THE ALPHA NEXT DOOR

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Chapter 6

My eyes swell from the never ending tears that flow from my swollen bulbs. The knowledge that I am missing something, I am half of the person I should be...

As the emptyness contracts my heart.

I can see her, shes beautiful her hair undone as it blows in the winds, shes strong and tough yet gently and sweet. Everthing I wish to be but can only dream.

She haunts me...

As she runs through the sands I try my best to follow to catch her. She's everything and I am nothing without her and no matter how I try I just cannot capture her,she slips through my hold every time, no matter how hard I try.

Standing ontop of one of the dunes, she turns and smiles at me, I've never felt so close before her piercing blue eyes glisten like they hold a secret I need to know. Then she is a hairs breath away and when I reach out to touch her. My hands tread through the mist of her shadow like she never was until the shade becomes a butterfly and perches on my shoulder. I cry at the loss, the pain of her departure what never will come but what was always was supposed to be.

×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-

The rooms dark as I awaken from the nightmare that has traversed my sleeping hours for as long as I can remember. Who is she this woman I have dreamed about since I was as young as a little babe in my mothers arms. My sullen crys manifested not only in dreams but in reality as my eyes dare to open in this brightly lit room my cheeks soaked with the tears I have shed.

Where am I? "..."

How did I end up here? Then pictures of my evening flood my head, reminding me of the searing pain in my shoulder and back. I hear shuffling, then a bright light burns my eyes my body feels week and unsteady. Shadows appear before me as I struggle to focus on what or who I am seeing.

"Paloma." I can hear his soothing voice. "Lolo." And then another though less comforting. My head turns to the first as the Alpha's face comes into focus.

"Alpha Atreus." I softly whispered his name as my dry and sore throat struggled to speak. His eyes beem from the smile that develops across his face, it's like a target and all that I can see, whomever else is present fades into the background, leaving me ignorant of the scowl on their faces.

"Are you ok, little one." He questioned. " Yes Atreus, my head and back throb but otherwise I am fine." Pulling myself up I noticed the looks the others gave. They are not happy, is it because I passed out? No it cant be, then I realised I had called the Alpha by his first name.
Oh shit! "Sorry Alpha Atreus"

I used the passing out as an excuse hoping everyone will accept that. Theres one thing I noticed since I arrived here and pack hierarchy and position are highly honoured and respected. My misshap with his name, not such a good move on my first day as an official member.

Now that that's cleared up my curiosity drives my thoughts back to what exactly happened, had something gone wrong, had I done something, was I rejected by the pack. My brain began mulling over and over the possible reasons why I would pass out like that. The obvious one being I am weak and unworthy.

"So... what exactly happened? I mean I can remember holding my candle up for the moon Godess, reciting some prayers and thanks then my shoulders and back began to burn. Then... darkness, I guess that's when I passed out?" I looked around for answers, but everyone was looking away not keeping eye contact, even Nate.

"Nate? Do you know what's happened." Again absolute silence from my mate.

"Nate?... "

"Nathaniel?..."

"Answer me what's going on, you know I can tell something's up, what is it?" I turn to him, looking for an explanation and all my pleading lands on deaf ears as he turns his head away from me and refused to answer. Wait he wasn't even here during the ceremony, how long have I been out?

Worry begins to rear its ugly head and churn within my chest, why won't he say anything? Looking him over, rage appears to be the emotion he is experiencing, his fists clenching, his white knuckles ready to throw a punch any minute. I plead again to him for answers... "Nate... All this silence is doing is making things worse, why not just say? I'm going to find out eventually what happened, why bother to delay answering."

Still light headed my gaze turns to the others present, with the hope that someone is more willing to give me even a crumb of information. It's a complicated room peering at all here none seem willing to speak and the varied looks I'm getting are only feeding the disquiet that is germinating within. The room reeks from their pheremones my own worry adding to the sickening smell. Only one looks me in the eye, its Nabi of course and when she notices my gaze she walks over envelopes my hand in hers sending me warm reassuring comfort.

Alpha Atreus enters the room then and is the first to speak as foreboding silence surrounded the room. His voice was a deep baritone, a reassuring compass to the fear I was beginning to drown in. I'm still dumbfounded to why this man invokes such emotions within me, it is a complete contradtiction to the mate bond. And even though I knew I was about to hear something I probably wouldn't like, that same commanding voice was soothing to my soul. Funny how I was the one turning my gaze away then.

"Paloma... something happened during the ceremony." Alpha Atreus says and the look of annoyance on my face is unrestrained I didn't even bother to hide it. "Yeah, I kinda gathered that." My sarcasm prevalent in every word, I just want to know, I wish they would hurry up and tell me.

"Something unknown. We've never experienced this before and no one I have contacted or visited seems to know what is going on. Is there anything that you can remember about the incident that might shed any extra ray of light on it." As I'm mulling over his words, one thing said raises a question.

"You have visited people, other packs about this?... " I ask with ignited agitation but before he answers I ask another. "Exactly how long have I been knocked out Alpha."

I can feel the tension in the room build with every second that goes bye. "Six days, at this point we weren't sure you were gona return to us. I'm sorry I know this must be difficult to hear." I gulped down on hearing that... six days -- six frickin days, how could I be out that long and not realise.

"There ain't much I can add to aid in this, I'm afraid I am in the dark as much as you are on this one. All I can remember is the burning sensation on my back and shoulders as I held the candle, oh my godess do you think it was a faulty candle or something like that?" It was easy to see that they definitely didn't think that was the answer. Godess I'm so stupid, why did I even ask that!

"Anything else, even if its minuscule maybe it could help." Alpha Atreus urged me to find answers but there was nothing else significant to me.

"Honestly the only other thing I can remember are the vivid dreams that I had."

"Describe them." He encouraged.

"There was a woman, she's always the same... strong and beautiful." I looked away wistfully as I remembered her. "She's always there, in my dreams --- and I know that I need to capture her. The desire to find her is so consuming, no it actually feels like I need to find her, but no matter how hard I try she is always out of reach and it's so draining and heartbreaking.

Even when I do come close she disappears like a mist or a cloud and floats away like a butterfly....

Now --- do you want to call the crazy train and stick me on it, because I don't know why I just told you all this stupid reoccurring dream that I had, or are you going to let me in on the little you know. Because it's my body and it is me that this happened too and I am the one most in the dark." My words came out in an almost whisper, but the distress in them was evident. Baring myself in front of a room of strangers with the only person that I know behaving angry, standoffish and distant was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Never have I felt so exposed and vulnerable and the bond between me and Nate so weak, it felt non-existent and I felt abandoned and alone.

Nabi drew my attention as she wrapped her arms around me in a comforting hug. "Don't fret child everthing will be ok." Accepting the warm embrace, I hadn't realised how much I needed it until I felt myself relax into her hold.

Alpha Atreus cleared his throat and I readied myself for the truth. "Ok, all I can say is what we witnessed, during the full moon as we held our lit candles and said thanks, you appear to have had a reaction to the moon." I looked at him in disbelief, I mean what is he on about. "How can I have a reaction to the moon? I mean I've never heard of such a thing, is that even possible."

"I'm going from what I have seen, what everyone else witnessed and what we have researched so far. Your skin on the back of your neck, shoulders upper back and the right side of your face glowed with a white light when you turned and the moonlight shone on you. You collapsed soon after, though for about a minute you stood still as if in a trance. It seems to have burned a mark onto your skin. We are not sure yet what it is but rest assured, everyone felt the bond of you joining and we all will support you through this, whatever it is we have your back." He placed his hand on my shoulder giving me a reassuring hold.

With every word spoken my fear grew but I also felt protected, the warmth radiating off my new Alpha, the one that confuses me to no end. I really cannot understand this man, with his sexy and domineering attitude, he is wild and unrestrained yet shows care and empathy, all the while never loosing the powerful protector auro that he exudes. It scares me, how he stirs up these unexplained emotions.

Taking deep breaths I calm myself and slowly stand off the table I was lying on. The room is warm with a wood fire blazing in the large fireplace. Its rustic wooden mantle piece framing the fire, with an enormous matching mirror hung above reflecting the image of me. Me...

My heart leapt inside when I saw myself, my upper arm is cuffed in what looks like a white tattoo of the stages of the moon. I can see more marks over my shoulder and up my neck of the what looks like a vines of moonflower all the way up to my face. A butterfly sits amongst the blooms on my neck. I turn around twisting my head to see what is on my back, if anything and see the emblem of this pack burned into my skin like the others all entangled together in one giant mark.

But there is something else...

Something I never expected, my mark. My mates mark the one that was faded, the one I have waited so long for, grazing my finger across its position. It is gone...









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