Waiting in Darkness

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Six | Syn

My hand clutched at my chest as if the intense pressure would ease the aching there. It was hard for me to breathe, though I wasn't sure if that had to do with the fact I was struggling between seeing past the red of my anger and holding back the sobs that wanted to escape.

Terrin had found himself a mate, but that wasn't what destroyed me.

Declaring himself to have found the perfect match meant nothing to me. Hell, I expected him to use the excuse of a mate to get me to stop hounding him. I was fully prepared for the day he would announce it, ready for the day I'd have to strengthen my resolve and try twice as hard.

I was prepared for him to parade her around and gloat, to kiss her and flirt in front of me like he did with all the others. I was prepared for his fake love and caring towards some female he liked enough to keep around for a little while. I was prepared for his excuses and his cruel words.

What I wasn't prepare for was what I heard. I was not ready to hear him gush about some female with so much excitement and joy that he couldn't stop talking. I wasn't ready for him to want to introduce her to the pack and care about how we viewed and accepted her. I wasn't ready for him to ask for Cleo's approval, to desperately want it. I wasn't ready for him to be...in love with someone other than me.

I was utterly destroyed because that was supposed to be me. It was supposed to be me he gushed about and fawned over. It was supposed to be me he introduced to others as his mate. It was supposed to be me he wanted to share affection with, a mating bond with. It was supposed to be me he loved.

I collapsed against the wall, gasping through sobs as tears flooded my eyes and uncontrollably rolled down my cheeks.

It was supposed to be me.

My arm was quivering as much as my legs. The cold stone of the wall biting into my skin. I desperately wished that the coldness would seep into me and make me numb to this pain that I felt in my head and my heart. My legs failed me and I slammed to my knees, one hand catching me from smashing my skull open on the floor.

It was meant to be me.

My shoulders slumped in defeat and my head bowed in surrender. I turned my body so I was sitting on the floor, my back against the wall, my head tilted back as I looked up at the ceiling with closed eyes. My shut lids did nothing to stop the stream of tears.

It had to be me.

Because, I couldn't stand him being in love with someone else.

Not when I loved him.

With a strangled gasp I buried my face in my hands. My fingers digging harshly into my scalp, gripping tightly at the strands of my grey-silver hair.

I was hopelessly in love with my asshole of a mate and I couldn't do anything about it. The worst part of all of it was I couldn't even blame it on the bond. Not when I knew deep in my soul that I had accomplished such a stupid, useless, thing all on my own.

Trailing after Terrin for years, even if for some of them I kept my distance, had allowed me to see everything I needed to about him to fall, irrationally, unprecedentedly, unavoidably in love with him. While we hardly exchanged words beyond insults and pleadings I didn't need Terrin to tell me about himself. He showed me.

I had seen him at his best and worst, his darkest and brightest. I knew his favorite thing to do was to sit in some place quiet and enjoy the sun without words or people to distract him. I had followed him countless times to the places he always seemed to find that met all of his credentials no matter where he went. I would stand there and watch him with his eyes closed. Those hazel eyes that had once beautifully accented the sandy blonde hair he used to have before it had faded to a dusty brown in the last few years. His hazel eyes were beautiful all the same, the flecks of green and gold holding a maturity to them now even if sometimes a childish, defiant, glint lit them. And I would always come so close to just walking over and lying down next to him, to say nothing but just be there so he wasn't alone. But I never did, knowing this was a safe place for Terrin and the last thing he needed was a mate he didn't want trying to worm their way into his life.

He hated when it stormed, no doubt the weather reminding him of the blizzard and avalanche that had killed his parents leaving him alone. He tried to hide the flinches every time thunder boomed or lightening flashed but he couldn't hide it from me. Just like he couldn't hide his plant obsession from me. He had a plant in every room, on every table, and I knew it was because he missed the Forest Kingdom where he grew up. Now living in the heart of the Old Kingdom, he didn't get to experience nature outside his widow so he brought nature with him. I knew the plant beside his bed was the most important to him as he had made a trip back to the Forest Kingdom for a week and returned with a little sprout he had raised into the healthy plant he doted on like one would a child or pet. He even named the damn thing, "Sappy" and made a little wooden stick with the name written in his horrible penmanship so everyone else would know its name too.

While those were some of the lights in his life he had dark spots too. Days when Cleo would forget about their lunches or traditions because she was helping Hakota run their massive combined kingdom. Days that he couldn't help but feel swallowed by loneliness and so would wander through the busiest streets to try and comfort himself. I knew the first snow was always the hardest day for him, the white substance a reminder of why he had been alone for so long.

As for his tastes, I knew he enjoyed elk jerky and would buy it once a week for Cleo because it was some sort of tradition between them that the rest of us were unaware of. I knew he hated vegetables even though he needed to eat them if he ever hoped to compete with the other lycans. I was proud of Twigy for growing up and filling out. I wasn't as worried about a wind storm coming through and sweeping him away anymore. Twigy was hardly an appropriate nickname for him now but I couldn't bring myself to let it go yet. It felt like the one special thing that only I had of Terrin. He had given everything else away.

I knew I wasn't one to judge or get angry about it. Someone as used and dirty as me could never chastise another for sleeping around. And maybe it was because I felt unworthy of him due to my past that I always kept myself from truly fighting for him. The brothel I had been subjected to for decades and its patrons had ruined me for my mate.

The dark reminder only had my crying harder, no longer caring if everyone in the castle could hear me. This pain wasn't something I could conceal any longer. The red haze that had been getting harder and harder to push away threatened to consume me entirely.

"You're a right mess," the last voice I expected to hear cut through my wallowing.

My head snapped up and the blurry form of the object of all my woes and sorrows was standing above me. His hands shoved deep into his pockets and his shoulders scrunched up to his ears in a sign of uncomfortableness. His eyes though couldn't hold my own before looking away in guilt. "Listen Syn, I didn't mean for you to hear any of that." I blinked, half expecting him to disappear. Instead he kept talking, "I guess I should know by now to watch my words considering you're probably skulking around," he laughed awkwardly and scratched at his head. When I said nothing he sighed and dropped his hand. "Look Syn, you had to know this day was coming. I don't know how else I could have been more clear that you and I," he said gesturing between us, "was never going to happen."

I let out a broken laugh, "yeah, well, it could have happened if you would have swallowed your pride and given me a chance."

"Oh come on Syn. Why doesn't anybody get it? Trying with you would be a waste of time! I don't feel attracted to you, nothing would ever come of our relationship. I'm sorry that I'm a male, or that you're a male but–"

"Stop looking at me as a male and start seeing me as a person Terrin!" I desperately wanted to leap to my feet but I knew my legs weren't up for that yet so I settled on a frustrated glare that I had to direct up instead of down like I often did. "I don't want you because you're a guy, I want you because of who you are."

He snorted and rolled his eyes, muttering something along the lines of, "goddess that was cheesy" before raising his voice and saying, "You don't even know anything about me Syn."

And for some reason these words infuriated me more than all the others. How dare he think that I spent years chasing after him without an inkling of who he was? For wanting him solely for some stupid bond and not because I truly knew him and wanted him all the more because of it. I slapped my hands on the ground, the sound echoing through the hall. "You hate when Cleo lectures and chastises you. You feel like a child especially when she does it in front of us. But I know part of you is grateful for it. Thankful that she cares enough to pay attention to you and want to keep you safe. I know you hate being alone with Roshan the most out of all of us because of the way he stares at you but never says anything. I know you are envious of the twin's relationship, the older ones and the pups because you've always wanted a sibling and Cleo is the closest you've ever gotten. I know that no matter how many people you surround yourself with you always feel the dark pit of loneliness in your gut." Terrin's eyes were wide as I recited only a tiny fraction of what I knew. "I could go on forever Terrin but honestly I don't think it would change your mind." Steadily rising to my feet, I leaned slightly against the wall, making it look intentional and relaxed but in reality the wall was the only thing keeping me upright. "You may have never bothered to learn a damn thing about me, but don't you ever dare accuse me of not paying attention to you."

"Syn I—"

"Why did you come here Terrin?" I demanded, so tired of this game we played. The back and forth retorts and insults were old and I was done. "If you came here to reinforce what you said in that room, don't bother. I got it, okay? You don't have to worry about me anymore. I'll stop."

"Why?" Terrin narrowed his eyes suspiciously at me.

"Because while I had no problem chasing you before, things have changed. I will not subject myself to chasing after you in hope that one day you might give in when I know now for certain that you won't." With a heavy exhaled breath I pushed off the wall and started walked away, it hurt to look at him. "I don't want to be a scapegoat for regret and excuses again. I am tired of being in the middle of relationships but moreover, I am done with always being the 'other person'." I kept my eyes staring straight ahead, refusing to look back at the werewolf who had turned his back on me, on our potential for a love greater than anything imaginable. "I want to be 'the only person' but you've made it clear that I will not find that with you."

"What changed?" Terrin prompted from behind me, "I've been telling you this for years so why do you believe it now?"

I halted, turning my head slightly to the left, but not enough to see the male behind me, "You fell in love Terrin." I then turned my chin forward and proceeded to walk away. Away from my mate, and away from the werewolf I loved, completely abandoning hope for our future and holding on to the love that hurt me more than healed me.

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