"Betrayal is the only truth that sticks."
I clutch the pieces of paper in my hand tightly and look to Roman behind me, his steely eyes not letting an ounce of emotion slip. I know he is calculating, assessing every wrong outcome that this could create and I also know from the way his jaw is clenched ever so slightly that he isn’t pleased at his results.
It wasn’t a far walk from our office to the kings, not when I had moved back and resumed my work overseeing the developments to human sectors while we waited on more news from the rebels. I knew they’d started the interrogation process and I knew that Roman was involved-had to be, I kept reminding myself of it. I didn’t bother asking but if Roman’s shift in attitude over the last few days meant anything, the methods of getting information wasn’t up to him.
As it turned out, Avery was right. It shouldn’t have been surprising but she was, she found all the relevant documents and gave me every single bit of information I needed to bring to Roman in order to convince him that it was the best option to take. Which was a struggle in and of itself. The first answer I received, after planning out a whole entire presentation and putting my heart and soul into delivering it was a flat out no. A solid no with absolutely zero room for argument.
But I made a promise, not just to the king in trying to help his relationship with his mate but with Lynn and in protecting both her and the people she loves. I honestly don’t think that the king would do anything to hurt her more than he already has-the notion of him raising a harmful hand towards her seems so blasphemous it makes me cringe. But what I think doesn’t matter, its what she thinks, what she feels that’s important.
If in her mind, she truly believes that having this protection against the King will help her, then I will do everything within my power to make it happen. I would’ve done anything to have some similar assurance for me and my family against Roman when I thought their lives were on the line each and every day. Even for myself, having some small shred of power to hold up against him in the start could’ve changed everything-made things much more different.
The way I see it, if the king can’t force her to love him-if her is barred by pack law and the confines that come with it, then he won’t have a choice but to approach things differently. No matter how much meddling her orders me to do or how much information he thinks will aid his cause, in the end of the day if he truly wants Lynn to love him and accept being his mate then he has to figure out how to do that like a normal person and not a tyrannical King.
The Alpha of my old pack would’ve never-not in a million years gone against Roman and given me any type of freedom from him and that is the basic truth. Just like Roman was entirely against the idea of going against the wishes of his king-especially after everything that has recently gone down. If it weren’t for me having the Kings direct orders to figure out what Lynn wants and how to help her like him then I probably wouldn’t have said yes to Lynn in the first place. It would have only given her a false sense of hope.
“Are you sure about this?” Roman asks me as we approach the doors to the Kings office. “We’ve only just got back your power and I’m lucky to still be staying here. You know there is a chance he could take this entirely the wrong way don’t you? Even with the convincing.”
“I know,” I reply, “but we have to at least try. After all she has done for us.”
He lets out a sigh of defeat and I know what he wants to say, I’ve heard it over and over again in the last three days. That if it were him he’d not take lightly to the action and messing with the King as he is dealing with hunters is always risky and that the man has waited hundreds of years for his mate. A restraining order might not actually give him any restraint.
Roman is the one to raise his hand to the door and knock. I told him he didn’t need to be here, he had plenty of other issues to focus on after all but he insisted and part of me thinks it’s because he didn’t want me to deliver the news all on my own. I doubt the king would hurt me for it but Roman never really can be too safe.
We hear a mumbled, “come in,” from the other side of the door and with one final look at me, Roman opens the door. I hold onto the paper in my right hand and look straight at the King who seems somewhat intrigued at our presence.
He gestures to the seats in front of his desk. “To what do I owe this pleasure?” He asks and Roman and I follow his command of sitting down.
“I have things to tell you,” I say and he raises a brow.
“More?” He asks, “you two really are full of surprises.” I gather that he thinks we are about to unload another bomb shell on him given the last few times we’ve met like this with something to say it has swung in that direction.
“It’s about Lynn,” I clarify and his demeanour shifts, turning slightly eager and hopeful.
“Well?” He asks, impatient as ever.
“I haven’t talked to her much, only a bit here and there. She just wants a bit of space and time to think which is understandable,” I say and he clenches his jaw as the word space leaves my lips-making me reconsider the entire purpose of me being here. The chances of him ripping that document to shreds just increased ten fold.
“From what I hear, that isn’t the case at all,” he quips, referring to Lynn’s continuation of work at the hospital despite everything that is going on.
“She wants space from talking about you and your bond and she feels that because you are her mate and you nearly strangled Alani to death-it is more so her duty to care for her,” I answer-enjoying it only a little.
“That’s ridiculous,” he says with a slight scoff to his words and I can tell he is being pushed closer to the edge, one wrong move and he could slip off to go and sort everything out himself, in his own way. Which we do not want.
“Don’t shoot the messenger,” I say with a shrug. “But she has asked me things in regards to you-a couple things actually,” I say and he looks to Roman.
“I gather I won’t like it given you are both here to deliver the news,” he states and I nod my head to the side.
“That depends on how you look at it,” I reply and before I can change my mind on the entire thing I hand him the bundle of papers, each one made out to a different member of Lynns family and of course-Lynn herself.
The King takes them sceptically and his eyes scan over the documents, his brows furrowing more and more until he reaches the last paper and red hot anger overcomes his face. I’m surprised he doesn’t just tear straight into it upon sight but he must know-must understand the importance of a document like that. Even if he wanted to rip it to shreds-he couldn’t.
“What is this?” He seethes, his fingers crumpling the papers edge containing Lynns name.
“Think of it as a restraining order,” I answer and quickly realise that wit in this moment isn’t at all wise. “She asked that I get this for her family so that they can visit and then further asked of it for herself.”
He gives me a look that reads his angered confusion easily. “And why not just ask them to come? She could’ve just asked me-what does she think I am going to do exactly? Hurt her family? Hurt her?” He asks, entirely and utterly shocked at the sheer prospect.
I don’t answer him and the realisation crosses his features. “She thinks I’ll hurt them to get to her,” he states and I nod.
“Look, I know it isn’t ideal but this order only stops you from approaching her and touching her, there are ways around it all if you look closely enough. But if you allow this to happen, just let her have her way with this without putting up any kind of fuss it could show her you’re willing to change,” I say and his eyes turn steely.
“I think I’ve had enough of all of this already. I asked you to help, to get information and report back-not give her a damn idea for a restraining order. She is my mate, mine and if I want to speak with her then I will.” The vehemence behind his words sends chills running down my spine and when I look into his eyes, full of a possessive rage I think about Roman briefly, about how he once was.
“It is what she wants. She thinks you are a brute, a controlling king that does whatever he wants and plays with peoples lives-going against this won’t prove her wrong. Besides, you can’t technically go against it even if you chose to,” I say, broaching the topic as lightly as I can but its true. Without a verdict surpassing Roman’s decision from the high court-whatever the hell that is-the document stops him from going after Lynn or her family.
His jaw clenches at my implication. “I made that law, if you think it would take a lot for me to unmake it you are very mistaken,” he says though this time his words are directed at Roman and from the look that washes over his face, I know Roman believes him.
“We are only trying to help, your majesty. We only gain from your mating and its success which we both believe it will be. She is a wolf, it is only a matter of time until the bond prevails and she hates you half as much as my human mate once did. Give her this space, this assurance and cater to her needs-we will try to arrange as many loopholes as the contract will allow for the two of you to meet,” Roman responds effortlessly, the words weaving their own agenda with each passing syllable.
“Fine. But I have a letter I want you to personally deliver to her-ensure that she reads it,” the king says and I nod before he looks to Roman. “My stay here will be extended, both until my mate comes to terms with me and this conflict is resolved. I was planning to stay in the Asian packs for a while and operate from there but it seems that will no longer happen. I have sent a request for the Alpha Superiors or their Betas to join us here for the foreseeable future too, in times like this it is best to stick together and show our enemies a united front. I have assurances from most that all rebel activities have been quelled fully but others are still in investigation,” he explains and I try not to think too hard on what measures the other leaders took to do that.
“I’ll see to it that living arrangements are organised and a schedule is put in place,” Roman replies firmly and the king nods.
“Very well. I also expect that the trial will take place within the next week or so, I would prefer to have my mate by my side so whatever loopholes you have thought of need to come into action rather quickly,” he explains and I gulp, trying to cease the scratchiness of my throat but to no avail.
“I don’t know if a week is ample time… with her family coming and everything else. Perhaps it is wiser to postpone it,” I suggest and a dark look clouds over in his eyes.
“There is no time to wait-those fallen deserve justice served to the full extent of pack law-none of this mercy business you would have me enact. Myself and any other superiors that are present shall do the killings and should you feel inclined to add to your tattoo collection Luna, you may also take part. But it will occur,” he says and the power in his words is too great to challenge.
“We will do all that we can to ensure your mate accepts this bond, your majesty,” Roman says and the King nods his head dismissing us.
“Very well,” he says, picking his pen back up and I grip the arrest to rise from my seat.
“Oh, and one more thing,” he says, right before we stand up to exit and my heart skips a beat. “I want Lynn’s living arrangements moved closer to my quarters. There is no break if she stumbles across me and I’d like to keep a close eye on her, I’m sure you can convince her of the switch, Luna.”
He’s enjoying watching me squirm, he likes the fact that I hate betraying her-tricking her like he wishes.
“She will,” Roman responds for me, before I say something stupid I regret.
It’s a stupid thing to do. A seriously, seriously stupid thing to do and god knows that I’ll regret it. The second it passes my lips I will wish I hadn’t done it but I can’t not. Not as Lynn looks at me with tears of gratitude welling in her eyes.
I don’t deserve that gratitude. Not when I am scheming behind her back-the king wants loopholes, he commanded that I provide him with some so maybe finding loopholes for myself isn’t the worst idea. Or maybe it is the single worst idea I have ever had.
“I can’t,” she starts before sighing shakily, “I can’t thank you enough. Having my family here, being protected from him just… all of it Mae it really means the world. This might be the last chance I even get to see them for who knows how long? It’s only a matter of time until he snaps,” she says, moving into her rambling mumble of thoughts towards the end.
“Lynn he won’t do that, you can’t preempt things like that. From the sounds of things he just wanted you to be happy, I doubt he will keep you from your family,” I say, trying to be hopeful but the look on her face tells me otherwise.
“Who knows what he’ll do?” She asks me, beginning to bite her nails. “At first I just didn’t want to see him for the anger I felt but now I just don’t want to see him at all. The thought of being in the same space as him makes me feel sick
“He’s going to kill all those people, isn’t he?” She asks, the build up of tears in her eyes glistening at me. I don’t have an answer for her-I don’t want to give her one. “How can he expect me to accept that? I’m supposed to save people, Mae-not kill them.”
Her voice cracks and I feel another part of myself shatter on the inside. I understand her pain more than she could possibly know and that in itself makes me have to swallow a tight knot in my throat.
“It’s pack law,” I answer shakily, grimacing as I do so.
“Well fuck pack law,” she forces out but a flash of pain crosses her face as she does and it only makes her more mad. “I don’t want to watch people lined up to be slaughtered by someone I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. My parents will have to see it,” she says, completely horrified by the prospect.
“Haven’t you seen something like this before?” I ask, mild confusion in my tone and she tears her gaze from me, looking away like my words brought with them a memory she’d long buried. “I thought wolves accepted it,” I mumble towards the end and she lets out a dry laugh before shaking her head, moving to sit down on her seat.
“Most do,” she answers.
“But not all,” I comment and she lets out a sigh.
“My family and I respect our Alpha, we love our pack and our people but that doesn’t mean we blindly follow. We are wolves, not sheep.”
Her answer shocks me somewhat but it makes sense.
“He might change his mind yet, if you perhaps just talk to him or try to sort things out then you could try to change it all. Roman showed mercy at my request-sure it took some work but there is still time until the trial,” I suggest, remembering the reason I came here. Get her on board, make it known what is going on between the king and I.
“If he needs to be convinced to not murder an entire group of people like a sociopath then I don’t want to go near him.” It is really hard to argue the validity of her stance when she puts it like that, especially when I agree with her one thousand percent.
“I wouldn’t press this if it wasn’t so important, Lynn. You know it’d take a lot for me to do this,” I say and she furrows her brows, the sign like a gift from god. Yes, Lynn, out the dots together-figure it out.
“Surely you know where I am coming from, Mae,” she says and I nod.
“I do, I really do,” I say with complete and utter sincerity, giving her my most serious look.
“Then why the hell are you pushing it-” she cuts off her question and the lines of her angered face smooth out in an instant. “He put you up to this didn’t he,” she asks and the weight that rested on my chest removes itself.
I don’t answer her-giving her an answer in my own way, keeping my expression clear. “He’d never do something like that,” I reply, my tone entirely unconvincing.
Her jaw clenches and she looks towards the door, as if she is using her senses to scout the outside of it before turning back to me. “Why?” She whispers, a hint of understanding in her tone, like she wouldn’t put it past him to threaten my life.
“He took my title from me-the power that came with it at least. I didn’t want to but I have people to help, a purpose still outside of all of this,” I reply and I see the hurt that simmers behind her thoughtful stare but she doesn’t explode into a mess marred by betrayal.
“What is wrong with him?” She asks, her face contorted into shock and anger. “He thinks, what? You’ll find out all my secrets and that’ll just give him the answer to his problems? Make me fall in love with him?” She asks and I shrug.
“He’s delusional. He is my problem, nothing else,” she says and I give her a sympathetic look.
“I don’t know what he wants to come from it but I do know that I most definitely wasn’t supposed to let you find out. If he discovers that you know and its because of me…” I try to mask the shudder that ripples through my body. “He can’t. You can’t tell him and he can’t know. Ever.”
“I won’t,” she affirms, still incensed by rage. “It’s already started, I thought his compulsive need for control would kick in eventually but the guy really wastes no time does he?”
“This might not be the worst thing,” I state and she shoots me a confused look. “Whatever you want him to know, I’ll tell him. Whatever you don’t, I won’t. Let him keep his compulsive need and let your control be kept hidden,” I say and I see the cogs of her mind turning.
“Working behind the back of a king never ends well. He knows everything, Mae-there isn’t a person on this planet that could deny him information and he wants information on me. It doesn’t even matter what I tell you, he’ll find out whatever he wants to know regardless,” she says and
“If that were true then he wouldn’t have asked me,” I rebut but she shakes her head.
“He wouldn’t do something like this without an ulterior motive.”
I want to say ‘you don’t know that’ but she is probably correct and for whatever reason-she probably does.
“He just… schemes,” she says, disgust apparent in her voice.
“I know his reputation is bad and maybe some of the rumours are true but you also don’t know him personally, Lynn. I don’t want to pressure you or join his side or anything but he is your mate and you’ve spoken to him once-if there is a chance he isn’t what you think he is the only way you are going to find out is by actually talking to him.”
“Trust me, I know him,” she says, an edge to her words. “He isn’t as bad as they say, he’s worse.”
I don’t have an answer again and she runs her hands through her hair. I take a moment to notice how tired she is-she looks better than the king but I can see the effect not being near him has had on her.
“Every fucking move is so calculated. I can’t believe he put you up against me, I mean of all people. When I got instructions from him I really thought maybe he was just an effective leader, I still had an ounce of respect but I should’ve known the moment you became involved in it all who he really is,” she says with another dry laugh, pure anger lacing her words.
“What do you mean involved me?” I ask, furrowing my brows and when she turns back to me her face blanches. She opens her mouth to respond but nothing comes out and I feel my gut turn. “What instructions are you talking about?” I ask and guilt overcomes her features.
“Nothing, I shouldn’t have mentioned it,” she says but I can tell that whatever it is she is keeping from me it is eating her up inside. It’s almost like she forgot and now that it’s back it is ten times worse.
“What did he do, Lynn?” I ask warily, trying to keep my nerves reigned in.
“I…” she looks to the ground. “Mae at the time I thought I was helping you, he said that it was for the pack and doctor Matthew instructed me of the importance as well I didn’t ever expect to become your friend or…” she can’t finish her words and her face, riddled with guilt looks at me like she knows whatever she is about to admit to-I won’t forgive.
And it scares the shit out of me. It makes the nerves in my stomach twist because out of the two friends I have in this entire place she is the one who hasn’t betrayed me yet, one who has my trust.
“What did you do?” I ask, my words a mere whisper and the tears that once welled in her eyes spill over and she wipes them away quickly.
“You have to understand where I’m coming from, Mae. I didn’t think… at the time it seemed like the right thing to do- I just wanted to help you,” she rambles.
“Just tell me what it is,” I command, my voice only slightly firmer than before and despite her being in line to be my queen, I see her resolve fold under the question of her luna.
“The pills I’ve been giving you,” she starts and my heart sinks to the pit of my stomach. All at once I wish I never asked. “The contraceptive ones,” she continues and I feel like I want to vomit which does nothing to ease the complete horror ripping through my body.
“They don’t work.”
Oh hey there, been a while. So this chapter took me foreverrrrrr to write and I honestly rewrote it ten times but it is finally here and on Christmas so take it as a little present from me :) I am honestly so sorry about the lack of updates, I have been working in near forty degree heat on eleven hour days and there has just been so much going on that I have barely even opened my laptop for anything.
I’m truly going to make an effort to write more however because I do feel it is fair to you guys to give out some updates, they might just be given out at random.