A Wolf’s Tear

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Thirty Four: the Right

In a matter of moments, Nathaniel realized his whole life was one big unending cycle of lies and promises stretched to absurdity.

The Moon’s retribution does exist.

His father’s confession, the discovery of another brother, and his mother’s truth all contributed to him hardening his head but he maintained a cool composure knowing he needed to resolve these problems as fast as possible.

He gritted his teeth as Eliza leaned on him. The two full hours that preceded after he stormed into Eliza’s room were quiet. They grieved their losses.

For Nathaniel, his respect and admiration for his father went down the drain when he realized he was hurting his wife behind the scene, making Nathaniel angrier knowing that Eliza loved him so much.

Love how? Loved wickedly enough to not leave him and take his fists. Nathaniel pulled on his hair hopelessly. Muttering in his mind how he failed to see everything. However, he could see that her feelings were true and that irritated him.

“Unbelievable, mother.” He murmurs lowly.

Eliza nuzzles her face on his shoulder.

Is it possible to care for someone and hate them with the same intensity?

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” She pleaded.

Hearing her broken voice was crippling him. Never had he heard this much anguish from anyone before and coming from Eliza, it brought him down. He wanted to tell her that nothing about this was her fault while at the same time wanting to say the opposite.

‘Think, Nathaniel.’ He says to himself.

The staleness of the situation was quickly creeping under his skin at the time where he needed to get things in a row quickly.

His hands gently remove her from him, creating a safe distance between them. Her distraught reaction made him regret pulling but he stoned himself.

“Mother, we need to talk.” He says. This wasn’t something that they could pick up on later. It needed to be finished now or started otherwise, it may come to destroy their lives. Though looking at it now, his life was in shambles and the smokes and mirrors pack Morris was built upon were now disappearing as a quick act of illusion.

“But I’m not ready yet.”

Eliza leans forward, sparing him a bereft glance before she tucked her face between her knees.

He hated how his heart needed to be always tough and how he wanted to prove himself that he was stronger, better than his father without knowing why. He couldn’t afford to appear weak nor pretend that none of the things around him was happening.

He needed to come second, that’s always been his life. And to escape it was impossible when it's all he’s ever known.

“I don’t want to be unfair, mother but you’ve had months to confess after his death but you hid. Don’t you realize he was a scum?”

No other storms were as thunderous as his mother’s glare. The way her eyes glowed brightly with unbearable rage took him by surprise.

“Don’t you dare call him that!” She shrieked. “He was scared and confused and bullied.”

His jaw locked, for a moment he wanted to raise his voice back and let his grief pour out of his mouth like water from a broken sink. His shoulders are lowered as he runs a hand through his hair.

“The cheating husband was scared, confused, and bullied.” He answers calmly. Though his heart protested, his mind couldn’t comprehend how heavy the situation was and so he let himself spill, filtering out the words he deemed were going too far.

“Jacob loved this family, loved you and your brother.”

“Loved us? Mother, can you cite an example when he ever publicly stated that?” The fluidity of his spite spoke loud.

“No, I know he never did that. Public affection was hard for him when every move he made was scrutinized by your grandparents.”

“Oh yes, mother. He had a hard time showing public affection but he went on to play hide the carrot with other wolves while he was away and then got a woman pregnant.”

By the end, his body was aching. Going over the hedge was not his intention but downplaying his words would lead to nothing. He didn’t intend to be his mother’s pillow to cry on to just like he was to Katie’s. He was acting like a jerk but after the situation has gone downhill and fell into a dark hole of deception and lies, being an asshole felt warranted.

Struggling to maintain a composed glance, Eliza gritted her teeth while her sobs persisted through her effort to not fully give in to her tears.

“You have no right to begrime his life. Especially when you didn’t know him as well as I did.”

“I know enough of him for me to safely discern that he was a manipulative bastard that guilted you into staying because he was afraid to lose his reputation. Face it mother he used-”

Nathaniel felt momentarily disoriented as he pulled back, shell-shocked when Eliza’s hand flew across his cheek. When the shock subsided and his blurry gaze settled, his mother’s guilt-covered mask dawned on him. Though that expression on her was fleeting as she darkened her gaze.

“If I had left we wouldn’t have had Jacob.”

He draws his lip back, his eyes closing shut for a moment. Imagining a life and world without his young brother was hard, impossible. Jacob was the one good thing that came out good. He was glad that his brother didn’t turn out to be another one of their father’s mini-me. But everything else meant nothing. Having Jacob didn’t absolve the past and it surely didn’t erase the hurt he or his brother was put through.

“I loved your father and he loved me. His love wasn’t perfect nor was mine. We fought a lot and screamed at each other but never have I ever felt like I was used. He made me the happiest woman and behind doors, he’s just like you, Nate. He is kind, loving, and so unselfishly selfish. Why do you think a lot of old wolves adored him? They knew your father for what he truly was and the letters do not make his shaded efforts obsolete.”

Shaded efforts were a very apt name for what his father did.

How could he hide everything and not grow an inch of a spine to at least come out and be truthful? If he was younger, maybe he would understand and find a way to fix things. It was his duty as Alpha, the peacekeeper.

Then again, what was peace when landmines were scattered throughout his pack’s history?

A wave of shame washes over his body. Making Eliza shed her tears, hyperventilating while she hugged herself. Her crumbling state caused him to groan.

“Sorry.” He looks at his hands, remorse draping his minute movement. It hurt him more knowing that his apology was empty, forced so he could pacify her anguish.

The bone-chilling silence that followed was palpable as minutes go by with one of them talking. Every tick of the clock that hanged beside a portrait of him, his brother, his father, and their mother was driving him mad. In that family portrait where he was all smiling while holding his infant baby brother was just a cover-up to the messed-up reality.

It bothered him remembering that day to be filled with happiness and that he was glad to be with a full loving family.

Feet shuffling against the floor caused him to look up and saw Eliza pouring herself a tall glass of wine and then downing it all in a matter of seconds. She sniffled, running her hands down her body, preparing for something that Nathaniel braced himself for.

“I’m a terrible mother.” She pushes the loose strands of her hair behind her ear. “I admit I wasn’t there for my children but Jacob needed me too, sometimes most. He wasn’t stable, Nathaniel. He cries in his sleep, begging for forgiveness. Waking up to him restless tossing and turning, sobbing into my shoulders. He was a scared man and he had long accepted the fact that his life was never going to be normal.”

“If he was so scared, why couldn’t he have just left and escaped?” Nathaniel asks, shaking his head incredulously.

Jacob Senior never cried nor was he as weak as his mother described him to be. He was at the very least considerate, cordial, but also sometimes kind. He was formal and never once talked about his feelings.

Showing less made wolves think more.

“Escape? There is no escaping the name Morris, Nathaniel. If we stepped out of pack Morris, we would have been considered as criminals, charged with treason and burned in front of the pack all done by your grandfather, and without us, he would have been the one that trained you.”

Nathaniel had little to no contact with this father’s father. As far as he knew, he was just a man that existed. A man that was always there but never worked the effort to be in his life.

His impression of his grandparents being too old to be in his life was wrong.

He remained a shrewd glance, heavily sighing.

“Who else knows about father?” He spoke.

“Andre knew and so did your aunt. Alphas Albrich, Highcliff, Waterford, San Ignacio, and a few small packs. Even the deceased Alpha Remmington knew when they were still our allies.”

Everyone who was in power knew and yet no one had bothered or dared to tell anyone. It made him wonder if every wolf who have ever smiled in front of him was hiding the same secret.

“The man in the photos… my brother. Since when did you know he existed?”

“Sometime after Winston arrived. Andre was tipped off that a rogue wolf was spotted lurking around the pack Albrich and his spies saw an overwhelming resemblance to your father.”

His lips flattened.

“Why wasn’t I informed?”

When he finally discovered where Winston lived after months of searching, there was that rush of excitement and then happiness. He was hoping that it would be the same with this person, his brother.

“Your father’s council strongly advised against it. Since he is your father’s son, he has the right to contest your seat as Alpha Morris and your father was concerned on…” Eliza smiles, laughing sadly. “He was worried about how would I feel. I said it would have been okay but he decided he didn’t want to dig out graves so he never dared to speak to him.”

He narrowed his gaze to her and scoffs.

“Are you sure his decision to abandon his son was to not face the result of his manwhoring around?”

“Scoff all you want but Jacob to me was a man worthy of praise and love.”

Something in him clicked. Like a lock loosening with just one tug. An overwhelming amount of regret flooded in his veins for the words forming in his mind.

“For Moon’s sake, mother. Stop pretending he was someone special. Admit that he wormed his ideas into your head. Admit that he was an abusive asshole that beat up his wife and neglected his children. A spineless coward hiding behind a title and a name.”

The man whom he revered as a great hero was also the man he strove to be. Disappointment mixed with remorse. He knew that the vile he spat from his mouth was half-meant. How was he supposed to easily accept the contents of that letter and understand his mother’s brokenhearted plea?

Pandora’s box has already been opened and all the dirt and grime his family tried to sweep under the rug is thrown all over the floor.

The whole situation left him numb.

Eliza marched towards him, standing toe to toe while neither one of them surrendered, taking their ground.

She was trembling with fury, lips quivering and barely holding herself together.

“You think I don’t know my place, Nathaniel?” Her voice was cold, ominous. “I am my husband’s wife, his Luna. Every right he has, I control and unless another Luna is brought, you will adhere to my rules and my words. As Luna Morris, I come before you.”

He smiles, his challenging stare staying on Eliza.

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

She gulps.

“I will not let you defile his memories in front of my face and if push comes to shove I will revoke your title and then you can go around saying shit about him.”

Nathaniel shakes his head, grinning while his mind rode a roller coaster of incredulity. Eliza wasn’t the kind to speak her thoughts loudly, instead, she was calculative and her raising voice defiantly with a clenched jaw all while pinning her furious gaze to him was a side he had never witnessed before.

How it irritated him more as his mother chose her hill to die on, defending her husband who lied all through his life.

A deep chuckle escaped him.

“Go on then, do it. Strip me of my position and throw me into a pit with your wolves.”

Trained and focus stares, each of them not deterring. How could Eliza even defend a monster? He failed to fathom how intense her love could be.

As he looked back through his memories, his father always smiled whenever no one else was watching. He did look relaxed and at peace covering his sinister past. Whatever admiration left Nathaniel had for his father, he made sure to crumple it up into a small corner and to forget it ever existed.

Right now, he needed to let the fumes of his wrath encapsulate his thoughts to justify his words.

Discovering your idol to be a terrible man was gut-wrenching. He felt his whole existence to be a farce in under the same day he had to say goodbye to the only woman his heart and wolf longed for.

He wanted Eliza to admit that she stayed under duress.

To say he was a terrible husband and father.

Just anything to make him feel right.

His chest was being crushed. He breaths heavily as he remained still on his resolve. All these assumptions, facts, or ideas swirling around his head blocked any other emotion than grief, insecurity, and loss.

Sudden wetness formed on his upper lip, its smell causing him to recoil while he reaches for the grooves under his nose. It was blood leaking from his nose. The liquid traveled down his lips nonstop. It trickled down the floor as he used his fingers to stop the flow.

Though his wolf was back, that didn’t mean his full strength was too. His wolf had worked, exerting all its strength to heal him of his wounds. Now that it was weakened, it wasn’t able to handle his grief, overwhelmed by raw emotions.

As Eliza showed no signs of backing down, he begrudgingly huffed and turned on the balls of his feet. Walking to the door, Eliza places her hand on his back and grasped his shoulder.

“Wait.” She says.

He grimaces, watching her go through her bedside drawer to grab a clean handkerchief. She insisted on cleaning him despite his protests.

“You’re overworking your wolf, it’s not healthy.” She says.

He narrows his eyes to her.

“With all this mess going down, how do you expect me to stay calm?” He steps back.

They were slung back to their previous position. No one offering to break the awful gloom-filled rift between them. He was standing there for a minute until he takes the piece of cloth from his mother’s hand.

Eliza erupted into a fit of tears, running to him and burying her nose into his chest.

Nathaniel was weakened and had no more resolve as he caved in and embrace his mother back.

He loved this woman and he felt like dirt after spewing out words fueled by vitriol towards her.

“You look just like him, even junior does but mostly you, Nathaniel. You both speak in the same tone, same voice. You even smile the same. You are your father’s mirror and ever since he left us, looking at you opens up a storm of pain that I just want to forget. I want my husband back, my boys, my life before. Jacob’s justified reaction to me ruining your chances with Selena made me weak but opened my eyes and even then I couldn’t strengthen myself. Please don’t leave me… I’m sorry for saying all those things. Please, I don’t want to lose you too.”

She was miserable, holding onto him like he was about to evaporate into thin air.

He had to remind himself to not take everything Eliza was saying. He needed to be astute but also be there for her. Though he stood his ground, unwilling to let go of it.

“Tell me, be honest. How often did he hurt you?” He whispers.

“Once when he took your scent and discovered you were a boy and second when I discovered I was pregnant with junior.”

“He wanted me to be a girl?”

His brows meet.

She nods.

“If you were born a girl then your grandfather would have arranged you to be trained differently but no girl has been born for over a hundred years in our family. He wanted you and your brother to be girls.”

Nathaniel understood;

“Which would have meant I’d be shipped to Europe and train as a Luna just like aunt Thalia. And you would have been required to get pregnant for a son.”

Even if he was born as a woman, being trained as Luna was not all safe and easy too. In some ways, it was more brutal. Either way, a part of him felt better that it was him instead of Jacob that went through all those years of harsh conditioning.

“Is there something else I need to know about dad?”

She shook her head.

“No,” she says. “Everything he was most ashamed of has already been stated in the letter.”

“So we’re done?” He sighed. “Mother, we both need to speak with Jacob. I owe him an apology and more.”

She nodded profusely.

“I will, I promise.”

He drew the strength to let her go and walked towards the door. Feeling numb and empty. It felt like he hadn’t resolved an issue, only that he was temporarily satisfied with the dreary outcome.

“Nathaniel,” she spoke. He turns to her, eyes cast on the floor. She clears her throat and made her best attempt to calm herself. “Don’t be like your father. Even though your similarities are staggering, remember to be honest with the things you want. I don’t want you to be everything to everyone but no one for yourself.”

“Okay, mother.” He answers.

Nathaniel pushes through the door, trudging to the corridor. As Alpha, his duty was exactly to be everything to everyone. It was the role he was in, the role he was happy to be in.

His father made it known that for pack Morris to prosper, his wolves needed to be thrust above him while at the same time, he needed to be loud enough to let them hear his voice.

Every decision he made needed to be centered around his pack and wolves. A selfish decision was always out of the discussion. He needed to think always for the pack.

He stops, glancing out the window.

Would it have been a selfish decision to hold Selena’s hand and never let go of her?

Her kiss before still ruffled the folds of his brain, and her heart, her beating heart against his body, that sensation he felt was and still is the best feeling he never hoped to experience.

But he did. All thanks to her.

Selena, in his eyes, was simply too good for him. He would be able to touch and look at her but he was afraid he would fail tremendously at how to grasp the contents of her heart and how lengthy her desires were.

He knew very well that right from the start she wanted nothing to do with him and he was a fool thinking that pushing her away would silence the screams of his chest, instead, it ended up making more damage.

She graced her walk with unending elegance and for a moment, Nathaniel wasn’t sure if she was aware of what huge impact her words left.

Could it be that she was oblivious to how beautiful she was?

Despite it already being late, every fiber of his being revolved around a fleeting thought, the longer it was bottled up in his mind, the more he entertained its permanence.

How would it feel to be everything to only just one person, to Selena?

~•°•~

The day sped by quickly. He was constantly interrupted by his memories of Selena. Though there weren’t that many, he held on to the fact that Selena would now smile after finding her happiness.

After collecting himself, he pushed himself back to work, prioritizing finding his newly discovered brother. He took the calm approached and read through what his father left. Every contact list, including the deceased and made vague inquiries to their families. He rummaged through his cabinets, scanning file after file, desperate to find one connection or a mention of his brother.

Sadly, the papers on his desk, the file on his desktop computer, and the many calls he made returned with disappointing results.

But it was expected knowing his father could have very well scrubbed his brother’s existence off the face of the earth.

He had already emailed Andre, his uncle, but had no luck with a reply. He was an Alpha too of course so he understood why. His council refused to take phone calls unless it was an important matter that discusses the pack and seeing as they already vetoed the idea of bringing his brother back to pack Morris, he resulted up trying his best to alone.

He made the effort to search for Jacob, using his connections with wolves for hire to locate him. It didn’t take long for him to discover Jacob was living in a beach house approximately eighty miles away from pack Morris. The house belonged to a familiar wolf, someone named William Hayward, his mother’s true mate. It wasn’t hard to deduce that Jacob was staying with Winston.

Nathaniel grimly smiled, finding it a tad bit amusing as he took on the role of being the collector for his brothers.

It comforted him knowing that at least Jacob was at least with family. He resisted the urge to tell himself and ask about Jacob and ultimately waited.

‘When he’s ready.’ He says to himself.

Into the night and after five cups of coffee, he was exhausted but found no clues. His men stationed in pack Albrich were still asking around and he doubted that results were instantaneous so he had to wait.

He was grasping at his only leads. His brother was somewhere in pack Albrich who arrived sometime four to five years ago.

He had already thought of what his brother’s reaction would be like. Maybe his reaction would be just like Winston’s? Accusing him of being a member of a drug cartel or someone hired for murder. Winston ended up pointing a revolver between his eyes that day.

Perhaps he would be welcoming of the idea of being part of pack Morris? Or maybe not as gauging from Winston’s reaction, no one would want a stranger to suddenly show up out of nowhere and claim to be family.

The first rays of sunlight creep through the window of his office. He had stayed up all night it seemed and sadly the results were nothing noteworthy. But he took a small, lopsided smile out of nowhere.

He was certain that he was finally losing it and finally going mental.

He pushed his swivel chair and stood, taking his cold mug, and downed the remaining coffee. He wasn’t particularly proud of his caffeine consumption, especially because after his third coffee mug, he poured neat vodka into his black coffee. And with his wolf still partially weak, he was more than enough tipsy to stub his toe into the corner of his desk.

Nathaniel silently boiled in hurt. This was why he seldom let himself be inebriated. He couldn’t handle being drunk but funnily enough, drinking gave him enough energy to be focused on one problem.

Leaving his office felt like an odd chore but he needed to power through the tiredness in his eyes. Beta Lilian always took on the initiative to act and delegate tasks when he wasn’t active and that would leave him the whole day to facilitate meeting Francis and that old wolf. Which in hindsight, resting could have been a better option if he planned to put himself through this kind of labor two days in a row.

He traipsed out the mess hall, greeting wolves who were on their way to work. His eyes created a direct beeline to the kitchen, careful not to spook the wolves working there.

His presence often made his wolves go nervous to the point no one would choose to work but as he enters the kitchen, the business that he was accustomed to was nowhere to be found and the only wolves present were a female wolf whom he recognized as one of his warriors and none other than Jacob.

Jacob was in the process of divesting the woman’s clothes while she sat on top of the preparation table. Before anything else happened, he clears his throat.

The startled woman jumps from the table, panicking while she pulled her jeans up, struggling to zip her jacket. As for Jacob, he stood with a plain glance but the edges of his face were enough for him Nathaniel to deduce his displeasure.

“Good morning, sir,” she says, nervously giggling. “I should go back to my post now, thank you.”

She brushes past him, keeping her head lowered.

Nathaniel contained himself. He wanted to smile, embrace and say how happy he was that Jacob had finally come home but doing exactly that was like inviting a punch square on the face.

“Brother, you’re home,” Nathaniel utters.

Jacob nods his head slightly.

“Yes and the first thing you do is cockblock me.”

He grimaced.

“I’m thrilled to have you back home and so early in the morning?”

The first thing that ran through his mind was the letter their father left for his brother. It was sitting on his desk. He looks to his brother, noticing Jacob was lacking some sleep too.

“My friends back in uni are calling for me. I’m going back to college next week.”

“Oh.” his voice overwhelmed with sadness. “So you’re leaving. Is there something I can do? Do you need funds, transportation, or anything?”

Jacob shook his head. “It’s fine Nathaniel. You don’t need to smother me. I mean, I have my own money.”

Nathaniel purses his lip, nodding despite feeling like his brother had stabbed him in his chest, twisting the knife sideways before pulling it out. But he understood where his brother was coming from.

“I’m sorry, Jacob.” He sighs.

“Ah, no. It’s okay. You have a lot on your plate and it's not time for us to talk about our clusterfuck, shitstorm of a family. We’ll talk the whole day before I leave.” Jacob pats his brother’s shoulder awkwardly.

There was a bud of hope and pride in his body. He was taken aback by how calmly Jacob spoke his words. He wondered what happened during the period Jacob stayed with Winston.

The corner of his lips rose but failed to become a smile when he reminded himself of the letter. It struck him hard, knowing that the contents of his letter would be different than Jacob’s. Knowing Jacob for what he truly was, shutting up was the first stage reaction.

He only hoped his brother wouldn’t plan on completely severing ties with him after reading the letter.

“Dad left us… something.” He sighs.

Jacob chuckles, raising his brows.

“Dad? You mean ‘sir’.” He mocks. “Whatever it is maybe it's best if I don’t see it.”

Jacob hides his uneasiness by grinning. Though Nathaniel could see it through, he contested the idea of explaining the urgency of the matter to his brother.

“He left us his words, written in letters. Yours is sitting on top of mine on my desk. You’re more than free to read mine too.”

His brother just shrugged, leaning against the table. He looked like he was processing things, the way his eyes narrowed to the floor only confirmed Nathaniel’s assumptions.

Losing their father, having their mother’s image shattered before him caused him to think about a lot of things. And losing Jacob after letting go of Selena was a thought too scary and more crippling.

What would Jacob think after finding out about their other brother? He wasn’t even that amused when Nathaniel brought Winston home and it took years for them to bond until putting the past behind them. It was exactly that same thing again.

He grieved the moment that he was eventually going to introduce his brother to the pack and it would be putting Jacob through another round of mental turmoil. Now, he was second-guessing his decisions.

Seconds pass as Jacob finally huffed, kicking his heel on the floor.

“I think you have a visitor.” Jacob crumpled his lips.

In his moment of deep thought, he failed to catch the smell of a wolf. It was strong, powerful, just like Selena’s. He quivered slightly but steeled his resolve. He expected as much for this wolf to show up, in fact, he wondered why he was a day late.

He groaned, annoyed by the horrific timing. He glances towards Jacob, both of them sharing an understanding glance, fully aware of the current situation.

He turns for the door, leaving Jacob, and trudges to the foyer. His heart beat rapidly at every step of the way. Alarm bells ring in his head, unaware of the things he needed to be prepared for.

There, standing on the entrance was his Beta, Lilian assuming her formal stance and none other than Alpha Talon Highcliff.

“Ah… fuck.” He murmurs.

~•°•~

I know, I know. Things are almost, practically, definitely confirmed.... But are they? Haha

I apologize for this chapter being raw... Not to mention late. But if you enjoyed the chapter, please consider voting and commenting your thoughts!

Love,

Jino
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