I woke up with pain shooting all over my body. But most of it was concentrated on my neck. Had he really pulled me by it to drag me? Like I was some prey.
I massaged my arms and took a deep breath. The air was full of mold, and it was so cool that my skin had become cold to the touch. I clenched my numb fingers. My werewolf blood rarely let that happen, so that meant I must’ve spent some significant time down here. Wherever that ‘down here’ was.
As I got up to sit on the concrete floor, I scowled at the grids that surrounded me. I was in a cage! Something heavy clung around my waist, and I lowered my gaze to it. My breath caught. There was a heavy chain wrapped around me. It led somewhere out of the cage, pushing through two grids that had been twisted to accommodate its size.
The chain was also cleverly connected to the door of my prison, giving the choice to unchain it either from there or from wherever it led. I traced it with my eyes. Dread was climbing up my senses, making my hair feel like needles on my skin.
Gaping at the metal and the wall it was connected to, I noticed movement from across me and shuffled back into the deeper part of the cage. The instinctual need to hide shook my body and controlled it for a moment. My back hit the grids and added to my already searing pain. It was made of silver!
A human figure, one that I closely knew, stood up from the chair he was sitting on and clicked a light switch on the wall.
I blinked and struggled to adjust my eyes as quickly as possible to the beaming light. I couldn’t miss even a moment of him.
The terror of what he could possibly do shook me to the core and made me feel disoriented. Like I was soaring over my body, but at the same time, I was locked to the ground, unable to move.
“Mate…” I whispered as I fixed my eyes on him.
Wide glassed covered his otherwise green eyes, and voluptuous messy brown hair hid the tips of his ears. Its ends were streaked with red. It was the only noticeable thing about him, and people often wondered if he dyed it. Especially his bullies. His thin body was covered by a dirty blouse, and his longs legs remained hidden in tight jeans.
“Welcome. You’re finally awake!” He clapped his hands. “I couldn’t wait for you to wake up, so I had to sit on the chair and watch until you opened your eyes.”
“Please… Caleb, let me go. I— I won’t tell anyone about this… I’ll pretend this never happened. Just… let’s move on,” I breathed, forcing myself to beg. I hoped there was a spark of his rationality that was still there. He’d spiraled harder than I ever thought possible.
Caleb chuckled and put his hands in his jeans pockets. He approached me, and the air got stuck in my throat. The grids between us felt like a thin sheet of paper. I didn’t know what he was capable of, but it was nothing good. He knew no restraints.
My mate crouched in front of my cage and smirked. “There’s only one way to move on from this. Together. We’ll pretend you never rejected me and we got together during the party for your birthday. I’ll pretend the last few months without you never existed.”
My skin chilled at his horrifying words. I knew rejecting my own mate because I didn’t see him fit to be by my side was… considered unusual. The werewolves respected their mate bonds. But I couldn’t imagine spending my life with him just because of the bond.
I was supposed to be wrenching in guilt that I hadn’t even given him a chance, but that was just a ghostly passing thought. My heart trembled with nothing but disdain and disgust. I had made the right choice.
I just… never thought I’d break him like this. Caleb had always been an outsider. My rejection shouldn’t have struck him like this. No female werewolf would’ve accepted the Silver Moon’s runt.
Clenching my jaw, I pressed my teeth together so hard it felt like they were going to crack. I should’ve seen all the signs. Caleb had started skipping school, his excellent grades had dropped, and he’d become even thinner than he already was.
Just because of my rejection.
“Caleb…” I trailed off, aghast at the developing events.
Some of the times the other werewolves claimed they’d seen him talk to himself or even argue to the empty space next to him sank at the pit of my stomach. Terror clenched around my stiff shoulders. I’d never thought I’d get mated to him. What kind of joke was this? Not only was he insane as fuck; he was flawed.
He was below me. He couldn’t rule a pack of this size.
“You’re so beautiful, Skylar.” He put his hand on the grid and smiled. My lips parted as the silver burned through his flesh. He didn’t even flinch. Fuck. “I’ve always thought you are amazing. Ever since we were children. My feelings started developing in middle school. Do you remember? We often had classes together. You were perfect in everything. If you wanted to try something, you conquered it in a beat.
“You had all the attention on yourself, and the whole school fell at your feet. I was one of them, Sky. I admired you from afar, knowing you’d never really give me a chance. At night, I prayed you’d be my mate, and the Goddess would give me a chance to be happy.
“You were all I wanted until… that fateful evening.” He shook his head, and his smile thinned into something creepy that made a chill quake through me. “I was on cloud nine when I smelled your scent and that thread that connected us. I was ready to give you anything you wanted just for a kiss on the cheek. But then you slapped me and tore my heart out. You rejected me.”
Tears stung my eyes, and I panted. Had he been obsessed with me even before our bond snapped into place? He was deranged!
Caleb sighed, and the mirth returned to his face. It made his eyes glow with some weird light I couldn’t decipher. “But now that you’re here, everything will be fine. I’ll forgive you for what you did to me. And, I’ll make you happy.”
His gaze studied me in hunger I had never seen in another man, and a ball of anxiety struck my heart. “We’ll mate in a few days, just as customs require, and we’ll begin our new life together.”
“Caleb…” I gasped and crawled to him in desperation. “Think about this! My father is the Alpha! He won’t let you live after he finds out what you did!”
He chuckled. “He won’t? Why? I’m your mate and future Alpha. We belong together. Besides, do you think they’d connect your disappearance with me just like that?”
The world collapsed around me as my brain processed his words. Cocky son of a bitch!
He snaked his hand between the grids and tried to touch a strand of my black hair, but I shot back and hit my shoulder on the side grids. I held back my hiss of pain and glared at him.
Caleb let out a sigh and chuckled. “Well, soon. I’ll get to taste every part of you.”
He stood up and turned his back to me, walking to a part of the basement I didn’t know. Soon, he turned left and disappeared up the stairs.
I frantically looked around for something that could get me out of here, but except for the chair he’d been sitting on, a metal table behind it, and my cage, there was nothing else in this place.
My lips parted, and I looked at the chain over my waist. It was as thick as my calf. I strained my muscles to force it to open, but all I did was hurt my hands and fingers in my desperation. At least it wasn’t silver. But everything else that surrounded me was.
Where did he get the money for all this? Silver was not only lethal to us, but it was also very expensive and very few werewolves got access to it.
I pulled the sleeves of my blouse over my hands and grabbed the grids. I clenched my teeth as fire sizzled into me from the touch, but I braced myself and pulled.
What the heck?! Why couldn’t I even move them?
I struggled against the grids, using my feet as support over them, and sweat started trickling down my forehead. The layers of my skin were burned through, but I continued to strive to get myself free. I couldn’t remain locked for long. I was going to pass out.
My chest was heaving with the effort to at least make the cage squeak, but much to my regret, nothing happened. Pulling my hands off the grids, I let out a raspy breath and focused on my strained healing abilities. That was weird. Why weren’t they working properly?
When my wounds reached a more or less good level of health, I stood on my four limbs and prepared my body for a shift. My brows furrowed in confusion.
It felt like there was a mental barrier between me and my black wolf. I could see it, but I couldn’t touch it. It was pacing back and forth nervously, wanting to respond to my call, but it was unreachable. The more I tried to get to it, the more the distance between us grew.
I huffed and scowled, plopping back on my ass. I was absolutely restricted. Was Caleb a criminal? I held back a snort. Yeah, he was a criminal for kidnapping me, but to have such resources as to hold me here captive... How much of a criminal was he? Had he gone off the deep end even before I rejected him? How else would he be able to imprison an Alpha like that?
Gritting my teeth, I closed my eyes, and our history passed through my mind.