And her soul cried again.
“What is going on here?” Rey whispered right as they walked in.
With the enhanced werewolf hearing there was still a 50:50 chance, the beasts outside would hear their entire conversation, but it gave her at least a false sense of security, they wouldn’t.
“Funny that you are asking!” Lia tossed her hands around. “Shouldn’t you be the first one in the line to encourage me to dump his ass?”
“Listen, to me!” Rey reached for Lia’s hands and desperately grasped them in hers, their eyes colliding. “Whatever you think you know, he has nothing to do with any of it. I can wholeheartedly promise you, I have never met this guy before.”
No matter the lessons she learnt in her past, Rey was still desperate romantic deep inside her heart and she absolutely hated this was the way Lia and her mate would remember their first meeting.
If only she was brave enough to...
But there wasn’t much of a point in blaming herself for what she could have done anyway. What was important now, was letting Lia see, it wasn’t necessary to push him away.
Except, she didn’t want to see it: “He is still a part of this pack. I am not stupid, Rey. I know something really bad happened to you in this place. I have known it since the first time you mentioned, you ran away from home. And if you choose to never share your story with me, I will respect it. But not even you can ask me to put him above you. That’s not going to happen.”
“You wouldn’t do anything bad by giving him a chance,” Rey protested.
“Hell, I wouldn’t! You didn’t see the look on your face when the guy came begging for Brynn to help and he mentioned where he was from. I wanted to send him to hell right at that moment just to erase that tortured expression on your face. But you strengthened your back and promised we would help. And I said to myself that if you were strong enough to face whatever demons were waiting for you in this place, I would stand right by your side helping you face them. But this ... Him? Me? It is like, I am becoming one of your demons.”
Lia closed her eyes for a second. When she opened them again, sincerity radiated through as she whispered: “I don’t ever want to be a reason why you are hurt.”
Once again Rey found herself unable to answer. While she had quite a trouble accepting people’s affections, Lia had an even bigger problem of giving them. Rey knew Lia would go to hell and back from every single one of them, but Lia would never admit it out loud. Hearing her words now left a fuzzy feeling in Rey’s stomach.
She took a second to collect her thoughts and said: “You could never become one of my demons. You are one of the best things that ever happened to me, and I don’t want to be a reason why you are hurt as well. That’s why I can’t let you leave without giving him a chance. It wouldn’t be fair to either of you.”
“Who cares what’s fair? I care what’s right.”
“He cares, Lia. He does. The guy obviously wants to get to know you. Leaving now, it would be equivalent to breaking the bond between the two of you.”
“I am strong enough!” Lia shouted, anger flaring inside her again. “If that’s what needs to be done then ....”
Rey scoffed: “No one is strong enough to go through something like that.”
“We are too old to believe some stupid legends anyway. All the talk about the unbearable pain one has to go through and yada yada. Someone probably created them, so our kind wouldn’t go extinct once mates would start leaving each other.”
Rey took a deep breath, the air filling her lungs with courage she needed to say what she was about to say: “Imagine this. You have a small knife, one that wasn’t sharpened in years, and it’s all rusty. Now, you will take this knife and slowly but surely you will start cutting off small pieces of my body. The dullness of the knife as it goes through my skin makes the pain thousand times worse and I beg you to stop, but you keep going. And going. And going. No matter how much I cry, scream or beg. No matter the tears, pleading, bargaining, the pain just won’t stop.”
Lia’s face whitened more and more as Rey continued her story, not that Rey blamed her. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because that’s how it feels when the bond between you and your soulmate is being broken. When the two souls are being separated. And just as you somehow magically survive all the pain and you think nothing worse can come because how can there be anything worse than this, right? Just then your soul starts crying about the loss it suffered. The pain is even worse than the physical one because this one is inside you and it keeps coming back every day. You can’t think about anything else, just about the fact that something, someone that was supposed to be with you your entire life, is now gone. And you will never get him back. Same as you will never get back the person, you were before all this.”
“Stop, stop this, please.” Lia’s voice shook while she begged Rey to shut up and her eyes filled with tears as she asked: “Why do you know all this?”
Another deep breath, another spark of courage: “The new alpha of this pack? Well, he is my ....” Rey had a hunch it would be near impossible to say that word out loud and she was right.
She tried again: “On the second thought, I should probably say he was my ....”
Nope. Still not working.
By the way Lia’s lips shaped into an “O” form, she understood what Rey wanted to say: “But you see, that’s exactly what I am talking about! You two went your own way and you are still fine. Why can’t I do the same thing?”
Rey shook her head: “Actually, we didn’t. Not willingly.”
“Hold on. If you didn’t want to leave him and he didn’t want to leave you, then you two would still be mates. Unless ....” Rey smiled a sad smile as recognition settled on Lia’s face: “No! No! No! That’s against the law! That’s totally against the law!”
Rey shrugged: “Wouldn’t be the first time, someone did something against the law.”
“But this ... I ... this is wrong. It’s wrong on so many levels! How could someone do something like this? Just ...”
Witnessing the breakdown of her best friend hit a little too close to home for Rey. At that moment, Lia reminded Rey of a broken girl that went through something very similar years ago. But no one wanted to listen.
Oh. Rey’s favourite question.
She thought she knew why. A small part of her even understood why it had to be done. And then she saw him again. And her soul cried once more.
The door to their house opened, and the wind carried in another voice saying: “I think I would be a better person to explain.”
Rey turned her head to the side, her eyes settling on the familiar features of her father.