The choice

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21

I woke up in a hospital room and I could hear voices snarling. Was Leroy still here? I tried to shot up and screamed when I felt the pain shot through my arm. The snarling stopped and I heard Adam's voice coming from my left.

"Don't move honey. Please." His voice was full of anger and sorrow.

"You have no right to call her that." Jackson snarled. "Look at her!"

"You stop that right now." Haven growled. "She's wounded and she needs quiet."

His voice came from my right and he was holding my right hand. I could feel his warmth. I fluttered my eyes open to look into his blue eyes and he offered me a small smile.

"Haven?" I said my voice hoarse as if I did not use it in a long time. "Was that you?"

The last thing I remembered was a gold mane so it could only be a lion. I would have recognised Adam and it was too big to belong to a wolf.

"Yes. I came looking for you when I didn't see you at the gym. Don't worry about Laurel or Leroy. They're both dead." He explained and I could see the fury in his eyes.

"What did they want with her?" Jackson asked through gritted teeth.

"They..." I had trouble speaking because my throat felt so dry. Adam brought me a glass of water and I retrieved my hand from Haven's hands before I took it. "Thank you." I drank a bit and focused back on Jackson. "They thought that if I became a leopard and mated, forcefully, with Leroy, Adam would not want me anymore and Laurel could claim him from me."

Adam growled but he was not the only one. All my friends were growling. I felt like a lamb in the middle of a pack of wolves. I did not like it.

"That's all your fault." Jackson snarled at Adam. "You should have killed Laurel when she first tried to attack Mia. Look at her now!"

"You have no right to tell me that." Adam snarled right back.

"Please stop." I said shaking. I did not want to hear that sound again so soon. I could have died or have been raped down there if Haven did not come in time. I would need some time to think about this.

"I'm sorry." Adam said focusing back on me.

He wanted to touch me but he did not know if it was safe. I did know that his touch would make me feel better and I also knew that it was not his fault that Laurel was crazy. The intensity of his gaze made me cry. I could see that he felt guilty for not being there to protect me. He put his hand on my head and sroked my hair.

"I'm sorry I failed you." He said his eyes steely.

"It's not your fault." I said through the tears. "But please don't fight. I got enough of that for the day..."

"We won't." Adam said soothingly.

"I'm sorry babe. That would never have happened with me." Jackson said.

Adam tensed and threw him a glare. I nuzzled his hand so he would keep focusing on me instead of Jackson.

"I don't think that it's the right time to say that." Haven said coldly. "If you can't keep your fury to yourself and show some support, you should get out."

"Aren't you mad at him?" Jackson turned to Haven. "It's his fault if she's here."

"It's not Adam's fault." Haven said. "Laurel was mad and I took care of it. I'm mad but not at Adam. I'm mad that Mia got attacked by a lunatic."

"At least you got to kill them." Jackson pointed out. "I would have loved to be able to do it but it wouldn't have happened if Mia had beared my mark and mated with me."

"That's for me to decide who I mate with, not you Jackson." I frowned. "You had enough time during the last five years to propose to me but you never did so shut up about blaming Adam."

Jackson whipped his hazel eyes on me and glared. I could see the hurt though behind this glare. Not my problem.

"I think you should definitely come live with me now so I can keep an eye on you." Adam said. "It might not be the last attack against you. As long as you're not mated, other supes might want to take you by force. I can protect you better if you stick to me."

"It's not your fault." I repeated. "I wanted to come live with you anyway but don't think that any of this is your fault. Laurel was crazy and Leroy was..." I shuddered just thinking about the eerie green eyes and his claws in my body.

"It's ok." He said. "You don't need to talk about it yet. We'll move your things to my place so I can always keep an eye on you."

"Do you think that..." I said my voice small. "That it would have been different if I did mate with you?"

"I don't know honey." He said serious. "I think that she could not have surprised you if you had been a tigress and she certainly would not have been able to let you get marked but raped... That could still happen anytime."

"But I would have been stronger..." I said forlornly.

"Yes. Stronger than now." He confirmed. "But that doesn't mean that it's the right solution. The thing is that, you still have a broken arm and a few claw marks."

"Will I become a leopard anyway?" I asked panicked all of a sudden.

"No. Don't worry." He said softly. "A bite is necessary. There are two ways to change someone, it's either a violent attack and you would need a bite when you're almost dead then you would need to survive to become a shifter or the marking. The magic is strong enough at this moment to change someone while we link our fates."

"I see." I said sighing in relief. "So I won't be a leopard."

"I would still love you even if you were." Adam said smiling.

I could not help to smile back at him. He always knew exactly what to say to cheer me up. I would never have been able to live as a leopard if I had lost Adam. I turned to Haven and he was smiling as well.

"Thank you for saving me." I said. "I'm sorry I missed seeing your lion."

"I'll show it to you some other time Frenchy." He chuckled. "Don't worry. You should take her home Adam. She needs rest. I'll bring you some clothes and stuff at Adam's house."

"I'll go with you. I know where she puts her stuff." Jackson said bitter.

Haven nodded and took the other man with him as they left. I turned to Adam and he helped me up. I was wearing the hospital gown and I wondered what happened to my clothes. I had been wearing my sports outfit when Laurel abducted me.

"I don't think you will be able to put your clothes back on honey." Adam said. "The leggings maybe but not the shirt I'm afraid. It's torn."

"Great." I sighed.

Adam took off his own shirt and gave it to me. I looked puzzled and he put it on me helping me put my good arm through the hole.

"You can have mine." He said smiling fondly.

"What are you going to wear?" I asked as he helped put my leggings back on.

"I have a jacket. Don't worry about me. I'll take you home now."

"What about work? Aren't you supposed to go?" I asked.

"It's a bit late for work honey." He said his lips in a thin line. "You've been unconscious the whole day."

"Crap!" I gasped. I missed a whole day! I thought I only had a broken arm, how could I be unconscious so long?

He growled low as he saw how shaken I was and that made me flinch. He stopped immediately when he smelled my fear and he pulled me carefully into his arms.

"I'm sorry." He said stifling a growl. "I'll try to avoid growling for a bit but it's hard to not be angry after what happened."

"I know... It should be all right in a few days. I know that you won't hurt me but..."

"Don't worry about me. I'll adjust to you and I'll give you as much time as you need. Let me take you home."

I nodded and he put on his jacket before taking my hand in his. We got out of the room to fill my release papers and off we were. I felt better with Adam, I knew that I could trust him to watch over me so I fell asleep during the ride home.

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