Nineteen | Terrin
My life was a disaster. Five days is all it took for my life to completely fall apart. After Syn left—and I didn't just mean from Heidi's house, he left my life, the old kingdom and the pack—everything began to crumble. Cleo had promptly disowned me from the pack when she learned of Syn's disappearance, telling me I didn't deserve to be one of them, to be among them. Was it just another one of Syn's twisted games? Had he left without a word knowing I'd take the fall for it? It made sense because when he returned he would never have to see me again. He had truly gotten rid of me.
Being the lycan he was, he knew how to take, and take he did. He took my family, my friends, my job, my dignity, my pride and my heart. This gaping hole in my chest that could be filled with nothing, not alcohol, not misery, not Heidi. Having Heidi just made everything worse, not better. Everything about her reminded me of Syn.
Memories of her were overshadowed by memories of Syn, and that mark on her neck... that damn mark. It served as a continual reminder of what I lost with Syn, how the one on my own neck was a symbol of mockery. I couldn't stand it, couldn't stand seeing over and over again how stupid and gullible I had been. So I sent her away, told her to just get out and leave like everyone else. She had tried several times to come back but I never let her in. I stayed locked in my house trying to just forget.
Too bad the gods wouldn't let me. I thought as I stared at the face on the other side of the door.
Hakota looked back at me, his expression blank. I had no idea why he was here. To kill me maybe? I couldn't say I'd necessarily mind at this point. "Can I come in?" he asked.
I nearly laughed at the absurdity of it. Why bother asking when the determination on his face told me I didn't really have a choice? I didn't though, I didn't laugh, didn't smile. I think Syn had taken that from me as well. "Whatever," I drawled, opening the door completely for him and stepping aside. "You're alpha of the lycans right?" I murmured as he walked past me.
I saw him recoil, watched his expression morph into one of disgust when he saw the bottles and bottles littered everywhere. I watched him resist the urge to cover his nose as he smelled the rancid stench alcohol and vomit. He uttered a curse as he took it all in, me included, as he spun around slowly. I closed the door and dragged myself to the couch, flopping down and snatching up my unfinished bottle. He'd interrupted me before I'd had time to guzzle it down. "Don't you think you've had enough?" He questioned, eyeing the bottle.
I shrugged, "I'm still conscious aren't I?" Then I tipped the bottle back and let its contents run down my throat.
Hakota looked around for a place to sit, but then decide standing was probably safer. "Terrin, I need to know what happened," he said seriously, an undertone of urgency in his voice.
"Why?" I muttered over the lip of my bottle. It wasn't like he wasn't privy to this whole scheme.
"I'll decide if you're worthy to know after you talk, so talk."
In my muddled mind I could sense something was off. Something wasn't right and maybe talking to Hakota would allow me to figure out what exactly that was. It's not like I had anything left to lose, so I set the bottle down before reaching up and exposing my mark to the alpha. I made sure to keep it covered in case I ever glimpsed my reflection. I was sick of staring at it and just crying.
"What?" Hakota gasped in shock, confusing me even more. He hadn't known? "How? When?" He demanded as I covered it back up.
"Five days ago I told him I picked him, so I asked him to mark me. He did, obviously, but after that I wanted..." I trailed off, it wasn't easy for me to admit the next part.
Luckily for me, Hakota seem to pick up on it. "You wanted to have sex," he murmured. There was a slight pause before he quickly added, "But he rejected your advances right?"
I frowned at the sound of excitement in his words. "...Yeah, how did you know?" I asked skeptically, something was definitely going on here.
"And you did something stupid out of hurt." He sounded downright gleeful at this point, like he'd solve a mystery.
"I...yeah," I admitted, "I marked Heidi."
"You marked her?" Hakota growled and I pushed myself into the couch, trying to make myself small.
"Yeah," I replied again.
"And then he left?"
I nodded sullenly, "Not before he told me he hated me and I was disgusting."
Hakota massaged at his temples, "So this whole thing is just a misunderstanding?" He laughed bitterly, "Lune help us, I think I cursed this pack when it comes to mates. My mating is nothing short of a disaster, Innoko and Roshan are only now coming together, Sitka is still mateless, and now this."
I scooted to the edge of the couch, "Wait, what do you mean misunderstanding?" Did he truly not know? "Syn made our entire relationship a game. He just wanted to show everyone how pathetic I am. He wanted to prove I was too weak to resist the bond, and he did. I get it, I was stupid to think I had a chance. I'm just some werewolf, and a Forester to boot, how could I ever be a lycan's mate?"
"By the moon, what nonsense are you spewing?" The alpha snipped. "You think Syn's pursual was a game? A sick form of entertainment?" He shook his head disappointed me, "Come on Terrin, I know you know Syn better than that."
I hunched over, elbows on my knees as I gripped the sides of my head, "Yeah well, I thought so too and look what happened. How can I know someone who's just been lying to me the whole time? I knew he was hiding something but when I asked him, he would just lie. Heidi was right, I–"
"Hold on a second," Hakota interrupted my pity monologue, "are you telling me Heidi was the one who put these notions in your head? She's the one responsible for all of this?" The Alpha looked murderous.
"No, Hakota," I stopped him from putting the blame on her, "Syn and I are the cause of this." We had made the choices leading here. "I was the one stupid enough to believe him and his lies, and he was the one faking the whole time," I said miserably.
Hakota's attitude shifted. Quietly, gently even, he came to crouch before me, placing a hand on my shoulder in his firm grip. "Terrin, why Syn rejected sex... It's not you, trust me." I looked up at him with hope. "Syn—he should've told you before so that this could never happen, but you have to hear it from him."
My hope shattered and my head dropped in defeat. So he had lied to me, hidden things. "I don't want to talk to him," I whispered. I couldn't face him after this. "Even if I did, he wouldn't want to talk to me."
"That's stupid Terrin," Hakota said as he stood, he gestured around the room, "you wouldn't be here wallowing if you didn't care about him. You wouldn't have sent Heidi away if you didn't feel guilty and regretful."
I looked up at him, "I never said I didn't care about him, I just said I didn't want to talk to him. Besides, talking wouldn't make a difference, he doesn't want me, he doesn't care about me, he hates me."
"Terrin," Hakota said firmly in his dominating tone, "just like you marked Heidi out of heartbreak, Syn said those words. You matter to him more than anything—he marked you for Lune's sake!"
"So?" I demanded dismally, "you marked Cleo and then tore it right off her neck. Syn marked me to prove a point. The mark didn't mean anything." I put my face in my hands, my stomach churning as Syn's last words echoed.
Hakota nudged my foot, "Look at me Terrin," I did, "now listen to me. Syn loves you, everyone saw that. He may have kept secrets from you, but his love for you was obvious if you wanted to see it. Whatever Heidi's told you, reflect on your time with Syn and see her words for how false they are."
I was staring at my hands but I was listening to him, actually doing what he suggested and feeling my stomach twist itself in knots as I was hit with reality. Heidi had manipulated me, lied to me about Syn. He did care—or he had—I had just been blinded by my own arrogance, believing I knew his intentions. I had never even thought that I had misunderstood, that I could be wrong.
"And if even then you still doubt Syn's affections," Hakota continued, "Then I will impart on you this," he took in a breath, "Syn has been consumed with The Wild."
My head snapped up.
"And you know a lycan angry and in pain does not bode well," he eyed me, knowing where my thoughts drifted. "He needs you Terrin, he's killing people."
I drew in a sharp breath. People were dying because of me, because of what I'd done to my mate.
"Coda informed Cleo that she has three days to get him off Lunar territory or he will kill him. The only reason Coda hasn't killed him yet is because of Cleo."
I felt sick, dizzy with this overwhelming news. My mate would die because of me.
"We only have three days Terrin, so please find him and at the very least get him out of the Lunar Kingdom."
"Me? But I-I–" tears blinded me, "I can't do this Hakota!" I protested.
"You are the only one who can save him, the pack bond is not as strong as the mate bond. As proven when he nearly killed Kenai when we sent him and Denahi to herd him back into the Old Kingdom. He's completely lost to it Terrin, he will kill anyone else."
His own pack, his own family. I had broken him so he could not even recognize them, was willing to hurt them and even kill them.
I was shaking my head, pushing myself into the couch in hopes I would just disappear from this, from this responsibility, this conversation, this reality.
Hakota looked upon me with pleading eyes full of sorrow, "Please Terrin, it has to be you. Fix this before it's too late. Bring him back or he will die."