A/N: trigger warning for the very last paragraph. Just saying.
It's been four days since Ellie talked about what happened. The day after she told us, she informed us that the Alpha gave up on finding out what happened to Ryan. He said it's Ryan's fault for being too weak to defend himself. I wasn't shocked by that response at all. However, that feeling of suspicion never left my mind, like I know something and if I think hard enough, I'll figure it out.
Amethyst cupping my nape pulls me from my thoughts. My skin tingles as she caresses my throat with her thumb. I relax against her touch. It's times like these that make me feel like this is all a dream. It terrifies me. For all I know, I'm still sitting in the hall as Amethyst has sex with Ryan, rejecting the reality that my mate is disgusted by my existence.
That's it! My eyes snap open. I wasn't aware that I had closed them in the first place. I turn my eyes to my mate. She's still eating. We're eating lunch alone this time. Tyler and Sapphire are off doing who knows what.
I want to ask the question in my mind but I'm scared. It's really hard to stay tense with Amethyst touching me in a soothing way. Against my will, my body relaxes as my wolf hums in content from the contact of my mate, but this allows me to this straight. I don't think this something that she would hate me over. I take a deep breath.
"Amethyst," I say.
"Yes," Amethyst answers.
"D-did you have anything t-to with what happened to Ryan?"
"Yeah, it's too bad he didn't die." My eyes widen.
"Why did I try to kill him or why is it too bad that he didn't die?"
"Both." She stops eating and gives me her full attention.
"Mate, the first thing I saw when I first met you, besides your beautiful face, was a wolf beating you up. I didn't care what lead to that moment. I only wanted him dead for hurting what's mine." She holds my face. "But then I saw the devastated look on your face, and he stopped mattering."
"B-but how did you make him forget?"
"That's a story for another place and time," she pauses. "Let's go to our spot after school."
She releases my face and goes back to caressing my neck and eating the rest of the food. I think about what she told me. She thought I was beautiful. I don't know why that's the part I'm focused on. I smile to myself as I relax against her touch.
Our spot is actually just my favorite spot that I showed the day we met. I love how she refers to it as ours. We sit at the base of a tree. I wait patiently for her to speak. I don't know why we had to come here for her to tell me whatever she's going to tell. I feel a little nervous.
"I'm not a werewolf," she says. I stare at her face, confused. "I'm a phoenix, an ice phoenix to be specific. I died and was reborn into this world and my current family. Unlike werewolves, I am a purely magical being. Currently, I'm in a weakened state with minimal access to my powers. Now to fully answer your original question, I messed with his mind. Any questions?"
My jaw drops. I can't think of anything to say. She just casually dropped several bombshells on me, making it difficult for me to choose which question to ask first. I sit silently for several moments, trying to wrap my head around what she told me.
"W-what is an ice phoenix," I ask, finally settling on a question.
"It's a type of bird with control over the element of water. We prefer its frozen form."
"S-so that makes you a bird shifter?"
"Yeah, but I'd be a really big bird."
"About as big as this tree."
"Whoa, you could carry me on your back if you wanted."
"I could." She nods.
"You said you're a weakened state. Will you stay like that forever?"
"No, when I turn 16, I'll be able to shift and my memories will be completely restored. My life as Amethyst will come to an end."
"It sounds like you're going to die."
"In a way, I do. I'm like a person with amnesia. I'm only a fraction of my real personality."
"S-so your other self might not f-feel the same about me?" My heart races. When she shifts, she could decide to reject me then.
"I can't say for sure." She straddles me, pushing me down to the forest grounds. "Zeke, you're my mate and that's never going to change." She gives me a sweet kiss before gazing into my eyes. Amethyst's eyes are so beautiful, I could stare at them all day. I look away.
"B-but what i-if it does?" She lowers her lips to my neck and gently nips it. My breathing gets caught in my throat.
"It won't," she murmur against my throat. My breathing gets heavier as she moves her lips to my collarbone. "You're so perfect, so handsome, so." She raises her head to meet my gaze. "Mine." She lowers her lips to mine in a possessive kiss. I return her kiss with passion, loving the way Amethyst moans as she claims me with her lips. I moan and my hips jerk against hers. She breaks our kiss, her breath coming out in pants.
"We can't," She says. "As much as I want to, I can't risk an early shift."
I look into her eyes. I stare in fascination as I notice that they're no longer an icy blue but are white. It almost looks like there's a film of frost over her eyes. Is this what it looks like when her beast is at the surface?
"What's so bad about shifting early versus turning? When's your birthday, by the way," I ask, trying to distract her, but I'm also curious.
"January 10th." I frown. That's only a little more than a month away. I won't have much time with her. "And last time I shifted early I turned into a man."
"Between the ages of 10 and 16, my body is preparing to change from mortal to immortal and shifting early messes up that process. Something thing always goes wrong. I had an aunt that shifted early and she lost all of her memories. Unlike me, she never returned to normal even after a few rebirths. I think my early shift was during my second rebirth. I was born into a family of faeries. A Fae was trying to kill my birth sister, she was a baby at the time. I shifted to save her."
"When you turn 16 will you turn into a guy?"
"No, I'm permanently a girl, I think. I just need to make sure that I don't shift early, and we won't have to worry about anything weird happening. If worse comes to worst, you can just kill me and I'll find you in another 16 year, hopefully without any permanent damage."
"I don't want to kill you."
"I'll make sure it won't come to that." I have nothing to say about that so I change the subject.
"So, faeries?" She laughs.
"Oh, there is so much to this world that you're are not aware of."
Before I know it, winter break is right around the corner. I feel tense as the day goes on, dreading what will happen. I've made sure to leave my phone at home and wear clothes that I don't mind losing. Amethyst is tense as well. She has been extra protective as well, checking on me between classes. Even now, her jaw is clenched as she feeds me.
The upside is that she's extra handsy. She has a hand under my shirt, running up and down my back. The contact relaxes me but doesn't remove the guilt I feel. I have to stick with what I said. Alpha Carter is a sick person, I don't want him anywhere near my mate.
I don't know how her magic works but I'm sure if Amethyst could mess with his mind, she would've done it already. I can only assume that she can't fight him and win right now. All that's left to do is take my punishment and recover.
My recovery is so close to Amethyst's birthday. I'll be looking my worst as I lose the mate I know forever. She doesn't seem that bothered by my current scars, but they're mostly faint. I'm scared but I need to stay strong. It's better that it's me than her. I can do it.
All too soon, school is over. As I walk out, I greeted by Alpha Carter. He gives me a leery smile as he stalks towards me. I keep my eyes down, not wanting to take in his large looming frame. Without a word, he grabs my arm and pulls me into his truck. He starts it and places his hands on my thigh. I tense and close my eyes. Don't speak, don't react, don't think.