After finding out about Nathaniel's true reason why he was in Europe having sticky coitus in the streams of the Roman Aqueducts with Katie, Selena went about her routine with keeping Letty safe and cared for.
She tried her best not to feel hurt but every time she held Letty, she couldn't help but feel that a piece of her mate was with the pup in her hands.
While in the packhouse' mess hall. Selena held Letty's hand, training the pup to walk. Letty was already running but only made it a few steps until she fell face flat on the ground.
"Come on, Letty. When your mama and daddy come back, they'll be happy to see you run without someone holding you."
Letty cooed loudly as she ran towards Selena. But in the process, the little girl stumbled on her feet and landed on Selena's lap.
"Woah there!" Selena chuckled. "I know you're still learning how to walk but don't take big steps. Okay?"
She wanted to believe that the pup understood everything she was saying. At this point, Selena needed to convince herself that every single thing in her life was fine and Nathaniel was only a distant thought she was eager to erase.
Around her, the wolves who were staring at her no longer showed their suspicious gaze. They became somewhat adjusted after Selena spent the whole day yesterday showing Letty around. She even met a few wolves who wanted to get to know her. They surrounded her up until the point they realized she was holding the Alpha's niece and they all retreated awkwardly.
The people in pack Morris were either full of respect for Nathaniel or they are completely terrified of him and Selena chose to believe in the latter.
Across the room from where she was, a loud commotion caused her to look to where the sound came from. She watched a crowd of young wolves surround a very familiar wolf, the same gray eyes and sharp nose as her mate's. Though his face was not as mature as Nathaniel, Selena gawked at how many features they shared.
A single glance made Selena's heart race with excitement. He turns to her, eyes wide in a very questioning stare. He excuses himself to the wolves and walked in Selena's direction.
"Selena Highcliff?" He spoke. "Am I blind or just high?"
Selena contained her smile, picking up Letty before she replied.
"Jacob Morris," She says. "How long has it been?"
"Ah...it's almost eight years or a decade if you prefer, if I'm not mistaken, that is. But I see you're still a midget."
She narrowed her eyes on him.
"I thought you were in college?" She raised a brow.
"I was, but the humans are celebrating their Christmas. Plus, I'm taking a semester off to spend time with my family. College is a cruel witch that I want to get away from."
Selena and Jacob share a laugh. There was a lightness in her heart when she stood near him. His friendly face brought a calming presence. But even if she smiled, she knew deep down that her smiles and laughs were lacking and restrained. Jacob only lifted a small part of her real worry.
He was slightly shorter than Nathaniel and Winston though he was equally good-looking than his older brothers. Jacob smiled toothily, the exhilaration in his gray eyes shining through.
The last time she saw him, she was only twelve years old and years later, Selena couldn't deny that the boy she met only once matured into a good-looking giant that towered over her like a tree of flesh and muscle.
He bent down and leveled his face to Letty's.
"Well, hello there. What are you doing with Selena?" He asks.
"Lively and Winston are having some alone time away." She shrugs.
"Ah, I get what you're saying." He grins mischievously, wiggling his brows like a maniac. "So you're stuck with babysitting duty?"
"Well, I'm not really stuck since Leticia's a very good girl."
"Of course!" He exclaims. "She's just like her uncle Jacob. A well-mannered, cute, and very precious wolf pup."
Jacob took Letty and embraced the child. Almost immediately, the child climbed onto his chest and hugged his face.
"I'm her favorite uncle." Jacob proudly grins. "Uncle Nate is a strict prick, right Letty?"
"Hey, language." She scowled at him. "I don't want her parents to come back after she learned a new word."
"P-pick," Letty spoke.
Selena stood aghast while Jacob gleefully laughed, holding and raising the child in the air.
"I taught her that! Good job, Letty! I love you so much."
Worried, Selena quickly retrieved the child away from being corrupted by her uncle. The last thing she wanted to happen was for Letty to become a cussing machine when her parents arrive from their getaway.
"That's a bad word, Letty. Don't say that again." Despite the seriousness of her tone, Jacob continued to giggle on her side. "Please stop that. You're motivating her to do it again."
He bit his lips and nodded, trying to control his laughter.
"Okay, I'm sorry." He offers her a smile. "I'm going to go now and see my mother. Would you like it if we catch up on each other later?"
Jacob waited for her answer. His wide eyes pried for her reaction while she contemplates her choices. Reluctantly, she shrugged her shoulders.
"Yeah, okay. Only if you're comfortable with me carrying around Letty."
He smiles. "She's my one and only niece, Lena. Of course, I'm fine with her around. See you later, Letty."
As he turns his back, Selena tried to control the blush that blossomed on her cheeks. It's been a long time since someone has used the nickname he called her and those who did were only her close friends. He left with Selena completely red and dumbfounded.
An hour later when Selena decided to take Letty for a nap, she felt truly at peace. The quietness when she was alone with a sleeping child brought peace to her heart. In times like these in her pack, she felt content to see children safely tucked in their cots. It made her wonder if her mother felt the same when she was just a baby.
Suddenly, a torrent of memories comes flooding back to her thoughts. It all consisted of her mother and father, and how their smiles managed to fix the shittiest of days.
'Cheer up, darling. Daddy's not mad but slightly upset. I know you didn't mean to hurt your brother and he knows that too. Go up to him and apologize.' Her father smiled.
She remembered that day so vividly. During a dinner party, she accidentally pushed her brother down a flight of stairs, breaking his leg. Her tears flowed nonstop after seeing the disfigurement of her brother's steps.
'Well, I'm going to limp for a while but otherwise, I'm fine. So don't worry, okay?' Talon spoke while touching her shoulder.
Selena leaned against the wall near the window, looking outside the melting carpet of snow that revealed fresh blades of grass. The warm glow of the mid-morning sun seemed to darken by the sudden appearance of a car pulling off the cabin's driveway.
From the car emerged Lively and Winston, both wearing dark expressions that fiddled with the strings on her heart. Her eyes narrowed on the dried streak left by tears on Lively's cheeks.
"Oh, no," Selena whispered under her breath.
Quickly, she stood and turned her heels to open the door for the couple. Her heart thudded against her chest when she twisted the doorknob, letting Lively in.
"We're not done talking, Lively!" Winston bellowed, following Lively.
"Well, I am! I meant what I said."
"You don't mean that! Please, we can still fix this."
The heart-splitting crack in his voice caused a wave of panic to reverberate on Selena's body. She watched Winston's eyes become clouded with restrained tears.
"No, we can't. I'm sorry but it's over between us, Winston." Lively collected Letty's things and picked the child up from where she slept. She looked at Selena, masking her sadness with a quick and limited smile. "Thank you for every, Selena. I'm sorry you had to see this."
With that, the couple left abruptly. Selena wondered if she should have seen that. She felt as if she had intruded in such a private affair between husband and wife. The painful deluge in their expressions caused her to believe that maybe it was indeed a daunting task to fall in love.
It was for the best that Nathaniel chose another person. With Selena outside looking in, the weight of the emotions she managed to catch from watching Lively and Winston were enough to overwhelm her. She couldn't imagine what it would be like if she were to be in the hot seat.
When nighttime came, Selena was still shaken up by Lively and Winston's argument, worrying what it would mean for Letty. She was frustrated and knew there was nothing she could do to help them.
A knock on the door snapped her away from her mingled thoughts. From the kitchen on where she stood, Jacob's smell wafted into her nose. It was extremely similar to Nathaniel's. The striking smell of unearthly freshness caused her to breathe heavily while she stalked to the door and greeted the grinning wolf.
"Jacob." Selena wryly smiles.
With a pointed look, he grimaced.
"What's wrong, Lena?" Jacob asked. He steps through the door frame, reaching for Selena's cheeks. His fingers lightly caressed her soft skin, all the while maintaining a calm smile spread across his red lips. "I can feel your wolf weeping. Do you worry about your pack?"
Selena was flummoxed, lost for words at the genuine hum of his voice. She quickly removed his touch from her by pushing him away.
"Y-yeah, I tried calling Talon but he's not answering." She gritted her teeth.
In truth, she hadn't attempted to call Talon. Her brother would still be rebuilding their pack and the last thing she wanted to happen was for him to worry about her.
"I'm pretty sure Alpha Talon is busy with your pack. After all, the bloodshed that happened there would take at least a month or two to repair the damage that has been done." He sighs.
Why was he so kind? She didn't sense any malicious intent radiating from him. But as she was wrong with Winston on not being a wolf, Selena held a piece of doubt safely secured under her heart.
"You're right. Thank you."
"Don't mention it. Pack Morris is thankful for everything pack Highcliff has done. The truth is, I don't think pack Morris might ever be able to repay the favor."
She snorted. "I don't want to relive the memories. Let's not talk about it, please."
His eyes widened. "Forgive me of my callousness."
"No, it's fine. Is there something you wanted to talk about?" She questioned, quickly changing the topic.
"Ah, yes. My mother is throwing a small party for my arrival. She says it's a party for me but I suspect there's something bigger afoot." He smiles. "Would you like to come with me?"
A party would indeed be something of a great distraction. She would be given a chance to not think about Lively and Winston and then Nathaniel. Taking the liberty to at least enjoy through the hell she was in was better than nothing and if she would dwell into the affairs of others further, she feared she might become insane.
"I'd like that very much, thank you. But I do have one problem. I don't have proper clothing."
"Proper clothing? No, Lena. This isn't a ball or anything. It's a small get-together and not a formal one." He chuckles.
"What I mean is, all my clothes are still being sent here. All I have is the one I'm wearing and Lively's maternity clothes."
His lips formed a big 'o', finally realizing what she had meant.
"Well, my clothes from when I was younger are still in my room. I would be more than happy to lend you some if you wouldn't mind?"
Selena blushed. "But your scent! Won't you mind?"
Wearing another wolf's clothes, especially if that wolf was of the opposite sex was something Selena considered as alarming. In her pack, wolves who did such actions were usually dating or married. And to be entangled with Jacob's infamous list of stringed women was not was she hoped to.
"I know what you're thinking." He chuckles. "You're weary that I might whisk you away as one of my dalliances."
"No!" She gasped. "No, no, of course not."
Selena turned away, afraid that he might see the crack of her face. Her heart squirmed with a multitude of emotions until he laughed. It surprised her how he could see this situation as humorous, opting her to believe that maybe he wasn't that serious about inviting her. But his laughter was genuine and clean, uncapped and overflowing with joy.
"My wolf, you are an open book. Even if you pretend you're not." He contains his laughter. "My reputation, as Nathaniel likes to put it, 'the chaser of women', is known not only in pack Morris. Though I am certainly not proud of it, I make it my rule to not mingle and jingle it with close friends."
She gulped noisily.
"And am I a close friend?" She asks.
"Yes." He answers dutifully. "So, if you're willing to come and have no other choice, better state your decision now."
She was left with no other options. Ruefully, she looks at him.
"Okay, I'll wear your scent uh...I mean clothes."
He grins happily.
"While you get ready, I'll go and get my clothes. See you later."
Jacob swiftly disappeared from her sight. Later, when the sun had gone down and pack Morris become coated with the dark shade of the nightly hours, Selena finished taking a shower and composing herself.
She found Jacob's clothes neatly placed atop the kitchen table. She surmised that he might have put it there when she was still in the shower. Carefully, Selena looked through his shirts, jackets, and even, pants. She was thankful that he chose the ones that showed not a lot of her skin, especially the jackets. Her bright eyes spot a varsity jacket, colored in black and white with writing on the back that read 'Leaping Gazelles #13'. Selena found herself smiling, realizing that Jacob was a member of a sports team when he was younger.
Out of curiosity, Selena slid the jacket over her shoulders and arms and found it was a perfect fit. She decided to wear it, along with a lime green long-sleeved shirt and black pants that were a bit too baggy but otherwise perfect.
After wearing the necklace that covers her scent, Selena wasted no time and went straight to the packhouse. The wolves who guarded the gates immediately looked at her with fear, causing her to look at them with an equally frightened look. Nevertheless, she continued and trudged to the open doors of the packhouse.
The halls were filled with lively and seamless music of laughter, the sound of wolves clinking their drinks and conversing with each other almost immediately warmed her heart. While in the middle of the crowd, Selena combed the area in search of Jacob but failed to do so.
'Well, he is a popular wolf after all.' She said to herself.
He might still be busy entertaining wolves.
Sighing lightly, she turned to the table filled with food on her side. The sight of a jug filled with grape punch draw her attention. But as she approached, her body clashed with a woman's. She glanced at the wolf and recognized Lively's pale face.
Both of them asked at the same time.
Lively chuckles. "What are you doing here? And with...Jacob's scent?"
"Ah...Jacob lent me these. He invited me here as a friend."
"Good for you. At least now you've made a friend with someone." Lively weakly spoke. "Well, I have to go now. Enjoy the party."
Lively walked away with no more words. It was very clear to her that Lively was still submerged in a pool of dread from her argument with Winston. While Selena watched the wolf stalk away, she saw her bump into her husband. Both of them stare at each other momentarily until Lively turned and pushed through Winston. The man stood in place, his head hung low, and then slowly walked away, disappearing from Selena's vision.
She was only watching, but why did it hurt so much?
The feeling was unbearable as if she was being crushed by a giant boulder. The overwhelming pain in their expressions put her in a spot of uncertainty. Something urged her to help. Like a deep calling that pushed her out of her comfort zone. She had nothing to offer Lively, but she wanted to be on her side to help her ease the torrent inside of her.
She followed Lively's scent and found the wolf weeping silently in the dark, behind a crowd of laughing wolves.
"Lively?" Selena spoke. "Are you okay?"
Lively shook the drink in her hands. "I will be once the Wolfsbane kicks in."
Selena panicked, quickly snatching the drink from Lively's hand. It was not uncommon for wolves to mix small amounts of Wolfsbane in their drinks, but in this situation, she needed to have a clear head.
Wolves don't get easily get drunk, but adding small doses of Wolfsbane into their drinks can disable a wolf's tolerance to alcohol and too much of it was a one-way ticket to death.
"You can't drink that." Selena narrowed her gaze at him.
"Oh for Moon's sake, Selena. Suck a dick and relax." She chuckled.
It seemed as though Selena was already too late. Lively was already starting to lose her grip. Her eyes twitched and her shoulders slumped.
"That's not funny, Lively. Think of Leticia...and Winston."
Selena guided Lively to a less open space to continue their conversation. She found a recluse in a small quiet room and seemed to function as a storage unit. The room was packed full of non-perishable food. As soon as Selena closed the door behind them, Lively grabbed a bag of dried fruits and started to consume them.
While Selena watched with an iron pick lodged in her chest, Lively ate while tears flowed down her cheeks and sobs coming from in between of her chews.
"Lively, listen to me." She held the wolf's shoulders. "Tell me what's going on, please."
"Nothing's going on, Selena." She chuckles dryly. "My life is just going to change drastically."
"You're splitting up with your husband," Selena whispered.
Lively nods, setting aside the bag of dried fruits. Her careless demeanor from minutes ago darkened, sullying the joyous glow of forced ignorance in her eyes. Selena felt her heart crack as she continued to watch Lively suffer.
What was she to do? She never had anyone to fall in love with and so giving advice or trying to ease the pain of a broken heart was a concept foreign to her. But she had to do something. She couldn't let them part ways, especially when there was a child at stake.
"I don't know what to do, Selena." Lively sobbed.
"Then tell me what I can do."
"There's nothing you can do. I already told him that I don't love him." She fell into another fit of tears.
"Well, do you mean it?"
She pauses, looking into Selena's eyes.
"No, of course not. I love him with all my heart and my soul."
"But why did you tell him otherwise?"
"Because I'm afraid!" She exclaimed. "I'm afraid that he might replace me with someone else."
"He cheated on you?" Selena gasped.
"No." She shook her head. "He's an angel. He would never."
Confusion clouded Selena's eyes. She pursed her lips and leveled her face to Lively's.
"Well then, what's wrong? What is the problem with Winston?"
As far as she could see, Winston was a good man. Though she had learned that everyone wore a different mask behind closed doors. Perhaps Winston was abusing her? The thought alone left a sour taste on Selena's tongue.
"The problem is that he's too perfect." Lively murmured.
"I don't see any problems with that."
"You don't understand." She sighed. "I feel useless whenever he's around me. He overwhelms me, Selena. His completeness makes me feel less. He's so different from my past relationships that I just don't know what to do."
"He makes you feel less? How?" Selena arched her brows.
"Five years ago before Winston arrived, I was the pack, well, harlot. When he came, something in me just switched. Like I wanted to change for the better, for him. The problem is, I don't know how to. Even though he and I have Letty, I still look for the fighting and screaming. The ones I had with my exes."
"But that's wrong," Selena answered.
"I know that!" Lively countered with a loud voice. When she realized what she had done, she looked away, finding herself a little more sober. "I know that, Selena. It's not him that's the problem, it's me."
Selena awaited for Lively to continue. She leaned and sat next to the crying wolf, silently offering her support with an understanding gaze and warm smile.
"Winston is not like other wolves in pack Morris. He's such a kind and understanding man and that's why it's so hard for me to change. I've been with different men and all of them wanted the same thing from me. But with him, he wanted to show me his heart. And he was slow too, patient, and was always there for me even if all I wanted was to shoo him away.
I can't tell him how I feel because I'm afraid to see him disappointed in me. I know that's a petty reason why I can't open up but you need to know in love, all I've learned is to scream and fight. Winston's love is different and I'm afraid of it."
She pursed her lips, finding the right words to answer Lively. She was undoubtedly troubled by it. How love can hurt and how it can make you feel overwhelmed at the same time.
It was simply complex.
Words fail to encapsulate the gusts of different emotions passing through Lively's eyes. They were all too foreign or perhaps too new for Selena to grasp the meaning of. But what she knew was only one thing and that was the words that were embedded under the folds of her heart.
"Lively, you have to be honest and straight with Winston," Selena spoke.
Lively's head raised, her tear-drenched eyes looked at her with an incredulous expression.
"Were you even listening? I can't. I've already made him cry when we were on the trip. I don't want to see him get hurt again." She turned away.
"But it's unfair. Not only for Winston but also for you and especially Letty. Winston deserves your honesty above all else. The active avoidance of your emotions has hurt your family all because you let your thoughts get the best of you."
After all people, she was the least fit to say the words that were coming out of her mouth. But she saw no other way to help ease Lively's tattered heart.
"If Winston is a good man and a good husband to you, don't you think it's such a cruel thing to omit the truth from him?"
Lively's body jolted.
"But I don't have the courage to." She spoke without facing Selena. "I don't think I can face him now with all the things I've said to him."
"Courage is not the only ingredient for your way back to his heart," Selena answered. "My father once told me that lacking courage just means you lack a wish."
With a breathy sigh, Lively wiped her tears and stared at Selena.
"What do you mean?"
Selena shrugged her shoulders.
"What I mean is, think of him. His love for you, your future with him, and the family you've built with him. Are those not reason enough for you to make a wish?"
Lively fell into moments of complete silence. Her erratic breathing slowly calmed down. Slowly, she raised her head and fixed her gaze on the ceiling.
"What if he doesn't understand?"
"Then make him. If he stuck around this long, he'll understand for sure."
Lively snorts. "I wish I could love like you, Selena. You sure know how to pick the right words."
"Well, I-" Selena tried to speak but was immediately cut off by Lively.
"And I also wish that I can better myself for him. That I...can get used to being loved not for what I have but for who and what I am."
Finally, Lively's smile took Selena by surprise. She was glad that she was able to help, causing a tiny spark of joy to arise in her body.
"And I'm sorry I told you to suck a dick earlier."
Selena giggled. "It's okay."
Lively stood, groaning while she leaned against the cupboards. She dusted herself before speaking again.
"I need to find Winston now before it's too late."
Both of them exit the storage room. With Selena happily tailing behind but she stopped after seeing Lively standing in place, eyes affixed in only one direction. She followed where the wolf's eyes were trained.
In the center of the mess hall was a crowd and in the middle of it all was none other than the wolf that had ensnared both of her mind and soul. The gray-eyed beast stood proudly, wearing a smile while his hand remained entwined with the dark-skinned woman on his side. On her finger was a ring that held an exquisite gem that everyone admired.
And though Selena watched from afar, behind a sea of moving bodies, it only took a single glance to bring the roof above her head to crash down and the feeling of content brought my Lively finding her will to speak her truth quickly disappeared.
"...and so, I'm proud to announce that Kayla Marie Anderson will be taking my place as your new Luna!"
The crowd before her rejoiced after hearing Eliza's declaration.
Selena's body limped, losing all power over her muscles. She watches Nathaniel's proud grin woefully fall into a gleaming sadness before he turns away and tightened his grasp around Katie's waist.
Suddenly, Lively took her hand and squeezed it, giving her an assured nod.
"That fucker." Lively spoke between gritted teeth.
But Selena didn't mind it at all. Instead, she was stuck in wonder.
Why was Nathaniel sad?
Hello awesome people! I hope you're having an awesome day!
I hope you enjoyed and chapter. Nathaniel's really being an unfair some of a troll but he has his reasons, I just can't tell you yet. But I am excited on writing it though! ⊙﹏⊙
So, what do you think? Why is Nathaniel sad? 😅
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