Chase flung the blankets back and I reached for the pillow and covered my sensitive ears. I wanted it to go away. I wanted to turn back the clock. I wanted to hide from this life I was living.
I clenched the pillow tighter over my head, trying to block the noise which sent every nerve alive in my body. It ripped through my ears and tore through my mind. Every glance, every wail, every touch; sent an icy cold slap across my face.
It was my living nightmare; its mere presence in my life reminded me only of my past. I heard Chase murmur calming words and shushing noises. Just like every night he cared for it, and just like every night I ignored it.
I heard the cracking of Nick’s door from across the hall and his dull footsteps down the small hall to its room. Everything could be heard in this small house, voices, noises and even hushed conversations; nothing remained private or went unheard.
“Maybe Champ is hungry again?” Nick muttered under his breath.
“He’s not, he’s just not settling, I don’t know what to do.” Chase replied with a hushed voice.
I cursed my sensitive ears; all I wanted was to block them out.
“Does he want her?” Nick muttered, through it’s wails.
“Get the car keys, looks like another night of driving.” Chase whispered and I heard the door open wider and the spike in its wails as Chase walked down the hall.
I heard the rattling of car keys and the opening and closing of the front door. The wails were still ringing through my ears, even though it was now outside in the open air.
Tossing the pillow to Chase’s side of the bed, I flung the blankets back when I heard the car start up. Placing my feet on the soft carpet, I walked to the bathroom. The room was small, a bed, a dresser and that was it. It was plain, and I did not bother making it a home. Quiet and silence finally reached the air, as the car began to place distance between the house.
Cracking open the bathroom door, I ran my hand down the side wall until I found the light switch. I had finally become accustomed to our small house, though it has taken months to get use to the size.
Walking up to the bath, I turned on the cold water, placing the plug in and let the tap run. I was alive; technically I was breathing and functioning; so I was alive. My eyes drifted to the mirror in front of me, taking in my reflection. I was alive, but yet I looked the image of death.
Pushing the straps of my night grown off my shoulders it fell to the ground. I stepped into the icy cold bath water and slowly I sunk my body into it.
In a few minutes my body would be numb, the grief, the pain and sorrow I felt; all would turn into nothing and for a few minutes or hours. I could take pleasure in not having to feel the agony that was in my heart and the bitterness that now consumed my veins, against him.
Meanwhile at the Blackmore Castle – King Blackmore’s POV
The soft tapping on my door brought my attention up from the glass of whiskey I had just poured.
Slowly the door cracked open and my wife walked in. I had caused her pain I could not take back. My face softened and I lowered my glass to my desk as I watched her sadly walk into the room. Her eyes now had a coat of black around them, from the lack of sleep she was receiving and, her face shone with sadness that now consumed her heart.
“Albert, I need to ask you something.”
I nodded my head and watched my wife bring her sorrow tainted eyes up to meet mine.
“I need you to find Isabella and tell her the truth.” Her eyes pleaded with me, she knew what she was asking was impossible.
“You know I can’t.” I mumbled and gulped the contents of whiskey down my throat. “I can’t even if I wanted too.”
“Why?” She took a few steps closer to me “Can you not imagine the pain she is in right now? She is living thinking that Connor is a father to that woman’s child! If you won’t tell Isabella, you have to tell Connor the truth!”
I throw the glass in my hands across the room in anger, “I cannot find Isabella! We have searched for her for nearly a year, she is gone! And Connor deserves nothing but unhappiness.”
“You caused this!” She spat and pointed a finger at me, “You caused all of this! You and your obsession with the throne and keeping our family together. You drove us apart Albert, because of you, we have lost both our daughter’s.”
“Don’t tell me what I already know.” I slumped myself down into my armchair “My plan was flawless.”
“Did you honestly expect Isabella to be in a state of mind to start a war out of revenge? You do know that this lie will come undone and you will be held responsible for putting the idea in that silly girls mind.” Her body rolled with aggression as she spoke.
“Isabella is gone. No one will ever find her, because she doesn’t want to be found.” I let my eyes drift across the picture of us on my desk. Isabella’s smile in the still photo, twitched a grim smile on my lips. “She is dead to us now, I won’t be able to find her. She wants nothing to do with us.”
“Because of you!” She spat, her eyes narrowed as I looked up to face her, “Because of you she wants nothing to do with us!”
“Yes, because of me.” I looked my wife squarely in the eyes “Because of the lie I helped Melissa create.”
“How can you sit there and say it?” She shook her head, “Both our daughters are now ghosts to us. Who knows what will happen to them.”
“They have Nick and Chase. The boys will look after them and protect them.”
“Pity, they needed protection from you.” She scoffed while glaring at me “I hate you Albert.”
Her words sent chisels into my heart, she meant them and I knew I could never expect her to look at me with love again; not after this. Her eyes had been consumed with hate towards me, since she found out.
“I know.” I finally mumbled to her back as she stormed towards the door. She didn’t look back as she opened the door and slammed it closed behind her.
She didn’t look back at me, because she hated me. She hated me for driving away her daughters, she hated me for a life of sadness I had casted for Isabella. I knew Isabella was alive out there somewhere, but I knew that inside she would be dead.
Dead, because she was not with her mate and she wasn’t with her mate because I had planted the seeds of their breakup in Melissa’s mind all those months ago.
I remember how happy I felt when Melissa confirmed to me at the Isabella’s 18th birthday that she was with child, though the child was not Connor’s.
I thought Isabella would be consumed with hate, I thought she would lead the war against them; to kill her mate and his mistress in revenge of her broken heart. The lie wouldn’t matter when Connor lay dead in his grave. Isabella would be ruler of all, the one and only Queen. The Blackmore’s would be the only throne.
I didn’t tell Melissa this, she was high on the idea of being Queen. She thought my motive was only driven by my hate for Connor and not wanting him with my daughter.
I turned in my arm chair and looked out across the moody night sky. Out there somewhere my daughter lived with the pain of betrayal and I knew I could never find her to take that pain away.
The trail had gone cold. She and her sister had disappeared into the wide world. I could not hunt for her, as her scent was now unknown to me, to the trackers. Serenity would now be with Ryan and I knew there was little chance I could ever track them back down. I also knew Isabella was smart, smart enough to not be near her sister. Not when she knew I hunted for them; the hunt which was pointless.
I could not give Isabella back her happiness but I could give her the freedom she now needed. Letting out a sharp sigh, tomorrow I would call the trackers back in and tomorrow I would stop the search for her. I would let her go and perhaps it would be the best thing I could ever do for her.
I walked out into the lounge room, Nick had it in his lap and Chase was in the kitchen. It was weird having a house with an open floor plan, everything was seen and there was nowhere to hide. Unless you count the three small rooms, one belonging to Nick, one belonging to Chase and myself and then the other was it’s.
“You hungry Is?” Chase glanced up across the stove as I stood in the door frame, ignoring the little hands that were reaching out for me from Nick’s lap.
“No.” I slowly walked around the back of the couch and sat on the stool, with my back to it. “Thanks anyway Chase.”
“I thought maybe we could go the park after this. Get some fresh air.” Chase didn’t look up from the pan as he stirred the contents. He was worried about me, just like he had been nearly all year.
“I suppose if you really want too.” I couldn’t pretend to smile, it took to much effort. I didn’t feel like walking to the park, nor did I wish to go outdoors. But I knew it would make Chase feel better and I owed him that; I owed him everything.
“Damn it Champ, you did it again.” Nick grunted as I heard the dull cracking of something. I didn’t turn around, I didn’t want to see it.
“Did he break the remote?” Chase’s eyes automatically flicked up from the stove, and the pan which steamed and he looked around me, “What did he do?”
“One bite and his cracked it in half.” Nick’s voice waved in amusement “His only got two teeth but there made of steel!”
I shifted uncomfortable in my seat and glued my eyes to the kitchen bench. I hated it when they spoke about him and his development. In fact I hated any subject which was related to him all together.
“He’s a champ.” Chase smiled as I glanced up at him. He looked over my head with pride. “Though that does mean we will have to buy another universal remote.”
I watched Chase frown slightly as that thought clicked into his mind. I knew he would be adding it to the list of things he had to get for it. I watched Chase move from one foot to the other and I had a feeling he wanted to bring something up to me.
“Um Is?” Chase shot me a quick glance and then returned his eyes to the pan.
“Um- I know you said- um not to um bring this back up but Nick and I—”
“You need to pick a name Isabella.” Nick sung over his shoulder from behind me and I quickly snapped around to look at him. “Chase and I can’t call him Champ forever. You need to pick a name.”
I stood up abruptly from the stool, just like every time this subject was mentioned I felt an uncontrollable need to hurl something, or to hurt someone.
“Seeing as you two care for it, you two can choose it, like I have said before.” I crossed my arms and kept my eyes on to the carpet. “I don’t care.”
“Is. Come on. He is your son, you have to-”
“I don’t have to do anything Chase.” I snapped and flung around to face him “Like I have said so many times, I do not want him. If I had it my way, I would have left it with the pack that helped me deliver it. So if you two want to pick a name for it, go ahead!”
I stormed out of the room and down the small hallway, reaching mine and Chase’s door I flung it open and then slammed it. I hated this, I hated my life and most of all I hated him. Him being the man that should be helping me deal with this, instead he was off with his other family.
I walked to the bathroom sink and flung open the cabinet door. Reaching for a new pack of hair dye and pulling it out. The boys did not understand why I did it. But I hated the sight of my blonde hair and even though the hair dye only stayed in my hair for two days, because the dye could not stick to it for any longer, I didn’t care. I didn’t care that I spent nearly every third day redoing it. I just couldn’t stand the sight of my blonde locks.
Ripping the packet open I laid out the contents. Sometimes I would be a black hair, or times a red head, brown never seemed to stick all together.
Anger began to roll through my blood again as my mind flicked to it. I should of known back on my birthday that I was pregnant. A wolf change is stopped as soon as you fall pregnant, that was why I couldn’t change when I fled the castle that night. It wasn’t because of the –
I cut myself off before I thought about it, about that night, about everything.
Pouring the contents of dye from the packet, my mind drifted to the time I realised I was with—- that I carried his child, a dull stab tore through my midsection as I thought of him. A werewolf’s pregnancy isn’t as long as a humans, one because we develop quickly. I only carried for four months and for most of it I lived in denial.
Though my denial came to an end when I gave birth to him, at a pack’s house overseas. Everything came crashing back to me as soon as my eyes connected with it’s little black ones. He had his father’s eyes and he still does, but I will not look in them.
I closed my eyes and my grip tightened around the basin. As soon as I looked into them, I panicked. Chase did everything to calm me and as much as I pleaded with him to let me leave it with those strangers, he wouldn’t let me.
Now I have a permanent fixer in my life of him. I could not hold it, I could not speak to it and I couldn’t, no I wouldn’t, look at it with the love Chase and Nick did. Not when it’s eyes only mirrored its fathers, not when every time I did, I was reminded of the longing for my mate.
I had hoped, I had prayed that he wouldn’t look like him. But it was all pointless and I feared the more he aged the more he would look like his father.
“Is?” I opened my eyes and saw Chase standing behind me, through the mirrors reflection. He took a step forward and placed both hands on my shoulders.
“We can just keep calling him Champ, it’s ok.” His smile was soft, “We know this isn’t easy for you.”
I inhaled slowly and nodded my head “It’s ok Chase. I’m sorry for snapping at you.” I steadied my hands and turned around to face him, his hands dropped from my shoulders. Looking up into his big eyes, “You choose his name.”
“I can’t Is.” He reached out and took my hand “You’re his mother. I don’t you want to be the one to do it, but you have to name him.”
“I won’t.” I spun around and pulled my hand from his in the process, “His name will be forever Champ then.”
“Ok Is.” Chase kissed the top of my head, “When you are ready.”
I didn’t look up in the mirror as I heard him walk back out of the room and then the soft closing of our bedroom door. Chase was a good friend and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here now.
My eyes drifted up into the mirror and as I stared into my own eyes. All I saw was a broken woman, with an empty soul. I knew that I had to deal with this better, but I didn’t know how.
“I’m going to see Serenity.” I said as I walked out of the hallway and did the last button up on my coat.
I finally left the bedroom for the first time since this morning. The boys were sitting on the couch, Nick had his legs up on the small coffee table and Chase was playing with it on his knees.
“We’ll come.” Chase smiled up at me, “Just let me get the pram.”
“You don’t have too.” I quickly replied and walked for the door.
“Actually, we don’t really need the pram do we Champ. Let’s go.” Chase got up from his seat quickly and walked towards me with it on his hips.
“Um, ok then.” I opened the front door “Do you want to come Nick?”
“If you don’t mind?” Nick turned sideways to look at me, “Then yes.” He jumped to his feet and shot me a smile as he walked through the front door.
Sighing I closed our small apartment door and began to walk down our small garden path, the boys were already standing on the foot path. It was only three blocks to Serenity’s, well to Ryan’s mothers.
“I wonder what Liam is up too.” Chase said out loud as we began to walk, I was in the middle.
I thought about my brother for a few moments, I missed him. I missed his laughter, his smile and well just him. I hadn’t seen him or spoken to him since my birthday.
“Who knows.” I finally muttered, “I wonder if Annabel finally got the baby she wanted.”
“Liam a father that’s funny.” Nick scoffed, “Though you seem to have taken to it well Chase.”
I kept my eyes ahead, as the boys playfully mocked each other, though it was true Chase was a wonderful father, though he didn’t call himself that.
“You mean Uncle. I have taken to being an Uncle well.” Chase corrected Nick, like he always did.
We all turned the corner and it was making funny voices as cars drove past. I glanced at it from the corner of my eye and of course it just has to be looking at me. As soon as our eyes locked for a split second, he was reaching his little hands out for me. You would think, since I have never held him nor touched him, he would get over this longing for me to carry him.
“I hope Serenity is home.” I muttered while taking a side step around Nick. So I no longer walked beside Chase and it. “I haven’t seen her all week.”
“I reckon she would be. Her and Ryan aren’t really the going out sort of people anymore.” Nick said lightly.
He had a point since, Serenity tracked Ryan, she won’t leave his side and he won’t let her either. They were making up for the time lost, while they were apart.
“I love being a nomad or a rogue, whatever you want to call it.” Chase said happily, while bouncing it on his hip.
“Why?” Nick asked.
“I don’t know. I just do.” Chase responded with a happy smile.
Turning the corner, Ryan’s mother’s house was coming into view. I didn’t know how Serenity and Ryan managed living with her after so many years of them living alone. Approaching there house, I walked up the small path and knocked lightly on the large wooden door.
It popped open and Ryan eyed us for a moment before opening the door widely.
“Hi Ryan.” I said up to him as I walked past him, nodding his head. He put his hands out for it. I didn’t take Ryan as the person to like children, but he had a thing for it.
“How’s Champ going?” Ryan said happily and took him from Chase’s arms.
“Apart from not letting Uncle Chase sleep, which I think is becoming a hobby of his.” Chase replied and I left them chatting as I walked in the direction of the lounge room.
“Isabella?” Serenity’s eyes snapped around to face me and I frowned at the panic in her eyes. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to visit?” I said, slightly unsure, as I walked towards the couch. “Is everything alright?”
“Um yep.” Serenity stood up quickly and then started searching frantically on the couch for something. Throwing pillows off the couch, in every direction.
“RYAN?” Serenity yelled as she kept searching for something and then cursed under her breath.
“Um why don’t we go into the kitchen?” She said looking me in the eye and her expression screamed she was guilty of something.
“Why?” I frowned at her, and glanced over my shoulders as the boys walked in.
“Has it started?” Ryan’s mother, Anne, walked into the room and I shot her a weak smile. I noticed how her eyes went wide as she stared at me.
“Anne, have you seen the remote?” Serenity quickly snapped at her, as she stood frozen in the doorframe. Everyone stared blankly at Serenity and her sudden need to find the remote.
“Look at this Champ, your auntie Serenity is losing her mind.” Chase sung with a humorous tone to it.
Church bells rang from the large LCD TV from behind her, and I took a side step to see what it was she was watching. Though she blocked my view as she matched my step, with wide eyes.
“Lets go to the kitchen?” She said before biting her lip “Um yep, lets go in there now.” She however didn’t move, like she was waiting for me to go there before her.
“What are you watching Serenity?” I narrowed my eyes at my sister as she looked nervously into my eyes.
“Nothing. Come on to the kitchen.” She shifted her weight from side to side.
But the ringing of church bells, caught my attention again and I quickly moved around the couch and looked at the TV. Frowning as I looked at the large church full of people on the TV, all were standing up to their feet.
“Isabella, trust me when I say, you do not want to see this.” Serenity panicked beside me and I dodged her arm as she attempted to pull me away.
The wedding march began to flow through the TV speakers and I watched as the camera zoomed into the bride as she walked down a massive church aisle. Her dress flowed out to each side and a large train followed behind her. Her face was shielded from the veil.
The camera slowly changed to a different angle and swooped up from behind the bride as she walked towards the alter. The angle showed the massive church filled of people, all eyes on the bride. Slowly the camera twisted and the broad strong back of a man in a tux jacket came into view. My legs slowly began weak and I slowly lowered myself to the couch behind me, and sat on the edge.
The cameras angle changed once more and focused in, as the man took the bride’s hand. Slowly the camera faded out and that was when I got a full look at Connor.
His face was wiped of emotion, but he did shoot his bride a small smile, an almost forced smile as he helped her up the alter step.
My eyes stayed glued to the screen as I watched it unfold. I felt every pair of eyes on me as I watched in hurt, as the man I loved led his bride to the centre of the alter. He was marrying her.
The camera’s twisted and focused on Connor, he looked the same. But I noticed the light darkness that surrounded his eyes. He was marrying her. I couldn’t stop repeating that thought through my mind, it was as if it was on a loop.
As they turned to face each other, I couldn’t stop myself from running my hand under my loose t-shirt and my fingers across my mark, his mark. He was mine, the mark was on my shoulder to prove it. I had attempted to avoid touching it at all cost, since my birthday.
The camera zoomed onto Connor’s face and I noticed how his eyes weren’t focused on his bride, instead they were glued on her shoulder. I glanced up at the top of the screen, a little ‘live’ flashed continually.
This was live. Right now, across the other side of the world, my mate was marrying another. Connor was taking a bride, a queen to his throne. Connor suddenly snapped his eyes back to Melissa’s hidden face from the veil.
“Is, I am so sorry, I didn’t know you were coming around.” Serenity sat down next to me on the couch and placed a hand on my knee.
“How did you know this was on?” My voice was close to a whisper as I kept my eyes on the screen.
“Um Anne’s Alpha passed the channel frequency onto everyone. There has been invitations and notices about the broadcast for weeks.” She answered beside me.
My breathing slowed as I watched, Tyler, Connor’s friend step forward and hand across the rings; which were then blessed.
As Connor began to say his vows, I felt my body arch and soak into the tone of his voice. It was a pity his words whipped across my heart and relit the dull flames of anger and hurt that remained, always lit in my core for him.
I let the shield that I held so firmly in place, slip down. It was a relief, like a headache disappearing as I let him in. My connection to him automatically filled my mind, it was as if the months that I had kept him blocked meant nothing.
“How could you?” My voice floated from inside my mind and into his. Anger, hurt and betrayal drove my need to reach out for him, for the first time in months.
I watched on the screen as his eyes went wide and shock wrapped around his expression. Melissa’s dull voice was floating from the speakers as she said her vows to him.
“Isabella?” Connor’s voice was like icy water as it crept into my mind. No one had entered my mind for so long, it felt as if it was unnatural; but Connor’s voice inside my head always felt like it belonged and that was what caused the pain through my chest.
“I know this is how it is meant to be, but yet I wish it wasn’t.” These were the only words I could respond back to him, these were the words I chose to swoop into his mind before I pulled my shield back up.
I was watching him wed another on a TV, I was watching as she promised to always be his. The camera slowly twisted and Connor’s face was brought to light. His eyes were coated with regret, and I knew that our sudden conversation had caused it.
As the church bells rang, Connor let go of Melissa’s hands as he reached for the end of her veil and slowly pulled it up. Standing on my feet, Connor’s and Melissa’s lips connected for a split second before he pulled away and as the church echoed with applause, it burnt my eardrums.
The camera changed angles once more and focused on King Griffin and Queen Griffin, I gulped as I took in the child that lay still in Queen Griffin’s arms; her granddaughter. You could tell by the way she held the infant with such love and protection.
I brushed the stray tear from my cheek before it fell any further. This was what was meant to happen. I knew that even though I pretended like Connor never existed; my mind would still be always connected with him. My love once for him was marked forever on his shoulder and his love for me on mine.
But yet, he walked down the aisle with her hand loosely threaded through his arm. Finally the screen began to fade to black and I watched the man I loved but could never be with, slowly fade into the screen.
“Is.” Serenity reached out for me, as she lowered the remote to the couch. I turned around to face all the worried faces.
My chest heaved up and down as I steadied my breathing and covered the hurt that flared through me. Slowly my eyes drifted to the infant that clung to Ryan’s side. His soft haunting, black little eyes slowly twisted to look at me.
His father’s eyes. I was to never escape him. Connor would always and forever be a part of my life because his living son would never let me forget him.
“His name can be Cooper.” I finally muttered and then tore my eyes away from the infant and walked from the room. The silence and surprise deafened my ears, as everyone remained still and in shock. Perhaps from watching me, witness my mate marry another or perhaps it was the first time that I actually acknowledge the infant. But I think their silence was due to the fact, that the infant now had a name.
I wiped the last tear from my cheek, after I closed their front door softly. I would not cry for him anymore, as much as my heart bled for him. I couldn’t.
She was watching.
She had to be watching, I glanced at the closest camera. She was alive, she was still breathing. I took a little comfort in that, I had to see her. I had to find her.
Melissa reached out for the child and I closed my eyes taking pleasure from Isabella’s lingering voice in my mind. Her words were coated with pain as they replayed in my mind and I longed to wipe her from it.
From the pain she was living in out there, but she was alive. She was alive. I would not stop my hunt for her. I would never give up searching for her.
Melissa’s light laughter caused my eyes to open once more. She had got the wedding she longed for and now I could return to the more important issue, finding my mate.
Melissa turned up to look at me and as more cameras flashed to take pictures of us, I kept her intense eye.
“She contacted you, didn’t she?” Melissa whispered up at me and I noted the tone of disgust in her voice. I remanded silent, I despised her and would not waste one word on her.
“Well at least, you now know. She won’t ever return. Not after knowing this.” Melissa said smugly up at me before walking away in her white gown with our child.
As I thought her words over, it was then I realized. That Isabella would never seek me or let me seek her; ever though I sent men out blindly looking for her.
Melissa and I were now wedded and if she had witnessed this, she would think I have given up on her; on us.
Without thinking I pushed past the well-wishers and slipped into the shadows of the large church. Falling down to the bench and placing my head in my hands. Isabella was lost, and it was my fault. I had lost her.
I knew then that the pain that was present in my everyday life would never go away. I would never be able to deal with the loss of her and knowing I may never see her again.
I let my body be consumed with the grief I had kept at bay. My hope was fading and I somehow knew that I would never find her, but that didn’t mean I would give up.