❝In my defense, the moon was full and I was left unsupervised.❞
“Hey, baby.” Xavier greeted me before I could even walk through the doors of the manor.
I frowned up at him, watching as he pressed a light kiss to my lips. He pulled away and gazed down at me with a small smile playing on his lips. Riley walked through the doors causing the both of us to move to the side as she closes them behind her.
“What?” he asked, his hands rubbing up and down my arms.
Sparks fluttered in the places his hands reached, “Nothing, it’s just that you called me baby.” I raise a brow at him.
He laughs, “What’s the matter with that? I can’t call you baby?” he questioned, clear amusement in his eyes.
“Considering the fact that I just turned eighteen today– a legal adult, um, you take a lucky guess.” I laugh incredulously at him, shaking my head.
I move to step around him, but he catches me and pulls my back against his chest, his face bent and lips grazing my ear.
“All right then, I won’t call you baby anymore, sweetheart,” he growled huskily.
I shivered, heat lighting up my body as I burn and yearn for him in ways I couldn’t imagine. The animal within me growled its approval at his tone and the way his body was flushed against me.
“Stop it, Xavier,” I whisper, clamping my hands down on his arms that were wrapped around my torso.
“Hmn.” he rumbles against my neck, his lips grazing his mark.
A violent shudder zips down my spine, making my toes curl at the exotic feeling, before I know what’s happening I’m lifted and turned upside down over his shoulder. I squeal in surprise, my hands smacking against his lower back to keep my face from smacking against his backside. I kick my legs, my heart beating fast from the sudden movements and jolts.
“Xavier!? What the hell?” I call out, his legs moving in a direction I couldn’t see.
“Not now, sweetheart, we have a party to go attend,” he says cheekily, and I can basically hear his smile.
“There is no need for this,” I growl, my chest rumbling with the sound.
A hard smack against my äss makes me release an unladylike squawk.
“Don’t be ungrateful,” he says, walking down a hall with me still over his shoulder. “I’m doing you a favor.”
“I’m not—” another smack in my rear causes me to kick my legs, the stinging pulsing on my skin and making my body flare with need.
I press my lips together, resting silently on his shoulder as he strode to wherever he was taking me, and I could practically see the smugness coming off him in vibrant waves. He comes to a stop, sliding me down his front, feeling every ridge and dent of his hard body. Once on my feet, I glare up at up, ready to tell him off but he shuts me up with a finger to my lips.
“Not now,” he says, smiling. “We’ll talk about this later, but right now, let’s have fun.”
Grabbing me by my shoulders, he whirls me around to face the group of people gathered around a table presenting me with smiles on their faces.
“Happy Birthday!” they all shout simultaneously.
My eyebrows shoot up in surprise as I soak in everything, Samantha, Stella, Dylan, Justin, and Riley were crowding a cake that held the number one and right candles; small presents pushed off to the side, it wasn’t much but it still made my heart swell.
Stella comes bounding towards me with a gentle smile, “Happy Birthday, girl.” she says, hugging me tightly.
“Thank you,” I look over her shoulder and back at her. “You guys didn’t have to do this.”
Her smile widens, “We wanted to, and we figured you might not celebrate considering your situation.”
I gaze back at Xavier over my shoulder and he shrugs at me, the half-smile never leaving his face. Staring for a little longer, I gave back towards the others, my expression soft and heart beating with warmth and content for the first in a while.
The hours pass with the dining room filled with joy-filled laughter and a light atmosphere and a half-eaten cake on the table, despite being away from one another, we all talked like we haven’t left each other’s side to deal with our own lives. Stella sat on Justin’s lap, folded into his embrace with a content look on her face, she leaned back and turned his face planting a peck on his lips; the sight was cute.
I turn my eyes away and stare down at the small box in my hand that I’ve been fiddling with for some time, snapping it open, I admire the chain with conflicted feelings.
“Ooo that’s a beautiful necklace,” I heard Stella say out loud, gesturing towards the item in my box. “Who gave it to you?”
I twirl the box in my palm, closing it shut. “My brother.”
Everything went silent, and it didn’t take a genius to guess they knew about the strained relationship between Mason and me.
“Can I see that?”
I side-glance at Samantha who was looking at the box with a face of wonder, her nostrils flaring slightly. Passing the box over towards her, she inspects it before slowly bringing it to her nose and inhaling deeply, I blanched in surprise and connected gazes with from across the table with Stella wondering if she was seeing this too.
“Uh. .what are you doing, Sam?”
She snaps out her small trance a red hue begins to color her cheeks as she keeps her gaze down at her lap while pressing her lips the side. “I don’t know. The scent surrounding the box . . smells. . .good for some reason.”
I peer at Samantha even after she hands me the box back, gauging her expression, but nothing shows besides the sound of her heart that drums a little faster than its original pace. From the side of her, Dylan was doing the same. The ringing of the doorbell shatters the silence that encased us as Dylan was the first to react.
“I’ll get it,” he announces, disappearing into the hallway. My ears twitch as I hear the door open and muffled voices drifted.
A moment later, Dylan comes to the archway and his gaze immediately finds me. “There’s someone here for me.” and from the tone of his voice, he was definitely confused about something.
Rising from my seat with a frown, I stride to where he waited, Xavier right behind me as we all walked to the front door where— in the blistering cold, waited my Mom as she nervously stood just outside the door but not stepping inside.
Our eyes clashed together and hers glistened with unshed tears, I walked closer suddenly worried that she was outside pregnant and in the cold.
“Mom? What are you doing here?” I step towards her, my hands finding her shoulders as I look around, the car parked a short distance from here.
“Where’s Dad?” I instantly ask, looking over her shoulder, the car in sight but no one else, my gaze returns back to her. “You shouldn’t be out in this cold, come inside—”
Her small yet firm response was enough for me to stop and gaze down at her, her cheeks and nose tinged red from the frigid air biting at them.
“I mean, not now, I need you to come home,” she spoke, still not looking at me.
I look over my shoulder to see both boys standing a little distance behind, pivoting back towards her my lips part in a protest but her hand gripping mine that still settled on her shoulder stopped me once more.
She stared hard into my eyes. “Please, Abigail.”
I eye her expression and can’t deny the desperation clearly evident in her eyes, I cut my gaze over to her hand see her fingers trembling along mine. With a sigh, I switch my attention back to Xavier and Dylan and splay on a guilt written expression.
“I’m sorry,” I mutter, “I didn’t want this night to end so early.”
Dylan gives me a gentle smile, “It’s fine, it seems urgent.”
Mom’s wary gaze meets Dylan and she lifts the corner of her lip in an attempt to smile. “I’m sorry for bargaining in like this, I just really need Abigail.”
Xavier chimed in, my sweater in his hand as he stepped outside with us both, coming to stand close beside me.
“Don’t worry, we all were going to wrap up everything anyway,” he informs, handing me my sweater and places his palm on my shoulder.
His lips graze across my cheek then shift towards my ear, “Call me when you get home.” Xavier whispers, backing away with a light kiss to the back of my ear.
Walking down the manor steps, I lead Mom to the car that was parked under the tree leaves, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder at Xavier still standing at the door, Dylan long gone. For some reason, I couldn’t tear my eyes away until we made it to the car.
“Do you mind driving?” Mom wonders.
I shake my head and take the keys from her, making my round to the driver’s side, my eyes once again find themselves to the door of the manor as I hop into the car connecting gazes with Xavier. Something deep inside me felt as if this will be the last time I see him. I didn’t like it but ignored it.
The drive was quiet, the tires treading slowly on the road was a soft him, occasionally going over bumps. My eyes flickered towards the rear-view mirror again, where in the back I could see two suitcases; glancing to my side, Mom was tense in her seat, her hand never stopping its circular motion on her bulging belly.
She hums, eyes shooting towards me then back to gaze outside the window.
“Why are there suitcases in the back?” I ask, keeping my eyes on the road.
The sun was setting, leaving the sky a pinkish color, and it briefly reminded me of the time we first arrived at MoonBrooke. The familiar street to our house came into view and just as I was about to signal to turn Mom’s hand shot out.
“Don’t. Keep going,” she said.
I frowned, looking over towards her. “Why? We’re almost ho—”
“Abigail, please, just listen to me for once.” her voice was pleading and her eyes were holding something back.
Staring for a second longer, I slam my foot on the gas and the SUV sped up and zipped past the house, continuing onward.
“Mom, what’s going on? Why are we driving past the house?” I ask, a bit fanatic, as the house drew farther away.
I side-glanced at her to see her nibbling on her bottom lip, a nervous habit.
“We have to get out of here,” she blurts, shaking her head. “I can’t do this anymore.”
My brows crease together, my eyes flickering back and forth from the road and to her. “What do you mean?”
“All of this, the wolves, you getting injured, your father keeping things for you and Mason! I can’t do this shít anymore!” her voice rises a notch as she leans down, rubbing her temples.
Exhaustion was clear in her demeanor and I could stop the pity an confusion from coming forth.
She sighs, “When I married your father or found out I was his mate I didn’t expect anything big to happen. I just wanted a family with my husband.” her voice cracked, “I just wanted a slight normal, not caring that fairy tale mystical creatures existed. It wasn’t my intention to keep things from you for so long, but your father insisted."
I listened with a blank mind, despite my heart that rocketed to a new height.
“He said he wanted to wait until you got your memories back, not knowing long that would take, he wanted to protect you from what haunts us.”
Shuffling drifted into my head and I peeked to see she faced my way, staring intensely at the side of my face.
“I’m scared.” she declared with a trembling voice and wet eyes, “I have been ever since that man rescued you all them years ago, I knew from that moment on nothing will ever be normal again.”
Dead silence encased us in a tight bubble, choking me, and making my thoughts burst back with vengeance bringing along a splitting headache at the new information. My chest rose with a deep inhale of breath, and feel as I breathe harshly out my mouth.
“I. . . I don’t know. . why?” was all I could say.
Mom’s head tilted to the side, away from me, tears flowing freely down her cheeks. I didn’t understand anything. But all that soon flew out the window when something in the distance came barrelling towards the car at high speed, as a reflex, my hands tighten on the steering wheel and my foot presses down on the brakes.
Tires screech, the shrill sound filling the dead silence in the air of the night, the back wheels of the car hit a pot in the road and the car began to spin; losing control. The steering wheel went from left to right, whipping us along the road as I caught for control, I gritted my teeth as I use enough energy to right the wheel. A flash of red crossed peripheral vision and a sudden force from the side of the car had it tilting and skidding off the side of the road, inlet go of the wheel and braces my hands against Mom’s body.
Trees grow in size as we drew closer at an alarming speed.