Conflicted Affection

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24

I wake up feeling energized. I walk to the bathroom to go take a shower. I take off my shirt and stop as I notice a big red mark near my collarbone.

It is shaped like two small dots, fangs almost, with a pink line connecting them.

I stood in shock as I trace the mark, noticing it deeply embedded into my skin. My phone soon buzzed, knocking me out of my trance.

Ryland: Good Morning

Then, I remember it. Ryland marked me. Yet I still stand confused at that fact. What the fuck does this mean now?

Me: What happens after you mark me?

Ryland: Its hard to explain. Well, humans experience it differently. For instance, if a full fledged wolf shifter marks its mate that's a human, they will sense them easier, hear their thoughts, smell them more intensely. The human will feel mostly nothing except an occasional warmth to the mark when the shifter is near. They might also be able to know if the shifter is in danger or trying to get in touch with them. Its different for many different types of shifters, especially those who have some human background. But for the fully fledged ones, that is basically what goes on. For me, I'll experience some shifter experiences and human experiences because my dad is a shifter and my mom is a human. Sorry for such a big amount of information.

Me: Its ok, I needed it. Thank you.

I simply stand there, staring at the table and then my newest mark in the mirror.

Ryland just marked me.

***

I woke up to the smell of fresh air. Alexa opened the window again.

I jump up and get ready for school. Yet, something feels off. It feels as if I should be running from something or watching my back.

Ryland, the name pops into my head, yet I assume it is paranoia because of recent events of what Ryland told me about the marking process.

I slowly walk downstairs, trying to keep my paranoia in check, "Mom!" I call.

"Dillan! Honey, come here!" She shouts back.

"What's going on?" I ask as I make my way towards her.

"Honey, they can't find Ryland." She says nervously.

My eyes widen. I grab my coat, feeling my autopilot switch on, and run out the door. I don't know what I have in mind, but I know I'm doing something. I can hear my mom calling after me, but my legs don't stop moving.

I walk and walk, soon not even knowing where I am, but my body seems to know. The feeling is so strange. My body is confident while my mind is absolutely stricken with fear and confusion.

This can't be happening, he couldn't have been captured. Before I can walk further down the street, a hand goes over my mouth and I am thrown to the ground.

***

"I told you I would get them back." A familiar woman's voice giggles.

"But--but they threatened to--"

"Oh, Alex shut your pie-hole. You're so annoying." says the woman. I hear a sigh, I assume from the boy, before a loud clang is heard.

"Its the wolf-boy." says another woman.

"Ugh!" groans the other. I hear her stomp away from me and towards the sound. I can only hope they have the wrong guy.

Smack! Then a whimper. It feels as if I was smacked across the face, not figuratively, but literally.

"You know we don't associate with humans! That's the rule of the council." says the woman from far away.

"That's...impossible." I hear Ryland say.

The woman laughs, "Impossible?! Its easy! You don't mate with them...and you sure as hell don't mark them! You should have waited to see if you were safe before that. Lets hope you only marked him, though... We wouldn't want him to feel what's going to happen. Even if in the end he'll feel just the same. Well, you'll be the one to get it worst of all." I hear a hissing sound, almost like a snake. Then a roar...a roar of a lion.

"How am I supposed to choose who I have as a mate?!" Ryland shouts. Only hissing comes after that.

"You deny them!" The boy beside me says loudly.

"I...tried... I tried! I did! I swear on everything I love!" Huh?!

"But you failed, wolfie." he chuckles.

"I know! They all fail! That's why we refused to follow your rules!" Ryland shouts.

"But in the end, your whole family was in the right, except you. You were the one who broke the safe tradition of your family. Your father must see you as a disgrace!" the boy says.

"What?" Ryland asks.

"Yeah! He does! Your whole family is pure of your wolfie blood and you failed them! Now they're in danger because of you!"

"But--"

"Nu-uh... No buts. Its true, wolfie. You failed them."

I can feel Ryland's confusion, but I try to ignore it. If he didn't want me so bad, then why mark me?

I couldn't hold it in. "Why?! Why did you do it?!" I shout in anger.

"Huh?" Ryland asks.

"Why did you mark me if you didn't want me, huh?! Now look what's happened!" I yell.

"Dillan..."

The boy chuckles. "Shut up, Alex!" I shout, "You did this to me, Ryland! And you don't even want me!" My voice cracks, but I refuse to cry.

"Dillan...listen. I--I didn't want to have a male mate at first...then the bond with you got so strong I--"

"You had to do it against your will..." I laugh.

"No...I gave in to it. I did! When I marked you, I did it because I wanted to!"

"We'll leave you two alone to...talk." says the woman with a giggle. "Alex, stay here and watch them then tell me the hot gossip!" she leaves with another giggle and the heavy closing of the metal door.

I remember everything that happened from when he refused to talk to me to when he seemed terrified that he marked me. "Liar..." I call him.

"What?" Now Ryland's voice cracks, but I'm not fooled. He's just sad he got caught.

"Liar! I called you a liar, asshole! You know what, I regret being sorry for all those things we did in middle school..." This time, I do regret what I said.

"You know what...forget it. Forget trying to help you, forget you being my mate, forget it all. Maybe today you'll get your wish, just like Michael wanted, I'll be dead... How about that?" Ryland asks with a chuckle, "Fuck it."

"I don't want you dead--"

"You just want me hurt really badly...don't worry I get it. You know, you and your cool friends are the reason why I went to therapy and tried to kill myself once... So thank you for that."

"Ryland..."

"Don't Ryland me! Fuck you, Dillan!" He sighs, "I wish I had a different mate. Then we wouldn't be in this mess...then I wouldn't worry about being gay...then I would have someone who fucking loved me. I would have someone worth fighting for." Well, that hurt.

I don't reply on that one. "You guys done? I'm sure Victoria would want to get this over with." The boy says.

"Yeah...we're done." Ryland says.

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