To Love

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Chapter 23

“Its a frightening thought, that in one fraction of a moment you can fall in the kind of love that takes a lifetime to get over.”

-Beau Taplin

For a moment neither of them move, they just stand their completely locked in each others gaze. Despite the commotion of noises coming from the halls, the room is deathly still, silence wrapping around the walls and suffocating us. It’s like they are communicating without speaking, both of them completely and utterly shocked for entirely different reasons.

The king is the first to move, his strides taking him towards her while his gaze stays fully connected. She too moves, like her feet are commanding her and though she takes just one step to his three, they meet and he takes her stunned face into his palms before leaning down and kissing her straight on the lips like his life depends on it.

My eyes flick to Roman nervously and his face reads just as much surprise as anyone else’s. The king pulls back and runs his eyes over her face, her body, like he is engraining each square inch into his memory permanently, not wanting to ever forget it. He looks at her like she’s a phantom, a mirage-something that will slip away if he doesn’t grab onto it tightly.

Which he does. Before Lynn moves to take a step back, complete shock still covering her features, his hand finds her’s and he pulls her closer towards him so that their bodies are once more connected. I don’t know why I don’t expect it, maybe because every encounter of mates finding one another had been brutal and traumatic-including my own, but when Lynn smiles at him, an endearing kind of smile filled with adoration it takes me aback.

The softness of the Kings face, something I had never seen before, soon vanishes and as it does, so does whatever taut energy once plagued the room. Quicker than I think anyone expected, he looks as he did before Lynn walked in the room, less incensed but still entirely ready to command. A king once more.

He turns to the guards behind him. “Carry out my orders, but I want those responsible for helping the girl to be taken to the cells and the girl too,” he says and the guard nods before Lynn furrows her brows, piecing his words together.

“What?” She asks and the kings attention turns solely to her, to the sound of her voice once more.

He doesn’t let his gaze linger however and instead turns back to the guard, still stood there. “Go,” he commands before Lynn scrunches her face with confusion.

“No,” she says to the guard. “Stop,” she says and the guard does what she orders, confused now as to who she should listen too. The King’s face shifts, showing his clear disapproval as he looks at his mate.

He sighs heavily, trying to reign in his emotions that have been ripped a thousand different ways in the last ten minutes alone. “Stand down mate,” he says softly, but his words-as they always do-hold an edge.

Lynn moves to take her hand from his but does it too slowly, the king catching on and holding onto her further, whatever disapproval he once bore on his face now amplified ten fold. Her gaze flicks to his hold on her and her eyes become steely. “Get your hand off me,” she says calmly but with enough edge that he does, only after giving the guards at the door a knowing look-one that says she might be out of his grip but not out of his control. Something that I doubt will ever change for her now.

“Who are you sending to the cells?” She asks and his jaw clenches.

“I think you know who,” he says pointedly, anger overcoming him once more at the thought of his pack members going against him. His very own mate.

“You can’t send a patient who has just been in surgery to a freaking cell. Are you mad?” She asks, her own rage coming into the equation. And I might not be mathematic but two angry wolves, two angry mates, never equals anything positive.

“I would caution you to remember who it is that you are speaking too little mate. I am still your king. Or did your loyalty to your leader die with the decision to treat that criminal?” He asks, a taunt to his voice and she takes a step away from him which only makes the look in his eyes darker, like he is daring her to go further-to make a dumb mistake and give him the right to retaliate with unnecessary measures.

“She is a patient in need of help, I am a doctor and it is my duty to help people in need. I won’t shy away from that for anyone, not even you,” she says, adding the last part as a clear message he’d do well to remember. It’s an edge I haven’t seen to Lynn, one purely reserved for protecting life-something I know she cares deeply for.

“Well then it’s a shame your duty has no power here. You have no power here so I suggest you drop this unnecessary argument,” he says, disappointment abundantly clear and her face scrunches with disgust.

“I don’t want your suggestions, I want you to revoke your order and let the girl get the care she needs to be healthy,” she replies. “If you are going to punish them then punish me too, I organised for people to help, I volunteered first and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. So if that is so treacherous then lock me up too,” she says.

I want to caution her against making that demand because the way things are going she might very well end up locked up. Just in a room with her wolf mate-not in a cell.

“Don’t tempt me,” he quips back, the message I dreaded seeping through his words but doing nothing to appease his mate.

“You can’t just deny aid to anyone but wolves, it’s wrong. It’s cruel,” she says, a hint of hurt in her voice and I know why. Someone like her, with a heart as big as it is has nothing but compassion and care for people-no matter their background. And her mate is completely opposite, a ruthless, cold, calculating king.

“She should be dead and if I weren’t interrupted she would be. A kings order is a kings order,” he says firmly, anger lacing his words.

The words hit her like a truck and the shock on her face soon turns to hurt, a hurt that almost looks like betrayal. “You were the one that did that to her?” She asks, taking another step back and the king realises his mistake as soon was her reaction registers with him. “How could you?” She asks and I see pain flinch over the Kings face at the rejection in her voice.

He steps forward and she matches his stride, making his face turn steely once more. “Mate, we can figure this out at a further time,” he says calmly to her, trying desperately to repair his damage.

“No, we can’t. I’m not budging on this, order your men to stand down and let those people go,” she says, a slight order to her words too. The inner conflict the king faces shows on his face and he lets out a breath before clenching his jaw once more, his eyes glossing over slightly before returning to normal.

“There, now come here,” he says, power lacing his tone and I notice the way his hand flicks at his side, like it is taking every ounce of restraint he has to not just pull her back into his hold. It’s like he needs to touch her, to not have her stood away from him or else he’ll explode, the years of waiting finally crumbling down over him.

“You just tried to kill a young girl, execute her for no reason other than your personal wish. I’m not coming anywhere near you,” she says, sneering at him with nothing but disgust and his eyes darken at the insulation she made.

“You are my mate,” he says, moving a step forward to which she goes back. “I won’t ask again,” he says lowly and she folds her arms around her waist as if she is clutching some invisible force of pain that hits her as a result of her reluctance towards the bond.

But behind the pain, the fear of being faced with her king, strength still shines behind her eyes. “I won’t answer again,” she replies and the room falls back into that same silence, except this time-it feels much more tense.

The king doesn’t know what to say, doesn’t know where to begin in his reaction as his mate defies him. After hundreds of years of people grovelling at his feet, the actions of Lynn are a clear shock.

Lynn turns to me, her expression hard but mountains of pain gathering in her eyes. “Mae,” she says, trying to prevent her voice from breaking. “Your friend is okay, she’s stable and she’ll recover.”

“You two know each other?” The King asks, anger lacing his words and Lynn doesn’t reply. “I suppose that makes a lot of sense,” he quips and she turns to him, taking a step towards me which makes even more displeasure line his face.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She asks, her own resolve thinning with every passing second.

“Mate come here,” he says again, firmer this time.

“Don’t call me that,” she replies and his disapproval only heightens.

“You are my mate,” he says, leaving absolutely no room for debate. “But I agree that you should tell me your name, I at least have a right to know that.”

“No you don’t,” she says and I think it is his entitlement that pushes her over the edge, but there are so many things to dislike about the King it is hard to really know.

He raises a brow and looks to his assistant, still stood silently like the rest of us. “What is the name of my mate, Marie?” He asks casually, turning his head back to Lynn slowly with a slight smile, flaunting his power right in front of her. Challenging her to keep it up instead of backing down.

“Lynn, your highness,” she says quickly, not missing a beat.

Lynn,” he drawls, sounding the name out on his lips and smiling once it’s said. We all notice the way her breathing stops for a second as his word has its effect. “Lynn, my love,” he says with a taunt. “You must be exhausted after such a long surgery and so I’m going to ask, for the last time, that you come over here so that we can leave this room together,” he says, his patronising tone clear as day.

“I have a job to do, there are still people that need my help. Whatever it is that you want from me you can get it later, this,” she says, motioning between them, “Is over for now.” She turns from him and I watch as the King looks to the guards, an unspoken order flying through the air as they block her exit, leaving her trapped. “I am still your King,” Tiberius says from behind her and she whips around staring at him with nothing but disdain. “And you will not turn your back on me again. I won’t tolerate this disrespect, mate or not,” he says and if I were her, looking straight into the eyes of a man like that-I probably would’ve folded right then and there but her eyes only narrow into thin slits.

Screw you,” she sneers and his jaw clenches shut.

“Marie I want the Queen’s umbra called in immediately, have them leave their postings within the next hour,” he says, his eyes still trained solely on Lynn and I notice how scared she becomes-not about the umbra, but about the word Queen. “And guards,” he says to the two men now stood inside, ready to block the exit with a moments notice.

“Yes your highness?” One responds.

“Have the Queen escorted to our room now. She is not permitted to leave without my direct order and she is not permitted to speak or interact with anyone from this moment on unless I am present. If and when she decides to speak to me with respect, your orders may change,” he says, once again addressing them with his words but Lynn with his gaze.

“You can’t be serious,” she says to him as the guards approach her. “You’d throw me away? Punish me? This isn’t right, no mate of mine could be so cruel,” she says and he doesn’t respond to her, simply watching as she begins to struggle against the guards as they approach, putting up a much better fight the I ever did thanks mainly to her werewolf gene.

“Your majesty,” Roman starts, but the king shoots him a glare.

“You’ve done enough intervening for today Alpha Roman, don’t you think?” He says and Roman closes his mouth, knowing it’s best to give up.

“You can’t just do this to me-let me go,” Lynn says, both to her mate and the guards as she continues to struggle.

“My king, my love.” All the attention in the room snaps towards the door to where Katina rushes unmoving to the king to place her hand on his cheek. He looks too shocked to even respond, not realising that this part of his life would be revealed to his mate so soon-a mate that already dislikes him. “I was waiting for you in our room when I heard of your wounds, let me look, let me help,” she says, crooning.

It is then that I notice what she is wearing, a thin robe that reveals lacy lingerie when she moves, an outfit meant for the kings return. I notice it, and so does Lynn. Even the guards holding her stop, their grips loosening as we all look to her.

The King is first to push Katina away who frowns deeply before he turns to Lynn, guilt and sorrow overtaking his once harsh features. “Lynn let me explain,” he says, moving towards her and she steps away, her face coupled in pain.

He reaches his hand and his fingers graze her forearm but she pulls herself away from him like the touch burns, a sob escaping her lips. “Don’t touch me,” she says, tears beginning to stream down her face. “I’d rather meet my fate with the goddess than lie in the bed you shared with another,” she says, her words broken and her lips quivering. I never thought I’d see someone so bright and happy shattered within moments.

“Lynn-”

“I’d rather die.” There is more force in her voice as she practically yells it at him, making him flinch.

“I can explain,” he says and she gives him a look, anger of her own shining through the pain.

“Can you?” She replies, “can you really?”

He opens his mouth to respond but no words come out and she nods. “I thought so,” she says, turning on her heel, showing him her back once more before beginning to retreat.

The king takes a step forwards and she halts, making him stop too. “Follow me from this room and I swear to the goddess above-you will regret it,” she says, pure venom dripping from her words and she steps from the room, no guards on her tail.

None of us speak a word, standing in utter silence as our King watches our new Queen leave him completely and utterly alone, just like everyone else he has ever grown close to in his long, lonely life.

-

“He won’t touch a hair on her head, not with Lynn so protective over her as a patient. He knows he’s fucked up and as a wolf trying to salvage the one thing he’s wanted forever-he’ll do practically anything,” Roman says as we slide under the covers into bed.

“He didn’t go after her did he?” I ask, and Roman shakes his head.

“He’s granted her space and it’s unlikely they’ll be sharing a room anytime given the activities that took place there. But he’ll have eyes on her I’m sure of it,” he says and I think of what she must be doing right now, alone with time to gather her thoughts.

I thought it was all just natural for wolves, I thought they found each other, clicked and fell deeply in love to go on living happily ever after. I didn’t expect this. But then again, most people aren’t mated to a man that just strangled and tried to imprison the person they were trying to save. Well, in a way I technically was. I know she didn’t expect his reaction though, his impulsive need to just imprison and punish those that defied him totally backstabbed him and rightfully so.

Then Katina… Whatever disdain Roman felt towards me for being married is likely held by her now too. Probably worse considering the fact that he is a wolf and his ties to Katina weren’t exactly made with the intention of love.

“I feel for her,” I mumble, pulling the sheets close to my body. Roman’s hand wraps around my head as he leans against the headboard, encouraging me to lay my head on his chest which I do.

“So do I,” he says and I realise that in our own separate ways-we both have a connection to what she is going through.

“What does this mean for us now?” I ask and he cocks his head to the side in thought.

“It’s difficult to say with the king but my guess is he’ll be too preoccupied with his mate now to worry insanely over our betrayal. Plus the mate he is aiming to win over stands on our side which helps but he will still have to deal with the issue of the hunters and what went down-he can’t not,” he says and I nod.

“Well having an heir is off the table then I guess,” I say and he stills slightly next to me.

“I guess so,” he says, our predominant need to him now gone. “Which means we will still have to gain our influence back in other ways.”

“Like what?” I ask and he lets out a deep sigh.

“I don’t know,” he confesses, relaxing further into the bed. “Our connection-your connection to Lynn could give us some sway and it is likely that now he knows of your friendship the king will try to use you to get to her-which is something we can use. It sounds wrong but I’m sure she will understand and besides, they are still mates at the end of the day-one way or another they will be together,” he says and I can’t help but agree with him. Lynn is our only way to the king at this point and Carters life, Alani’s life and the issue of the hunters still hangs over the palace without the drama going on within it.

“What do you think the king will do after it all?” I ask and he goes tense for a moment.

“What we saw at that base…” he starts, clutching onto me tighter and the memories of the wolves dismembered and screaming floods through my mind. “There will be repercussions without a doubt but the truth is that there are likely other bases like that within our pack, possibly even around the globe with the same sort of thing happening as we speak. Before the trials of the captured hunters and rebels we will need to get as much information from them as we can and I don’t want you going anywhere near the cells or the military compound in that time, Mae, you have to promise me,” he says, seriousness coating his words.

“Why?” I ask, concerned.

“Because the king is mad and he won’t be so kind in trying to find information. You shouldn’t have to see that and the rebels that will be detailed down there likely know who you are, which makes you a target. Just please, promise me you won’t go there,” he says and I think over his words before nodding.

“Okay,” I mumble into his chest, holding onto him tighter, “I promise.”

“What will happen once they have the information that is needed? Will they be sent with Carter?” I ask and I know the question is naive before it passes my lips but I have to air it all the same. I need the validity of a spoken answer to prepare myself.

“Many people will die for what happened to our soldiers there, Mae, I want you to know that,” he says and I remain silent, the thought of another trial making a shiver run down my spine. “There isn’t a pack law under the sun that could possibly show them mercy for that. And they’ll be facing a harsh fate anyway due to their involvement with it all. You’ll still need to be present for the event however-that is something that can’t change.”

“Will I?” I ask, gulping, “Will I need to…” I ask, the thought of Wren running through my mind.

“No,” he says quickly, “the King will conduct the main executions and if either of us partake it’ll be me.”

I nod my head and relax further into the warmth of the bed.

“If we can find the other bases and infiltrate them to then this fight might not last as long as we think but anything could happen. They will be preparing now, especially since they know we are onto them so nothing is going to get any easier from here on out,” he says and I nod, knowing he is right.

“We’ve just gotta try stay one step ahead and do whatever we can to get the kings favour back,” I reply and he nods before letting out a yawn, making me look to him with slight concern.

“You should rest, today was long enough and you have to leave early,” I say and he nods, moving down from the headboard to rest his head against the soft pillow. He leans in and gives me a kiss, lingering for a moment before pulling back.

“Goodnight Mae,” he says and I close my heavy eyelids, sleep coming slowly but surely.

“Goodnight,” I mumble and I’m surprised we can after everything that unfold today-but we do fall into sleep together and I doubt an earthquake could wake us up.

-

I pull the warm jumper over my head and glance outside again, at the cold weather that will soon greet me. I got the message from Avery this morning after waking up to Roman’s side of the bed completely vacant. She knew about Lynn already and it didn’t shock me considering that she was probably her closest friend in this palace.

Lynn couldn’t hide from the King forever, they were bound to bump into each other at some point considering they were mates but I had a hunch that Lynn would draw out that moment for as long as she could. It shouldn’t be that hard though given the fact that they only just met and the King had been here for some time.

She usually sticks to her own spaces from what I know anyway. When I worked in the office with her, she rarely went to the pack dining hall, always eating in her office and working until it was time to go to her room. She never expressed any interest in the various events that took place-the only activity other than working I saw her doing was helping Avery-which still was, technically, work.

I get a bag and put in some files that I am meaning to read through after meeting my two friends in the garden for breakfast and make my way to the door, opening it to find a guard, dressed in the uniform of the kings men. My eyes widen and I have to close my gaping mouth.

“Can I help you sir?” I ask, my hand still on he door and his stoic expression remains. I realise then, that it is the same guard who blocked my entrance from the main office not that long ago.

“The king wishes to speak with you Luna, in his office,” he says and although I have some inkling as to where this is going, I am still cautious to a surprise. The king could really want anything.

“The same one I am not permitted to enter?” I ask, my brow raised and he maintains his impassive look.

“Yes, Luna,” he says and I nod. He could question me on many things, Alani, Carter, the hunters-my continuation of work against his direct orders-Roman’s defiance of his orders. The list really does go on but still, I know that there is one thing he most certainly wants above all-his mate.

“Give me just a moment,” I say moving back into the room. My eyes glance until I find a neat stack of books piled on the dresser. I walk quickly and place a few in my bags before opening the door once more, giving the guard a forced smile.

“Let’s go shall we?” I ask, preparing myself as best as I can as we walk together-right into the belly of the beast.

authors note

Im now officially-like officially officially in the real world. crazy. I’ve joined the blue collar working force and am on a job out in the bleating hot sun working machinery from the early morning and surprise surprise, I’m pooped. Seriously I get home and just want to sleep, but thankfully when you are on a machine all freaking day long, its a good time to plan stuff out and think of heaps of cool crazy ideas. Unthankfully, being pooped isn’t exactly friends with the writing aspect of putting a story out there so updates might come slow and they might come weirdly but just bare with me dudes, bare with me.

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