Jacob waltzed through the foyer with his head held high. He was used to smiling and pretending that everything was okay and this time was no different. After a day of hopping from wolf to wolf, he was ready to retire and sleep in his cozy bed.
While on the inside he tried to remain happy, there was a sudden change of atmosphere as he trudged through the mess hall. Most of the time, the mess hall was filled with lively laughter but somehow it was absent.
A whispering voice caught and piqued his attention, making him turn to where the voice came from. It was Lively, Winston, and another wolf, Beta Lilian. The seriousness of their looks made his lips form into a grimace. Sighing, he moved his feet and quickly masked himself with a toothy grin as he approached them.
“My, my, where’s the funeral? The bunch of you look tremendously awful, especially you, Lilly. Shouldn’t you be smiling after that lengthy vacation of yours?” Jacob butted in, causing multiple death glares in his wake.
“You should watch what you’re saying, junior.” Lilian sneered.
“Woah now, easy. I know you bite.”
Jacob opted to make light of the situation despite it seemingly being heavy.
“Jacob,” Winston’s big calm voice entered his ears. “It’s about Nathaniel.”
“No,” Lively grimaced. “It’s about Selena. Nathaniel can eat it if he thinks his pain is greater than Selena’s.”
Jacob’s chest tightened. “Pardon?”
He searched for the answer in their eyes but found only the dark bitterness of the situation.
“No one told you yet?” Lilian arched a brow.
“I wouldn’t be asking now, would I?” He retorted.
She glared at him. “Alpha Morris brought his mate back from the latest Remmington attack, Selena. Alpha Talon arrived here hours ago to officially drop the links between our packs. He caught wind of Kayla Marie and Nathaniel’s wedding and well, you can divine the rest.”
“So, junior. There’s your funeral. Your brother brought his mate here only to reject her and smiled through a dinner with Katie.” Lively spat.
He froze, gulping as his lips nervously shook. He wanted to believe that all he heard was a lie but their tone of voice and angered expressions proved otherwise. His denial was unprepared and the great wave of realization crept through his heart.
The smile on Selena’s face dawned upon him. Now he understood why it was hard to see a genuine grin coming from her pale face. When she smiled, Nathaniel was there to dim her and Jacob felt like a fool to not see it earlier. His face slowly contorted into anger as he turned his heels and headed for Nathaniel’s office.
Nathaniel hissed as Eliza dabbed a cotton ball soaked with alcohol on the cut that Alpha Talon left on his cheek. He draws himself back and stares at his mother.
“You still haven’t changed, just like your father.” Eliza sullenly murmured.
His mother’s warmhearted comment didn’t elicit the response Eliza hoped it would. There was no escaping this. Especially when it was only starting. He had already foreseen then but he couldn’t pretend that he was ready for all of it.
He had hoped to pay for everything by sending that email to Talon, he was going to lose a lot of things but to rope Katie in by getting her rejected was not a future he imagined.
Now, Katie was fighting for her life again only this time it went for the worse. Her wolf had completely shut itself down and he had no way of trying to help her. Time would only dictate if Katie can pull herself out of her despair and for her to escape her troubles.
Though he didn’t have the leisure of time. Most of the pack members have been vocal for him to clear the smog of doubt that has appeared over their heads after Talon appeared and they all deserve to know the truth he just needed more time to gather his wits. Even he still couldn’t thoroughly grasp the events that transpired to lead him here.
“Are we going to talk about it now?” His mother asked.
He grimaced. “There’s nothing to talk about, mother. I rejected Selena, her brother found out, and then he proceeded to break my nose after he cut ties with our pack.”
His rushed response made Eliza sigh.
“Nathaniel, you’re shutting yourself in again. Don’t do that.” She spoke.
“What do you expect me to do mother? Cry? I’ve done so before and it didn’t fix anything.” He coldly murmured.
Eliza took time to answer as she processed the woeful hurt in her son’s words.
“This is my fault,” She leaned closer to him. “I shouldn’t have given Katie that ring and set that trip. I’m sorry, son.”
Nathaniel swallowed the lump in this throat and stared at his mother, completely aghast from what he had just heard. He knew something was off the moment Katie offered a trip outside the country. Of all people, she knew that Nathaniel has never once left the country, especially because of his innate fear of small spaces. It was also his first time riding a plane. But every insignificant detail for their trip was nothing special when considering Katie was the one who knelt on one knee under the Eiffel tower. Though he could not place all the blame on Eliza. He also went along with Katie lying about the real events of their engagement.
In his mind, a man should always shoulder the responsibility of kneeling on one knee and it always never bodes well when a girl proposes. Her reputation would be rendered only as a desperate wanton and sadly, that was how the world around them works. If he were to reveal that detail to the pack, heads would be turning south.
“I coaxed her into marrying you after you returned home from pack Highcliff. I feared that one day you may never return and you would never experience what it would be like to have your own family. The worst part is, I told Selena about it but I told her that it was you that proposed to Katie.”
Eliza’s confession made him want to vomit. The surreal anger that he faced was unexpectedly overwhelming as it boiled in his blood. Marriage was not something he looked forward to, but it had to be done. What angered him the most is Eliza’s meddling hands.
The thing that struck him the most was Selena’s will to stay even after learning about his engagement with Katie.
He truly has gone over the edge on hurting his mate and he wasn’t the tiniest bit proud of it. At least now, she would find happiness in the arms of another wolf. That was what he hoped for to come about of this. Selena’s happiness.
But he has accepted her rejection, she was free to do whatever she wanted.
“It’s done now. No hope looking into the past.” He says. “Our main concern should only be the well-being of the pack.”
“But what about you? The pack needs a wolf to lead them.”
He nodded. “If you’re talking about my wolf, he’s still unresponsive.”
Nathaniel gazed at his hand, eyeing the cut of rejection that he inflected. His blood had already stained the bandage from white to a gruesome red.
“If you rejected her without any other qualms or hesitations, your wolf will heal in about a couple of days or so.”
He raised a brow.
“Is that what happened to you?”
“Yes,” Eliza nodded. “Though, mine healed after two weeks. In the meantime, you won’t be able to shift into your wolf which means I’ll be in charge of the pack while you recuperate. Until then-”
“No, mother. The pack is already steaming with rumors and I owe it to them, to be honest. Let’s not mask the truth with a layer of cotton and make things worse.”
He was determined to make everything right. Maybe not for Selena but the good of his people, he wanted to face everything that he has done wrong.
“They will never look at you the way same again.” Eliza stood, looking away to the window.
“I’ve never cared for my image, mother. They can look at me the way they want all that matters is they are safe.”
“Are you ready to lose some of them?”
Nathaniel was more than ready. He had already predicted this part. He was going to lose more things and words of his actions have already spread through other packs.
“We lost pack Albrich and pack San Ignacio. They sent me a message to call off our military presence in their lands. Pack Waterford is yet to send word for us.”
It was easy to understand why pack Morris was losing support quickly. Both pack Albrich and San Ignacio were fiercely loyal to pack Highcliff. As their primary source of funding for their buildings and operations, it was understandable why they did what they did and Nathaniel couldn’t blame them. After all, this was another outcome that he anticipated.
“I doubt Waterford would drop us so easily after your father helped them so many times before.” Eliza tried to smile though quickly grimaced. “How is Katie?”
“She’s recovering at the clinic. After her rejection, her wolf has since been quiet.” He answered.
It wasn’t easy to look at Katie’s current state and he feared that she might not be able to pull through. Without her wolf, the chances of her living had drastically slimmed down. Though his emotions for her weren’t as strong as he hoped for. All he could do now was to be there for her.
“Let’s just hope that the Moon is kind enough to give us clemency against our trespasses and heal Katie.” She sighed.
‘Yes, clemency.’ Nathaniel mocked.
Asking the Moon for clemency was a stupid thing to hope for. If the Moon was truly merciful, why did She punish him with inescapable retribution even before he found true happiness? When Katie came to him, asking for him to try and love her, he only looked at her with care.
Now he was left to pick up the broken pieces of his life.
In his contemplation, the door to his office opened with a loud crash and suddenly, the sound of Jacob charging him to the floor made him still as he looked at the furious glint of unfathomable rage in his brother’s eyes.
“You fucking asshole, Nathaniel. What have you done?” Jacob held Nathaniel’s collar and slammed his head against the hardwood floor.
Nathaniel still couldn’t react. He was completely immobilized by the quickness of the situation.
“Jacob, stop this,” Eliza exclaimed, holding Jacob’s shoulders.
But with one shove, Jacob pushed her away, growling as he returned his attention to his brother.
“Stay out of this Eliza, don’t you dare use that soft, pretentious tone at me.” He screeched.
With that, Nathaniel pushed his brother to the floor. Reversing their position and pinning Jacob down the floor. He raised his fist while holding Jacob’s neck.
“Stop it, the both of you!” Eliza spoke again only to be quickly ignored.
Jacob and Nathaniel remain in a stalemate. Nathaniel didn’t want to hurt his younger brother. He was family and precious to him. Maybe he should have expected this when he and Selena went along so well together.
Could it be that both of them were involved? He grimaced at the idea but quickly let it go. He walked around with Katie hanging on his shoulder and he had no right to question Selena.
“Eliza? What are you thinking, junior?” Nathaniel glared at him.
“What? Do you expect me to come and be civil right after what you’ve said and done? You lost the right to be my mother a long time ago. And you. You are not my brother anymore.”
Jacob managed to fight himself away from Nathaniel’s grasp and stood, walking backward. He stayed still, quietly seething in anger while he glared at them.
“You sick fuck. She smiled right through that dinner, pretending she was okay. Like…like the man who rejected her was not sitting in front of her. Did you even consider her feelings? Katie was fucking you with her eyes while Selena watched.”
Nathaniel didn’t say a word. He knew that nothing he could say would fix any of this. It might even make everything worse.
He opted to look over his petrified mother and ruefully frowned once he saw the wet streaks of tears that blemished her pale skin.
“You can’t even explain yourself.” Jacob groaned. “None of you realize how much rejection fucked me up. Dad never looked at me the way he looks at Nathaniel and while my mother was here, she was so busy trying to regain whatever grace she lost to even bat an eyelid at me.”
“No, Jacob. I love you.” Eliza sobbed.
His face contorted into a surreal mask of utter disgust as he stared at his mother. It made Jacob feel even more alone and scared. He wasn’t plagued with guilt after making his mother cry, only, he felt just.
His heartless expression only grew further as he looked away.
“If you do love me, tell me where I disappear to during the day.”
Taken in by silence, both Nathaniel and Eliza keep to themselves. Nathaniel knew his brother well and knew the right answer. But what would his brother do if he answered?
“You were cleaning out Dad and Lukas’s gravestones.” Nathaniel cautiously whispered. “Then you went to a party full of naked wolves.”
“An orgy, Nathaniel. I went out to fuck strangers.” Humorlessly, he chuckled. “I’m surprised you took the time and effort to have someone eye me though you’re not the one I asked. Our clueless mother seems to think she knows me.”
He glared at Eliza.
“You don’t mean that, Jacob. You don’t mean any of that.” She walked towards him. Nathaniel was quick to hold her shoulder and shook his head, silently telling her not to walk any further.
The room darkened along with Jacob’s gaze. His determined eyes sparked with unrestrained emotions about to burst.
“I look for comfort and approval from dead wolves and wolves who have nothing to lose because the acceptance I seek for in our so-called family never comes when I need them.”
“Because you never open up!” Eliza hopelessly screamed.
“You expect me to open up when you can’t be even bothered to ask. I’ve opened up to you so many times before but you were so busy trying to please father with your extravagant ploys of grandeur to pique his interest you for once again.”
The truth hurt too much to not accept it. For a while, Nathaniel chose to not see the grim path his mother chose for them. Now that everything was in front of him, he couldn’t help but feel darkly sad.
“If you would have told me, I would have done everything to fix everything.”
“Like you tried to fix your relationship with dad?” Jacob spat.
“Enough of this, Jacob. Please, just stop.” Nathaniel spoke, finding Eliza’s tears too unbearable to look at.
“I don’t have to listen to the both of you anymore,” Jacob replied. “I’ve realized long ago how fucked up this family is. I only chose to ignore it because stupidly and I didn’t want to lose it even if this was no longer a family.”
“But we are a family, Jacob. We can fix this. I know we can.” Eliza breathed heavily. The fear in her eyes consumed Jacob with a sudden rise of guilt.
“You can’t fix something this broken. I never felt love from this family except you, Nathaniel. Though you had to hide it because our father never wanted you to be by my side. Every time you secretly took me out to someplace new, that’s when I thought I was part of a family. And I admired you for that and so many other things because you were there always for me but when you weren’t, Lukas and I were the real family. When his mate left him, he died because of it. That was when I needed you the most but instead of being there, you chose to be swindled by that wolf, Kayla-fucking-Marie.
Now, Selena is going through the same thing. I just hope she has better friends where she is now because if something happens to her, I swear Nathaniel. I’d rather die than be associated with wolves who took an innocent wolf and ruined her life. I am a wolf of pack Morris and I am ashamed of it.”
Swindled? No. Nathaniel perfectly knew what he was getting into with Katie. Just like his mother’s mistake, he was treading on the same path. Only this time, he chose to be in it.
He looked to Selena as his final light and in the end, he only ended up snuffing her out.
As of now, he still yet looked for a concrete reason why he selfishly took Selena and hurt her and he hoped to find it as soon as possible.
Nathaniel felt guilt tackle him. He’d never expected Jacob to feel the way he was. And yet again, Jacob’s anger was rooted in the decision and promise he made years ago. How would he ever explain it all to his brother?
“I used to think she took you away from me but now I think you did all of this to yourself. I hope you’re happy now and I wish you and Katie burn in hell.”
Jacob breathed deeply as a single tear dropped from his eyes to the floor. He glances at Nathaniel and mutters a chain of cusses before heading for the door.
While he watched his brother walked away with his head hanging low, Nathaniel wanted to reach his hand out and apologize. He couldn’t even remember when was the last time he embraced his brother in a warm hug. But no matter what he would say and do, nothing could change the fact that he had neglected Jacob and failed to be there for him.
Though he prided himself on the idea of family, his inability to see his brother’s hurt rendered him into stone.
Not only he failed as a mate, but he also failed as an Alpha and a brother.
The sadder thing is, he knew that this was just the start of it. He was going to lose a lot of things because this was the Moon’s punishment, an outcome of his choices. The best he could do was salvage everything and repair what he could, even if it meant braving himself for the disaster looming over their head.
Hello, everyone! Thank you so much for adding my story into your reading lists! I hope you had a good time reading. <3