Conflicted Affection

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18

Ryland's POV:

Dillan slowly gets up, walking out of the room. I can't believe that just happened.

There is this story my dad used to tell me often, of this rouge wolf he knew once who refused his mate. Not only did he lose control of his wolf self, but he also lost his mind.

Both him and his mate were found dead, him from insanity, starvation and having a wound he had gotten from running like crazy and slamming into a tree. His mate died from an intense panic attack along with coughing up large amounts of blood.

I always thought that it was far fetched, but remembering what happened when me and Dillan were away for nearly a week--or that's what it felt like--makes me think it could be true.

I remember seeing his face. It was pale and he looked like he was on the verge of death, but then we locked eyes. His sick look didn't change, but he seemed more alive.

I can't deny that I don't want to lose him over this moment--not because I might die or what ever reason--but because I just don't want him to leave.

I don't want this, but I can't stand being without him, and there's no way I will ever be able to withstand it.

Dillan's POV:

All I can do is calmly walk throughout the house, even though my emotions are everything but calm.

What the fuck just happened? I keep asking myself.

I think back to that time in the woods--seeing the pack of wolves. Ryland looks a lot like that wolf who saved me.

Maybe I was hallucinating, I think. I sit down on the couch, silently staring at the black screen of the television.

"Dillan?" Sean says to me calmly.

"Huh?" I ask, clearly out of it and still in shock.

"We need to talk." Is all he says, picking me up by the arm and guiding me out of the house. I hear footsteps behind me, many of them, which means others are coming too.

We sit down on a log and Sean begins talking.

"Some of us are born like this--shapeshifters. Ryland, including me and everyone here--even Maybelle--happen to be those types of people. Not all of us shift into wolves, maybe even-" Sean is cut off by Ryland's dad.

"Sean may be going a little fast with the information. He likes to shove information down peoples throats when its time to tell people all of this. This is a lot, I know, but I hope this doesn't change anything."

"I'm just... confused." I say.

"I know, most people are. Your mother had to be told after she witnessed me shifting." His Dad admits.

My eyes widen, "My mom knew?!"

"Listen, I know its a lot to take in. I just don't think she wanted to just expose us and, well, she didn't feel the need to. I guess she didn't know what to do."

I just sigh, realizing that he isn't wrong. If I had a child, and I knew a secret like that about someone I cared about, I wouldn't say anything unless it was necessary.

"We will tell you everything you need to know, but for now, I think you should get some sleep." Ryland's dad says.

I nod, letting them walk me back into the house.

Ryland's mom is standing at the door, waiting for us, "We didn't mean to-"

"Anna, lets let him sleep. I think we should address this more tomorrow." His dad says, motioning to the stairs.

I walk up them, opening the door to Ryland's room and seeing Ryland now fully dressed, sitting up in the bed, stone faced in shock.

"Hey." I say quietly as I close the door.

"I hope this doesn't ruin things." Is all he says.

All I do is look at the ground quietly, not making the slightest sound.

We both are quiet and I'm barely even breathing.

"We both need rest," I say quietly, not knowing if I should lay with him or in the floor.

"Yeah," He whispers, laying down and turning on his side.

After a bit of a pause, I say, "Good night."

"Good night, Dillan. Sleep well." He says, suddenly sounding dreamy and tranquil, almost like he is going into a trance.

"You alright?" I ask, chuckling almost.

"Yeah," He nearly whispers.

It suddenly gets completely quiet and I prepare to make up my mind, which is to sleep in the sleeping bag. I don't want either of us to be uncomfortable after everything that has happened.

I sigh, falling asleep as soon as I could get comfortable enough.

***

The next day, I awake to see Ryland's face facing me, still sleeping.

The sunlight shines through the window, nearly blinding me.

I look over at the clock; 12 p.m. At this point, I don't care what time it was, I just lay there, allowing myself to live in the moment.

Ryland looks so peaceful laying there and I don't realize I am staring at him kind of creepily. But when I do, I quickly turn to my side and attempt to go back to sleep.

I hear Ryland shuffle behind me and I smile.

Why is he so adorable even when he is just doing normal little things? I think to myself.

I hear him take a deep breath behind me--almost like a sigh. I turn around, greeting him, "Morning." I say softly.

Ryland just gives me a weird look, "Hi." He says quietly with confusion clear on his face.

"Are you ok?" I ask.

"Are you?" He asks, which causes a confusion in me now.

"What do you mean?" I ask slowly.

"Do you not remember what happened last night?" He asks me, having a sense of urgency.

"What do you mean?!" I ask with confusion and a bit of fear.

Ryland just shoots out of his bed and runs out of the room, leaving me there to try to find out what he is talking about.

After a few minutes Ryland is running in, "You better be ready to run right now." He says urgently.

"Wh-"

"Get them!" A strong, deep woman's voice shouts from downstairs.

"Don't worry about it, just please come with me and trust me." Ryland whispers.

I don't have to think about it, I just put my trust in him. I nod and follow him out of the window.

He begins to get undressed, "Wait what the-" I begin.

"No time to explain, don't freak out ok. If you just stay calm and trust me I will get us both out of here." He says as he continues to get undressed.

He runs and jumps. A gray wolf bursts out of his chest, sending me into fight or flight mode. It is large--larger than a normal wolf and certainly monsterish.

I don't know what to do, but the wolf--which I assume is Ryland--motions his head to his back. I assume he is telling me to get on.

I sit on his back hesitantly, putting my arms around his neck. I try my best to hold on because I know he is going to run and run fast.

My intuition is correct and he runs fast through the trees. I can hear faint shouting from behind us, but each time it seems to get louder, he sprints faster.

I'm terrified--scared shit-less--but I dare not to scream or panic. I stay as quiet as possible, not even daring to question what was going on--even in the safety of my own mind.

His legs seem to float across the grass the faster he dashes through the twigs, trees, and logs. It feels amazing and I feel free regardless of the fear going through me.

My mind comes back to reality when a tree is right in front of our path, "Ryland!" I warn loudly.

He brushes past the tree without one struggle. It seems odd calling the wolf Ryland, but who else can it be?

I see someone jump in front of us, and Ryland just slams into him and sending him flying across the forest.

He seems to run for hours across the land, jumping over various obsticules effortlessly. He begins to slow down and a tiny cottage comes into view. It seems to be in the middle of no where.

I don't know if I should get off his back or if he was just stopping, so I sit there, dumbfounded after realizing all that had just happened.

I guess in panic mode you don't react like a normal human would. The shock and weirdness of the whole moment doesn't really hit me until he motions for me to get off his back.

He guides me toward the cottage and I open the door for him. I see Sean and Max sitting near the fireplace, looking stressed and scared.

"What's going on?" I ask, but no one answers me.

Max picks up a full plastic bag and threw it to me, "Take Ryland toward the back of the cottage and help give him the clothes please. You can just look away if you feel uncomfortable." Max says with a bit of attitude.

"Ok." I say quite nervously, leaving the cottage and going to the back with Ryland.

I know he changed back to his human form because he was now talking, "Hand me my shirt please." He says and I throw him his shirt.

After I hand him everything he tells me I can turn back around, "Ryland?"

"Yeah?"

"What's going on?" I ask, feeling as if I might have a freak out.

Ryland replies, "Hey, it's ok, we're gonna get through this. It may be scary but you'll be alright I promise. It's a lot, trust me I know, but I'll keep you safe. I promise that."

"Don't make a promise you may unintentionally break." I mutter.

"I will try my best to keep that promise." He says looking at me in the eyes. All I did was stare at him and he gives me a smile. I didn't want him to hear that, but I guess his wolf senses will always win.

Ryland leans in, cupping my face in his hands. We stare at each other for a little until he leans in for a short but meaningful kiss.

"I love you." I whisper to him, then realize what I just said, "I'm sorry." I chucke nervously.

"Its ok. I love you too," He whispers to me, smiling softly, "I will do anything to keep you safe, I don't care what I have to do." He whispers to me, his tone flat and serious.

I can't help it, I need to say it again, "I love you." I whisper, a short and soft chuckle slips out.

Ryland chuckes back, hugging me close, "Nothing's going to happen to you, if it does I will never forgive myself. As long as I can, I will keep you safe. You're very special to me, Dillan."

He pulls away and I give him a look of confusion. He could care for me truly, but I don't know why he is so serious about this. I feel it too, but that's even weirder. Why do we feel so strong for each other? Or what if I'm the only one truly feeling this? What if this is all a dream anyways?

"I better go check on them." Ryland says, giving me a smile and slowly lets go of my hand as he walks away.

But he soon stops, looking around behind him before hurrying back towards me, grabbing my hand and pulling me with him.

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