The night after Selena talked with her brother, she felt unsure. There were so many things that she feared that may happen to Talon. Katie had Talon’s wolf and if she chose to, she could hurt him. But if it was her brother’s will then she needed to give him time even if all that Selena wanted was to kick his door down and pull Katie out from Talon’s bed and drag her out of the gates.
The thought of Katie and Talon alone, in a locked room, and the fact that Katie wore Talon’s mark didn’t make her feel less anxious.
An image formed in her head. It was Talon and Katie kissing each other. The mere image alone caused her to feel queasy.
While she sat on the basement couch, Selena took a sharp breath and leaned on the armrest. She had already become accustomed to living here. Every night was a silent recluse, giving her a lot of time to think and rest.
She wondered how Talon would truly react if he saw her living like this. She surmised that he would probably give their cousin a mouthful and to some extent, Selena too. That man never stopped himself from seizing the opportunity to show his selflessness except for the moment he marked Katie.
Selena realized it was what he deserved though she doubts Katie should be graced by his kindness.
She pulled her legs up on the couch and reclined, her thoughts bouncing from topic after topic, trying so hard to not let Nathaniel invade her mind again. Stupidly, Nathaniel was all she could think about, and the lies in his gray eyes tantalized her.
‘Think of my words, Selena. I hope you find them true someday.’ It was Nathaniel who whispered those words.
“Seriously, the gull of that man!” Selena murmured under her breath. “You’re so full of shit Alpha Stormwind. You and your stupid face, your stupid title, your everything.”
It all seemed like she was never going to let him go in her thoughts. He was a serial invader and even if she concealed her true feelings, the absence of her wolf would always be proof that she still hasn’t moved on.
“Curse you. I hope you burn in a house fire.”
“What’s a curse?” A voice popped out of her side.
She jolted and quickly looked at her side. Sebastian’s eyes stared at her as they beamed with untamed curiosity.
She was so caught up with her musings that she failed to notice the child walking up to her. If only Francis smiled so innocently as his child does, she would be more inclined with sharing her feelings with him. Sadly, he didn’t have the kind of sound mind she hoped for him to have.
“Miss Luna, what’s a curse?”Sebastian asked again. “Can cursing make you burn?”
His innocent eyes hopefully looked at her. She wasn’t sure if it was rightful to tell him now. Could it be that he was still too young? Francis probably won’t like it if she taught his son things he shouldn’t know about.
“I don’t think your older brother would like it if I told you.” She flattened her lips and sat.
She pulled Sebastian to her side and put her arm around his tiny body. It felt nice holding him like this. It was like holding a miniature version of Francis, but less grumpy and certainly a lot more adorable.
Sebastian leaned on her shoulder, holding her arm while he looked at her with widened eyes. The look disarmed Selena, thinking of how precious the wolf pup was.
“Please, Luna,” he begged. “Please…”
She felt her knees give in as her resolve softened. Well, it was Francis. He probably wouldn’t hurt her if she told Sebastian, right?
She sighed, smiling at him.
“A curse is something you say when you’re feeling…when you’re feeling sour. But just because people say it, doesn’t mean it’s not bad.” She says, hoping the explanation was enough.
Confusion made it on his face. His brows knitted and cute little lips pressed together.
Selena wished he knew that he was her nephew then she would be freer with showing him her affections. Like this instance, all she wanted to do was hug the boy.
“It hurt people?” He asks again.
“To a level, yes.”
“Then Francis has a curse?”
Her face contorted into a worried mask.
“What makes you say that?”
“He’s sad and he cries and screams in his sleep but only sometimes.” The boy frowned.
She had already been wrong about Francis. Before speaking to him, she always watched him smile from a distance. Not a single worry in the creases on his face but after hearing his story, Selena felt that there was another part of the story he hadn’t told her yet.
And to think she had to find out about it from Sebastian broke her heart.
She withheld her previous chains and broke loose. She hugged the child and kissed the top of his head.
“Don’t worry, your brother will be fine. He’s strong.” She smiled.
“Strong like my daddy?”
She crumpled her lips as she thought of the correct answer. As far as she knew, Mr. and Mrs. Rosewood acted as Sebastian’s grandparents, and their son, their real son, Andy Rosewood had long since died. He wasn’t that well known in the pack and the only thing she remembered about him was his mediocre skills in combat, which was sadly a bad thing to remember.
But when she thought of her cousin, yes. Francis was strong in so many ways and excelled at almost everything that he did. He had a strong heart and was very determined to do what he thought was right. And perhaps the most admirable thing that Francis has done was keeping Sebastian. Most wolves would have abandoned their pups to die in the woods after being sired in such a cruel way.
Francis was strong but Selena feared that the facade he wore so flagrantly was just a disguise to bury his true feelings.
“Yes, just like daddy.” She lied through her teeth.
“I wish mommy and daddy were here. I don’t want Francis to be sad anymore.”
Her heart prickled with guilt.
“Me too, baby.” She tightened her hold on the boy.
A pair of heavy footsteps thudded on the staircase, making her turn and see Francis with a confused look written over his face.
“What is this? Some kind of hugging ritual?” He spoke and marched towards them. “Didn’t I tell you to come and tell the Luna dinner is ready?”
“Relax, Francis. Everything’s fine.” Selena gazed at him.
Francis stared at her, the face of suspicion marring his features.
“That smirk on your face…” He glowered. “If you told him about that one little accident I had-”
“Oh, you mean when you puked all over the teacher’s desk on the fifth grade?” She grinned.
Francis ruefully smiled.
“Luna Selena peed her bed until the sixth grade because she’s afraid of that food clown, the one with the yellow jumpsuit and red bushy hair and she made Alpha Talon wash her sheets.”
Selena bit her tongue. She should have known that this was going to backfire and she paid her rash slip of the tongue with embarrassment. Sebastian laughed adoringly as he ran towards his father.
“I don’t pee on the bed anymore.” He proudly smiled.
“Of course you don’t!” Francis took Sebastian and raised him into the air. “My brother’s a big boy now and big boys don’t pee their beds. Right, buddy?”
While everything was happening in front of her, Selena couldn’t fight the urge to chuckle happily. There was something to be said and admired the way Francis juggled the child into the air. Roughhousing was always something that made her heart go into overdrive and sometimes, she would feel jealous, wondering when she would feel the warmth of her kids.
But that thought should be buried deep down in her mind.
Priorities first then her dreams. And besides, she doubted anyone would be brave enough to actually ask her out on a date or to freely volunteer to become her mate.
Most rejected wolves don’t find potential partners except if they found a human to love or find someone who was rejected too.
“Stop, smiling.” Francis brought her out of her thoughts. “You look weird now get up and eat. Mrs. Rosewood made some delicious chicken adobo.”
Francis hauled Sebastian like a sack of rice over his shoulder and went up the stairs. Selena was left reeling, staring at the spot where Francis stood with only one question on her mind.
Did Nathaniel think of having his children too?
At the dinner table, Sebastian regaled everyone with how his day at the nursery was. He loved impressing everyone with his stories and it was evident in his eyes that whenever Francis laughed, the little child’s heart grew a little bigger.
When dinner was eaten, Selena insisted to wash the dishes and clean everything up, much to Mrs. Rosewood’s utter disappointment, she eventually gave up and let Selena do all the work. Selena didn’t want to cine across as a freeloader and so every task or chore she found, she did it but not without complaint from the couple.
Selena was finishing up with the dishes when her cousin walked in and leaned against the countertop, crossing his arms over his chest. The freedom on his face before was now a faint memory when he faced her.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
Selena knitted her brows, confused with the suddenness of his question.
“I think I am.” She says. “What’s wrong? I’m worried that you sound worried.”
“Nothing,” he shrugged. “I just wanted to ask. I mean, I heard training was rough today. Cindy is going around the pack boasting that she bested the Luna in combat.”
She chuckled. “If you think losing to her has hurt my feelings or pride then don’t be. Losing is part of the process.”
It was Francis’s turn to laugh at her face.
“Yeah, and you hate losing.”
Selena placed the clean dishes on the plate rack and turned to him, flicking the water off from her fingers onto his face.
“What do you want from me? At the very least I’m trying.”
He groans and shook his head.
“Cousin, watching you wave your blade around is like watching a man being thrown out of an airplane without a parachute. It’s simply unbearable.”
Selena draws her lower lip in. “You know? You’re absolutely amazing in pep talks. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Francis.”
He shook his head.
“No, no. I don’t mean to put you down what I want you to understand is maybe fighting on the battlefield is not for you?”
“Meaning you may not have the capabilities of a fighter. Piece of advice, Selena. Exhaust yourself in training all you want but if it doesn’t fit you, then it’s fruitless in the first place.”
She wiped her wet hands on her shirt and glared at him.
“Why are you so adamant about bringing me down?”
There was no other reason why he would be saying such things.
Maybe Talon talked him into doing it? The inseparable always making her life unbearable.
“I’m not bringing you down, idiot.” He groans. “If you have a hard time with training with the Albrichs, you can come to me. I can teach you to how to properly stalk and catch wolves. Gather intel and spread them to the right people.”
She flushed, realizing he was serious.
“You want me to become a spy like you? Thank you, cousin but I doubt spying plays too much of an active part in the grandiose theme of wars. I want to be in the field and carry my blade.”
“Um, excuse me. You just insulted my profession. If it were not for me, no one would have known that the Remmingtons were plotting to attack us.”
“That was you?” She raised her brows.
“Yes,” he answered. “I’m the reason why so many attacks made by the Remmingtons failed. Spying is not as boring as you think it is and trust me, when you’re in the job, silently running your blade behind the shadows, that’s where you find true strength. Let your enemies fear you in the dark and let them tremble when you hold your blade in front of their faces.”
Selena didn’t want to deny it. Her cousin was only looking out for her and even then, she didn’t want to be proven wrong. She wanted to them believe that she could make it on her own.
“Thanks but I’ve already started training as a fighter. We finish what we start, right?” She shrugged.
“It’s your choice and your loss.”
“And what about you? There’s a lot of things you still haven’t told me about your time in pack Remmington. Maybe there’s something you’d like to tell me?”
‘Like why you cry and scream in your sleep.’ She thought.
For all the time she spent being a jerk towards him, granted, Francis was also impassively a jerk towards her too, maybe this was the time for her to make it up to him?
It was just like what he said. If they don’t talk about it now then it may eventually explode on his face. She didn’t want that to happen.
Not to him nor Sebastian.
They were her family and there was no way she was failing them again after she failed to see through her anger and distaste for Francis.
“You’re going to spin the conversation towards me, huh?” He tapped his boots on the floor and hoisted himself up, sitting on the counter.
“Hmm, if you let me?” She answered.
“But I’ve already told you what happened to me. What else do you want to know?”
“Cousin, knowing what happened to you makes me feel like I should do something about it. I want to help after all the years I missed out on you and Sebastian.”
Francis paused, brows meeting in contemplation before he answered.
“I don’t want you to think that you owe me something. Sebastian and I are doing fine and well. He’s a preschooler in the pack nursery, he’s blooming here like I wanted him to, and he’s happy. That’s all I ever want for him.”
She grimaced. “But what about you? Are you happy with just this? You’re twenty years old and that’s around the age you find your mate.”
His eyes brightened, causing her to look away. It was hard to watch him struggle with his emotions when the topic of mates clearly didn’t concern him. Was it too wrong of her to wish that someday he would find his mate?
“Who would honestly want a Remmington to be their mate, Selena? My name carries a lot of baggage that I highly doubt my mate would like to shoulder with me and there’s also my son. I’m good with anonymous hook-ups for now.”
“I can’t let you go one like that.” She sighed. “You need to eventually settle down, right? Will you not fight for your mate when you see each other? You and I can’t be in the same boat. Soon when Sebastian grows up, he’s going to ask a lot of questions about his father and mother and when you finally find the courage to tell him, he’s not going to easily let go of it and I don’t want the two of you to break apart.”
He scoffed. “And how do you know that?”
“Earlier, Sebastian told me that you cry and scream in your sleep. I worry that he might do something about it himself and ask the wrong questions to the wrong people. You need to tell him now before he learns the truth from other people.”
It hurt to speak the words in her mouth but she couldn’t let the moment pass so easily.
Francis wore a calm face, kissing his teeth.
“So I just tell him that his brother is actually his father, his mother was a rapist, and his family name is doomed to bring unsavory air wherever he carries himself? Yes, of course, I don’t want to lose him but I can’t also bring myself to break the world I built for him.”
“His world, the fantasy of family you’ve built for him, will eventually break and you won’t be able to stop it. Tell him now before it blows up on your face.” She used the same words he said.
He chuckled, but his laugh was lacking something. Perhaps it was because he was thinking too much.
“Do you know why I cry in my sleep?” He looked at her intently, the grave expression he wore was daunting. “I have dreams that Harrick is going to take Sebastian away from me. I’m just thankful that whenever I wake, he’s there with me.”
Selena breathed heavily. “Harrick? Who is he?”
“My cousin from my father’s side and Alpha Remmington’s younger brother. Harrick was married to Sebastian’s mother and well, I kinda stabbed him on his crotch with a dagger when I was taking Sebastian with me.”
“Wait…the woman who did this to you was married? Why would she stoop so low and do that?” Selena fumed.
“Because the Remmingtons have a hard time reproducing their heirs.” He says. “I guess, it’s all in the genes. I myself am a miracle baby. That’s why they’re so desperate to sire as many children as they can. Harrick is the cruelest of them all. He had three wives and none of them was his true mate and if I hadn’t made my move then my son would have grown into one of them.”
“Then why you?”
He shrugs his shoulders.
“Because there are only three Remmington penises in circulation. My mother and father brought me there to be fodder. My seed is all that they’re after to continue their family’s reign of terror.”
Selena grimaced. Three wolves old enough to make children. Francis, Harrick, and Alpha Remmington. Her heart felt like it was being stepped on when she looked into it even more.
If Francis had stayed, he would have endured years of abuse and when Sebastian grows up, he would become just like them, or worse, he could become the next Alpha Remmington. The blood of Remmington courses through him, which makes him viable to be their next leader.
Her eyes widened.
“They’re after Sebastian and you? That’s why they’re still attacking us after all these years. They’re looking for their next Alpha.”
The realization dawned upon her like a firecracker, exploding with a loud bang in the sky, completely shutting out any other sound or thought.
“So you see now, cousin? Sebastian can’t know. Maybe a couple of years down the line I could tell him but now, I can’t. He deserves happiness and I will not take let anything happen to him. Neither will Harrick, Alpha Remmington, nor the wolves from their pack will take him.”
And Selena was prepared to do everything she can to protect the child. No way in fucking hell she would let them hurt him and knowing only emboldened her to train even harder.
“You’ve never seen Alpha Remmington’s face before, have you?”
He shook his head.
“No, I don’t even know his name. He’s a mystery even to his wolves. All I have of him is his scent. Though if I were to take a guess, he probably looks like me. A blue-eyed brunet.”
Selena gritted her teeth. That didn’t help at all considering there were millions or maybe a billion people who fit the description.
“If I could just get one whiff of that man, I will do my job and strangle him.” Francis muttered under his breath.
“I’m with you, Francis.” She looked at him, determination overflowing through her eyes. “No one’s going to take Sebastian away as long as he’s in our pack.”
They exchange silent glances. The Remmingtons’ tenacity was indeed terrifying. If they risked losing the lives of their wolves to find their lost Alpha, then there was nothing stopping them.
More bloodshed was coming and Selena was ultimately unprepared.
Selena said good night to Francis and kissed Sebastian on his cheek before going to sleep. Falling into dreamless oblivion.
The next morning was just a routine. Selena proceeded to do her daily rituals. Eat, take a shower, and then get ready for training. But instead of joining the other wolves, she looked for the wolf that offered her a mysterious grin, Beta Dorran.
Never mind the risk and trouble she felt around him and Talon’s warning. Selena needed to get stronger and fast.
She trudged through the stone pavement, passing through the wolves that were graciously greeted her with warm and cheery smiles. Sadly, she couldn’t mirror their happiness when all that was on her mind was erasing the existence of pack Remmington.
She found herself walking into a big black tent. This is where the wolf from pack Albrich slept and rest after training. She was glad to find them well-adjusted as she stepped into the tent, hearing their boisterous laughs. One voice stood to her the most.
Her heartstrings tingled with an unfathomable fear as she approached them.
“Hello, good morning.” Were the first words to come out of her mouth.
It didn’t take long for them to notice her. Their bright and surprised eyes turn to her, immediately silencing their conversation. She felt awkward as none of them offered to speak. She moved her lips to speak, only for Dorran to stand from the group and spoke.
“Luna, what a surprise. May I ask what constitutes for you to decide to come and visit our humble abode?” He grinned and made his way towards her.
Selena noticed the numerous raised eyebrows and grins. She was very well aware of what they all meant and what was even sadder is her obliviousness of how to deal with the situation.
“I came to see you, Beta Doyle.” She answered with a stern voice.
“Oh,” he smirked. Those blue marvelous and mischievous orbs he possessed terrified her. “Me? It’s an honor for the Luna to personally seek me out. I hope it’s not about what I think it is.”
A string of chuckles erupted from around him while Selena burned in place. She heaved a heavy breath, remembering everything she had to learn from her mother on how to keep cool and concise with her words.
“Well then, you should know that when a Luna seeks the Beta from another pack, it is only proper decorum that you face her properly clothed and without jests.” She raised her chin while maintaining her composure. “And please do not assume pretenses. We are no longer children.”
As she stood in her place, she gawked at him. He was more under-dressed than the last time she spoke to him. The Beta had nothing but his skimpy gray boxer briefs on and the indent of his morning wood was glaringly obvious. His lean, bear-like body was impressive.
She looked away and sighed.
“Please, Beta Doyle. Wear something warm. Unless you want the tip of your cock to freeze off from the sheer morning cold. In that case, I will be graciously honored to rename you; Beta Dickless Doyle.”
Much to his chagrin, this time, the round of laughter was pointed to him. He snorted, shaking his head.
“Of course, Luna.” He moved.
Selena nodded and turned away, immediately exiting the tent. She could barely handle faking out her sudden boost of confidence and she didn’t want anyone seeing how flushed and panicked she was.
It was minutes until Dorran emerged from the tent and stood beside her. She looked to him with a stern grimace.
Why did he felt different today? Gone was the terrifying aura he exuded from the moment they met and it was replaced with nothing. She didn’t sense any danger coming from him.
The thing that she feared was why he was still wearing that necklace. Hiding your scent is hardly a good reason to be trusted. If he was hiding his scent then that means he was hiding from someone.
Though, the wolves from pack Morris did hide their scents. But Dorran was not a wolf of pack Morris. That was why even if he smiled so invitingly, she couldn’t let her guard down.
“It’s good to see you…dressed?” She furrowed her brows.
Selena looked at him again. Though he was no longer wearing only his boxers, he still hadn’t had a shirt on. He was wearing a pair of black jogging pants and leather fur boots that had seen a fair share of its years.
She didn’t want to admit it. But he was no doubt every eye-catching.
“Where I’m from, there’s always snow. The cold hasn’t bothered me for years.” He says.
“Being half-naked is hardly decent, Beta.” She narrowed her gaze.
“Just Dorran. I think proper decorum is no longer needed between us after you’ve embarrassed me in front of my fellow wolves.”
She held the urge to laugh.
“Perhaps if you chain your tongue and not think maliciously I’d rethink the words that are coming out of my mouth.”
He chuckled, his perfectly-lined white teeth displayed.
“Aye, Luna.” He says. “Come, I know what you’re here for.”
“Oh?” She asked.
“The wolf that defeated you has been parroting around, saying how good it felt to best the Luna. I’d wager that you want to have a rematch with her and shove her face into the ground?”
Selena shook her head. The thought was grievously wicked and thinking of it made her a bit uncomfortable.
“No.” She says. “There are other reasons why a wolf like me would prefer to be stronger and I don’t wish to discuss my reasons to a wolf who hides their scent.”
“Hmm, understandable. Come on, follow me into the woods.”
“The woods?” She exclaimed. “But why not here?”
“Because I doubt the wolves around here would appreciate if they saw me giving you special attention.”
Dorran winked at her before he turned on his heels. There was something terribly wrong with that man but Selena needed to forego her suspicions and for now, needed to trust him.