After a long day of running around the pack house and playing with all of the children, not to mention eating as much chocolate as he possibly could from his favourite pack chef when he thought his mother wasn’t looking, it was finally time for Malik’s nap.
“Sweet dreams, baby.” Thea murmured quietly before leaning in to place a kiss to his forehead.
As she pulled away and got off the bed, she flicked over the blanket so it now covered him and he wouldn’t be getting cold while napping though unfortunately, that was currently the least of her worries.
As Thea sat on the desk chair, she sighed and glanced down at her phone. It was dinner time but she couldn’t bring herself to eat, though would make sure to grab some food for Malik when he woke later, but that also meant that there were only two hours left until it was time for the trial.
With nothing else better to do and needing something to take her mind off things, Thea opened up Instagram on her phone and began scrolling down the app, mindlessly watching videos and liking pictures of people she barely ever saw and celebrities she had watched once or twice in a film.
She wasn’t sure how much time had passed but when a knock sounded on the door, Thea frowned and glanced up from her phone; not expecting any visitors.
After a few moments had passed encompassed with silence, she returned her attention back to her phone but the moment was very short lived as another round of knocks sounded from behind the door, this time louder and more rapid.
With a frown on her face and a hesitant shake in her step, Thea rose to her feet and took a few tentative steps toward the door, completely unaware of who was behind it and what they could possibly want at this time of day, especially since most people were supposed to be in the middle of having dinner right now.
“Hello, Luna Thea.” The strange man greeted her the moment she stared at him from through the small gap between the opened door.
“Luna Thea?” She couldn’t help but sound aloud in a frown but as he stared back at her, her mind was quick to realise that he was from the Apo to Chaos pack, addressing her as Luna as his Alpha had stated that she was his mate.
Before continuing, she cleared her throat.
“I have a note for you.” He announced in a firm, loud voice before presenting the small piece of paper and thrusting it into her awaiting hands, catching her completely off guard.
Before she could come to terms with the situation or even ask him what was going on, he had already began walking down the hallway and before and when she next blinked, he had already disappeared from view.
Her lips tugged down into a deeper frown before she inhaled and held her breath, her fingers tightening around the thin slip of paper as she closed the door behind her.
When she exhaled, she opened it up and allowed her eyes to wonder over the words presented to her in the most eloquent hand writing she had ever seen.
I trust this letter has reached you fine. I hope you didn’t disrespect my head warrior. He’s one of my finest wolves but you’ll learn more about how everything words once you join the pack.
You and I both know that this trial can’t take place today. If it does and it sways in the wrong direction, trust me when I say that you’re going to be sorrier than me.
Tell them this was a huge mistake and you were mistaken about me raping you in the first place. Make up a story about a one-night stand gone wrong, and that you were fuming that I didn’t call you back even though I said I would. Honestly, I don’t care what you say as long as it doesn’t paint me as a rapist.
After all, there’s no rape between mates, but you know that already.
Alpha Orpheus Vladimir
Even though she couldn’t believe what she had just read, the words were right in front of her and when she read it for a second and third time, everything was still exactly the same; even more so when she squeezed her eyes shut before blinking a few times.
It was evident that he was trying to coerce her into getting the trial dropped so he wouldn’t have to take the stand in front of everyone, no doubt worried about the fact that he would be coming across as guilty and as much as she hated to admit it, his words were really started to take a toll on her.
With her mind in overdrive and trying to think up exactly what that note meant, Thea didn’t know what to do but she knew that she had to do something. And now as time was simply something that she didn’t have right now, especially not with the trial this very same evening.
Without thinking and genuinely afraid for her line, Thea glanced back at Malik one more time – after having already propped up a pillow next to him so he wouldn’t roll off the edge of the bed in his sleep – before she stormed out of the room and headed down to the first floor.
After having made it this far already, she began questioning her actions but she knew it was pointless now as they had all probably been able to sense and scent her out the moment that she stepped foot on the ground floor landing.
“Thea?” Malachi questioned in surprise as he opened the door and ushered her into the makeshift office that the council had been set up in for today. “What are you doing here? The trial isn’t set to start for another hour.”
“I know.” She attempted to smile as she stepped into the room, though she was certain it didn’t quite reach her eyes. Nonetheless, she made a point of glancing around the room and making eye contact with all of the elders who were currently sat around the desk, enjoying a cup of coffee. “I actually wanted to speak to you all about something before the trial tonight.”
“What did you want to talk to us about?” Harriet smiled politely at her while Deryck gestured for her to take a seat and join them.
As her smile grew larger in size, proportional to just how fake it was and how much she was forced to endure behind the surface, Thea all but had to force the words out of her mouth.
“I don’t think there’s any need for a trial tonight.” Thea stated simply, hoping that it would be as simple as that even though she knew it would be far from easy to convince them, especially after the show they had all put on earlier that morning.
An eery silence filled the room as they all alternated between staring at her and glancing between each other, almost as if unsure of what to make of the new situation that she had just presented them with.
“And why do you think that?” Maverick asked, his lips tugging down in a confused frown, his eyes not once wavering from her as he continued to watch her carefully.
“I’ve done some thinking and I’ve come to the decision that Alpha Orpheus is right.” She forced the words out of her mouth no matter how much they made her feel sick to her stomach.
“You’ve come to the decision?” Maverick asked but before she could respond in an attempt to cover all her bases, a few more questions arose from some of the other elders.
“Yes.” Thea confirmed with a simple nod of her head. “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today and I really think I blew whatever this morning was completely out of proportion.” She lied expertly, even going as far as to add a humorous laugh at the end, although it sounded strained even to her own ears.
“Is everything okay?” Harriet asked in a quiet, gentle voice. “Because you’re acting very strange right now and not for one second do I believe what you’re saying right now.”
Thea pursed her lips and shook her head, but was quick to amend the action by nodding her head straight after. Forcing another smile, she stuffed her hands into her pockets and turned around to head out of the room.
Unfortunately, her actions were rushed in her attempt of escaping and when she raised her left hand to reach out for the door handle, she felt the thin piece of paper drop to the ground before she saw it.
Malachi picked it up before she could even turn around and by the time that she had opened her mouth to vocalise her protests, he had already projected half of the contents of the letter to his fellow elders and werewolf council.
“This is from Alpha Orpheus?” Paulo asked the obvious as he grabbed the letter from Malachi so he could read it for himself; Harriet moving to glance at it from over his shoulder.
“That’s what it says.” She pursed her lips and sighed before moving away from the door. Since they had already discovered it, she figured there was no point in trying to deny or hide it anymore. “One of the wolves from the Apo to Chaos pack delivered it to my room a little while ago.”
“Did he say anything?”
“No.” She shook her head. “Not even when I tried speaking to him.”
“And you decided to try and get the trial cancelled because of this letter?” Malachi cocked a questioning brow while staring at her and the longer her did, the more her face flushed and the more stupid she felt.
“I think there’s only one way to get to the bottom of this.” Harriet announced with her lips stretched out in a thin line, her mind working on overdrive to get to the bottom of whatever this mess was.
“Already on it.” Malachi hummed aloud and just to prove his point, a knock sounded on the door after a few long, agonising moments.
“Alpha Orpheus!” Malachi greeted the Alpha wolf before he had even opened the door. “We’ve got a rather serious matter to discuss with you.”
“More serious than the trial?” Orpheus cocked a questioning brow, not taking his eyes off the head of the council even though he was very aware of the fact that Thea was in the room and doing everything she could to avoid looking at him, even going as far as to take a few steps back so as to put more distance between them.
Before anyone else could answer, Malachi was quick to continue.
“Take a read of this for us.” The elder demanded as he thrust the letter into the Alpha’s hands, giving him a few moments to read over it before he continued with the questioning. “So? What do you have to say for yourself?”
Instead of answering straight away, Orpheus hummed aloud and took a few more moments to read over the letter again, making a show of pretending that he had never seen it before.
“I didn’t write this.” He shrugged with a bland, nonchalant look on his face before returning the letter to Malachi. “It’s not even my handwriting.”
Malachi frowned as he glanced down at the letter one more time before glancing over his shoulder to everyone else in the room.
“He is right about this not being his handwriting.” The elder confirmed the fact as he had seen a few samples of Alpha Orpheus’ letters before. “But that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have had someone else write it for you.”
Maverick hummed in agreeance before plucking the letter from Paulo, lifting it to his nose to take a big whiff of it.
“There’s no scent on it. I already checked.” Paula confirmed while Harriet agreed with a nod.
“Let me get this straight,” Deryck began with a light frown on his face. “We have a rather threatening note here signed by Alpha Orpheus, yet it isn’t in his handwriting and doesn’t smell like anything?” His frown deepened rather considerably. “Not to mention the fact that it was delivered by one of his pack wolves?”
“Yes. That about sums it up.” None other than the Alpha in question confirmed. “I’m kind of hurt that you all think that I’m stupid enough to write such a letter and then sign my name at the bottom of it which would no doubt incriminate me. Not that I would ever dream of threatening or coercing my mate into anything, of course.”
“Of course.” Malachi murmured quietly with a dazed look in his eyes before turning around to face his fellow council members, an evidently questioning look on his face.
“I honestly do doubt that an Alpha would be stupid enough to do something like that.” Maverick couldn’t help but agree, though the frown on his face didn’t seem to match his words; the other elders all with matching expressions on their faces.
“Seems like someone’s playing a practical joke on you, Thea.” Orpheus hummed aloud in a mocking tone as he turned to glance at her for the first time “It’s pretty poor in taste so I would find out who it was, if I were you.”
“Yes, I should do that.” She struggled to swallow the words and before anyone could say anything else, she glanced down to the ground and walked out of the room, careful not to come in contact with him in fear of another panic attack.
If this trial was still going to take place today, then she was determined to spend every moment up to it away from her. Every second in his presence was draining her soul and if she was going to survive this – survive him, then she needed to see as less of him as possible. However, it simply wasn’t as straight forward as that regardless of how much she wished for it to be.
Thea hated to admit it, but she had never been so scared before in her life; not even when he had raped her.
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