“I just need space,” Blaire says with finality. Her body language, the slight clenching of her fists and the speed of her heart, which sounds like a caged animal’s, indicates the raging storm within her.
Come on, guys. Let’s leave her be for a minute. I mind link James and Michael, who continue to stand statue-still behind me. We all slowly turn to leave, giving Blaire space to process the dump load of information we seemed to have crushed her with. Michael’s disappointment and sadness carves worry lines across his face like rivers digging out canyons across a flat plain.
A few days before the family BBQ, he had confided in me about his plans on proposing to Blaire. The excitement had lit up his whole persona. I can’t imagine how heart wrenching it would be to watch the love of your life be afraid of who you are. The flash of fear that crossed Blaire’s face upon seeing Michael’s, or rather Scout’s, glowing eyes created a whirlwind of sadness and despair to radiate from Michael.
James, being his best friend, has begun comforting Michael while I make a peace offering for Blaire, her favorite ginger spice tea.
Will she come around? Will she understand why we hadn’t told her? It’s rather a selfish act. Rather than face the inevitable, Michael and I each feared losing her and conveniently forgot to mention anything to her. Now, we may have lost her despite our futile efforts. The truth is never something that can be caged away forever; it’s like trying to fill a cracked container with water. Slowly the water seeps out until it has rid itself of its prison and is free in the world.
I’ve spent the past week worrying about the best time to tell her. I’ve found that there is no best time. I should’ve said something. Anything.
What were you gonna say? Oh by the way, my new boyfriend I just met mere weeks ago bit me and now I turn into a wolf whenever I feel like? Lena asks. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve hardly had anytime to figure this new adaption out yourself. She’ll come around when the time is right. I have a feeling it’ll all turn out.
I hope so, Lena. Thank you, I sincerely say. She’s been a wonderful ‘friend’ this past week; both kind, patient, and reasonable. If I had to deal with teaching myself, I would’ve lost all sanity and given up a day into my transformation and adaptation process.
A purr rises up in my chest as the comfort of James’s arms wrap around my waist from behind. She’s also very fond of James and Rupert.
“Is he gonna be alright?” I whisper into his ear as his head rests on my shoulder. Through the mate bond I can feel his worries for his friend. He knew Michael would suffer if he lost another mate.
“Honestly, I don’t know. Depends on Blaire,” he says. He shifts, sticking his face into my neck. His worries, I feel, slowly dissipate. I couldn’t lose you, you know that?
I nod my head as his voice echoes in my mind. I couldn’t lose you either. I love you, James. I say as I lean into him, back to chest. His grip tightens, like he’s trying to make us one. Standing here, the emotions grapple at my heart and I know he feels the same.
Too soon, he pulls back. Kissing the crown of my head, he says, I love you too, Ivy. More than anything in the world.
We all jump up at the sound of a door creaking open. Blaire’s footsteps echo down the hallway and I could basically smell the anger roll off of her. She doesn’t spare us more than a quick glance. Our stares provoke her to speak as she speeds around into the kitchen, picking up the keys from the counter.
“I’m going out and don’t bother stopping me,” Blaire states coldly, striding past all of us and out the front door. I hadn’t even gotten the chance to speak up. I had thought she’d want to stay cooped up in her bedroom, avoiding us.
Michael is the first to snap out of the small trance of shock that James and I still stood in. He turns, desperately calling her name. The door bangs open as he flies out to catch up to her, but she’s already driving off down the paved road, looking dead ahead.
My heart drops to my stomach. The flood of tears that want to break free builds up and teeters on my eyelids. Her anger makes me feel terrible. Watching Michael’s desperate attempt to get her to listen broke my heart. It was like watching the beginning scenes of Up. How Carl lost Ellie to death. Michael has ‘lost’ Blaire in a way as well.
I watch Michael make his way back up the sidewalk, head bent low. His sad aura floats about him like dark rain clouds. I wipe away my own tears and clear my throat, preparing to convince Michael that it’s alright. She will come back to us. The problem is I think I’m still trying to convince myself that she’ll come back.
Michael saunters to the couch. When he’s sat, I make my way to his side. Hopefully he’ll talk to me. The silence stretches and tenses like a strained elastic band, as we both think over Blaire’s actions.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper. “About everything.”
“When she called about the incident, I was so worried. Vague has been threatening packlands, but now he’s threatening the humans by sending his rogues near town.” He starts, his voice a low rumble. I don’t know where he’s headed, but I continue to listen. “Maybe it’s best she’s mad at me. She can leave the dangers of this town without me keeping her here.” He slumps forward with his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands. I place a hand on his trembling shoulder. The attempt to cover up his crying causes his whole body to shake slightly.
“You know that’s not true. She’s probably safer here where we can protect her. You will be the best protection for her. Don’t give up so easily. She’ll come around, I promise.” I say. Michael looks up at me with red eyes.
“Don’t say that. You can’t promise she’ll want me. She may come back for your sake, but who’s to say she’ll want me.” I shake my head. I know they aren’t fated mates, but I’ve seen the love she has for Michael. She can’t just toss that down the drain. I call to Lena for advice, but she doesn’t respond. Come on, Lena. Don’t ditch me now.
I look to James for some help. James stands cross armed and concerned, watching as Michael stands and paces back and forth in front of the coffee table. “How about we go on a run before you wear a hole in the rug?” James suggests and begins striding to the back door. Michael stops pacing, hesitating only for a moment before following.
“No talking, just running,” Michael mumbles to James as he passes him out the back door. Each strips down to their birthday suit, preparing for the shift. Cracking and popping create a symphony of noise that echoes in the quiet evening. Every bone breaking and reforming to create a creature of the moon. The dark blonde and grey wolf that form from Michael and James dash into the forest, bounding out of my sight.
Oh Blaire, what a mess we’ve made for you. I turn to go back inside when the pack link blows up with notification of rogues having been sighted near the packhouse.
The worried thoughts quiet when Alpha Owen speaks. Warriors have been sent, everyone stay-in for the time being. Then silence. Michael and James won’t be coming back until the rogue issue has been dealt with.
My mind wanders to Blaire and wonders if she’s safe. The flashback of her on the ground being crushed by that red eyed monster sends chills down my back. I reach for my phone on the counter and dial her number. Ring. Ring. Voicemail. My stomach twists into knots. Deep breaths, I tell myself. She probably doesn’t want to talk right now. I try her phone again. Ring. Ring. Voicemail.
Maybe she turned her phone off. The anxiety begins to eat at my stomach. The packhouse is only a couple miles out of town. The rogues could have ventured towards town. I hush my thoughts. No need to get worked up over a few rogues that are being handled.
I snatch the ginger tea I made for Blaire, heading for the living room to distract my worried mind. She’s smart. She can take care of herself. If she’s not back by dark, I’ll go looking for her. Everything will be okay.