I dive under the bed just as a splintering crash sounds throughout the room. Screams and growls rip through the air and I watch as pack warriors round the three of them up in two seconds flat. Suddenly, a pair of red, black and white high-top sneakers come into my line of sight.
“Sweetheart? Is that you?”
His voice is even better in person, and I jumped up, trying to be as careful and as quick as possible without hurting the baby.
I launch myself into his arms and squeeze him tightly, sobbing into his shirt. His familiar scent of wood and lemon immediately relaxing my body.
His arms wrap around me and he whispers my name over and over, as if he can’t believe that it’s me. His breathing is so uneven and harsh as he cries into my shoulder, drawing in my scent with every breath.
We stand there in each other’s arms for so long, no sound coming from around us. Finally though, I gather the strength to pull away and look at his face.
His hair is really long, touching his shoulders. He obviously hadn’t cut it at all in the past three months. His face is covered in what looks like a five-day stubble and his eyes have dark circles underneath them, as if he hadn’t gotten sleep for the past three months. Despite his unkept appearance, he looks as handsome as the first day I saw him.
“I’m so sorry my love. This is all my fault. If we hadn’t-”
I cut him off by placing my hand over his mouth. “Don’t you dare take the blame for this. None of this is your fault. We will sort this out later. Right now, we need to deal with them,” I remind him, nodding in the direction my mother, Simon and Dr Jasmine are.
Cole’s face turns into stone and he marches over to them. I walk behind him and place my hand on his back, just to remind him that I am there with him. But he is shaking with anger so much that I start to get scared. For them.
The pack warriors shove them into the available chairs in the room and surround them. They all look at Cole and I with full attention and bow their heads when Cole looks over at them.
“You,” he growls suddenly. He stands in front of Dr Jasmine and looks down at her with such hate and anger that I shiver, glad I that I’m not on the receiving end.
- violence starts
The doctor looks beyond terrified. Cole grabs her by the neck and hoists her off the chair and throws her across the room, her back slamming against the wall, before she slides down into a crumpled heap, a small whimper escaping her lips. Cole quickly walks up to her and pulls her back to her feet, his canines bared and his eyes black.
“The day my mate went missing is the day you ran away. I found out only later that it was you who allowed this to happen. Why?”
She takes one look at his face and starts crying. “I-I’m so s-s-sorry Alpha! Please! Don’t hurt me. I-i-i did it because I love you! I did it for you. I promise.”
I flinch as Cole snarls in her face. I know that that isn’t a good enough excuse to Cole. Not even close.
He covers her mouth with his palm and rips out her throat with his teeth, uncovering her mouth to let the blood come out. I watch as she opens her mouth in a silent scream, before she gurgles on her blood and falls limp. Dead.
Cole turns back around and I shudder. His mouth is covered in blood, his eyes pitch black. The colour of obsidian. He stalks over to where the warriors are guarding my mother and Simon.
Having seen that gruesome death and knowing full well that they deserve the same punishment, my mother and Simon are shaking in fear violently. Their eyes are about to pop out of their sockets, and their faces are scrunched up in terror.
Cole reaches for Simon first, digging his claws, which I haven’t noticed until then, into his face. Simon starts screaming at the top of his voice, but a warrior stuffs a wad of gauze into his mouth, muffling the sound. We are in a human clinic after all, I realise suddenly. Another warrior does the same for my mother, her eyes bugging out as she watches Cole torture Simon beside her.
“You. You’re the disgusting excuse of a man who raped my mate. You took away her innocence, chipped away at her happiness, made her a depressed, frightened girl. You’re worse than that doctor. So, you deserve a worse death,” he growls.
I gulp. I don’t know what to do. I want them dead. All of them. Even my mother. They caused me pain through every single day of my life. My life would be so much more brighter without them in my life.
So I watch as Cole rips Simon’s right arm off, covering his mouth as he did. Blood spurts out and sprays everywhere, splattering all over my mother and Cole, and all the Warriors near him.
I shuffle into a corner and watch as he rips off the other arm, the blood coming out just as fast. The floor is flooding with his blood, and the blood starts slowing down.
“May you rot in the lowest hell, you son of a bitch,” Cole prays. He bites into Simon’s throat and pulls, tearing the skin and muscle out and spitting it out on the ground, Simon’s dead body dropping beside it.
My mother starts to scream, her tears soaking her face, her sounds muffled by the thick wad of gauze stuffed in her mouth.
Cole stands watching her for a minute. Then, he growls lowly, causing her to shut up instantly. He then slowly pulls the gauze out of her mouth and dumps it on the floor, where it quickly soaks up Simon’s blood. He leans closer to her and smiles menacingly.
“Were you two mates?” He asks. I listen intently, curious of her answer. Her eyes flicker to me briefly before returning to the ground. She nods her head.
I breathe in sharply. If they were mates, who was my father to her?
“Hmm. That’s a shame. Well, you also treated my mate like shit. You hurt her, physically and emotionally. What I don’t understand, is how you could do all that. She’s your daughter. A mother just doesn’t do that to her child!” Cole yells in her face. My mother leans back and looks at him for a second.
“I could do all that without any guilt because she isn’t my daughter,” she says loudly.
I gasp. My jaw drops open in shock and I choke on my breath. Cole’s head snaps to me and his eyes bore into mine.
“Did you have any idea about this?” He asks through the mind link. I shake my head, unable to speak.
He looks back at my mother- if that’s what she even is- and glares at her.
“Explain,” he demands. I stare at her, waiting for an answer.
“Michael Summers is her father. But she isn’t my daughter. He had been sleeping around a lot behind his mate’s back with me. He claimed that he ‘loved’ me more than her, even though we weren’t mates, and he wanted to be with me. I was young and gullible back then. So, I said I loved him back. He said that he would break it off with her, and come to me. I was so excited and so happy that a strong, handsome male had fallen in love with me.”
My ‘mother’ pauses here and laughs bitterly. “But one day, he had come over holding her,” she spits, pointing at me. Her eyes are full of hate. “He said that his mate had died. He hadn’t mentioned a baby, but he asked me to look after her. I agreed, only because he asked. She was only five months old. We looked after her together, and it wasn’t so bad. It felt like we were a happy family. But then he had to go back to the pack, so he completely abandoned me, saying it wouldn’t work,” she says through gritted teeth. I listen, enthralled.
“I was left to care for a baby on my own. She was about three, or around that when he left. It was such a burden, because she wasn’t my child. When Simon came along, and we fell in love, I’d had enough of her to not care about what he did to her. I felt that it was her punishment for ruining my life.”
She stops suddenly. Her eyes glisten with tears as she speaks of Simon. But I can’t stop myself from thinking about it over and over.
“But what about everything you told me? About me being born early? You and Father going back and forth to the hospital for checkups and surgeries? Was any of that true?” I whisper. Cole turns to me and studies my expression. I slowly walk over to them, stopping beside him, my eyes never leaving her face.
“It’s true that you were born early. That your father was in and out of hospital for you. But I didn’t give birth to you, obviously. Your mother died giving birth to you,” she says, staring right back. She sneers. “And I’m glad I didn’t. Look at you. You’re so pathetic. I would die of shame if you were my daughter. Knocked up at seventeen. A disgrace.”
I growl out angrily. My mind is filled with memories of her beating me, watching as Simon raped me. Talking trash about me to the couple outside. I recount every little piece of abuse she ever did to me.
Suddenly, I launch myself at her and ripped her face up. All I can see is red as my claws, which had come out at some point, slash over and over at her face, her neck, her body. I get revenge for everything she’d ever done to me. I keep going and going until I feel a pair of strong arms grab me and pull me off her.
My body instantly goes limp and my mind becomes numb. When my sight returns back to normal, I study my handiwork.
Synthia, no longer my mother, is a mutilated mess in the chair opposite me. Her face is cut up so deeply that the white bone of her skull is visible through the meat and blood. Her chest and neck torn up so much that there isn’t an inch left of smooth skin. Her head is hanging by a thread to her neck.
-- violence ends
I killed her. She’s gone.
“Get rid of all of this. As quickly as possible. We need to leave. Now,” Cole speaks in a low, commanding voice. The warriors around us surge forward and start cleaning up the bodies. The gore. Everything.
We sit there for twenty minutes before the room is spotless again. Not a drop of blood in sight. We file out the window, and walk a short distance to a group of vans. An SUV is parked beside them.
“Go. We’ll meet you there. Thank you for your help,” Cole says. In a matter seconds, the vans have taken off.
Nothing is really registering in my brain right now. All I know is that we have left the clinic and we are on our way to the pack. Cole had somehow strapped me in and had started the car. We are on the road for ten minutes before I speak.
“Is it really over?” My voice is devoid from emotion, my eyes blank to the world. Cole’s fingers entwine with mine tightly.
“It’s over my love. You’re safe now. Our baby,” he whispers, his voice breaking slightly, “is safe now. Forever.”
I let out a breath. Finally. After fourteen years of torture, I am finally safe. I don’t have to worry about my mother, or Simon, or scheming, lovesick doctors. I have love. And a budding family. That’s all I need.
Cole has decided that we could officially move out of the pack house. Now that I am safe, we can live together. In our own space.
When he had told me this on the way to the pack, I had felt a bit nervous. To be honest, we never really caught the person who attempted to drown me. Well, that’s what I thought.
Apparently, these past three months have been months of revelations. Cole went over everything that happened, with me as his avid listener.
While trying to track down Dr Jasmine, Cole had looked up everything about her, everything she had done in the pack. He watched her on cameras and read emails and messages that she sent and received.
That’s where he learnt that she was in cahoots with Simon and Synthia, who had promised her a large sum of money and a way to disappear. Forever. All she had to do was kill me.
So she had got a pack member, who had confessed to Cole earlier, to sneak into Cole’s home and kill me. And he had almost succeeded. I had died, but Cole had shown up at a time where there was still a chance. Dr Jasmine had no choice but to nurse me back to health, if she wanted to keep up appearances. I can bet that she was really pissed off at that twist of fate.
That had been the plan, up until four months ago. When Dr Jasmine had informed my parents about the Mating Season, they had decided to keep me alive. They wanted a baby. And since Synthia couldn’t have kids, apparently, they chose to take mine away, once I’d given birth, then kill me. So all she had to do was get another person to help kidnap me. Which they succeeded at. Which is what Cole was beating himself up over.
I didn’t realise that we have pulled up at the house until then, when he finished explaining. His shoulders hunch, his face gaunt with guilt and stress, he helps me out the car and up the front steps. I can see from his hunched shoulders that he is tired. Exhausted. And that he feels so guilty.
When we enter the house, I look around. Nothing has changed. It is still clean, despite not being used for over four months. I sigh. This is our home. We will have our family here.
Cole walks straight to the master bedroom and into the bathroom. I follow him into the room and sit gingerly on the soft, springy bed. The dark blue silk covers are slippery underneath me, making me slip off slowly.
As I sit there, I ponder over everything that happened today while Cole showers. If Simon and Synthia had known that I was a Luna, they would have given me a higher dosage. I would never had been able to contact Cole. That little miscalculation saved my life.
Suddenly, the bathroom door opens, making me jump slightly and Cole walks out, a towel wrapped loosely around his waist. I watch his muscles ripple as he runs a hand through his long hair.
As he walks over to the walk in closet, I note that his body is stiff. He obviously hasn’t relaxed in a really long time. As if he had sat in a chair for the whole three months. I feel so bad that I was the reason he is in so much pain.
I decide to have a quick shower. I walk in and shut the door behind me, the warm steam curling in the air, I sigh. A nice, hot shower is exactly what I need right now.
I strip and turn on the shower. While waiting for the shower to warm up, I turn to look at my body in the huge mirror. My stomach is the only spot devoid of any injury. The rest of my body is like a walking bruise. I am blue, purple and yellow. Everywhere. My scars and wounds hadn’t healed at all, because everyday, I had been fed wolfsbane. It completely stopped my healing process.
I turn away quickly and jump in the shower. I take care around the extremely sensitive spots, caressing my stomach at every chance I get. I want my baby to know that I love it. No matter what I had gone through to keep it safe.
Half an hour later, with clean skin and glossy hair, I step out the shower, a cloud of steam following me. I wrap a towel around my body, my belly protruding significantly.
I take in a deep breath and open the door, stepping out into our bedroom. The first thing I notice is Cole.
He is leaning against the bed, his legs splay out before him. His eyes had probably been glued to the door, because the minute I step out his eyes shoot up to me. His eyes rake over my body, taking in my face, my belly, then down to my bruised legs.
His eyes darken and he jumps up, walking towards me determinedly. He raises his hand and touches my cheek softly. “Lay down on the bed. I want to see all of you.”
His voice is soft, yet I can hear the slight command in it. I know there is no way to reject him. So I walk over to the bed and lay down, never breaking eye contact.
He stands over me and slowly unwraps the towel. My body bare to his gaze, his eyes sweep over every single bruise and cut. His eyes fill with so much raw emotion, it physically hurts me.
“I’m so sorry. I let this happen to you. I should’ve never let you walk away that day. If you had stayed with me, none of this would have happened. You would have been safe,” he whispers. His voice breaks and a tear falls. I watch it trail down and fall off the edge of his chin.
“That’s not true,” I speak up, shaking my head stubbornly. “You are not to blame here Cole. For any of it. I know this is hard, but try to forget what happened. We’re here now. Together. With our baby,” I say.
At the mention of our baby, Cole’s eyes drop from my gaze to my stomach. His eyes soften in awe and love. I watch as he places a hand on my stomach and rubs it softly. A small, fragile smile spreads across his lips. He leans down and kisses the bump softly.
“Hey little one. I’m your daddy. I know that I haven’t been here from the start. And I regret that so much. But I promise you, I will keep you and your mummy safe. Forever. Or until my dying breath. I love you so much, my child.”
I smile at this display in front of me. I reach a hand down and lay it on top of Cole’s hand, squeezing it reassuringly. “You’ll be the best father a child could ask for. I know it,” I reassure him. Cole nods his head and stands up. He walks into the closet and comes back with a pair of sweatpants and one of his tops.
He helps me into the clothes, carefully going over the baby bump, his hands caressing my stomach softly and helps me into bed, laying down beside me. I turn to look at him. His eyes still hold guilt and sadness, but I know that with time, it will become easier for him to let it go.
So I kiss his cheek and whisper,” Good night Cole. I love you so much.”
The last thing I hear before I drift off peacefully is,” I love you too Sweetheart.”