Chapter 04 - Dr Mate
The sheets on her side of the bed were cold, but her scent lingered there ever so slightly and I couldn’t help but shiver at the cool temperatures and the loneliness of the bed. I hated waking up to an empty bed, but more than that, I hated how often it happened now, how often I woke up to find her trying to escape the nightmares, the fear that plagued her thoughts and the shadows that made her jump.
I hated how broken she was, and that there was nothing I could do to help her.
But I loved how strong she was – I loved how she poured her heart and soul into her work and now her position in the pack.
I loved everything about her.
And so, I went to find her. I wasn’t surprised to discover she had taken up her place in our private library. She was showered and dressed, wearing thick woolen socks, black jeans and an oversized grey knitted jumper, she sat at her work computer, typing away eyes fixed to the screen.
“Good morning,” she said, glancing up from the screen but continuing to type as she smiled at me.
“I didn’t hear you come to bed,” I sighed, standing behind her chair and wrapping my arms around her shoulders, nuzzling into her hair, and deeply inhaling the scent of flowers and books.
She nuzzled her head back at mine, “that’s because I’ve seen corpses sleep lighter than you,” she laughed.
I chuckled, “why are you so chipper this morning?” I hummed.
“I had to finish grading these papers,” she replied, before stopping and looking at the three coffee cups piled on her desk, “that and coffee.”
“I guess I better go shower then, so I can drop you at work,” I sighed, trailing my fingers across the smooth skin on her neck as I began to pull myself away from her.
“Hold on,” she said, standing she grabbed my hand and yanked me back towards her, melting at my touch, I wrapped my arms around her and pressed my lips on hers, warming her cold nose and rosy cheeks.
“I love you,” I purred.
* * * * * * * * * *
“What did she say, what did Patricia tell you last night?” I finally asked, turning the radio down on the car and Alice froze in the car seat next to me, slowly closing her laptop and turning to look at me – giving me her full attention.
Alice tilted her head side to side as she shifted through her thoughts, bringing her knees up to her chest and hugging them, “it wasn’t anything useful, not really,” she sighed.
“Useful to us; the Alpha and the Luna, or us; her friend and brother?” I asked, running my fingernail across the leather steering wheel.
“Both,” she shrugged. “She said she could smell him, only him, and that it was only around the pack house. I think she would have run into the burning building if she thought she could find him.”
“I didn’t see anyone suspicious; did she try and tack him? She’s our best tracker after all.”
She shook her head again, “no, you don’t understand, when I say it was only the pack house, I mean only the pack house. That’s why she was so confused, so conflicted, she knows her mate exists now, but she has no way to find him, to be with him.”
I shot her a skeptical glance, “that’s not possible, he had to have left a trail somewhere.”
“Hey, I’m just the messenger,” she sighed, throwing her hands up defensively.
“The only people who have been able to cover scents were you, and Gina. And last time I checked, you’re the only White Wolf around at the moment.” She looked at me, where white eyes wide and I could almost hear the nose as Alice’s mind raced, “What? Did I say something?”
“What if her mate is magical?”
“A witch?” I asked.
“Or wizard,” she added.
“Wizard’s don’t exist,” I scoffed, “they’re called warlocks.”
She rolled her eyes, “so her mate could be magical,” she concluded.
“It would explain a lot,” I admitted.
It was my turn to shrug, “Jamie and I watched the security camera footage last night, I’ve never seen a fire act like that and the guards on patrol just disappeared – they stepped out of the camera for a second, one second and then they never reappeared in the next shot.”
“So, a coven of witches kidnapped some of our guards and tried to burn the pack building down, why?”
“Revenge, money or love?”
“To avenge Gina’s death?” she suggested.
I lightly hit the back of my head against the head rest, “dam that fucking tradition,” I hissed.
Alice’s hand snaked onto my lap, “Nate?”
I turned and looked at her, the worry laced in her eyes as she gripped my thigh lightly, “If I hadn’t executed her, we wouldn’t have lost five people yesterday.”
“It wasn’t your fault,” she said, looking away from me, “No more than mine.”
I reached over and squeezed her thigh softly, she rolled her head back to face me, her eyes sad and tormented – she blamed herself. “We do this together, everything you do and everything I do, it’s our choices.”