Chapter 19: Elizabeth
Elizabeth was standing in front of the sliding glass doors in Michael’s room. She was staring through the door at the mountain before her. Tonight was the night of the moon, and she was ready for the shift. Michael had ceased contact with Matthew after the fight. However, due to the fight, Michael had postponed announcing her as Luna to his pack. His pack was aware that she was his mate, he refused to hide that fact any longer, but he wanted to wait on officially making her Luna until he could determine what Matthew’s retaliation would be. Elizabeth sighed and rubbed a hand over her face. Matthew’s words began to tempt her doubts and insecurities. What if there was more behind him not wanting to announce her as Luna? What if he was having doubts about her? She raked a hand through her long hair.
Elizabeth rubbed her bare arms and smiled lightly. It was already beginning to darken outside. As if on cue, she heard Michael enter the room. She fought the urge to turn around and face him. She needed to clear her head of the doubts that Matthew implanted. She felt Michael’s arms slip around her from behind. He drew her naked body into his and kissed her mark softly. “It’s hard to be excited for the moon when you look like this,” he murmured against her skin. She smiled and tilted her head back to rest against his shoulder. His arms tightened around her. “You’re never quiet,” he whispered. “What is it?”
Elizabeth turned in Michael’s arms to face him. His beautiful emerald eyes were bright with concern. She gently rested a hand on his face. “When do you plan on announcing me?” she whispered.
“After I know what Matthew is doing. He is not one to back down after being beaten.”
“It’s been weeks. I gave up my home to be here, and you haven’t told any of your pack the full reason that I’m here,” she said. Matthew had told his pack that she was his mate and that was why she was moving in, but that was all; there was no discussion about announcing her as his Luna at all. He was not lying to his pack, technically, but he was omitting the truth.
“Baby, the ones that need to know that you are my Luna do know,” Michael whispered.
“You’re wrong,” she said. “Your people have a right to know that they have a Luna, and you’re leaving them under the impression that they do not. They probably think that there is something wrong with me for an Alpha to have a mate but not a Luna.”
“Elizabeth, it doesn’t matter what my pack thinks about you. You are my pack’s Luna.”
“I’m not,” she smiled bitterly. “To your people, I’m just another she-wolf that is apparently your mate that isn’t deserving of truly being your equal.” She untangled herself from his arms and sighed. She pulled open the sliding glass door, then turned to look at him. “I’m going to run alone tonight.”
Before Michael could protest, Elizabeth shifted into her wolf and began running toward the mountain. She howled in happiness as freedom possessed her. Her claws screeched against the rock as she began climbing the mountain vigorously. After the last shift, she craved the freedom that she discovered in the wilderness. Rather than running in the shadows on the beach, or being confined to a swim, she was riding air without consequence. The wind combed through her fur as the trees blurred around her like a green oil painting.
Elizabeth groaned internally as she heard another wolf behind her. She wanted to be with Michael more than anything, but she really did hope for solitude tonight. She knew that Michael keeping her hidden was for her own protection, but it still troubled her. I can take care of myself, she thought. I’ve proven it. It had been weeks without word from Matthew. Elizabeth would be surprised if he even retaliated like Michael thought that he would. Then again, his own best friend fought him over a bitch, she thought. Matthew could see me as a problem for Mountain, rather than a solution.
Elizabeth ran a little faster as the wolf behind her began to close the distance. She growled lowly when she realized that this wolf was not her mate. The mating bond was distant, not amplified like it would have been with proximity. Elizabeth cut to the right suddenly and barreled through the weeds. The wolf behind her roared as it neared. The roar was full of rage, of vengeance. Elizabeth’s mind whirred to determine the wolf’s identity. The possibilities seemed endless now that Mountain knew that she was Michael’s mate. Fuck. Michael had relied on his pack’s she-wolves being too afraid of him to hurt his newfound mate, but she was wondering if this would happen. She approached a clearing in the woods and inhaled deeply. She spun around and planted her paws on the ground, her gold eyes fixated on her stalker.
The wolf was smaller than Elizabeth, and she confirmed that the wolf was a female. Dark auburn fur blanketed the wolf, gold eyes bright with rage. I do not know this one, Elizabeth realized. She had seen all of Oceanside’s wolves, but Michael had not introduced her to Mountain’s wolves yet. Something he is waiting on until after I’m actually Luna, she thought with annoyance. The female’s lips stretched back in a snarl, the canines glowing under the moon’s rays. I’m making him announce me tomorrow, she thought. This is fucking dumb.
Elizabeth bore her own canines and growled deeply. Her doubts and insecurities caused her mind to betray her momentarily. Michael did this, she thought as she tensed; a she-wolf had no problem challenging a simple she-wolf mate, but no she-wolf was bold enough to challenge a Luna. No, he didn’t, she argued with herself. He didn’t send the bitch after me, she came of her own volition. Elizabeth smirked suddenly and her wolf purred. Fuck it, I could use the work out.
Elizabeth sprinted toward the female as the female charged forward. Elizabeth dodged as the wolf snapped her canines at her. Elizabeth whirled around and clamped her canines on the female’s tail. The female snarled and tried to rip her tail away, but Elizabeth’s grip was tighter. The female’s left paw connected with Elizabeth’s snout. The claws dug into Elizabeth’s snout, and blood began to drip into Elizabeth’s mouth. She released the female and quickly pounced on her. She pinned the female to the ground and snarled at her. As much as she truly did wish to proceed with this fight, the Luna part of her told her that this was a bad idea.
The female plunged her claws into Elizabeth’s chest. Elizabeth roared and buried her canines into the female’s shoulder. So much for avoiding a fight, Elizabeth thought. With her canines rooting her in place, Elizabeth jumped off the female and dragged her along the ground. Elizabeth shook her head back and forth violently, tossing the female from side to side like a rag doll. The female snarled and swiped her claws at Elizabeth’s face and throat. Elizabeth growled and buried her fangs deeper into the wolf’s shoulder.
The female roared and slashed her claws at Elizabeth’s face again. Elizabeth flinched as her skin attempted to heal itself. Blood dripped into her eyes and down her chin. She clamped her jaw down even tighter on the female’s shoulder. A loud snap prompted a howl of pain from the female. Elizabeth had shattered the wolf’s shoulder blade. Elizabeth’s mouth slipped away from the female’s shoulder, and the wolf thudded weakly to the ground. As Elizabeth turned to leave, the female’s free paw shot out and ripped down Elizabeth’s side. Fury engulfed Elizabeth and she buried her snout into the opposite shoulder. Her canines penetrated the skin and her jaw compressed against the shoulder tightly. Another loud snap cracked through the air, followed by another howl of pain that confirmed that Elizabeth had shattered that shoulder blade as well.
Elizabeth turned and began her journey home. Iron invaded her nose as her blood stained her fur and her skin. She could not remember the last time that she had been in a fight as a wolf or had been in a fight with another wolf. But she did not fight like an ordinary bitch of a she-wolf, Elizabeth thought about her enemy. Most she-wolves did not show that level of persistence once they were injured, and this one to continued to try to fight after a shattered shoulder blade. We’ll find her now, though, Elizabeth thought. Wolves cannot heal from wolf bites; werewolf canines scarred other werewolves. I will find you, Elizabeth snarled. And we will finish this in person.
The sliding glass door of Michael’s bedroom was open for their return. She breathed a sigh of relief as comfort enveloped her when she entered his room. He had not returned yet, but the mere scent of him was enough to calm her nerves. She longed to be with him, but she did not have the energy in her for another run. She curled up on the floor beside the bed and closed her eyes. I’ll shower before I crawl into bed, she thought. I just need to rest first. Her skin was ripping and contorting itself as it fused back together to heal her injuries. She sighed in content, then succumbed to fatigue.