“Red is such an interesting color to correlate with emotion, because it’s on both ends of the spectrum. On one end you have happiness, falling in love, infatuation with someone, passion, all that. On the other end, you’ve got obsession, jealousy, danger, fear, anger and frustration.“- Taylor Swift
His broad shoulders pushed through the doorway, making Raven stumble back slightly to give the brute room. His height dominated hers, and not in the good sensation that would’ve come from Ezekiel if it were him.
Colton’s massive frame blotted out the light coming from the hallway outside. She could see his glowing eyes in the dark, pinpointed on hers. Her heart skipped a beat within her chest, a sudden nauseous feeling settling in the pit of her stomach.
The door closed heavily behind him.
“We need to have a little chat.”
His boots on the hardwood floor creaked softly as he lifted his weight off of that board and took a step closer to Raven. Her eyes quickly adjusted to accommodate to the darkness. His unshaven face held an eerily calm expression, those carefully calculated eyes scrutinizing every inch of her.
Raven took a few steps back, putting distance between the two. Colton stepped towards her, closing the distance a little.
In public, she hadn’t been afraid of this male. But behind her closed, silver door she was utterly frightened.
From what she knew, Colton hadn’t been born into his title. He’d married into it, despite not having met his mate.
The silence between them only grew. Raven’s tongue suddenly felt swollen, a lump forming in her throat. She was still recovering from Grace and Ezekiel, and was unprepared for Colton to confront her.
Colton sniffed, disrupting the stillness. His shoulder brushed hers as he walked over to her curtains which led to her small balcony, pushing aside the heavy, velvet fabric. Moonlight burst into the room, illuminating everything in pale light.
Raven suddenly had a small flashback to that night in the dungeons with him.
The options he presented her. Answers in exchange for her life, but marked as a rogue. Never to be accepted into another pack. Or die with her truth.
She couldn’t tell if it was the memories of the small surge of power from the moon that sent a shiver down her spine, travelling down into her toes.
From behind, she heard the window’s lock clicking open and being pushed aside. Immediately a cool breeze swept in, goosebumps rising along her forearms. From far off she could hear her mate, still throwing his tantrum out in the woods.
“I wish you were hanging from that tree down there.” He said quietly, leaning his weight onto the railing. Raven slowly turned around to stare at the male, her vision pinpointed between his muscled shoulder blades.
“You should have died with them,” Abigale whispered, her shoulders slumped forward.
“I know,” she responded, memories of that final night with Abigale suddenly flowing through her mind. “Sometimes I wish the same thing.”
Colton snorted, shaking his head. His blonde hair fell into his eyes as he peered down at the ground, far below him.
“I promised I’d never tell you. They made me promise,” she choked. “It was supposed to be quick. Raven, we never meant for things to be this way. I’m so sorry.”
“You knew?” Raven snarled, her lip curling over her teeth. She was seething with anger.
Raven never thought she’d have to confront this male. She had planned to do what she needed to do, and flee to other lands. Far away from this torment, haunted by her history.
“We were friends.”
“Crow. . .”
Raven bristled as the use of her nickname, given to her by someone long ago. “Don’t fucking call me that.”
Colton turned, facing Raven. Blue eyes assessing the murderer of his wife. He leaned his back to the rail with his elbows on the edge. Raven could feel his hate for her radiating in waves across the room, though masked by his cool demeanor.
“Tell me.” His voice was deep, heavy with his emotions.
“Tell you what?” Raven crossed her arms, attempting to hold herself together. Being in the same room as him forced her to confront all the emotions she’d shut away since that day. She was breaking at the seams.
“Cut the bullshit. Why?”
Abigale looked taken back, pushing her brown bangs out of her eyes. Hurt crossed her face. “Raven. . . I was so relieved when you came to LycanMoon.” Tears formed in the corners of Abigale’s eyes. “Seeing you holding Bailey’s hand-”
Abigale was interrupted by Raven’s sudden growl.
“Her name should never be in your mouth. You fucking filth. Tell me why right now I shouldn’t fucking kill you.”
“You’re still my friend, you always have been. No matter what happened between our packs.” Abigale sniffled, trying to soothe Raven’s anger.
“She deserved it,” Raven said, lost in the memory. “There are those in this pack that also do.”
“That’s not what I’m asking,” Colton growled, shifting his position. He was losing his cool.
“There’s more to it than some simple answer you’re looking for, Beta.” Raven spat his title at him like an insult, her rage from that night flowing through her once more. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, staring him down.
“I deserve to know what you think justifies killing my wife. She never hurt you.” He stood from his leaning position. The pale moonlight turned his hair a bright blue, his eyes now shadowed by his brow.
“That’s not fucking true!” Raven shouted.
“Tell me why!” Raven snarled, beginning to circle the smaller female. Abigale cowered from the rage and dominance that was oozing from Raven.
When Abigale didn’t respond, Raven continued. “Those cute little family dinners. Growing up together. Talking about how we would be Beta females together. Meanwhile your family plotted our death, and you knew! You said nothing!”
“What did she do?” Colton took a step forward, more of his face now hidden in the darkness.
“Your pack slaughtered mine. Her family knew and plotted it. We were friends.” Raven stayed where she was, not allowing herself to be intimidated by the male. “Our families were friends. I was a Beta’s daughter.” Raven’s voice cracked slightly, a deep sorrow squeezing her heart.
“What else do you want me to say?” Raven seethed. “We were friends and her family plotted our deaths and she knew and said absolutely nothing. Do you want me to tell you that I regret it? Would that make you feel better? Because I don’t. If I had the chance, I’d kill her again. And again. She lost her privilege to be alive.”
In a flash Colton was across the room, slamming Raven into the wall by her throat. “That’s not for you to decide!” He screamed, his face mere inches from hers. Raven growled at him, baring her teeth.
“It wasn’t my choice to make.” Abigale slurred, her thoughts still muddled by the alcohol. She thought Raven would’ve forgiven her, but her truth was her undoing.
“Your Alpha was a long rival of ours, and sometimes things need to be squashed out.”
Raven growled loudly again, shoving Abigale into the counter behind her. “You just accepted it. All these years I’ve been friends with you. You’re a snake. Were you just friends with our family to get information?”
“It wasn’t your pack’s choice to kill mine. You left us nothing. You took our land, took our history, our fucking lives. I couldn’t give a shit about one of yours.” Raven growled back at him.
Colton’s grip around her neck began to tighten, his rage taking over. Raven could recognize the anger in him, the same that she had that night.
“I wish I could kill you.” He whispered into her ear.
“I’m going to fucking kill you.”
Abigale trembled, cautiously stepping away from the female she’d called her friend for her entire life. Her drunken state causing her to wobble slightly as she walked backwards, her hands held out in front of her.
“You, the entire Alpha family. I’m going to burn your pack to the ground.”
Abigale opened her mouth to say something, but was swiftly cut off by Raven.
“I dare you to scream for help. Do it, I’d love to hear you cry.”
Abigale tripped and fell to her ass. She began crawling backwards from Raven, her eyes wide with fear. Raven advanced slowly, taking her time. Abigale’s back hit the table behind her, knocking a book to the ground. “Please, Crow. We can talk this out.” Her voice shook with desperation.
“What was it you said about my pack? Sometimes things need to be squashed out?”
“You’re lucky you’re his mate. Right now, you’d be a feast for the birds.” He released her throat, allowing her to slide back to her feet. He remained mere inches from her, his body shaking.
Disappointment surprisingly filled Raven. Once again she’d been tempted with Death, only to be ripped away from its embrace. Rage still flowed through her veins, keeping her eyes on his through the darkness.
“I’m far from lucky,” she said, her voice even.
“Abigale was the closest thing I had to a mate, and you took her away from me. I don’t care about your old pack. You’re part of LycanMoon now, though I wish you weren’t.” He backed away from the female, his eyes never leaving hers.
The same memory seemed to be playing behind both of their eyes.
Deep, dark red.
It pooled beneath her, staining the carpet and her hands. Abigale lay lifeless beneath her, Raven still straddling her body. It wasn’t enough, it would never be enough for Raven.
She craved more. She deserved more. Nothing would justify the lives of her entire pack.
Dark desire swirled within her. She was far from done. When her work within LycanMoon was finished, she was leaving for the other lands. More blood.
The front door opened, creaking as it went. The Beta entered, the zipper of his coat clanking on the table as he tossed it. “Abigale, are you home?”
Heavy footsteps thudded against the floor, nearing the living room that connected to their kitchen. “Still out with Raven-”
The footsteps came to a sudden halt at the entrance, a horrified gasp sounding from the male. Raven’s eyes met Colton’s.
“I guess I’ll fit in.” The kitchen maid’s words came to her mind. We’ve all harmed or killed another wolf.
Colton left her room. Raven waited for the door to fully close before she stumbled over to the open balcony, slumping to the floor.
A sob racked her chest, the seams that had been holding her together finally ripping. She allowed the emotions to roll through her, crying as finally, at last, accepted the grief of her dead family.
She hadn’t given herself the time to grieve their deaths, overtaken by a need to avenge them.
Raven hugged her knees to her chest, rocking herself. The tears kept flowing as she thought over her life.
Her adorning parents, taken from her for no other reason than pack rivalry. Her sweet sister Bailey, killed in a scouting accident. Abigale, her lifelong friend.
The emotions battled each other within her chest, grief against rage. Their deaths still deserved to be avenged, but she was stuck.
She lifted her head to peer at the moon, sniffling.
“What am I supposed to do?” She whispered before another sob shook her. “I couldn’t just let her live. . . None of you deserved to die.” She spoke up into the night sky, praying that her family somewhere could hear her.
“I’ll never see your faces again, not where I’m going. My only hope. . .” She trailed off. “My only hope is to bring meaning to your death. I’ll get our revenge. I’ll figure out how.”
Her thoughts trailed off to Ezekiel, her mate. Her cursed mate. The moon really wished to make her life as much of a hell that she could. Raven’s eyes met the moon again. “Fuck you.”
She continued to rock herself throughout the night, crying until she couldn’t anymore. Her eyes burned with the tears she wished she could shed.
Her memories came back to that day on the stage. The faces of LycanMoon that had brutally slaughtered her pack. Their hunger for her blood. Their fear of her. She’d give them something to fear and hate, she promised herself.