Chapter 11: Research
After finishing the books I took from cover to cover, I sneakily put them back, although I know he’ll know I’ve been in there. I wonder what the repercussions are. I just tell him I stumbled in, which I did, and then left. Or maybe I shouldn’t lie. It seems like he doesn’t like lying. Although I have a lot to keep secret, and I must keep it secret. What’s that saying: three can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Only I can hold this secret, for fear of it spreading. The more people I tell, the more risk I’m at, even if I trust the person I tell it too. And I don’t trust Everett yet either.
Knocking on the door of the orphanage, I’m greeted with a woman my height with a kind smile, short legs and flour all over her body. I beam back at her and introduce myself.
“Hi, I’m Nellie,” she responds, opening the door wider to allow me inside. “The Alpha saves you? He’s quite the hero. Everyone in the pack loves him. So are you staying in the pack for a while?”
“Yes, I am. I met Orion yesterday and he mentioned this place and I thought I would come visit,” I tell her and her face brightens up.
“You’re the reason Orion came back so happy yesterday? Bless him, he always comes back with puffy eyes. The pups at school can be cruel to outsiders. You’re welcome to stay a while. I could use the help. The kids are baking in the kitchen rather messily. Would you mind?”
“Of corse not. I’m happy to help,” I declare and follow her into the kitchen. I’m greeted with six or so kids, all throwing cake ingredients at each other and giggling. I notice Orion reading in the corner, and just as he glances up and sees me, he hurried over with a wide grin on his face.
“Rory!” he exclaims. “Hi.”
“Orion, hey. You seem happier,” I say with a smile. “Whatcha making?” A couple of the other pups catch my scent and look over to me with curious eyes. Most of them are younger than Orion, who is around nine I’m guessing, but then a scowling girl walks through the backdoor of the kitchen, tugging her headphones from her ears to her neck.
“Why is there a human here?” she asks in a disgusted tone. She must be a teenager, maybe fourteen.
“I’m a guest of your Alpha,” I tell her with confidence. “I’m Rory, it’s nice to meet you...”
“Cassidy. And it’s not nice to meet you,” she snarks with a glare. “Alpha Everett invited you here?”
“I was injured in rogue territory and he-”
“Rogue territory?” Her sudden interest almost startles me but I just nod to her question as I see her curiosity has peaked. “You were out there? How long?”
“A day really. I was exiled from my pack when I came back from school and I slept over night in the woods,” I reply as I begin to help Chloe and Wes with their cake. The other kids play outside whilst Orion and Cassidy sit at the table just staring at me.
“How did you survive the night? You’re human,” Orion asks me.
“I was passed out and I woke up in the morning to find a rogue protecting me from others for some reason. He shifted and he told me I shouldn’t be out here and then left.”
“A rogue? My parents were killed by rogues,” Cassidy tells me in a sullen tone. “A rogue helped you?”
“Not all rogues are the same. I was always taught that all rogues are vicious and selfish and dangerous, and I would still follow that philosophy because you don’t know what they’re like. You have to stay wary. But not all rogues leave their pack by choice.”
“Why did your pack run you out?” Cassidy questions.
“Because I’m human, and my pack was intolerant.” I help the kids pop the cake in the oven and they go join the other little kids playing outside. I join Orion and Cassidy after I make some coffee for me and get sodas for the two of them.
“Thank you, Rory,” Nellie says as she enters the kitchen, plopping down on the seat next to me. “The kids were making quite a mess in here.”
“Well, the Alpha hasn’t really given me anything to do and I thought I’d help out around here if you’d like.”
“Yes,” she replies immediately, followed with a sigh. “Thank the goddess you said that. I could use the help.”
“Just don’t mention it to Alpha Everett. He always seems distressed or disappointed around me,” I tell them.
“Why?” Cassidy queries, narrowing her eyes.
“I’m quite clumsy, which is partly why he’s letting me stay, and the fact that I have nowhere else to go. I just think that he wants me to spend all my time locked up in the pack house where I can cause no damage," I explain with a light chuckle. "Speaking of which, I should get back there soon."
"Aw, really?" Orion complains with a pout and slumps onto the table.
"I'll come back tomorrow if you like," I tell him with my brightest smile and it seems to appease him.
I bid my farewells to the other pups and Nellie before heading back to the pack house and into the Everett's library for more books. More specifically, on werewolves and Greek myths and beliefs. I need something. Something to tell me who I am, what I am. I can resurrect from the dead. I died. Twice that I know of now, and twice before that. I died. And I came back. I need to know why. I need to know the limits of it all. The clumsiest person alive can bring herself back from the dead, can heal wounds. The irony isn't lost on me. The person who is most likely to die can bring herself back.
But I have to know why. I need answers. And, hopefully, if I read enough, I'll find some answers. I could really help people, like I helped Ophelia. I have a gift, but I need to understand it first.
I scatter the books on the bed and begin my research. I plague my thoughts with old and new texts, myths that were thought impossible, stories of the Greek Gods, the moon goddess too. She created the bond between Everett and me. Yes, he is a wolf, thus would have a mate. But to be mated to a human is very rare, and the moon goddess would have a good reason for it. Those humans would be strong, fearless women with worthy hearts, destined to be powerful leaders. I am not anything like that. I stumble over my own feet as a toddler would.
It becomes late at night, when I had warily hid the books away in case of Everett returning, but the clock strikes one and yet he is probably still working, or hunting, or doing something alpha-associated. So, I carry on reading, studying text after text, reading stories of powerful Gods who fought among themselves, and over humankind. Can they make an immortal human is my question. Maybe in return for being so clumsy, nature balanced it with resurrecting. But I can heal others, save them from death even.
"What are you doing?" the growling voice of my mate bellows, storming in and startling me not only with his voice but by the slam of the door that threatened to rattle the floor beneath me. I stare at him in utter confusion, just his presence quelling the fear. But he's making me nervous now. His raging expression holds as he snatches the book on my hands into his own and his blue orbs scan the title. "You've been in my private office." His eyes flickers once again to mine and a whimper escapes my lips as I realize the reason for his fury.
"Just for a few books. I'm sorry, Alpha." I bow my head to no longer look into his rage-filled eyes. I was indeed told not to go in there, and I did so anyway. I should be apologizing.
"Why are you reading about Selene, the moon goddess?" he asks in a softer tone as he takes a seat beside me on the bed.
"I want to know why I am mated to you," I mutter in response.
"Aurora, look at me," he commands and my eyes immediately snap to his in obedience. "You won't find the answer to that in a book," he tells me a little harshly and slaps the book down on the beside cabinet. "No one knows why the moon goddess does the things she does. You can't read about what our fates will be. There's no such thing. We make our own futures, and you won't find anything in these books." He picks up a few of the others and examines their covers with his eyebrows furrowed in what I would call a cute expression. He slams more books down and inches closer to me, his eyes searching my face as if it were a puzzle. "Years ago, my father, the previous Alpha, taught me a lesson. He would teach me all sorts of lessons to prepare me for becoming Alpha, and one I mastered fairly quickly was whether someone is lying to me. You, my little mate, are an awful liar, which I suppose is a good thing. Good liars are practiced liars, bad ones are truth-tellers, most of the time. I don't like liars, Aurora. And you are lying to me. What do you want with Greek Gods? And what do you want with healing and resurrection books?"