8 - "Broken Halos"
To say that “shock” was the right word for the events of the day was an understatement. The moment I saw Selena laying on the ground naked and hurting I could feel the power that radiated off her being. She was a witch. A powerful one. One that had the power to shift, but I did not know to what. The fact that Ellie Mae had not known was interesting. However, Selena not sensing that Ellie was half wolf was astonishing. A witch and a wolf living under the same roof was rare.
Yet, the moment I saw Joseph stiffen at the sight of Selena, and his eyes turned black alerting me that his wolf, Gunnar, had taken over, was something extraordinary. A wolf mated to a witch was unheard of. Luckily, Hendrick had also witnessed the same and held him back from claiming his unusual mate.
I excused myself from the police, who were finished with their reports and photographs. Hendrick had a good hold on Joseph while he fought to go after Selena. They were under the third-floor staircase when I approached. Joseph was not in control; Gunnar was still present in Joseph’s human form. The last thing I needed was to have Gunnar shift in front of law enforcement.
“Gunnar.” I called his attention.
“Mate is hurt, Alpha!” An enraged Gunnar answered me.
“I understand Gunnar, but we need Joseph in control to discuss y’all’s mate.” I calmly stated.
“I need to go to my Mate, Alpha.” Gunnar protested. My growl sobered him quickly. “Yes, Alpha.” He reluctantly submitted, giving control back to Joseph.
“Joseph. You need to calm down.” I instructed my best friend. Joseph pulled his arms free from Hendrick with a rough grunt when he registered the severity of the situation.
“What happened to her?” Joseph asked after a moment of fighting to stay in control.
“Not now. I need to go back to the police.” I answered.
Once the three of us were alone in the apartment and allowed to clean up. I picked up the photograph of Ellie’s parents. Ellie did look a lot like her mom. Joseph looked around the room, taking in the mess. He had never been inside Ellie’s home, he said, yet he instantly went to Selena’s bedroom. I walked over to the flowers on the table and put them in the vase with fresh water. Hendrick and I eyed each other, unsure what to do. When Joseph returned, he asked again about the events of the night before.
Having to recount what happened with Selena and her boyfriend, Davis, was proving to be difficult as Joseph’s growl grew deeper and louder. I felt for my best friend, he found his mate under the worst circumstances. He wanted to be with her, although he did not know her. However, when I mentioned what she was, his demeaner changed to shock.
“Titus, are you positive she’s a witch?” Hendrick was the one to ask the question that Joseph could not manage to word aloud.
“I am.” I answered. Joseph’s eyes darted side to side as he took in the information, clearly wondering what this meant for him. For her. For their relationship. I chose not to mention my suspicions about her being a shifter, at least not before I confirm them. We decided to get the place cleaned up to the best of our abilities. It was close to dinner time when Ellie called from Selena’s phone to let me know that she was on her way back to the apartment from the hospital.
“Alright, Darlin’. Hey, before I let you go. Joseph and Selena,” I began to say before I was cut off by Ellie’s beautiful voice.
“They’re mates. I know. I saw him when we were headin’ to the stairs.” She responded.
“Have you explained it to her?” I asked, knowing too well she probably has not.
“No, not yet.” Was her reply.
“Please do, Ellie Mae. Joseph has been tormented since y’all left. I’ve explained everythin’. Which only made it worse.” I surmised.
“Shit. Okay. Goddess, this has been a fuckin’ day… and it’s far from over.” She whined. Never had I heard her curse before, and I found it cute as hell. We concluded our conversation with the promise to order food.
We ordered food from a local Mexican restaurant with good reviews on the delivery app and it arrived shortly before the girls did. Ellie walked in before Selena, asking to speak with me first. I followed her down the stairs away from Joseph and Hendrick’s prying ears. She could not keep still; she fidgeted with her hands and arms while swaying from one foot to the other.
“There’s a problem.” Ellie finally spoke, breaking the silence. “It’s forbidden for a witch to be with certain species. Wolves specifically.”
“I thought there was gonna to be an issue. So, what now?”
“I don’t fuckin’ know.” She was clearly exasperated, throwing her palms up. “I’ve told her she cannot reject Joseph because she’s his one chance at a mate. I’ve explained to her how important mates are, the sparks, the other half of her soul, the whole shebang. I managed to convince her to meet him and I’m gonna try to have her come to the pack, but she keeps refusing.” I became concerned of her lack with breathing as the words rushed out of her, not giving me a chance to speak. “What should we do?”
“We’ll have to get her upstairs and convince her that the ranch is the safest place for her.” I answered her question. I mind linked Joseph, and Hendrick, explaining that Joseph will have to refrain himself from acting on instinct.
Ellie Mae helped Selena out of her car, and I carried her bridal style up the stairs. According to Ellie, Selena had three broken ribs which caused her pain when she stood to walk. They had managed to stop by the pharmacy on the way to pick up the painkillers the doctor had prescribed. When we entered the apartment, Joseph’s low growl could be heard and came to offer assistance for his mate. He introduced himself to Selena, extending his hand for her to shake. It was hard to watch the awkwardness of their first meeting.
Once we had settled around the table to eat tacos, chips, and salsa, with some bottles of Mexican cokes, which tasted sweeter than regular coke. Joseph and Selena kept sharing glances with one another, that I caught when I was not focused on my mate.
“So, nice being the fifth wheel. Y’all can’t stop staring at one another, it’s causing me to ache for my mate.” Hendrick stated. I paid no attention to the remark until Ellie’s eyebrows furrowed in thought.
“Hendrick, you speak as though you already found her.” She commented aloud. When he did not respond and instead focused too intently on dipping his chip in the salsa. Ellie reworded her statement in the form of a question. “Hendrick, have you found your mate?”
Hendrick smiled at her as he winked, resulting in Ellie to gasp. I was intrigued with the conversation, even though I thought he was just pulling Ellie’s leg. Not being serious. Joseph only rolled his eyes, not paying any mind to Hendrick and turned back to study his mate, although they had not said more than greeting and a name exchange. Ellie Mae continued to interrogate him a little longer, but Hendrick never actually answered the question. Ellie’s voice was filled with irritation and I chose to speak at this moment.
“Darlin’, Hendrick is just yanking your chain. One, he can’t keep a secret. And two, he’d be too excited and obvious about it.” I said to her knowing that Hendrick could not possibly have a mate.
“I still think he’s keeping his mate a secret.” Ellie mumbled under her breath.
I turned my focus to Selena and Joseph who still hadn’t said anything to each other, but continued to eye each other. “Selena, Ellie Mae said you didn’t want to come back to the ranch. Why?”
Selena turned to meet Ellie’s eyes accusingly. Ellie only shrugged her shoulders in response before turning to me. “You were being obstinate.”
“You don’t want to come back to the ranch house?” Joseph questioned with concern.
“Being a witch, it wouldn’t be permitted. Plus, everythin’ I’ve heard about werewolves have all been bad.” Selena said looking straight at a wounded Joseph.
“Do you honestly think I would allow anythin’ to happen to you? You’re my mate.” Joseph acknowledged.
“I honestly don’t know what that entails. But either way, dating other species is forbidden.” Selena replied. We were all silent absorbing the information we were provided. None of us had ever had a full conversation with a witch before. We had met a few witches in the past; however, we never took the time to speak with them about anything other than supernatural business. We had heard several stories and myths about them, which made me wonder what exactly she was told about us. As a wolf we can feel a witch’s power radiating off them and we can sense to some extent what kind of power they possess. Like us, they had elders and different covens versus packs. Witches also have different practices and beliefs. Therefore, learning this much from Selena was mind boggling.
“Selena,” Ellie spoke first. “We’ve been best friends for five years. Joseph is my cousin and Titus is my mate. Hendrick and I have grown up together, just like Titus and Joseph. I trust these men with my life… and yours. I promise nothin’ will happen to you.”
“Ellie, I could be banished from my coven.” Selena argued.
“Selena, I… if you reject me, there won’t be anyone else for me.” Joseph said in the softest and most wounded voice I had heard come from him. “I wouldn’t let anything, or anyone harm you. You’re the other half of my soul- the most important thing to me.”
“Selena. Being mates means more than just boyfriend and girlfriend, or husband and wife. A mate will be nothin’ less than loyal and eternally devoted to you. There will be no safer place.” I explained to her, turning my attention back to Ellie Mae halfway through.
“So, what if you’re banished! Just say fuck ’em. They won’t know what their missin’.” Hendrick, always the voice of optimism, encouraged her. “I doubt Titus will have an issue if you practice solitary magic.”
“Thanks for that Hendrick.” Ellie rolled her eyes. “Selena, I know it’s difficult leaving everything you know behind. So, why don’t you come back with us until Davis is behind bars. It’ll give you time to get to know Joseph and in the meantime your coven doesn’t need to know where you’re at. Then you can make your decision to come back or leave the coven after Davis is caught.”
“Unless he makes bail.” Hendrick spoke under his breath.
“The police have his address. I don’t think it’ll take them long to find him.” Selena concluded.
“Yes, but he might’ve not gone straight home. Plus, there’ll be a hearing and a bail would be set, which his parents would pay. So, it’ll be a while.” Ellie stated. “C’mon, Joseph and Hendrick can help you pack.” She said as she stood from her seat.
“Do have a choice?” Selena asked her.
“Nope.” Ellie popped her “p” as she said it.
I was completely enthralled by Ellie and the way she handled things. She was definitely made to be Luna and she was already acting like one.
“Broken Halos” by Chris Stapleton