Meet Me in the Woods

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Chapter 17

The song for this chapter is The End of Everything by Noah Cyrus.

Nik walks me home in silence. His jaw ticks in frustration and he keeps his eyes on the trail ahead. Something has upset him but I don’t ask what. I’m too focused on the events for today. Roberts funeral will not be easy for anyone. I have to hold myself together.

“I need to check on my dad and then find something to wear. Is there something specific I should choose?” He stares ahead and nods slightly.

“Just wear black. Most tribes adopted a lot of European culture so black is fine.” He keeps his answer short.

“Okay. I’ll see you soon.” As I walk toward the clearing he grabs my arm and I turn toward him. He looks like he’s in pain.

“Will I? See you soon I mean.”

“Why wouldn’t you?” I ask confused by his comment.

“Because you’ve got this idea in your head that you’re running away. If you’re leaving I’m coming with you this time.”

“H-how? I mean, yes that was my plan. It does no good if you try to come too.”

“I know you better than you think. What good does it do anyone if you leave just because things aren’t easy?” He stares into my eyes and those whiskey brown eyes destroy me.

“You deserve better. You all do.”

“So that’s it then? You disappear again and I marry some girl from the tribe? That’s what you want?”

“If it is a chance at an easy, happy life as the chief and alpha then yes.” I blink at him and he laughs humorlessly.

“How can you even say that?! You’re running from your problems, Ellie. Can you really just forget me that easily?”

“Of course not! I could never forget you.”

“What happened to you? You used to be the brave one.”

“I’m trying to have courage to do right by you! Can’t you see that?”

“Can’t you see you’re just like the rest of them?” I’m taken aback. What is that supposed to mean?

“You are running from the problem, the pain. Your father did it and look where it got him. My father did it and it created hatred. My tribe has even done it. Why do you think my pack pushed them to have thanksgiving this year? Why are some of my people Christian? Why do we not still dress like our ancestors? We are trying to let go of pain and hate to embrace a new beginning. Why can’t you?”

“Because I’m not the one in pain! Your people are. They have suffered enough. Fate got it wrong when it put us together!” I say it before I realize it. The pain in his eyes and the sadness that washes over me is the worst I’ve ever felt.

“You don’t mean that.” He whispers.

“I do mean it. I just didn’t plan on saying it aloud. I can see that you are trying to create a new world for your people but maybe they don’t want it. Maybe those who have known the pain don’t want to embrace me, embrace new beginnings. Why can’t that be okay with you?”

“Because I’m trying to help you adjust, to be comfortable in my world.”

“I don’t need comfort! You’re a freaking werewolf! I can handle discomfort. What I can’t handle is you forcing everyone to accept me by throwing my world into theirs. Tomorrow you’ll become chief and official alpha. All I wanted was to be in your world. It’s me who needed to embrace it and instead they continue to suffer.”

I stomp off toward the house. He runs a hand through his silky hair and it sticks up everywhere.

“Where are you going?”

“To figure this out.” And with that I slam the door and he leaps off the porch, his clothes shredding into tiny particles. His wolf howls before taking off into the woods.

I stand with my back pressed on the door and no tears can spill over this time. I think of all they’ve gone through since I decided to come home. I killed a wolf, whether he was mad or not he was still a human being.

Now I find out the tribe was forced to celebrate stupid holidays, their alpha is so caught up with protecting me that he’s left them alone in this, sweet Rylin almost died. My father is dying and Robert is dead.

I’ve created a mess and I don’t know how to fix it. I love Nik but I also love the pack, the children and the people. I hoped to create a new beginning with them but I didn’t think about the fact new beginnings can end up a nightmare.

I visit with father. He doesn’t say much because it takes too much energy. I just hold his hand while mom and grams look after him. I stare at the ticking clock. Tick tock, tick tock.

Time is a tricky thing. It can heal wounds and it can reopen them. It can bring people together just to tear them apart again. Time is cruel. Time can create new worlds and tear others apart.

I feel as if the world I know has died. The stars have burned out and I’m left in the dark. Is time vengeful? I think so. She’s come to teach me about pain and suffering and I can’t find it in me to blame her.

*Authors Note! Short chapter but there’s much to come in the next! Hope you’re enjoying the story. Let me know what you think in the comments! Who do you think is right? Nik or Ellie?
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