The days went by with the same daily routine. If I weren’t missing a certain someone, the dullness of the paperwork would have knocked me to sleep. Despite the brave facade and the forced smiles I was showing, I was terribly sad and lonely. Unfortunately, I pushed away the only person who can make my smile genuine.
I regretted the way we parted. If I hadn’t been so impulsive and Victor wasn’t hot-tempered, maybe things would have been different. Maybe he would be by my side. I shook my head. The threat from Nicolai couldn’t be ignored. I had to find a way to protect myself and my pack from whatever he’s preparing.
I sat at my desk, late at night, going through the pages of an old book. I was looking for a solution to my conundrum without starting a war. Or at least, some protection method against dark magic. What I found instead was the description of some legendary shifter species. They were powerful creatures that ruled the earth and the skies millennia ago before humans hunted them down to extension.
I was wondering if one of them had escaped the clutches of hunters. Maybe they could help me solve my dilemma. A knock on the door interrupted my thoughts. I told them to come in without peeling my eyes from the book and its interesting contents. By the sound of the heavy steps, I assumed it was one of my Betas, even though I wasn’t expecting anyone to visit me this late.
After the person stood there in silence for a few minutes, I lifted my head to ask what they wanted. When my gaze landed on their form I gasped in shock and stood abruptly.
“Victor!” I whisper yelled not believing my eyes. “What are you doing here?”
“Maybe, I shouldn’t have come at all.” He declared before turning on his heels to leave.
I ran around my desk and stood in his way.
“I’m glad that you came.” I said holding his hand and peering into his eyes. “I wanted to talk to you and tell you how sorry I am about last time. I didn’t mean any of the things that I said.”
He looked down at me for long agonizing seconds, his face as stoic and impassible as ever before he spoke. “Me too. I just want to know why?” He asked furrowing his eyebrows.
“I will explain everything.” But first, I needed to be close to him and touch him. I wrapped my arms around his torso feeling his hard muscles and his warmth. I inhaled his intoxicating scent and listened to his heartbeat when I rested my head on his chest.
“I missed you so much. “ I felt him shiver without saying anything.
I raised my head to let him know how I feel, and he met me with wide eyes. He looked pale and his face contorted in a grimace like he was choking on something.
“Victor, what's wrong? Are you alright?” As soon as I spoke the words, he coughed and blood spluttered from his mouth. I gasped in terror after seeing his white shirt drenched with the crimson liquid.
Victor was losing his balance and made shaky steps before falling to his knees. I fell down with him and tried to support him while looking for his wound. Then I noticed a silver dagger planted in his back between his shoulder blades. I shrieked, calling for help with a strangled voice. I pulled out the dagger, but the wound wasn’t healing.
I cried helplessly as I watched the love of my life die in my arms not knowing what I should and no one was coming to the rescue.
“Someone help! Please!” I pleaded as loud as I could but all I got in return was a maniacal laugh.
I turned my head to the source of the sound and saw Nicolai holding the dagger and his hands were soiled with my mate’s blood. He took a couple of strides towards us holding the weapon high before he lowered it to stab Victor again. I wanted to fight him off, stop him from driving the final blow, but I was frozen, unable to move not even my little finger. All I could do was close my eyes and scream desperately.
When I reopened my eyes I was in bed, drenched in sweat and my heart was beating furiously. “It was a nightmare.” I murmured repeatedly like a mantra, to convince myself that it wasn’t real. However, I couldn’t wipe off the fear that it could be real. Nicolai was capable of such atrocity if he found out about my relationship with Victor.
I curled in bed and sobbed against my pillow, holding it tight. I didn’t know who or what to blame for this mess. I didn’t know what to curse at for this ill-fated life. I always felt that I was destined to live an unhappy lonely life. I thought that it might change when I fell in love with Victor. Maybe we weren’t meant to be together. The whole world wouldn’t be against us if we were really destined for each other.
It came to my knowledge that a couple of rooms were filled to the brim with discarded furniture and decorations. So I commissioned the town’s antiquaire to examine the potential treasure, hoping we could get a nice penny from the artwork if there is any. He dug out several family portraits and he wanted to ask if I wanted to keep or sell them.
I requested to keep the portraits and have them hung once they’re restored. I informed the antiquaire that he could use an auction house to sell the remaining paintings, statues and any valuable objects.
I looked at the first two oil paintings that he managed to clean. The largest one was a scale size that depicted a young Romulus standing next to the King. Their hands were resting on the chair where the pregnant queen was sitting cradling her belly. Then my eyes landed on the second one: it was my mother’s. She was striking with innocent beauty.
What caught my attention was the fact that all of them had blues eyes, which meant two things. First, whatever had made my uncle’s eyes turn red, hasn't happened yet. And second, I must have got my green eye from my father. His identity was a mystery to me as much as the man who took her life. I was saddened that this was the only way to feel her presence in my life.
I went back to my quarters with a heavy heart. I have realized that the death of Romulus might have brought justice to some but didn’t soothe my need for revenge. When I fought him it was more of an act of self-defense. He tried to kill me and made it very clear that he wanted to kill my mate and everyone else who stood against him that day.
While I was soaking in the bath, I felt restless and anguished. How could I be at peace while the beast who killed my mother, and helped Romulus conduct his purge, was still running free. I thought back to the way I found out about everything. Marcus was her guardian and he was able to track her down. He might have a clue to the identity of her killer since he had a glimpse of his face.
After I finished bathing, I put on a bathrobe and headed to my bedroom. Cassie was waiting with the tea that I had a habit of drinking in the evening. I might need a dreamcatcher for my nightmares, but at least the chamomile would help me relax after a long workday. I thanked her as I took the ornamented cup from the tray she was holding. As soon as I took the first sip, I noticed an unusual flavor.
“This tea is different than usual.” I commented as I brought it to my nose to analyze the smell. “What did you put in it?” I asked suspiciously.
“I added peppermint and passionflower. I heard It helps with sleep quality.” Fear flashed on her face before she spoke.
“Oh!” I regretted doubting her when she was only caring for my well being. I drank slowly the warm liquid. “It tastes good.” A small smile tugged on her lips at the compliment.
By the time I downed the content of the cup, I was feeling lightheaded and my eyelids were heavy. I even needed Cassie's help to get under the sheets and I immediately sank in bed. I was already drifting off so I didn’t hear her close the door when she left.