I couldn’t bring myself to look at Jayce when I walked back into the room. It didn’t stop me from being able to feel him though. I could feel his concern, he knew something was wrong.
Good. Let him stew on it, I thought.
I didn’t want to bring it up right now, this trip to Eastern Ridge already had far too much drama for my liking, the conversation could wait.
I sat down next to Jayce at the table, his body automatically tensing the second I came near. I knew he’d be able to smell Kyanite’s scent on me and I didn’t care. I did nothing wrong, he was the one that should be feeling guilty; he may not have smelt like Gretchen but he may as well have.
“So how do I find her? And how do I kill her?” I asked the moment I sat down.
“Finding Magdalene will be difficult but not impossible” Cassius answered, “the safest bet would be to enter one of her portals that she is using to abduct the shifters”
“Safest bet?” Kyanite asked, “so you just expect us to jump into some portal that a crazy homicidal witch has created...and what? Hope for the best?”
“Not us...me. I’m going by myself” I cut in.
“The hell you are. You’re not going on your own and that’s final”
My teeth clenched and I cocked my head to the side, keeping my eyes straight ahead.
“Only I can kill her. I’m not needlessly putting anyone else’s life at risk when you’re of no use to me anyway”
That’ll shut him up.
“Quinn. You should really listen to Jayce, he-”
I snapped my head in Gretchen’s direction, the look in my eyes making her mouth clamp shut instantly.
Farley cleared his throat, momentarily distracting me from wanting to rip the she-wolf’s head off.
“Quinn. You’re right. You are the only one that has the power to kill the witch but on the other side of that portal there will be numerous shifters that will be under her control. Magdalene will use them to try and take you out, you’ll need all the help you can get”
I thought back to what Percy said, about Magdalene killing Hamish with just the click of her fingers. What if she did that to Jayce or to Cameron...or Kyanite?
I shook my head, pushing those thoughts to the back of my mind.
“Fine. But nobody else takes on the witch. She’s mine”
So that was that. It was decided. A week from now we would take the fight to Magdalene. I would have been much happier if we just got it over and done with sooner but it was agreed that we needed time. Time to figure out a game plan, time to train, time for Cassius and Gretchen to nail down how I was going to kill her and time for Magdalene to stew.
Panthera and all of the wolf packs would be locked down tight. No one would be leaving and therefore there would be no more shifters for her to capture. This would surely piss her off and maybe even throw her off her game.
I’d asked about the bears but Farley ensured me that they were well and truly hidden. There were even less bears around than there were panthers. Cassius had been in touch with Norah and she was adamant that they were safe. She also said her King refused to send any warriors to help our cause. I completely understood this though, why risk warriors when the fight didn’t concern you? I would probably have done the same in his position.
The trip back to Fern Creek had been quiet. I didn’t really want to speak to Jayce, I knew when I spoke to him it wasn’t going to be pleasant and Cameron didn’t need to be witness to that. Instead I claimed a headache, which was partially true, and curled up on the back seat to close my eyes.
I still couldn’t get over what I’d seen and heard between Jayce and Gretchen. It angered me more the more I thought about it. There was no doubting her behaviour towards him was flirtatious but it was his behaviour that pissed me off. It’s like he enjoyed the attention from her...was he bored of me already? Had my moment of weakness with Kyanite put him off?
Maybe he was doing it to get me back, that would be even worse. If he was doing it to intentionally hurt me because I hurt him then that was almost unforgivable.
We pulled into the gates of the Fern Creek compound and Cameron parked the car. My eyes darted to the rear vision mirror and I watched Quinn sit up. She yawned and stretched her arms then hopped out of the car.
I’d been grilling Cameron through the mind link the whole drive back here. I asked him to do one thing when I went to the bathroom and that was to make sure Kyanite stayed away from Quinn. Was that too difficult to ask? That a guy couldn’t go for a slash without another man touching his mate?
Cameron insisted Quinn had gone to find me and that he’d only lost sight of Kyanite for a couple of minutes. That’s all it took, a couple of minutes.
I climbed out of the car and walked around to Quinn. She turned her back to me and faced Cameron, thanking him for driving; then she headed off towards the pack house.
Cameron pulled a ‘good luck with that’ face and I responded with flipping him off before following my Luna.
If I hadn’t known better I would have said she was pissed at me for something. Maybe it was because of my outburst earlier when I attacked Kyanite. Maybe she was just emotionally exhausted from the overload of information she’d just received and was taking her frustration out on me. Either way, we needed to talk about it.
“So, care to tell me what’s got your wolf all in a huff?” I asked as I followed Quinn into the pack house, closing the door behind me.
Her body stilled and I noticed the way her fists clenched at her sides.
Here we go.
“My wolf isn’t the problem here!” she snapped without evening turning to face me, “maybe if you controlled your wolf a little bit better I wouldn’t be doubting his loyalty to me”
I strode over to Quinn, closing the distance between us in three long steps. Grabbing her arm I turned her around to face me.
“How dare you question my wolf’s loyalty to you when you’re the one currently stinking like panther” I spat, looking her up and down in disgust.
Quinn growled and pulled her arm from my grip. Her eyes flashed black.
“Don’t you even think about making this about me! I heard you! I heard you with Gretchen. I saw you with Gretchen! She was all over you and you did nothing. You stood there like a big dumb lug...lapping up the attention. Do you know how much that hurts me? How much it embarrasses me?”
Quinn was crying now, a steady stream of tears streaking down her face. I didn’t know what to say, so I just stood there looking at her.
“I’m trying so fucking hard to be the Luna you want me to be, to be the Luna Fern Creek deserves. Is it not good enough? I’m sure Gretchen would have made a much better Luna—”
“What the fuck are you talking about? Gretchen was never going to be my Luna. We had a thing, years ago...but that’s it. She’s just a friend”
Quinn wiped the tears from her face and looked up at me. It was clear to see that I’d hurt her and I felt shit for it; but nothing happened.
“It looked like she wanted to be more than just a friend and you didn’t correct her. Do you know how much of a slap in the face that is? I’m your Luna!”
She clearly hadn’t eavesdropped long enough to hear that I told Gretchen that Quinn was the love of my life and the most amazing woman I’d ever met. She could be pissed off at me, I’d cop that, but for her to question my loyalty? That a was fucking rich coming from her.
“If you’re my Luna then fucking act like it! Why the fuck do you smell like him?! I leave the room for five fucking minutes and you already have his scent all over you!”
The impact of Quinn’s hand against my cheek echoed throughout the pack house. I tasted blood in my mouth almost instantly and spat the red liquid out on the ground near my feet.
Quinn gasped, clearly not realising that she’d hit me that hard; but she didn’t apologise. I turned my head back to face her, just in time to see a slight bit of remorse in her eyes before it changed back to anger.
“Feel better?” I asked, my tone calm and even.
“A little bit” she muttered, her face softening slightly.
“Look. I’m sorry that what you thought you saw hurt you but I told Gretchen that you were the love of my life and she seemed genuinely happy for me. There is absolutely nothing going on between us. We were a thing, a very casual thing, for a few years...but we are just friends now. I promise you”
“She is absolutely stunning...”
I stepped into Quinn and cupped her face.
“Have you not seen yourself? There’s not even a comparison”
I lowered my face to her’s, lightly brushing my lips over her mouth. It was then that Kyanite’s scent tickled my nostrils again, causing them to flare and my body to inadvertently tense. Quinn must have picked up on the change in me and placed her hand softly on my chest.
“I’m sorry” she whispered, “I was so upset when I saw you with Gretchen. Kyan saw me crying and hugged me. That was it, I promise”
I groaned and pulled her in, flattening her body against mine. I didn’t want her smelling like him, I wanted her smelling like me and only me.
“How did you feel when you hugged him?”
Part of me didn’t want to know but the rest of me needed to know. I knew that pushing this issue of ‘another fated mate’ to the side wasn’t going to make it go away. Wether I liked it or not, this was a conversation that we needed to have.
“How did I feel?” Quinn asked, repeating my question as if she were trying to dissect it.
I nodded, looking down at her. Quinn chewed her bottom lip - which caused my wolf to stir, that simple little action did things to me, things I needed to ignore for now - and sighed.
“I don’t know how to explain it to you without upsetting you”
Quinn stepped out of my embrace and created some distance between us. I respected her actions and took a seat on the couch as she paced the other side of the room.
“The way Moira explained it to me is that my animal subconscious has split personalities. Two of the ‘personalities’, my wolf and panther, are at loggerheads with one another. My wolf is one hundred percent besotted and committed to you, she is your Luna. Then there is my panther. She was quiet and content until I started picking up Kyanite’s scent, weeks ago”
My jaw clenched, remembering how that cheeky bastard had lurked around my compound, my Luna.
“I didn’t know what the scent was but part of me...enjoyed it, revelled in it. My wolf knew what it was and, completely unbeknownst to me, she wouldn’t allow my panther to communicate it to me; she’d blocked her out”
“And that’s when your panther started acting out, wouldn’t let you shift...” I muttered in realisation.
“When I realised that Kyanite was my mate...my panther was ecstatic. She was alive and that feeling radiated through me. But my wolf was distraught. The second Kyan got close to me it was deafening in my head; a mixture of elation and disgust. I didn’t know how to feel...I still don’t”
I looked up at Quinn as she walked over and knelt in front of me. She placed her hands on my knees, her blue eyes searching mine.
“I love you...with every beat of my heart, with every breath that I take...”
“...but...rejecting Kyanite has all but killed my panther”
A small sob escaped Quinn’s throat but she continued on.
“I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t want to be with him, I love you and that part of it is pretty black and white. But my panther yearns for him. She needs him like my wolf needs you. I can push it to the side, I can not act on it...but it hurts. It hurts. But I’m ok with that...if it means not hurting you...then I’ll hurt”
Listening to Quinn spill her heart out gave me more mixed feelings than I’d ever thought possible. I never wanted to see my Luna in pain. I had always said if I could take all of her pain away and make it my own, then I would. But this wasn’t quite that simple. The answer was right there, there was a way I could relieve her pain, to stop the hurt. But that answer would hurt me more than any physical pain I could ever endure.
To relieve the pain of my Luna, my mate...the love of my life, I would have to share her with another man.
Call me selfish, but that was something I would never be able to do.