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Chapter 2| Mending Fences...Sort Of

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Five minutes. That's how long I stood in front of her door before I could knock. For the first time ever, I confided in my beta like some broken-hearted teenager and I didn't feel any better, I knew I wouldn't until I spoke to her.

I couldn't deny that I was still angry; angry at her, myself, Selene, Cirini, life; my list was fucking long and ever-growing, but at present, all I could focus on was the raging fire of jealousy that simmered just beneath the surface.

From behind the door, I could hear the slow beat of heart pick up in pace. She knew I was here, even if she didn't possess the hearing to tell her, her body did nevertheless.

Her feet hit the carpeted floor, and with one foot in front of the other, each unsure step brought to her bedroom door. A shuddered breath escaped her lips, and I could feel my defenses crumble.

What the fuck was happening to me?

Her hand made contact with the doorknob, and the need to see her grew exponentially.

"No," she whispered to herself as she locked the door.

"Open the door, Amina, or I will."

She gasped as if surprised that I was actually behind the door, but she never opened it.

"Amina," I warned, as the last bit of restraint left me, "I'm trying here."

"Then knock."

I sighed before I raised my hand to the door and knocked on it. She unlocked the door and walked away, not even bothering to answer.

"You may enter."

I walked in to find her seated by the opened french doors that led out to the balcony overlooking the backyard of the packhouse. Next to her sat the book she was reading and a glass of lemonade.

It was like seeing her for the first time all over again. The soft wind blew through the curtains, rearranging the curls that framed her face. I watched the sunbeams filter through the curtains and caress her skin.

She was a picture of radiance from where I stood, never in my life had I been jealous of the fucking sun until now as my fingers itched with the need to touch her.

"How does it feel?" she asked, bringing me out of my thoughts. I winced at the iciness of her tone, she hadn't even bothered to look at me as she spoke, her gaze still fixated on the picturesque view the balcony provided.

"It hasn't been easy," I replied to which she returned a simple nod.

"Do you think it was easy for me?" I asked.

"Sure made it seem that way," I could hear the hurt in her tone as she continued to look out towards the backyard, refusing to meet my gaze.

"Well, it wasn't. Being away from you it..." I couldn't say it.

"It what?"

"You know."

"No, Malachai," she said as she turned to face me, "That's not good enough, I want to hear you say it."

"It hurts, being away from you hurts," I blurted out as though compelled to do so, "Its a wonder how you've held on for two weeks."

We held each other's gazes, not speaking a word as if all that needed to be spoken was conveyed through the silence. I would argue that it did, it was a sobering reminder of how lonely we've been these last two weeks, silence being are the only companion.

"It has been hell, Malachai," she said as a tear fell from her eyes, "But I needed you to understand."

"I do, and I'm so sorry."

Before I could take a step towards her, she was on me, I gathered her in my arms as quick as I could. I let out a sigh of relief as I felt my fatigued body unwind in her embrace and it was then I knew that I could never beat this mate bond.

It had conquered me through and through, there was a part of me that wanted to curse the goddess once more, but what difference would it make?

I was pulled out my thoughts with a slap that would have made a lesser man see lights, "Where the hell did you go for 3 whole days?! Do you know what it felt like watching you walk away from me after I practically begged you to take me with you?"

"I know, I'm sorry, it was fucked up."

She shoved me in the chest, but she was too angry to realize that I hadn't moved.

"God, Malachai, I'm not some weak lovesick puppy, but I was vulnerable and you left me! In hindsight I should have been embarrassed, I should have left that night, but for three days I waited for you, out of my mind with worry."

"I'm so sorry."

"Stop apologizing, your remorse does nothing for me, I need to know that you'll change your ways. I'm tired of feeling like all of this is one-sided, tired of trying to navigate my way through the dark when everyone else around me knows what the hell is going on, I've known you for a month now, and we've fought for about half that time. I'm a grown woman, you owe me the respect of telling me the truth."

"Okay," was all I could say, "I know I've been down this road before, but this is nothing like my last relationship," she looked away from me at the mention of Elaine, I cupped her face forcing her to face me, "I'm just saying, this is new for me too, I have a hard time opening up, but for you, I will try."

I leaned down and captured her lips with my own, it had been far too long since I explored this heaven. Two week's penance was more than enough and now that I had her in my embrace, I couldn't wait any longer.

I took from her like she was the air I needed to breathe, the water I needed to replenish my desiccating organs; in this moment she was the sustenance I needed to survive. My hands moved, with a hurried need to feel her, to ensure that this moment was real.

A moan tore from her lips as I caressed and groped and kneaded the curves of her luscious body. My body shook with pleasure at the sounds of her moan, this woman was my addiction. No matter how much I took it would never be enough, I would always want more.

With one hand I hoisted her around my hips, without breaking the kiss I made my way to the bed. I pressed into her, and she hissed at the feel of my need for her. She bit my bottom lip drawing blood and drank from me.

My fangs descended with the need to taste her; try as I did to fight the urge, my vampiric nature fought with might I had not anticipated. Her frenzied heartbeat rang through my ears as my eyes zeroed in on the rapidly pulsing jugular vein.

I felt the overflowing mix of saliva and venom coat my fangs, trickling down my lips onto my chin in hunger. As if realizing her mistake, she caressed my face, diverting my gaze from the vein that was calling out to me.

"Tell me about Elaine," she said with all the determination she could muster, but I could see the hurt in her eyes. She was too prideful to say it aloud, but I could tell she was worried, and I couldn't blame her.

I closed my eyes, trying to focus in hopes that thoughts of Elaine would temper my craving, slowly, my fangs retracted.

"She was my mate, we were together for six years, and then she died," my throat tightened as if my body willed me not speak about her. It was easier this way, but Amina wouldn't understand it, and I promised to try.

I rolled off of her, opting to lay beside her instead, "I met her on a visit to Silver Claw, another pack my father wanted to form an alliance with, fortunate for him she was the alpha's daughter."

"Sounds archaic."

I laughed, "It is, my father was just one lucky bastard on that score. Got the alliance he wanted and didn't even have to lift a finger."

"So...what happened?"

I froze, I knew this conversation was coming, but I didn't imagine that it would be so soon. This wasn't a topic I could speak about comfortably, and while I agreed to try, I felt like she was asking too much of me too soon.

Tension rolled off of me in waves as the darkness surrounded me, threatening to pull me back into memories that I had no wish to revisit. I could feel her eyes on me as she noticed my discomfort.

"She was killed."

"I'm so sorry, Malachai."

"It's okay, I won't lie it hasn't been easy, but two years can really put things in perspective, " as I said this I thought of my current predicament and a laugh escaped faster that I could contain it, "But never count out that sneaky bitch Selene though, she really knows how to fuck everything up the minute you have it all figured out."

"Selene? As in the Goddess?"

"I see the lessons with Balfore have paid off."

"You sound bitter when you talk about her."

"Not bitter, just...indifferent."

Maverick scoffed with disbelief at my response, "Does it count as lying to your mate when you're lying to yourself?" he asked, I didn't even bother to reply.

"Did you ever find the person who hurt her?"

"I did," I said, not willing to explain any further.

"How does the law work in this world? Is it similar to ours?"

"Why don't you ask what you really want to?" I said as I laughed, Transparency is what we agreed on was it not?"

"Touchè. Did you get your retribution."

"Yes, yes, I did, and if I could exact that a thousand times it would never be enough."

I turned to look at her directly in the eye, "Is that what you wanted to hear? That I've killed before, that I am likely to kill again?"

"I just wanted the truth, Chai, that's all."

"I'm sure Balfore explained as much as he could to you about us, about our ways. I won't lie, some of them are archaic, but it is the way of wolves. You've entered the den of civilized monsters."

"I'm not scared."

"You should be."

"You think I haven't wanted to exact retribution? If I could I'd kill Cirini for what he did to me. I'd kill him slowly, painfully," she paused before she whispered, "I wanted you to."

"Maybe this mate thing makes sense after all. We've both experienced losses that we've both had a hard time dealing with. Aaron was my best friend, he was here on day, and gone the next.

I don't think I'll ever know why someone would kill him so gruesomely, but for the longest time I wanted my revenge, I wanted to hurt the bastard that created that void in me to only fill it with images of his mangled body."

I turned to face her, my face hard as stone, "It would seem Amina, that the chasm that separates us isn't as wide as I once thought."

I rose from the bed as she sat up looking at me as if trying to break past the carefully constructed layers I spent years building. That eager curiosity that shined bright from within would get us both in trouble soon enough.

I leaned over and brought her lips to mine once more, "I have some business to attend to, we'll speak some more tonight." I didn't give her a chance to reply before I kissed her once more and walked out of her room.

As I walked down the hallway, I linked my beta, "Balfore, I need you. Meet me in my office in five minutes."

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