Her mother clutched Rey’s hand with so much power, Rey had to do her best not to cry out loud. She would surely have red marks as an accessory for the next couple of days.
Rey tried to get out of her grip, but her mother only squeezed harder. She didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of admitting that she was hurting her, so Rey asked instead: “I don’t understand your question.”
“Don’t play dumb with me, Rey!” She said her name the way she always did when Rey did something bad and she was getting fired up to scold her.
Rey’s first instinct was to say sorry with her tail tucked between her legs, but not this time. Whatever her problem was, Rey hadn’t done anything wrong: “I am not playing dumb, I am genuinely asking you. What the hell is your problem? You either tell me or you let me go! Your choice.”
“Listen to me, young lady,” her mother was a woman in her late forties, but she was still strong enough to drag Rey wherever she wanted. Even in the depths of hell.
Rey wasn’t very confident about it, but she believed she had at least a decent fighting chance if she really wanted to fight her mother to get out of her grip. But she couldn’t chase away the feeling that her attempts would be futile.
They would have this conversation regardless of whether Rey wanted to or not and Rey concluded it was better to get on with it as soon as possible. So she let herself be pulled behind her mother, away from the crowd, all to way to the edge of the forest.
“I really want to believe you are not stupid enough to make the same mistake twice.”
“You are not making any sense!” Rey whisper-yelled at her.
“Me? You are the one getting all warm with him. Again!” Her mother’s words felt like a slap on her face. One she didn’t get, but her heart still felt it.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Rey scoffed. She toyed with the idea of not revealing anything to her, but she didn’t want to get into any deep mess. “That was not getting warm with anyone. That was helping him pick a present for his mate if you really must now.”
“Yeah? Then what about the secret meeting you two had in the forest yesterday?” Alya asked, her voice filled with silent accusations.
Rey started to defend herself, but something else attracted her attention: “That wasn’t even planned ... Wait a second. Were you following me?!”
“Of course, I was following you. This whole mess started because we let you go inside the woods on your own. I was not about to make the same mistake again.”
Rey imagined her mom trailing behind her and it caused an involuntary shiver to run down her spine. If she was this blind to notice anything unusual, how many other people could be doing the same thing? She needed to get her guard up.
But she had something else to deal with first: “I am an adult. You have no right to follow me or anyone else. No matter what wild scenarios you are creating inside your mind!”
“I have every right to follow you. I am your mother!”
Was there even a point in reminding her that she no longer held that title in her eyes? Rey didn’t think so. She also didn’t think this whole mess was worth making a scene for.
She took a deep breath to put herself together before she replied calmly: “Just because you gave birth to me, it doesn’t mean you have some right to play with my life. The sooner you understand that, the better. You already messed my life up once and I am never allowing you to do that again.”
She jerked her hand and successfully released herself from her mother’s grip. Rey then turned to leave, but Alya wasn’t finished with her yet: “I always hold your best interest in my heart.”
Oh fine, forget calm. Now she was fired up. “My best interest? How was breaking the bond between me and my mate the best solution for me?”
“That boy ... Your father feared he would ruin everything, Rey. You saw the way his father was leading his pack. We couldn’t allow him to do the same thing to ours.”
“Talon wasn’t like that! He was a complete opposite of his father. Which is something you would know if you even bothered spending five minutes with him. But no, that was too much to ask from you, wasn’t it?”
She begged them so much to at least give them a bit of a chance to prove to them that life wasn’t going to be a living hell if they stayed mated. But nothing was getting through to them. Not her pleas and not even her tears.
“We made a mistake. We know that now. And if I could change it, I would do it in a heartbeat. But it is too late now, and I am not going to let you ruin your life for him.”
“I am not ruining anything.”
“Darling, how do you think people will look at you if you steal a man from his wife? One that is pregnant on top of that. Cheating is not something that is taken lightly in this pack. You know it. They will never respect you, even if he makes you his luna. That’s why you have to stay away from him. Some people are already accusing you of being a slut and I...”
“That’s enough!” Rey yelled out. Her scream scared away the birds settled on the branches above their heads, or maybe it was the rage that filled her veins. “I didn’t expect much from you, but you still managed to tear down my expectations, mother.”
“Rey, I just...”
“Enough of this!” Rey interrupted her. “You already said more than enough. Now I am going to say something.”
She left her mother behind to get into a better hearing distance, even though the werewolves at the market didn’t exactly need it.
“This is the very last time I am saying this,” every single pair of eyes turned to her immediately and the chatter died out, “I have no intention of being the luna of your pack nor do I have any intentions to seduce your alpha. I am no slut, and I will certainly not be anyone’s homewrecker. So cut this bullshit out before I cut you up!”
She would never hurt a single soul willingly, but they didn’t need to know that. They didn’t bother talking to her before they started casting their judgments about her. And Rey had enough!
She turned to her mother and said a lot less loud: “I don’t care what you think is the best thing for me. Your opinions don’t matter. So, the next time you feel the sudden urge to talk to me, don’t. I am under no obligations to have you in my life and I will not talk to you from now on. I won’t even look at you. Forget you have a daughter. I already forgot about you.”
With her final words, Rey made her legs move in a desperate attempt to get away from this godforsaken place. She ran inside the woods, and not even the desperate pleas from her mother were enough to stop her.