Forty One: the Subject
The feeling of multiple strangers groping her had only sunk in, and Selena had the urge to vomit.
Maybe pretending that it never happened wasn’t the best of all ideas. But it was all that she could do. Maybe it was her ego and pride, a sense of self-satisfaction knowing that she had persevered through something and she did it all on her own.
That was a lie, of course. If not for Nathaniel, then where would she be now?
Trapped as a political hostage in another continent maybe. Or just dead.
She would be a stupid fool now to deny it. But she was alive because of Nathaniel.
Maybe it was because of Dorran’s confession that now she let herself look at things differently. Though she didn’t know where and how to start.
Nathaniel wasn’t meant for her. She was part of the reason why they couldn’t be together. It was that simple. He had a pack to run and she was too stubborn to let her dreams go.
She let an exasperated sigh slip through her lips, prompting Dorran to look up and stare at her.
“Selena, are you okay?” He asks. The wet sheen on his eyes caused her to feel confused.
He looked utterly worried.
“Uh, yeah. Just thinking about some things.”
He nods, flattening his lips.
“Does that involve your leg?” Dorran’s brows knitted together.
“Just an accident. Nothing big, really.”
Selena laughed nervously, trying to write her discomfort off.
“I see, so someone pointed a gun at you, pulled the trigger, and then hit your leg?”
Her eyes widened, feeling ultimately cornered.
“You’re very, awfully perceptive Dorran. Why do you worry about me so much?”
“Because my words are true. My heart aches for you, Luna. The last couple of days has been hard for me. I don’t understand this feeling.”
In all honesty, neither did Selena. She wasn’t actively trying to hurt him. She was only trying to peek through the folds of his mind and try to understand him better.
“You just admitted to liking me and even when I can’t promise you anything, you’re still here.”
He chuckles. His laugh made her smile. At least now he was less sad that he could finally bring himself to grin.
“Would you believe me if I told you this is the first time I’ve felt this strongly before? I almost don’t care if I crash and burn if it means I get a chance to someday hold your hand.”
She cleared her throat. Her heart pounded against her chest as she stared at him. She still couldn’t read him and see if he was lying or saying the truth.
“That’s impossible. There’s a whole sea of fishes out there. I’m pretty sure you’ve already found a mermaid.”
“We are wolves, fishes and seas don’t work for us. We only have one destiny and as it turns out, my mermaid was a saltwater alligator.”
She resisted the urge to laugh. She saw how soft his eyes begin to glow brighter. It made her happy to comfort him but sad knowing she might never be able to repay this kind of attention to him.
“But right now, I’ll just have to be content with being friends with you.” He smiles meekly. He lifts her hand, lightly kissing her knuckles. “In my home, the men show their devotion by kissing the women’s hand, to honor promises. My uncle always does this to his wife.”
She snorted. “I’m not exactly wife material. I’m flattered but tone it down, will you?”
“Sorry,” he scratches the back of his head. “I’m surprised you haven’t punched the living daylight out of me.”
She was surprised too. She had to admit that maybe it was because she could trust him, even for just the tiniest bit.
Her reply was a simple shrug.
Lively’s voice boomed all from the tables. She turns to Lively, waving her hand to them.
“I think they’re waving us back.” She said.
“Yeah. I guess we’ve been here longer than needed to be.” Dorran stood, patting the sand off his bum. He gave her his hand and pulled her up. “Thank you, my Luna. Your kindness, it’s warming my heart.”
Selena’s cheek turned pink. She averted her gaze and turned his back on him.
“You deserve every bit of kindness, Dorran. I’m happy to be your friend.”
All the hurt and betrayal had finally come to this. His hand was forced and it took him losing and getting screwed over. Francis was a good driver, an amazing one. Though Nathaniel’s fear for moving vehicles wasn’t cured, he was thoroughly impressed that Francis was able to drive a hundred and forty miles per hour and maintain it for eighty miles.
“There. Pull over.” He commands.
Francis pulled over on the side of the road. He looks out the window, analyzing the woods and trees carpeting the whole area. Threading lightly, he arms himself with his axes not ready to see the state Winston and his family were in. He brings his nose in the air, finding no trace of blood. Instead, Nathaniel was faced with a wonderfully alluring smell. His knees shivered and his grip on his axes loosened. Of course, she would be here.
“I smell my cousin. Why is she here?” Francis looked at him.
In response, Nathaniel vehemently sighs. Now, Selena was in danger too. The stakes had jumped a bar higher.
“My sister-in-law, she brought her here.” He grimaced. “Ready your weapon and remember the plan. Don’t die and hold on as long as possible. Lilian and the rest of my wolves will be here shortly.”
“My silver is sharpened and my gun’s been locked and loaded.”
The wolf nodded dutifully.
He was cautious. It would not be wise to trek recklessly if Harrick’s wolves were near the vicinity stalking their movements. He neared the house, spotting Winston on the porch. Their eyes connect and his brother’s frightened expression hits him. Nathaniel hadn’t cleaned himself before he left. And the blood and grime on his boots were still present. Its stench causes Winston to gag. He placed his finger on his mouth and neared him.
“Nathaniel…” Winston whispered. “Wha- why are you with that wolf? What’s happening? You’re bloody and injured.”
The barrage of questions did not shake Nathaniel. He gestured for Francis to watch their backs as he pushed Winston into the house. Nathaniel shielded Winston from any crosshairs, making sure that the pup in his brother’s arms was out of sight.
“Guard the door, Francis.” He commanded.
Winston groaned, holding his child closer to his chest.
“Tell me what’s going on, please.” Winston’s fright now was fully showing.
His brother was not fully trained to fight. He was a passive wolf, unlike his wife who had been a candidate for the position of Beta. But that didn’t mean Winston wouldn’t fight tooth and nail. Nathaniel only did not want the situation to come to that.
“Where’s Lively and Selena?”
Winston’s mouth hangs open for a split second.
“Lively went out to fetch Selena and that wolf. Nathaniel, is there something I need to know about?”
He refused to answer and peeked outside the window. He saw Lively walking up to them and behind her, Selena along with a man stood.
Nathaniel hadn’t anticipated being thrown against the wall again. There, that man stood. The very image of his smile as he made Selena laugh printed in the folds of his mind. Jealousy and rage, fear, and the sickly feeling in his gut told him to act fast. He glances at Francis. It didn’t take a genius to understand and read the wolf’s shocked expression. He knew the danger.
The man in the photos, his brother. Was it just a coincidence or a planned attack? To make matters worse, they involved Selena.
Lively enters the house, leaving Selena and the wolf outside. Her lips were formed into a fixed frown and her very pale skin was just another daunting sight for Nathaniel.
“Fuck, you’re here.” Lively grimaced.
“Wolf, understand me. You are my family and right now, you need to leave.”
“What do you mean? How did you even know about this place?”
“Lively, enough questions. Just listen to me.” He warns.
Nathaniel’s forceful and commanding voice reverberated in the living room. The shocking silence that followed was enough to make everyone go numb.
Lively locked her jaw.
“Excuse me? Nathaniel Gordon Morris, do not use that tone on me. I am not a child nor am I wench to raise your voice at.” She spat.
“Mother is dead and I need you to go home to assist Lilian and take care of Jacob.” He spoke through his teeth.
He shut his eyes shut and released a heavy breath. He reserved himself, holding back his tears and anger.
“No, that can’t be. You can’t lie about things like that to make me listen to you, Nathaniel. It’s just wrong.”
He remained silent until Lively began to see through him. She shook her head repeatedly, unwilling to believe that she had just heard.
“Winston, this place will be very dangerous for your wife and child. Leave now and I will talk to the wolf outside.” He turned to his brother who looked like he was still piecing things together.
“Wait, Nathaniel.” Lively pulled at his arm. “If things are worse than I think, then I should be on your side fighting as your wolf.”
“Think, Lively, think. I do not want to risk losing you too. So, if you really want to be one of my wolves, listen to this simple command to save your life.”
She stares at him, completely taken aback. He was rushing them out, leaving them no time to fully dissect the situation. Though to him, their lives mattered most. He could not risk them getting hurt or worse.
“What about you, brother? Is that man who I think he is?” Winston spoke softly, cautiously.
“I’ll explain it to you later. Right now, please get Leticia as far away as you can.”
Winston nods, walking up to his wife and reaching for her hand. Lively’s reluctance was sharply obvious. Lively grabs her keys from the rack on the side of the doorway and exited the house.
There was no more time for plans. As reckless as it was, everything needed to be thrust forward as soon as possible.
Nathaniel and Francis share a knowing glance.
He needed Selena to go with Winston but first, he had to pull her away from that wolf.
Francis took charge, checking his Colt’s magazine and racking its slider before he stepped through the door. He follows him and strode to the porch.
Standing on the wooden steps, Nathaniel looked down at the wolf. The anger and adrenaline he felt before came and rushed through his veins. Restraining himself was the temporary course of action and letting himself loose could lead hurting into hurting Selena.
“Roark.” He mutters lowly, watching the wolf’s hardened expression.
The wolf nodded as if he was acknowledging he was unwelcomed here.
“Alpha Morris, what are you doing here?” Selena asks, her melodic voice causing ripples of emotions down his spine.
The need to shield her, to protect her took over every ounce of him. That was the vision he had at that exact moment. His gray eyes narrowed only to her.
“Selena, step away from him.” He spoke softly.
Nathaniel could never forget the contents of that memory card and the files in it.
Assigned Discovery Date: None
Location: Pack Albrich
Time: 6 PM
That was all what his father’s spies gathered. Though the information about him was next to nothing, that was all that he needed to identify who he was.
It was clear as day. All those blurry photos couldn’t capture the stillness of the surreal image in front of him. He was there, standing in the flesh. His brother, Roark.