"Come with me"
Two guards left the small meeting, heading to where the new wolves from last night stayed while the remaining two followed. I've made up mind. The safest way to do this was to keep both sets under surveillance, having watch and planning our next move.
Sleep came rather late for me but I've had enough time to think since then. My feelings had no place in this but I knew ...I knew I couldn't stay away. Selfishly I'm doing this to keep my mate safe. I might be able to get Jax to give her a lighter sentence, hell even get Allison on my side. Just something...anything that'll prevent me from loosing my mind.
Halie sits in a chair when I enter the room. She's all I see, think and feel. She's everything. Though maybe the feeling isn't mutual. Her hazel eyes shift behind me seeing the men and immediately she springs towards her bestfriend placing herself between us.
"What's going on?" Moi asks, her hands hanging onto Halie's for dear life.
They are fearful we can all smell it. Something we'd normally revel in, sensing it from our enemies. But today I can't take pride in it.
"You're not taking Moi!" Halie states staring defiantly in my eyes. "I don't care how many of you there are".
"Wait on the outside" I tell the men before turning back to the two girls. "We're not taking Moi, or you. And no one's going to get hurt"
"Right because you walking in here with steroid filled men screams security right?" She says sarcastically. "We've done nothing wrong for the record"
"Your hands" Moi pulls Halie towards her staring at me wide eyed and trembling. "They...their completely ....where are the cuts from this morning?"
Halie moved back placing her hand against Moi, blinking rapidly.
"What ......where were you today? "
"I was out. Moi, I spoke to you this morning"
"Yes and you were bleeding" She responds. "Unless....unless you're someone else"
I glance between both women feeling apprehensive. If I took a sudden step who knows what Halie would do, who knows what I'll end up doing or the others outside in defense.
"I'm the same person"
"We weren't expecting you to say anything else"
I tracked Halie's eyes as they moved around, searching for anything, something that would keep me away from them. I hadn't thought of this complication. Why hadn't I thought of something when all I've got were shitty days all week?
I did the stupidest thing that came to mind.
"Ask me anything" I say holding up my hands, placing myself on the offensive. "I'm not gonna hurt you" I glanced at my mate noticing her eyes were poised behind me. "Halie"
"Quinn said you were still out there" She said her eyes still in the door. "Moi just said you had cuts and was bloody. Your hands are fresh cut, free. That's not possible"
"I was out like Quinn said but I'm back, okay" I take a step forward and my mate flinches, finally her eyes falling to mine. "I spoke with Moi. I did like I said I would. Didn't I say I'll get them cleaned Moi?"
Moi's lip quivered before releasing a miserable chuckle. "You cleaned them right off your skin huh?"
No thanks to fast healing, now their staring at me like a freak.
"Halie you were with Quinn today, I saw you after Moi told me you left. You saw Allison right? "
"Anyone could've known that"
I sighed. I can't do this right now.
"I don't want to hurt you"
"Then don't" Halie snapped before turning to look at her friend. "I told you staying here was a bad idea! Did you listen no! As usual"
"If you left, you would have died! Do you not understand that or do you not care!" I snarled.
"Why does it matter either way to you?" My mate snapped back clearly undeterred by my presence nor my tone. "What am I to you? I'm just some random girl that you're keeping here aren't I? What's so special about me that I can't just die?"
"You aren't just any other girl!" I gritted out losing my damn patience. "Why'd you think I'm out to hurt you? Why can't you accept that I'm probably trying to protect you?"
My mate scoffed rolling her eyes. "What's the difference with what you want to do to us right now huh?"
Halie got closer, running her hand across my neck and slowly across my cheek, taking me by complete surprise.
Shocked, I slapped my mouth shut clenching my fists at my side. Dammit, in all my life I've never felt this way. I'm fighting to stay on my feet and not give in to leaning into her caress. Her hands are warm and soft, fingers long and nimble. It's crazy to think our mates have this power. To think she had to power to calm me even without knowing it.
I'm itching to take her in my arms just then. To explain that she isn't just some random girl. To tell her she's my mate. Another half of me and dammit, I'd risk blood and bone to save her life if I knew she was in trouble.
Moi glanced between us wide eyed and confused.
"Halie" She says hesitantly. "Halie are you okay? What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to figure out if he's real or not" She whispered back as if too afraid of what she might actually find.
But I'm all flesh, blood and bone. There's no monster hiding beneath my skin. Well if I didn't tell her about being able to shift, I might actually be a monster beneath the flake I'm wearing now.
"By touching his face?" Moi asks again. "I don't understand"
"I'm searching for a mask....I don't know. I'm confused too" Halie sighs, but her fingers still continue to roam my skin. I won't ever stop her and God I don't want her to stop.
Our eyes meet, hazel against black. Curious versus determined. I don't step away when she stops moving her hands, I don't want her to stop. For a moment, time holds no bounds and surroundings blur. True to what I've been dying to see, Halie isn't entirely reckless and impulsive.
There's a calmer, anxiety ridden side that makes her cute. Not the fuzzy kind, because I'm sure she'd most likely claw my face off. Maybe like a rabbit. Does she like rabbits? Would we able to hunt together? Would she even enjoy hunting? Well, I'll do the hunting, she'll just watch.
Against all reason screaming in my head not to fall, not get closer to this probably dangerous woman, I lean into her palms; relishing the reality behind her eyes when she had processed what I've done.
I'm never going to hurt her, despite myself, despite what I feel. I can't. Not when she's like this. Part vulnerable, scared and maybe a little unhinged. I know she's capable of anything. Anything in here could serve as a weapon for Halie. A chill spreads from my spine, cold and tingling going outwards and seconds later my mate pulls away, disconnecting us as if she'd been burnt.
Halie's eyes drift from mine to her formerly outstretched hand then back to my person. She felt it.
"Its him" She says softly practically running back to her best friend.
"How do you know? Did something happen that I missed?" Asked Moi. "All you've done is stare in each other's eyes! "
"I just....it's him okay. Just...just drop it"
"We're moving you both to a room in one of the cabins, that's where you'll stay until...until I've sorted things out"
"Well it's much more comfortable than the hospital room" Moi says glancing around the bunker while Halie stood glowering at the door.
Her confusion wore off the second we walked into the small space and now she's back into warrior mode.
"Halie?" Moi calls again before poking her friend in the side. "Are you even listening to me?"
"Not now Moi" She responds sharply staring at the men at the door. "Is there a reason their here? I mean I thought we were cleared?"
" They are staying with you at all times"
"Why is something wrong?" Asked Moi. "I mean it's not like we can go anywhere. I'm still hurt....well recuperating "
"Quit the bullshit Rider, what's really going on here? Guards? We need guards now?"
My mouth clenches and I walk towards the door before meeting both their stares.
"You won't be able to leave this room. Food will be brought to you. Everything is here" I explain and I watch Halie shake her head, laughing lightly. Colour has drained from Moi's face before she turned with anger towards her friend.
"What the hell have you done Halie!?"
"Me?!" She shouts back before chuckling again. "Why do you think I did something. Oh of course it has to be me right!"
"You're the one always trying to break us out!" Moi yells back.
Halie ignores her, her eyes pinned against my person screaming murder.
"Is there a reason we're in this? Whatever this is ....what witness protection?"
"Until I know the reason why you're both here. No one leaves"
"Go screw yourself" Halie says walking over to the bed and placing the pillows against her head.
I'm not just doing this for you Halie. I'm doing this for me too.
Everyone gathers, nervous and bustling about. This meeting was long overdue but still too early. I lean against the wall feeling lethargic and impatient. I don't know what to do about Halie. My gut tells me she's innocent but f*** things are leading to them.
We don't believe in coincidences, we can't afford to. One little mistake can cause the pack its life. But f*** don't ask if seeting Halie distrust me doesn't mess with my mind. She won't talk with me. She's not even talking to Moi. Yes, I've been badgering the guards about what's going on. I can't help it.
Allison's passes, along with others then Sam. The latter of which I ignore. Jax had better find a way to get back to his pack sooner, rather than later or I'll go crazy inside!
"We've got a problem" I start skipping the pleasantries. "As you've all heard or maybe seen we've got humans here"
There are gasps, questions and total confusion settled into the crowd.
"Settle down" Veron snaps irritably and the crowd falls into a crypt of silence again.
The women are terrified, others still whispering to each other about what this could mean, who the humans were and what would happen to the pack, their pups.
"There's no reason to be concerned, guards have been placed outside their room for monitoring" I sigh folding my hands. "We have reason to believe they might be with the hunters -wait" I hold my hand up anticipating the questions. "I haven't confirmed it, and so far the forest is clear"
"What's going to happen now?" Asks one of the men. " One of them was in the kitchen this morning"
"Trust me, she's more afraid of you than, you should be of her" Quinn chips in laughing.
"People can pretend" Says a woman at the back. "I didn't think she could speak when she walked in, but didn't she surprise us all"
Most of the pack nods in agreement murmuring.
"Not to mention that he left her there sometime after. She could've hurt someone"
"Oh please" Allison stands looking with disgust at the pack. "Hurt us? One human hurt a pack of wolves? Are you kidding me?!"
"Have you forgotten what they've done to us? They killed our people Allison, your grandfather lost his mate, your grandmother "
"Halie isn't like that" Allison says shaking her head. "She's not. There are good people -humans out there"
"That's yet to be seen" Said another pack member standing up. "We should kill them Rider! Who knows what they've been doing all this time".
"No one is killing anyone so settle down! " I snarled.
The wolf snarled back, tossing his chair into the wall adjacent to him before stalking over to Allison.
"You're one of the reasons they still live in this area with all this peace talk"
Allison eyes changed sensing a challenge. She's the sister of our Alpha, both hot blooded but kind. They never take a challenge well. She can't shift, but that won't ever stop her from snarling back.
"We aren't murders and until Jaxon gets back whatever Rider says is law and He. Said. No. One. Dies"
The wolf reaches for Allison, half shifted and menacing missing her by inches when other wolves rush from their seats pulling him back, and pinning him against the floor. It's pandemonium inside the large room and I've long decided, I'm done playing nice.
My fists connect the detained wolf in the stomach twice before grabbing him by the neck.
"Rider" Quinn says slowly. "Put him down"
But I'm not listening, not anymore. My grip tightens watching him grasps from breath, struggling beneath my grasp and the others who held him.
Rider listen to me, calm down! You'll kill him. Quinn's voices shouts in my head but I don't reply.
"If you ever think of hurting Allison or anyone in the pack ever again, I'll rip your throat out" I whisper though I know everyone's heard my statement. I still hold him turning to the pack that's now straight faced and silent.
"You all want to show how dangerous you are fine go ahead, but I'll enjoy killing every single one that turns this pack upside down! We've got a problem and humans are just the tip of the ice burg. There are wolves here that seek asylum. We aren't the only ones under attack"
They are still silent which is good.
"Emergency protocols remain in place, only curfew has been moved to eight. If you live far from the packhouse, stay with a friend, or neighbour. We're all our brothers keepers from now on. No pup or mateless females should be on their own at any given time especially after dusk. The pack house is always open. Stay there in case of anything "
When they leave, Allison's collapses in my arms, spurting thanks. But it's not about me. They don't know what facing Oliver and Jax is like. Sam comes over and I can't help but groan, when Allison leaves too quickly.
"Rider" Sam says gripping my upper arm.
"I can't do this right now"
"You can't talk? That's all I want". Her answer comes searching my face. "This was not what I anticipated coming back"
"Yeah, but that's the reality of our situation" I respond walking out the way. "Go help where ever you can"
"Is this how we're gonna be? You just keep pushing me away"
"I don't have time for this"
"Ashton Rider, you cannot do this" Sam says running up to me blocking the exit. "Talk to me. I get it your overwhelmed" Her hands slides to my face and I pull it back.
"If you don't want to be useful just stay out of my way. And as for talking to you, you lost that right when you left"