Ancient Wolves - Prophecy of the Ruins

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Chapter 44

I dragged my suitcase into the tent and took my time searching for the phone.

“Stop buying time,” Gunnar grumbled, but when I looked at him, he had a smile on his face.

I knew I was acting ridiculous, but thinking about what I might see when I turned on my phone made my stomach churn.

Gunnar scooted over on the mattress, closer to me. “At some point, you have to check the messages, anyway. But you aren’t alone. I’m here for you.”

I nodded and finally pulled the phone out, switching it on. I wiped my sweaty hands on my jeans and almost typed in the SIM pin too often, nearly blocking it.

“Mia, come here,” Gunnar said, and I whipped my head in his direction, my eyes dry. I must have been staring at my phone for quite a while, the number of notifications stunning me. He patted on the spot next to me.

I dropped onto the soft mattress, and Gunnar wrapped one arm around me. I leaned my head onto his shoulder and sighed.

George tried to call me repeatedly and left tons of text messages. I could ignore them and act like I hadn’t seen them, but that wouldn’t be fair. Nothing about this was fair.

“Besides the last few days, you seemed to have a good relationship,” Gunnar said.

I put my phone to the side. “Mostly, yes. Of course, no relationship is perfect. We had our differences, but we usually never argued a lot. The biggest bump was when he introduced me to his parents or tried to, anyway.”

A bitter laugh escaped me thinking about that. “They almost stormed out of the restaurant when George introduced me to them. To this day, I still don’t know why. I didn’t look like a delinquent. I wore my best dress and tried to look as innocent as possible because I thought they would like me more than then. In my mind, I looked like the picture-perfect housewife, the woman they wanted for their son. But maybe they sensed something wasn’t right with me.”

Gunnar growled. “There is everything right with you. His parents sound like rude, stuck-up people. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry. I never liked them either. They controlled every part of George’s life, and he seemed okay with that for the most part. He loves his parents and cherishes them a lot. Not that I couldn’t understand. They are his parents, after all. And they didn’t mistreat him. But they were probably our main reason for arguing with each other.”

“That sounds frustrating. Fighting over family is never good.”

I shrugged. “It turned into my normal, and I tried to do my best to make them like me in the beginning. But whatever I did, they wouldn’t even let me enter their house, attend family celebrations, or anything similar. Even on George’s birthday, I wasn’t allowed to join. The rare times we met, it was in a restaurant, and then they couldn’t stop making snarky comments about my makeup, my hair, my clothes. They questioned my family background, and that I had nothing to show for myself. At some point, I gave up.”

“But didn’t he want to take you to his parent’s house on Beltane? When I brought you home.”

I nodded, surprised he still remembered that. “Yeah. I do not know why he thought that would make me get into his car. If anything, the prospect of going to his parent’s house caused the exact opposite. But he wasn’t himself that night, anyway.”

“Do you think if more time had passed, his parents would have accepted you?”

“No, and not even George believed that. That’s the reason he wanted to surprise them with a grandchild. The most important goal in their family is to continue the bloodline, but we weren’t even married yet. If anything, they probably would have shamed him for performing such naughty acts outside of marriage. I could even imagine they would have somehow taken the child away from me and that I forced him into becoming a father.”

“That sounds ridiculous.”

I shrugged, tears swelling up. “I think George wasn’t ready to accept that his parents hated me, regardless of what we did. Even worse, he feared to be resented by his parents, too. He never really stood up for me or forced them to confront me. When his birthday came around, he rather went to celebrate with his family, instead of me. George was ready to fight, but at the same time, he wasn’t. I felt so alone sometimes, and like a dirty little secret he didn’t want his family to see.”

Gunnar tightened his grip around me. “I don’t think he thought of you that way. He probably didn’t know how to handle the situation and chose the option with the least resistance. I do believe that he truly loves you, but it still doesn't make his behavior better.”

“That doesn’t make it easier.”

“I told you, love is like a battle. It’s not easy. If it was, we solved at least one problem on this planet.”

He dropped his arm around me, and I disliked the empty feeling. I enjoyed the comfort he offered, but I wouldn’t tell him that.

“You are strong, though. I know it won’t be easy to move on, and you won’t stop loving him from one day to another, but you aren’t alone. I might be out of line, but I think he wouldn't have been good for you in the long run,” he said, and stood up, hitting his head on the roof of the tent.

I laughed as he shuffled out of the tent.

“Thank you for being here,” I said.

He smiled and opened his arms for a welcoming hug. I hesitated before I stepped into his embrace. I felt so small in his arms, but I also never felt this protected before.

“Whenever you need someone to talk to, call me or Tyra. We will always have an open ear for you,” he said, letting go. “Also, let’s exchange numbers.”

After saving each other’s contacts, we headed back to his car.

“Are you sure you will be fine on your own?” He asked as he opened the door of his car.

I smiled. “I’m sure.”

He eyed me for a moment and sighed. “Fine. I will leave then. But don’t forget to call me when something happens!”

“Yes, yes. Don’t worry. Say ‘Hi’ to everyone.”

“I will. They probably already miss you.”

“I miss them, too.”

He got into the car, rolled down the window, and leaned outside. “Talk to you soon.”

I nodded. “See you.”

He looked at me for a while longer before shaking his head and driving off. I watched after him until I couldn’t see his car anymore. I didn’t expect to feel this alone.

When the night was rolling in, I couldn’t believe how cold it got. Not even my warmest clothes and two pairs of socks made me feel warm. Gunnar had a point when he said that it’s going to be cold.

I suppose turning into my wolf might actually become a solution. She hummed in agreement, and I smiled. It felt good to be connected with her again. She also gave me a lot of space and didn’t invade my thoughts a lot. I could feel how content she felt being back in our hometown, and I felt the same. It was the right decision to come back.

I grabbed my phone and unlocked it, hovering my finger over the unread messages in my chat. George had tried to call me a few more times since I turned it on.

When I was about to put it away again, a notification popped up.

I miss you.

I gasped as tears ran down my face. Pain exploded in my chest. It almost felt like it was about to swallow me whole. I dropped my phone and cried into the pillow.

“I miss you too,” I choked out, and closed my eyes. Hoping I would fall asleep eventually, releasing me from this pain.

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