THE ALPHA NEXT DOOR

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Chapter 22

I stood there dumbfounded, Atreus beside me, after everything... they just released me from the bonds and set me free?

I couldn't help but question the logic of it all. Over the past few days, I conjured images of me chained up in a dark and dank cellar or dungeon awaiting my punishment.

I never in a million years, would I have thought the Council would set me free and give me an opportunity to freely walk the City of Wolves.

The whole thing seems strange!...

I looked up to see Atreus' reaction, was he as confused as me? But before I could say a word, Gerard made his way over to us, his face still had that contemptuous smile on it that always made a cold shudder run over me.

What was going on in that twisted head of his? It certainly was a mystery to me.

"Alpha, if you could follow me I will show you to your accommodation." He turned and Atreus followed, not bothering to acknowledge him in any gratuitous way and he pulled me along.

The streets were bustling as we passed through. It was fascinating to see, no modern vehicles appeared to travel the cobled streets. Which had a plethora of buildings ranging in size and shape many looked as ancient as the walls that protected this small city.

After a very long walk we reached a central green area, it had the residence of the Lunar Sage. Now this building I've read about all Werewolves learn about it, it's spoken about widely amongst all.

Most are told the tale of the Moon Godess visit to earth. Millenia ago when God's walked amongst us. The Godess watched curious what it would feel like to be human, and so she decided to walk among humans as one. Binding herself for seven days, with no power of a god, to have a true experience.

She enjoyed it mostly, discovering how kind humans can be, on the seventh day- near the end of her visit, she was rescued by a man and a wolf. Both sacrificing themselves to save her.

When he true power returned. She watched as the light began to leave both beings, that had saved her from a mortal death. Not having the power to raise the dead, she joined both beings. Each having enough life source to power and strengthen the other. They would survive and live on, and so the first of our kind was born in this very spot.

This sacred ground was a place all revered and the opportunity to visit and celebrate the moon Godess here was a journey all desired yet few had the opportunity.

But...

The entire place looked abandoned and neglected? It was so strange, how could this be?

I didn't have much time to think on it as Atreus pulled me along, a note of annoyance in his look. I suppose he's seen it all before and there's nothing fascinating about it. Honestly looking at the way it's kept now I'm not surprised nobody is paying any heed to it. Actually it had quite a spooky Ominous atmosphere surrounding the the whole place.

After another ten minutes walking I began cursing this week ass human body, my back aching even more than before. Godess how week it must feel to be human, the pain was shooting down my legs now and the jingling of this outfit combined together was driving me demented.

If Atreus hadn't been pulling me along I think I would have dropped down ages ago. It was at that moment a hard truth came blasting through my mind. The bindings were undone... My wolf has returned!

Which means...

I am no longer just human!

So caught up in the fact I had become a prisoner to the Lunar Council, I ignored the signs but even then it was all off? It couldn't be could it?

Was I going into heat?

I laughed at the obsurdity of it all!

If it's true and I'm now going to go through a heat cycle, stuck in a city of wolves, estranged from the mate who set this in motion and prisoner to the only people who could help me through this without me majorly suffering.

There's no mate to get me through this and the thought of that man touching me only made my stomach churn, the bile threatening to escape. There will be no salve bath for me, I'm well and truly up shit creak without a paddle.

Is there ever going to be a day without chaos hitting me up for some fun?

Do I tell Atreus? Oh hell! This is going to be so awkward, on top of all the other bullshit!

I cringed at the thought, and felt myself being pulled along still. His touch and scent the only things giving me some relief as my mind went haywire with thoughts of what's to come.

It was all so odd though, Nathaniel marked me again- but usually it would take weeks for a heat cycle to kick in after the fact. I wasn't due one from our previous marking so what was going on? It just didn't add up to me... then again wouldn't it fit in with all the other crap that didn't add up.

I couldn't help think about Atreus and my growing feelings towards him, even just that thought sent more butterflies tumbling within me. Our strange bond, what was that about and then a funny thought entered my head...

All the timings would add up, our first meeting, our crazy connection, my failing mate bond. Could it be? that for some unfathomable reason Atreus had set off the heat cycle within me.

Is that even possible?

I was speculating at this for sure, honestly it's a pie in the sky idea but right now nothing is impossible anymore. Remember I'm the girl marked by the Godess but seemingly unworthy of the fact. I still have a hard time swallowing that pill. Huh!

I brushed away the fairytale idea, knowing full well I was about to suffer this heat and nothing or nobody could make it any better.

Even the idea of pleading with the Lunar Council for help brought that stubbornness out in me. There was no way in hell, I would bend to them, I can't trust them anymore.

Though my mind and body will surely cry out for help, I'm too stubborn to bend to them and I could bet the Paramount will take great joy out of my predicament, one way or another she wants me on my knees.

When my thoughts were overflowing, I decided I had enough. It was all just a tumbling mess in my head and going over and over was doing me no good.

I began to take deep breaths, channeling my inner wolf and the techniques I learned from meditation to calm my body and mind a little until I could sort this out.

Focusing on the flickering candlelight of the houses we passed until we finally arrived at our destination.

It was a huge three story house, ancient and built with the same stone as the outerwalls.

"Is this the packhouse?" I enquired. Looking about as many Bellator Warriors paced in and out the building.

"You could call it that, I suppose." Gerard mused. "Though it's more of a Barracks for the Bellator. This city is residence to the Lunar Council, so we don't technically have one, this is the closest you would find. All Council members have their own Den, and close members separately, given the strong nature of each, a packhouse wouldn't work.

We run a democracy here, all leadership and decisions are agreed upon by the Wise Twenty. Unlike the usual pack mentality of dictatorship." He rhymes off condescendingly, looking at us, like we are flees to swat away..

Such a dick!

When he's done with the ramblings of a wannabe, he finally brings us inside, giving instructions to another to show us to a suite. To my surprise, though I could still be thrown in some closet, with this little shit I wouldn't put it past him.

We climb the stairs, Atreus taking two steps at a time and I'm running behind, tripping over my own feet as he continues to pull me along.

Godess give me a little reprieve!

As the door swings open to room, I can see a central room, sofas and little kitchenette with all you could need, small dining table etc... Rather nice for a barracks full of testosterone fuelled men. Two guest bedrooms sat either side.

Hearing the click of the door shutting I race to the room on the left, after escaping Atreus grip and begin to strip myself of these clothes that have weighed me down, suffocating me all day. The top and bottoms dispear in my frenzy for freedom and I leap on the bed stomach down, spread Eagle. Rubbing myself into the bed below, just wanting to relax and take the weight off.

So caught in the desire for comfort I forgot everything, my whereabouts, my troubles, the marks and the company I'm in. As I enjoy a few blissful moments of soft cotton and comfy sheets against my skin.

The clearing of Atreus throat, causes me to raise my head towards the door. There he stood, leaning against the architrave, with his arms crossed and a devious smirk on his face, of course.

"Need some company?" His impassioned look, sent a tingle to my core. Lighting the fires that I so desperately want to enjoy.

I'm half naked?...

Ah fuck it! He's seen everything already.

"You offering?" I questioned, raising my brows. "Only kidding..." I added

There is so many things I want to do right now, but the most important must come first and that is speaking to Atreus.

I turn over and scoot under the covers.

Gulping down my insecurities I begin...

"Ahem, can we talk? There is a few things I need to say, to tell you and I need you to listen. If you would?" I looked to him with hope in my heart, he nodded and stepped forward taking seat at the end of the bed.

"What's this about? Is it your markings? The ceremony? I'm here so feel free to speak freely!"

"I'm not sure where to start, so I'm going to rip the band-aid off and get to the ugly truth... The night- I awakened after my joining Ceremony...

When I returned home..." I paused taking a needed breath.

"Nathaniel he- did..." I gulped down, as tears began to flow at the memory of the event.

"He did WHAT? PALOMA?" Atreus voice rose as did his anger upon feeling my sadness and fear.

"He attacked me... F- forcefully marked m- me..." The words came out stuttered as I gasped for air, their truth finally being revealed left me breathless and stricken as a began to sob unabated.

Atreus jumped from the bed and stormed out the room the door nearly came of the hinges as he powered through to the living room. His face was red as a fiery inferno and his power shot through him stifling the air that I was breathing.

"I'M GOING TO RIP HIS THROAT OUT AND SHRED HIM TO TINY PIECES!!!" I could hear the angry roars of Atreus the he tossed the table into the air and I came crashing down into the wall in the far end of the room, his roars and growls could be heard for miles, as anger took hold.

Fear gripped my soul but it was fear of his rejection, not fear of him. The tears washed over my sullen cheeks, my eyes red and swollen when he paced into the room panting with a look that could kill.

"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?" he roared out the question, then backtracking realising his mistake. "Sorry... I didn't mean to scare you, but why didn't you?" He reiterated more subtly the second time, remorse filled his words as he saw my reaction.

"I tried, the next day... but you were-"

"FUCK!" He roared. "I was with Caroline, wasn't I!" Spitting out the words with distaste, I could tell he was disgusted with himself. I just couldn't allow him the blame, the only one at fault is Nathaniel and if anyone insists on another then I would have to say- Caroline, obviously. Nobody else, certainly not Atreus.

"I'm sorry Paloma, can you find it in you to forgive me..." Atrues said in a plaintive voice taking my hand in his own, he got on his knees and looked into my eyes, his stirring with pain and desire. I could feel it through our strange bond.

"There is nothing to forgive... C- could you hold me though?" I needed him close, closer than he was, I wanted and needed the comfort of his strong arms.

He didn't reply just stood up, grabbed me up off the bed bridal style then sat back down, pulling me in, wrapping his strong arms about me, as I sat in his lap, appreciating the safety of this beastly beautiful man. Full of power and care.

"That was my truth- straight from the Gods Eye, I had to face it, even though I tried to hide it deep inside, it burst out as I walked through the Moon Gate and it is the reason I wanted to speak in private... I didn't want my shame broadcast to a load of strangers. But- I... trust you with it." The whispered words trickled off my lips, I wanted to be honest, open and needed that between us.

He placed a hand on my cheek, wiping there tears away with his thumb.

"It's ok love... I'm here now." Placing a chaste kiss on my tear soaked lips, I hugged him tighter, grateful for this man, my Alpha...

We sat in that position for a long, long time. Even when someone wrapped on the door calling us for food, we ignored it. Caught up in each other, in the moment, in the comfort of his arms. I held on for as long as I could get, because who knows what tomorrow brings...

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