After her talk with Nathaniel, she was both hopeful and filled with despair. She didn’t know how to explain it but she needed to say something to him and now that she was leaving, she lost her chance.
Her fingers clasped the handles of her bags and handed them to Winston. He glances at her and smiles sheepishly.
Selena stood in front of the doorway and looked around the room making sure she didn’t leave anything behind.
A minute later of pondering and weighing her choices, Selena closes her eyes and headed for the door. She was happy that Nathaniel wasn’t there for her departure, otherwise, she might end up crying all over again.
Before she left, she made sure to pass by Francis first and told him everything she knew. But his aloof reaction caused Selena to shut down. It was clear to her that Francis’s pride was getting onto him. His indifference towards the situation was proof of that.
She apologized to him, giving him a pat on the shoulder and a kiss on his cheek.
Guilt ate her up when she left him. But she couldn’t stay there for long knowing Talon would be coming and Nathaniel was just one call away.
She hops in Winston’s truck along with Lively. Both of them remained relatively quiet in the whole drive and she was tremendously thankful for that. Though frankly, Selena felt saddened by how she was affecting the air inside the vehicle. Lively’s bubbly personality and unfettered public display of affection for her husband were dulled down all because of Selena sitting in the back seat.
She wanted to say something about it but ultimately decided not to. She was afraid of making the situation more awkward and instead soaked in her grief.
She rolls down the window and stared outside, letting her eyes be blurred by the speeding vehicle. The green foliage of trees seemed to evaporate, mixing with the blue sky, resulting in a kaleidoscope of colors that blinded her. It forced her to shut her eyes.
She wasn’t feeling well and was on the verge of vomiting all over Winston’s backseat.
Her mind wandered off to different scenarios, pulling her to the edge of insanity. She dared to ask if she could have handled everything differently with her brother. Despite how much angry she felt and how many lies she was prepared to tell herself, Selena loved everything about her family.
Now, she felt insignificant to the person that made her feel loved.
In her state of perpetual anguish, she failed to notice that the car had stopped. Lively reaches for her, bringing Selena out of her distressed stupor. She glances forward, seeing Lively and Winston worriedly stare at her.
“Honey, are you alright?” Lively gently squeezes her knee.
She smiles a small, fleeting smile but she was sure no one was at all convinced that she was fine.
“Just barely hanging on.” She grimly muttered.
Winston was mortified, immediately staring at his wife. Lively grimaces and sighs heavily.
“Don’t say that, Selena.” She scolded, although in a kind and calm way. “Let’s talk inside the house.”
She nods and exits the car before the couple.
‘Fuck.’ Was the only word in her mind at that moment.
Acting like a spoiled child and causing a weird tension in the air was not what she wanted to happen. She was already causing them trouble despite her only being there in less than a minute.
She lowered her shoulders, too tired to think of anything else other than her hopelessness for her current state of life.
Her eyes glanced at the cozy home in front of her. It was a two-story house made of wood and had an exorbitant amount of windows on its walls, though because of that, it made the house look warm and welcoming.
The smell of the ocean hits her and the sound of waves touching and pulling away from the shore entered her ears. Selena takes her attention to the beach, breathing deeply, basking in the warm sunlight. Her eyes caught sight of a pavilion by the shore and the man inside of it was staring at the ocean.
Her heart thumped, the view of another familiar face caused her to relax. She felt a hand lightly land on her shoulder. It was Lively, baring an understanding glance, and gestured towards Jacob.
“Why don’t you two talk? I’ll get Winston to bring your luggage up to your room.” She says and leaves her behind.
Selena grimaced but fought with her emotions, sealing her will to speak with Jacob. With one foot after the other, she trudged through the sand at a slow pace, keeping her head forward.
She neared his tall figure, finding it odd why he hadn’t noticed her yet. Or perhaps he was purposely ignoring her. That thought alone made her cower but as she looked even closer, a small hand popped out of his side, then followed a leg, and a head. Selena realized he was carrying Letty. The child’s enthused laughter upon seeing Selena caused Jacob to turn.
He looked surprised like he had seen a ghost that was about to devour him.
She kept her composure and walked closer to him. Only when they were a few feet apart that Jacob relaxed.
“Didn’t expect to see you here.” He says.
He flattens his lips and contemplated for a moment.
“Well, Winston is my brother so I guess it would be logical that I come to him for help. You on the other hand are a mystery, my wolf.”
His cool facade was a breath of fresh air today. At least she wouldn’t be alone if Lively and her husband would leave to go to pack Morris.
“Though I guess with that W, I, T, C, H living in your pack would cause you to feel a tiny bit upset.”
Selena chuckles at his will to spell out his words, not wanting Letty to learn something new.
“I’m running away from my brother.”
There was no need to beat around the turd-covered bush that was her life. He was going to find out eventually.
His mouth formed into what she could only assume as ‘oh’. He stares at her, his happy demeanor suddenly turning sour.
“I’m running away from brother and well, I guess my mother too.” He plainly states.
Jacob’s very easygoing answers always made Selena uncertain of what they meant. She raises a brow at him. Though she didn’t question why. She was through with Nathaniel and didn’t want to talk about him again. At least not now. She didn’t want it to blow up all over her face, she knew better.
A tight-lipped smile appeared on his face and Selena had no other option but to mirror the gesture.
Taking it slow was the best option.
Selena turns to the water, amazed at how blue it was. She never liked going to the beach. It was something a lot of wolves back in pack Highcliff found weird but they never spoke about it. Despite knowing how to swim, she had a fear of sharks after watching a documentary about them. It ultimately stopped her from going to large bodies of water, even swimming pools.
But she had to admit that being here brought a sense of relief. The calming breeze that played with her hair, topped with the sounds of the water, and the warm sand under her feet were all something she didn’t know she needed.
“We should go swimming,” Jacob spoke.
She gestures to her crutches and gave him an incredulous look.
“Ah, yes.” She groans. “You want to go swimming with a limping frog, that would be a fun experience. I would drown and there’s also a slight chance you would too if were thinking of saving me. And what comes after drowning? Death, Jacob. We both die.”
He remained shocked for a few seconds only for him to burst out laughing.
“Good Moon, wolf. Don’t be so morbid.” He says. “If you don’t want to swim, we can always go dipping on shallow waters.”
Selena rolls her eyes.
“I don’t think putting my leg in seawater would be a good idea.”
He nodded in agreement. His face falls into a serious mask and he sighs.
“It’s good to have you here, Lena. Not giving up and still feisty as ever.”
She crumpled her lips, not eager to answer his comment. The thought of giving up has almost crossed her mind and sullied everything that she has ever fought for. She wondered how much did she needed to go through before the smokes her steps had created would finally settle down.
Only then that she would find the courage to act on her next moves.
“We should probably get inside. Letty just dirtied her diapers.”
Jacob excuses himself and leaves Selena to fester in her dread.
This was the only best result of her scenario but doubting herself only resulted in more pain, distractions. And distractions were clearly the last obstacle she needed to overcome.
She remained from where she stood, getting used to the idea of being alone.
Hours sped by and Selena felt completely devoid of emotions. She wanted to put on a smile to at least thin the thick tension in the air but she couldn’t. After spending time alone in the pavilion, she entered the house. Lively showed her the room she was staying in and never left since. It was now nighttime. The window in her room was facing the ocean and she took complete advantage of it. She sat on the windowsill, just looking out into the open.
She was in the front seat of watching the three of them along with the baby having dinner in the pavilion. Lively offered but she vehemently declined and shook her head despite feeling hungry. She was starving but had no appetite. Selena didn’t know if that had made any sense at all but that was what she felt.
One word she could use to describe it was emptiness.
Like a pit in her stomach was missing something. Sadly, she knew what that was, and being in her state made her miserable even more.
Selena fell asleep, curled into a shivering ball on the windowsill.
She wasn’t aware of how much time had passed. All she knew was that it was late in the night and everything seemed to have dialed down a little. She was still hungry but at this point, she didn’t have the gull to ask for anything.
Maybe a tall glass of water could help?
She gently removed herself from the window. Selena eyed her crutches. Her brows knitted together. She wondered if she could walk without them now.
Her heart throbbed as she placed her weight on her wounded leg. The pain that shot through her was paralyzing. She hissed and willed through it. Moments later, she was comfortable with it.
The pain was still there but manageable.
She leaned against the wall and limped downstairs, bracing herself against the banisters, and upholstered furniture until she arrived in the kitchen. But instead of finding an empty kitchen as she hoped to, Winston was sitting beside the kitchen island.
“Hello?” She greeted, half asked.
“Good evening.” Winston nods. He raises his cup to her. “Do you want some juice?”
“No, thank you. I was just about to get some water.”
Winston gets up, moving across the room to pour her a glass of water. Selena shook her head at the kind gesture, unsure how to react at first. But Winston slides the glass across the table and offers her a grin.
“Do you need something else?” He wore an inquisitive look.
“I’m alright.” She answers.
Selena finished her drink quickly. A minute later, she was dumbfounded on what to do.
“Are you really ‘alright’?” Winston asks.
She chuckles to hide her nervousness.
“I’m alright enough.”
He nodded. Though his rather morose body language made her shake.
“Selena, I don’t want you to hate me or think Nathaniel is making me do this, it’s all in my volition.”
“Winston I’m not ready to talk about anything of this.” She grimaces.
“I know, that’s why I want you to listen.”
Selena looked at her hands encircling the glass’ shape. Would it be better to speak now or wait?
A cumbersome sigh left her as he walked to where he was. She took the seat beside him, straightening her back and placing her arms on the table, hands on top of each other.
Not knowing what she wanted scared her. There were too many finite things swamped in her vision and she was clueless on how to stretch them forward. Perhaps because she was tired of being oblivious that she was willing to sit through something talking.
She was twisting her own dagger through her body and that was okay. The more pain, the more numb she becomes, and finally, maybe then she could overcome her grief.
Winston pours himself another mug of orange juice, downing the liquid quickly.
“I’m sorry, Selena. I know me forcing this conversation on you sucks so bad. I’m not gonna lie but we’re all worried about you and maybe being pitied is not what you want. You need to know that this is not an ambush and you can leave anytime.”
The side of her lips lifted in a fragmented smile.
“I don’t want to be a burden…”
But she was indeed a burden or at least that was what she thought of herself. Talon seemed to think she was and he was so quick to throw her away.
“You’re not a burden, Selena.” He frowns. “As hard and stubborn my wife is, she is the kindest woman in my eyes. She is important to you, therefore you are important to me too. And I never got to tell you to thank you for saying all those things to her. She told me about your moment in the storage room and I’m forever grateful to you. I’d probably be lost without her and Letty. So, thank you.”
She fidgeted with her fingers.
“I don’t like families being torn apart. And Letty’s a baby girl and she needs both of her parents to be the best.”
The look of content dawns upon his face. That was the face of a loving father, content with the life he was leading. She had seen that look before. Her father wore that almost every day and to remember it made her anger for the Remmingtons come alive.
She clears her throat, bottling up her emotions.
Winston kissed his lips and turned his seat, placing his elbows on the table.
“You know I’m a bastard, right? I was a college graduate knee-deep in debts when my father died. Then came a man knocking on my apartment door. At first, I thought he was a drug pusher or someone my father messed with. He was tall, blonde, and had the look of someone you see in sports magazines but I knew from his scent that he was a wolf. He told me that he paid all my student debts and all my other loans. He was straight to the point that he needed me in his life because he was my older brother and that his blood should never face the life I was facing. Of course, I thought he was crazy, and then he pleaded that I should at least listen to him and that I owed him for paying my debts.”
“Did he blackmail you?” She looked at him seriously.
Maybe it was a bit childish of her to ask that but she clamored on a reason to hate or prove Nathaniel was a terrible person.
He shook his head.
“I agreed to go to him because I was broke and I needed distraction from my father’s death. So I thought, why the hell not? Only when I arrived in pack Morris that I discovered everything he was saying was true. I met Eliza, Jacob, and Alpha Morris. He insisted that I should live there despite her adopted aunt, that lovely old woman, was against it. Eventually, I caved in because Lively was there and Eliza wanted me to stay. After I decided to stay, he gave me a speech filled with anecdotes and tangents. That’s when I realized something about him. He’s an asshole, yes. But he’s an asshole that doesn’t know how to put the words in his head out of his mouth. He just wanted to say that he was happy I was there and that he hoped I felt the same way too.”
She scoffed. That did sound like Nathaniel. Why was she pleased to know that he was unintentionally acting like an asshole? It was hard to believe that someone like him could have trouble communicating. It’s his job after all.
“That’s not even the oddest thing about him.”
It was a rhetorical question of course. There were too many things about him that she could consider to be sad. And a large part of them involved her.
“When Lively and I got together and after we found out about Letty, he bought us eight acres of land that came along with a mansion and a car. A car for the baby and not just any car. He bought her a Lambo. Of course, as a father and husband, I was saddened and offended. Once he realized what he did, he apologized and swore to never do it again but insisted I should keep everything. I found out that he’s just like that. He doesn’t know how to show the correct emotions so instead he uses grand gestures with money.”
“That’s Nathaniel alright.” She grimly murmured.
Did he ever try to do that to her? Selena felt terrible after realizing he might not have the chance. With her pushing him so adamantly and fixing hate in her chest, she probably pushed him that far away.
Still, she gulped noisily and straightened her back.
“Nathaniel has so many dreams but the roof of his responsibility is too strong for those dreams to grow and pierce through. I’ve never seen life like his before. He knows the path he’s on is dull and lonely, yet he trudges like a train on its destination despite all that. Because what are the dreams and wishes when your shoulders are being crushed by the weight of your responsibility?”
She ran her tongue over her lip, laughing humorlessly.
“You’re not buttering him up, are you?”
“I’m just telling it how I know him, Selena. I’ve seen that look on him before because I was forced to do the same. My father’s family hated me because for them I was the throwaway child. Even my half-siblings threw me away the moment my father died but before he did, I was a part of every Hayward family gathering, smiling for my father. I only did it for him but to do it in front of a whole pack is just horridly petrifying.”
She grimaced. Selena crossed her arms over her chest, squeezing her shoulders tightly. Her back arched over the table as she pressed her lips tightly, sealing any sounds to come out of her mouth.
Nathaniel loved his job, right? He said so himself. Those smiles he wore were not fake or just fabricated.
It was the real him, not just a facade.
She refused to believe it.
“You’re making me feel bad about him, why?” Her voice was a hoarse whisper.
“Because I overheard you and Nathaniel in the hallway. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone what he’s done to you with Katie. He is a piece of human filth for doing that and he is in a place no one wants to be in. The pack is vulnerable now without alliances and he’s confused with what to do with you. I’ve never heard him act so desperately, Selena.”
“The both of us have already made a decision, Winston. He put his pack first and I put my purpose in front of me.”
“What is your purpose, Selena?”
“To kill and hunt down those responsible for the death of my parents. That is my objective, my sole purpose. That’s the reason why I am here. I want to be the one who kills them. I want them to fear me like I was afraid of them. I want them to feel dread, despair, and emptiness. They all need to die by my hands. Pack Remmington will pay with their blood.”
Winston’s face said it all. His brows knitted, eyes glued to her. Even she was surprised by the amount of vile that escaped her breath.
But that was simply how she felt. Her emotions, coiled up inside of her exploded into one long fit of unfathomable hatred.
She wanted them to bleed slowly, cut them where it hurt, and leave them dead.
She had already sacrificed Nathaniel for that mission, that purpose.
“You’re not the only wolf who wants to kill the Remmingtons. That’s not your purpose. You weren’t born to kill.”
“I don’t care.” She shook her head. “I don’t care. The day they decided to harm my family was the day I took it upon myself to reap them of their lives.”
Winston nodded his head.
“I understand. But let me tell you about my purpose. I am first and foremost, a married man with a child. Which makes me a husband and a father. But if I am forced to, I will be a killer. I have more than one and you can too.”
Selena chuckles humorlessly.
“What? Get back with Alpha Morris, be his wife and have children with him? That’s never going to happen.”
He shakes his head no.
“That’s not what I meant, Selena. What will you have after you take revenge?”
She paused for a moment and repeated his question over her head. For so long, she never even thought of that question before.
Selena didn’t see a future where she was friendly with her brother nor could she see a path where she and Nathaniel could ever hold hands again. The simple answer was nothing.
“In life, you need to take the extra mile to achieve your goal. Losing extra weight is necessary.”
His eyes narrow only to Selena. In a calm voice, Winston hid his disappointment.
“Is that all Nathaniel is to you? Just extra weight. That’s why you didn’t let him mark you.”
Selena sat and trembled. It dawned upon her now what was happening.
Her heart ached alone from just admitting it. She was a hypocrite. Parading herself to be the righteous wolf or the one who was hurt the most was a stupid thing to do when in the first place, she didn’t have the right to.
She admits that the first time they met, Selena felt both sides of her emotions. But through it all, she was adamant about not being his mate. Only when Katie came along that she had the thought of rejecting him.
Nathaniel’s existence should be nothing compared to her dreams.
She let herself bleed by cutting the palm of her hand, severing her ties with him. And now that was done and dusted, she regretted it the most.
Pride and the thought of surrendering to her heart prevented her from ever saying it out loud.
“I’m a horrible, despicable piece of filth. I don’t understand why I feel this way but there’s no turning back now. The other option is if I put my blade down and I run away and I don’t plan on doing that.”
Selena wasn’t crying nor was she wearing a sad face. She copied what Nathaniel did. Eyes cast far away, relaxed face, and she was completely impassive. This must what Nathaniel feels like whenever he wore that stoic look on his face.
He must have been beyond tattered to cause him to always wear such a mask.
“I think Nathaniel chose poorly too. You both did.” Winston sighs. “You’re a little girl that’s making adult decisions, Selena.”
“My birthday was yesterday. I’m twenty years old now.” She muttered.
With all the things that happened, she had forgotten about it.
“Legal age aside, I think you were forced to grow up too quickly like Nathaniel was. Despite popular belief, Nathaniel’s father is an abusive, lying, cheating piece of shit. But that’s a story for another time.”
He sounded furious and Selena stopped herself from digging.
“You’re not looking for any advice, I understand that. For your sake, don’t let yourself be trapped in a false dilemma. Open your heart, Selena. It’s not evil to say the words that will make you happy and choose something that’s not in your choices. If you think that you can never go back to my brother, find someone to love or someone to be there when you fall. This is the optimist in me speaking but, there’s more than just two options in life.”
He places a firm hand on her shoulder. She brought her eyes to him. By then, she had no more will. She hid her face in her hands and silently wept.
As irreversible decisions are, regret always came last when the smoke clears, leaving a mirror for Selena to look at herself and what was left of her self-deception.
“For what’s it worth, you have us. Me, Lively, and Letty. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to us. We’ll be here for you, okay?”
Her heart felt heavy.
Going back and forth was tiring. It took her all the space of her brain and the strength of her heart.
“I’m a liar, Winston. I had the chance to clear everything up with him today and all I did was ask him questions so I can use his answers to hate him more and even after hearing his answers, I felt secure.”
He ran his hand on his stubble, an unsure look plastered on him.
“Honesty always or sometimes fixes things. Maybe, when the time is right. It’s only fair for you both.”
Facing him now would be like throwing herself in the middle of a forest fire. All the visible paths blocked by fallen debris consumed by the flames her lies and she had no courage to be willfully burned, out of fear that after he hears what she had to say, his hatred would be scathing and it would fully rip her apart.
Selena nods at him, knowing fully well that she had no plans to trudging backward. What matters is now and even if she was going to walk through a bed of nails to achieve what she needed, she would gladly do it.
Just saying that in her mouth felt vile and her disappointment for herself grew.
Hey everyone! The update has arrived! I know, this is a short update but it's setting up to something!
The next update will be published tomorrow and it's definitely a longer one. <3
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