A Summer To Never Forget

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16. Riley

“I love you Archon,” I told him I loved him using his real name and he didn’t react at all. His dismissal of my love and affection left an awful taste in my mouth, making me feel insecure about how he felt about me honestly.

I shoved the awful feeling aside as I chalked it up to him being lost in the sexual pleasure. Still…I felt uncomfortable and a little lost. And to my utter embarrassment, it showed in my work and the way I acted. It was so bad that Dean noticed, and when he notices things it must be really bad.

“What’s wrong Riley? I have never seen you depressed. Not even when your family kicked you for your carrier choice.” I sigh deeply as Dean’s concerned face filled my vision.

“I told Archon I loved him and he didn’t react to it at all,” I mumbled as I rubbed my face tiredly. I have been awake at night for hours, mulling it over and over. Making me have sleepless nights, slowly driving myself insane with the times I mull it over.

“You know Riley,” He said as he patted my shoulder, “I think he knows how much you love him. It’s evident whenever I see you guys just walking around together. Your eyes shine and you smile more. So don’t worry too much about it okay? Or you could just tell him the next time you see him and watch his reaction.” Dean had the gall to smile at me.

“I know how hard it is for you to show affection towards someone. Just hang in there okay? Everything will be fine.”

I never believed that everything will be fine. In fact, I knew something would go wrong, and I was right. When I got home after talking to Dean, I barely stepped over the threshold before Archie launched himself into my arms.

“Riles! It’s terrible!” He wailed. I blinked several times, noticing nothing out of the ordinary.

“What’s wrong Archie? What happened?” He sniffled before hiding under my chin. Walking back to where he came from I saw what he meant. The whole living room was a mess and in front of the fireplace was a huge pile of blankets.

His distressed whimper had me rubbing his back soothingly. Or at least I hoped it was. I was never one for soothing another. And yet with Archie, the feeling felt natural, easy.

Chuckling at the mess near the fireplace I try and put Archie back on the blankets. He would let go so, in the end, I toppled over with him lying underneath me.

“I am not angry with you Archon.” I kissed his cheek. I still marvelled at the easiness of the gesture as I look down on Archie.

“Why do you call me that?” I looked at him puzzled “What do you mean?” Archie rolled his eyes “Archon. Nobody besides my dad calls me that. I don’t like it when you call me that.”

He said something after that but I didn’t hear it. Hearing him say those words was like a steel fist to the gut.

I knew it! My mind screamed at me.

He doesn’t want us! My panther wailed in pain. Trying my hardest to not fall apart right then and there, I slowly disentangled myself from his embrace.

“Riles? Riles?! Where are you going?” I looked into Archie’s confused gaze as he stared up at me. My mind was racing with an explanation that would explain anything.

“I–I need to go.” I stammered as I stumbled to the door. I needed to get out of there before I did something drastic. Something I would regret later. The scent of our mating was messing with my brain, clouding my thoughts.

“Riley! Please don’t go! What did I do?” He howled as I managed to open the door. Looking back he looked close to crying.

“It’s not you Archie.” I swallowed hard looking back through the door “It’s me.” And dashed away like the coward I was. My heart stumbled and wrenched in my chest when I heard his distressed howl.

Panting I looked around and realised I was in a random clearing. Checking to see if I was truly alone, I let out my pent-up anguish. I sobbed, screamed and hollered until my throat was raw before falling to my knees. I didn’t know how long I sat there, just staring into space.

My mind was scrambled, Archie prodded my mind with the link but I quickly shut it down. I didn’t really want to talk to him right now. On the side, I was glad he was worried on the other side I always wondered if I made a mistake by mating Archie the way we did. I had always convinced myself that I was good enough for him, but now I don’t know if I still believe that.

“What brings you here Riley? Aren’t you supposed to be at home with your distressed mate?” The deep rumbling sound of the King’s voice snapped me out of whatever daze I was in.

I scrambled to my feet and bowed “Your Highness.”

I didn’t move as I felt his Highness heavy hand on my shoulder. “Tell me why Archie is so distressed when everything was going well.” I had forgotten that as Alpha King he could feel all the emotions of everyone in the Pack.

“I don’t know what exactly happened. I told him I loved him but he didn’t react. He also told me to not call him Archon.” I sniffled as my eyes watered. “I just don’t know what to do now, now we’re at this impasse.”

The King’s eyes softened. “I know you have a hard time to show you love someone. You need to trust Archon won’t hurt you, no matter how hard it is Riley.”

The King squeezed my shoulder once more before nudging me forward “Now return home to your mate. Tell him how you really feel.”

Bowing once more, wiping away my tears I smiled wobbly as I turned and dashed back home. Not really wondering why the King was there in the first place. I slowed down to a trot, then to a slow walk as our house came into view.

Taking a deep breath I opened the door and readied myself to whatever reaction Archie might have on me returning. Only to realise he wasn’t there. I didn’t need to call out his name; most of his stuff was gone as well.

What the hell have you done you fool?! My panther growled at me, he scoffed before shutting down our link. For the very first time in my life, I was all alone. I didn’t like it at all. But there was nothing I could do about it if Archie wanted to leave me; he was free to do so. I wasn’t going to force him to stay with me if he didn’t want to.

Maybe dad was right saying we weren’t meant to be together.

I thought to myself as I look around my now empty house. It has been seven days, fifteen hours and forty minutes I last saw Archie and his absence still burns. Everything in the house reminded me of him and I was too weak to throw the stuff out.

So I decided to sleep outside in the little shed, it was uncomfortable as hell but I didn’t deserve any better for the way I treated Archie. My body ached but I ignored it for the most time, physical pain I could deal with; it was the emotional pain I couldn’t handle.

I was very surprised Sterling wasn’t on my case demanding answers. I wasn’t sure if I should be relieved or terrified. The King even dismissed me from service until I patched thing up with Archie, which would by the looks of things it will be never. Not only am I now mate-less, I was also out of a job. The only job in life I ever wanted.

What am I going to do now?

I thought to myself as I sat on the back porch staring at the woods like I did most nights nowadays. Trying in vain to not think about Archie, or anything Archie related. As usual, the house was dark, I hadn’t stepped foot in it since Archie’s stuff disappeared. There was no need to be in there, the place will be vacant soon anyway.

I wince as I stare hard at the envelopes in my hand. The name on the first envelope holds Archie’s name, the second one holds the Packs secretary’s name. I am planning to officially pull back from the Pack. I have nothing to contribute, no matter how hard the Cat Clan protests.

There have been several members trying to persuade me to stay; all of their efforts were in vain. I am not planning to stay here any longer. I made up my mind and now I just need to drop off those letters and be done with it. With a determined nod to myself, I glance back once at the house praying someone will find happiness with it one day as I go into the shed to sleep.

In the early hours of the day, I find myself packed and in front of the Pack secretary’s building. Biting my lip, I push the door open and step inside glad it is open this early. “Welcome to Pack’s office how may I help you, Riley?” The secretary smiles at me.

“Hi” I stated awkwardly, and before I lose my nerve I shove the letter across the desk. “I am here to hand in my resignation letter.” She looks shocked but I am out of the building before she could say anything.

I am glad I delivered Archie’s letter before coming here, if I didn’t I knew I would have lost my nerve and would have stayed moping around. Looking back at the buildings and places I have known my entire life, I take a deep breath before turning around and started walking down the less travelled path leading out of the Pack lands.

My stomach churns as I literally do not know what the day will bring me. My steps falter the further I move away from the Pack and Archie. I feel the mate bond stretch and strain, my heart thumps unsteadily in the chest and my vision blurs.

I clench my teeth together to keep from screaming out in pain. My hand clenches the material of my shirt over my heart, hoping to lessen the pain I feel. I don’t look up or back as I hear someone call out my name, determined to not give in and turn around and rush back.

I stumble as I near the last line of trees that separate the Pack lands from the rest of the world. This would be my world now as things are at the moment.

Just as I reach the line, I feel the bond crumbling. Instead of feeling relieved, I have a heavy feeling. I drop my bags as I fall to my knees. My legs gave out, unable to continue. I gasp as I dry heave, trying to turn my stomach inside out. My eyes water as only stomach acid came out of my mouth.

I haven’t been able to keep anything down since it became clear Archie wasn’t coming back anytime soon. I fight the urge to blackout.

[RILEY WOODS GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!]

The King’s voice boomed across the Pack link I wasn’t able to access since my panther shut me out. The force of the King’s voice had my eyes roll in the back of my head. The last conscious thought was that I never heard the King that angry as blackness claimed me.

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