"I Gabriel, alpha born of the Blood Claw Pack, reject you Jayne, wolfless of the High Mountain Pack, as my chosen mate."
Again and again the scene repeated in Jayne’s mind, her heart breaking over and over again.
Screaming in unbearable pain, Jayne’s eyes snapped open, clutching at her chest, trying to make the pain stop.
Feeling an uncontrollable urge to vomit, she rolled off the bed and hurried to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet in time to empty her stomach into the bowl.
When she had emptied her stomach of its contents, she fell to the floor wiping her mouth with the back of her hand noticing for the first time that that there was a piece of paper clutched in her hand.
Unfolding it with her bandaged hand, she read the note Gabriel had left her.
Reading his words of love and sorrow sent a new wave of agony straight through her heart and another wave a nausea through her stomach.
Leaning over the toilet, she dry heaved until bile burned its way up her throat.
Laying on the tile floor, Jayne pulled her knees to her chest and sobbed until she had no more tears left leaving her feeling even more empty than before.
Instead of fighting for her, Gabriel had just rejected her. Why? If they had stood together, they could have stayed together. But he’d just given up on her.
Realizing she was still holding his note, she threw it away from her, not wanting to have anything of his near her at that moment.
Not only had he rejected her, he’d offered her access to his money, probably to ease his guilt.
Trying to push herself up off the cold floor, Jayne gave up after three tries. Instead, she shivered and sobbed and let the darkness overwhelm her.
Waking as sunlight flooded through the small bathroom window, Jayne managed to push herself up off the floor, her body rebelling with painful muscle cramps.
“Fuck,” she hissed, her spine popping painfully as she stood upright.
On aching legs, she stumbled out of the bathroom trying to decided what to do.
Her study was forgotten replaced by emptiness. Everything she’d worked for seemed pointless now.
Trudging towards the bed, she fell heavily onto is soft surface inhaling Gabriel’s lingering scent.
Grabbing his pillow, she buried her face into it and screamed out her sadness and anger.
He’d left her. She was alone again.
How could he leave? He’d promised to be with her, he’d marked her as his mate, had told her he wanted to be with her forever, but he’d lied.
Jumping out of bed, Jayne ran to her pack and dug desperately through her things looking for her knife needing to feel its razor sharp blade cutting into her flesh.
Unable to find it, she looked around trying to remember what she’d done with it. Then she remembered she’d had it on her when she’d gone after Gabriel and his father.
Suddenly she gasped, feeling a burning sensation on her chest. Looking down, she saw a small scab mark on her sternum.
Gabriel’s father had held her knife to her chest telling his son that if he didn’t agree to leave she would die.
Jayne felt her shattered heart beat faster at the memory of Gabriel’s face as he stared at her, the knife digging into her chest.
Closing her eyes, she collapsed to the floor, realizing that despite the pain, Gabriel had loved her, still loved her.
He’d only rejected her to save her life.
As understanding washed over her, Jayne pulled her knees to her chest and rocked herself as she cried once more.
′Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.'
"Fuck you Alfred Lord Tennyson," Jayne sighed to herself as the quote popped into her mind.
Feeling her stomach rumble, demanding food, she pushed herself off the wooden floor and moved into the kitchen knowing she needed to eat.
Passing the table, she saw the remains of their dinner the night before.
Two plates of half eaten grilled cheese sandwiches and two bowls of spicy tomato soup.
Covering her mouth to suppress a hiccuping sob, she collected the dishes and carried them into the kitchen with her.
Placing them in the sink, she pulled open the fridge but couldn't find anything that seemed appetizing.
Sighing, she closed the appliance and reached into the cupboard, she pulled out a box of chocolate cereal.
Settling onto the sofa, Jayne tore the the box open and ate the dried flakes by the fistful while she watched stupid movies on her laptop.
When she couldn't force herself to eat anymore, she put the cereal box on the table and laid down on the sofa, pulling one of the old quilts over her body.
With silent tears rolling down her face, she simply watched movie after movie until finally sleep claimed her.
The next two weeks passed much like that, Jayne only leaving the sofa to use the bathroom and forage for easy to eat food.
Forgotten was her study, her years of hard work and discipline. All she wanted to do was simple fade into the fabric of the sofa and let the world outside fade away.
Waking suddenly, Jayne felt her stomach roiling, managing only to roll off the sofa before she threw up on the floor.
On shaking legs, she moved to the kitchen and filled a bowl with soapy water and moved back to clean the foul smelling mess she'd made.
Once she was done, she looked around the room and realized how bad she'd let things get.
The once immaculate living space was littered with empty cereal boxes, wrappers from protein bars and wads of used tissue.
Disgusted with herself, she decided that she'd wallowed in sadness long enough.
Her whole life people had tried to break her... her parents, her pack, the humans at college...
Shaking her head, she vowed she wasn't going to let Gabriel's choices be the thing that finally broke her.
After the cabin was cleaned up, she forced herself into the shower and washed two weeks of despair off her body noticing a slight thickening of her waistline.
'Damn junk food,' she thought rinsing the soap, shampoo and self loathing away.