Tonight, was the night.
All the sacrifices.
My constant battle with my inner demons.
After all the shit I caused.
The man I was looking in the mirror wasn’t the same man. I was someone else, a better version of what I was before.
So, what if I didn’t wear a suit? I was only a dishwasher now, but eventually I would be someone more.
Hunter was in the guest room getting ready. I wanted to show her how far I come. I wanted to make her proud. I was going to tell her the truth eventually, but tonight I was going to enjoy the progress we both have made.
I pulled my phone out to see a text from the same number as before.
Unknown: Remember what I told you. She still doesn’t know.
I sighed heavily as I clasped my phone tightly in my hand. I didn’t want to reply. I just wanted to spend these next few days with my sister and enjoy our brief normalcy.
Was that too much to ask?
“Troy you ready?” Hunter called out from the living room.
She was probably ready to go, and I was still staring at myself like a psychopath in the mirror. Mentally preparing myself for tonight. I was surprised she wanted to go after everything that happened today, she was changing in ways I’ve never seen and I was worried, but she was adamant to come.
“Yup, coming.” I placed a baseball cap on my head to cover the obvious bags under my eyes. I wasn’t using, but I haven’t been sleeping the same since the other night.
I had to control myself around her.
I had to control myself around him.
He was the reason for a lot of things. I wanted to trust him, but now I wasn’t sure if I trusted anybody.
Another text so soon?
Unknown: Good luck tonight, you’ve come so far.
My mind was racing, the tension was building up, and my hands were shaking as I stared aimlessly at the message. I was trapped in the corner with no where to run. It was hard for me to accept moving here, and I couldn’t be more grateful, but I wasn’t going to bend at the will of someone just because they gave a fucking penthouse.
I was more then just then just the drug addict brother.
“Troy, you’re going to be late!” Hunter shouted again.
“Yea.” I sighed heavily as I took one last look at myself. “Coming.”
The auditorium lights put our circle in the spotlight.
My voice echoed the large emptiness that surrounded us, making it sound like I was the only one in the room.
“Hi, my name is Troy.” My voice trembled from nervousness, but it got easier each time I stood up since the first few meetings.
“Hi Troy.” The circle of familiar and some new faces spoke in unison. It seemed like there were less and less people every time I came.
“I’ve been addicted to volt for a couple years now…” I breathed in heavily as I looked to my sister sitting next to me. She was smiling, she was so damn happy today. I knew the past month was hell, but here we were.
“Today… I’m 1 month sober.” I felt so good to let the words out. I couldn’t believe I was saying it.
There was a light applause from the circle of people, but none of them mattered to me, only she did. Her blue eyes looked into mine with such joy as I stood up, letting my heart out to complete strangers.
“I couldn’t do this by myself.” I kept my eyes on her, then turned to Derek who was standing right beside me.
“Here you go bud,” He handed me the chip.
It was a bronze coin with a triangle, and the number ‘1’ engraved in the center. It held no monetary value, but what it meant to me was the world. It was a new chapter in my life, and I was finally starting fresh.
Derek pulled me in as we shook hands, “Proud of you.”
He was there from the beginning of my journey. He got me the job when I needed it. He supported me when I was about to relapse. He has been through hell and back, and he knew what it was like to lose everything.
“Thanks, couldn’t of done this without you.”
“You deserve this, remember that.” He patted the side of my arm as everyone continued clapping.
I looked to Hunter again, she looked amazing tonight. She was wearing her usual gym ensemble, yoga pants and sweater, but that was who she was. She wouldn’t change for a man, and she wouldn’t let anyone tell her what she should wear.
That’s what I loved most about her.
I was finally getting my life together, but at the same time, I couldn’t help to feel the dread for her. There was so much baggage she carried around and I was afraid it was going to come crashing down on her.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, that wraps the evening up, same place next week and remember, if you need more support, contact your sponsor.” Derek announced to the group.
As everyone proceeded from their chair, I pulled Hunter to the side. I really wanted her to meet Derek. I’ve known him for only a short while, but we created brotherly bond I thought I would never have.
“Hunter come; I want you to meet someone.” I subtly spoke to her as she got up from her seat. Thankfully, everyone was already clearing out of the auditorium, giving us more privacy to speak.
“Alright, alright.” Her face lit up as she looked to my hand still gripping onto the medallion. “Troy, I’m so proud of you.”
She pulled me in for a hug. I haven’t felt this close to her since we were kids. For once in a long time, I felt like it was just the two of us, like it always has been.
I pulled her away and looked to her eyes. She was the strongest person I’ve ever met. Mentally her walls were sky high, but I knew my way around. I knew she was getting eating up inside by her inner demons. She had so many lies that she had to come to terms with and I was going to help her get through it whether she wanted the help or not.
“Hunter, this is Derek.” I raised my hand to see Derek, already standing next to us, he had his eyes on her since we got here. I explained a little bit about our upbringing but didn’t get into detail of her new werewolf situation. It wasn’t everyday your sister was dating an Alpha in Elysium city.
“Hi,” Hunter was never a really a shy person, maybe awkward, but not shy, so I was surprised to see her face flushed face as Derek looked to her. From the looks of it, Derek always had this effect on everyone. He was a refined man who wouldn’t shy away from a hard conversation.
He was well put together, and he never missed his daily shave. He wore civilian clothes, but I knew he could afford a lot more then just the basic pair of jeans and t-shirt. It’s probably why we got along so well, he was humble and he never flaunted his successes.
He inspired me so much I got a similar hair cut to his, hell, we even went to the same barber now. Whether we were here, on the street, or just at the store, the women always were drawn to him. He had this certain aura about him that seemed to attract them.
“A pleasure,” Derek took her hand and firmly shook it, “Troy’s told me all about you, its nice to finally meet you.”
“Oh, he has. Has he?” She smirked in my direction, “And what else did my brother say about me?”
“He tells me you’re an aspiring fighter.”
“Oh, did he?” She raised her eyebrows, and I knew the gears in her head were turning. I never got into detail about the upcoming fight, but I suppose she thought otherwise.
His face lit up as he casually leaned in, “Well, to tell you the truth, I can tell.”
“And how’s that?”
I cleared my throat, “Derek is a former Marine.”
Her eyes lit up as I mentioned it
“6 Tours.” He nodded lightly.
“So, tell me, why are you in Elysium then? Usually, Veteran’s would run away from this place as fast as they could, unless they are involved with the packs of the city.” She narrowed her eyes on Derek suspiciously.
“Hunter, why are you asking that?” I’ve never seen my sister act like this in front of a stranger. It was unlike her, like a new personality bubbling up before my eyes.
“It’s ok Troy,” Derek straightened his body as his attention refocused on her, “I would want to know who my brother is hanging around with all the time.” He smirked playfully, “I have a gun shop if you really want to know the truth.”
“A gun shop? Sort of hypocritical, you spend time here, helping with peoples’ addictions, while guns are part of the problem.”
“HUNTER.” I nudged her arm lightly, but it went ignored.
What the hell has gotten into her?
“Is that so then?” Derek smiled as he looked to me.
“Yes.” She hesitantly replied.
“You think a werewolf needs a gun? They are their own weapons, and we are at their mercy if we can’t protect ourselves.”
“So, rage war on the streets?”
“Evens the playing field.” His voice dropped and his eyes narrowed into her.
“Killing is not the answer.” She exchanged the same look. I could practically feel the awkward tension rising.
“There’s too much death in the hands of werewolves in this damn city for me to just retire on some desolate farm in the middle of no where while people like your brother here, SUFFER. And for what? Drugs? Money? Werewolf rivalry? Not while I’m breathing. I’ve seen too much in this world to sit back and let it burn, especially in the city where I grew up. It’s only getting worse.” Derek leaned in and looked to his side subtly, “Especially when the city is ran by certain somebodies.”
Hunter’s face went red, and her eyes dropped. I hadn’t told Derek anything about her experience with werewolves, but it seemed like he already had his opinions formed. I had no idea he was so volatile towards werewolves, but hell, weren’t all humans? They controlled this city, the money, and the politicians were played like puppets by the Alpha’s. It was only natural to have the resentment towards them.
“I -” She was lost for words. Maybe she knew he was right.
Derek’s voice went low and his eyes darkened, peering into her like he was to me the first time I relapsed, “I take you for a person that wouldn’t bend to anyone’s will. I can see a strength in your eyes.”
“All you see are my eyes, there’s nothing more to them.” She deepened her eyebrows as she looked to Derek, like they were in a staring contest.
“I can see more.” Derek exchanged the same look and leaned in closer to her.
“Fear of what?”
“How can you assume that?”
’You know wolf packs are only ruled by men? The Alpha’s are always men. Men are so…. Violent, but women, are so….” Derek’s eyes trailed Hunter up and down, “Intelligent.”
I wasn’t sure what I was witnessing. Was Derek flirting with my sister in front of me? Did he know her? I was so confused. I’ve never seen this side of him.
“Women are not just intelligent,” She crossed her arms and stood tall, leaning in towards him with menacing eyes, “We’re STRONG.”
“I couldn’t agree more.” Derek lightly chuckled and his smile grew.
“Well…. this is getting…-” I wanted to put the breaks on this conversation. It was getting weird.
“Your right Troy.” He tapped onto my shoulder then looked back to Hunter, “Congrats again brother, and nice to meet you Hunter, I hope to see you again.”
“Nice to meet you too Derek.” Hunter put her hand out to shake and Derek took it, gripping it firmly as they locked eyes.
“The pleasure is all mine.” As Derek released her hand, I saw her face turn flush once again.
Why in the hell was Derek pulling tricks on my god damn sister?
As Derek walked away, I turned to Hunter and grabbed her by the arm, “What the fuck was that?”
Her eyes widened as she heard my question, like it was absurd to think that she was just flirting right before my very eyes, “What the fuck Troy? I’ve never seen him in my life.”
“Why in the hell are you flirting with him?” I narrowed my glance to her, and she looked away.
She was still trembling nervously, “I wasn’t flirting, what the hell as gotten into you? He scared me.”
“Scared you?” Should I tell her the truth about Derek? Should I tell her the real reason why he had so much resentment towards them?
“Derek’s been through a lot, he has his opinions about werewolves...”
“So do I.”
“You know your dating one, right?”
“I’m not just dating one Troy. I’m going to be his mate.”
“Are you sure about that Hunter? I feel like this is moving so fast. – “
“No. It’s not, its natural. I can’t explain it. I need it, I want it. My body physically needs to be close to him to feel whole.”
“Well, I’m sorry, I can’t relate.” I scoffed. “So, how does that explain you waltzing into Xanos’s building today in some sort of trance? How could you have Marcus, then just be pulled away to someone else?”
“Its hard to explain…”
“Bullshit, your confused, you don’t know what you want. You barely know Xanos, and you were magically crawling to his feet like some…- “
“What Troy? Nightwalker? Hmm? Finish your sentence, I want to hear it.”
“No.” I couldn’t finish it, I let myself ramble on too much, I didn’t want to offend her, but I was growing concerned after today. Marcus sent Xavier and a posse of men to follow her, but I felt like it was overkill.
Shouldn’t she decide who she wants?
Its not like Xanos was trying to kidnap her.
She turned her head briefly and looked around, “What the hell is happening to us.” Her face filled with regret and so was mine.
“I’m sorry.” I turned away, I couldn’t face her, it was like my emotions were spiraling out of a control. The idea of her and Marcus at first was appealing, but now that I looked at the bigger picture, I was unsure what I believed anymore.
Did I really have a choice in the matter? Would he just take what he wanted no matter what I said? I really didn’t know to think at this point.
Her hand went onto my arm, “Look, I’m sorry…I know this must be hard, but please, trust me.”
“I just want to make sure you are making the right decision.”
“Don’t feel like you have to rush into it, just because you feel this stupid ‘pull’ doesn’t mean you have to jump into it.”
“You wouldn’t have the slightest clue about the mating pull.” I could hear the agitation in her voice and her body tensed up.
I grew frustrated at her response. This was exactly why she needed to take more time to make her decision. I know I told her before she should go for it, but now, I felt like I was stepping backwards on my advice.
“That’s why werewolves are impulsive.” I blurted out.
She was pissed, her face grew deep with expression, her eyes darkened like I’ve never seen before. “Excuse me?” She raised her voice, enough to turn some heads of people leaving the area.
“Impulsive, they make rash decisions on a whim.” I couldn’t explain the anger I was feeling, or was it resentment? Was it because Marcus was taking her from me? She deserved a good life, but something deep down inside me wanted to protect her.
“After all that Marcus is doing for us, you’re going to say that?” She gritted through her teeth.
“You can’t buy respect.”
“What the fuck Troy? Are you seriously going to pull this shit days before I move in with him?”
“Why are you being so defensive Hunter? You’re lying to his face everyday. Tell me, did you tell him yet? About the fight? About Alpha James…- “I paused.
Should I have mentioned that? I didn’t want to bring James up, but I was telling her the hard truth. She had to tell Marcus everything; it’s gone on long enough. There were too many lies she was keeping from him, and she was going to tell him right before she moved in? Was she insane?
Thankfully by now, the auditorium was empty with no one else to overhear us, but I suppose we were too far in our conversation to even care at this point. The conversation was bound to happened, and it was a perfect time since Xavier and his men were standing outside the auditorium.
“You have no fucking idea what I went through.” The tears were falling from her eyes.
I went to reach for her, but I she pushed me away. “Don’t TOUCH me.”
“You’re right Hunter, I don’t know what you went through, but I know at the end of the day, we all have to come to terms with what happened. I know I did. I am fucking pay for it everyday. It eats me up inside like maggots eating away at my flesh. I’ll never forget what I caused, what happened to you, it was all my fault.” I didn’t’ want to cry, but I felt a surge of emotions swirling around in my stomach. It was too hard to hold it back.
She wiped the tears from her face, “I’m telling him everything tomorrow at dinner. It’s already planned, then after, I’ll be out of your hair. I don’t need your help. Just focus on yourself…” She turned away and I went to grab her hand.
“No,” She whipped her hand away as she walked towards the exit.
“Where are you going now?” I yelled, but she kept her pace towards the door, not giving me another look.
“I need to clear my head, don’t wait up, besides, I got a whole army of them outside this building following me like I’m the god damn president.” She stopped at the door and turned her head slightly, “Good job today….”
Just before I could reply, the door was already slammed shut.
I was alone.
I sat on one of the empty chairs, sinking myself into the back as my legs relaxed forward.
I pulled my phone out to see that there was another message.
UNKNOWN: Did you tell her?
My eyes traced the message over and over, causing the anger to surge through me like a tidal wave. My heart was beating so fast, I was so damn angry, I was so livid, I didn’t know how to contain myself.
I screamed as my muscles tensed up. It felt as though every vein in my body wanted to poke out.
I got to my feet, and grabbed the chair, “Fuck you!!” I threw it as far as I could across the empty auditorium.
I had to contain myself, but all I wanted to do was tear this building down.
I picked up another chair and threw it against the wall, creating a large gaping hole. I didn’t care anymore, the anger within me felt too good to contain now. I needed to let it all out.
One by one, I threw each chair in different directions, hitting the walls on each end of the auditorium.
I never felt so angry in my life.
I was too much of a pussy to tell her, and now I was lecturing her on telling the truth to Marcus.
I was a god damn hypocrite.