Chapter Forty Six
“Are you sure he can’t get out?” I know the answer but I can’t help but ask for the umpteenth time.
“No, Angeline, I promise.”
“You said something about him going feral, is it like having rabies or something?”
“No, but he will go rabid, and hopefully soon, so they can put him down like the dog he is.” Daniel spat out.
This information shocked me, surely he was kidding, they won’t actually kill him.
“Why would he go feral? They wouldn’t actually do that, right?”
“It’s nothing you need to concern yourself with, not anymore. Are you ready to go?”
I don’t like that he didn’t answer my question, but I didn’t bring it up again.
I just can’t help it, ever since Daniel’s admission yesterday, my mind has been in constant turmoil.
So many questions my brain conjured up on its own accord, and no one I could ask.
I hate that despite my own resolve, my mind can’t help but wonder.
The questions kept me up all night.
If he is my so-called “mate”, then when did he know?
My guess is the first moment we met, that night was the first time I experienced an episode.
It would also explain why he seemed to hate me so much at first sight.
It was clear he was not happy with that information, not happy with me as his mate.
At least that was something we could both agree on.
I could not exactly blame him.
Maybe it was because I’m human, maybe it was because I’m poor. Maybe it was because I was too ugly, it was probably all of the above.
Either way, I understood his opposition, his reluctance, and even his horror.
But what I don’t understand, the part that mystifies me to this day, is why he went out of his way to torment me.
Why couldn’t he just leave me be? Pretend I didn’t exist? Why seek me out? Why hurt me?
Was it all necessary? Worth it?
Why couldn’t he just do what Daniel said and formally reject me, and then leave me be?
A hazy memory suddenly came to mind, me sitting on the bench, outside in the cool air reading a book.
I look up and Keenan’s blurry face suddenly clouds my vision.
“I refuse you.” He had said, his beautiful face turned up into a sneer, glowering down at me. His looks of resentment suddenly made more sense now.
Was that Keenan formally rejecting the bond? Formally rejecting me?
It looks like I finally have an answer as to what I did so wrong, why he hated me so much.
The gravest crime I had committed against Keenan turns out to be something I had no control over what’s ever.
The minute I had walked into Chambers High I was doomed, I understand that now.
But he followed me over here to do what?
He was free of me and I of him, why would he jeopardize that?
Daniel said something about him wanting to kill the bond, did he want it dead for good? Do I need to die in order for it all to end? For him to truly be free of it? Of me?
What does he even want from me?
Keenan is the strangest, scariest, and most unpredictable person that I’ve ever met, someone I’ll never understand.
And apparently no one else can either.
He bamboozled his own family, blindsided his father, defied this Elder Council organization, and nearly evaded being captured. At least that’s what I heard, Shelby filled me in on most of it.
I feel like my life has become something of a horror movie. If you’d told me months ago that this would be my life, I would have never believed it.
Regardless of everything, I’m glad he’s gone, hopefully this time for good.
So why can’t I believe it?
“Will you chill out? It’s not that big of a deal.” Daniel said, eyeing my rapidly bouncing leg pointedly.
“Not that big of a deal?! I’m meeting your family for the first time! Not only that, but your pack! I’ll be surrounded by a bunch of supernatural creatures, beside one of the most important members of said pack! This is a HUGE deal!”
“You’ll be fine! I’ll be right next to you the whole time, don’t worry.”
I heaved a long sigh and crossed my arms, staring out the window instead.
We’ve been driving for twenty minutes, getting deeper and deeper into the woods, when we take a turn into an off looking dirt road.
If I wasn’t with Daniel I’d be sketched out right now, it looked like something out of Wrong Turn.
We drive wickedly fast for another ten minutes before we come across this very suburban looking home, just randomly plopped in the middle of the woods. Next to it was a massive long garage almost bigger than the house.
There had to be like 12 garage doors alone, each door capable of housing two cars.
“Is this your packhouse?”
“No, this is the decoy house,” Daniel said, “it’s where we keep and store our cars. The road stops here, it’s to deter anyone from accidentally stumbling upon our packhouse.”
“So no one lives in the house?”
“Yea it’s practically empty, just for show.”
Daniel parks the car into one of the garages and hops out.
“How are we gonna get to your packhouse if you’re leaving the car here?”
Daniel grins, “easy, we run the rest of the way.”
“I have to run?!”
“No, I’m gonna run, you’re gonna hop on my back.” Daniel says as he takes off his shirt.
“What are you doing!?” I blush and quickly revert my eyes.
Daniel’s boyish grin only widens, “I’m faster in wolf form.”
Daniel’s massive golden wolf was nearly the size of a horse, I stood there staring at him in shock. I had only glimpsed him once before, but to see him in all his glory, had me flabbergasted that these creatures were once again very real.
He nodded his big head at me and lowered his body to the ground.
“Uh, I’m not sure about this…” I hesitated.
He nodded his head again and beckoned me closer in encouragement.
Even with his belly to the ground, I had trouble climbing him, I had to clutch onto his fur for dear life just to heave myself on top of him like a horse.
My legs could barely go around the width of him and there was nothing but his fur to hang onto.
God I hope I don’t fall.
His fur was surprisingly soft and smelled of nature.
He bounded into the forest at a slow pace at first, then into a slight jog, testing the security of my hold on him.
Once he was satisfied with my hold on him, he began zooming through the forest.
I was not prepared for the G-force of air that hit me. I had to lock my muscle’s in place and bury my face in his fur to keep from letting go out of fear.
Daniel wasn’t kidding, he was fast, as fast as a running vehicle.
After a while, Daniel slows to a jog again, I look up to see another greyish wolf with white splotches standing ahead of us with something in his mouth.
I tensed up, is he one of the good guys?’
Daniel doesn’t seem alarmed.
Daniel lowers to the ground and waits patiently for me to get off.
I shakily slid off his body.
Daniel looks at me and stomps his front paw to the ground.
I watch as he and the other wolf make their way around the thick bushes, I hear a quick snapping of bones before both Daniel and Trey step out.
“Trey that was you?”
He nods, “yup, now you’ve seen me.”
“How far away is this place?”
I feel like we’ve been traveling forever.
“We’re here already.” Trey said, gesturing behind him.
I follow them to the edge of the woods that give out to a clearing, but beyond the large clearing there appears to be a… town?
I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this!
They lived in their own little secluded town! As I walked through their streets, I saw little stores, a restaurant, a school! Even a little hospital!
No wonder the people never left! It was a beautiful and quaint place, vast and full of greens, not devoid of nature at all.
The people openly stared. They could obviously tell I was an outsider, and although the atmosphere was tense, even a little hostile, I didn’t let that clamp me up.
I held my head higher and grasped Daniel’s hand in mine, he looked down at me and smiled.
Many smaller houses aligned the street, leading to a much bigger house the size of a mansion.
Squinting my eyes, I see that a group of people are actually outside, awaiting our arrival. It’s mostly all our friends, but also some other people I don’t recognize. Shelby and Lacey are among them, I smile at them, but only Shelby returns my smile.
As I near Daniel’s beautiful luxurious home, I see that an older man and woman stand ahead of the group.
I tighten my hold on Daniel’s hand and hope he can’t feel them sweating, he gives me a reassuring squeeze back.
Now standing only a few feet from them, I see their expression shift from curious to surprise, they’re eyeing my neck and the red angry bite mark.
I didn’t anticipate the ogling. Daniel made it sound so normal.
If they disapproved, they certainly didn’t show it.
A man, I assume is Daniel’s father, steps forward first. He assesses me coldly, seeming to analyze my every movement.
Daniel doesn’t look much like him, Daniel’s father’s hair is much darker, an ashy brown with greying areas.
He raises his large hand to shake.
“Hello, I’m Felix, Daniel’s father, you must be Angeline.” He said my name pointedly, like I’d done something wrong, but before I could dwell on it, he immediately beams a bright smile.
The switch catches me off guard.
“This is my wife Marissa,” he gestures to the woman beside him. It seems I’m not the only one peeved at Felix’s change of demeanor. Daniel draws me back to his side and winds a protective arm around my waist.
The woman, Marissa, is definitely the parent Daniel resembles most, with the same blond hair and honey colored eyes.
She was the hardest to read, not very inviting but also not unforthcoming, ultimately she just smiles at me.
From the corner of my eye I see a girl I’ve never seen before. She looks slightly older, maybe mid-twenties, standing next to Lacey.
She keeps side eyeing me, just like Daniel’s father, she judges me with her eyes. As if to say this is what all the ruckus was about? Her eyes held the same accusatory emotion Lacey’s did when she looked at me, blame.
A Keenan sympathizer I presume, normally negative attention flusters me, but this time I refuse to sink into my skin.
After saying hi to all of our friends, we follow Daniel’s parents inside, Marissa leads us to a huge long dining table that could easily fit twenty more people.
As dinner is served, Trey cracks most of the jokes, but the tension in the room does not relent.
Everyone, including myself, ignored the big elephant in the room.
Even with Keenan gone, he found a way to still hang in the air.
After dinner though, as everyone chats, our bellies full of food, Daniel excuses himself abruptly. He seemed off all dinner, he looked hard at his father, demanding something with his eyes, before he then walked up the stairs.
I began to recognize when Daniel was communicating… telepathically. My guess is correct when Felix begrudgingly follows after him a second later, Marissa close behind. Now the girl with the judgemental eyes turned to face me, once Daniel and his parents were out of sight.
Trey had called her Laura? Lauren? Laurel?
“So you’re telling me you really didn’t know?” She said condescendingly, her eyes narrowed and her smile showed all her teeth.
“That they were cousins?”
I paused, gauging her intention, beside her Lacey scoffs disbelievingly. They think I did this on purpose?
“No I didn’t know.”
“Oh I’m sure you didn’t.”
“It’s not like any of your business Laurel,” Shelby snaps.
“I’m just saying, what are the chances? Huh? Y’all can keep believing that she’s just some innocent little human, who knew nothing of mates and wolves too, but somehow she stumbled upon and fucked two men that happen to be alphas… and cousins? You can’t seriously be falling for this act?”
I stood up from my chair, angry and mortified. I didn’t care about her opinion or her accusations.
But I did care if my friends believed it.
“I mean there’s a reason he had to have rejected her.” Laurel looked around the table pointedly, expecting that her question would be thought provoking, hoping to ignite some doubt in their expressions. “So what was it? Homie hopping your forte? Did you come here to fuck his cousin because he didn’t want you?”
“What do you care Laurel?” Megan rolled her eyes, she was usually such an easy going non-confrontational person like myself. I was surprised she spoke up.
With my palms placed carefully on the table, I swallowed hard, I willed my voice not to shake as I stared at her dead in the eye. “I have never, and I mean NEVER, had anything like that with Keenan. I don’t care what you think, you’re not anyone worth proving anything to. Don’t presume to know shit about anything, you weren’t there, you don’t know what it was like.”
I didn’t want to cry, I took a deep breath to contain myself. I purses my lips and glared at her, “and I am not his fucking mate.”
I said with all the spite, conviction, and revulsion I could muster.
Lacey looked more shocked and dumbfounded, but Laurel snarled at me with equal malice.
I leaned forward across the table, now merely a couple inches from her face, I needed her to know how much I meant this next statement. Down from the bottom of my heart and ass.
Keeping my voice a low and controlled timbre, I did not let my eyes stray from her face once, “you can go fuck yourself… you ignorant bitch.”
Before she could react or respond, Daniel and his mother reappeared at the top of the stairs.
It was then that I realized that most of everyone was out of their seats, watching us intently. Shelby and Megan flanked my right side looking angry and ready to spring.
I was touched by their readiness to defend me, it was apparent my human strength was nothing compared to a punch from this Laurel chick. But she is also nothing in comparison to what I have faced. Strangely I felt no fear, the only person left that can instill such fear in me is no one but the monster himself.
Trey flanked my left side but he had a shit eating grin on his face.
Lacey held Laurel’s arm while Diego, clamped a beefy palm on her shoulder, but it looked more like he was trying to keep in place.
“What is going on?” Daniel asked sternly, it was Megan who spoke, “Laurel’s tryna start some shit.”
Daniel looks irritated, and his mouth is turned down in a frown.
“Are you guys serious?! You’re going to turn on one of your own for an outsider, a lowly human?!”
“Now now,” Trey said laughed mockingly, waving his finger in a tsk tsk motion, “maybe if you weren’t fucking high schoolers and waited for your mate like you’re supposed to, you wouldn’t find yourself in this situation.”
Laurel looked appalled and her cheeks flushed with embarrassment at her secret being revealed.
So that’s what this is about? I should of known.
“No! I have never- where’s Felix!?” She said his name in a whine, like a petulant spoiled child.
Apparently Mrs. Hallins didn’t like the sound of that either. “Wait for me in the kitchen.” She demanded with a stern hard tone.
But Laurel dismissed her, “I’m going to talk to Felix.” Laurel began climbing her way up the steps.
Everyone gasped at her actions, I don’t understand why, but apparently it’s a huge deal. Everyone was looking at her as if she majorly messed up.
“She said. Wait. For. Her. In. The. Kitchen.” Daniel’s voice was deadly, full of authority and anger. Laurel paused immediately in her tracks, and quickly scurried to the kitchen.
Marissa looked livid.
“I’m so sorry about that poor display of behavior,” Marissa looked apologetically at me, she briefly nodded in Daniel’s direction, I’m assuming he mindlinked her something.
Marissa shook her head, “I blame your father for allowing her to think she has status in this family just because she is his assistant.”
“She defied a direct Luna order.” Daniel added and shook his head.
“And she will be dealt with, my way.”
“So how about desert?” Marissa offered, hopeful. I’ll have to ask Daniel later what they talked about upstairs. He looked tense the whole dinner.
“No thank you mom, it’s nearly ten and I have to get her home.
Oh my goodness it’s ten already?!
Sure enough, checking my phone it was a quarter till ten.
Daniel helps me put my sweater on and I say goodbye to everyone.
“God I always hated that bitch,” Megan whispered in my ear, “good job putting her in her place.”
I laughed with her.
“Thank you for having me, Mrs. Hallins, I had a lovely time.”
“Come by anytime you want Angeline,” she smiles and engulfs me into a hug.
“Tell Mr. Hallins, I said goodbye.” He wasn’t here for the farewell, Marissa said something about him taking a very important call at the moment.
We’re not even fully out the door when Felix comes barreling down the stairs, calling for Daniel.
“What dad? What is it?” Daniel asks, annoyed.
Felix holds a phone to his ear, “I need to talk to both of you, it’s urgent.”