It had been two weeks now since Orpheus had spilled the beans over the whole child trafficking operation, she now knew had nothing to do with trafficking children but instead, was so much worse. Before, they had all worried that poor, innocent children were being sold and traded but now, she couldn’t help but look at everything differently.
In all the time between his confession and today – fifteen days to be awfully specific – Thea had been looking at everything from a strategic point of view. Everything that he mentioned to her, she made a mental note of. Everyone he introduced to her, she stored their faces in her memory but most of all, everything she learnt about whatever this operation was, she relayed back to Marcellus and Anastasia that were doing some digging of their own.
To say that Marcellus was furious was a complete and utter understatement but thankfully, Anastasia was never too far away. While they ultimately didn’t agree with the role she was playing in order to bait some more information out of him, they also agreed that everything they had gathered was nothing more than substantial and had absolutely no chance of holding up in front of the werewolf council right now.
Once again, they had a long, long way to go to even be able to see the end in sight but right now, Thea needed to keep up this whole mate charade for them to even stand a chance.
She knew that there was always the option of coming clean to the council about what was really happening, what Orpheus was messed up in and what he was doing to all of these children, but she had lost all of her credibility now.
If she were to have brought this up during the trial, they wouldn’t have believed her then and they certainly wouldn’t believe her now.
“Thea?” Orpheus called out to her from where he was behind his desk. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Why?” Glancing up from her laptop, she stared at him curiously before nodding her head, a questioning look in her eyes.
“You have this strange look on your face.” He hummed aloud while leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his chest, his eyes turning to study her from where she was sat on the sofa. “Working hard or hardly working?”
“What kind of question is that?” Thea snorted. “Working hard, obviously.”
He leaned his back on the chair and laughed softly, her never failing to humour her.
“You sure about that?” Orpheus cocked a teasing, questioning brow in her direction.
“I’m always working hard.” Thea answered back and technically, she wasn’t lying. While she was working away on her laptop for a logo for a new client that was due by the end of the week, her mind and heart just wasn’t in it right now. Not when she had so many other things to worry about. “But why are you so concerned? Sounds like someone is looking for a distraction.”
“That depends.” He hummed in a low, gravelly tone that had her stomach doing flips regardless of how much she hated the way her body betrayed her. “What kind of distraction are we talking about?”
As much as she wanted to say that his teasing tone and the subtle suggestion of his words disgusted her, Thea couldn’t bring herself to lie anymore. Not to herself.
Thea was tired of being self-destructive and frankly, she hated that she hated herself for feeling things for the one being, the one person that she was destined to spend the rest of forever with. She hated that she fought himself so much and that she constantly had to chastise her body for reacting to him even though to her, it was natural instinct.
She was so tired of having to keep distance between them as both her body and her heart wanted nothing more than to sink into his arms and see what could become of them if only she allowed it, yet her mind was stubborn and adamant not to confuse him for a good person as she knew that he was far, far from it.
The fact that seemingly upon the surface, things had been nothing but great lately, didn’t help the situation any.
Instead, she made a show of rolling her eyes but couldn’t hold back the laugh that bubbled up to the surface. All while ignoring the fact that she hadn’t needed to fake the laughter.
“Not the kind of distraction you’re interested in.” Thea laughed quietly, though didn’t bother hiding the grimace that was soon to follow.
As great as things between them appeared to be – all only on the surface – they both recognised and were able to identify that it was far too soon for anything physical to happen between them. As far as Thea’s mind was concerned, getting physical during the end of time would be too soon, yet she didn’t care to indulge him on that matter.
“Of course!” Orpheus agreed with a respectful nod. “It’s far too soon for that and I completely understand.”
Thea forced a convincing smile before returning her attention back to her computer screen. Nowadays, the only way she could escape the reality that was her fucked up life was through her work yet other times, like this time, she just couldn’t think straight.
Not when he was so near and watching her every move.
Of all the things that she hated about Orpheus Vladimir, her mate, she hated how good of an actor he was. His acting skills were turned up the max whenever Malik was around.
Just like now, for instance.
“How was your day, my king?” Orpheus greeted their son as he swung the little boy into his arms, a large, happy grin on his face though Thea was yet to digress.
“Good!” Malik cheered.
“Learn anything interesting in school today?”
Thea couldn’t bring herself to pay attention to the rest of the conversation. Seeing her son in her rapist’s arms – even if her rapist was her son’s biological father – made her feel sick to her stomach yet there was simply nothing she could do about it.
The fact that her sweet little boy now referred to the monster in their lives as ‘daddy’ just made things so much worse.
“Thea?” Her mate called out to her again, forcing her out of her reverie. “We’re going to make some pancakes. Are you coming?”
Forcing a smile on her face, Thea rose to her feet and walked behind the two men in her life, forced to act like the perfect little happy family even though that couldn’t be further from the truth.
With so many thoughts rushing through her mind, Thea mostly kept to herself for the rest of the day until she settled on the sofa in the living in front of the TV, hoping that a mindless show would take her mind off everything. When Orpheus joined her on the sofa after having put Malik down for the night, she didn’t voice any complaints and very quickly, they settled into a peaceful silence.
Thea wasn’t sure how much time had passed but when his phone rang, Orpheus didn’t try hiding it like previous times but instead, he signalled to her that it was an important call and that she would need to be quiet before picking it up.
Almost as if he wasn’t even bothered by the fact that she was sitting right beside him, Orpheus pressed the phone to his ear before proceeding to
While she was able to pick up on a few things, faintly recognise the voice and the topic of matter that they were discussing, it wasn’t nearly enough for her to get the whole jist of the conversation that he was happening.
Thea waited patiently and turned her attention back to the show that they were watching on the TV, but she was no longer interested in it.
As soon as he hung up the phone and slipped it back in his pocket, she was quick with the first question.
“Who was that?” Thea asked quietly though before he could even open his mouth to respond, she was able to answer her own question even though she wished it wasn’t so. “Was that Malachi?”
Orpheus simply nodded his head as he watched her carefully, trying to read her expression after having just learnt this very important piece of information.
“The head of the werewolf council, Malachi?” She couldn’t help but question again, unable to get over the initial shock of the situation and realising such news which changed everything.
“Yes.” Orpheus confirmed with another nod of his head. “The only reason he’s part of this whole operation is because of his position.”
“But he hasn’t been head of the council for long.” Thea couldn’t help but frown, recalling Anastasia having mentioned it to her once a few weeks ago when she first met all of the elders. “Well, that’s what I heard, anyway.”
“You heard right.” Orpheus agreed as he turned his head to face her, no longer so engrossed in the movie that they had been watching. “You must know that before he became an elder, he used to be a Beta wolf while his Alpha was the head of the council?”
“What Malachi did was essentially signing his life away to the devil.”
“What?” Thea couldn’t help but gasp in surprise, having not expected for him to admit something so serious and sinister. “What do you mean he signed his life away to the devil? How can that be possible?”
“Well, that’s just a saying.” Orpheus shrugged as if it wasn’t that big of a deal even though to her, it was that and so much more. “He actually signed his life away to Lord Erebus.”
“Why would he do that?” Thea couldn’t help but question in a small, quiet voice, afraid of the answer that she would receive from him.
“In exchange for what he wanted the most.” Orpheus stated simply as he stared back at her, a knowing look in his eyes as he knew that she was smart enough to be able to connect all the dots together.
He was right. Her mind was already working hard to piece together the final pieces of the puzzle and when it all clicked together, she couldn’t help but inhale sharply.
Elder Malachi had made a deal with Lord Erebus where he would be given the position as head of the werewolf council, essentially annihilating the current head and his former Alpha but cutting him out of the picture in exchange for pledging his loyalty to Lord Erebus and whatever it took to bring him back to life.
Or as alive as some akin to the devil reincarnate could possibly be.
“What if he changes mind?” Thea couldn’t help but question after a few moments of being lost in her thoughts, her voice airy and quiet.
“What do you mean?” Orpheus questioned in a low hum.
“What if changes his mind and decides that he doesn’t want to be part of this whole thing anymore?”
“That’s not quite the way things work.” Orpheus chuckled, raising his hand to rub a hand down his jaw. “But if he does try to go back on his part of the deal, well…” His voice trailed off as he chuckled yet again. “By the time Lord Erebus is through with him for the betrayal, he’ll wish that he was dead.”
Thea made a show of nodding her head and pursing her lips in attempt of hiding just how sick she felt on the inside.
She was almost afraid to ask what the conversation had been about.
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