Five days quickly pass by with Selena staying inside the cabin. She didn't dare to step at least one foot out of the door and see Nathaniel's disappointed face again. Her chance of escaping via the truck had come by as Sunday was two days ago.
Since there was no food inside the cabin, her main source of consumption was only water. Her lack of food caused her to become weak, rendering her almost immobile. Selena couldn't just accept them much more be friends with anyone here.
She was a prisoner to her stubbornness and she would only accept Nathaniel when hell freezes over.
Early in the morning, Selena awoke from her sleep when a knocking on the door resounded in the living room. She rose from the floor and walked towards the door, waiting for whoever it was to speak.
She remembered that voice. It was Lively, the woman who's cooking she insulted. She contemplated whether to answer or not, but if Winston was somehow level-headed, maybe she was too?
"What do you want?" She answered.
"May I come in?"
Selena's hand reached for the doorknob, twisting it open for Lively. The wolf was wearing a long coat, holding her baby who was wrapped in layers of sheets. She let them in and closed the door behind her. She was worried for the child's safety, thinking that they were both freezing.
In the living room, Lively sat on one of the couch, setting Leticia beside her. Their eyes connect momentarily, causing Selena to become unsettled.
"I'm sorry to barge in here so early in the morning." Lively offered a comforting smile.
"That's okay. It's not like I was busy or something." The annoyed tone she used was more than obvious, it made Lively flatten her lips.
"Yeah," Lively nervously chuckled. "You look-"
"Look like shit? Yeah, I know." Selena cut her off.
"I was going to say tired but shit works fine too." Lively shrugged her shoulders.
"Ah, Lively, was it your name? I'd like back to sleep. If you want to talk about something, please just tell me."
The wolf breathed heavily, looking directly into Selena's eyes before she spoke.
"I noticed you haven't left the cabin ever since we got here."
Selena exhaled. "I didn't want to see Nathaniel and his girlfriend."
"Yeah, but it's not like they're the only thing to see here." She says. "Eliza is worried about you. She'd already held a conversation with your brother and they have arranged that your clothes to be sent here."
Talon agreed to it? Selena never thought that her brother would throw her under the wheels of a running bus. With that knowledge, her chances of leaving pack Morris were getting slimmer by the minute.
"I see," she pauses. "Does Eliza know I'm Alpha Nathaniel's mate?"
"No, no one knows except the people who were in there and no one isn't that excited to spill the beans."
"They're enabling him to break the rules of every wolf." She dryly whispered.
"No, it's not like that." Lively sighed. "Katie and Nathaniel have always been together since they were kids. What they have is more than just fuck."
Selena silently glowered.
"That still doesn't explain why he won't accept my rejection and if he's so in love with Katie, why can't I just leave? I'm a prisoner here and no other words can sway that."
"You're not a prisoner here." Lively argued.
She wanted to laugh at her nice but instead only smiled.
"Not a prisoner? Then can you explain why there are currently three wolves circling the cabin? I've noticed them ever since Nathaniel came in here. I might not be able to smell them but I can feel them."
"You felt them?" Lively wore an incredulous expression.
"I'm not as useless as you think I am. My brother taught me how to hunt, track, and feel through my surroundings."
"B-but they're only here to protect you."
"No, they're here to keep me from leaving. All Nathaniel wants is to control me and for me to submit to him."
All that she was doing, her defiance, her stubbornness, and determination to rise over Nathaniel was because of the promise she made herself the day she had lost her mother and father to wolves.
For all she cared, Nathaniel could go fuck himself. Nothing he could do or say could sway her mind.
She was even ready to reject him if it meant her freedom.
"I know what happened to your mother and father." Lively sighed. "I was the one that asked the wolves to guard you, not Nathaniel."
With shock, Selena paused. "So you know the gravity of my situation? How those wolves brutally dismembered my mother and father's heads from their bodies?"
Simply saying it scarred Selena's heart. Even though it happened almost ten years ago, the sight of her mother and father's heads wrapped in a box was a sight too gruesome to forget.
"Are they still after your family?" Lively stared at Selena.
"They were the ones who attacked our pack just recently and to this day, I don't know what they're after."
Her brother wouldn't tell her anything. He said the reason did not and should not concern her. Selena knew full well that her brother was only trying to protect her but if her family was being targeted, doesn't that mean she deserved just a little bit of transparency?
"I'm really sorry." Lively's expression said it all.
The look of pity marring the expanse of her reddened cheeks mocked Selena as seeing people feel bad for her for the death of her parents was something she greatly abhorred.
"If you don't have anything more to say, please get out."
Selena tried her best to conceal the crack of her facade, preventing any emotions to seep through her expression.
"Actually, there is something I'd like to ask you. It's about Leticia." Lively spoke. "I know you've only been here for less than a week but I have no one to turn to. I want you to babysit for at least a day and a half."
Babysit? Lively sure did place an exuberant amount of trust on her if she wanted a stranger to babysit her daughter. She was either insane or have little to no care for the baby.
"No, I can't." She answered. "You barely even know me."
"Let me explain. I've asked everyone I know but they vigorously declined. They're too afraid to take care of the Alpha's niece for some reason."
'For some reason?' Selena thought. Everyone was right to decline. Nathaniel's permanent scowl was reason enough and one mistake could cause him to blow off a fuse. Though it would be worth it to see him have a mental breakdown.
Selena secretly smiled behind her thoughts. For the past few days, she had become petty and thought of the ways she could exact her revenge on Nathaniel. It didn't matter how grand or minuscule her plot was, what matters is that he would be vexed enough to grant her some leeway or let her leave.
She quickly brushed her silly thoughts, returning to her declination of Lively's request.
"Lively, taking care of a child is not a problem for me what I worry about is that child should be Alpha Nathaniel's niece. I mean, why can't Luna Eliza look after her granddaughter?"
Lively grimaced. "Since the Alpha is gone, mother will be in charge of handling the pack so if you're worried about Nate, don't be. He and Katie are in Europe right now and they won't be home for another week or so."
Europe? Selena has never been out of the country before. Somehow, the notion of Nathaniel french kissing Katie on top of the Eiffel Tower made its way into Selena's garbled imagination.
There was not feeling again. The way her fingers itched, her heart burned, and consecutive explosions of fire alarms bombarding her only meant one thing, her jealousy was getting out of control. She would never understand how her heart worked and sought only for Nathaniel, especially in her situation. But knowing that he and his girlfriend were off to someplace especial in Europe fueled the fire of her rage.
She hid her bereft emotions under a thin veil of her smile.
"Oh, really?" She bit her lip. "Isn't it a bit too cold to be traveling to Europe in this time of year?"
"Well, it's an urgent matter. When Katie isn't helping around the pack, she's a busy business head of several restaurants."
Selena was further ticked. Not only Katie was more mature than her, but she was also a successful businesswoman running a chain of restaurants overseas. What kind of person wouldn't go after her? Selena was still nineteen years old and still a college studying to become an agricultural engineer.
Besides Katie's success, she was unabashedly beautiful. She had the saccharin grin of an angel, a posed stance of an elegant crane, and the voice of a tested veteran singer. An all-around package placed in a body sculpted by the Moon herself.
"Can't you take her where you're going?" She asks.
"I want to, I do but Winston and I agreed to leave her. We haven't been able to get intimate for months because we've been fighting. I was hoping with this trip we'll manage to patch things up."
She paused, looking at the baby and then to Lively.
"Is Letty a-"
"A fix-it baby? Yes. We thought having a child could fix whatever was wrong with us, but we were mistaken."
Selena hardly knew anything about marriage and the luggage that came along with it. There was a time when she hoped and wished to be someone's wife and to bear her own child. The first person that she had wished to fall in love with was a guy named Steven Carmicheal in the sixth grade but growing up made her realize that there was much more than just kisses and love.
As evident in Lively's darkened smile, there was also pain and sadness.
Ruefully, she sighed.
"Okay, fine. I'll look after Letty."
"Really?" Lively's face brightened. "Thank you so much, Selena. You don't know how glad I am to hear you say that."
"No worries. At least now I have someone to occupy me."
Excitedly, Lively dug through the pockets of her coats, producing an envelope and phone.
"And to compensate you here's five hundred dollars and a phone to call us if anything happens."
"Five hundred dollars!" Selena exclaimed, pushing away Lively's hand. "I could buy four bus tickets to my home with that."
"But would you really use the money to go home?" Lively cocked her head.
If she was going to get out of here, she would do so without asking for anyone's money.
"Of course not! I just think it's not a good idea to give me that much money."
Lively leaned and placed the money along with the phone in the palm of Selena's hands.
"Well, that settles it then." Lively stood. "I gotta scram. But all the things you're going to need are in our room. You can go ask Eliza for help but if anything goes wry, my number is the only one listed on the phone I gave you."
"Yeah, okay." She answered dryly.
The wolf smiled and took her daughter into her arms, nudging the sleeping pup with her nose. Selena didn't want to admit it, but the sight of Lively and Letty warmed her heart. It reminded her of the time when her mother would pat her head and how it brought a feeling of unfathomable bliss and content.
"Letty, mama and dad are going away for two days. We love you, honey." She kisses her daughter's temple before leaving the home.
Lively left with few more instructions for Selena. Things that her daughter was allergic to and ways to keep her calm.
Now that she was left alone, Selena turned to the child, sighing heavily while pursing her hands on her hips as she wore a big free smile.
"Well, baby Letty, looks it's just you and me now."
Surprisingly, Letty was easy to take care of. She was the kind of baby Selena loved to look over. Completely unlike her uncle, Letty smiled and laughed. Her uncapped happiness caused Selena to smile too. After all, a child's laughter might be the most contagious thing to ever exist in the world.
With the money Lively gave her, Selena ordered two boxes of small pepperoni pizzas on which she shamelessly devoured in an hour. Sadly, the pizzas were not enough to quell the roaring beast that was her stomach.
Selena picked up the phone to order another box of pizza when suddenly the smell of something foul entered her nostrils.
"Letty?" She looks down at the child in her arms. "You madam needs a new diaper."
"Am am." Letty chanted over and over.
"Oh, you're hungry. Your mom told me what that word means."
Lively told her that everything she needed was inside their room in the packhouse. Since Nathaniel was in another continent, probably sixty-nining Katie, she had no reason why not to go out.
For the first time in a few days, Selena felt a bleak sense of freedom when she stepped out of the cabin. With Letty safely secured in her arms, Selena entered the packhouse. She still wasn't used to the gazes that follow her step. One irrefutable fact that marred her is that she was a foreigner. And their unusual staring was a normal reaction.
Selena rarely minded them. Eventually, when she would escape, their stares will be nothing but a soft reminder of Nathaniel's painful and rueful words.
Stepping in the hall leading to Lively's room, Selena caught a glimpse of Eliza. The old woman smiles gleefully as she approached them.
"Oh, hello," Eliza says. "If you hadn't come out of your room, I might have assumed you have fallen asleep forever."
"I was too worried of Talon. I just couldn't move."
The woman looked at her with an incredulous gaze.
"Worried enough not to eat for days straight?"
"I'm on a diet." She answered swiftly.
"Nonsense! With your stick-bug stature, no offense, you must eat. If you're worried, eat your worries away. Come, let's get you some food."
Is plying someone with food a good way of comforting someone? Selena often found that route depressing than any other. Though her mother was the same. Whenever she was crying, her mother would always offer her a cookie or two, sometimes they would drive to the nearest diner and order a strawberry smoothie each.
"Oh, I would like to but Letty soiled her diaper and she's looking for her bottle."
"Let me accompany you then. Two pairs of hands make faster work."
Eliza leads them with a bounce on her step. Selena had no other option but to follow the Luna into the room at the end of the hall on the second floor. Lively and Winston's room were modestly large. The walls were colored in creme-white paint and the floor was carpeted with a soft and thick mat, suitable for a baby to crawl on.
On the furthest side of the room, a table with Letty's diapers, sanitary baby wipes, and other essential things for a baby's well-being sat and was organized neatly. Selena jumped at the opportunity and quickly disposed of the dirty diapers and gave Letty a new one.
While she was doing so, Eliza was watching patiently, amazed at how Selena could perform the task of taking care of a child so swiftly without any complaints. Her surprise was pushed further when Selena immediately prepared the baby's milk after changing Letty's diaper with precision and speediness.
"Do you do this often?" Eliza spoke.
"Do what often?" She looked at the older wolf with a quizzical stare.
Eliza chuckles. "Taking care of a baby, silly. You're so good at it, one might think you're a mother."
"Thanks," She shrugged. "My mother always brought me to the pack nursery when I was a kid. I learned from watching her."
"You are just simply incredible, Selena." Eliza paused for a moment. "Aha! While you're staying in pack Morris, how about you work in the nursery? You get paid and it's much safer to stay in here than in that cabin. We have four extra rooms and you can choose the one you like the most."
Work? She had no intentions of staying here anymore longer. Selena feared whatever Eliza and her brother agreed with. All she knew is that Talon was sending her clothes to pack Morris.
She would crumble at any day now and Talon agreeing to let her stay was the final nail to her coffin and her hope was dwindling into the wind.
Selena turned silent, taking her time to formulate a reasonable response.
"I'm afraid that won't do. After all, what am I to do with my school? I am a student above all else."
In truth, school for her was a concern under the table, easily forgotten but quick to get back onto. She had no qualms about paperwork nor due dates for examinations. She was first a wolf, not a human. Her place was to her pack. Though to her dismay, Talon forced her to attend college, citing how essential education is.
'You have a life outside pack Highcliff and to abandon it is not only foolish but also a very sad choice to make.' Talon spoke with conviction in his voice, staring at his younger sister with a very angry scowl.
"Well, until everything is sorted in your pack you can help around the nursery. Plus, it's better than having nothing in your hands."
If she were to agree now, that would mean she would see Nathaniel every day and no doubt Katie would be there too slung around him like a pretty, pink feather boa. She couldn't even handle the thought of him being near, much more if she was going to work under his roof.
"I'm terribly sorry, Luna. But I have to go home." Selena mumbles. "I hope you don't mistake my refusal as insubordination."
She looked up to see the woman smiling.
"Oh, honey. Insubordination, no. But what I see is your strong resolve to go home to your family. I'm sorry if I pushed you."
Her eyes widened.
"Not at all!" She exclaimed. "I was flattered."
The smile on Eliza's face further grew as Selena finished feeding Letty and placed her into her baby crib.
"I hope you don't take this as an insult, knowing how horrid my sons are, especially the oldest one but you remind me of them when they were younger. Such strong resolve and hardheadedness."
She pursed her lips. "Horrid?"
"Nathaniel as you may know is a lot like his old man, strict and brooding yet he cares in a distance which does not absolve him from being a tad bit overbearing and the younger one, well, let just say I'm glad he's not here and away in school. If not, that boy would be canoodling with every female wolf in sight."
After Nathaniel, Selena was sure the Alpha had a younger brother. Jacob Morris was a wolf well-known too. Though, unlike his older brother, his infamy did not come from his feats defeating rogues or gaining lands but instead from his conquests with many women.
At least, Jacob was not here. She had met him once before and her experience with him was a pleasant day.
"And where does Winston come into the list?" Selena cocked her head.
Eliza sighed before speaking.
"We're at the point that he calls me Eliza and every time he does, I call him Winnie."
"Right," Selena nods. "I noticed that on the first time we met."
"If you don't already know, he's a child born out of my affair."
Selena's lips quivered while she leaned against Letty's crib. "You had an affair?"
Her baffled expression caused Eliza to nervously laugh.
"I know what you're thinking but Winston's father is my true mate. Nathaniel and Jacob's father was my childhood friend."
"You chose somebody else?"
That explains why Nathaniel denied her. He was only copying his mother and sadly, Selena was only a victim. But maybe there was more to that. She didn't want to pry and conclude her own ideas and hurt herself further. Nathaniel was already doing a good job at it.
Eliza sat on the bed, taking a heavy breath while she looked at the palms of her hands.
"William, Winston's father, was a poor wolf from a small pack. He and I met when Nathaniel was already three years old and when I was still married to Jacob Senior. At that time, Jacob and I were hopelessly in love. We were sweethearts after all. We grew together in this packhouse but whatever kind of love Jacob and I had paled in comparison to the emotions it brought what William and I shared. Long story short, Jacob discovered my affair with William but at the time, I was already pregnant with Winston.
After I gave birth to him, I gave him to his father but it was too late for Jacob and me. I ruined what we had. He no longer loved me even though I gave him another son, that still couldn't fix the void in his heart."
Selena couldn't find any words to describe the heaviness sitting atop her heart after hearing Eliza's story.
Will that ever happen to her?
She was not used to such conflict, especially in her emotions. The very mundane life she lived before drastically changed five days ago, leaving her overwhelmed and confused with the decisions she wanted to make.
She had no chance to catch up with her feelings and everything was either rushed or took days before the burn pelted her skin.
Despite the shakiness of her stance, Selena looked at Eliza, peering into the sadness of her blue-colored eyes.
"And what of the Alpha? People say that Katie isn't his mate."
Eliza sighed. "I've spoken to him about it and I fear he might go through the same pain I did all those years ago. But, I trust him to make the right decisions. After all, through thick and thin, Kayla Marie has always loved my son. In fact, do you wanna know a secret?"
"Oh, um, yes?"
Selena has never regretted anything before except this moment. She willed herself to not find any more reason to despise Nathaniel, but her blunder made her struck the nectar of his faults.
"Katie's business is just fine. Nathaniel lied so they can have a vacation and when they're there, he's going to ask her hand in marriage!"
The old wolf erupted with joyful cheers, drowning out the sorrowful screams Selena had within. Eliza's laughter was a mocking sound that repeated itself over and over again, like a ringing noise blaring its painful screech right directly against her ears. Her body convulsed lightly while her face starts to become pale.
She was taken away from her trance when Letty's wales started to reverberate into her hearing. She felt Eliza's hand land on her shoulder gently. The woman's eyes were filled to the brim with confusion, causing Selena to tremble in a sheer amount of stress.
"Honey, are you okay?" She asks. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
Selena chose not to entertain Eliza's question and instead focused her attention on the crying child. She picked Letty up and cradled her until she calmed down. Her eyes only glued to the child, refusing to meet Eliza's prying gaze.
"Selena, is something the matter?" Eliza asked again.
Breathing lightly, she turned to Eliza.
"Everything's fine. I just remembered I had to make an important phone call to my brother." She feigned a smile though it did little to none when all it did made Eliza look even more suspicious. "Would you mind looking after Letty for a bit?"
"Yes, no problem." Eliza nodded.
Selena eagerly placed the child in Eliza's arms and excused herself. The squall in her chest was merciless. Just like Nathaniel, it was a ravenous maw.
He knew that she was there. She was there to see him go through another cycle of smiles and kisses without her. She was there to suffer through his selfishness and greed and there to feel his rejection and denial all over again.
After storming off far away enough for Eliza to not hear her, Selena leaned against the wall and slid down until her bottom hit the waxed wooden floor.
Anger was not the only thing that clouded her vision. Selena felt another sensation emerge from the bottom of her stomach. It was none other than sadness. A feeling of emptiness continues to devour her as she wallows in her tears and the only thing that comforted her was the memory of her parents' kind and forgiving smile and Talon's warm embrace.
Hello everyone! This is an update way ahead of schedule. My exams are still underway but I had a lot of free time during the weekend. ◉‿◉
So I bring you the latest update! Tadah! I'm happy how this chapter came out. I hope you enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoyed writing it.
If you liked the chapter, please consider leaving a like or a comment.