“You can’t keep this a secret any longer.” Anastasia stated the moment she closed the office door behind her, having just walked out of the dining hall they only used for special occasions like this one. “You have to tell Marcellus and you have to tell the council.”
“Did you just not hear what he said?” Thea couldn’t help but groan into her hands, pulling on the ends of her hair in frustration. “He’s an Alpha.”
“Yes, and that’s even more reason for you to tell the council about what he did to you!” The fiery Luna all but demanded. “You can’t let him get away with this, Thea! What he did to you is disgusting and imagine he’s done it to other women. Imagine he’s still doing it!”
A fearful shiver ran down her spine at the thought and Thea couldn’t help but sigh as she averted her gaze to the ceiling, beyond frustrated with the situation that she had somehow all but walked into.
“And you think they’re going to believe me?” She asked and when she saw the evident hesitation on Anastasia’s face as she opened and closed her mouth the first time but no words sounded, she knew she was right. “If I tell them that he raped me and they question him about it, he’s just going to deny it.”
“But Malik looks just like him.” Anastasia protested but even she knew that her argument was weak and wouldn’t hold up in front of the council. “We can’t just do nothing. We have to do something.”
“I don’t know what we’re going to do.” Thea answered honestly with a shake of her head. “But the fact that he’s an Alpha just makes everything so much worse.”
Anastasia merely pursed her lips and nodded her head, unable to disagree with the fact. “We’re only harming ourselves by not telling anyone.”
“Maybe, but Malik and I can’t stay here.” Thea sighed and shook her head, unwilling to compromise on this. “With him around, I just need to get away.”
“But you’re just running away.”
“While that may be true, Ana, you don’t know what it’s like to be me right now.” Thea began and when she felt the need to sit down, she moved further into the office and took a seat, sighing and leaning against the back of it. “You don’t know what it’s like to have your rapist around you, especially when he’s an Alpha and now that he’s seen Malik, he’s probably going to want to him take from me, too, as if he hasn’t taken enough from me already.”
When she heard some shuffling from behind her, she felt a pair of arms wrap around as she was pulled in for a hug.
“I’m so sorry, Thea.” Anastasia apologised in a quiet voice; her eyebrows creased together in the middle when in thought of the situation that had presented itself to them. “I just want to help you.”
“I know.” She sighed and returned the hug. “How about I make you a deal?”
“What kind of deal?” Anastasia asked curiously as they pulled away.
“The kind where as soon as I get back to Lupus Rapax tomorrow, you can tell Marcellus whatever you want.”
“And in the meantime, I’ll find out more about this Alpha rapist.” The Luna wolf nodded her head defiantly, almost as if daring Thea to object but when she didn’t, her lips curled up ever so slightly.
“That sounds look a good idea.” Thea hummed as soon as she stood up. “The more we know about him, the better. Maybe we’ll even be able to find something to use with him.”
“Just because I accept and respect your decision, doesn’t mean that I agree with it.” Anastasia sighed and nodded her head, though still with a conflicted look on her face. “But I’ve got your back.”
“I know you.” Thea couldn’t help but smile warmly at her friend, once again that they had both somehow managed to stumble into each other’s lives for the better. “And once all of this is over, we’ll come back to visit again.”
“You better.” She pouted. “I’m annoyed that you’re cutting the trip short but I completely understand.”
“Thanks, Ana.” Thea pulled her in for another hug and before anyone decided to come looking for them, they both left Marcellus’ office and headed back to the dining room just in time for dessert. Thankfully, Alpha Orpheus – or rather, Alpha rapist as Anastasia had so graciously coined – was not around and Thea was actually able to enjoy her food without having to worry about there being a repeat of last time.
However, that did not mean that her guard was down.
After she had finished a slice of cake and grabbed herself a coffee, she retrieved with Marcellus and with Anastasia in tow, they decided to take the Branover-Constantine’s up on their offer sooner rather than later, especially since Thea wouldn’t be sticking around for as long as they had all initially hoped and planned.
After a whole entire day of looking over her shoulder every other second and making sure that Malik was safe and away from that man, it felt nice to metaphorically let her hair down and just relax, as well as spend some quality time with her friends.
While Anastasia had left before dinner as she had an evening planned with Marcellus – one which that all three of them had insisted that she not cancel as this was a very special day for the both of them – Thea stuck around to enjoy dinner with Justas and Raphael. As it was all such last minute, they hadn’t had enough time to cook and instead, ended up ordering a takeaway, though that didn’t take anything away from the moment.
It was only when Malik started yawning – despite his denials that he wasn’t sleepy – that Thea decided to call it a night and return back to the pack house where Malik and her had been set up in a room on the second floor.
“I don’t mean to pry, but why are you leaving so soon?” Justas asked quietly as he walked them back to the pack house even though she had insisted that it would only take five minutes – forever a gentleman. “Last I heard, I thought you would be staying the weekend, too.”
“That’s what I thought too.” Thea sighed and nodded as she adjusted a sleepy Malik in her arms. “But something has come up and I have to return sooner rather than later.”
While she felt bad for lying – if even just an omission of truth – she wasn’t prepared to get into the mess right now and the less she thought about it, the better.
“Fair enough.” He hummed quietly. “But is everything okay?”
“Yes, why do you ask?” She tried to question in a curious voice even though she knew that he had caught her staring out the window a few times, wondering if Orpheus was out there waiting for her.
Thea knew that most likely, she was being irrational and paranoid, she wasn’t willing to take risks this time around, not when she had her son depending on her to keep him safe. Unfortunately, that included from the man that was supposed to be his father.
While she had denied the offer of Justas walking them home simply because she didn’t want to trouble him or Raphael – especially since they were still new friends – she was secretly relieved that he had insisted and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“You’ve been acting kind of strange all day.” Justas explained as they came to a stop in front of the pack house. “You kept looking through the window, almost as if you were waiting for someone.” He may not have meant it, but the last part came out as a question.
“I’m not waiting for anyone. Just a little tired, is all.”
Even though it was apparent on his face that he didn’t believe her, not even for a second, Justas was kind enough to at least pretend.
“Well, I hope you get a good night’s rest then.”
“Thank you.” Thea beamed back at him. “Have a good night.”
“You, too. We’ll make sure to swing by in the morning to see you off.”
After she had thanked him for walking them back to the pack house and wished him good night, Thea turned around and let herself in, heading straight to the stairs to head up to their room on the second floor.
Seeing as Malik was already asleep in her arms, she was careful in getting him changed into a pair of pyjamas before tucking him into bed. While he probably could do with brushing his teeth, she didn’t have the heart to wake him up.
While the end was near and they were set to leave first thing in the morning after a quick breakfast, she still couldn’t help but worry and she probably would continue to do so until she was back at the Lupus Rapax pack where she wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore.
It was only when she had locked the door, pushed the dresser in front of the door and then stacked the chair on top of that, that Thea finally felt safe enough to walk away from Malik to take a shower. Even though she knew that it wasn’t enough to keep the Alpha wolf out if he really wanted in, she knew that it would at least create enough noise to alert her and give her some time to either escape or think of a defence plan. And if all else failed, then she would open her mouth then scream like she had never screamed before.
Thea was the type of person to usually shower in the morning but since it was only a little past nine and a few hours earlier than she was used to sleeping at, a shower was a perfectly plausible way to pass the time. She also had no doubt in her mind that after the day that she had just had, an early night was warranted and she could very much do with one.
After grabbing her pyjamas and making sure Malik wouldn’t fall off the bed by placing a pillow down next to him, she headed into the shower but made sure to keep the door slightly ajar so if he called out to her, she would be able to hear over the sound of the water.
Or rather, that was what she was trying to convince herself of.
Stripping out of her clothes, she let them drop to the floor by her feet before turning on the shower and relieving herself while the water warmed up. After that, she brushed her teeth at the sink and stared back at herself in the mirror.
In the past five years, Thea had done a lot of growing up.
Before Alpha Orpheus had changed the entire course of her life, she was only eighteen and had just started the second semester of her first year at college, her major being Graphics Design.
By the time that it was time to return for the second year, she was about eight months pregnant and just a few weeks short of going into labour. Despite her parents trying to convince her that she couldn’t do it all and that having a baby would ruin her life, especially since she had so much potential, Thea couldn’t bring herself to agree. Giving up was just not in her nature.
Unfortunately, they had been right. She couldn’t do it all.
As Thea blinked and returned to reality, she could tell that the water had warmed up and was waiting for her. After she had rinsed her mouth and washed her brush before hopping into the shower, she instantly sighed as the hot water rained over her. If only it could wash away all her fears and bad memories.
Two weeks into the first semester, she had awoken one morning to find that her water had broken and soaked her entire bed. As both of her roommates had morning classes that day, she was all alone and had to call a taxi to take her to the hospital. She had called her parents on the way but fifteen hours, a healthy baby and a dangerous haemorrhage later, they still hadn’t turned up.
Thankfully, she had very supportive roommates who were also her friends, showing up to support her and help her out, especially a few days later when she had been discharged and allowed to head home. It was just too bad that while they could continue being college students who only had to focus on studying, friends and parties, Thea now had a whole human to look after it.
As supportive as they were, she just couldn’t do both. She couldn’t keep up with all her classes, not to mention the fact that she struggled to fit in time for picking up shifts at the college cafeteria. Without her only source of income, she had been forced to dip into her savings.
While she was hopeful and determined, she was not stupid and knew that with the added costs of a new born, having to pay rent and fitting in time for studying and all her classes, she knew she couldn’t do it all. Not alone, at least.
Too bad the one that was supposed to help her with everything – her baby’s father who also happened to be the man that had brutally raped her and then left her in the dark, cold alleyway to deal with herself and the aftermath of how his actions had affected her; mentally, physically and emotionally – had only been interested in forcefully taking the pleasure that was between her legs, and not anything that came along with it as repercussions.
She had only managed to make it halfway through October before she had forced herself to pack her bags and head back home; effectively dropping out of college and closing shut that chapter of her life.
Yet not once had she blamed her adorable little baby Malik for it. Unfortunately, her parents didn’t see it that way. The fact that she had no choice but to move back in with them probably just worsened and complicated everything all that much more.
Thea had no choice but to spend the next year living with him, working two-part time jobs as well as freelance graphic designer whenever she got the time.
After all of that, it was no surprise to herself that as soon as she was able to save up a few months rent, she packed up everything she and Malik owned before moving out.
The last time she had spoken to her father had been when he had yet again complained about Malik having too much energy and being too troublesome the previous night, and her mother who had insinuated that her and her son were nothing short of a burden to them both and that was why, she hadn’t even bothered to say goodbye before she left; more than ready to start her own life without them.
And after all these years, not once had she looked back or regretted that decision, only occasionally feeling sorry that Malik didn’t have much of a family however, all of that was different now. Although she wasn’t a werewolf herself, her son was – something which she had found difficult to understand and come to terms with at first – and she was glad that she was able to provide him with a pack; people that were like him and would be able to help him with all the changes he would be going through as he got older.
Even though she still felt awkward around a pack of wolves and like she stood out like a sore thumb, especially because she smelt nothing like them, she was willing to do this and so much more for her son as to her, his happiness and well-being trumped everything and anything.
Despite the fact that her life had taken a turn and she had never expected to end up a single mother at twenty-four, working as a graphic designer and waitress around her full-time job as Malik’s mum, she still had a lot to be thankful for.
While he trumped the list, her new pack and new friends were close seconds and thirds.
Once the water had started to turn cold, Thea knew that her time in the shower had come to an end and it was best to leave now before she caught a cold. She got dressed in her pyjamas and washed her face in the bathroom before walking back into the room, towel drying her hair as she went.
However, the towel slipped from her hand and dropped to the floor once her eyes settled on the large, well-built figure on the bed, curled up around her son, almost as if Malik was his own.
It was the fact that Malik was his own that made the situation all that much worse.
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