“Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you through the messier tunnels of growing up. But pain can only help you find happiness if you remember it.” -Adam Silvera
“Damn you to hell and back, Dmitri.” Raven sputtered out.
Dmitri stood in front of her with his arms crossed over his chest. In that moment, feelings be damned, he felt the utmost disappointment in Raven.
She cackled and rolled the empty wine bottle away from where she lay, watching it roll. Her face went blank as it rolled, and her mind with it. Her upper lip was stained red after downing her third wine bottle, along with several beers.
“Let’s get you into bed, yeah? You can’t sit out here forever.”
Raven made a pfft sound, the sound seeming to amuse her as she did it again and giggled. Dmitri sighed and sat back on one of the steps of the front porch. “Raven please. It’s one in the morning.”
“Oh piss off. You’re not my babysitter.” Her words were slurred and came out sloppy. “You didn’t have to come out here.”
“You’re not cold or anything?” Dmitri questioned her. Underneath his eyes were bags. He had heard her crying after her second bottle and had came out to see what was going on. She was drunk.
The tears that stained her cheeks glistened in the moonlight as she turned to look at him. “You wanna come warm me up big boy?” Raven patted the space of grass next to her and began to giggle before clearing her throat, attempting to look serious.
Dmitri sighed again and shook his head, rubbing the bridge of his nose. “Offer me that when you’re sober.”
Raven groaned to herself and rolled onto her back to stare up at the moon. Her eyes glazed over slightly, and Dmitri feared she was going to cry again. “Why don’t you want to fuck me? Am I not good enough? Am I not pretty, Dmitri?”
“That’s not it at all. You’re fucking drunk, Raven. You are absolutely stunning, even with drool coming out of your mouth.” Raven wiped at her mouth.
Dmitri glanced around him before sighing and sitting in the grass next to Raven. Raven rolled back over onto her back, gazing up at the moon with wide eyes. Tears glimmered in the pale light in the corners of her eyes.
Together they sat in silence, Dmitri staring off into the trees that shook and whispered to each other with the night breeze. Silent sobs shook Raven’s chest, but she didn’t make a single sound.
“Talk to me, Raven.”
Beside him, Raven sniffled and rubbed at her nose. Fresh tears spilled from her eyes, burning trails from the corners of her eyes down to her ears.
“Sometimes you just. . . Crack, you know?” Her voice shook with her emotions.
Dmitri opted to stay silent, allowing the female to say whatever she wished to tell him.
“I feel like all I’ve been doing is cracking. I can’t keep it together, no matter how hard I try. I’m so full of hate, but I just. . . I don’t know. It’s like I can’t hold on to it? Who I want to be and who I need to be aren’t the same person.”
Dmitri nodded to himself, sympathizing with her. Raven sniffled again and cleared her throat.
“I should be dead, several times over. Best case scenario, I should at least be hanging from that tree.” She nodded her head towards the Lonely Tree. “I’m stuck between wishing I was dead and being glad that I’m not. Wanting to burn this stupid fucking pack to the ground, and wanting them to regret me, fear me, love me. Rage and despair.”
She picked at the label on the bottle as she spoke, before lifting it up into the sky. She stuck her tongue out as she tipped the neck towards her, catching the last droplet of wine. With an anguished sigh, she dropped the bottle back to the grass. The bottle made a soft clinking sound as it collided.
“I’m not even fucking drunk anymore. I hate this.” Raven sighed heavily, shooting a small glare at Dmitri. “You took the last bottle.”
“You didn’t really need it.” He shrugged, avoiding her eyes. “Why do you wish that you were dead?”
“It’s what I deserve.” She hiccuped, swallowing her own tears. “I don’t regret it, though. I just know that when my time comes, it will be deserved a thousand times over. I know I’ll never see my family again. The moon won’t accept me. I’m going somewhere much worse than where they are.”
“I don’t think that’s true. You’re still here for a reason. Maybe she isn’t ready for you yet, and you have things you need to do.”
Raven snorted. “You have that right, I guess.”
“You said something about wanting and needing to be different people. Explain that to me.”
“I know what you’re doing Dmitri.” Raven sat up, her head spinning. She was feeling the last effects of the alcohol. She huffed. “Fine. Goddess, I don’t know.” She rubbed at her arm. “I feel like so much is expected of me. Ezekiel wants something, but I don’t fucking know what it is. This whole pack expects something of me, and I don’t know what that is either. I just know that my family, my pack, even I deserve some fucking justice.
I just have to be the person who delivers it. I want to hate your pack, Dmitri, I really do. A part of me does. I hate you with a burning passion. But the other part of me just wants to be accepted. I wish I didn’t know what I do know, things would be so much easier. I wish my mate wasn’t the Alpha. I wish that I was still home with my pack, and my mate was some lovely nobody, who never did anything to anyone.”
Dmitri hummed, thinking over what she’d said. “You hate us for that day on the stage?”
“Sure,” she laughed quietly. “Let’s pretend that’s what it is.”
“Maybe someday you’ll tell me.”
She gave him a small smile, and they fell into silence again. The pack house remained quiet, everyone asleep for the night. The trees at the edges stilled, the last of the wind shaking their leaves as it died out.
A deep, heavy sorrow had settled in Raven’s chest, something she rarely allowed herself to acknowledge. Strangely, she felt comfortable around Dmitri. She knew her words wouldn’t go any farther than him, and she respected him for that.
Feeling her gaze, Dmitri turned to look at her. “What?”
“I wish someone like you could’ve been my mate.” She tucked her black hair behind her ear, peering into his green eyes.
Dmitri blushed heavily, shocked by her words. He averted his eyes from her, his fingers digging into the soft, pliable grass.
“I’m sorry, that was wrong of me to say.” She looked away from him again.
“No it’s okay.” He cleared his throat, collecting his emotions. “I just. . .” He paused, thinking about what he was about to say. “I think that you shouldn’t be so quick to give up on my brother. He’s a great man, he just isn’t showing it at the moment. He’s playing his own, stupid games and expects that you play along too.”
A sad expression crossed Dmitri’s face, and he quickly turned his head away to hide it. He hadn’t expected tonight that he’d be the one to be hurt.
“I’m not going to play his stupid game. He can have Grace if he wants.”
“Forget Grace, Raven. I’m probably wrong for telling you this, but she’s his potential mate. I wish I could tell you that she means nothing to him, but that’s not true. Just remember that you’re not the only one in pain. He has to figure out what he wants.”
Raven scoffed, rolling her eyes. “Of course she would be his potential mate. Of course. Nothing in life can be easy.” She sent another silent curse to the moon.
“Give him time. You have to think about what it’s like for him. He has a whole pack to think about. Put yourself in his shoes. His best friend’s wife is murdered. The killer is found. He has to bring them to justice. He has to keep a whole pack’s interest at heart. But someone he never expected to find is the murderer. His mate. Now not only has he disappointed his pack, but he has disappointed his mate. It would be easy to fall back into the arms of Grace.”
“Shut up, Dmitri. Don’t make me feel bad for him. He’s still a piece of shit.” Raven mumbled something else to herself. “Anyways, thank you for tonight. It meant a lot to me to get some of that stuff off of my chest. Thank you for sitting out in the cold with me.”
“Of course, Raven.” Raven stood and dusted herself off, but Dmitri remained on the ground, still thinking to himself. “Wait, Raven,” Dmitri called after Raven had begun to walk away. She paused at the base of the steps leading up into the pack house.
“Being a Luna wouldn’t be so bad, you know.” He angled his body to look back at her. “About wanting and needing to be different people,” Dmitri paused. “I think that you need to decide what’s more important to you. You can’t hold on to that rage forever, Raven.
Assume you did, and you got your revenge for whatever it is, and everything was said and done. What would be next? Where would you go? Who would be there for you? I’m not telling you how to live your life, or judging you in any way. I’m just trying to get you to think about it.
There’s always a place for you up there, Raven. You can choose to mope about not being there, you can choose to throw that spot away, or you can choose to truly earn it. I think the best revenge you could have, Raven, is to make them love you.”
“Thank you, Dmitri.” Unexpected tears began to spill again. Not wanting Dmitri to witness them, she suddenly left, racing back to her room.
Her footsteps echoed in the silent mansion, bouncing off of the walls. At the top of the stairs she paused, her eyes finding Ezekiel’s door. The crack underneath was dark, but something told her that he was awake and listening.
Her chest stuttered, a sob threatening to escape. Raven quickly pushed open the door to her room, barely acknowledging the silver’s burning touch on her skin, and collapsed on her bed.
With a pillow over her mouth, she finally and fully accepted her emotions, thinking over Dmitri’s words.