Don’t You Dare
I’ve accepted death. I know this drunk man is going to kill me and Rowena’s screams echo in my head.
Suddenly things feel different. It feels like I’ve been sucked into darkness, watching everything unfold as a passenger in my own body. My vision is hazy and dark around the edges. I feel the weakest and the most powerful that I have ever been. Adrenaline surges through my body and I look on as the man grasps his neck, blood streaming through his fingers as he flies through the air with a look of total shock on his face. In his drunken stupor he hits the ground and scrambles away from me.
He almost looks scared.
Scared of me?
I look down at my hands just as claws retract. I feel panic rising in my chest.
“You-you’re a wolf?” I hear him gasp as I lean over and throw up all over the pavement.
“What?!” I exclaim. “No!” I shout and then throw up again.
You’re welcome, Rowena hisses. I think we should finish him off.
No, absolutely not.
“Then what are you?” He groans, his face pale. Is he dying? “A demon?”
“I don’t know,” I cry, sinking to the ground. The breeze blows against my face, burning the scrapes and cuts and I cry harder.
The night patrol guards find us that way; me in hysterics, bruised and shaking, and my attacker gasping for breath, slowly dying. I watch as they throw the man on a stretcher and carry him away. They’re gentle with me, helping me to my feet, but I sway. Someone pushes to the front of the guards and scoops me up off my feet.
“Where are you taking me?” I moan.
“To Perseus,” Talon grunts his response.
The relief that I feel at his answer is profound and confusing. I’m suddenly filled with a longing for him, and I’m itching to be close to him. I sigh and close my eyes, happy that I’ll be with him soon. Content, I can feel myself drifting off.
“What the hell happened?” I hear Percy thunder, jolting me awake. I don’t know how long I’ve been asleep for—I squeeze my eyes shut and pretend I still am.
“She’s been passed out since we found her pretty much,” I hear Talon tell him. “But from what we’ve gathered, Demetri attacked her. From there it’s a little blurry. Someone saved her—a wolf—but the scent is unfamiliar.”
There’s a long pause. I wait nervously for the answer.
“He succumbed to his wounds.”
“I would’ve loved to have been the one to rip his jugular from his neck. It’s a shame, his death was too painless for me.”
“She’s really your mate?” I hear Talon ask him now, his disappointment undisguised.
Talon makes a disgusted noise and he excuses himself. The tension in the room is thick. The mate bond feels stronger than ever and I can feel how torn Percy is over this.
“I know you’re awake, witch,” Percy says now.
I open my eyes and find myself on the couch in his office. He walks towards me, worry in his eyes. He helps me sit up, and he takes his place next to me. I lean into him and he chuckles and wraps his arm around my shoulders, pressing his face into my hair.
“Are you okay?” He mumbles.
I just nod. My heart is racing. His touch is sending shivers up and down my body. Being near him has immediately calmed me, and in this moment I really am okay despite the fact that a wolf just tried to kill me. Despite the fact that I killed him.
“Aria, what happened?”
I shrug, afraid to tell anyone about Rowena. I don’t even understand it, how could I possibly explain it? I know that my response will anger him before I even fully register it.
“This isn’t a game. Tell me what happened.” He growls.
“I don’t really know, it all happened so fast.”
“Who saved you?” He wants to know. “I’ve smelled a wolf on you the last two weeks. Explain.”
“I don’t know if I can,” I sigh, feeling exhausted just thinking about explaining it to him.
“Try,” he snarls. “You are MINE. I deserve to know why I’ve been smelling another wolf on you. It’s not a man, so what’s going on, Aria?”
I let out a shaky breath, tears pooling in my eyes. “It’s me,” I cry.
He stares at me dumbly for a long minute before he responds. “What?”
“Apparently I’m part wolf. Something I didn’t know until I came here, and I confronted my mom and she’s not actually my real mom, and I keep hearing this person talking in my head and I feel like I’m going crazy, and I killed that man, and I don’t know what to do. I’m freaking out.”
I wait on him to respond, but he doesn’t and the silence is killing me. I need someone to tell me what’s going on—I need him to tell me what’s going on. My body, and my soul, crave for him to take care of me. That alone is enough to drive me insane—this need for help, when I’m an otherwise independent woman. I hate the mate bond for making me feel desperate and vulnerable, like one person in the entire universe is solely responsible for my happiness.
I pull away from him and he seems to come to his senses. He growls and reaches for me but I stand up and quickly step away.
“I need to go home,” I say.
Don’t you dare. Rowena snarls.
“I need to get out of here,” I continue, gasping for breath, on the verge of a panic attack. “I need to leave.”
Percy stands slowly, palms up in surrender, his face soft. “Aria,” he says my name gently. “We can figure this out,” he tries to coax me, but I feel like a caged animal and I stumble back a few more steps, the guttural vibrations emanating from my throat—growls ferociously escaping my mouth—terrify me.
Percy stops his advance towards me and stares at me seriously.
“You can’t leave,” he says in his Alpha-command.
“Like hell I can’t!” I snap at him and I turn and fling the office door open. He moves to follow me. “Don’t come after me!” I command.
And he doesn’t.