after them. He managed to catch up, before they were too far gone. He tried to get the child away from her, without hurting it--- but his mate had other plans. She didn’t care. She was scratching and clawing at his face, his arms and worst of all, she was hurting the child, that currently was being hysterical in his arms…
“I jumped in after them, fighting to get the girl off her hands and keep her away, but---”
He was out of options! His wolf was fighting him for control, wanting to put his mate back in her place. Afraid of what he was going to do, he didn’t let him have it. What if he forgot about the child? No! He needed to take action
And that’s when he did the only thing that came into his mind: he gripped his mate’s throat and put her under…
“It was like she was possessed,” he whispered, remembering her wild, bloodshot eyes. “So I pushed her under.”
He felt his mate’s suffering. He felt, how she was struggling for air, the pain and the fire in her lungs. But he forced himself to focus on the child in his arms. Getting her to shore and then get to his mate…
“I didn’t mean to drown her,” he sighed in the end. “I just wanted…”
Suddenly, all he knew was pain. He gasped. His hand instantly reached for his chest. His heart felt like fire. His wolf howling, like someone was slowly twisting a knife inside it. Everything inside felt like it was being ripped apart. Dark spots appeared in his line of vision and for a moment he blacked out.
When he opened his eyes again, there were people coming his way. Everything felt heavy around him. He couldn’t move but forced himself to do it anyway. He looked around. The little girl was alive. People were trying to comfort her, but she was still crying hysterically.
Then started the shouting. People pointing to the river. Confused he looked around--- and instantly saw, what had them mortified…
His mate – his other half, his beautiful gift from the Moon Goddess herself – was floating lifeless in the pond. Face down and motionless.
Too late did he realize that the pain he experienced, was the breaking of the mate bond. That the pain he felt, was the death of his mate.
“I tried to revive her, but it was too late.”
He screamed holding her in his arms. Her chest broken and bruised from his strong hands that had tried to bring her back to life. But Alpha’s are better at killing things then giving life. That’s why they need their other half’s – their Lunas. Their light in the night.
And Xyen lost his. He lost his way.
“I killed my mate.”
He cradled his mate, being asked over and over what had happened. Never once did he replied. He let them think what they wanted. Let them keep the untainted and pure image of his beloved Luna. He never told a living soul what really had happened that day.
This was the very first time, he’d ever spoken the truth.
He turned to me, looking at me with tears rimmed eyes.
“How do you live on after something like that?” he asked, his voice rough and husky. Deep and filled with sorrow.
“There is no reason,” I replied, only too able to relate. To know, what’s it like, to live after life loses its meaning. “You just have to live for yourself.”
Xyen didn’t reply. He just sighed, before gently playing with a lock of my hair. Holding me close was all he needed right now. The silence wasn’t uncomfortable or strange. It was just us, our story and thoughts.
Two broken hearts beating in tune.
“Who is Sif?” he asked, his dark eyes finding mine. “Has she something to do with Kevin?”
I sighed. I knew the question was coming and it didn’t shock me when he asked. The question was rather how I explained that, without revealing--- that!
But truth was: there wasn’t!
So, I took a deep breath--- and told him everything!