Time ticked away as Selena stood beside her brother’s door. Francis and beta Julius stood next to her as they watched the pack doctor and Talon handles Katie with care. While watching, Selena felt Francis’s silent rage flowing out of his body to her. She felt the anxiousness of his wolf and so too his unrequited emotions of distaste towards the ailing wolf.
The doctor was brought in as soon as Katie was placed in her brother’s bed and an hour later, they still weren’t finished examining her as every conclusion the doctor arrived to, Talon was adamant about re-examining her again like he was paranoid husband to a dying wife.
“Her vitals are up and running, hugely different from when I first examined her, Alpha. She’s doing fine but until her wolf resurfaces, we may not be able to be sure.” The doctor says, patting Talon’s shoulder.
“Are you sure there’s nothing we can do? She’s part human maybe we can put her up in a hospital?” He widened his eyes while trying to conceal the emotions that were already pouring out of his words.
“I can guarantee you, your wolf is safely nestled within her. A few days or so then we might see some results, for now, let’s give her some space. Otherwise, we might tire ourselves waiting for nothing.”
Talon nodded hesitantly. “If that is your evaluation, then I will trust it. But if something happens, please be always available.”
“Of course, Alpha. But I suggest that you rest too. With your wolf temporarily gone, it’ll be physically taxing for you to spend too much strength.”
“If that is all, I’d like to take my leave. The atmosphere here is suffocating.” The doctor gestured towards the three of them, Selena, Julius, and Francis.
The three of them were equally unhappy but for different reasons. Selena was unhappy with Katie being so near her brother. Julius was upset that all of the Alpha’s duties were going to be passed down to him which lead to more workload and Francis didn’t like how his cousin currently didn’t have his wolf and in his thoughts, ‘In a lecherous wolf’s body.’
Talon simply knit his brows and looked at them while wearing a confused face.
The doctor leaves but not before looking at the three of them while he shook his head as if warning that something was about to happen.
Selena wanted to say a lot of things. But her words were all just grumbled, intertwined thoughts that had little to no meaning. Above everything, she wanted to send Katie back to pack Highcliff then completely forget that she had ever existed. If only Talon knew everything Selena had gone through, he would understand why she was on the fence about Katie.
But Katie wasn’t a bad person either. She was only afraid of being alone that’s why she chose Nathaniel as her mate. Selena was beginning to have a hard time staying angry at the people around her, knowing that none of them did anything evil in the first place.
Well, maybe except for Nathaniel. Though she wasn’t too sure about everything surrounding him and his decisions, she was to keep him on the side and stay away from anything he wanted to say to her.
“Julius, you will be in charge of coordinating with Alpha Joseph while I tend to my mate. We don’t know until when will I be like this so I trust that you will perform your tasks at your fullest potential.”
Julius heaved a cumbersome sigh and nodded.
“As you wish, sir.” He replied, collecting his composure and leaving after giving the Alpha one quick and dutiful nod.
The Alpha’s attention was pinned back to his sister and cousin. After an awkward exchange of silent stares, Talon turned his back on them and sat on the bed. Talon sported an embarrassed mask while he looked at them.
“I’m sorry, to the both of you.” He purses his lips together. “Especially you, Selena. I know I’ve disappointed all of you.”
“Disappointed? No, cousin. I’m not disappointed at all. It’s just the timing for this is all too unexpected. You need your wolf now more than ever and that…uh, the wolf may not wake up for weeks.” Francis garbled his last few words.
“I know but I had no choice. It was her life on the line and… and I…”
“It’s okay. Cousin, I understand that your mate’s pull is irresistible but I question if you took into consideration all the risks that came with it, much more the repercussions.”
Talon’s face fell into a grimace.
“I have but it was sudden and I was afraid if I had taken any longer, things would have gotten worse.”
Selena couldn’t also quickly blame her brother. When he was about to mark Katie, he was nervously guilty while looking at her. But that still didn’t mean she couldn’t get mad.
“I don’t know, cousin. I can’t say I thoroughly approve but Selena-”
“No, it’s okay. You don’t have to put a word for me but thank you, cousin.” Selena murmured. “I can manage to speak what I feel.”
Selena raised her eyes to meet Talon. All her emotions had gathered behind her tongue and she was afraid that what she was going to say maybe unjustified when considering, Talon only wanted a mate and that was not his fault that Katie was the wolf that the Moon picked.
“Yo-you weren’t there.” She stuttered. “I was there when they announced when they were getting married. Katie flaunted her ring around the room and I watched them walk around with their smiles.”
Talon’s remorse was very visible. His trembling fingers curled into the palm of his hand while he looked at his feet, completely terrified to see the hurt his choice has done to his sister.
She wondered why Katie had to come here now. She hadn’t had enough time to fully recover from past events and this was just another thing that completely took a hold of her, bounding her feet in the same ground.
How was she supposed to move on when everything still wasn’t over?
A cold shiver ran down her spine when she realized how selfish she sounded. Selena would never wish her brother to be alone but maybe in a few years, she would eventually try to let go of it. But she was stubborn. She didn’t want to admit to herself that Katie only wanted to be happy too.
Despite knowing that the words in her head were scorching and wrong, she needed to convince her brother otherwise.
“They walked around the pack. Alpha Nathaniel’s scent on her and her on him. Yes, my time in pack Morris was relatively short but I was terrified even if I pretended to stand on my own feet. I stayed there to reject him so I won’t lose my purpose. If I had fallen in love with him, I wouldn’t be able to find justice for what the Remmingtons have done to our parents.”
Talon looks up, his gaze was piercingly cold.
“So you want me to go through what you did? Not follow my heart and throw everything away?” He asked.
Selena immediately bit back her tongue.
“N-no! That’s not what I meant. I’ve sacrificed my happiness for the greater good. For our family.”
“For our family… or for you?” Talon challenged her.
Before, Selena had no doubt. For everything that she did, it was only for her parents. But her conviction was easily tested when it came to her brother’s words.
“For family.” She answered.
“No, Selena. For you, you did it for you. I’ve moved on a long time ago. Mulling it about what happened years ago won’t bring back mother and father only, it’s going to hold you back.” Talon angrily spat.
Her brown eyes darkened as overwhelming anger coursed through her veins.
“You’ve moved on from what those monsters did to them? To our family? Have you also started to forget everything that they taught us? To always have each other’s back and—”
“Don’t be a hypocrite, Selena!” Talon bellowed. “You’re doing the same thing right now. And the last thing I remembered, they never taught us to hold a grudge this fucking long.”
She narrowed her eyes at him.
“How could I easily let it go when I watched them be buried only for their heads be sent to us, gift wrapped, their eyes gouged out, and their tongue cut days later?”
Selena often turned to happy moments to forget that one scene. A box arriving in their gates, reeking of a foul smell, addressed to her and her brother. It was that they when Selena swore revenge against the Remmingtons.
“Or maybe you just suddenly forgot? After all, that feeling of bliss and content when you see your mate is purely overwhelming that you can’t think of anything else. I suggest you savor it. Because the only man Kayla Marie will ever love is Nathaniel, she told me so. And when she wakes up, she will always choose him, not you.”
He stood, walking towards her with a pointed glare. Before he reached her, Francis was quick to come between them.
“Cousin, please don’t. Aunt and Uncle wouldn’t be pleased if their children will start fighting now.” Francis held Talon’s shoulders though that didn’t stop him from glaring at his sister.
“I went to pack Morris because I was upset and enraged that Nathaniel had the gull to invite me to his wedding. I was terrified the whole time I was driving to come and get you because I thought he was doing something terrible to you. But it was wrong of me to worry when considering maybe it’s your fault.”
The vile in Talon’s voice was what stuck out the most. He wasn’t holding himself back and Selena couldn’t hold herself too.
“Yes, maybe it is my fault for sacrificing everything but I did so in order not to lose my sight, my purpose.” She spat. “You could have chosen another way but instead you take her into our home.”
“What was I supposed to do, Selena? Let her die?”
Selena gulped before answering with a saddened and determined voice.
Talon shook his head, shocked by what he had just heard. He only stared at her in disbelief until he regains the ability to speak.
“Who are you?” He asked.
The visible shock in her face grew wider while her emotions leaked from every seam of her body. It was mostly his response that broke her down and ripped her into pieces. The contempt in his brown eye was immeasurable.
Though she understood why that was his reaction. Her response was a stupid slip of her tongue driven by the tidal waves of her emotions. She drowned in despair as he looked over her. She had nothing more to say, afraid that one more word will destroy everything she had with her brother if anything was left.
Selena bit her lip.
“I’m not going to live in the same house with that wolf!” She says. “I’d rather skin myself.”
“Oh, really? Where are you going to live? Think, Selena, think. You have no money and no place to stay.”
“Cousin, please just try to calm down.” Francis held Talon back.
“Don’t encourage her, Francis,” Talon ordered as he glared at his cousin.
“Since you’re so less inclined in taking revenge for our parents, maybe it’s best to leave you and Katie alone to repeatedly fuck each other.” She whispered.
“You wouldn’t dare.” He glowered.
With a stomp on his foot, Francis spoke loudly.
“Okay, enough with the both of you.” Francis pushed him away, creating distance between the siblings. “Forgive me, cousin but you two are starting to act like children. Especially you, Selena. If you really want to leave, Mr. and Mrs. R have a bed in their basement. I think the two of you should blow off some steam, away from each other.”
Talon stared with an aghast look on his face.
“A basement! You can’t be serious, Francis? My sister will not be living in a filthy, dark basement.”
Francis sighed, as he remained on the cusp of his sanity, hoping to not accidentally speak ill in front of his Alpha.
“Hey, now. It’s not filthy. I’ve cleaned it weeks ago. Maybe a little dusty but otherwise, we won’t have any problems. I can borrow a few sheets and pillows from Mrs. Rosewood and then Selena can set it up. And before the both of you think I’m picking sides, just think. Your parents would be devastated if they see you squawking, screaming, and tearing each other apart. If aunt was here, she’d put you both in a timeout room.” Francis stood between them.
Though, he was right. Selena felt like the child and Talon was ashamed for raising his voice to his sister.
“Thank you, Francis. I think I’d like to do that now.” She says, gritting her teeth.
Before Selena could turn her feet, Talon reached for her arm and faced her. He scrunched his chin, breathing deeply as his tight hold slowly became softer.
“Selena, don’t do this.” She heard his pleading tone. It was already enough for her to rethink her decision.
Breathing heavily, Selena pulled her arm away. It was no doubt a rushed decision that she made but looking at it now, it was the only way out of the mess she had created after saying all the vile words she said. She had lost a face to use in front of Talon and if she were to stay there a second longer, the false facade she had unwittingly worn would easily crumble away and turn to dust.
“I don’t want to, Talon but I need to.” She simply answered.
Talon’s hopeless gaze turned to his mate as he let out a lengthy sigh, his shoulders slumping. He no longer spoke, instead, he walked back to Katie’s side and sat on the bed, threading his fingers through his raven dark hair.
The pain in her chest grew as she turned for the door and left, never looking back.
After a couple of hours of moping and contemplating her decisions, she slowly started to gather her belongings, shoving them into a brown leather bag. She was quick on her feet to avoid anyone seeing her fleeing from the packhouse.
The fewer witnesses the better.
It didn’t take that much time for her to arrive at the Rosewoods. Much to Lydia and Mitch Rosewood’s surprise, the pack’s Luna living with them had stirred a panic frenzy, especially for Lydia who was not too excited about Selena living in their basement. The old woman had insisted that Selena should take the master bedroom to which she heavily declined. She had already asked too much when she decided to crash on their basement and taking away the sacred space that is a married couple’s bedroom sounded like a horrible thought.
Francis was more than gracious to lead her into the basement and presented her with a couch, rugged and looking too disheveled for use.
She arched her brow and touched his side with her elbow.
“Where’s the bed?” She asked.
“Oh, did I say bed? I meant a rickety old and smelly couch. That’s what I meant.” He grinned.
She only grimaced and neatly placed her bag on the couch, next to the sheets, a blanket, and two pillows that Francis had brought down beforehand.
Though despite the earthy smell stemming from the floor, the big spider hanging on the metal pipes above her head, and the lack of lighting, it was still a significant upgrade then living in the same house with Katie.
“You promised me a bed and you lied to Talon.” She sat on the couch, feeling the springs dig into her bum.
“Please,” Francis rolled his eyes. “If I hadn’t lied, you would still be in Talon’s room while the both of you bitch about how wrong the both of you are. As children in the park, arguing about who’s turn it is to ride the swing. Yes, exactly like children.”
His position in the matter made Selena groan. Francis was acting as an intermediary between her and her brother but that wasn’t the reason why she was beginning to fume. It was the condescending manner to which he spoke with. He crossed his arms over his chest and watched her with an impassive expression planted on his face.
“I’m not in the wrong for wanting to kick Katie out of the pack.” She argued. “Why won’t he just understand? If he only saw what I went through…”
“Oh, my Moon, cousin. Do you hear yourself when you speak? You sound like an entitled little bitch. Moaning about everything and everyone while being too stubbornly narrow-minded to see everyone around you.”
She glared at him.
“That woman is going to ruin him, Francis! I can’t let that happen. I understand that Talon wants a mate but Katie is not the right wolf for him.”
“Selena, I don’t plan on having another therapy session with you. But maybe you’re in the wrong here.”
“And how am I wrong, exactly?”
He pursed his lips and released a sigh.
“It’s going to be sad if I tell what I think but let me ask you, how old was Talon when he became an Alpha? No father to guide him through the ropes of being an Alpha and no mother to help him prepare himself for a mate, and well, with one less eye. Just try and look at it from another perspective, okay?” Francis forced himself to smile.
Selena became silent as everything slowly sunk in her mind. While she stared at her feet, a loud voice chimed and took her out of her thoughts.
“Francis, the bath is ready. Hurry up!” It was Sebastian who yelled, rushing down the stairs to search for Francis. “Please, Francis. You promised you would play pirates with me in the bathtub.”
“Alright, I’m coming. Make sure the ships are in order, got that first mate?” He says. The gleam in the child’s eyes brightened as he rushed up the stairs. “Good night, cousin, and promise me to think about what I said.”
He shook his head before heading up and disappearing from her eyes. With everything that Francis had said, Selena absorbed herself into pondering. She looked at her hands, her fingers still trembling from the guilt of burning everything with Talon.
Now that she was alone, she had time to think about what Francis had said. But that didn’t come, instead, all she wanted to do was cry and curse herself for being extremely foolish. But her regret was extremely short-lived when she remembered Katie. Still, all she wanted to do was hate the wolf so much. Her boiling desire to trample Katie festered within her and for some reason, she couldn’t find a reasonable argument as to why.
Katie took Nathaniel, but Selena willingly left him and when Katie came to their home, she took Talon.
What other angle is there? Francis sounded smugly sure that he knew.
Suddenly, the reason though not fully justified, hit her like a truck. Katie now had everything to keep her life stable and she would be spared from the pain she was most afraid of. That mate was supposed to be Nathaniel but instead, Talon had to rescue her.
Katie had assurance, someone to fall to and Talon willingly, blindly, took the helm of being her caretaker.
That assurance was what Selena wanted from the start and she was jealous of it.
Now the question fell swiftly to Talon’s side but that too was already answered. Talon had another perspective on how things worked. Just like what he said, mulling over the things that happened years ago won’t amount to anything and it certainly won’t bring back her mother and father.
Over the years, Selena had plenty of time to scream and curse at the wind. She had many wolves to lean to and all of them offered her comfort. But for Talon who became the Alpha only days after their parents were killed, he was immediately bombarded with tumultuous tasks right after the other, all the while still recovering from his wounds. He had no time to mourn nor be mad at anything and he was forced to quickly move on and grow up, to face what their father had left.
Talon set aside everything to raise the pack, protect everyone, and guide other wolves. All the while not having anyone to rely on. Even after everything, Talon would still come home to greet Selena with a kiss on her cheek and a hug, saying how much he loved her.
“Fuck, Selena. Why do you have to be such an idiot?” She whispered, leaning against the pillows and blankets.
Maybe that was the perspective that Francis meant. Talon had to drop everything for the good of the pack too and she was incredibly stupid to overlook that.
For the pack’s sake, he too had to sacrifice a lot of things.
The words Selena said only a couple of hours ago bit her back. Instead of respecting Talon’s decision, she turned her back on him. She forgot he had a heart too, with a brain to accompany that.
Selena gazed up the ceiling and silently wished to turn back time. Her brother was always there to catch her whenever she needed him and when it came for her to return the favor, she abandoned him.
For now, the least Selena could do was trust Talon to do the right thing, even if it meant she would spend time with Katie.
The morning after, Selena stood and threaded through the woods and eager to find Alpha Joseph. Last night after shamefully sobbing herself to sleep, she woke up feeling a lot more invigorated. Since she wasn’t prepared to fess up to her brother all that she could do now was fill her mind with something else and that was to help herself become stronger.
Following the tracks that lead to the glades, she saw a large number of wolves running and tackling each other. The sun bared its intense heat, causing her to smile. Despite the melting snow that turned the earth under her soles into mud, she trekked deeper through the woods and kept going. The first wolf that greeted her was none other than Joseph himself.
Joseph’s green eyes spelled trouble as he grinned and approached her.
“Hello there, little miss Luna. Here to watch some naked, sweaty men get rough and tumble?” He asked. “Well, there are sweaty women too, if that is what you’re into.”
Selena shook her head, grimacing behind her mind. Joseph was naked from the waist up, prominently flexing his arms and chest at her.
“I’m here to join the training.” She answered, bearing a deep and assured tone.
“Oh?” Joseph arched a brow. “I don’t think it would be appropriate for the Luna to be fighting with her wolves and besides, it would be rather stupid of me to allow you to join us and well, I doubt that your brother would approve.”
She glowered at him but still, her resolve didn’t waver.
“I’m capable of making my own decisions and as Luna, I must help keep this pack safe.” Her determined brown eyes shined.
The grin on his face slowly disappeared once he realized she wasn’t joking. Promptly, he cleared his throat.
“Selena, I don’t want to be an asshole but our routine will be strenuous and will turn your insides out, are you sure you’re willing to?” Joseph asks, perching his hands on his hips.
“I am.” She says. “More than ever.”
No other thoughts were in her head. Selena set aside her eagerness for revenge because to do that, she needed to climb the ladder of strength and if she became stronger, she would have at least gained enough strength to confront Talon and confess her faults and prove to him that avenging their parents’ death was worth it.
“Very well then, welcome Selena. Don’t expect my wolves to treat you especially just because you’re a wolf of Highcliff blood. They’re going to eat you alive.” He smiled, causing Selena to shiver.
Joseph leads her to a group of wolves. All of their stares burn Selena as she remained still beside the Alpha.
“Everyone, I bring you fresh meat.” Joseph shook her shoulder, proudly pushing her into the group.
With their eyes weighing her down, she took hold of her composure and raised her chin, with only one thought in her mind.
‘For my family.’