Forgotten Wolf

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22 Love

Jude doesn’t hesitate or say anything after I ask to stay at his place, he just changes course and heads in that direction. I’d never been to his house before, but after what happened tonight I didn’t want to be alone and couldn’t risk Chris showing up at my house.

I shudder at the memory of him attacking Jude. I would never forgive myself if he seriously hurt Jude.

In such a short time he has become very dear to me, and I’ve caused him nothing but problems.

I frown at the realization of how much of a burden I’ve become to him.

“That’s enough of that,” he cuts in, as if sensing my train of thought. He pulls up to a quaint lakeside cabin and parks the truck. “Listen to me, you know I will never lie to you.”

He pauses as his eyes search mine, willing me to understand. “None of what happened was your fault. Chris had made up his mind long ago, it had nothing to do with you. You know no matter what, I will always be there for you, right?” The sincerity and promise are clear in his voice.

Not trusting my voice, I wrap him in a lingering hug. He rubs my back, waiting for me to calm back down.

“Come on, it’s late. Let’s get you to bed,” he says, leading me to the cabin. “It’s not much, but it’s home.” He shrugs as his cheeks flush with embarrassment.

The cabin is small but has a warm feeling to it. The living room and kitchen occupy most of the space, while the back holds a small bedroom and bathroom. The living room is cozy holding just a couch, chair and TV.

“It’s great Jude, really. I just don’t want to be home alone tonight,” I trail off. He leads me to the back where his bedroom is. He takes out some shorts and a T-shirt for me to change into and grabs sleep pants and a tank for himself.

“Sleep well, if you need anything I’ll be in the living room.”

Poor guy was in a fight and I’m stealing his bed.

“Jude wait, you take the bed. I’m happy on the couch.”

“Haha, nice try, but that’s not gonna happen,” he laughs. “I’m gonna watch a bit of tv anyways.” He steps to me and places a soft kiss on my forehead, “Stop fighting and go to bed, you need to rest.”

I nod and he turns and heads out, closing the door behind him. I change and crawl into bed, but sleep won’t take me. As I toss and turn, memories of him fill my mind, coming at me, or I see Chris and Jude fighting. After a while I give up and head out to the living room.

“Sorry, I can turn it down?” He asks, looking at me concerned. I just shake my head. “What’s wrong Jess?”

Sitting down next to him I just shake my head. “The past is a bitch, I just can’t seem to shake it.” I sigh as my frown deepens. “I’m just so tired.”

Jude’s torn between wanting answers and wanting me to rest; the latter wins. He grabs the throw from the back of the couch and wraps me up in it. “Come on, try to sleep some.” He wraps an arm around my shoulders and pulls me to him, settling my head on his chest.

The rhythmic beat of his heart combined with his calming presence start to work their magic. Before long, I feel myself nodding off, so I curl up with my back to the TV with my ear on his chest listening to his heart. He softly strokes my hair as I drift off.

I must have fallen asleep because I’m woken up by him tensing as someone opens the door. I stayed frozen in place listening but not wanting to deal with anyone.

“Shhh, I finally got her to sleep, don’t wake her up.” His tone is warning but not upset, as his body relaxes.

“I didn’t come here to fight,” Jace says as he sits across from us. “Listen man, I’m sorry that happened. You should have been golden,” he trails off.

My heart sinks realizing how much I’ve ruined his chances, even Jace thought he was a shoe in before I messed things up.

“Don’t worry about it was fun while it lasted though.” The barely hidden sorrow is evident in his voice.

“I have to ask, man,” Jace hesitates. “Is he right? I’m not one to judge, but you guys look a certain look, curled up like that.”

“No,” Jude simply replies. “After what happened, she didn’t want to be alone tonight so I brought her here. She went to lay down in my room, but she had nightmares. So she came out here to watch TV but nodded off.”

“Are you sure that no part of you is in love with her?” Clearly Jace is not convinced.

After a moment of reflection, Jude finally replies, “I’m not in love with her, but I do love her...” he trails off. “It’s hard to explain, it’s not a romantic love. I care about her happiness more than my own. I feel compelled to make sure she’s safe and taken care of.” He pauses. “It’s like she’s my little sister, and I just want to protect her from everything.”

“Hmm,” Jace muses, his chair creaks as he leans back. “Does she know?”

“Yeah, we had the same awkward conversation after the rogue attack,” Jude chuckles. “Her look was priceless, she was practically running for the door saying she doesn’t date. Kind of sad to see her relief when she realized my intentions weren’t romantic.”

“Do you know anything about her past? I know something bad happened to her but she won’t tell me about it at all.” I can’t help but hold my breath as Jace asks.

My panic starts to build at this line of questioning.

I’ve avoided all topics of my past whenever anyone asked. I’ve never told anyone what happened. There’s no way they know anything.

“I wish I did,” Jude replies sadly. “She flat out refuses to talk about it. Even Trish doesn’t know. She thinks something bad happened with her ex, but she won’t talk to her about it either.”

I hate how perceptive Trish is at this exact moment.

“What does she think happened?” Jace asks, digging deeper.

“Apparently Jess dated some guy, who acted like the perfect gentleman, but slowly Trish saw less and less of Jess. She thinks he was keeping her isolated. I guess there was nearly a year gap where Trish couldn’t get a hold of her before Jess resurfaced. She says Jess was a shell of her former self, so jumpy and withdrawn but she wouldn’t tell her what happened. Eventually Jess said the guy cheated on her so she left, but Trish doesn’t buy it.”

Remind me to have words with Trish about shutting her God damn mouth!

It’s scary how accurate she is though. She saw through his act before I did. By the time I caught on, the damage was done and I’m trapped.

“That would certainly explain a lot,” Jace reflects. “She had a panic attack earlier today. Man, she was terrified. When I looked in her eyes, she wasn’t there with us anymore,” he trails off.

“It’s like she was trapped somewhere else, her eyes were open but she couldn’t see me. Chris had her but she just kept hitting and scratching him like she didn’t recognize him.”

Oh my god Jace! Why did you tell him that!?

He already spends far too much energy worrying about me. I don’t want him to treat me differently. I can’t handle that, not from Jude.

“I know you guys don’t see eye to eye, but you have to know how much she means to him. He’s struggling to control himself around her. It doesn’t help that I think she’s fighting the bond.” Jace pauses before his next question, “Does she know?”

How much I mean to who? What bond? Do I know what?

The urge to sit up and ask questions is tempered only by the need to know what else they know.

Jude shakes his head, “I don’t think so. She’s definitely fighting it, but her body recognizes it, even if her heart refuses to. I’ve seen how she reacts to his touch, leaning in subconsciously when she would recoil from others.”

He pauses, choosing his words carefully, “I think that’s what scares her. She’s spent so long building her walls. He’s smashing through them like butter and that vulnerability is terrifying to her.”

“Maybe if she knew, then she could make sense of her feelings?” Jace sounds hopeful. “I really wish she’d open up to someone, anyone, I hate seeing her suffering like this.”

I hate that they feel like this, but there’s nothing good to come out of talking about my past. It will just change how they see me.

They think I’m a good person, strong even. They’ll never look at me the same when they find out how weak, pathetic and dirty I really am.

“She just needs time,” Jude says, running a hand over my hair. “Chris isn’t going to win this with brute strength you know. The more he flashes his commanding authority, the more she’ll pull away.”

“Even he knows that, but you know what mates are like. His wolf has been driving him crazy to mark and claim her. You, as an unmated wolf, being so close just pushes that urgency.” Jace chuckles before adding, “You and I both know Alphas are just that much more intense.”

I’m sorry what?! What about mates? And this mark and claim nonsense?

Sighing, Jace gets up to leave. “I just wanted to make sure you guys were okay. I’ll talk to Chris, get him to give her some space. Nothing I can do will get him to leave her alone though. I think she cares for him too, she’s struggling with that. Can you talk to her about the mate bond? Maybe help her sort through her feelings and understand why she feels like this.”

Do I care for him? I’d be lying to myself if I said no.

As much as I’ve tried to keep my distance and boundaries, I have caught feelings for Chris.

Fuck. Wait, a mate bond is to blame?

“I’m not guaranteeing anything, but I’ll talk with her. If she doesn’t want anything to do with him, I won’t force her and I sure as hell am not letting anyone else either.” The threat is clear in Jude’s voice.

Jace lets out a cynical laugh. “Ever think you’re meant for more Jude?” There’s a guarded edge to his tone, like he suspects something.

“I’m fine where I’m at, I don’t need more,” Jude mumbles, brushing my hair back.

“Need or not, there are bigger plans for you I think,” Jace trails off cryptically.

“I don’t understand,” Judes says, confused.

“You will,” Jace says with a soft laugh. The chair creaks as he gets up before making his way to the front door. The soft click of the door as he closes it behind him lifts a weight off of me, releasing a tension I hadn’t realized was there.

Sleep takes me shortly after he left, and fortunately it was a deep dreamless night.

-----

Sun streams through the open window, waking me from a deep slumber. At first I freeze not knowing where I am. As the fogginess leaves me I remember and relax.

Jude’s sleeping form is wrapped up beneath me. I blush at the contact, but it feels so different then when I’m with Chris. I frown.

If Chris saw us right now he’d try and kill Jude for sure.

Slowly, I push myself up trying to untangle from him without waking Jude up.

“Morning,” Jude says, his voice husky from sleep. “How’d you sleep?”

I can’t help my blush as I jump up, he stretches and stands. “Better than I thought possible,” I admit.

“Same,” he sounds surprised as he heads to the kitchen, focused on coffee. Before long, he sets a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon in front of me before sitting to eat his own.

“Jace came by last night,” he starts. Jude rubs the back of his neck, stalling as he searches for how to continue. “I think there’s some things we need to go over.”

I sit back and stare, I don’t even know where to begin with this conversation, so I play dumb. “Is he mad?”

“No,” he laughs. “He’s just trying to make sense of everything like we are. Mostly he just came by to make sure you were okay.”

Hmm, is that how you’re going to play it Jude?

“That was nice of him, was that all?” I lock on to his eyes waiting to see what he would do.

“No,” he sighs. “Jace brought up some other things we should talk about, but I don’t even know how to start.”

A sense of relief hits me as I realize he wasn’t going to hide anything from me. “I heard,” I trail off.

Jude just looks at me, confused. “I heard you guys talking, I woke up, but I didn’t want to deal with anyone so I pretended to sleep.” His look of embarrassment makes me feel guilty.

“How much did you hear?”

“All of it,” I mumble.

He simply nods, his tight-lipped expression unreadable. “I’m gonna guess you have questions.” His blue eyes are locked on mine as he leans back and studies me for any reaction as to how I feel.

Ya think?!

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