Beyond These Walls (Sequel)

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Chapter 5

Rainfall did occur later that night. I was in the middle of a conversation with Robert, the man who would be directing the construction of the lady's restaurant, when it had happened and had scrambled around, closing various windows, the phone balanced between my ear and shoulder.

Robert eventually got the hint that I was busy, and hung up after telling me he would call tomorrow morning to talk about the progress his team had made. I chucked the phone onto a sofa, wincing when it bounced right off and landed hard onto the ground.

Huffing, I turned to the kitchen, slamming a window down, biting back a yelp as my finger somehow was sliced, a small dot of blood dripping out. Snatching up a tissue, I dabbed at it gingerly, my eyes staring out at the dark sky, my body stiffening at the lightning which flashed above.

Swallowing, I braced myself for the thunder, and grimaced when it roared, the dishes and glasses in the kitchen rattling as the vibration shook the house. The light flickered and I whipped around to some drawers after disposing of the tissue I was using, searching desperately for some candles, in case the electricity turned off.

My phone beeped, alerting me that someone had texted. I decided to ignore it as I sorted out the candles, double-checking to make sure that I had a few matchboxes available. After placing the candles in their holders I made my way back to the living room, groaning at the sight of my cracked screen, which had been a result of it falling to the floor.

I was still able to see the text however, and sighed in relief when I realized Mathew had replied to my earlier messages, which had been a few suggestions about where we could meet.

It'll be easier for me if we meet at my place, babe.

I snorted at the name, 'babe' and responded.

Fine then. What time should I come over and what are the directions to your home?

I tapped my fingers impatiently as I awaited his response, trying to guess the price of how much it would be to fix my phone's screen.

He finally replied after ten minutes. In a few days, we would meet up and work on the project, which I had already peeked at and just about freaked out about the many things I would need to research.

I suddenly recalled when Penelope had once walked into my living room, whilst I was in the middle of doing work. She had asked why I bothered to go to college and I explained that I had always been interested in Psychology and that had been my main reason for attending. I was never given the chance to do so in the past and now that things have changed, I had wanted to take it up.

There have been many days in which I questioned my reasoning for doing so, however, especially when I stayed up many late nights trying to finish off so many assignments and projects.

I jolted out of my thoughts as thunder rumbled, shaking the house once more. The lights flickered again and then, darkness. Immediately I switched on the flashlight on my phone, heading back to the kitchen and lighting one candle, listening to the pouring rain outside. Despite the windows being closed, I still felt a cold chill, which prompted me to carry my candle and phone to my room, where it was much warmer.

I placed the candle on the bedside table as I undressed, putting on a pair of simple pajama pants and a loose shirt, thankful that I had laid balled them up on the side of my bed earlier whilst I had been folding up a few clothes.

Snuggling under the warm covers, I released a sigh of bliss, rolling to my side and watching the candle's flame. When my eyes began to droop with sleepiness, I blew it out, only to squeal when lightning lit up the whole room momentarily, the hair on my skin rising in fear as I pushed my head into my pillow, bracing myself for the thunder.

I didn't rest for long. Later on, in the early hours of the morning, I made my way to the kitchen, noticing that the rainfall had increased. There was no thunder however, just the occasional flash of lightning that lit up the slightly dark house.

The electricity was back on now as well, and messages flooded in, my phone vibrating constantly in my hand. A grin spread across my lips as I saw that there would be no classes, due to the heavy rainfall and flooded areas.

All of the tutors had cancelled classes, which I found a bit surprising. There was usually one particular tutor, Mrs. Hessle, who would demand that students come to class, despite any horrible weather. But even she had cancelled.

Whistling gleefully, I pulled my mass of black hair up into a scrunchie before crouching down to look into the fridge. After making myself a sandwich, I scrolled through the other messages that I received.

Three from Harold, who was sending me the schedules of a few meetings I would be attending with Xerxes, one from Penelope, who was worried about my safety, texting something along the lines of my house being so small that the gusty winds could blow it over. That, was doubtful. The house may be small, but it was pretty sturdy. I tapped out a quick response to her and then responded to a message from my mother.

As I sat in the living room afterwards, gazing blankly ahead through a window, I began to realize how bored I was. It was not everyday that I had time off to simply sit at home and do nothing, and my legs itched to move off of the couch and go outside, which was a stupid idea with this weather.

Eventually I dropped asleep again, dreaming of nothing.

When I awoke hours later, I heard the scratching sound of paper. Blinking slowly, I raised my head from the uncomfortable position in which I had fallen asleep in, staring at the large man who sat a couple feet away, stacks of papers resting by his leg, sharp eyes narrowing on a file in one hand.

"Xerxes?" I mumbled, sitting up slowly and watching him. "How did you get in here?"

His eyes flickered to me. "I have your spare key, remember?"

I yawned, wiping at my face, still trying to shake the sleepiness away. "Right." I grunted. I glanced down at the sheets of papers and then back at him. "Why are you here?"

His head tilted, as he finally looked away from his work and focused on me. "I decided to check in on you, since I was in the area."

My lips curved into a frown. "What kind of fool drives around in this weather?" I said, then grimaced when I realized how unnecessarily harsh my words sounded.

Gleaming eyes narrowed in the slightest. "A fool who has to ensure that the plans for this town are seen through."

I sighed, flicking off the crumbs which had fallen onto my shirt after I had eaten my sandwich. "I'm sorry." I muttered, finally meeting his eyes once more. His dark brows lifted, and for a few seconds no words were spoken.

"Would you like some tea?" He finally spoke, already standing and making his way to the kitchen. I straightened, self-consciously touching my hair which had fallen out of place after I had woke up. I followed him into the kitchen, watching as he opened a cabinet.

"How do you know where my tea is?" I demanded, watching as he took out a small bag of peppermint tea.

He gestured towards where he had once sat. Nearby sat a steaming cup, resting on a wooden table. "I made some for myself, whilst you were asleep. Wasn't hard to find."

Xerxes paused. "So would you like some tea or...?"

I pressed my lips together, but nodded, watching from his side as he washed a cup, switch on a kettle. He faced me and I immediately took a step back, noticing the close proximity between us, feeling and probably looking a bit overwhelmed, which didn't go unnoticed.

"There's no need to be wary, Rebecca. I won't bite." He flashed a rare smile, one which looked a bit feral and I wheezed out what I hoped to sound like a laugh, but knew instead probably had a high, strained pitch as my mind flashed to when he had painfully marked me. His smile faltered at my response.

My body stiffened as lightning flashed outside once again. Xerxes turned back to the kettle, which had finished boiling the water and poured it into a cup, dropping the tea bag inside.

"I have to get back to my work." Xerxes told me, sliding the cup towards me, ambling back to where he had been sitting. My fingers curled around the handle of the cup, peering inside, no longer having the appetite for the hot beverage.

By noon, the rain had eased and Xerxes had began to pack away his documents, whilst I watched from the doorway of room. Unease crept through my body as he approached, silver eyes sweeping over my body, briefly resting on my lips. "Would you like to join me for lunch?"

I hesitated, as my agitation grew. He offered a soft smile, as if attempting to reassure me. It did work, because minutes later I left my home, jogging to his parked car as the rain drizzled. He unlocked the door and I promptly climbed inside, my hand automatically going for my phone as he went over to the driver's side and switched on the engine. After glancing at me, he began to drive.

"Harold told me about the meeting with Arthur Swiss," I said, my fingernails dragging against the cracked screen. "He said it will be held in Canada."

Xerxes nodded slowly, not taking his eyes off of the road as he turned a sharp corner. I bit the inside of my cheek as he narrowly avoided a car.

"I have classes to attend." I continued.

"The meeting is next week Saturday. The day before that is a bank holiday."

I scoffed, my breath shaky as a car honked."I may have assignments." My eyes widened as the car swerved past an elderly man who had began to cross the road.

Xerxes shifted gears, driving even faster, despite the road being wet. "Would you prefer to stay here then?"

My hands clutched the side of my seat as the tires skid against the road. "Could you slow down?" I hissed. "I don't want to die yet."

Xerxes began to brake, the car now at a safer speed. His lips twitched as he tried to hide his grin of amusement as I straightened in my seat, pulling uncomfortably at the tight seatbelt strapped across me.

"I don't mind going with you to the meeting. I think I'll be able to complete some of the assignments that may come up before then. If it's too much, I'll tell you before Saturday."

He nodded, turning into an empty parking lot, shutting off the engine of the car. Before us stood a vacant looking shop. Xerxes approached, ignoring the closed sign and opened the door.

A man, one who I instantly knew to be a werewolf, stalked towards us, arms outstretched. "Was wondering when you were going to arrive." He clapped Xerxes' shoulder, gesturing with his other hand to a chair. "Have a seat. We have plenty things to speak about."

The man paused, now noticing my presence. "Ah, Rebecca. I don't normally permit humans in this shop, but for you, I will make an exception." He smiled down at me, as if I were to be pleased by his statement. My lips pressed together firmly, unable to hide my anger at his words.

Xerxes moved towards the chair, waiting for me to come by his side before sitting. The man passed by a counter, taking up a square box. The smell of food, drifted around in the cool air and he flipped up the top of the thin box, showing us the slices of pizza resting in it. "I prepared this for you, as requested." The man dropped it onto the table, plopping down on a chair, his eyes darting between Xerxes and I as no one moved.

"Would you like to try some?" He asked, looking for me to take a slice. I straightened my shoulders, feeling Xerxes' eyes on me, waiting for my response.

My hands pushed the box away. "I think I'll pass." There was no warmth in my voice as I met the man's now narrowed eyes.

"What is it that we must speak of?" Xerxes asked. The man clapped his hands together, facing the Alpha, choosing to ignore me.

"Yes. I've been in touch with a few werewolves and I must say, they aren't very happy with your actions." He paused, lifting an extremely cheese piece of pizza. "You sure you don't want some?"

A flash of annoyance could be seen in Xerxes' eyes. "Not right now, Andy."

Disappointed, Andy placed the slice back down, leaning backwards and folding his arms. "Right. They aren't happy, at all. You have not allowed them to have a say in these changes you are establishing in towns."

Xerxes' face remained blank, vacant of any emotion. "What I say, must go. Their opinions are not like mine, and their views contrast with my own. If I had listened to them, nothing would have changed."

Andy's frown deepened, his lips trembling on hesitance. "If I remember correctly, Alpha, just a few years ago you stated yourself that you were content about the way things were. Life was easier, for us. Products were being made fast, shipped efficiently. And now, things are so slow," Andy hesitated once again, but eventually carried on speaking. "Surely, you remember?"

My fingernails pierced my palms as I fought the growing urge to leave the shop, to put as much distance from the man who sat before me as possible.

"I do remember. Things were well for werewolves," Xerxes spoke, a low, animalistic sound blending in with his normal tone. "But, not humans. Things needed to change. The ill-treatment of the humans was sickening."

Andy snorted, shaking his head. "You weren't thinking that when you forced young children into doing manual labour."

My jaw clenched, eyes lowering to the fist which had formed by Xerxes side. The atmosphere was becoming increasingly thick with tension as the anger of both of the men strengthened.

"You're right," Xerxes snarled. "I was blinded by greed and power and have done many things in which I regret. The past cannot be changed. However, I will now do, what I must to make the lives of humans better."

He stood and Andy's pale complexion became dark, fury evident. "You've become weak, Xerxes." The old werewolf taunted. "You found yourself a little human mate and she has brainwashed you, filled your head with words that are untrue."

Xerxes eyes flashed, a dark color flickering, momentarily overtaking his silver irises. "It's best that I leave now, Andy, less I snap your neck." He spat the words out, making the man flinch. Those flashing eyes turned to me and I stood, marching ahead of The Alpha and leaving the store, leaving a chilling silence behind me.

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