I didn’t know what to do. Layton hated Liam probably even more than he hated Zev. He would’ve gone as far as killing him out of anger. Liam wouldn’t back down either, even if it cost him his life.
It had taken me a second to realize Zev was headed our way from another direction. I felt relieved because he was the mature one. I assumed that Zev would help me make Layton understand that a fight would only cause more problems.
But one look at Zev’s face and I knew he wasn’t in a talking mood. He looked even more furious than Layton.
Layton stopped when he was about twenty feet away from us. Zev stopped at the same distance but on the other side of Layton. His pack was backing him up and some were already shifted into their Wolves.
When I turned around, I noticed that ten more guys and four girls had joined Liam. It seemed like if anything happened, Liam wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
“Let Cassidy go and I’ll give you a quick death,” Layton told Liam with a menacing tone.
Both Liam and I looked at each other with a confused expression on our faces. Layton thought that Liam was holding me hostage. Even though that had been the case before, for the last hour, I had been there on my own free will.
“You think…” Liam murmured, but he didn’t finish his sentence.
“No,” he stated firmly.
I turned up to look at Liam and raised my eyebrow. He simply grinned at me.
Liam smoothly got a hold of me, putting one of his arms around my throat and the other around me, resting on my stomach. I was facing both Layton and Zev’s pack, with my back pressed against Liam’s chest.
Layton almost shifted after Liam grabbed me in that position. Zev looked like he wanted to kill Liam.
I knew Liam wouldn’t hurt me— that wasn’t what he was after. I wasn’t even sure what he wanted. I didn’t know what he was looking for to make him happy.
“Let her go, now!” Zev growled at Liam.
Liam only laughed at him, which caused some of the guys from both packs to shift.
“Can’t you all talk it out?” I asked to anyone who would listen to me.
“I have nothing to say. As soon as I get you back, I’m killing Liam and all his mutts,” Layton stated with distaste.
Liam growled at him and unconsciously dug his hands into my stomach.
“Hey!” I cried in protest, because he didn’t stop.
His claws had extracted and were cutting through my shirt and sinking into my skin.
“Sorry Cass,” Liam apologized, loosening his grip and trying to see if I was hurt.
I slapped his hand away, which made Liam chuckle at me.
Layton, Zev, and everyone else accompanying them looked confused. I didn’t think they understood what had just happened between Liam and me.
When Liam noticed what he had just done, he cleared his throat.
“Uh, I mean, shut up!”
I wanted to laugh at how he wanted to save the situation and keep pretending he was ‘holding me hostage’.
But before I got a word out, someone from Layton’s pack charged in our direction. It was hard to describe what happened after that. In just seconds, everyone started going at each other.
Layton and Zev’s guys ganged up against the Rogues that came with Liam. Soon enough, I couldn’t make out who was fighting against whom.
“Stop!” I yelled, hoping anyone would actually listen to me.
No one did.
Layton, Zev, Tyler, Micah, and Jonas were the only ones who hadn’t shifted into their Wolves, other than Liam.
Everyone else had gone Wolf and were growling at each other or fighting.
I was truly surprised with how big some of the Wolves were. None of them were quite as big as Layton or Zev, but they were still huge.
The Rogues looked dangerous. I’d noticed that their growls were more feral than the pack Wolves.
The guys who hadn’t shifted were standing about five feet in front of Liam and me. Liam had moved us to the side and a fair distance from the fight.
“Hand her over and I’ll give you a quick death,” Layton growled.
“I don’t think so. Maybe I want to keep her. It’s time for me to settle down anyway,” Liam teased Layton.
“You won’t take a step before we bring you down,” Zev threatened Liam.
“Or, I could make you stay where you are, maybe even push you away without touching you,” Liam told the pair.
“Liam!” I scolded him.
People cannot be trusted these days. I had only asked him to keep that one thing a secret and there he was taunting Layton and Zev with my gifts.
“Don’t worry, Cass. I wasn’t going to say anything,” Liam said.
I couldn’t see his face, but I could practically hear the grin in his voice.
“What is he talking about?” Both Layton and Zev asked.
I groaned, knowing that they wouldn’t drop the subject until I gave them a believable lie.
“Stop the fight,” I told to the three.
They all gave me different answers, all of which were a combination of ‘no’.
I turned to the fight in front of us and noticed more Wolves were down. They weren’t dead, some were just hurt. Everyone was holding on strong, but they were still getting injured. The loss of life for a misunderstanding— it was unjust. It was wrong for them to be fighting over something stupid.
“Stop the fight. Now!” I shouted.
My voice resounded throughout the area, and the loud noise of thunder took over the sky. What had been a light clear sky turned into a gray darkness, followed by more thunder. It was all due to the anger I felt because they wouldn’t stop.
I narrowed my eyes at Layton and Zev, willing them to do as I said. I didn’t think they would just listen, but they were looking at me in awe.
The sky grew even darker, and the wind picked up, slowly turning colder.
“No way, you’re doing that too?” Liam asked, like an excited little kid.
“Shut up, Liam,” I told him getting out of his arms.
“You two, tell them to stop.” I pointed at Layton and Zev.
“How did you get out of his hold?” Layton asked me, suspiciously.
“Did you really think this idiot could catch me?” I asked him, raising an eyebrow.
At that point, the fight had stopped on its own. Everyone was staring at me, not knowing what to make of the situation. I felt annoyed with the attention.
“You pretended he was holding you?” Zev asked, sounding betrayed.
“I did. And I’m sorry, but Liam has something to say,” I admitted.
Zev narrowed his eyes at me, making me want to cringe back. It didn’t last though. After a few seconds of making me feel guilty, he started walking away.
“Zev, please, let him explain.”
I chased after Zev, who had picked up speed so that I wouldn’t catch up to him. When I got a hold of his hand, he yanked it away from me. It hurt the way he pulled away, like if he didn’t want me to touch him, but at least he stopped.
Zev was always the reasonable one, but in that moment, he didn’t even want to listen to me.
“Don’t talk to him!” Layton growled.
“If you ever, and I really mean ever, try to keep me away from Zev— I will break everything between us,” I snapped at Layton.
Zev looked surprised by my outburst, but I could tell he was still upset.
“You know how Layton was stupid enough to think that your pack was the one who attack his pack years ago?” I asked Zev.
Layton and a few other Wolves from Blue Bloods Pack growled at my words. Everyone was standing behind me, but they were still divided into groups. Some of the guys who weren’t really hurt were helping out the ones that were wounded.
“What about it?” Zev asked.
“Something similar happened with Liam as well, only there were deaths involved in that misunderstanding. But he’s really sorry about it,” I told Zev, getting closer to him.
“Yeah, right,” Liam scoffed.
Zev turned to glare at Liam. Some of the Wolves from Zev’s pack seemed ready to attack Liam and his guys.
“Liam, stop being immature and tell him what happened,” I said, annoyed that Liam wasn’t doing anything to help.
It wasn’t like he would come out of a confrontation against Zev and Layton unscathed. While I could tell Liam was strong, he didn’t have enough guys to take on the two packs.
“Look, I know that even after you guys talk it out, things won’t be perfect. But you have to know that it wasn’t all Liam’s fault,” I told Zev.
Zev finally gave in and allowed me to hold his hand. When Layton noticed the contact between Zev and me, he tried pulling me away.
“Stop it, Layton,” I reprimanded him.
Layton did not look happy, but he took hold of my other hand and crashed me to his side. I rolled my eyes at him, but didn’t pull away.
We started walking back, with Layton holding my right hand and Zev on my left. While Zev was walking back unsurely towards Liam, Layton looked seriously pissed off.
Zev was looking at Liam expectantly. Liam kept shifting his weight from foot to foot. In that moment, he was behaving like a little kid who was about to get in trouble.
“I didn’t go to New Elite to attack. I only wanted to prove to everyone that I had shifted and was no longer a weak human,” Liam said, sounding uncomfortable.
Liam stayed quiet after that and turned to face me. I nodded reassuringly, willing him to continue.
“When the pack detected we were Rogues, they attacked without asking questions. We simply responded,” Liam finished.
I smiled brightly at Liam, happy that the truth was finally out.
Both Layton and Zev, however, were tensed up at my side.
“What about the mate you stole? Her family was left behind to mourn her disappearance and the death of her mate,” Zev questioned Liam, angrily.
“We only took her with us to safely leave the pack without an attack. We let her go after we passed through Blue Bloods Pack. Since her mate was dead, she didn’t want to return home,” Liam replied.
Almost everyone had shifted back to their human form. The guys who had been hurt seemed to be healing. I swept my eyes over the area and realized that thankfully, no one had died.
If anyone had gotten seriously injured, it would’ve been my fault.
I had to admit it was a bit uncomfortable to see so many guys standing around naked. I avoided looking at anyone who wasn’t dressed. My face was flushed as it was.
“What about what you did to my pack? We blamed it all on Marcus,” Layton accused, sounding outraged.
He didn’t look as forgiving as Zev. I knew that Layton would never understand. Getting something through his thick skull was almost impossible.
Liam looked at him and I could tell he was going say something that would start another fight. He thought the people from Layton’s pack deserved it.
“You don’t have to explain anything to him,” I told Liam.
Liam nodded his head and remained quiet.
“You killed members from my pack too!” Layton growled, taking a step towards Liam.
Zev released my hand and went to stand beside Liam. I was happy about that change, but I did not like the look in Layton’s eyes when Zev did that.
“We trespassed by accident. Marcus was chasing us when we crossed the line to your property. Your father decided to attack the Rogues without asking if we were a threat,” Liam spat at Layton.
I was in between the two sides and I knew it was the only reason Layton didn’t launch himself at Liam.
“You’re a Rogue, what do you expect?” Layton yelled at Liam.
“I turned Rogue out of circumstance. We were only passing through and would’ve left without harm. John attacked!” Liam defended himself.
“Out of circumstance? Is that your way of explaining why you’re not a pure breed? Why you didn’t shift like the rest of us? I don’t need to hurt you anymore, Liam. Being the son of a Wolf and a human is punishment enough,” Layton growled at Liam venomously.
I snapped my head in Layton direction as soon as those words left his mouth.
Everyone around us froze after Layton made that comment. They were all well aware that I was his mate and I was supposed to be a human.
“Cassidy, I’m not talking about us. We are different. Liam is a mutt and a murderer,” Layton said, not sounding sorry for his words.
That made me angry. I didn’t think I had experienced a feeling similar to what was coursing through my veins in that moment.
Anger was boiling inside of me and I felt sick. It felt like Layton’s words had triggered something in me. I hated that he had said that, that he thought that way.
I wasn’t sure what was happening to me but my body was going crazy. What Layton said had hurt me, but I didn’t think it should’ve caused so much emotion within me.
“Cassidy, let’s go,” Zev said to me, holding his hand out for me to go with him.
“She’s my mate! She’s not going to be leaving with you, especially if you have that Rogue and his mutts now in your pack,” Layton growled at Zev.
I felt a strange sensation running though my body, but I couldn’t be sure what it was.
I guessed that the pressure of the confrontation between Liam, Layton, and Zev was the cause of it.
I stood in between Layton and Zev as they growled at each other. If my body wasn’t in their way, they would’ve ripped each other apart.
“How could you stand by his side after everything he’s caused to Blue Bloods and New Elite? He’s responsible for deaths! He’s the reason our packs are no longer friends!”
Layton sounded furious, but beneath that, he also looked hurt. He was doing a good job at hiding it, but I could see right through him.
“Liam is my cousin, Layton. Cassidy was right, we should stop all this hate going on,” Zev replied.
I smiled at his words, despite the tension around the area. Anger was still coursing through my blood, but Zev’s words were calming me down. I knew that Zev’s pack was lucky to soon be led by him.
“If you accept Liam in your pack, this means war,” Layton threatened Zev.
Something in the way he said that made a shiver run through my body. Everyone around us seemed to notice it too. Layton’s eyes were swirling with a silvery gray, blue, and black mix.
I looked between Layton and Zev, trying to think of the best way to stop the oncoming fight. If both packs were to fight, I knew I couldn’t stop them. There were too many Wolves going against each other.
“You don’t have to stand by me, Zeverus. I can fight my own battles,” Liam told Zev, while keeping his eyes on Layton and the pack behind him.
Jared and Tyler stood at Layton’s Flanks. After all, Jared was his Beta and Tyler would soon be his third in command. Micah and Jonas stood right behind Zev and Liam.
The other shifters were a little ways back. Even though the guys that came with Liam were there, it was easy to separate who was part of Zev’s pack and who was a Rogue.
“Cassidy, come over here.” Layton ordered, his voice sounding huskier than it usually did.
“Don’t go with him,” Zev told me, while giving me a pleading look.
Every little movement felt like it would be what set the fight in motion.
I stared at two future Alphas, not knowing what to do.
While I was looking at Layton, I felt someone shove me forward. It had happened. Someone had made the first move. I had gone from standing alone, in between Zev and Layton, to standing with someone’s arm wrapped around my neck.
“Both of you— stand back!” The guy who was holding me yelled.