Rejected, Replaced & Forgotten

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Chapter Three

Livy

“Olivia? What’s wrong?” My mother asked as she saw me come inside the house. The other werewolves passed by, not sparing me a second glance. I sniffled and rushed into my mother’s arms, letting her stroke my back. She was quiet as she held me, spooked by our intimacy.

We moved upstairs to my room where I pushed all of Leah’s stuff off of my bed and sat down, pulling my comforter around me. My mother came in after me with a cup of hot chocolate and a worried expression.

“Olivia, please talk to me. What’s wrong?”

I bit my lip and felt a few hot tears trickle down my cheeks. Crying was something I wasn’t too familiar with outside of grieving. “I—I met my mate.”

My mother gasped and reached for my hand, the hope in her eyes only made my chest feel heavier. “Who is it?”

I set my hot chocolate down and looked out of the window. “Alpha Emerson.”

My mother was starting to clue into my expression. “What happened? Are you sure?”

“I—he—I’m sure. When I looked at him it was like—it was so perfect. Time just stood still and my wolf claimed him instantly. But he—he rejected me. He just pretended I didn’t exist, and I—no one believed me.”

My mother looked close to tears, “I’m so sorry, Olivia. I believe you, darling, I really do. You would never mistake the meeting of your mate—it’s too strong. Maybe he was just shocked or scared or—”

I shook my head. “No—he knew what he was doing. He kissed Leah right in front of me and I—” I choked and couldn’t continue feeling my stomach clench in pain. My mother reached for me and I leaned my head in the crook of her neck. As she played with my hair I stared out of the window, one thought dominating my mind.

“I don’t know why he would reject you, my beautiful daughter. So strong yet so reserved, you are perfect.” She kissed the top of my head but I kept my gaze on the trees outside of my window, not wanting to think about anything else. It was all too painful. Even my mother’s compliments poked at my insecurities.

“I think I just need some time alone,” I whispered. My mother looked at me sympathetically before nodding and leaving, taking her time as she let her eyes survey me.

Once she was gone, I laid down on my bed and stared out of the window, wondering what I would do next. I could either stay in the pack house and watch as Leah and Cole grew closer and be in an unimaginable amount of pain, I could leave, or I could do what so many other wolves before me had done—end it all.

The first one wasn’t going to happen, I would not stay and watch my mate choose someone else over me. Watching that would only make me a shell of a person, a shrill and jealous version of who I am. When I thought about killing myself I felt as though it was too cowardly, I didn’t want to die, not until I had lived. I wouldn’t kill myself over Cole Emerson. I wouldn’t set that example for my mother who was already fighting her own urges to join my father.

So I was left with only one option.

I kicked off my blanket and grabbed the old duffle bag from under my bed before shoving as much as I could into it, not bothering to fold my clothes. I made sure I had everything important—toiletries, underwear, the basics—and snuck across the hallway and into Cole’s room. The Alpha’s room was forbidden to pack members, but I didn’t care. I wouldn’t be around to suffer the consequences anyways.

I inhaled his scent and felt my wolf whimper. She was just as heartbroken as I was. I looked around before finding what I was looking for. On a corkboard was a picture of Cole and my brother. I plucked it off the wall and shoved it into my pocket before turning and leaving the room.

I walked back into my room and scribbled down a quick goodbye, leaving it on my bed. I figured leaving through the front door would be impossible so I escaped through my window. It wasn’t a smooth exit. I was on the second floor so leaving meant a lot of uncomfortable grunting and hanging from ledges until I was able to convince myself I wasn’t going to die from the fall. I hit the ground with a low thud and started to run, ignoring the sting in my ankles. Living in Astoria meant that we were never far from the water. I immediately headed for the beach.

When I was knee deep in the water I was able to relax, water killed scents. And since I hadn’t turned yet my scent was easily masked. Few unlucky she-wolves don’t shift until they meet their mates, since I hadn’t shifted I had always assumed I was one of the few unfortunate wolves with this genetic quirk. Since Cole rejected me I would have to face my first change alone. But that was a problem I didn’t have the headspace for.

I travelled for a few more miles in the water, staying close enough to the shore that I didn’t lose sight of the town but far enough that no one would be able to recognize me. I wasn’t a strong swimmer so I only went knee deep. The only luck I had was that it was overcast and school was in so there weren’t many people on the beach to see me.

About two hours later I was on a bus, heading towards—well nowhere in particular. I just knew that I had to get away. I looked at my watch and frowned, it was three thirty now meaning my brother would be home. Had he realised I had left yet? Had Cole realised? Would he be sad? Would he feel regret? I doubted he would feel either.

I leaned my head against the cool glass and closed my eyes before drifting to sleep. I was woken up a few hours later by a burly man. “Come on now, this is as far as the bus takes you.”

I blinked a few times and yawned before asking, “Where are we?”

“East Idaho.”

“Okay, well thank you.” I got up and picked up my stuff before getting off of the bus and looking around. I was at some sort of transit station. I walked to the front desk and tapped on the glass, the lady looked up at me and frowned.

“Yes?”

I cleared my throat, “Are there any trains that will take me to uh—” I looked to my right at a map of the USA and picked a random state. “New Jersey?”

The woman pursed her lips and clicked away on her computer before nodding. “We have one that will take you to Indiana, from there you have to board another that will take you to New Jersey, how does that sound?”

I smiled, “That sounds great.” I paid the woman with the cash I had nicked from Jay’s sock drawer and took my ticket and transfer slip from her. An hour later I was aboard the train and asleep again.

The next time I awoke it was later in the evening and I was moving trains. I then boarded onto the second train and decided to stay awake. I watched as the scenery flashed past me, letting my mind wander back to Oregon. I wondered what was going on with the pack, were they looking for me?

I sighed and pulled out the picture from my pocket and stared at my brother’s face. Although he was a jerk, I was going to miss him. I wondered how long I would be gone for, wondered if I would ever go back to Astoria. I let my eyes slide over to Cole’s face and felt my heart clench. I gritted my teeth together and stuck the picture back into my pocket before looking back out of the window.

When I arrived in New Jersey it was about late enough in the night to be considered the morning by some. I stumbled off of the train and caught a taxi to a nearby town. I asked the driver to drive around the streets until I found a suitable motel. There were a lot of really bad options. Finally, I caved and chose the next one we passed.

“How can I help you?” asked the front desk worker. She had fried blonde hair and tired eyes rimmed with blue eyeliner. She popped her gum as she waited for me to reply, her eyes on her computer screen.

I glanced at the board above her head and said, “Can I please have a deluxe room?”

She cracked her gum and nodded before handing me a room key and asked for the money. I paid her and headed for the stairs, eager to get to my room. Once in, I threw my things aside and jumped onto the bed, burying my face in the pillows despite all I had heard about motel room linen.

My cellphone rang and temporarily stopped my heart. I jumped up and reached for my phone, rifling through my duffel bag to get to it. I stared down at the screen and swore, my brother was calling. I ran into the small bathroom and threw my phone into the toilet. My phone seemed to gurgle and then the sound died out and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. The last thing I wanted was for any of my pack members to find me.

I sat on the floor of the bathroom, my back against the wall as I stared at my cellphone. Sadness swept over me as I realised for the first time that I was really saying goodbye to my old life. I pressed the heels of my palms into my eyes and took a few deep breaths before I forced myself up and wandered over to the bed.

I closed my eyes and fell asleep promptly, tired from travelling. About an hour later I was awoken by the sound of cracking. I opened my eyes and sat up before letting out a bloodcurdling scream. I watched the bones in my left wrist crack under my skin and shoved my fist into my mouth. The change was happening.

My wolf’s instincts propelled me out of the motel and sent me scrambling across the road. A few blocks away I could see the tops of trees cresting over a strip mall. I moved as fast as I could while trying to keep myself together.

It felt as though I was being torn apart from the inside out while more accurately, something else was trying to tear its way out of my skin.I ran for the trees, stumbling as the change started to progress. I tripped, clutching my stomach as I felt my spine start to wriggle under my skin. The bones in my hands started to rearrange themselves as soon as I was in the forest. I broke through the trees and stumbled through the thick underbrush before I flopped down onto the forest floor. My left shin had snapped and I was as far as I was going to be able to go.

I looked over my shoulder and swore. I could still see the outline of a neon sign through the branches and bushes meaning I wasn’t nearly as far away as I would’ve like to have been. The trees were thick before me and I could only hope that they weren’t frequented by early morning hikers.

I screamed and withered in pain for what felt like hours, trying my best to cover the sound of both my breaking body and my agony. My skin was on fire from the disfiguration and my entire body felt backwards and foreign. I was somewhere mid shift, my legs had begun to bow backwards and my hands were unrecognizably in the transition to paws, when I heard approaching footfalls.

I swore and held my breath as I lifted my head to see who was approaching. My heart nearly stopped when I looked up to see a wolf. It was massive and pure white, its dark eyes looking me over with an intelligence that told me it was a werewolf. I swore again and panted as my clavicle started to crack. I would be stupid enough to shift without sussing out whether or not I was in another pack’s territory. If I was lucky, they’d kill me midshift. The wolf looked down at me and then howled before running back into the thick of the forest.

I didn’t have much headspace to think about the white wolf as I screamed and closed my eyes. I felt my spine stretch crack and break. Next were my ribs and then the bones in my face started to rearrange themselves. I twisted my face into the ground, horrified to think of what I must look like. The entire time I was going through this unimaginable pain all I could think about was Cole’s face and the white hot embarrassment that accompanied going through this alone.

I felt the change picked up speed and swore as fur started to push its way out from under my skin. I was screaming again shortly as my body felt like it was being turned inside out. More footfalls echoed through my ears and I forced myself to open my eyes. Now, four more white wolves stood in front of me. The biggest trotted forward, bringing green eyes down to my level.

I screamed again as my body jerked and the wolf suddenly wasn’t a wolf anymore. A boy about nineteen or so was kneeling in front of me. His blonde hair fell into his face and those deep green eyes were narrowed.

“Where is your mate?”

I screamed and gritted my teeth as my hands started to reshape themselves. I turned my face away from the man as my cheekbones began to squeeze together. My instincts were going haywire as my body became acutely aware of how vulnerable I was.

“I—I don’t h-have—” I screamed again and flopped onto my stomach, trying to get my hands underneath me but found that my arms were no longer responding.

“Tate, I think she’s too far gone for questions.” I looked over to see the other wolves had shifted too; before me stood two more boys and one girl. They looked at me with horrified expressions masked with curiosity.

“Where is your mate?” Tate asked again.

I bit my lip so hard it bled. “He rejected m-me. I’m n-not from h—ah.”

Tate’s eyes darkened, as his brows drew together. It took him a moment to go from contemplative to determined. “Okay—well then. We’ll just have to get along without him, I’m going to help you through this change.” My heart constricted at the mention of we.

The girl gasped and took two rapid steps forward. “Tate! You can’t! What about Sydney?”

Tate growled, “She’s not mated to me!”

The same boy from before spoke up, his expression grave and his eyes serious and solemn. “You’ll be bonded to her, Tate, are you ready for that?”

Tate swore and looked me over quickly. “It’s either I help her and suffer the consequences or I let her die.” The group fell silent and I screamed in agony again they squirmed and swore. Tate lowered his lips to my ear, “What’s your name?”

“Livy,” I cried.

He smiled kindly, his hand coming to my shoulder. “Alright Livy, I need you to call on your wolf. Tell her it’s okay to come to her full strength, tell her to take over.”

I closed my eyes and tried to do as he said, tried to beckon the feral creature in my mind to make an appearance. I needed her to push my body through the end of my change, I needed to her lead me the rest of the way through.

To my astonishment, she growled back at me. Mate, she demanded with a quick growl and a snap of her jaws.

I reopened my eyes and whimpered, “She wants her mate.” Forming words was becoming increasingly difficult as the bones and muscles around my jaw and throat struggle to restructure.

Tate stroked my hair soothingly, debating with himself for a brief moment before he said, “Tell her she has me now.”

I nodded and felt hot tears roll down my cheeks as I closed my eyes again. I wanted to grab onto this man’s hand, wanted to him hold him tight to me as he offered me this second chance. I relayed the message through my mind and waited for her reluctant acceptance. She knew as well as I did that there was no other choice. Cole wasn’t here and neither one of us were ready to die.

“She’s ready,” I breathed.

Tate smiled again, his eyes somewhat guarded and unsure. “Okay, now I want you to let go of yourself, Livy, forget who you are and let your wolf remind you.”

I followed his instructions and let go of everything that made me Livy. I let go of the quiet girl in the ratty old baseball cap, I let go of my friendship with Sam and my turbulent relationship with my brother. I forgot the timidness that drove my life, forgot the aching grief I had been carrying over my father and the ghost of my mother, I let go of my old pack, of my bedroom, of Astoria. I let go of Olivia Holden and let go of the fear that I would never get her back.

I felt my wolf take center stage as she guided my body to how she wanted it to look. She told my limbs where to go and brought out the side of me that had been lurking under my skin for years. In the back of my mind, in the corner of my heart, I could feel another connection being made. I didn’t have long to dwell on this new bond as my wolf howled and my body exploded.

When I opened my eyes I was staring at the tops of the trees. I could see each vein in every leaf with piercing clarity. The air carried thousands of scents to my nose, temporarily overwhelming my senses before I began to sort the out.

I blinked and slowly rolled over onto my belly before trying to stand up. I then realised I had four legs instead of two. I tried to cry out but a sharp bark came instead. I whipped my head around wildly, trying to get used to the change in my vision and the distinct shift in my mind. I was still myself, still able to form thoughts, but there was this other more feral drive that pushed my instincts ahead of whatever thought came to mind.

“There she is! Finally came around!” A voice chirped.

I looked around and growled before dipping my head towards the ground and raising my hackles. My tail swooped low and straight to the ground as I raised my lips over my teeth, exposing long canines. The actions brought me up short, I was already going wolf.

The guy raised his hands and laughed, a goofy smile on his face. “Sorry to scare you, Livy. I’m Kevin, I’ll get Tate, one minute.” The guy disappeared into the woods and returned a few minutes later with a tall boy with blonde hair. My wolf whimpered and I sat back on my haunches, dipping my muzzle low to the ground.

“I’m glad to see you’re awake, that change took a lot out of you, more so than if you were with your mate,” Tate said. I growled at the mention of Cole, the feral side of me bubbling with hostility.

Kevin smirked at me and elbowed Tate, “I guess this means she’s in the pack then eh? I mean just look at that fur! It’s like moonlight!”

Tate growled lightly, a warning. “Not now, Kevin. I don’t want to overwhelm her, she’s only just shifted.” He swept his eyes over me and despite his words, he was unable to keep the pride out of his gaze. I ruffled underneath his inspection.

Kevin whined, “But this is the first new member we’ve gotten in five years! And by the looks of her she’s going to be an awesome new addition, don’t you think?”

Tate let a small smile slip onto his face, “Yeah, I think she will.” I barked and stood up, upset they were being evasive. Tate laughed and pulled out his phone from his pocket. He walked towards me and titled the black screen in my direction so I could see myself.

I was a slight wolf with an entirely white coat. My fur was brilliant; Kevin’s description was accurate. I was the colour of moonlight. The only thing that remained of my human self were my eyes, they were the same murky blue.

Tate bent down to my level. “Wolves like you are special, Livy. Wolves like us rather. There’s a name for it, Pura Lupus, it translates direction to pure wolf in Latin. We’re the superior of our kind. There aren’t many and it is no mistake that you were drawn here, Livy, the Moon Goddess has plans for you. You’ll be great.”

I felt my wolf swell up with pride and howled happily. Tate’s words were met with no hesitancy or distrust. I believed what he said, I felt the truth of his statement in the core of my being. I felt for the first time that I was worth more than a background prop. I was special, I was apart of something, I was a Pura Lupus. Maybe Cole and I weren’t meant to work out— maybe my rejection was destined to bring me to greater things. And as I looked at Tate, I couldn’t help but feel as though my rejection had brought me to better people.

Cole

I was sleeping when I felt it. It was like a fire had started all over my body. I sprung from my bed and stumbled to the ensuite, clutching the sink with white knuckles. I splashed water over my face, across my bare chest, down my neck. I could find no relief.

I stumbled to the kitchen, and poured myself a glass of water as I tried to extinguish the burning I was feeling inside. Another wave of pain swept over me and forced my muscles into a spasm. I dropped the glass and heard it shatter on the ground.

Water and glass shards were everywhere but I couldn’t focus on anything besides the intense pain and discomfort I was in. I cried out and fell to my knees, clutching my head and shock and terror coiled through me. I felt two arms snaked around my chest and heard someone grunt with the effort it took to heave me to my feet.

“Baby? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Leah asked, steadying me as I swayed.

I growled at her, the fire making me snap. “Does it look like I’m okay?”

Leah whimpered, “Can I help you?”

“No—I—” I screamed again as the pain increased. Embarrassment and confusion swept over me as I felt Leah’s hands on my face. A few seconds later and half of the pack was in the kitchen, trying to get a glance at their Alpha. I swallowed a growl, urging myself to stand up straight and hide my weakness.

“Jay! It’s Livy!” Sally cried. I growled and felt myself be dragged away by my Beta. The whispers of my pack followed me until I was thrown into my office and the door was shut and bolted behind us.

“Livy is shifting!” Sally blurted.

I swore and rubbed my temples. “Then why is it hurting me?”

Jay growled and I watched as he flexed his hands into fists. “Because you’re her mate! You’re supposed to be there with her, helping her wolf.”

I growled at him and then at my own guilt. “I’m not her mate—” I grunted as another wave of pain crashed through my body; my head was pounding. I clutched the corner of my desk as I doubled over, worried for a moment that I was going to be sick or pass out.

“She’s in danger—she could die, Jay! Oh Goddess, my poor Livy.”

“What about me? What will happen to me?” I cried. Was I going to die too?

Sally narrowed her eyes at me, her fury offending my wolf. If I had been well, I wouldn’t have tolerated her overt defiance. “You will be perfectly fine, no matter what happens to my daughter, you will still be alive you, scumbag!”

I growled at the disrespect but was in no condition to act on it. “Watch it, Sally,”I grunted, “I am still the Alpha of this pack.”

Sally scoffed, “Hardly, what kind of Alpha sleeps with another she-wolf after they already found their Luna?”

I growled again, “Enough!” I roared. I was not going to let myself be undermined by a lowly pack member. I was not going to let guilt and regret swallow me alive as this pain attempted to do the same. Neither Sally nor Jay spoke again.

I roughed out the pain for about a half an hour, sitting doubled over behind my desk. The time stretched into an eternity before it suddenly started to subside. I was able to breathe once it was gone and slumped down in my chair, Sally and Jay looked anxious.

“What’s happening?” Jay asked.

I took a deep breath, “It stopped.”

Sally’s eyes brightened, “Do you feel—”

“Cole! Cole, baby let me in!” Leah yelled through the door.

I growled and rolled my eyes. Sweat was dripping off of me and my body was still quivering from the effort it took to combat the intense pain. “No, go back to bed, Leah! I will be there in a few minutes.” I heard a sigh and then heard her retreat.

Sally tensed her jaw but didn’t comment. “Do you feel any different than before?”

I shook my head, “No, it just stopped. What does this mean?” Despite the fact that I didn’t want Livy, I still worried about her safety as my wolf pushed me to protect her as a mate and pack member.

“It means Livy survived her first shift,” Sally’s voice was hollow until she caved and cried into Jay’s shoulder.

I smirked, relief flooding me despite my determination to be indifferent. “See look, it’s a happy ending for everyone. Livy lives and shifts and I go back to—”

Jay’s eyes narrowed. “It doesn’t go back to normal, Cole. There is only one way she could have survived. Another male wolf took your position.”

I felt my stomach drop. My wolf made a sudden reappearance and I growled before reaching over and grabbing the lamp on my desk top. I ripped it from the socket and threw it against the far wall, watching it smash into a hundred shards and splinters.

Someone had taken what was mine.

This is an excerpt only as the rights to this story has been bought by Inkitt for their new reading app, Galatea!

If you’d like to continue reading, you can find me on Galatea under “Abigail Lynne” or by searching for the “Wolves of the West: The Feral War” series!

Thanks so much! (:

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