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Chapter 11

My best friend was here.

Her soothing voice coaxed me into a calm state, the muscles that I hadn't realised I was tensing finally relaxed and I almost collapsed in her arms. After all that has happened the warmth of her embrace was everything!

"I'm sorry." I managed to blubber out through my runny nose and tear soaked cheeks.

"I'm acting the fool again, give me a minute and I'll be right as rain." The words came out through a hitched voice as I struggled to speak in my sorry state.

"Hey, look at me now, don't ever say that again. Stop apologising for yourself, you have every reason to cry. So let it all out, I'm here for you babe." After forcing me to look her in the eyes and listen, I did just that and felt a weight lifted off me as she held me in her arms and squeezed me tight. There's nothing better than an Alpha best friend, that's for sure.

I don't know how long its been since we got in this position, Quinn never once asked me to move or hurry up she just held me. Something I hadn't realised I needed so badly as I calmed down, my eyes shut feeling safe wrapped in her embrace. She was my rock, she had been for many years, thankfully some things never change, at that thought I drifted off to sleep.

I awoke to a sweet cinnamon smell, something soft was supporting my head, and I was wrapped in a warm blanket. As my sense became more aware and I gradually opened my eyes, stretching out my limbs and turning about blinking my eyes until they finally came into focus.

It was then I became aware of my location. The warm fuzzy feeling dashed, I was back in the room I shared with Nathaniel...

How did I even get here?

Last thing I remember is -- Quinn...

"Ahh! Your finally awake." Quinn exclaimed. I was so happy that it was her present and not that horrid mate of mine, that I shot up in the bed.

"Oh... Thank Godess its you." I said in a relieved voice, holding my arms out waiting for her embrace. She didn't disapoint me rushing over from where she was sat on the end of the bed, wrapping her arms around me in another bone crunching hug.

"Of course its me, silly! Who else would it be." I laughed at her words glad that they were fact.

She pulled me back and looked seriously into my face her hands holding me at arms length as she grasped onto the tops of my arms. I could see the complex emotions displayed on her face, she was worried for me and this made my heart swell. At least I'm blessed with her in my life, that is something I will forever be grateful for.

"First things first, why haven't you called me about this whole fiasco? Come on Palona, you know I would support you through anything, actually everything for that matter! -- huh?" She said it in a somewhat serious somewhat joking manner but I could tell she was hurt by my silence.

"I'm so sorry Quinn, I honestly didn't mean to leave you out of the loop. It was only yesterday that I awoke and I've been struggling to make sense of everything. It wasn't intentional, really I've been in a daze... I returned home last night and ..."

Could I tell her everything? She has raced over here after hearing about my predicament but could I lay another weight on her shoulders? I feel ashamed that I had let last night occur, how could I tell her about my most shameful experience? Then Nathaniel's face came to mind and my heart clenched, maybe it was a one time thing? I knew I would be betraying him by telling her and that made my chest clench even tighter like I was suffocating.

"And I was knocked out, slept the whole night." Literally! "When I woke up I was late for an appointment with the Alpha and he sent me to the school afterwards, I was so caught up in that, that--" I never got to finish my frantic retelling before Quinn butted in.

"Stop apologising, ok! Your my best friend I'm just worried about you, you don't need to explain further I know you and you muddle-headedness.

Now -- I can see the marking on your face can you show me the rest? Only, if you don't mind."

"Of course I don't! Of all the people in the world your one of the only ones I wouldn't mind." So I removed my clothing sat on the side of the bed with my back towards her and let her examine me. I know I haven't told her everything about Nathaniel, I don't know why but I couldn't face that shame right now, there's still plenty of time. I just need to work up the courage, then I will.

I hope...

"It's beautiful Paloma, I mean truly beautiful I have never seen such a mark, its so intricate and detailed." She was fascinated I could tell as she looked at my back then turned me around, her face changed then.

"Paloma..." her voice was full of concern as she looked at my shoulder. "What happened here? I've been looking at that mates mark the past few years and it looked nothing like this! Whats going on?" There was anger in her voice now, her Alpha genes kicking in. "That is not normal." She stood up from the bed pointing at my mates mark, her body began to shake with rage now, I mentally kicked myself, how could I forget about the unsightly mess.

I grabbed her hand tugging on it and her eyes finally focused on mine. "Quinn this--" Hesitating momentarily, I was so unsure of what to do or say I just knew I needed her to calm down.

"He forced it on you didn't he! That bastard I'm going to kill him." Quinn said with pure malice, I couldn't believe it but I actually felt scared for my mate, I truly need some mental help. I really shouldn't feel anything but happy at the thought of his demise and yet here I was feeling scared for the bastard that bet me to a pulp. What kinda sick am I? Though I know, deep down its the bond that is creating those feelings or I hope it is. I just need to sever it and then I will be free.

"He was just, I-- I..." I tried to get the words out but Quinn wouldn't allow it.

"Don't make excuses Paloma its not right, a mates mark should be given and recieved with joy not forced, its against our laws because its so brutal. The council will know of this, I will make sure of that. How could he, ugh!" She raged and knocked over Nathaniel's things that were sitting ontop of the dresser. They flew like little missiles crashing and smashing all over the floor.

The next minute there's was a pounding on the stairs, my heart sank, fear began to grip me as I trembled with the hairs on my skin rose.

Was Nathaniel here? Is he going to get angry again?

Suddenly the door flew open slamming into the wall, I jumped with fear, then a large figure stood there his aura so strong. His posture in an alert stance ready to take on the world, Alpha Atreus the muscular adonis.

"What happened, why was there a loud crashing sound." He yelled out.

I was relieved and scared all in one motion. Quinn's rage was beginning to get the better of her, when she looses control the rage takes over and she forgets who she is angry at or why she's angry. I hopped up off the bed stood between them trying to calm two highly strung raging Alpha's. Its funny when you think about it, but somehow when I stood there my hand placed on each of there chests they calmed down. I could feel it, like I somehow obsorbed their anger diffusing the situation. One point to the omega!

They both turned to me with inquisitive looks. There's something in his eyes every time I look at them my heartbeat fluctuates, buttflies dance in my tummy, then I swiped my head in the other direction.

"OK guys take a few deep breaths, nobody's hurt no one is in the wrong, I just knocked some stuff off the dresser, its no biggie." I was trembling so much it could be heard in every word.

"Paloma--" Quinn said, I know I was taking the blame for the noise, it was nothing, its my house and the right thing to do. I just didn't want any fighting between these two people. Quinn is one of the most important people in my life and Alpha Atreus is...

Well I'm not quite sure what he is to me but I'm sure of the fact, that I don't want them to be enemies. Quinn is still a young Alpha, controlling her anger can be difficult for her at times, its difficult for all Alpha's but as they grow they learn to control it better.

"Stop Quinn its nothing, and I'm sorry Alpha Atreus I didn't mean to make you think that I was in trouble, I-- I just... just got a little frustrated with all of this. I indicated to the random marks that have appeared on me, it was only then that I became aware of my near nakedness. I hadn't had time to get dressed again, I looked down at my body and sighed my cheeks pink from the blush that arose. Both Alpha's noticed my embarrassment and began to smile and then laugh at the situation, while I ran for cover and wrapped a blanket around myself.

"You two --" I point at both and was about to give them a piece of my mind when Quinn interrupts.

"Oh Bunny, your so cute." Quinn laughs out and then says "Isn't she Alpha Atreus." Giggling some more in a mischievous way.

My heart leapt, my breath hitched as he replied "She sure is. Thats one thing we agree on." They both nodded in agreement and laughed again, I was happy about one thing the anger was gone replaced by laughter even if I was embarrassed it was worth it.

I am starting to believe I will live in perpetual embarrassment, it sure seems that way since I moved here.

Both Alpha's chatted amongst themselves as I grabbed a change of clothes and went for a shower. Somehow Alpha Atreus had not noticed my mates mark and Quinn didn't mention it. She respected me so she would talk to me more before doing anything. That shitshow can wait for now.

When I returned fresh and dressed it was late evening now, Quinn was propped up on my bed typing away on my laptop. Obviously still remembering my password this was normal for us, its something I missed. Thankfully Alpha Atreus was gone.

"Come on let's get some food." There's one way to Quinn's heart and that is through food.

Every second spent in the kitchen I kept looking at the floor, someone had cleaned up up not quite good enough and I could see specks of dried up blood on the skirting, some on the cabinet doors and I even noticed a bit on the drapes. It made my stomach churn the memories became clearer and kept flashing in my mind.

So I cooked the fastest recipe I knew, some medium rare stake with a nice crunchy salad and a creamy balsamic vinegar. I convinced Quinn to eat in the living room, bribing her with comfort, a nice glass of red wine and a Korean Drama, we both used to love watching in college.

As we settled down chatting I was munching on my leafy greens while cutting into the steak, as the blood ran down and seeped across the plate, I wanted to slap myself. Why did I think this was a good choice, it just brought the image's of my blood splatter in the kitchen into my mind, the fear, the blinding pain the deep heart ache. I placed the fork in my mouth, my actions robotic as I chewed, everything was tastless, I swallowed down the blood soaked leafy greens. I attempted another but just couldn't stomach it.

Walking to the kitchen in a trance, emptying my leftovers in the trash and washing the dishes then I walked away.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could wash away the stains in my relationship as easy as I did the dirt on my dishes. If only!

The cool night air called to me like always so I grabbed a blanket and went out to the veranda. The moon shone brightly in the crisp air, sometimes I think its the moon calling. Who knows, maybe it is!

I stepped into the garden, its huge and sprawling, hugging the cosy blanket to myself, my head flung back my eyes gazed skywards upon the night sky and the enchanting brightness of the moon. It captured me in its glow and I prayed to the Godess for retribution and strength.

She owes me that much...

Scrunching up my toes in the dewy grass I was entranced by this feeling and hummed. My walk was disturbed by loud breaking and crashing sounds, whipping my head around around the sounds coming from the Alpha's house. I could see his shadow pacing in what I believe to be the study when I notice movements outside, as two strong warriors walk out his door and leave, heading towards the town.

Wonder whats got him so worked up?

I was brought out of my nosey thoughts with the sweet sound of Quinn calling me.

"Hey! Nice hostess you are, up and deserting your guest."

"Ah you know there's only so much of you I can put up with!." I wink jesting at her.

"So was the food ok, sorry for ducking out I just needed some air, you know me and the moon had a date." she laughed at my comments.

"That moon can wait in line, I was here first. Now get your butt inside we've got some drama's to binge before I head back to reality and endless work." Her arm was outstretched as she stood on the porch. I took another quick glance towards the Alpha's house and then headed inside to the warmth of my good friend.

We were quite a few hours into our binge session the night was well and truly under way. Nathaniel hadn't shown his face yet, whether he knew to keep away from Quinn or he was with Caroline I didn't know. The pang of hurt and jealousy of the latter was inflicted upon me like another slap to the face or kick to the stomach. I went between trying my best to concentrate on the TV for distraction to hating myself for the emotions that Nathaniel stirred inside me. All the way through I kept asking myself how could the moon Godess bless me with a mate such as this?

Did I truly deserve it?

And then there was this mark that I have been inflicted with. Who knows what its meaning, it could be another curse bestowed by the Godess only time will tell.

I have heard no news of the councils arrival either, but to be honest the longer they stayed away the longer I have to live possibly. OK, I know that's the extreme end of the scenario where they decide I'm a danger and set me for extermination. But... at this point nothing is unreasonable or unlikely when you see the luck I have had recently, or ever.

"Bunny!" Quinn brought me out of my negative thinking agan and I smiled at her though it didn't reach my eyes and I felt only sad and scared but grateful for her friendship. She sensed my mood darkening and like the good friend she was, started a conversation trying her best to get a rise from me.

"So whats the deal with you and Alpha Atreus. I can see there's a spark between you two." Nudging me with her arm, raising her eyebrows repeatedly, in a 'give me all the scandal' kinda way.

It caused a nervous laugh from me that I didn't expect, and that was enough for her to read more into the misshap than she should. Her eyes widened with great excitement and she demanded an answer.

"Oh my Godess Paloma, you have to tell me. I mean I thought the sexual tension between you two was me over reacting, to seeing you again and being a bit jealous of the bond you seem to have formed with the Alpha but there's more to it isn't there? Oh wow this is so exciting and dangerous and forbidden, oh my my, my bunny your a saucy little minx aren't you! I knew it ha ha!" She laughed and jumped about like a giddy little teenager, gone was the strong domineering Alpha replaced by a gossipy young woman. Come on now, spit out the juicey details!."

After looking at her giddiness I couldn't help but empty this information on her. After all what are best friends for...

"He's -- uhm, I don't know what he is to me, truthfully." I turned away from her and looked out through the large windows staring off into nothingness, gulping down my fears and I continued.

"The first time I met him he was fucking a slut in broad daylight, can you imagine my face when that happened! I was mortied but there was something in those eyes of his. I felt it from then on, he confronted me that day got me on my knees like a willing little --" I was trying to come up with the best word when Quinn interrupted. "BUNNY!" she adds.

I looked at her with that huge grin on her face and couldn't help the little half smile that grew on my own, as I thought about him, that Alpha that lives next door. "OK, ok bunny." I replied giving into her.

"It scares me Quinn, I feel an attraction to him, that I shouldn't. I mean he is gorgeous, no -- he is an Adonis a work of art who wouldn't be attracted. But its more than that, its like a bond between us. I can't describe it, I can feel the threads of it when he's near, drawing me in. I think if I wasn't mated I would think he was my mate, actually when I awoke from the coma I felt more of a pull to him than Nathaniel. Maybe that's whats caused Nates reaction, I don't know. But I do know one thing, its one sided, even if I do feel this he has made it clear that he doesn't have that kind of thoughts about me."

"You mean to tell me you spoke to him about this, wow that's my bunny you always surprise me." She interrupted.

"NO! Omg Quinn of course I didn't tell him any of this, are you crazy I am mated to his Beta for crying out loud." I gave her a playful slap on the knee and shook my head. Does she think I'm crazy. 'Like, oh hey Alpha by the way I just joined your pack to live with your Beta my mate but I think I have feelings for you, you sexy beast.'

Quinn burst out into laughter, I sat ther thinking she had lost it when she said. "You know you said that out loud. Oh Alpha you sexy beast." Then continued with her laughter I felt mortified and my cheeks turned rose but her laughter grew contagious and I even sniggered a little.

"If you two are finished with the high jinx, the Council have arrived." A deep male voice said.

Both myself and Quinn jumped with fright, quinn sent flying the bowl of popcorn she was nursing. I couldn't believe it, my worst fears had been brought to life. That beast of a man had somehow entered the house so stealthily that neither I or Quinn noticed, how long has he been standing there? Did he hear everything we just said? Will I live to see another day?

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