1 - Freedom
2 Years Ago.
I stand on the grass and watch Atticus walk around to the driver’s seat of his car before he opens the door. My vision is blurry and tears slip down my cheeks every time I blink. He stops before looking at me with pained eyes and I almost want to hug him and never let go.
“Please don’t leave me.” I whisper and I know he heard me despite being a few feet away.
He looks away and I can see how hard he’s clenching his jaw as he refuses to give in. “I don’t want to Olivia but we’re not mates and I need to find mine before I take over the pack.”
I cover my mouth to stifle the sob threatening to escape my lips while nodding to show that I understand. I close my eyes and look down, not wanting to see him drive out of my life. However, there’s no noise for a few minutes before I hear his footsteps make their way towards me.
Atticus embraces me tightly and the dam breaks. My cries echo in the air as I sob into his shirt. He hushes me and rubs his hand across my back soothingly before pulling away. Cupping my face with both hands he brushes my tears away as his hazel eyes meet my green ones.
“I’m going to miss you.” He murmurs with a longing look in his eyes.
I nod as a shaky breath escapes my lips. “Me too. I hope you find her and be happy.”
He says nothing and instead nods before pulling me close and pressing a lingering kiss to my forehead. He then walks away and gets into his car. The noise of the engine starting has me biting down on my lip hard as I stop myself from running over and preventing him from leaving.
He doesn’t look back.
Instead, he drives away and shatters my heart into pieces.
The sudden sound of my alarm blaring evokes a tired groan from my lips. I sit up and my arms shake slightly as I put my weight on them to scoot backwards on my bed. It’s seven in the morning and school starts in an hour. Sighing, I manage to get out of bed and walk towards my window to pull back the curtains and be greeted with the gloomy weather of Canada for the third time this week.
I see my reflection and grimace at my sunken green eyes and knotted brown hair because of how much I tossed and turned last night. I contemplate on skipping school. I’m exhausted and sleep deprived almost every day and it’s starting to affect my study. No, I think to myself as I shake my head. I can’t skip school. I need to get good grades so I can get accepted into a university and get the hell out of here!
The reason why I feel so miserable is because of my mate, Vincent Ross. I had found him at the age of seventeen when he visited my pack in Quebec in search of his mate. It was great at the start as he was kind and sweet. But then it all started to go downhill when I was accepted into his pack, the Red River Pack in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Turns out he never really wanted me as my mate and chose one of his regular whores to take my place. But instead of rejecting me he keeps me around because only an Alpha’s true mate can provide him with strong heirs. That’s all I am to him, a broodmare.
It disgusts me.
I hate him with a passion. Every night he hooks up with his chosen mate while I cry out in agony from the burning in my chest. For hours I’ll sit on my bed and be curled up into a fetal position as I wish for it to stop. I had thought that the heartbreak I received from my mate was painful but it was nothing compared to this.
And that is exactly what happened last night…again.
I’ve tried running away numerous times only to get dragged back and beaten within an inch of my life. Day by day, I’m getting angrier and all I want to do is kill him. Vincent is in the same school as I am but he has turned everybody against me. I have no friends, nobody I can talk to and even my own family has disowned me. Vincent had conjured up a lie about how I’m a horrible mate who cheated on him when really, it’s the other way around. Trying to explain to my family was a mission itself because in their eyes, Vincent can do no harm.
They turned their back on me in an instant and that was the day I found out who was with me and who wasn’t. Nevertheless, I have found an apartment in the city and I work two jobs to cover my rent and expenses. It isn’t much and I feel unsafe being on the rough side of town but at least I have a roof over my head and that’s all that matters.
I never lost hope that someday things would get better because hope is the only thing I have nowadays.
As soon as the bell rings for lunch I pack my things quickly before running out the door. I’m rushing through the crowded hallways when suddenly, I’m grabbed from behind and slammed against the lockers. A painful groan escapes my lips at the stinging sensation I feel shooting up my spine before my eyes open to see one of Vincent’s friends holding me by my hoodie’s collar. It’s Aaron and I can see Darren and Cole standing behind him with smirks on their lips. I remain quiet because I know from experience that if I talk it’ll only get worse.
“What? Cat got your tongue, Olivia?” Aaron sneers before slamming me against the hard metal once more.
I bite my lip but anyone can see that I’m in pain. However, before he can do anything else someone pulls him off me. I look up to see Vincent and his scent engulfs my senses but it’s like poison to me. I glare up him before shrugging his hand off me when he touches my shoulder. His jaw clenches in anger but I don’t give a fuck. It’s not like he hasn’t hit me before. He knows I’m not scared of him anymore.
He notices that his little crew is watching him and waiting for him to do something. And of course, he does because Moon Goddess forbid the Alpha doesn’t keep up his reputation in front of his minions. His hand grips my face tightly and his nails dig into my skin but I blankly stare up at him as I wait for him to speak.
“Come by my office after school. You know what will happen if you don’t.” He growls before shoving me hard which makes me lose my balance and fall to the ground from how much force he used.
I cry out when he kicks me in the stomach before covering it with both my arms as I sit up. Everyone that’s in the hallway laughs and follows Vincent into the cafeteria and I’m relieved that they don’t do anything to further hurt me.
Many students in this school, including myself, are werewolves. As Vincent’s father is one of the people who provides funding to this school Vincent practically runs this damn place. Humans will never help as they can’t get within two feet of us without shaking from the power we emit.
I’m alone in this until I graduate. These last few months of the school year are keeping me going. After this, I’m going to disappear and finally be happy. The distance will cause the bond between Vincent and I to break and I will finally be free.
Snapping out of my thoughts, I carry on walking out of the school and to a place where I eat my lunch in peace every day. Sitting down on the stone slab I take out my lunch bag and grab a sandwich, take a swig of my water before biting into the bread.
The time flies by and I use it to catch up with the schoolwork I had missed while I eat. When the first bell rings to signal that lunchtime has ended I pack up and quickly walk back to my locker to exchange books before hurrying to my next class. I certainly don’t want to be caught by another one of Vincent’s friends.
Making my way into biology, I sit in the second row so that I’m within sight of the teacher. Whenever I get picked on in class by other students they would always stop it. And besides, I don’t think I’ll learn better if I’m sitting in the back. However, my body instantly responds when I sense Vincent come in just before the last bell rings. I stiffen before forcing myself to relax and seem indifferent. I can’t let him see just how much his presence bothers me.
The class carries on as normal and I get lost in taking down notes. There are a few moments where my gaze drifts to the scenery outside the window. The forest stands proud and tall, swaying enticingly as it tempts me to break free and get lost in its depths. I sigh heavily before turning back to my book and flipping to the next page as my teacher drones on. Someday soon, I think to myself wistfully.
Unfortunately, my next classes go by quickly and I find myself unwillingly walking towards the Red River pack in the evening. I make my way through the forest on the familiar pathway as the guards narrow their eyes at me in hatred. Shrugging it off like usual I continue to walk through the pack lands and watch on with slight longing as I see other members of the pack mingling. I was supposed to be Luna. I was supposed to belong in a pack. Oh, Moon Goddess why did you do this to me? I wonder to myself in both anger and sadness.
I immediately slow down as soon as I spot Vincent making his way into his house. A relieved breath escapes me because at least I won’t have to deal with the bullying from members in the pack house today. I rush inside after him to get this over with quickly so I can make it back to start my shift at the restaurant I work at.
“Come in.” He calls before I can even knock.
I walk in and stand before him. He looks up at me with narrowed brown eyes when I refuse to take a seat. Growling in frustration he throws his pen down on the stack of papers before crossing his arms. He runs his hands through his blonde hair before finally speaking.
“We need you to get information out of Atticus Bauer.” He starts with his lips set in a firm line. “He has intel on the rogues attacking packs in Canada. There’s rumors that we’re next in line but that bastard isn’t telling me anything!”
“But I haven’t met him in years. Is he back?” I frown in confusion.
The Bauer family and mine were good friends when I used to live in Quebec. We would visit each other often and Atticus and I grew up together. We started dating when we were young when Atticus revealed that he had a crush on me but he left when we turned sixteen and I assumed he found his mate.
“Yes.” He stresses the word with heavy annoyance in his tone. “Do what you have to do to get it. But if you don’t come back out with the information then consider yourself a rogue. There will be a bounty on your head the instant you decide to disobey me and the next time I see you it will be your dead body mauled by my warriors.”
My wolf, Jade, whines sadly inside my head. Both of us have gone through an emotional roller coaster ever since we met him and it tears me apart to sense her conflict. On one hand she just wants Vincent and his wolf to love us but on the other hand she’s disgusted and angry over how he thinks and treats us.
“Yes, Alpha.” I grit out as my nails dig into the palms of my hands behind my back.
What I wouldn’t give to rip him to pieces for speaking to me like that. But this is an opportunity for me to finally get out of here. I know Atticus will let me stay at his pack before I get a ticket out of Canada for good. Screw graduating. If I don’t leave now I may never get the chance again.
“I’ve booked you a ticket and my driver is waiting outside so that you can get to the airport tonight. Grab your things and leave.” He dismisses and I refrain from spitting out all the curses in my vocabulary.
I turn to leave but as soon as I open the door it slams shut. His hand rests against the wood while he turns me to face him with the other one. I throw his wandering hand off my body and glare up at him fiercely. He growls angrily before gripping my jaw tightly but I refuse to let a cry escape my mouth.
“Don’t you dare open your legs for Bauer, you hear me? Your brother told me how you two dated a few years ago. Remember that I own you and when I need an heir you will provide me with one. Is that understood, Olivia?” He utters darkly and the news of my brother betraying me to someone like Vincent doesn’t even surprise me anymore.
“Loud and clear.” I spit while laughing manically in my head. I’d rather die than give him any heirs.
I turn and fling open the door before letting it crack hard against the wall. He snarls behind me and I flip him off before marching out of his house. Like he said, the driver is waiting for me outside and he hands me my ticket before I get in. I take one last look at the Red River pack and watch the Alpha house become smaller and smaller in the rear-view mirror before the territory is eaten up by the thick forest.
For the first time in a long time I feel completely relaxed and happy.
Soon, I will be free.