Despite Orpheus’ argument that there was no rape between mates, the council had voted in favour of a trial, four against one. As it was set to be held this evening, Thea was currently in the pack hospital with Malik and Anastasia, waiting for the doctor to return from his lunch break so they could get a paternity test done.
Marcellus had assured the council the results would be top priority and they would have them just in time for the trial but it all just went over Thea’s head.
There were so many questions running through her mind. Most importantly, if they were mates, why did he rape her? Why didn’t he just tell her that they were mates that day? While it would have been difficult for her to believe, she would have understood as her father was a wolf and she had grown up in a pack among wolves, only moving away when she started college.
On top of that, she was unable to comprehend the fact that he had even stated they were mates had blown her mind and right now, she didn’t know what to believe.
This whole time, Orpheus had been nothing but this nameless man that had raped her and then fled from the scene the second it was over and then eventually, Malik’s biological father. However, she chose to view him more as a sperm donor as he definitely hadn’t done any fathering. Yesterday, she had been able to place a name, title and so much more to the face and now, he had proudly declared that they were mates.
As much as she didn’t want to believe him – to think that he was only saying this in a last-minute desperate attempt of saving himself – there was just something holding her back and making her think differently. As disgusted as she was with herself to admit, but the fact that he had declared her as his mate didn’t surprise her all that much.
Even though Orpheus had raped her all those years ago – something which she still struggled to come to terms with today, occasionally having to look over her shoulder whenever she felt paranoid and that someone was following her – there was no doubt about the fact that her body didn’t agree with her mind whenever he was near. Almost as if unaware of what a disgusting, vile human being that he was, she shivered in a mixture of delight and anticipation and whenever that happened, Thea wasn’t sure if she was more disgusted with him or herself.
Either way, something was seriously wrong and Thea still had no idea what to make of everything that was currently happening all around her.
Just like right now as they were sat in the waiting room of the pack hospital, people were coming in and out, nurses were rushing around and the two receptionists were busy at their desks, one working at the computer and the other on the phone scheduling future appointments; completely unaware of what would be happening today as the formal announcement had yet to be made.
She wasn’t trying to be selfish and completely self-obsessed, but it was strange to see the whole world around her continue as normal while hers was a complete standstill; teetering on the edge between an eternally dark and sinister abyss and just about surviving.
“Thea?” A small voice called out to her, forcing her out of her thoughts and as she blinked to focus herself, her eyes landed on Anastasia, watching her carefully with a concerned look on her face. “Tell me what’s running through your mind right now.”
“I can’t put it all into words.” Thea sighed and shook her head slightly, lifting her eyes to watch Malik as he played with some of the toys that had been set out on one side of the playroom for children to play with. “I’m not even sure what I’m thinking right now. There’s just so much going on in my head. Nothing is making much sense.”
Anastasia hummed in response and reached out to grab her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze but as the moments passed, she couldn’t help but voice aloud the one question that had been sitting on the tip of her tongue this whole time.
“Do you think he was speaking the truth?”
“About there not being rape between mates?” Thea couldn’t help but whisper quietly, her tone dull and her words helpless; genuinely afraid that the council would end up ruling in his favour and he would go unpunished for his crimes.
If that were to happen, Thea didn’t know what she would do.
“I don’t believe that for a second.” Anastasia denied with a firm shake of her head. “Rape is rape, regardless if it’s between mates or not.”
While Thea felt the need to thank her friend for agreeing with her, she bit her tongue and held back the words, her mind thinking it completely bizarre that such a thought had crossed her mind in the first place.
But she had none other than Alpha Orpheus himself to thank for that.
“I was actually wondering if you believed him when he said that you were mates.” Anastasia spoke gently, very aware of the fact that this was a lot to deal with and when Thea didn’t respond straight away, evidently hesitating and struggling to come up with a response, she tried again. “Or do you think it’s complete bullshit?”
“I’m honestly not very sure.” Thea sighed before snapping the hairband off her wrist and using it to twist her hair up into a bun, allowing a few blonde tendrils to remain free and frame her face at the front.
“You’re not sure?” The she-wolf watched her carefully, her eyebrows knitting together in the middle, surprised with the response that she had received.
She shook her head and sighed before slumping back in the seat that she was sat on.
“I honestly don’t know what to think.” Thea denied with a small frown on her face. “While he caught me off with his sudden confession, I can’t say that I’m all that surprised.”
“It’s almost as if as soon as he said it, it all just made sense. Maybe that’s why he did what he did?” Thea shook her head again, unable to believe what she had just said. “Regardless of how I feel, how am I supposed to know if he’s telling the truth or not? How did you know that Marcellus was your mate?”
“Honestly, I didn’t.” Anastasia sighed and shrugged, joining Thea in slouching against the back of the chair she was sat on, her mind reeling from the difficult conversation that they were forced to have. “It took me a very long time to know that he was my mate but when I did, everything just made sense. Even though we kept fighting all the time and it was always hot and cold between us, I kept feeling drawn to him, and I used to think about him without even realising it. And when we touched, there were these tingles I used to confuse with electric shocks at first.” She couldn’t help but laugh at the memory. “Surprisingly, none of that has changed but instead, everything has just intensified.”
A momentary silence filled the space between them, Anastasia’s confession having given Thea a lot to think about, trying to wrack her brain for when she had experienced some of these things herself.
“I’ve experienced the first, true but don’t know about the last one.” Thea’s lips tugged down into a deeper frown the more she thought about it. “To be completely honest, I’ve tried to block out all the memories of that night and both yesterday and this morning, I think I was too scared to focus on anything else.”
“You didn’t feel anything when he touched you?” Her friend asked curiously.
“When I say I was scared, I really mean it. I thought he was going to rape me last night and this morning, I thought he was going to do something to us or run away with Malik.” Her face flushed with how vulnerable she suddenly felt after having spoken the honest truth.
“I can only imagine that you didn’t have the time to pay attention to something as trivial as a few tingles.” Anastasia chuckled dryly; the sound more strained than humorous.
“Will I be able to feel the tingles even though I’m human?”
“Yes.” Anastasia confirmed almost instantly. “They’re a bit tamer since you’re human, but they’re definitely there.”
“The only issue is that touching him, or even going near him is the last thing that I would want to do right now.” She sighed and raised a frustrated hand up to rub down the side of her face, so many conflicting thoughts running through her mind at the same time.
“I don’t blame you for that.” Anastasia sighed, her eyes travelling over to Malik who was currently living his best life while playing with the beads on an abacus, blissfully unaware of what the both of them were struggling with. “I wouldn’t want to go near him either but what if that’s the only way to find out the truth?”
“Then I’d rather not know.” Thea groaned aloud even though she knew that wasn’t possible. “Do you think they’re going to bring that up during the trial this evening?”
“I think it’ll be one of the first things that will be discussed.”
“Do you think they’ll make him prove it?”
“Possibly.” Anastasia hummed aloud as she chewed on her bottom lip, genuinely unsure. “They might just ask you if you feel the tingles of the mate bond.”
“And what if I say no?”
“I’m not sure.” The Luna wolf sighed. “I guess you could deny it even if it is true, but I’m not sure how Orpheus would react to that.”
“Other than when he’s tried to either rape or kidnap me, he’s been pretty calm.” Thea murmured quietly, her mind running with a hundred thoughts every second. “But what’s the point?”
“I don’t understand.”
“What’s the point of lying about something like this? He could have very well kept it hidden from me for a while and I probably wouldn’t have figured it for some time, like you. So, what motive does he have to lie?” Thea couldn’t help groan out in frustration, more so questioning herself than anything else.
“I’m not sure but either way, we shouldn’t be making excuses for a rapist.”
Thea inhaled sharply as he raised her head to lock eyes with her friend, suddenly feeling awful with what they were both guilty of doing.
“You’re right.” She nodded her head after a few moments. “This is on him. None of this is my fault so why do I feel so conflicted right now?”
Even though Anastasia had an answer to that question, one which resonated from the theory that Thea and Alpha Orpheus were mates, she smoothly attempted to change the direction of their conversation, not wanting to depress her friend even further.
“How much do you know about Orpheus and his pack?”
“Nothing.” She sighed and shook her head. “Since I didn’t have a wolf of my own, I used to bunk most of the werewolf lessons during high school.”
“I actually don’t know much about the Apo to Chaos pack either because I’m still new to this whole being a werewolf thing, but I think I know just the person to ask.” Anastasia confirmed with a glint in her eyes which very quickly clouded over, giving off the suggestion that she was currently mind linking someone.
“Who?” Thea couldn’t help but ask, desperate to know more about the mess she could potentially be walking in to.
“All will be revealed as soon as we get out of here.” Anastasia grinned despite the severity of the situation – more so hoping to lighten the mood and cheer Thea up a bit than anything else – and just then, the doctor chose to grace them with his presence.
Since he was already aware of the situation as Marcellus had mind linked earlier with what needed to be done, a quick cheek swab later and they were done, set to go about the rest of their day as normal.
Well, those were the words that he used and what a poor choice of words they were. As if Thea would be able to enjoy anything today.
Since Orpheus wasn’t allowed to come anywhere near the pack house until later that evening, Thea was fine with letting Malik play with the other children in the den downstairs while she sat in the living room with Anastasia, Justas, Raphael and a fussy baby Alistair.
“So, when you said you knew someone, you meant Raphael?” Thea questioned with a light smirk on her face, happy that she had her friends to help keep her mind off things.
“Yes.” Anastasia confirmed with a nod before reaching out to take the sleeping baby from Raphael, cooing at the little boy who merely scrunched up his face and yawned in response.
“I’m considered the resident myth buster and conspiracy theorist in the pack.” Raphael mumbled with a small smile on his face, not nearly as cheerful as he usually was as Anastasia had brought both him and Justas up to speed with the situation at hand over mind link earlier when asking them to come over to the pack house.
“Then I trust you can tell me everything I need to know about Alpha Orpheus and his pack?”
“The Apo to Chaos pack, and yes.” Raphael confirmed. “Or I can tell you about all the rumours that I’ve heard.”
“Rumours?” Thea frowned in confusion. “But not facts?”
Justas hummed, Raphael nodded and Anastasia was barely able to pay any attention as she continued staring down at the little baby in her arms.
“You see, the Apo to Chaos pack is the one pack in the world where everything isn’t public knowledge.” Raphael began while leaning back against his mate, almost as if for comfort. “They’re also the one pack in the world that doesn’t worship the Moon Goddess. Perhaps that’s why they’re so secretive about everything.”
“They don’t worship the Moon Goddess?” Anastasia’s head whipped up at that which suggested that she was indeed paying attention, her words filled with shock. “If they don’t worship the Moon Goddess then who do they worship? Alpha Orpheus?”
“No.” Justas confirmed absent-mindedly, his voice quiet and smooth as he ran his fingers through his mate’s hair. “They worship Erebus instead.”
“Again, this is just a rumour.” Raphael was quick to remind them all. “Everything that anyone outside of the Apo to Chaos pack knows about the Apo to Chaos pack is nothing short of a rumour.”
“Erebus?” Thea couldn’t help but question, most of this going way over her head as she struggled to keep up with all of this information.
“Erebus meaning darkness and Apo to Chaos meaning born from Chaos. Quite fitting actually, if you think about it.”
“Babe, that’s not helping.” Justas murmured quietly, steering his mate back on course, especially when Thea and Anastasia were now hanging off his every word.
“Right. You’re right.” Raphael nodded his head in understanding before proceeding to head back on track. “They do everything differently when compared to all other packs. Just like their namesake, they’re darker and more feral than usual wolves; much more animalistic, too. They hunt daily and sacrifice to Erebus to gain his mercy and blessings. I personally think they’re more of a cult than a pack.”
“They do sound like a cult.” Anastasia murmured quietly and Thea couldn’t help but agree.
“In fact, I’m surprised that Alpha Orpheus even showed up for the Mating ceremony as in all the years that I can remember, he hasn’t shown up to any events. I don’t even think Alpha Marcellus has ever met him.”
“It makes sense why he decided to show up no,” Thea chuckled, the sound strained.
As Raphael continued speaking and educating them all on everything that there was to be known about Alpha Orpheus and his pack, Thea frowned and glanced out the window; still listening and paying attention.
What she had hoped would be a welcomed and serene distraction turned out to be a big mistake.
When she spotted a group of wolves running into the field and shifting into their human forms, lining up in strict formation, Thea couldn’t look away even though she knew she should. Unlike any other wolves that she had seen, all of them proudly wore a tattoo on their chests, just over where their heart was but with how far she was away, she couldn’t quite make it out.
As the numbers kept increasing and the more wolves kept shifting into their humans, Thea lost count after thirty. The longer she stared at the wolves, the more menacing they seemed but compared to the Alpha, they were nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Speaking of the devil, they all bowed their heads in submission as Orpheus presented himself to his wolves. Almost as if he could sense his eyes on her, he glanced over his shoulder, his lips curling up at the edges as a dark glint shone in his eyes.
As she locked eyes with him through the window, her heart began thumping loudly in her chest and a shiver ran down her spine. The fact that her body’s reaction wasn’t entirely negative was starting to play with her mind and she wasn’t sure what to think anymore.
Turning her head sharply away from the window and making a point of ignoring him, she excused herself and rushed up the stairs to her room; needing some time to herself before the trial tonight.
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