Even though I’m delirious from the pain, when I hear what the doctor says, my body stops moving immediately, as if trying to keep whatever is stuck in there from shifting. Cole is pacing back and forth in front of me, muttering things to himself. His eyebrows are drawn together as he goes back and forth.
I can hear some of the things he’s saying, but I can’t really understand much. But judging from my limited knowledge on the language, I have a feeling it’s Spanish.
“Leave and prepare the surgery room for her. And when you come back, make sure to bring a stretcher with you as well to carry her there. Go. Now!” Cole is on edge as the doctor leaves the room and slams the door behind her. He walks over to me slowly and crouches, so we’re at the same level.
“Don’t worry, Sweetheart. It will all be okay,” he whispers, his husky voice calming me down.
“You’re Spanish? Your name isn’t really a Spanish one though,” I say, trying to change the subject so I’m not thinking of the pain.
“No, I’m Latino. But I was born in Australia. So my parents gave me a western name,” he explains. He reaches for my face, and I flinch back. He realises and frowns, wondering what happened.
“I..I’m sorry. I’m just not used to people wanting to touch me for any reason other than to hurt me,” I explain, looking down at the mattress under me. He looks upset, but understanding crosses his features. When he nods his head, I smile up at him, silently thanking him for not asking questions.
“I’m not entirely sure what happened to you before we met,” he speaks slowly,” but whoever gave you those marks and scars, I will kill them. That’s a promise Jade. But for now, take all the time you need to recover. I will be beside you every step of the way,” he murmers, standing up and walking to the door.
I wonder what he’s doing, as he opens it and holds it open, as if waiting for someone. My mind is still reeling from his heartfelt promise, which just leaves me in even more confusion.
“Thank you Alpha. Can we take her now?” A voice asks from the doorway. I realise it’s the doctor, as Cole gives a nod, holding the door wider to let her and three other females through. They walk over to me, and slowly slide the stretcher under me. The women carefully pick me up and walk to the doorway. Cole shuts the door behind us and follows us down the stairs and out the front door. I crane my neck and see a huge clearing, filled with people, houses and equipment, lying everywhere. I spot a group of teenagers training with a gun to one side, and a group of kids running around and yelling out to each other.
The women carrying me take me into a big, white building, that looks a lot like a hospital. They wheel me down a corridor, and into a room, where they inject me with anaesthetic .
“Okay Luna. We’ve given you a shot so you’ll start to drift off soon. What we’ll be doing is performing a surgery on your back to try and extract the object from that area. Okay? You’ll wake up about for a few hours after your surgery is complete. Any questions?”
I shake my head slowly, the feeling in my body slowly numbing. I feel Cole walk up to me and whisper in my ear,“Be strong, Sweetheart. I will be here when you wake up. I promise.”
My sight goes blurry, and I can’t really hear anything after that. I see red circles, before everything goes black.
I start to wake up as I hear talking and noises in the background. My body wants to move, to sit up and take in my surroundings, but my eyes stay closed. I hear a door open and shut gently with a quiet click into place. Footsteps make their way over to me, and I feel a warm, callused hand entwine our fingers together.
I jump as I feel the contact and my eyes snap open. I’m met with Cole’s handsome face looking down at me. He brings his other hand up and he strokes a stray piece of hair from my face, before letting go altogether. He moves to the chair positioned to the right of the bed, leaning forward on his knees. I look around and see that we’re back in the room I was in before. I decide it’s probably his room.
“Your eyes are so beautiful, Sweetheart. I missed seeing them,” he whispers. I blush and start to say something, but my voice cracks and I cough loudly. He immediately rushes to the bathroom, and fills a plastic cup up with water from the tap, then rushes over to me and helps me drink it slowly. When I finish, he puts the cup on the bedside table, and sits beside me again.
“Th..thank you. I was going to say that when I was born, my father gave me that name, because he said my eyes were as green as a Jade stone. He’d told me that he’d never seen such green eyes before,” I whisper to him. His eyes narrow and he sits straighter.
“Wait..you knew your father? I thought you never knew him?” Cole asks, confused. I shake my head in the negative.
“No, no I knew him. But I was very young. That is my only memory of him, before he left my mother and I. I never knew why he left when he did, but my mother always told me that he despised having such a weak and troublesome daughter, because I was born very early. My mother gave birth to me ten weeks early, and everyone thought I would die. My mother said I was such a burden on them because everyday they’d have to take me into hospital, get checkups and I’d get sick very easily,” I pause to see if Cole is still listening, and I see that his expression is angry, yet sad at the same time.“Are you okay Cole? You don’t look too happy,” I say, trying to sit up. I slowly inch my way up the headboard and rest myself for a moment.
“Yeah, yeah I’m fine. It’s just hearing how much you’ve been through makes me so sad. You know I can feel your pain. I can feel it inside me. Wolves can do that with their mates. So that’s probably why.”
I nod my head as I feel my stomach rumble loudly. Cole raises an eyebrow in amusement before standing up and offering my a hand.
“Come on. Well go downstairs and get some food. I got everyone to leave the pack house today so you can rest without being disturbed by all the noise. It’s just the cooks in the kitchen and us up here,” he says as he waits for me.
I frown.“Aren’t I meant to be resting or something? I mean, I just got out of surgery, right?”
Cole smiles.“Sweetheart, you were out for a day and a bit. I don’t know why, but the doctors suspect it’s because your body is exhausted. Anyway, they checked you out and said it’d be good for you to get up and moving.”
I nod, and try to get up. My legs still feel jellyish, and I hold onto the bedside table for stability. As I try to make a move away from it, my knees buckle and Cole quickly moves forward, catching me before I crash to the floor. I feel nervous, because I know that butterflies will erupt in my stomach. Cole sees this and takes it his lips thin.
“I’m sorry. How about if I bring the food up here for you? That way you can just stay in bed,” he says, helping me back into bed. When he reaches the door, he turns back and gives me a reassuring smile. “I’ll be back soon.”
He walks out the door, leaving me in total silence. I take the time to look around and properly check out his room.
The walls are a midnight blue, the doors all made up thick wood. His bed is black with black satin covers, bedside tables on both sides. There is two doors leading off to the bathroom, and what I presume is the closet.
Cole comes back faster than I expected, carrying two trays, laden with pancakes, eggs and orange juice. He kicks the door closed and walks over, placing them on the table.
“Are you comfortable? Do you need more pillows or the bathroom?” His concern is somewhat touching, and I shake my head.
“I’m all good, thanks. Just very, very hungry,” I say, licking my lips and watching as he chuckles and passes me a tray. “Well, that’s one thing I can fix.”
He sits on the chair and picks up his orange juice, gulping half the glass down. He catches me watching and he nods to my tray, signalling that I should eat.
I quickly dig into the delicious spread, the food barely being chewed, before going down the hatch. It takes me about five minutes in total, before I have completely devoured the entire tray of food.
I look up and see Cole watching in fascination, only half of his plate finished. I blush and look away, hiding behind my curtain of light-brown hair. “Don’t you know it’s rude to stare?” My quiet voice doesn’t go unheard by Cole, and he looks away, forking a piece of bacon into his mouth.
“I’m sorry. It’s just... I’m trying to catch the signs. See if you’re showing the signs of being a werewolf. Because I have no idea who your parents are, I don’t know if you’re a werewolf by birth or not. For all I know, you could be through-and-through human.”
I nod my head. It makes sense. “How long does it usually take? After mate’s meet, when to the females start to change?”
“About a week. And it’s been about a week some we met. Six days. I think your hunger is showing, but we won’t know for sure until a bit later.”
Cole collects the plates and places them on the bedside table. He stands and stretches, turning to the side and raising his arms above his head, giving me a good view of his abs and bulging biceps.
He turns to me as I ask,” Can I have a shower? It’s been a few days and I feel all grotty.”
He nods vigorously. “Of couse. I’m so sorry I didn’t pick up on that earlier. I can go get one of the females to help you, if you want.”
I shake my head. “It’s fine. I’m going to try and do it on my own. Gotta build up my strength and all that.” I slowly move to the side of the bed, swinging my legs over the side and slowly putting pressure on them. I can feel Cole hovering closely, in case I fall again.
My legs feel a lot stronger, and I make it to the bathroom door. As I enter, I close the door and lock it behind me, not trusting enough to leave it unlocked. It’s a habit that’s become like instincts, by force. After Simon barging into my showers a couple of times, I had learnt to lock the door when I went in.
I look around the bathroom, and my eyes take it all in greedily. It’s at least twice the size of my old bathroom, with a glass shower and huge spa bath tucked under the window, that I hope is tinted. There’s his-and-hers basins, hair products and men’s perfume lined up neatly on one side.
I quickly strip and walk over to the shower, turning it on and stepping back, waiting for the water to heat up. I turn back to my reflection and twist my back. I try to find the spot that they operated on, but all that’s there is a row of stitches.
I look away and enter the shower, the steam rising to the roof the water beating down on my back. The hot water relaxes my aching body, and I sigh in content. I stand under the water and let my thoughts wonder to Cole.
I’ve noticed that he looks hurt when I don’t let him touch me. Everytime, he reaches to touch my hair or cheek, like it’s second nature to him. I make a mental note to ask him about it when I get out of my shower.
I think I’m in there for at least twenty minutes, before I actually think to use body soap. I scan the collection, and am not all that surprised when I see they’re all male scents.
I grab a lemon and pine wood scent and lather my body with it, the smell invading my nostrils and making me smile. This is what Cole smells like, I realise.
I wash it all off and count down from five, quickly turning the water off at zero. The minute the water stops pelting my back, I’m tempted to turn it back on, but I step out before I take myself up on it.
I stand on the bath mat and look for his towels. I grab a new one from an open shelf and wrap it around my body. I take a deep breath and walk over to the door, listening for any noises. I can’t hear any, so I open it and step into the room.
It’s empty, thank goodness. There’s a sticky note on the bed, and I pick it up. It reads:
I’ll come back in about ten mins. There’s a few sets of clothes in the closet for you. Get comfortable.
I smile and fold it up. I walk into the closet and turn on the light. I look around and spot the clothes he was talking about on one side. On the other, male clothes are lined up, suits, shirts, pants and jackets. There’s a large collection of shoes underneath them and a stand holding chains and watches.
I grab a pair of underwear, which, I’m not sure how, but are my perfect size. I also grab a pair of grey sweatpants, a white sweater and a pair of fluffy baby pink socks. I change in a flash and take the towel back to the bathroom, hanging it on the closest hook.
When I walk back into the room, I spot Cole walking through the door, his back to me. When he turns around, he looks surprised to see me, for some reason.
“Hey. I thought you’d be resting. I left so you’d have time to get comfortable on your own,” he mumbles, shuffling from foot to foot.
“I’m not tired. I just woke up from a day-long nap. And thank you, by the way. For the clothes and giving me time. I really do appreciate it,” I whisper. For some reason, the atmosphere is heavy with anticipation.
“That’s ok. I figured you’d need some clothes soon enough. I borrowed them from another girl around your age. So, what do you want to do?”
I make my way to the bed and sit on the egde, tucking my legs underneath me. Cole follows lead and sits a little further down the bed, facing me. He kicks off his shoes and crosses his legs, his full attention on my face.
“Can I ask more questions? I just want to learn as much as possible.”
“Of course. Ask away,” he replies. He stretches his arms out wide in a welcoming he’s, a smile gracing his rose-pink lips.
“Ok... what’s the werewolf life like? I mean, is it like a normal, human community?”
Cole nods his head, tucking his tongue into his cheek. “Kind of. See, you know how you get leaders for a country? One’s who make the rules and stuff? It’s sort of like that, except that the leader is bound to his tribe. There can be hundreds, thousands even, in one tribe. We call the tribe a pack. The leader is called an Alpha. His right-hand man is the Beta and the warrior of the pack is a Gamma.”
All this information has my mind reeling. I try to comprehend everything he says. Once I think I’ve got it down, I ask another question. “And does your leader know that I’m here? I mean, I can’t imagine you’re allowed to bring strangers into your pack. Maybe he doesn’t want me here.” The worry in my voice surprises me, and I realise that I’ve gotten a little attached to this place.
Cole smiles mischievously, as if he knows some big, great secret. “Sweetheart, I am the leader of this pack. The leaders are called Alphas. So whoever I bring here, is allowed to stay.”
My mouth forms an ‘O’ shape as I come to understand. I nod my head. “Oh...that’s...cool, I guess.” Cole smiles at my obvious bafflement. His eyes watch my face with an emotion I’m not too keen on deciphering.
But then my heart fills with such an intense bout of warmth and adoration, that I clutch my chest, as if it’s something that’s stuck to my sweater. I frown and try to find where it’s coming from.
Cole leans forward and reaches for me. “Jade? Jade, what’s wrong? Are you in pain?”
I gasp. It’s turning into something else. It feels like... worry. I try to describe what I’m feeling as best as I can. “There’s all these feelings. Warmth. Worry. I’m pretty sure that’s not me. I wasn’t feeling worried before. What’s happening, Cole?”
Cole’s face his one of wonder. He stands and moves in front of me, his eyes searching my face. He smiles and murmurs, “You’re feeling what I’m feeling, Sweetheart. I was feeling all those things. Mates can do that. They can feel each other’s emotions. But... They can only do that when they’re both wolves. Which means,” he gulps, as if bracing himslef, then tries again, “which means that you’re a werewolf.”