Finale Chapter: Glory
He mustered the strength to put on a brave face and tackled his anxiety.
As an Alpha wolf, it was always said that the people came first and then the Alpha. But what use is a pack when the Alpha is dead? He abhorred the idea of coming second in life.
The second son to his father, who chose to raise his firstborn. The second choice to his mate, who returned only seeking his money. And now, he had become nothing to the woman he loved.
He found it hard to understand how the world could be so unfair and evil when all he had ever done in his life was follow rules. Do what he was told.
He could only think of failing one mission and that was to continue loving or pretending to love a wolf like Mirabella.
The thought of being her husband sickened him.
She was the only thing he ran away from. And after years of peacefully living his life, she managed to fuck him up again.
“These are photos shot by our informants living near pack Albrich’s borders.”
Blake Henderson handed him a folder, its flap already opened and the white edges of the photos glaring at him as if they were taunting him.
“When were they taken?” He asks.
“Approximately nineteen days ago.”
Roark clenched his jaw as he drew the photos out and inspected each one of them.
“I’m unfamiliar with some of these places. Where were they taken?”
Blake flattened his lips and gazed at the pictures spread on Roark’s desk.
“That’s somewhere in the Twin Cities. Based on what I could gather, she is enrolling in college. She’s on track with Agricultural Engineering, the same course with the late Luna Larissa.”
Roark found himself smiling. His Luna was building a life. He could see the happiness in her. The brightness of her glow radiated to his cold, hardened heart.
“It’s certainly an odd profession for a Luna. I mean, women are most suited to be dishwashers in a kitchen.”
A series of chuckles erupted in the office. Roark only clenched his fist and scowled at him.
“In case you’ve forgotten, what she is doesn’t limit her from the things she can do. She’s not disabled, surely. Or perhaps I need to remind you how Luna Amber of pack Albrich destroyed your ass when you challenged her into a duel a few years back? She’s a woman and I don’t remember her having a hard time when she was doing it.”
He watches Blake’s disposition become sour. He and his wolf believed too much in Selena and he didn’t plan on sitting there, hearing a slob like Blake dismantle her.
He slides his dagger out of its scabbard and threw it at him. Blake’s cheek reddened with blood while he stood in his place, his dagger’s sharp point buried in the rafters above their heads.
“Oh, brother. Here you are, true colors and all.” Harrick chuckles. “If you kill him, we lose our connections, informants, and spies.”
Roark had no intentions of killing him. It was but a warning, a simple signal to not speak so ill of Selena. Blake was an exceptional spy. If not for him, taking over pack San Ignacio and half of the Waterfords would have been impossible.
It was all thanks to Nathaniel rejecting Selena. It set off a chain reaction. Talon withdrawing support for pack Morris caused packs to step away as well. But in doing so, it left them vulnerable and Harrick had made the decision to take advantage of it.
Even if he wasn’t part of the initial plan, he admitted it impressed him.
“I don’t remember addressing you, Harrick. Do not push my buttons any further than you already have.” He warned.
His brother shrugged and reclined in his seat.
He returned his attention to the pictures.
Roark didn’t want to care about the other wolves in the room. All he could think of was how and why this wolf could slip through his fingers. He admired her so much that watching her smile, a smile not meant for him, hurt.
Instead, the silly grin, the reason why he made such a fool of himself in front of her just to see it was now meant for Nathaniel.
He had always had a hard time dealing with emotions. He was taught to bottle them up and never revisit them. Jealousy was the monster he could not just sweep under the rug.
Now Nathaniel had taken another thing from him. Their father, their pack, and now Selena.
“Huh, Amber received them? I didn’t know that was the Luna’s job.”
Keith comments after examining a photo of Amber and Selena talking with each other. Nathaniel was there too, holding Selena’s hand. The very image of which caused Roark’s wolf to weep.
Keith Albrich knitted his brows together in a questioning look.
He glanced at Keith and returned to the pictures. Keith, though still very untrustworthy, had a good place in Roark’s court. He was the wolf that made it possible for him to continue living as Dorran Doyle.
They were acquaintances even before the whole mess nine years ago and he was one of the few wolves that had seen his face without a mask on.
“I imagine your brother, Joseph, has his arms in a bind. You left your pack with a substantial amount of debt. He’s probably letting his wife do all of his duties while he sorts their pack’s finances on top of raising three pups.”
“Yes, luckily Talon has a soft spot for our family. He has foot the bill for most of it.”
“Not surprising.” Roark spoke. “If he chooses to, he can be a fountain of money.”
But Talon was smarter than that. He wasn’t a flashy, extravagant scum. The wolf had almost no weakness besides his sister.
Sadly, that wasn’t a weakness that Roark was planning to exploit.
Though now that he has a mate, Roark saw an opportunity to use it as leverage. And rumor has it, the wolf had a loss after being with child for only two months.
He would never celebrate that fact.
He knew he lacked something and for him, the death of a pup was not something to be taken so lightly. But knowing about this loss and, if used correctly, could prove a fatal blow once it was weaponized properly.
“Perfect,” Harrick suddenly spoke. “Forgive me for speaking, Rowe, but I am your Beta and it is time. We left the Albrichs out of our attack at the behest of Keith, but now is the most opportune moment to invade their borders. They haven’t had had enough time to arrange new treaties and their defenses are barely bolstered.”
He grimaced. Attacking now would just be a frivolous show of power. The most recent attack was a milestone victory.
It helped put the name Remmington back into people’s heads, as it should be, as their uncle Frank told them.
Even the older wolves in his pack were impressed and gave their support after Harrick masterfully deceived them with a sob story about Francis’ son.
His brother was smart, deliriously smart, but his thirst for blood often left him with a few screws loose in the head.
It was his mission to let the smoke clear first. After twenty-seven of his wolves came home in caskets, some of them missing their limbs, he at least needed to show them compassion.
Even if that compassion was half-baked. His wolves were nothing to him but leeches.
They stay with him to be protected by his hands, but in truth; they sucked on his skin, leaving him bruised and pale.
He had heard and seen them complain about all the good he had done. Gave them houses, free food, clothes, and many other things.
But all of them only look the other way and want the things Nathaniel was giving to his wolves.
Whatever he was doing, they were not enough, and after a couple of years of after this; he learned not to care and pull what he could pull.
His people had no love for him, just like he had no love for them. And if they left, dying in the snow and the hands of rogues prowling in the woods were their end.
So the best course of action was to wear his fanciest, plastic smile and wade it out until his wolves had the time to grieve. Then he could send them off.
“No.” He muttered. “Now’s not the time to act so recklessly.”
“And besides, my father is with them. He mobilized thousands of wolves under his pay and posted them in packs Albrich, Highcliff, and Morris. They will decimate us.”
Adrien Bently chimes in the conversation.
“We control the entirety of pack San Ignacio and half of pack Waterford. Pack Remmington is flourishing and much more powerful than ever before.” Harrick argued. “We can take them all.”
“Think, you wanker. My old man has access to forces beyond the scope of our comprehension. He has men in the human world ready at his disposal.”
“And yet, you are helping us, your father’s enemies.”
The wolf smirked.
“I’m bored and I want to piss him off.” He utters with overwhelming nonchalance.
Roark nodded. Though as vague as Adrien’s answer sounded, he knew more, or at least he had a hunch. Andre Bently was a terrifying man indeed. If he had invested hard enough, he would no doubt completely wipe them out.
But he was a business person above all else and his attention was on making an exuberant amount of money. And pack Morris was his cash cow.
In turn, Adrien Bently was just another variable that came after Nathaniel’s pack.
Jealousy was quite the powerful thing and Adrien was masking his wrath with an agenda disguised simply as making his father mad at him.
“You’re playing with fire.” Roark spoke in a foreboding tone.
Adrien only laughs.
“So? I’m his only child. What’s he supposed to do? Kill me? The worst he can do is kick me out of the curve and ignore me for a month.”
Still, Roark doubted that. Everyone can do anything if forced to. Even parents, and especially tyrants like Andre, whose brotherly relationship with Jacob Senior was always clear as day, would do anything for what he deems as justice.
He reclined, knowing it was not his duty to lecture Adrien. But to be honest, his millions of dollars of contribution to the attack was the main reason he was sitting in Roark’s office.
He continues to browse through the pictures. All of them became increasingly intimate with Nathaniel and Selena.
For some reason, he couldn’t stop himself from going through all of it. Selena’s smile, her bright brown eyes twinkling with wonder as she walked down a street through a busy crowd of people.
It became clear to him now that he was shopping for pain.
Looking over these pictures did not change the fact that in Selena’s world, he had become a simple wisp floating in the air around her, with no meaning and no use.
His cold, blue eyes narrowed on her neck and the scar on it. His mouth soured at the sight and even more so when he acknowledged the fact Nathaniel was holding her tightly in each image.
“All of your informants, are they all okay?” He arches a brow.
Blake shook his head in dismay.
“One of them was found dead in his apartment after he mailed the photos. No one knows who did it. It was a clean job, in and out. His neck was snapped.”
Roark smiled lopsidedly. He was simply impressed with Nathaniel. With each picture, Nathaniel’s hand was firmly planted on her waist.
The asshole knew he was being watched.
A photo that struck him was of Nathaniel, looking directly at the camera with an ominous glare on his face.
Suddenly, the informant’s death was no longer a mystery.
In his moment of contemplation, the door in his office opened. His disgruntled disposition worsened when Mirabella waltzed into the room with her and Harrick’s Hellspawn of a child.
“Good evening, gentlemen.”
She entered the room, her singsong voice equal to that of a vixen who was starving for attention after being ignored for five seconds.
He hated the fact that he could do nothing. He couldn’t kick out his brother for potentially ruining his seat as Alpha, nor can he remove Mirabella as Luna.
The two orchestrated a plan, an elaborate one, that justified the fact the Luna was fucking the Beta.
Perhaps what was more shocking is that a lot of wolves took the bait. Some of them even commended him for giving his blessing to his brother and his mate, which he did not.
Mirabella had a way with words, even he was almost fooled by her intentions.
For simplicity’s sake, he had decided to not boot the wolf out into the arctic tundra.
And as for Harrick, he didn’t care. Maybe he was slightly thankful that he no longer have to worry about Mirabella.
They remained cordial, but their disdain for each other was palpable enough to make everyone uncomfortable.
If not for his niece, then he wouldn’t have thought otherwise. But the pup was in no fault. She was innocent. And as a child born as the next generation of Remmingtons, he had the duty to look out for her.
“Is there something the matter?”
She smirked after a few seconds of silence following her unwanted entrance.
“Unless you are invited, you know you are forbidden to enter my office, right?” Roark spoke dauntingly.
“If only phones were allowed in here, maybe then I wouldn’t come here and seek the father of my child for help.” She retorted.
Harrick stood from his seat and took his child into his arms.
Seeing Harrick hold his pup made him grimace. Harrick was lucky to have been able to sire a child.
Roark wondered if he, too, could have the chance to have his own kid. But the chance of that was a bleak and fleeting whim, and it was because of Mirabella’s desires and jealousy.
“Oh, look at you. Daddy Remmington is such a perfect title, isn’t it?”
Mirabella glanced at him, taunting him with a malicious grin.
It would only take a second to rip her head off her shoulders. It was that easy. But instead, Roark composed himself and mirrored a smile.
“I was balancing your accounts.” He starts. “You paid someone named Bethany Waller to retrieve Selena Highcliff. Which she and her lackeys failed to do so.”
Mirabella froze in place, caught, ensnared, and shuddering. No matter how strong and cool she may present herself to be, she falters in the presence of Roark.
He could still remember the moment he took the scent of Selena’s blood on Mirabella’s dress.
He felt his entire world come and crash. At that point, he wouldn’t have been able to save her and if he tried to, he would have ended up killing her and himself.
What she needed was her mate’s wolf, and Roark couldn’t give her that.
It was because of Mirabella that Selena wore her mate’s mark. He could not help but think it was Mirabella’s plan all along.
The woman seemed completely dedicated to ruining his life.
“I was merely protecting you, that’s all. An Alpha has no time for distractions. You should be happy that you’re safe from her clutches.” She plays a nervous laugh.
But he had already poked holes through her and read what she truly was.
“I know why you’re here. Don’t worry. We’re not making plans to eliminate you. You should be the one who is happy. Baby Rosaline is the reason you’re standing where you are.”
She reddened, eyes clouding in fury as she turned on her heel and stomped out of the office.
Classy, like the total child she was.
Roark’s affinity to her stupidity was nonexistent, and he did not want to beat around the bush to tell her how worthless she was in his eyes.
“Wow, well that was a treat.” Adrien laughs. “To cut to the chase. When do we attack again?”
Roark had already decided when. His face darkened, lips contorted into an astute frown.
After all that has gone down, he still had hope. This love for Selena was not just a play.
It was true.
Truer than anything he had ever felt, and he hoped in time she would heal and understand him.
He was willing to wait and have his chance to hold her hand.
“We build an army first, then we strike.”
Finality caught the tone of his voice. Everyone in the room silently nodded in agreement.
Glory came in with a price, but he was not yet prepared to pay for it now.
Roark’s eyes glance back at Selena’s images. His heart ached.
‘I’m sorry, my Luna.’
End of part 1