It had been a while since I last broke down like this. I used to be a mental wreck for a long time after the incident, and no therapist knew what to do with me. How would they, if they didn’t know what really happened to me? Over time, the pain numbed and the memories blurred. Then I met George, and I felt fine. Now it felt like my old wounds got ripped open, and I had no one there to keep my head above water.
My wolf whined in the back of my mind, reminding me she would be here for me now, and I smiled. She was right. I wasn’t completely alone anymore. I had my wolf, who shared the same loss as me. We could get through this again.
I got up and placed the diary in the box of things I wanted to keep. The urge to find out more right now was almost overwhelming, but I didn’t have time for that right now. This house needed to get back into shape, and I didn’t want to waste more time. Sleeping in a tent might be fine, but it wasn’t something I was fond of doing for a long time.
I quickly finished sorting out the things in this room and carried the boxes downstairs. Meanwhile, the ringing of my phone echoed through the house again. It was silent for a while, but now it was a never-ending sound of torture again. My nerves were growing thin, turning me into a ticking time bomb. I knew George was worried, and probably hurt, too, but the things I found out today weighed a lot heavier on my mind than that. As bad as that might sound. At this point, I should block him and really cut him out of my life.
I walked back upstairs and into my old bedroom, seeing George’s face smiling at me from the screen. I couldn’t stop myself from ignoring it any longer. This had to end.
“What do you want, George?”
There was a long silence on the other end, but I waited anyway. He had a chance to say what he wanted to say before this would not happen again.
“I was so worried, Mia! I thought something happened to you.”
I took a few deep breaths, calming my anger. I couldn’t let out my bad mood on him when he was only worried. If he had vanished from one day to another, I would freak out, too. But I still had to set up boundaries. I had to make sure he understood he couldn’t be part of my life anymore, and if that meant I had to act like a bitch, then that was fine. Maybe if he started hating me, it was easier to let me go.
“And that concerns you because?”
“Don’t act like a stranger and put up a tough front. I have known you for years, and this isn’t you.”
I laughed. “Oh, George. You know nothing about me.”
It wasn’t completely a lie, after all. He knew my human side, yes, but that is only part of me. There was so much he didn’t know and would never know.
“I don’t believe that, and even if that’s true, I’m ready to find out everything about you. I would accept you.”
“That’s brave of you to say. What if I was a murderer? Would you still accept me?”
“You are anything but that. I know you wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone.”
He would be surprised by how many I had hurt in fights before, not on purpose, but it happened. Killing each other within the wolf community isn’t as rare as the attacks on my or Gunnar’s pack. Just because I didn’t kill anyone yet, doesn’t mean it might not happen. Especially now that I was an alpha myself.
“George, I’m not the good girl I tried to be, and I tried. For you, for your awful parents, and our relationship. I always wanted to be the perfect girlfriend and fiancée. Later I planned to be a perfect wife and mother, but I could never live up to that, and I won’t ever be able to.”
“You have been nothing but perfect for me!”
I shook my head, even though I knew he wouldn’t be able to see it. “I need space, and I need time to breathe. Please don’t force something I don’t want.”
“I won’t give up on you, Mia. I refuse to let go of you. We belong together, and you know it, too.”
I ended the call without another word and blocked his number. I stared at the screen of my phone, a whirlwind of emotions running wild inside me. George was stubborn as a donkey, so I knew he would try everything he could to fix this. Back then, I used to find that kinda charming about him, but it feels incredibly suffocating now. I felt drained and full of guilt after speaking to him, but I had no time to feel sorry for myself.
I walked back downstairs and cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, only keeping a few mugs, bowls, and cups. Otherwise, I wanted to replace everything. Afterward, I checked the location of the next clothing donation container and saw that one wasn’t too far away from here, but still too far to carry all these ten bags by foot.
Maybe Gunnar could help me when he visited again. I stopped in my tracks. When did it become normal for me that Gunnar would visit me? Was that something I should expect? He didn’t owe me anything, and I wasn’t even a problem for him anymore, either. I shouldn’t feel dependent on anyone. I wanted to try this alone, after all.
My stomach grumbled. I should take a break and eat something, preferably something warm. After looking at the options, I decided to order a pizza. While I waited for that to arrive, I removed a few spiderwebs and finally tidied up the broken glass on the floor. When the doorbell rang, I grabbed the money from the kitchen counter and hurried to the door. To my surprise, it wasn’t the pizza delivery, though.
He smiled. “Hey. I thought I would drop by and see how you are doing.”
I opened the door wider and let him inside. “You mean you wanted to check if I was still alive?”
He laughed. “You got me there.”
“You could have called, instead of driving here just for that,” I said and closed the door.
“That wouldn’t have been the same,” he said, and looked around. “You already cleaned up quite a bit.”
I chuckled. “Thanks for the nice words, but I think we both know it still looked pretty awful.”
He smiled and shrugged.
Before I had a chance to respond, the doorbell rang again. “Finally.”
I opened the door and handed the young man his money, almost pulling the pizza out of his hand a bit too harshly. I hurried back inside and past Gunnar to my tent in the garden.
“Come on out,” I called over my shoulder, and didn’t wait for him to follow me.
I zipped open the tent and stepped inside. I could have eaten in the house, too, but all the dust made me lose my appetite.
I pulled off my shoes and settled down in the middle of the mattress.
“How was the night?” Gunnar asked after he squeezed into the tent, too, sitting down next to me. He looked so huge in this small room, it was almost funny.
“It was alright,” I said.
I opened the pizza carton and sighed in relief when I saw they had listened to me and cut it for me already.
“Could you hand me the baby wipes?” I pointed at the package in the tent’s corner, and Gunnar leaned over to grab them.
I quickly pulled out a few and cleaned my hands before finally taking a piece and biting into it. I barely managed to suppress a groan. Who would have expected that one day without proper food would make me appreciate the goodness of fast food?
“Do you want some, too?”
He grabbed a piece. “Thank you.”
We ate the pizza in silence, and when I was full, I fell backward on the mattress, patting my full stomach. “That was a good meal.”
Gunnar chuckled, placing the empty carton on the floor. “Thanks for sharing.”
I peeked up at him. “You are lucky that I like you, or else I wouldn’t have shared this glory of a pizza with you.”
“You would have been all protective of what’s yours?” He asked with a broad smile, which caused a big smile to form on my lips, too.
“I protect what belongs to me after all,” I said and rolled to the side.
“We seem to share the same sentiment there,” he answered and threw me a look that made my stomach flip. I stared at him, and he didn’t drop his gaze, looking at me with that look on his face I couldn’t quite name.
I laughed nervously. “You are an alpha, after all.”
Gunnar didn’t answer me and stayed silent. The silence made my stomach drop and my hands sweaty.
“I spoke to George,” I blurted out, and I almost regretted it as Gunnar’s eyes turned dangerously dark.