Hospitals were places that Selena despised. The smell, the sounds, and the gloomy atmosphere overrun by a sense of looming death always made her feel uncomfortable. Selena fidgeted with her fingers as she sat meters away from Nathaniel and Katie.
Katie laid in bed talking to Nathaniel. Their voices were barely audible but Selena quickly surmised what they were talking about. The creases on Nathaniel’s pale face were evident of the dread inside of him.
He looked at Katie as if she was the most delicate creature to have ever been born and held her as if she was about to lose her life. Like it was the last time they were going to see each other.
Selena’s confusion grew further. He was so gentle but not to her. He only had eyes for his chosen mate and that fact alone caused bubbles of jealousy to surface inside of her.
She knew it was wrong to feel this way when Katie was lying pale and pasty on a bed but she wondered how it would feel to have him hold and look at her just as the way he did to Katie.
To have him look at her with overflowing love.
“For the Moon’s sake, Nathaniel. What have you been doing to Katie?” Jacob ruefully glared towards them.
He was sitting next to Selena and his sunny disposition from before had turned into a thunderous storm. The frown on his face was plastered permanently ever since he helped carry Katie to the hospital.
“Don’t worry about it, Jacob. I received a text from work about a situation that should have been settled months ago. It’s not your brother’s fault.” Katie tried her best to smile.
“I told you to take it easy, didn’t I?” Nathaniel sighs. “You don’t listen to me.”
“Work is work, Nate. You can’t expect me to not think about it and I can’t lose an investor.”
“I only expect you to take it easy, that’s all. You know your wolf can’t handle the stress.” He cups her cheek with his hand and pecks her forehead.
“Okay, I’ll let the others handle it for now.” She looks away from him.
Nathaniel’s domineering and determined stare made its way to Selena. It shined with worry and guilt but all she could do was turn and close her eyes, gulping noisily to conceal the words that were bubbling inside of her.
Why did it hurt to feel mad? Selena’s heart raced at an unfathomable speed as again, the love she had was nothing but a feeling filled with hurt and not the bliss she saw from others.
“Well, I have to speak with the doctor. He’s probably shaken once he reads your medical record. Try to sleep.”
He clears his throat and swiftly passed Selena’s petrified body. His intoxicating smell engrossed her, sealing her fears in and throwing her hatred aside.
If only he would say the words to let her go, maybe then she wouldn’t be feeling this way.
“I’ll go too, I need to relieve myself.” Jacob followed his brother out of the room.
Almost immediately, Selena dreaded the time she and Katie were going to be alone. Though she sat a good distance away from the ailing wolf, she was panicking left and right.
Katie’s body wrapped in a hospital gown looked small laid in a bed of sheets. She had her eyes closed and lips slightly apart like she was completely asleep. After she collapsed on the street, Selena remembered how Nathaniel broke down and kept chanting her name. Even though she had mixed feelings for him, that moment made her see that even the great Alpha of the North was vulnerable to emotions.
She crumpled her heart, letting despair crush her emotions.
Just as she was about to close her eyes, Katie called her name.
“Selena…” The wolf’s voice was sickly weak.
“Uh…yes?” She hesitated to answer.
“Come closer, I’m not going to bite. I promise.” She chuckles.
Selena nervously replied with her laugh.
“Shouldn’t you be resting?” She clears her throat. “Alpha Stormwind would be upset.”
She shook her head. “Don’t worry about him. He seems to think that I might break at every single step.”
Selena thought hard and weighed her words carefully. Kayla Marie was the wolf that her mate chose and Selena was well aware of that.
“You and Jacob seem very taken with each other…” The wolf spoke out of nowhere, catching Selena off guard.
“Oh, uh, he and I were friends once. Only for a week back years ago at a vacation.”
“Vacation…that vacation? Hmm, well. Let’s not talk about it then.” Katie looked at her. “I was supposed to come along but I was sick for a whole month.”
It was no longer a surprise for her that even Katie knew of what happened years ago. The event was well known and the packs involved seemed to just want to forget everything that occurred.
“Thank you…” She answers.
“So, does that mean you and Nathaniel knew each other as well? He was there with Jacob and their parents.”
Selena’s heart jumped as her eyes widened from shock.
“Y-yes. We talked but it was a quick encounter. Alpha Stormwind was not too inclined with speaking to a twelve-year-old. He was always busy talking to someone on his phone.”
“Eight years ago, when he was in college all he did was call and scream at me. Always worrying about my sickness and all that. You should see him have a breakdown, he’s far more terrifying than what you just saw now. But he means well. The only thing is, he doesn’t know how to show his intentions. I think he’s afraid to hurt his male ego like all men are.”
Selena knew Nathaniel as the cold-blooded Alpha of the North. His title as the Stormwind was well earned too. Like what she saw, under the shower of blood and grime with petals of snow falling from the sky, he swiftly ended the lives of wolves that attacked him.
He kills as fast as the wind moves.
The axes he held flew in the air, impaling those who were unlucky enough to be in its tracks.
With all that she was hearing now, Nathaniel stood under a light that was far too bright from what she knew him from. It only added more fuel to her confusion.
Her quest to find and uncover dirt from him had turned immediately sour.
“Do you uh…get sick easily?”
Truth be told, Selena wasn’t sure if ‘sick’ was the appropriate word to describe what Katie had.
“Just when I’m under a lot of stress or when I’m injured. My wolf is already busy constantly repairing my body, it doesn’t need to worry about other things.” She shrugs.
Jacob did say that Katie was a sick wolf but she wasn’t expecting it to be this grave.
“Constantly?” Selena knitted her brows.
“I’m not a full wolf.” She answered. “My grandmother was a human. A very sickly human. She had a hereditary disease which my mother inherited then to my brother and me. It’s not usual for wolves to die from human sickness, but in my case, cancer will be the death of me.”
It was the first time Selena had encountered someone with Katie’s affliction. The notion was completely unbelievable but seeing what was in front of her made her yield and stare.
She could only imagine the immense pain Katie had to go through. If her wolf was constantly repairing her body then it would also mean that she wasn’t able to shift to her wolf. And a wolf who couldn’t shift was no wolf at all.
“I can’t begin to imagine what you feel. The more time passes, the more our wolves weaken.” She murmured darkly.
“You’re right. I’m still alive because of my wolf and I only have some time left and that’s why I need to ask you, Selena.” Katie’s tone deepened.
Selena froze, watching her cautiously.
“Ask me what?”
“Have you heard about what happened to my brother?” Katie tried her best not to fall apart as she gave Selena a warm smile. “As I said, he was sick too. On his twenty-eighth birthday, he met his mate. He explained our family’s curse to her and she was quick to reject him. She left him because of something he couldn’t control. As wolves do, he killed himself by starving himself to death. It was a death slow and painful and a week after he was buried, his mate returned and begged me to tell her where my brother is. Isn’t love fickle?”
There was a dull pain in the pit of her stomach and Selena knew what it was. Katie’s story had successfully pulled her into a pool of guilt and pity.
“I don’t understand. Was that your question?” Selena spoke once she managed to regain her wits.
Katie sighed. “I know what you’re thinking…why I would want to covet someone else’s mate when I know first hand how much pain it brings to the table? My brother died because he didn’t prepare himself but now I’ve learned from his mistakes. I’m with Nathaniel because I’m afraid I’m going to end up just like my brother.”
Anger surrounded Selena’s vision. It wasn’t her intention to feel the way she was, but something about Katie’s words mocked her. She couldn’t help but feel hopeless. Like a dark veil of despair covered her eyes.
A side of her knew where the feeling was stemming from but she would have to go through hell before she would admit it.
“What would you do if your mate or Alpha Stormwind’s mate show up? Wouldn’t that be a problem?”
Katie shrugs. “I know I’ll always choose Nathaniel. I know my heart belongs only to him and I know he’s going to choose me too. I made him promise that no matter what happens, he and I were going to stick together.”
Selena’s hands formed into fists.
For Katie, Nathaniel was only a cushion. There to catch her in case she might bruise herself.
Nathaniel was nothing but a fail-safe option for her.
She dared not to dig in too much and assume the things that suddenly bombarded her mind. Selena’s thoughts keep prying her emotions open and she knew she couldn’t let this happen any further.
“And now for my question. I need to know if something is going on between you and Nathaniel. Has he said anything to you? Did he hurt you?”
Hurt was a word that failed to encapsulate the emotions that took Selena in. He had managed to confuse and pull the rug under her feet all the while making her look like a fool.
Selena smiled, feigning her confusion despite her heart aching.
“What makes you ask me that?”
The wolf clears her throat, gulping before she spoke.
“You look at him as if he’s murdered your family. I just don’t understand. Are you intimidated by him? While he was in pack Highcliff, did he hurt you?”
“No,” she shook her head. “No, of course not.”
Not physically, but emotionally. He scarred Selena’s heart.
“Are you sure?” Katie chuckled humorlessly. “I’m just insecure, Selena. I know Nate won’t ever leave me but why does he look at you like he’s been hurting? Ever since you arrived, he hasn’t been sleeping well. Last night I woke up to hear him murmuring your name in his sleep. He told me to brush it off like it was nothing but I know it’s not.”
“Whatever you’re thinking, it’s not what it is.” Selena breathed heavily.
“I understand that teenagers like you would seek approval from older men—”
“No, you've gotten it all wrong.”
“Selena, I’m not a moron!” Katie raised her voice. “I may be weak now and I have little to no knowledge of combat but I will fight for him the way I know, even if it draws my last breath.”
Was this desperation? The scarred tone of her voice froze Selena. Her body shook as she remained still. Up to this point, Selena was reluctant to feel anything but after hearing Katie, she grew incredulous of her own emotions.
Does Katie even love him?
That question alone flung back and forth in her mind.
Wounded like an animal, wolves fight back harder. It’s only the primal reaction to being thrown away or when people get hurt. But were her emotions not counted? Selena wondered why she didn’t fight for Nathaniel and why she easily gave up. Her will to fight and avenge her parents’ death was still glowing bright and she feared that having Nathaniel might make her lose her purpose.
Maybe that’s why she was so eager to reject him?
As Nathaniel was a pillow to land on for Katie, he was simply a block on the road for Selena.
It was easier to untangle herself from fate than to dip her feet into the quagmire of emotions Nathaniel had managed to draw out of her.
She held back a tear.
Selena was more than ready to sacrifice her heart and happiness and Nathaniel to kill the wolves that murdered her parents. The wolves who her brother wrote about in his letter.
“Alpha Stormwind is a man with many duties. I fear that my brother imposed too much of a burden on him when my brother asked him to take me in. After all, I am quite the troublemaker back home. Rebellious, even. He was probably worried that I might be too much to handle.”
Selena lied through her teeth. She wore her best smile and shrugged her shoulders with nonchalance. She never needed to pretend before, only this moment was inescapable and Katie was a wolf who was ready to fight and not lose anything.
“If anything, I wouldn’t know if he was trying to move in on me. I’ve never had anyone look at me the way a man looks at a woman with affection before. I wouldn’t know if it would hit me in the face.”
Katie looked at her with overflowing disbelief. Sadly, Selena couldn’t lie to save her life. She burned in anxiousness while she stared at the wolf. Katie’s dark disposition was unwavering and soon after, Selena feared that she might crack under pressure.
Just when she was about to crumble the door creaked open and Nathaniel walked in with a bewildered expression planted on his pale face. His gray, saddened eyes land only on Selena. Her throat became a desert, drying out her worry. Just the sight of his face made Selena want to scream. Easily, he made her go insane, bombarding her with so many thoughts at once.
“Is everything okay?” He cautiously waltzed into the room.
“Alpha Stormwind, Kayla Marie was just telling me to look for you. Now that you’re here, I guess I can leave the two of you alone.”
She breathed heavily and brushes past the fear-stricken Alpha. Every step she took made it harder for her to walk.
In the white corridor filled with intermingling smells, Selena walked aimlessly. She didn’t want to regret her choices. To let go of Nathaniel was a decision she needed to stand her ground on and staying there, to watch him adore the wolf who treated him as an unimpeachable foolproof option to guarantee no heartaches, meant she was having seconds thoughts.
With a clouded mind, Selena didn’t notice the man in front of her. Jacob who held two cups of coffee in his hands looked at her with worry. He cocks his head and moved his lips to form a question, but before he could, Selena buried her face unto his chest.
“Lena, my wolf. Are you okay?” He asks.
“Can I stay like this just for a moment?”
“Take all the time you need.”
For the first time in such a long time, Selena felt a haven when she took in Jacob’s friendly scent.
In a distance, Nathaniel watched his brother embrace Selena. A part of him slowly withered away while he stood, afraid to move. In his eyes, she was happier without him. The soft glow of her pale skin, the wondrous tendrils of her raven-dark hair, and the smallness of her body, all the things that made her who she was were everything that he wanted to hold and touch.
The ache in his heart was indescribable but he knew that to one day see her smile, he would eventually need to let her go.
Hey there awesome people! As promised, here you go!
For me, I'm really liking where the story is going. It's the original plotline I wrote down and I know people are bound to dislike the story, and that's cool but we’re still in the early parts of the book and it would be just awesome if you decided to stay and give it a chance.
That being said, I hope you liked the chapter!