A Wolf’s Tear

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Thirty One: With What You Will

Nathaniel watches as the car Selena left with disappears from his vision. He gulps, gripping the stone balcony railing. The engulfing storm he was in was palpable. It issued his strength and his anger, enough to cause the railing to crack.

He was angry for failing to pull himself out of his habits.

But the actions he took were all from what his father taught him. It was some sort of play-by-play that he followed. He didn’t want to lie that with all the successful steps of the plan, there was a cacophony of voices in his head saying to derail everything and run to Selena and beg her to stay.

His words just minutes ago were all true. If she would only let him, he would do everything in his power to prove himself to her.

Though all of that wishful thinking lead him spiraling down.

Staying strong is the only arrow left in his quiver. Appearing weak in his mate’s eyes was not a thing he was very excited about. So he shook his dread off, hiding his emotion under the veneer of a composed expression.

As his father had said, ‘Know your worth. Let your wolves see what you want them to see.’

He steps back from the balcony, determined to remove the ache that laid within his body.

His long legs strode through the halls, eyes cast forward with only one destination in mind. Selena’s arrival invoked different kinds of feelings. Before her, he could only remember a handful of times that he truly lost his temper. He was irrational a lot of times and always quick to serve his wolves.

But with her, Nathaniel looked back at his choices and realized how much he placed himself before others. It took her leaving before he saw that oversight. That shouldn’t have been a problem but since Katie left, he felt unburdened from her cries and pleas for his attention.

For him, Katie seemed like a bad memory that tried leech on him as before he was ready to fight tooth and nail for her. Afraid that one simple ‘no’ would irreversibly damage her. Now, he wanted to believe that she was just a fever dream he wished was all over.

‘Nathaniel, will you marry me?’ Katie asks, her hopeful eyes trained on Nathaniel’s.

He looks around him as a crowd of people started to flock around them. They stare in awe, some cheering him on to say yes, while others laughed excitedly.

His heartbeat goes into overdrive and his chest constricts as he forced out a smile and answered;

‘Y-yes.’ He whispers.

A loud cheer erupts from behind him and nervousness creeps up the side of his neck. Katie dawns a happy smile as she stood and jumped in his arms, catching his lips.

While Katie murmured again and again how she loved him, all he could think of that moment was how empty he felt and that his mate was alone in a cabin.

He was mortified when he found himself wanting to erase Katie’s existence. It made him hate himself even more that the girl whom he sheltered caused him the love of his life.

Though he wasn’t clean at all. Part of him hoped for a reboot and make different decisions. But does Katie’s life truly mean nothing to him at that point enough for him to readily want to delete?

After he ended the phone call he had with Katie, a sense of liberty dawned on him. It created a void in his stomach that he didn’t know how to fill in.

With that happening, he had since realized that losing an extra leg made him run faster or lighter.

He turns into a corner and saw his wolves guarding their posts. With an affirmed nod, he stops in front of them and places his hand behind his back. The wolves in front of him cowered before him. A tug on his chest caused him to deeply frown. He was always saddened whenever his subordinates would display any kind of fear when he was around. It pained him to think that his presence was indeed truly that foul enough to shake his men and women’s resolve.

“Alpha Stormwind, sir.” Grace, the Beta’s little sister spoke. She was visibly shaking, so did the wolf beside her too.

“Good morning, to the both of you.” He speaks plainly. “Your reports please.”

Nathaniel readied himself knowing the room they were guarding contained a very deadly wolf. He could smell him in there. Sitting and calculating what was going to happen next.

But what can he do when seeking asylum warrants decorum, proper proceedings, and the most awful of all, temporary amnesty? It was a rule or an unspoken law among wolves practiced by every pack.

Selena was right. Giving a Remmington asylum was nothing but a heap of big, smoking pile shite.

It took all of him not to enter the room and stick a dagger through the wolf’s heart. And his anger was resting on a very thin sheet of ice.

“The wolf has had his breakfast and he has been informed of Francis’ arrival. He wishes to speak tomorrow as he says he plans on gathering his words before meeting him.” She says.

Nathaniel grimaced. “Tomorrow?”

Tomorrow wouldn’t be that much of a nuisance. But why take that much time when the moment he was caught, he insisted on an immediate audience with Francis? Nathaniel was thoroughly displeased but knows that this was the only path of action available to him.

And if it fails then he was ready to throw his captive unto his wolves.

His eyes glanced to the other wolf, finding it odd how he was shaking tremendously despite Nathaniel being cordial. He brushes it off, not wanting to intimidate the boy any further.

“Inform me or Lilian as fast as you can if anything comes up.” He states.

“Your will be done, Alpha.” Both of them spoke dutifully.

He nods, turning his heels, disappointed at the result. He wishes this whole debacle would just end right there and he certainly was not a patient person whenever it pertains to the pack’s well-being.

With that blowing off, he found himself without a task. Before him getting his wolf back, Lilian insisted that he offloads a large number of his duties to her. To which he vehemently declined at first and then realized she was not going to give up easily.

Now what?

For the first time in years, Nathaniel had nothing to do.

He was adamant that his Beta would have already finished his list of chores for the day and that made him somewhat sad.

He felt his job was being taken away and somehow, Nathaniel felt empty. He tries to remember anything that he liked doing the most except for taking care of his pack but nothing came.

A grimace appeared on his face, causing the wolves who ran into him to avoid eye contact and completely scurried away. That only worsened his annoyance.

He bolted to his office, suddenly bothered with how hard it was to answer what should have been an easy question. He slammed his office door behind him and leaned against it. Once he was greeted with silence, he breathed deeply.

Not knowing about himself was a thought too inconceivable but looking at it now, he felt the void that formed after Katie left become larger.

His breathing became labored as he started to panic. He tried again, desperate to remember a single line or a thread of memory from his past. But no. All he remembered was training to become an Alpha, following his father’s footsteps.

Nathaniel’s eyes drifted to the bookshelves on his far right. His father’s eyes, those striking gray pair of orbs bore into his soul. Seeing his father’s face in a framed photo struck a memory. He remembered the letter Andre gave him. Building the courage to read the letter has been difficult but now he needed something to muddle his thoughts.

Though he was unsure, he let his heart beat dangerously fast while he neared his office desk, pulling out his drawer, and grabbing the letter that had his name on it.

He looks over the letters that his father wrote, feeling a tinge of pain hit him.

In his eyes, Jacob was always a good father that he respected and missed. But his emotions only stretched to that. Which was another thing he was afraid of.

It confused him how much and how little he remembered about his childhood. He was starting to think that he didn’t have one to begin with.

He tore the envelope’s flap and tip the opened portion to the palm of his hands. Three photographs fell to the floor along with the letter. He bends down and picked them up, placing the photos on his desk, and unfolded the three-paged letter.

Nathaniel shuts his eyes closed for a moment and blinked away his nervousness.

‘My boy,’

‘This is stupid of me to write this letter. And depending on if your mother told you or not, you must despise me.’

Nathaniel’s brows knitted. His heart sunk just reading that first line and to read his father refer to him as ‘his boy’ caused a lot more pain to bubble up.

‘I’m not going to lie and say that I have the right to write this now in an attempt to right the wrongs I’ve done to you, my two precious boys, and my wife who I took for granted.’

‘My first regret is marrying a wolf whom I have fallen out of love to begin with. Eliza is a talented wolf who sang songs for everyone in the pack. When I married her, she gave me love that I never knew existed but I gambled it away because I didn’t know how to handle it.’

He thought of one memory that mirrored his father’s statement. On his eighth birthday, he awoke excitedly and ran to his parents’ room. He remembered smiling and running down the hall with an assured foot after the other. He wanted to kiss his mother and father and proudly say he was now a bigger boy than yesterday.

When he entered his parents’ room, he saw his father standing over his mother, his fist midway in the air while his mother looked at him, shocked and was teary-eyed.

That was a day he buried so deep in his mind that he was only now remembering it.

There was another wolf’s scent in the room, a boy’s. That was also the day he discovered he was going to be an older brother.

‘I took her shine away and she never sang again after the first time I hit her. I watched the glow from her skin fade and before, I enjoyed it immensely because she was the reason why I married too young and lost my chance to have my mate.’

‘But the truth was, I was wrong and it was all of me who drained the source of her beauty, willfully sucking her life. It was my father who urged me to marry her just so I will have an heir to hawk over as he did to me.’

Another memory flashed through his eyes. He was with his father, alone in the woods while they were continuing their weekly training.

“You should date, my boy,” Jacob speaks as he was setting up a campfire while Nathaniel built their sleeping tents.

He chuckles, hammering down the tent pegs.

“Nah, I’m good. My mate is out there, sir. I just have to wait for her.” He says.

A grimace falls upon his face and Nathaniel could sense the silence coming out from his father. He raises his head and sees the relief and disappointment in his eyes.

“I was nineteen when I married your mother and had you. Don’t you wanna start a life and have kids too? How about that Grimes girl? She seems like a good person. Tough and a candidate for being the pack’s Beta.”

Nathaniel just stared at his father, mentally distraught for a few seconds.

“Sir!” He exclaims. “Forgive me but I am well aware of Lively Grimes’ recent activities with other wolves and though her actions do not make her less of a wolf, I can’t imagine a life with her.”

He was flustered, wide-eyed, and confused about how his father could ever bring a topic like that to their table.

Nineteen years of his existence trickled down to always stressing about how he was going to impress his grandfather and father. He was a virgin above all else and what he wanted was his mate to be his first time.

Jacob rubs his hands together and came to his son, placing a firm hand on his shoulder.

“Good.” He murmurs and leaves Nathaniel to go fetch some wood.

‘I’m sorry, Nathaniel. You weren’t born out of love but for tradition. I resented your mother for giving birth to a healthy baby boy. And so I acted foolishly, went around pack after pack, making alliances. I took it as a ruse, a cover for me to sleep around until I found my mate, and I did.’

‘My infidelity was the reason your mother reached for the comfort of another man. I was so afraid to lose control over her that I threatened her mate I would kill him if he ever shows up again.’

‘That clearly didn’t work because she had your other brother. It was so easy for everyone to blame the female wolf who had a swollen belly, carrying another wolf’s child and I let it happen because I was without a spine. She begged me to raise the child and in my fear, stupidity, and callousness, the thought of me raising another person’s child terrified me so I arranged for the child to be sent to his father and bought his family’s silence despite your mother’s reluctance.’

Nathaniel felt a mixture of emotions as he trained his eyes on the piece of paper that revealed his father’s words.

Desperately, he wanted to believe that these letters were a lie, fabricated by some other wolves that wanted to destroy his father’s reputation.

But no.

The letter had his father’s scent and handwriting.

He could tell his father was shaking while he was writing this. The spontaneous curves and abrupt endings were all signs of that.

‘She wanted to leave and take you with her but I couldn’t let that happen. It was my time to regret and writhe in my insanity. I did the cruelest act of all and said to her I would end myself if she left with you.’

‘Eliza stayed and for the first few years after that, she gave herself to me to the fullest. I was terrified of her love and I didn’t know how to love her back. She offered to show me, teach me, and care for me. I did love her truly, deeply. But I can’t shake off my past and continued hating her for taking me back and loving me and at the same time, I also couldn’t breathe whenever she wasn’t on my side.’

‘She said she would never leave me and I believed her. But I don’t think she wanted to stay with me for love, she stayed for you. My feelings for her grew over the years and I started to take care of her more. But then she became pregnant with Jacob. I was so distraught that I hit her.’

‘I never wanted another child. I never wanted you in the first place. Having Jacob in my life scared me because I would have another image of me that I needed to corrupt.’

Nathaniel’s tenth birthday was an eventual one. It was the first time he and his father along with his grandfather was alone. They were in an open field, hours away from pack Morris.

As a child, Nathaniel realized to never question his father’s actions and just go with it.

His grandfather stood back on the road, just watching them while Jacob stood in front of him, on the verge of tears. Nathaniel felt bad for his father and wanted only to wipe the tears out of his face.

He walks to his father, only to be pushed away with a gentle hand.

“Take your clothes off, Nathaniel. Leave your underwear on.” Jacob commands.

Nathaniel obliged and handed his clothes to Jacob.

Jacob fought tears but wore a strong face, glancing towards his father first then taking his gaze back to Nathaniel. He gulps, his fingers shaking.

“This is your first lesson.” He muttered under his breath. “You will need to survive on your own for three days and I will come back for you, I promise.”

Nathaniel wanted to cry but one look at his grandfather made him freeze.

“Sir,” he whispered. “Please don’t leave me.”

Jacob shook his head firmly.

“Do you know how to build a fire on your own?”

Nathaniel nods.

“Do you know how to set up traps for small games?”

“Yes, sir.” He trembled as he answered.

“Then you can do this.”

His father turns with no more words. Nathaniel runs to him, his small hands clinging to his father’s leg while he begged and cried.

“Daddy, please.” Nathaniel cried against Jacob’s leg.

Jacob’s body quivered with heartache. He removed Nathaniel away from him and bent down, ruffling his son’s hair, and placed their forehead against each other.

“I love you, Nathaniel but I’m sorry.”

Suddenly, Nathaniel blacks out, hitting the ground. When he awoke, a sharp sting on the base of his neck greeted him and his father was nowhere to be found.

‘I regret so much for raising you the way I did. But for the sake of our family’s long run of thoroughbred Alphas, I was forced to. There were many times I thought of stopping and taking you, your brother, and your mother away, start a new life and pretend nothing happened. But it was the only life I knew and I couldn’t find a way to get out of it.’

‘I watched you grow up and I molded you in a way that was perfect in my father’s eyes. I did to you what he did to me.’

On one day, Nathaniel stood on the balcony, his favorite place of a recluse. He was watching the pack, envious of the happy families in the yard. He often wondered why his family never went to other places other than just going to other packs for meetings of some kind. But he never bothered asking knowing his father was a very busy man.

“What are you looking at?” Jacob asked.

Nathaniel looks over his shoulder, seeing his father’s acute stare at the newspaper in his hands.

“Nothing, sir.” He tries to brush it off.

Jacob sighs, placing his paper on the table. He stood, approaching his son. He hands his arm over Nathaniel’s shoulders.

Nathaniel felt his stomach churn.

It wasn’t that often that his father showed him affection or pay that much attention to him. And being this near to him made him giddy, happy even to have his father pull him, holding him in place tightly.

“Do you see all of these people?” He gestures to the wolves on the ground.

Nathaniel nods. “Yes, sir.”

“These families know what a wolf can do. How we can easily tear flesh from bone. How many of these wolves do you know?”

A spark in him ignited.

“I know almost all them, sir.” He answers proudly.

“And do you care for them?”

“Of course.”

He looks at his father’s unsure expression.

“You shouldn’t.” Jacob grimaced.

His eyes widened, completely perplexed.

“But-”

He wanted to speak and ask his father why but he was quickly cut short by the saddened and conflicted tone of voice his father used.

“Nathaniel, you are wrong to care for them. In the midst of war when one of them is struck down, do you run to them and save them?”

“Yes, sir. An Alpha’s duty is the safety of their wolves, is it not?” He narrows his brows.

“Downed wolves will slow you down, Nathaniel. If you were tending to an injured wolf in the battlefield, an enemy will take it as an opportunity to drive a dagger into your side.”

“But we can’t just let them die, da…sir,” Nathaniel argued, only to meet his father’s stern look of disapproval.

“You need to understand that you as an Alpha is important. You may lose a couple of them along the way that is why you should always consider them disposable.”

His anger rose. “That’s not right… That’s simply cruel. Aren’t they supposed to be my allies?”

Jacob nodded, squeezing Nathaniel’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry, my boy. But foolish whims like that often get a wolf killed. You die then what’s left of your pack? Who will lead them? An Alpha must always live.”

He turned on his heels, picking up his newspaper and straightening it with one flick before sitting back down while Nathaniel stared at the sky, grim-faced and silently fuming.

‘I despised myself for not being able to hold and carry Jacob. I was dreading the things I was going to do to him and you. I loved you both equally but still, I failed you.’

‘I pushed away Jacob because I knew I only needed one of my boys to follow the rocky footsteps I left. I never meant to neglect him instead it was the opposite. I’ve been to every sports event he was in. Baseball, basketball, soccer, and that event where he learned his black belt for martial arts. He’s very talented and I wish I was strong enough to ask and be with there when he celebrated his victories and comforted him at his defeats. But whenever I built the courage to take a step forward, I am reminded of that day when you planted your dagger against my neck.’

That was another day that became foggy to him over the years. But now, he remembered it so vividly and remorse flooded into him, suddenly wanting to see Jacob, his younger brother, again.

He was supposed to go with his father to another week of training away from the pack. At that time, Jacob was already nines years old. He loved everything about Jacob. He was a doting big brother and sometimes overly protective of him. As Jacob was a frail little wolf, Nathaniel took it upon his job to provide him everything using his monthly allowance.

Every weekend, Nathaniel would ask the pack Beta to drive him and his brother to town and go shopping and did whatever Jacob asked him to. Of course, he never bothered to ask their father but he knew that the old man was very displeased about this. Which he shrugged off.

His mother was a busy partner to their Beta, delegating work to wolves while he and his father were away. Whenever he had the chance, he slept beside Jacob and always made him know that he was being taken care of.

Despite it seeming like everyone in his life was busy and was always away from each other, he was somewhat happy with it or at the very least, content.

While going through the foyer, camping equipment, and his two axes in hand, Jacob was hot on his tail, begging and crying to let him go with them.

“I’ll be good and quiet, please Nate.” He says, grabbing Nathaniel’s legs.

He thought for a moment, looking down at his brother’s crying face. It was a scene familiar to him.

He begged his father not to leave him in the middle of a big field with only his underwear on his body. It was like he was reliving that whole ordeal. It caused him to breathe uncontrollably.

But Jacob was an Alpha’s son too. If Nathaniel was there then he would be able to take care of him while training. He knew it was a gullible and naive thing to think about but all he wanted was to desperately stop his baby brother from crying.

He held Jacob’s hand and lead them to their father’s truck.

“Sir,” Nathaniel calls him.

Their father was not amused by the sight of his younger son clinging to his brother. He jumps off from the tailgate and grabbed Nathaniel’s belonging, gently tossing them into the back of the truck.

“What is he doing here?” He coldly asks.

“Can Jacob come too?” Nathaniel placed his brother in front of him, placing his hands on Jacob’s shoulders.

“No.” Their father coldly stated, loading the remaining camping equipment into the backseat.

“Sir, he’s your son too. Please let him come. I promise to take care of him and he will be out of your way.”

Nathaniel was determined. For the very rough love his father gave him, maybe he can give that to his younger brother too?

But Nathaniel will be there to teach Jacob what was right from wrong and he certainly did not have any plans on making Jacob go through what he did as a child. His mission was to only open his father’s heart for Jacob.

“You know very well that we will be shifting and running. He will not come unless you decide to not train at all and make this retreat a camping trip.”

With beaming eyes, Nathaniel breathed lightly.

“Can we?” Hope was overflowing from his voice.

“Again Nathaniel, no. I don’t want a sniveling pup to go with us.”

He was aware that his father was adamant about saying no but he too was adamant about his decision.

They stare at each other, eyes pinned to one another. Both of them were gravely unwilling to relent.

It was the first-ever time Nathaniel tried to challenge his father. He never once questioned his father’s authority even at times when he found it odd.

He wanted to be the good son. The son that makes his father smile proudly while shaking his hand. The son that ends up mending his family together.

What he wanted was even for just one second his father removes his stern mask and look at him kindly without his eyes brewing up a squall of disappointment.

He knew what his name entailed. It meant he was going to carry on the family dynasty and he needed to be a perfect, polished mirror framed by gold and studded with diamonds that reflected his father.

That day when his father returned to him after three days of eating grass and drinking rainwater, he knew then that he was stuck in a family loop, or as his father told him, a tradition. But if that loop, the tradition made his father smile at him then he would do it.

At this point, the tension in the atmosphere was thick enough to be cut by a knife and his brother had started crying, remorseful of how the moment quickly passed. He runs to his father and grabbed his jacket.

“Please, sir.” He looked up to his father.

Nathaniel didn’t understand what happened. It was like a sudden tick in his father exploded. His determined gaze melted softly into warmth, only for that warmth to dissipate and become fear. He watches as his father pushes Jacob onto the ground as if he was some kind of virus.

The smell of blood entered Nathaniel’s nose and his brother’s sobs thundered in his direction. Jacob’s elbow was scraped and the sight of the crimson liquid slowly seeping out of his skin made Nathaniel’s blood boil.

He hastily kicked his father’s knee, causing him to fall to the ground. His hand reached for his dagger hanging on his hip and planted the tip against his father’s neck as he sat on his chest.

“Don’t touch him like that!” Nathaniel shrieked, his heart palpitating as he cried.

He didn’t want to scream or act so callously but he lost control, disregarding the grip of morals to protect his family.

“Don’t you ever do that to him ever again, please sir?”

Nathaniel had started sobbing and continued to fall apart after seeing his father’s tears.

‘That day reminds me always how much I failed to be your protector. I was already old and I should have been able to grab hold of my emotions but I couldn’t.’

‘I remember your terrified expression and it eats me up even up to this day. My chest caves in whenever you look at me dutifully and follow my orders without hesitation. I saw so much of you in me and by then, it was too late.’

‘I successfully turned you into a robot, like me, just following orders. But in moments when you are in control of yourself, I saw someone else. Someone who cares and loves. I realized that someone was the person I wanted to be. You found it on your own and I don’t understand why I couldn’t.’

‘You looked me dead in the eyes with hate after I cast your brother way. I’ve struggled to be the person I wanted to be but I was too horrified to take a step in the dark and face what was in it.’

‘But you alone found it. I was happy for you that spark remained lit despite the years of conditioning I put you under. You made amazing strides to prove yourself to the world by going on your own path, speaking your truth to me. I always looked upon you with pride and asking myself how you unearthed yourself while I remained stagnant with one foot buried in the ground.’

‘Words completely fail to describe the amount of hate I have for myself. I denied reality, abandoned the beauty of family, and waved my hand over us despite knowing the repercussions.’

‘I adore you Nathaniel, my boy. You made me realize that our family’s way is not absolute, in fact, it is completely jagged around the edges, rusted from age.’

‘There’s so much I need to tell you but I can’t do it in person. Eliza leans onto me as I write this letter. She was the one that told me to express my words on a piece of parchment. I don’t deserve the kindness of a woman whom I threatened with violence so many times. She is a wonder, the sun that takes my feet off the ground, my best friend. Her loyalty is boundless and I was such a fool to not love her the way she always deserved.’

‘I do not have any right to ask you for anything but please understand that I love you very much. When you read this message, free yourself of the words I’ve told you and know that I have the utmost respect for you and that I am proud of what my two strong boys have become. But I will continue watching you succeed in the shadows of my cowardice.’

‘You must despise me, I know. I’ve hated myself for so long and I’ve drowned in it so many times. My love for this family keeps me afloat and without Eliza, I would have already ended myself.’

‘I’m truly sorry, Nathaniel. If ever I could stack my sins, it will reach the stars. Take a look at the photos. He is the product of my affair, me and my mate’s son.’

‘Divine the rest and do with it what you will.’

‘Your father,’

‘Jacob Nathan G. Morris’

In the end, Nathaniel didn’t know what he had gained. He may have lost a lot more after reading through his father’s long letter. But reading through it, a lot of things made sense.

Everything made him feel numb. Something in him awoke. He sadly had no way of explaining his grief.

He never saw his childhood to be that messed up before.

Maybe he was just too much of a yes-man. Someone who never said no despite it taking a toll on him.

He abandoned his reality too, choosing to pick the parts of his life that were the most appealing. The parts that represented what perfect meant to him.

How come was it so hard to admit this himself?

The years of him looking up to his father, willfully ignoring the signs just to fill in the pieces of his life that were missing.

Now he understood the void in his body and how it was bigger than he had expected. He had no life aside from pack Morris.

He rested the letter on his desk and with shaky hands, he took the photos and looked at them one by one. Two of them were blurry and the relatively clear one hid the man’s face behind a tree branch.

He grabs the envelope and shook it. Two more photos came out and a memory card. The photos were still unreliable.

There were no hesitations as he rummaged through his desk, finding a memory card adaptor. He places the memory card into the adaptor and inserts it into his computer. It took a moment for the card to read and when it did, he contemplated on what he was going to find.

“Fuck.” He gulps and clicks the card’s drive.

What he saw was a cornucopia of photos, about a hundred of them. Though some of them were useless, he found one image that completely revealed the man’s face. Just like him, the man inherited their father’s dark blonde hair and a few distinct features like his lips, nose, and the shape of his mouth.

This feeling was the same when he saw Winston but somehow, it was a level rawer. He knew from the start that Winston existed but this new person was a complete shadow to him.

The only thing differentiating him and Nathaniel was how blue the man’s eyes were.

He scrolls down further until he hits the last file named;

‘Roark(asDD)-locAlbrichtime-1800.mp4’

He plays it. The video had no audio but he had no trouble watching what was playing in front of him.

The same man was in a bathroom dyeing his hair black.

He pauses the video, not able to process everything in front of him. The still frame of this man made him question his sanity. Again, he wanted so bad as to deny the truth in front of him and opted for what was easier to believe.

But no. Just like what he did when he found out about Winston, he knew he needed to find this man whether he liked it or not.

Nathaniel’s stomach was churning. He wanted to vomit, cry, and scream at the same time. There were so many things he couldn’t take in and just truly accept. The web of lies he spun himself has now fully revealed its consequences and he was now trapped in it.

He held back tears, pushing himself away from his desk, and shakily stood.

The feeling of it was surreal. It was like he lost the feeling of his legs and all that remained was a phantom sensation he couldn’t fully grasp.

Hastily, he grabbed the letter and walked to his door. He pauses in front of his father’s photo. The overwhelming amount of spite coursing through his body overtook him. Nathaniel reaches for the picture frame and faced it down.

Before he left his office, he picks up the master key that unlocks all locks in the packhouse and went straight to his mother’s room down the hall.

He must be crazy or at least going down that path.

There were so many questions piling up in his mind that he was being cornered or pushed and on the precipice of falling into his demise.

As expected, his mother’s room was locked when he got there. He used the key to enter slowly entered the room. There, Eliza remained still, just staring outside the window. Nathaniel’s arrival didn’t seem to shake her.

“Mom.” He whispers through the space.

His knees quaked as he formed his free hand into a fist, barely holding back his emotions.

Eliza turns, her eyes quickly narrowed at pages of paper in Nathaniel’s hand after catching the smell of her mate. She stalked towards him but after a few steps she lost her balance and before she fell, he was there to catch her.

He held his mother, so afraid of his unknown future. There were no tears. He only let Eliza embrace him. He thanked the comfort, the privacy, and the silence of the moment that he was allowed to silently grieve and wallow in his defeats.

“Why, mother? Why would you allow him to do that to you?” He blinked profusely, the beat of his heart accelerating.

Eliza simply pulled away, wiping her tears, and composed herself.

“Because when you love someone, you are willing to sacrifice your life for them.”

~•°•~

Hey everyone! Here's the second update. Sorry I wasn't able to reply to the comments from the last chapter.

The truth is, I finished it four days ago but held it off and changed some of the words spoken in it.

I will eventually try and reply to them all but I want you all to know that your support for the story is overwhelming and I'm so excited what your reactions will be after reading this chapter!

Rest assured, the story will go down with blood and death... But who’s blood? Hahahaha

If you enjoyed the chapter, please consider leaving a vote or comment!

Love,

Jino

P.S. — Did anyone expected this at all?
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