Chapter 25: Insensitive
E V E R E T T
But she probably wants nothing to do with me. I let this happen. I hurt her. I hurt her everyday. I don’t even think about how she might feel about all of this. She was run out of her home and all I could contemplate was whether she should stay here. I didn’t care about her feelings, I cared about protecting mine, and protecting the pack. But what about her? My mate? My responsibility? I’ve been less than considerate.
I let her go back to our room, upset and feeling that way due to me and my insensitivity. Why the fuck did I get so mad at her? I know she would never do anything. She's too loyal. And she feels our connection too. But Ace, he's an unmated wolf, and he seems enamored with Aurora. My mate. When I saw them together, him bent down in front of her, apparently to check her wounds, I thought he was... I don't know, flirting with her, in some strange way. I still don't know what's going on with him. Sure, she's too innocent and too much of a bad liar to be lying, but if he likes her, he's sure as hell not going to tell me.
I make my way out of the pack house, needing to let off some steam. I would go for a run, but I have a pack meeting later tonight, the topic would likely stick like glue on Aurora and me and her becoming Luna. And I'd hear bombarding comments on how I should reject her because she's a human. She's not just a human to me.
And just as I expected, the comments are out, and the growls are released and that pretty much shuts them all up. And whilst Lucius gives me a disappointed glare, Ace remains quiet, either knowing anything he has to say would set me off or I'm defending Aurora's honor and he's not going to stop me. Which enrages me even more. He's changed since the time he and Aurora spent out in rogue territory. It just seems like he has a deep interest in her, and he's unmated. It's most likely a sexual interest. But she's my little mate. He can't have her. She doesn't even like him. But I can't have one of my closest allies liking my mate.
Once they all clear out, Lucius, Ace and I are left alone. And the tension is thick after what happened earlier. I was working, having finished moving Ophelia back into her house with Aurora and I have to keep up affairs in the pack. The wolf council were hounding me about attending the annual conference. Those things are just an assault on humans though, and especially now, I'm not in favor of them. I had been keeping my little mate close to me, ever since what happened with those warrior wolves. But I take my eye of her for a few hours and then I can't find her. And then I see her walking along with Ace. My deductions, as rash as they were, were justified.
"So... what's up with you two?" Lucius asks, breaking through the thick air of passive aggressive silence.
"Why are you hanging around my mate?" I question Ace harshly, cutting right to the chase.
"Because I like her. Not like that but as a person. She's sweet and she's lonely. You don't spend nearly enough time with her and you don't allow her to do anything but read," he rants, throwing his arms up in the air and resting back in his seat. "You can growl at me all you want, Everett, but that girl thinks she's not good enough and that's your fault. And then you think you can just get mad earlier. If I was fooling around with her, it would have nothing to do with you because you don't act like her mate." I scoff, agitated now, mainly because I know he's right.
"I'm your fucking Alpha," I yell, standing up and raising my voice. He stands up with me, as does Lucius, attempting to referee here.
"So I don't get to tell you my opinion. You've never run this pack like a dictatorship, your relationship is the same thing. You act like you have all the control and you can do whatever you want. What about Rory? Don't you think it's sad that she's okay with being here."
"Sad?" I question.
"Yeah, fucking sad. She's okay because she was run out of her pack, away from her mom and her family and her life and then you come in and you give her a place to sleep and a home. And then the threat of kicking her out is making her just deal with all of this shit you're giving her."
"She's lucky. She's mated to a good wolf who might just reject her so she can have a normal life," Lucius says, and that makes me even more furious.
"Both of you shut the fuck up. She's fine. She's just bored. I'll give her more things to do in the pack."
"She's not bored," Ace states like he knows everything about her. "You know what, come with me, she'll probably be where I think she is." He marches out like he's on a mission and I just follow, wondering what the fuck he is doing.
"Where are we going?"
"If it were Tuesday or Wednesday or Friday night, she would be out in the field, training."
"Training?" Lucius questions before I can.
"Yeah. She doesn't like how disappointed you always are in her. So she trains, alone, because she's embarrassed and she wants to get more balance so you're not always so disappointed."
"I'm not," I argue.
"It doesn't matter whether you are or you aren't. She feels like you are."
"Look, where the fuck are we going?" I almost yell out of frustration.
"We're here." I stop and look around, just seeing some buildings in the pack and nothing else. One of them is the florist, a few houses and the orphanage. What the fuck are we doing here?
"Just listen." I tune into my surroundings, trying to listen to whatever he wants me to hear. And that's when I hear her voice. My mate's voice. What the hell is she doing out here? Lucius listens in too, and I think I hear a boy next to her, a young boy from the sound of his voice.
"Why are you crying?" Aurora asks.
"Some kids from school came by after you left earlier and they were horrible to me. They were playing soccer outside and I wanted to play but they made fun of me."
"So you're crying?" There's a short pause. "What do you think they want your reaction to be?"
"So you're saying what? Rise above it? That's lame."
"You know I used to be bullied. I mean, it's quite easy to bully the clumsy small human girl. And my mama told me to just ignore them. What they want is a rise out of you. You know what happened then?"
"They stopped?" She scoffs.
"No. They carried on until they tried to kill me. So, I wouldn't say that it worked at all. My mama didn't understand how these bullies worked. They didn't want a rise. It was the exact opposite. They wanted someone to torment. And because I did nothing about it, they continued to torment me. Even though I wouldn't have been able to successfully win a fight against them, choosing to fight, even if you lose, makes the bullying less fun for them. If they have to fight against resistance, they fight an easier target. Why do you think they pick on the vulnerable and the weak? I wish I had stood up to them."
"Why didn't you then? Sounds like you have it all figured out."
"Because I'm vulnerable and weak," she replies with a chuckle. "And I just thought that it would eventually stop. I didn't know it would end with them trying to kill me. But then I end up here. And it's sort of the same thing. They think I'm weak here and that's why those warrior wolves don't like me. And I guess I'm doing the same thing as I did before: just taking it. Sometimes it's hard to be strong because being strong is harder, especially when there's a high chance you can lose. But you know what makes it easier to be strong?"
"What? What does?"
"Having people who'll fight with you. They outnumbered you, right? Next time they're bothering you, come get me. We'll stand up to them together," she tells him, her voice sweet and strong and hopeful.
"I don't like your mate. But I was curious. There's more to her than you know and you can't judge her based on this image you have of her, a clumsy small human girl."
"What do I do?" I ask Ace, suddenly now realizing what I've been missing. She's not just sweet and kind and innocent and clumsy. She's strong too. Maybe not physically but mentally, and emotionally. And I've treated her like shit. She deserves so much more than what I give her. "I have an idea. But it's only a start."