Ancient Wolves - Prophecy of the Ruins

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Chapter 52

Waking up in my old empty bedroom felt surreal. It almost didn’t feel as if this was actually happening. But with the change, the weight I felt seeing all the memories slowly but steadily vanished, too.

After eating another pre-packaged chocolate bun for breakfast, the people checking the flooring arrived at my doorstep. It took them a while to check on all the rooms, but in the end, they were optimistic about saving everything without issues. Especially, upstairs didn’t seem to be an issue at all.

Shortly after they left, Tyra and the kids arrived. My stomach dropped when I didn’t spot Gunnar with them.

“Are you alone?”

I was stressing over him the entire night, and how I was supposed to act around him, even hoping he wouldn’t come today. But now that he wasn’t there, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

She smirked. “Don’t worry. He will drop by later, so you don’t have to feel sad for not seeing him today.”

Tyra pushed into the house, carrying a tray filled with cake, not seeing how my face turned red like a tomato. The kids rushed into the house with a brief hello, their hands full of bags or toys. I took a deep breath and followed them.

Svea pulled on the hem of my shirt when I reached the kitchen. I smiled and picked her up. She cuddled close to me, not saying a word. Tyra rushed in and out of the house, more and more things filling the empty space in the kitchen. She even brought a folding table. I wondered where in the world she stored all those things in her small car. There must be a lot more space inside than what I could see from the outside.

“Are you planning to move in?”

She laughed. “Not yet. But who knows? Maybe I like it so much that I will stay.”

“The house is big enough. You are always welcome.”

I watched her empty paper bags with different tools and bottles, wondering what exactly her plan was for today. She turned to me while putting on gloves. “What about your flooring? All good on that front?”

I nodded. “They said it looks alright. Only the rooms with the broken windows require a bit more work, but otherwise, it should be no issue, and they wouldn’t need much time to fix it.”

“Did they also say when they could start?”

“No, they will send me an estimate of costs first, and then we will set a date. But the windows will be replaced today.”

“Sounds great. And now,” she said and grabbed another pair of gloves. “Let’s get started. We have a lot to do today. Svea, go outside and play with your siblings.”

Svea sighed but didn’t complain when I set her on the floor. Tyra handed me the gloves, and I put them on, waiting for her to tell me of her plan for today.

“I hope we can scrape off all the wallpaper in the kitchen and living room today. We should probably dampen it first. It can be quite the pain to remove them otherwise. From what I could see, they are sticking at the walls rather firmly.”

She grabbed one bottle, which looked like an oversized spray bottle. “We fill this one with water and soak the walls with it. Would you mind filling it up for me? It should be lukewarm.”

I nodded and moved to the bathroom to fill it up. When I returned, Tyra had trash bags prepared and was busy pulling her wild hair into a bun. After she wrapped a bandana around her head to keep the hair off her face, she looked like she was ready to go.

She took the bottle from me with a bright smile. “Let’s start then. Also, do you have a ladder somewhere?”

I tried to remember if I had seen a ladder in the basement, but I couldn’t remember seeing one there. “There could be one in the old shed outside.”

“Could you see if there is? Otherwise, I would tell Gunnar to bring one with him later.”

“Sure,” I said and walked outside to the shed, pushing through the high grass. I wonder how I’m supposed to get rid of this amount of grass. I doubt a normal lawnmower could tackle this task.

The door to the shed almost fell out of its hinges when I pulled it open, making me shriek in surprise. I peeked inside, hoping the rest of the small shed wouldn’t crash as soon as I stepped inside. It was surprisingly tidy. Even if there were no thieves in the house, I almost expected that they might have tried to get something out of the shed.

A ladder was safely secured in the back of the shed, and when I grabbed it off the wall, I held my breath. But no wall seemed to budge. Maybe it was only the door which best times were over by now.

I left the shed and walked back to the house, warning the children to not enter the shed on my way. They nodded, promising to not step one foot inside it, and continued to chase each other around. I smiled, seeing them having fun like this. Even Svea had a bright smile on her face- a stuffed teddy bear squeezed to her chest.

I leaned the ladder at a wall in the kitchen. “Here it is.”

She looked over her shoulder, nodding. “Great. Now you can start scraping on that wall.” Tyra pointed at the wall on her right. I grabbed the scraper off the table and started removing the damp wallpaper.

We worked in silence for a while, when Tyra cleared her throat. “So what is going on with George? Anything new?”

My heart sank. I expected she would eventually ask me more about the situation between him and me, but I didn’t even know where to start. “Did Gunnar mention anything?”

She laughed. “As if that man would let anything slip. He is a closed book.”

I smiled, a warm feeling settling in my chest. I was glad I could still count on him for keeping things to himself.

“It’s complicated.”

She threw me a pointed look. “That much is clear. From the stunt he pulled yesterday, I’m sure everyone knows things are far from being resolved.”

I sighed. “I worry he won’t ever give up on me at this point. He has always been quite possessive and jealous, but it never felt overbearing. Besides, he never acted as if he would fight this hard for me, not as much as he is portraying now.”

“I doubt he had any reasons to make it overbearing for you when you limited all your contacts and actions. You were always with him and never gave him the impression to change that.”

She wasn’t wrong. I never doubted our relationship and felt fine with how things were. I even appreciated the small circle of people I had, because I didn’t feel like having many people around me. Something like a pack. George made me feel safe. It was all I needed.

“Do you maybe you grew too comfortable and compliant, and that’s why you never saw red flags in your relationship?”

“What do you mean?” I asked, trying to scrape off a very persistent piece of wallpaper.

“I wonder if you got used to the situation you were in because it was the only thing that made you feel better again, to the point you never even considered if it was the one you wanted to be in.”

“I felt content, so I believe it was a situation I wanted to be in.”

Even if I didn’t feel so sure about that anymore.

The scraping on the other side stopped, and I turned to her.

“I wonder if you are lying to me or yourself right now.”

I almost dropped my scraper. “What are you trying to say? That I wasn’t happy? That I didn’t love him?”

She sighed, her eyes softening. “I’m trying to say that you don’t want to look back and admit that the relationship you have with George might have already gone stale without realizing it. I believe you loved George, but I doubt that you loved him for the right reasons.”

I jumped up, my heart pounding. “That sounds like you are accusing me of using him!”

Tyra didn’t flinch by my tone. “I’m not accusing you of anything. I don’t know what you feel, but you might beat yourself up for no reason. You went through a lot of things in the past years, and George was the first person after the incident who offered you the happiness and safety you needed. You even told me to make him happy, you stopped things that made you happy, and you were willing to become a mother, too. Not only that, but you had an isolated life, and you thought you were okay with that at the time, but when you look back now, you have to be honest with yourself. I think you loved and cared for him, and you still do, but I don’t think it was enough to stay with him forever, even if your wolf hadn’t returned. Not without sacrificing your own happiness.”

I took a deep breath, trying to shake the anger that ate at me. I knew Tyra didn’t mean harm. She only tried to offer advice. But it hurt anyway. Because it was true.

She stood up. “You don’t want to return to him.”

I shook my head.

“Do you regret leaving him?”

“No!” As soon as that one word left my mouth, my chest tightened. Not even having to think about the answer made me feel guilty.

“You know the answer to what I said to you already. But you don’t want to say it out loud. You told me before that the relationship crumbled when you couldn’t get pregnant, but I think it was already going downhill way before that.”

“It was our last resort,” I muttered, tears stinging in the corner of my eyes.

She nodded. “And George knew that, too. He probably also knew how much his family was hurting you, but he didn’t know how to change. Besides, you always went with the flow. Why change? But now that you are gone, he realized what he had lost and took for granted for a long time.”

Tyra closed the gap between us, pulling me into a hug. “You two might have worked out if you were a normal human. But you aren’t a normal human, and that won’t ever change. You did the right thing, Mia. For you and him. Don’t doubt that and look ahead. There are plenty of fishes in the sea, and no one judges you when you follow your heart.”

I wrapped my arms around her, sobbing silently. I didn’t think I needed to hear those words from her until I heard them, and I felt like a weight got lifted off my chest.

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