I was thankful when Jace offered to drive me home shortly after breakfast. Memories of dancing with Chris and spending the night after he insisted on taking care of me left me uncomfortable and confused. Even his friends seemed a bit taken back by his attention on me, which just made it worse.
Last night, I had one of the best night’s sleep I can remember. His house is amazing, the bedroom was the size of my living room with the biggest bed I’ve ever seen in the center. It basically was a living room with a full sized couch on one side and big flat screen TV on the other as well as a desk. There was a walk in closet, that must be sizable since he changed in there, and then there was the bathroom!
I could live in there!
Chris’ bathroom was earthy like the rest of the house; the floor was warm stone, and the walls were a combination of stone and wood. The one wall had a large glass and granite shower that was the size of some people’s entire bathroom. I could have stayed in that shower all day if I didn’t know there were likely people down stairs waiting.
Once cleaned up and dressed, I made my way out of his room, looking around the massive place. The scale of the place is incredible! Substantial solid wood stairs lead down to the common area. To the right is a living room of sorts with multiple couches and chairs and a giant flat screen TV. The room’s huge with vaulted ceilings that only add to its impressive scale.
To the left is the kitchen, where everyone is already waiting. There’s a large live edge table with a blue river-type detail down the center that everyone is seated at. The kitchen itself is spacious and open with a long granite island in the center. Claire’s cooking on the far side as everyone else is chatting at the table. As soon as I walk in, I feel all eyes on me, setting my heart racing.
Chris’s hazel eyes are soft but unreadable; he looks lost in thought. Sara however, is glaring at me like I spilled a drink on her best dress, while Jace and Xavier are both soft and welcoming.
I waste no time, taking an open seat next to Jace and get lost laughing with Jace and Claire as he regales us with the details of his night after we left. We missed what led up to it, but suddenly Chris and Sara are both standing ready to come to blows as he yells at her to go.
I have no idea what they are fighting about but based on the look she’s giving me, I’m sure it has something to do with me. After picking at breakfast a bit longer, Jace offers a ride and I jump at it. My eyes snap to Chris, instantly feeling guilty. For a moment, I see something flash in his eyes before he stiffens and gets up, saying he has to go deal with something.
As he heads out, he thanks Jace for taking me home. When he passes me he leans in and whispers, “Thanks for the dance,” sending shivers down my spine.
I don’t understand why he has such an effect on me, it’s unnerving.
“You’re pretty quiet this morning little elf,” Jace says, cutting into my self reflection.
“Um yeah, just thinking I guess,” I trail off.
“About what?” He raises a brow teasing me.
“Nothing in particular,” I lie. He’s not buying it, so I deflect, “Your house is amazing.”
“You haven’t seen much of it yet, but yeah it’s easy to forget first impressions having lived there my whole life. Next time I’ll give you a tour of the whole thing.” He smiles, then switches the subject and leads with, “So that was some night.”
I instantly blush, flashing back to dancing with Chris. If you had asked me when I got to the club how my night would go, never in a million years would I say dancing wrapped in Chris’s arms. And yet I spent half the night with Chris dancing; there was something so intimate about it and yet effortless.
“Yeah, I think I may have had a bit too much to drink,” I say, rubbing my neck.
“Is that what you’re going with?” Jace asks, raising a brow. He’s clearly not buying my excuse and not about to let it go.
I groan, so he assures me, “Relax, I’m not gonna pry, I’m just a little surprised and curious is all. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Chris dance like that with anyone before,” he trails off. “Hell, he usually blows us off when we try to get him out, but magically last night he showed up.”
His grey eyes are locked on mine as a knowing smirk hangs on his lips. Thankfully he drops the subject and the rest of the ride home is quiet. Once home, I hop out, nearly running to the house. Jace just laughs and says, “See you Wednesday,” as he drives off.
The rest of the day is quiet, just a couple quick texts from Jude, and one from Chris making sure I’m home okay.
What am I going to do about him?!
He doesn’t seem to respect any boundaries. I can’t let someone like him near me, he’ll break me in no time and I can’t go through that again.
Jace was supposed to pick up today, but apparently the rez was having some sort of issue requiring all hands on deck. He said it was nothing too major but he couldn’t make it out, so here I am on my way to deliver.
I wasn’t planning on this, so it’s late afternoon, early evening by the time I get there. Immediately once I arrive, something feels off. The sun’s getting lower, but the lack of people feels weird. Every other time I have been here, there were always people of all ages milling about.
Not today; there isn’t a single soul out today as I pull up to the main door. It isn’t long before Jace and Claire walk out the front door towards me.
“Took you long enough,” he smirks, but his usual lightness feels forced.
“Well I had to fit it into my busy schedule, no notice and all,” I drawl, side eyeing him. “Everything good?” I question, something feels very off, but he assures me everything’s fine so we proceed to unload.
Claire is chatting with me when Jace comes back in suddenly, eyes locked on mine. “Stay here,” he commands, he’s not even pretending anymore.
“What is it?! I can go home if this is a bad time,” I suggest as my nerves threaten to go crazy.
“No!” They say in unison. “Stay inside until someone comes back, we have to go deal with something, just please, please stay inside,” his eyes are pleading. I nod as they dash out the back.
Well that’s not unnerving at all.
Jace has never looked so concerned before and I can’t help but wonder where everyone is. I walk around the kitchen, putting everything away to keep busy. Before long, I have run out of things to do, so I settle on one of the couches in the living room as the sun begins to set.
A sudden scream startles me awake as I jump, instantly to my feet. I must have fallen asleep, since the house is mostly dark and the full moon is high in the sky. Another short scream cuts through the still night air as my heart begins to race.
I reach for the back door, hesitantly opening it. Jace begged me to stay inside but that scream is just too much to ignore. Standing in the doorway I hear it again much clearer, my heart drops as I realize it’s a child and they sound terrified.
Before I realize what I’m doing, I’m already making my way across the back lawn to the forest edge. Fortunately the full moon casts enough light to show me the way. Another shout sends me down a path to the left.
My ears are straining for any sound to tell me I’m heading in the right direction, while I scan the area for any clues or threats. A short scream and growl ahead tell me I’m nearly there. My heart’s racing as I get closer, only to realize I’m empty handed; clearly I haven’t thought this through.
As I push through the bushes into the small clearing, I’m met with a terrifying sight. A large brown wolf is dragging a kicking and screaming Ethan out of his hiding spot as two others wait, snapping at their chance.
I swallow hard, pushing my fear aside as I run at them, having grabbed a bat-sized branch, and swing it with all my might and connect with the brown wolf’s head. The hit is savage and makes a sickening crack as the wolf collapses, releasing Ethan, who scrambles away.
My heart stops as the remaining two wolves who hadn’t heard me approach turn their murderous glares on me, recover from their shock and attack. The dirty grey wolf lunges at a fleeing and screaming Ethan as the dark one comes towards me. I take the first wolf with a hard hit to it’s ribs, sending it snarling to the side with barely enough time to turn and face my attacker.
The dark wolf crashes into me, throwing me hard onto the forest floor. Instinctively, I bring the branch up where the wolf’s massive jaws snap at it, inches from my face. Panic wells in me as my mind reels, searching for my next move before this thing kills me.
The impact from the fall has slammed me into the branch and rock covered forest floor as I bash my head off of something hard enough to make me see stars. Dazed and desperate I look around for anything to help me.
Howls erupt in the surrounding forest as a sense of dread washes over me. The dark wolf’s weight makes it harder to breathe as he takes a final snap, breaking the branch and sinking his teeth into my forearm. I gasp in pain, clenching my jaw to keep from screaming as his fangs tear deeper into my flesh.
I’m no match for him.
He lets go of my arm, pulling back to strike my neck when suddenly more wolves break into the clearing. My heart hammers, threatening to break through my chest as I see the odds. The dirty grey wolf is now back on his feet, lunging to join the attack but is tackled by a larger sandy one. I close my eyes as the dark wolf snaps down at me, but suddenly I feel his weight ripped off of me.
My head is spinning and I’m on the verge of blacking out as I open my eyes to see Chris standing over me, tossing the bloody wolf away.
The moonlight illuminates his bare, bloodied chest and his eyes are wide as he bends down. Jace shows up beside him with an equally shocked look on his face. “Shit,” he curses as he reaches down to me.
What? But how?
They are talking but I can’t hear anything over my heart beat pounding in my ears. With the last of my strength, I raise my arms to protect myself as the blackness takes me.
I’m desperately fighting against the blackness, but I can’t wake up. I hear snarling and growls near me, more wolves are fighting, as I feel like I’m floating?
No, I’m being carried. Why can’t I get my eyes to open and why is it so cold now?
“Go! Get her out of here!”
That sounds like Jace.
A deep growl from the chest I’m against drowns everything else out. Pain consumes me as he jarrs me when he takes off running; if my body would obey me I would have screamed in agony. Once again the blackness wins and I’m out.
My consciousness snaps awake first, as my mind reels with images of the dark wolf snapping down at me. My body won’t respond and the panic is threatening to suffocate me. My eyes finally open and I see a dark figure towering over me.
Instinct takes over and I bring my knees up to my chest, kicking the dark figure as hard as I can with both feet sending him flying backwards. Blinking to try and clear my eyes, I try to get up, not realizing my mistake until it’s too late when I fall crashing to the floor. I hit the tile hard, and brace myself against the side of the bed on my hands and knees.
Wait? Tile? Sheets?
Slowly my senses are coming back to me but my mind is sluggish. My head is splitting. I slip my hand behind my head, gently probing my hair before my fingers find a long stitched gash that’s very tender. I hiss in pain. Noise to my right brings my attention to my attacker, who is slowly getting up from where he landed.
“Jess! Jess, it’s me Jace. You’re safe, calm down, no ones going to hurt you.” His grey eyes plead as he holds his hands up in surrender. The door smashes open as more people come in.
Panic threatens to consume me as I try and make sense of it all. My heart hammers as my head throbs while stars dance on the edge of my vision.
“Stay back,” I scream, fighting the pain and dizziness. I’m on the verge of blacking out again. I feel someone touch my shoulder startling me as I instantly spin, swat their hand away, and scoot away from him.
Chris looks down at me, his face full of concern. His eyes don’t hide the hurt as I push away from him.
“Alpha, she needs space,” a guy wearing a white lab coat pleads with Chris. He doesn’t even seem to care that the guy is talking to him, he just keeps his hazel gaze locked on me. “Please Alpha, she’s in fight or flight mode, she’s going to hurt herself.”
His words finally sink in and Chris reluctantly stands back up, then Xavier and Sara pull him from the room.
“I’m Dr. Phillips,” the man says in a soft voice. “Jace, can you join them in the hall please?”
Jace sadly nods, getting up from the floor and slowly makes his way to the hall. As the door shuts, I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding and slump against the end of the bed.
“How are you feeling? I know this is overwhelming, but I need to check your injuries,” Doc says, the concern clear in his voice.
“My head feels like it’s splitting in two,” I pant out, “So dizzy.”
The last thing I see is the doctor rushing forward to catch me as the blackness takes me.
“Why isn’t she waking up?” I hear Chris demand. He sounds pissed.
Great, I’m back to being half awake, unable to move.
“She will wake up soon Alpha. That was a nasty gash on the back of her head; she has a concussion, plus the pain and nausea medication are keeping her out. Her body needs to rest,” Dr. Phillips reassures him. “I’ve redressed her other wounds, there’s no major damage.”
I can feel him pacing at the end of my bed as the steady beep of the monitor lulls me to sleep. At the last part he seems to settle some, walking to the side of the bed and sitting down with a big sigh, and I’m out.