Thea couldn’t remember what day it was, but she knew that she had been down in the dungeon for seven nights now, – today being the eighth day – as watching the sunlight dim and eventually disappear was her only pastime.
The first day, she switched positions often as the floor was cold and hard, making it difficult to sit or lie in one position for two long but by the end of the second day, she had become completely numb to it.
The only interaction she had was when one of the guards brought her food every evening and even then, he didn’t speak a single word to her. Instead, each time, he purposely left the tray of food just outside the cells bar, forcing her to have to crawl over there and try and eat whatever she could with the bars in the way, every evening after he had left.
The fact that all of her meals consisted of soup in a bowl just made everything so much harder yet she didn’t have a single leg to stand on so complaining wasn’t an option. The fact that she was actually being fed – if only just once a day and with only enough to keep her barely hanging on – she was immensely grateful.
All she could do now was hope that Malik was being fed and well looked after. As much as she was suffering now, she would be suffering so much more later if she found out that her innocent little boy was being mistreated due to her mistakes.
Not that she considered waking up and unknowingly eavesdropping on a conversation she didn’t even fully understand a mistake. In fact, she didn’t even have anything to do with it but it appeared that, that was not enough.
Not for Alpha Orpheus at least. Her rapist turned mate.
“Do you not remember what happened last time?”
His words echoed in her mind as they had done so for the past week while stuck in this sick form of solitary confinement.
Even though she hadn’t been able to decipher or decode anything from this seemingly innocent conversation, there was clearly something that she was missing. There was a painstakingly obvious reason as to why Orpheus was so worked up about this, about why he was so obsessed with finding out what she had heard that morning, even going as far as to throw her around and lock her up in a dungeon until she started speaking the truth.
The only reason could be that she had just heard something important – something that he hadn’t wanted her or anyone else to hear – yet wasn’t able to either understand it or recognise it. Whatever it was, it had to be important and if she could find out just what it was, perhaps it was something she could hold over his head and play to her advantage.
If not, then she would just have to get used to the idea of spending the unforeseeable in this dark and dreary dungeon which she couldn’t find herself growing fond of or used to anytime soon.
In fact, she was starting to resent it more and more each, and if she didn’t get out of it soon, she wasn’t sure what would come of it or her.
“We’re in such a good position right now. If we continue like this then things are going to work out just the way we want them to but if we backtrack now, we’re just going to have to start all over again.”
Good position for what? And start what all over again?
The longer those questions whirled around her mind, the more she felt the pounding headache from a week ago return.
Every time the guard dropped by with her one meal of the day which was supposed to see her through the night – because the Alpha wolf was concerned and gracious enough to keep her alive – she begged him to bring her some painkillers. Anything really. Just anything that would get rid of the heavy feeling in her head.
While it had dimmed slightly and was tolerable – even forgettable, sometimes – during the day, it always returned in full force during the night; taking her back to all those sleepless nights when she was pregnant and carrying her rapist’s baby, trying to battle the demons that he had abandoned her with.
“Just because we managed to escape the first time, doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to do it again.”
We? And what did they manage to escape together the first time? Hadn’t they learnt from their mistakes? Why was the person on the phone stupid enough to suggest that they repeat the same things they did to land themselves in the first situation, especially when they were barely able to survive it?
What kind of people was Orpheus associating himself? Or perhaps it was more sensical to ask, what kind of people dared to associate themselves with the devil reincarnation himself?
As much as she lay on her back, aimlessly staring up at the ceiling and trying to figure out what her mate’s grand plan was, she always returned full circle and back to square one, none the fucking wiser.
Sighing, she turned onto her side and allowed her eyes to close even though she was far from sleepy. To be specific, sleep deprived.
Having been stuck in this dungeon for so long now, Thea was sure that she had completely lost her mind; that she had lost the plot and had finally broken. Crazy, as Orpheus would be very happy to hear. Not that he would know as she hadn’t seen him since that day that he had dumped her down here however, she was sure that the guards were relaying everything she did or didn’t do back to their Alpha like the fucking loyal wolves that they were.
When she closed her eyes, she was met with the dark obsidian of his eyes, not even able to escape him in her lowest and darkest of moments but rather, he monopolised them, just as he monopolised her and everything else in her life.
Two weeks ago, she was still living happily back at the Lupus Rapax pack, excited to make the journey down to the Lupum Griseo pack and watch her friends officially seal their bond between themselves and the pack, wanting to be a part of their beautiful moment.
Perhaps she was paying now for the overexcitement she had felt earlier. It was her fault that after the spontaneous kidnapping in a twisted attempt of child trafficking but with a plot twist, – the plot twist being that instead of living children, they kidnapped specific females with the intention of turning them into pup making machines – she finally felt like her life was getting back on track; getting back to normal.
Oh, how wrong she had been as it was apparent now that she simply wasn’t destined for a life of normality.
Oh, how she wished she had never made that trip in the first place. How she wished she had called up Anastasia first thing in the morning of her Mating ceremony and told her she couldn’t come.
People always say that if they could go back and change things but Thea couldn’t disagree more. If she could go back to the morning of the Mating ceremony, there were so many things she would do differently.
When the familiar sound of the heavy door opening met her eyes, followed by the moment of silence before shoes tapping against the brick stairs – one, two, three, four, five, six steps, Thea opened her eyes and lifted herself into a sitting position.
Her stomach rumbled, very aware that it was time for her first and only meal of the day.
Except, she was wrong. There was no tray of food today.
It was easy to mistake her food delivery man for the evening as her usual guard but when he didn’t leave after dumping the non-existent tray on the ground, her curiosity got the best of her and she glanced up.
“Malik?” The lone word passed her lips the moment she watched him watch her from behind the cell bars.
“I didn’t bring the kid with me.” Orpheus shook his head as he stepped out of the shadow and closer toward the cell bars but careful not to touch them as they were silver and he was a werewolf. “But he’s fine. You have nothing to worry about.”
“I know he likes pancakes but you can’t let him eat that every morning. It’s not healthy.” She shook her head, not really sure what she was saying or why. Stressing and caring for her son almost made it feel like she was back in life before this dungeon life and diverting her mind off of herself.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.
“Noted.” He hummed in a barely-there voice, rocking back and forth on his heels as he studied her. “How are you?”
“I don’t appreciate that tone.” He cocked a daring brow in her direction, his lips tugging down at the edge as his eyes darkened.
“And I don’t appreciate being stuck down here for a week.” Thea retorted with a roll of her eyes even though she knew that most likely, and soon, she would come to regret speaking to him in such a manner.
“A week?” He questioned curiously, not on the same wavelength as her.
“Seven days.” This time, she resisted rolling her eyes but that was where she put her foot down, refusing to compromise in her hostile, ungrateful tone. “Also, the exact many days that I’ve been a prisoner here.”
“Let me guess. You counted the number of dinners that you were sent?”
“No. I watched the one beam of sunlight from this gap in the wall I’ve decided to call a window.” Thea shook her head and sighed, sliding back against the rough ground slightly to rest her back against the wall, her sense of good posture having taken a toll for the worse this past week. “But since you brought up the topic of dinners, I was actually sent down six.”
Orpheus frowned but chose not to comment further on the matter. Or well, that was what she thought as his eyes clouded over which by now, she knew was a tell-tale sign that he was mind linking someone.
“This is very simple, really.” He stated, crossing his arms over his chest and squaring his shoulders, almost as if he was ready to put up a fight. “If you just tell me what you heard that night, all of this will be over and you can see Malik again.”
Thea nodded before she began, not needing to even think about it as she had spent the last seven days rehearsing these few sentences in her mind, able to recite word for word exactly what she had heard that night.
“I think it’s far too soon to try out luck doing that again. Are you not listening to me? We’re in such a good position right now. If we continue like this then things are going to work out just the way we want them to but if we backtrack now, we’re just going to have to start all over again. Do you not remember what happened last time? Just because we managed to escape the first time, doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to do it again. You-”
A few moments of silence passed as he blinked back at her, his eyebrows furrowed together and his shoulders dropping just lightly as he tried to make sense of the monologue that she had just performed for him.
“That’s exactly what I heard you say that night.” She murmured quietly, suddenly so very tired. But that was what lack of sunlight, lack of sleep, lack of human interaction and malnutrition did to a person.
A few brief moments of silence passed between them, both blinking and staring back at each other, waiting for the other to say something because by this point, anything was better than nothing.
“Okay.” He shrugged before reaching into his pocket for the key.
Thea didn’t move from her spot against the wall as he slid the key into the slot and twisted it before reaching out and sliding open the bars, making sure to maintain his touch to the handle which was the only non-silver part of the whole setup.
“Come on. Let me take you back home.”
Thea wanted to correct him, to tell him that the Apo to Chaos pack would never be her home but now was just not the time for it. Instead, she forced herself onto her feet and followed him as he led her back to his house – albeit, with a slight wobble in her step after having not done much walking as of recent.
“Why don’t you take a shower first? Your dinner should arrive by the time you’re finished.”
“Okay.” Was all Thea could muster as she walked into his bedroom to get into the bathroom, though stopped in her tracks as she realised that he was following closely behind her.
“What?” He chuckled with evident mirth swimming in his eyes. “You thought I’d leave you alone after the running away stunt that you just tried to pull?”
Her mouth opened and closed as she stared up at him, not really sure what to make of the situation. In fact, she was completely disoriented and wasn’t sure what to make of anything that was happening around her right now.
All she could think about was Malik and what he was doing, but he had already rebuked her for asking too soon.
“I can leave the door open?” She more asked than stated even though the suggestion made her feel all sorts of disgusted and dirty
“Not good enough. Sorry.” He shook his head before moving past her to take a seat on the edge of the bathtub, whipping out his phone.
When she couldn’t move from her spot, unable to do anything other than blink at him in shock, his head whipped up to look her in the eye with a devilish glint in his own.
“You might to hurry up. We wouldn’t want your food to get cold now, would we?”
Gulping, Thea turned around and faced the shower cubicle, struggling to wrap her mind around what she was about to do right now. While he had already seen her naked a few times before on multiple occasions, that wasn’t enough to stop her feeling sick to the stomach. She was sure that if she had eaten something, she would be rushing over to the toilet to throw up about now but unfortunately, her stomach was empty.
Not willing to take her time as she knew he was far from a patient man, especially now when he appeared to be eerily calm, she dropped her clothes on the floor and stepped into the shower cubicle, wishing there was a door which she could close just for an extra barrier between them but alas, there was none.
Instead, she turned on the water and even though the first few drops were freezing cold, she didn’t even flinch. Once the water began to warm up, her actions became rushed as she started to wash her hair and body, not sure how much time he was willing to grant her.
Even though the water washed over her body to rinse and wash away a week’s worth of dirt and grime, she exited the shower feeing dirtier than she had felt before she had stepped in.
Remaining true to his word, Orpheus remained seated on the edge of the tub the whole time, only having ventured out of the bathroom to grab her some fresh clothes which now awaited her.
When his eyes travelled over her wet, shrivelling and slightly red body to meet her eyes, his jaw clenched and he pushed himself off from the tub. But instead of walking over to her for a repeat attack like she both anticipated and was bracing herself for, he turned his back on her and moved in the opposite direction.
“Come on, get dressed. I made you a sandwich. I’m sure you’re sick of soup right now.” Orpheus called out over his shoulder as he walked into the bedroom.
Not about to ask questions as to why he hadn’t assaulted her like he had done quite many times in the past, Thea rushed to pull on the jogging bottoms and jumper that he had laid out for her, hurrying to join him in the bedroom before he got impatient and decided to change his mind.
Just as he had stated before, a sandwich and bottle of water awaited her. She slowly made her way over to the bed and seated herself on the edge of it cautiously, her spine stiff and tall, ready to jump off in case he so as much as tried to reach out to her.
Almost as if he was able to sense out her train of thoughts, Orpheus decided to keep his distance as he remained reclined against the headboard in the middle of the bed, choosing to send a pointed look at her dinner instead.
Not needing to be told twice, Thea reached out for the sandwich and allowed herself to savour the first bite, her first solid food in a week feeling nothing short of heaven. The second bite was quicker and more rushed and before she knew, there was nothing left on the plate except for a few crumbs and pieces of lettuce that had managed to escape.
“There’s one more thing I wanted to talk to you about.” Orpheus announced casually the moment she finished off the last morsel of food on her plate, having watched her carefully the whole time, half expecting her to try and make another run for it.
“What is it?” She couldn’t help but whisper back in response, afraid for whatever bad news that he had in store for her. As if he hadn’t put her through so much already.
“You see the thing is, even after all of this, I still don’t trust you.”
Please remember to like, comment, REVIEW and follow me if you haven’t already! Also, support me on PATREON to read the COMPLETED book and get EARLY ACCESS to all my other books, including the third and last book in the trilogy!