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“What?” I choked.

Out of everything I thought he was going to tell me, that wasn’t even on the list. I definitely must have heard wrong. I mean, if it was his fault, why the hell is he still here? I turned to run but before I could, Rhydian grabbed my arm.

“No, wait!” He gulped, gripping my arm. I turned, growling at him. He flinched but kept hold of my arm. “Don’t fucking touch me,” I warned. “Let me explain.” He pleaded, I could see so much emotion in his eyes. I shook my head vigorously, screwing my eyes shut. “You killed my dad.” I hissed, trying to keep my anger in check.

“What? No, I didn’t.” He grumbled. I snapped my eyes open and glared at him. “You just said and I quote...” I growled. “Your dad’s death it was me it was my fault.” I mimicked him, without pausing. He paled and let my arm go, shaking his head. “And you instantly thought that I’d killed him.” He sounded offended.

“What was I supposed to think?” I yelled, getting frustrated. I started pacing back and forth, “I don’t know you. I don’t want this, I didn’t want any of this. If I had my way I’d be leaving again.” I ranted. Rhydian reached for me and I stepped away, “Tell me what you meant.” I deadpanned, glaring at him. He shook his head, “Not here.” I sighed annoyed. “Where?” I asked, shrugging. He motioned his head towards the forest to the side of the packhouse. I nodded in agreement and we started towards the forest.

“9 years ago, I met this girl.” He started, I stopped walking and crossed my arms over my chest. “What’s this got to do with my dad?” I asked, jealously seeping through. He chuckled lightly and turned to me, “Just listen, please. It’s the beginning of what happened.” He explained. I nodded and we started walking again.

“I was out on patrol one night, the smell of blood filled the forest so I immediately went to investigate. It wasn’t until I got nearer the smell, I caught a faint scent on her.” He took a deep breath then glanced at me, “She was my mate.” I sucked a breath in and stared at him in confusion. “It wasn’t until she was treated for her injuries that I realised she wasn’t my mate.” He added.

My head was spinning, he wasn’t making sense. “I know you said to listen... but you’re confusing me,” I sighed. He chuckled again, “I know, I’m sorry. I don’t like talking about this.” He gave me a weak smile and carried on. “Because of the amount of blood that she lost, it mixed with her scent and my mate’s scent. I was confused, my dad who was Alpha at the time, sent a few warriors out to track the scent. They came across an abandoned building in the middle of the forest.” He stopped, scanned the area and glanced at me, “Just a little further up.” He smiled.

I recognised where we were going, he was taking me to the waterfall. “I wanted to go with them, I wanted to find my mate but my dad said I had to stay home as I was only 16 and still needed to train.” He sighed. “It was said that a pack of rogues had taken residence in the building. But my dad didn’t know how many were holed up in there so he scouted for a week before doing anything. When the girl finally came around, she wouldn’t stop asking for me.” I took a deep breath, “She only had one thing on her when I found her, a small bottle of potion.” I sucked in a breath and could feel my heart racing.

“Our pack doctor examined the contents of the potion...” He hesitated, “It was...” I interrupted him, “Matebane.” I whispered. He glanced at me and raised his brow but didn’t question it. “She was supposed to come and drug me into thinking she was my mate, even to this day I don’t know why.” He shrugged. “Anyway, my dad found out that the rogues and their pups were living there. My dad made a deal with one of the rogues that they could stay there as long as they didn’t cross into our borders. My dad felt for their 2 pups, he didn’t want to make them leave.” He explained, stopping once we reached the waterfall.

He sat down on the grass then laid down on his back, staring up at the sky. I chuckled at him and sat down beside him before laying down so we were like top and tailing. “We can stop for a bit if you want?” I offered, I know how hard it is to talk about things like this. He shook his head even though I couldn’t see him, for some reason I knew he needed to get it all out.

“The girl was interrogated to figure out who she was. She wouldn’t give up her name or where she came from. We have no idea what to do, we couldn’t let her go because she was obviously a danger to us.” He took a shaky breath and gripped the grass with his hands. I linked our fingers together and gave him a reassuring squeeze, to let him know I was here. I felt him almost instantly relax.

“Not long after the girl arrived...” He shuddered, stopping to take a deep breath before he continued. “I was training behind the pack house when the alarm sounded. Rogues were coming from every direction. I saw a young boy, stagger out covered in blood. I ran over to him, I thought he was one of the pups my dad had seen.” He took another breath and I could hear his voice breaking slightly. I tightened my hold on his hand.

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