Mine

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Chapter 26

As I wait in the car, I swear I hear Rex breathing deeply by the car door but brush it off to him being cold, seeing as I have stolen his jacket.

Eventually, he ducks low, stepping into the car. Something about his demeanour has changed; he’s not looking at me and trying to sit as far away from me as he possibly can.

The car starts to move, but all I can wish is that I was now back inside the club with my friends. The distance between us feels like a gaping valley; it doesn’t feel natural to be this far away from him when I am also so near.

What happened in those seconds outside to make him so distant again? I thought for a moment we had made some sort of progress.

He had looked like he was ready to devour me just moments ago.

After a few more minutes of silence and being stuck in a small space with the overwhelmingly divine scent of my mate… my patience unavoidably erodes away to dust.

“What the hell is wrong with me?” I snap, glaring at Rex, arms wrapped across my chest.

Rex continues to stare straight ahead, ignoring my question.

“Rex?... Is there something wrong with me? Or is it something else?” I ask, but in a more pleading tone.

His jaw ticks, but his eyes remain focused on the front of the car.

“Please… what did I do so wrong? Just talk to me Rex” I plead “I’m so sorry our lives didn’t go the way we had planned”.

His eyelids flicker as an unknown emotion starts to seep into the depths of his eyes.

“Do you blame me?” I brave, asking the question that’s played on my mind time and time again. “It’s ok if you do… I blame myself too. If it wasn’t for me you would’ve never”. Unable to finish my sentence a shuddery sigh escapes my lips as tears fill my eyes in an instant. I think know now where this is going.

As my voice croaks and breaks, I find the courage to ask, “Are you… going to reject me?” I sniffle, wiping at the tears in my eyes before they have the chance to fall.

His passionate eyes glare back at my own in an instant as he growls out, “No!

“Then what are you going to do!? I’m stuck in limbo here, you don’t want me, yet you won’t reject me, sometimes I think you look at me as if you actually want me, and then I get confused… and… hopeful”, I breathe out the last word, squeezing my eyes shut in shame at my admission.

“Then what is it you want, Rex? Do you need me to change? Because if you do, I’ll do it. I swear I will, just tell me what you want, what you need and I’ll do it”, my eyes stream as my heart pours itself to Rex.

Rex falters for a moment, closing his eyes as his face looks pained by something.

“Don’t you dare”, he breathes airily, “Don’t you dare change for anyone, especially not me”, he retorts with a slight shake to his head, his honey-brown hair shimmers in the moonlight that streams through the car window. For a moment, I’m stunned by his beauty... by how he looks at this moment. The torrent of emotions that dance behind his eyes, just out of my reach to figure out what they mean.

As I’m about to respond, I feel the car finally come to a halt. As the vehicle stops, Rex jumps out, running straight inside without a backwards glance.

I rush to strip off my seatbelt, running into the palace after him, but as I reach inside, he has already disappeared.

“Oh, Princess Mae! I wasn’t expecting you back so early”, Mindy greets in cheerful surprise.

“Can I get you anything, dear?”

As my chin and lower lip tremble, attempting to hold the dam from bursting, I wave Mindy off, pretending everything is ok.

But it’s no use... the dam is breaking, cracking as all of my hopes and dreams of a happy ending come crashing down.

As Mindy calls after me in concern, I sprint up the grand stairs, making a bee-line for my room.

Just as my head hits the pillow, the dam breaks, tears and sobs burst from within as I howl out my pain.

I’m not sure exactly how long I lay there sobbing, but eventually, sleep takes me.

***

As I wake up the next morning, my eyes swollen and red from the tears I have shed, I lay there, unable to move. I can’t bring myself to leave my bed today. I don’t have the strength… or the willpower to do it.

The only thing bringing me any form of comfort right now is my strange dream last night, seeing as my reality is much sadder than my dream life.

I dreamt of warm lips brushing against my forehead as my duvet was tucked in around me... the act was sweet, loving even.

Amber eyes peered at me as the owner whispered, “You’re good enough and more, my Mae,” before my sweet dream ended.

If only, I sulk.

We are, Mae… He will open up soon. Sierra tries to soothe.

I don’t respond, I can’t... I have no energy for positivity today. I feel as though my dream was a reaction from my mind, trying to soften the blow of last night… the crippling realisation that my one and only love doesn’t want me, yet, he won’t reject me either.

As a tear rolls down my cheek, I raise the covers above my head and roll over, hoping I can sleep again, to dream another sweet dream of those amber eyes.

***

Suddenly, the bed dips and I hear muffled whispers in my room.

“… leave…like this!” One freaks out.

What’s going on!? I moan to myself.

You’ve been asleep for the past four hours, Sierra whines, anxiously pacing in the boundaries of my mind.

FOUR HOURS!? But Ali and Anya! They’ll be leaving soon! Have they already left!? I panic as my eyes snap open and I frantically attempt to kick my covers off of myself, though all I actually do is get myself more tangled, causing me to fall like a sack of potatoes on the floor.

“Mmmph”, I groan to myself as I untangle my limbs from the confines of their comforting and soft prison that has been my safe haven all day.

Snorts and cackles fill the room, allowing me to decipher who has met me in my bedroom.

As I slowly peek from my marshmallowy soft duvet, a sad expression fills my features.

“Graceful as always”, Anya chortles before taking in my gloomy exterior. Her face morphs to one of understanding and sadness of her own.

“I thought I’d missed you leave!” I whine with a pout, standing quickly and throwing myself at the twins causing us all to fall onto my bed.

“And miss this sight? Never!” Ali laughs, holding my face in her hands, smooshing my cheeks.

“I’m going to miss you both so much!”

“I know, we’re pretty great!” Ali responds playfully.

“Come with us!” Anya blurts out.

I sigh before responding, “You know I would love to, but…” I start, unable to finish my sentence, because the reality is, I don’t even know why I can’t go… There’s no real reason stopping me. I just can’t bring myself to leave.

What’s keeping me here? This mess with Rex when he’s made it oh so abundantly clear he doesn’t want me? But yet… I feel anchored to him like I can’t bear to be far away - the thought alone makes me feel ill.

The twins look at me with sadness brimming their eyes, but they bob their heads in understanding, as though they can read my mind and the source of my anguish.

“We won’t be long... it’ll fly by in the blink of an eye”, Anya smiles sweetly, tears filling her eyes.

“Don’t you start or you’ll make me start!” Ali chimes in, her voice breaking.

I laugh at our dramatics momentarily before my laughter turns to tears in an instant, just as Ali and Anya’s composure deteriorates.

Eventually, I follow the girls out to the front of the palace as their baggage is loaded into a dark SUV with blacked-out windows.

Heavier footsteps catch my attention. I turn to see Hunter carrying baggage of his own to the car.

“Not you too!” I sulk.

After throwing his things into the car, he shrugs guiltily.

“I’m sorry, sister. There’s more training to be done!” He says, enveloping me in his arms and giving me a reassuring squeeze.

“I’ll be back soon”, he says with a swift peck to my forehead, “Try and keep Ozzy in check whilst I’m gone?”

I give him an overly dramatic questioning look in response.

“I said, try”, he chuckles.

“There’s no controlling that boy, you know that, right?” I respond, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah… yeah, I know”, he says with a sigh.

“So how did loverboy take the news of you leaving this morning?” Ali asks Anya.

“Loverboy!?” I question. “Wait… Anya. Please tell me you didn’t pay Franklin?”

“Ha! No… I didn’t pay Franklin… I seduced him like I said I would”, she admits naughtily, making me burst into fits of laughter.

As her laughter dies down, I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only reason Anya is sad to be leaving. Something seems to have shifted with her recently.

“Goddess I am going to miss your antics”, I say pulling them both in for one last hug.

After the rest of the family has come and said their goodbyes, I wave to the car driving away in the distance as Ali and Anya stick their heads out of the car on opposite sides, waving wildly.

When I can no longer see the car, I turn and head back inside to my pit of despair.

The sun rises and sets time and time again as I stare at my walls, thinking only of my loved ones and hoping they’re ok, wondering if Ali and Anya have been lucky enough to find the love they deserve yet… the love I … lost.

I vaguely notice family members visiting me and offering food, though I continue to stare at the walls or out of the window close to my bed.

Ozzy comes by each morning, he’s not much of a talker, but he sits and watches me or puts on a movie that he thinks I might enjoy. He even steals treats from the kitchen and leaves them on my bed for me for when I can no longer take the pain of my hunger anymore.

Mum and Dad come by each morning and each evening, making sure I have food and water and I’m sure also to check whether or not I’m still eating. I can’t say I’m eating much... I just can’t stomach it right now, I eat just enough to take the edge off of my growling stomach.

My dad spoke of something about an upcoming formal ball, something about keeping the peace, something about the Lycans, or was that to do with something else… I don’t recall.

Some mornings, I hear the thud of feet that can only belong to one Lycan exiting their room, which is adjacent to my own. The footsteps halt at my bedroom door. Every morning my heart skips and flutters with the hope that he might come in... but then my hope is crushed when I hear the footsteps retreating down the hall.

There have been nights where I’ve told myself that tomorrow is the day, the day where I will finally get back out of bed, to brave the outside world yet again… but by the time morning rolls around, the invisible boulder that keeps me held firmly to my bed has other ideas.

Every night when the darkness takes me, I see those same amber eyes shining away through the abyss of night, watching me, only watching me, night, after night, after night. They’ve become the reason I can’t wait to sleep, yet also the reason I can’t wait to wake up… because staring at their beauty is too painful a reminder to bear.

Tonight is just like any other night. The eyes observe me from the darkness, watching over me as I rest, they bring me comfort, yet in my dreams, the eyes hold a tremendous amount of sorrow and pain. Somehow, I want to extinguish that pain.

One day… I think to myself

Is this really a dream? It feels so… real.

You aren’t dreaming, Mae. He comes every night to watch over us. Sierra inputs.

As reality clicks into place and all thoughts of slumber dissolve away, I slowly sit up, eyes never wavering from Rex’s.

“I thought I was dreaming”, I smile softly. “You know you seem to have invaded up here a little, lately”, I say, tapping at my temple. “So much so I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not anymore”.

“My every waking thought, my dreams, even my nightmares… it’s all you”.

Rex shifts in the seat slightly, eyes flickering ever so gently but remaining fixated to my own.

“You’re my one, Rex. You do know that… right? My heart is only capable of beating for you. Without you… I’m nothing. I’ll break, rot and crumble away to dust without you. I’m not telling you this to force your hand. But at least put me out of the misery that this bond is bringing me, I can’t… I can’t bear it… the pain… I’m not strong enough”.

A thoughtful expression crosses his face as he sucks in his lower lip.

Standing suddenly, he clenches his fists as he turns to leave, “I’m sorry, Mae… but I won’t… never that”.

“Then stay!” I call out to him, one hand outstretched, willing him to stop.

Rex pauses in the doorway. His body shifts as he turns as though he’s thinking about my request; before abruptly turning back and leaving me in the darkness alone.

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