❝The trouble is, you think you have time.❞
Fifteen minutes later, in between with me pacing around the house and tending to London, the doorbell rang sending my body into overdrive. I cross the room to the window and peep out to see Noah, Samantha, Stella, and Susan standing at the door, staring ahead; relief rushes through my veins as I move away from the curtains and towards the door.
“Hey,” I greet them when I open the door.
They all snap their heads towards me and instantly I could identify the pity in their eyes, I didn’t want to be pitied, it only reminds me of what I failed to do.
“Hey, Abigail,” Sam greets back first, her eyes sad for me.
I present a weak smile and open the door farther while moving to the side. “Come in, it’s nice and warm then standing out there.”
With muttered thanks, they all file inside before I shut and lock the door behind them, their steps were hesitant and slow as they moved into the living room; taking seats and looking awkward. Stella was standing by the wall when I walked in and suddenly threw her arms around me, hugging me tightly.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispers, her voice cracking as if she was about to cry. “It’s going to be okay though, we’re here for you.”
She locked her hands around my neck and just held me, patting my back, the gesture was unexpected and left me frozen but soon I hugged her back, shutting my eyes when I felt the burning sensation in my nose as the tears crawled forward.
“Yeah. . . I know.”
Samantha lingered behind when Stella pulled away, her eyes soft as she took Stella’s place and hugged me tightly, rocking me slightly. She didn’t need to say anything, her actions speaking louder. After pulling away, we move to the couches, Stella and Samantha sitting on the three-seater sofa with Susan while I sat in the love seat across from the with Noah sitting in a single cushion chair.
“Do you guys know what’s going on?” I ask, breaking the silence and steering the darken atmosphere into something different.
Stella sighs, “It’s exactly what you heard, rogues are breaching the borders out of nowhere and basically every warrior are on the situation,” she explains, “Everyone was told to stay in the house but right now I’m worried about Justin.”
“I’m sure he’s fine,” Sam tells her, patting her hand. “They’ll be back in no time, and we all will be fine until they return.”
If only she knew how bad her words will backfire.
“He is so cute,” Stella gushed, grabbing London’s finger and wiggling it when his smaller ones closed around it.
I smile as Samantha and Stella coo over London to pass by time and get there mind off the threat that swarms outside, I set the tray of drinks and a few snacks on the coffee table before turning to Noah who’s been quite the whole time.
I move over towards him, his attention turning away from his lap and to me.
“You okay?” I ask.
He nods, “I’m just worried about my sister and Mom.”
I frown, “You didn’t have to come here if you wanted to, you could have stayed home, just having Sam and Stella would have—”
“No! It’s fine,” he chuckles lightly, “I actually offered to come, I did promise to protect you after the, um, incident months ago.”
A gentle smile spreads across my lips, in truth having him here set my nerves a bit at ease and my mind on a different track than worrying about what’s going on outside.
“I appreciate that,” I say, causing his eyes to widen by a fraction. “Thank you.”
He stares at me a little longer before turning his head away, mumbling something incoherent, I didn’t miss the red tint that dusted his pale cheeks.
“So,” Stella speaks up, shifting her eyes away from London to Susan who was sitting quite and a hit startled when her name was called out. “I hear your Abigail’s brother’s mate?”
Her head bobs, red curls swaying in her face before she moved them back.
“How did you meet?”
She licks her lips before speaking. “He was assigned to my pack and help out with our warriors, I was bringing refreshments to the men after their training and that’s when we met,” she finished with flushed cheeks.
“Awh,” Stella coos, and Sam gives a small smile that looks forced. “What do you guys plan to do later on down the road?”
“After everything is over with and settled, we decided to get our lives on track.”
Sam suddenly shoots up from her spot on the couch, all eyes turning to her, eyes glaring at a distance over our heads. Stella follows her gaze and turns back to her with a frown.
“Are you okay?” she asks, rocking London.
Sam’s eyes cut over towards me while she nods, gaze flickering to Susan and back to me.
“I’m fine, I just need a bit of fresh air,” she responds. “Abigail, can I talk to you in the kitchen?”
My brows drift downward but I still nod, standing to my feet and following her back with a backward look at Stella who shrugs.
“You okay?” I ask once we moved to the far back of the kitchen, “You’re acting weird.”
Her hands wave in front of her face in a dismissive manner, ignoring my question, “You remember on your birthday when you brought that necklace to the packhouse?”
“Yes, I just have gotten it from Mason,” I say, fiddling with the chain.
“Okay! Remember how I was sniffing it then saying there was a smell to it?”
I chuckle uneasily. “Yeah, and you were acting weird then. What going on, Sam?”
She was staring off into space again, a smile slowly making its way to her lips before her brown eyes collide with mine.
“It’s so clear now, the smell from before and the smell coming off of Susan is making sense,” she tells me, running both her hands through her hand, cupping her cheeks.
“I think I found my mate.”
My eyebrows raise and my expression seems to make her smile grow. “What? Who?”
“I’m not sure but I think it’s—”
A sharp, piercing scream shatters the air, echoing from outside into the house. We both freeze, Sam’s sentence falling away as the air still and my skin tingles with awareness, hair standing tall.
“Who the hell was that?”
Sam shrugs before I maneuver around her and barrel back into the living room, everyone standing with stiff limbs, Susan looked white as a sheet, her limbs beginning to shake and Stella held London protectively to her chest.
“Where did that come from?” I ask, slowly moving towards the window.
“From the front,” Noah answers, “Outside.”
I move one side of the curtains to the side and stare out into the yard, and there ran an aimlessly scared brunette who was none other than Courtney from school; she was battered, bruised, and bloody. Tears streamed down her face as she stumbled through the snow, jerking her head left from right, searching for a soul that could help her.
“Somebody helps me!!” she screams, the wind answering her with silence.
I step back from the curtains and whirl around to face the others.
“Stella take London upstairs and stay there with him, Sam go with her until I say you can come back down.”
Sam frowns, “What are you about to—”
“Just go!” I exclaim.
They both immediately jump into action, Stella collecting London’s things while being ushered up the stairs by Sam. I turn to look towards Noah but notice Susan’s blank stare, I move farther into the room, worried.
“Susan, what’s wrong?”
“He’s in trouble,” she whispers, hands quivering, fingers twitching.
“Mason.” And that’s all she uttered before she darted to the kitchen, the distant sound of the back door slamming against the wall behind it.
I jerk into motion, rushing to standing in the middle of the room where the view of the back door is in sight, I watch as she grows smaller with the distance, disappearing into the woods.
“Where the fück is she going?” I mumble, turning back to the only one in the room.
Noah shakes his head and snaps his attention to the front door where Charlotte screams once again, blowing a breath, I start to walk towards the entrance stopping when Noah began to follow me.
“Stay inside the house,” I say, looking over my shoulder.
He shakes his head. “I made a promise and I intend to keep it.”
Pursing my lips, I know there’s nothing I could say with the look of determination in his eyes. I look into his eyes, impressed that they never stray from mine, soon I’m nodding and swinging the front door open. The cold air blasts me in the face, my eyes squinting when they begin to water from the sudden air, the sound of the door catches Courtney’s attention as she turns her wide eyes to me.
She runs full speed towards me and I meet her halfway, with running straight into my arms. Her nails dig into the skin of my arm, her wild eyes staring deeply into mine.
“It’s not safe!” she shakes me, breathing heavy. “It’s not safe out here, they made it past the borders, and it’s more than just rogues—goddess help me.”
“Breathe,” I instruct her, “You’re okay now, go inside the house and wait there, okay?” I say.
She nods, licking her chapped lips and nods again as she wraps her arms around herself and she moves around my body and is met at the bottom of the steps by Noah as she guides her inside. My eyes scan up and down the street, the beast inside me, growling and snarling at something that’s not even there but I feel the atmosphere shift.
It turned dark and began to cast the area in a spine-chilling air that sends shivers down my spine, the trees rustle and brush against each other, making me jumpy and dart my eyes at every sound.
A faint whooshing sound sliced through the air, everything happening so fast, and before I knew it I was pushed from behind with a force that sends me rolling in the snow. I push myself up by my hands, groaning when small aches in my body begin to make their presence known.
I turn on my back, my blurry vision straightening to a horrifying sight before me.
“No,” I whisper, scrambling to my knees, “No, no, no, no, please god NO!”
Noah’s eyes stare down at his chest, shocked and equally horrified with a growing fear in his eyes, sticking out from his chest: an arrow pierced from behind and shows from the front. One of his hands comes up and hovers beneath it, twitching as his gaze slowly looks from the arrow and to me.
He sways on his feet, before toppling backward.
I lurch to my feet, rushing to his side and easing him down to the ground. Tears immediately begin to fill my eyes as he lays in my lap, struggling to breathe, looking up into my eyes. My heart beats fast as those warm brown eyes fill with their own tears, a couple slipping down into his sideburns.
“It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay. . .” I look over the wound, the arrow a straight shot through his heart.
I bite my lip to keep in the sobs that crawled up my throat and desperately wished to be released. I press my hand to his pale cheek, coldness already beginning to seep in. His eyes flutter at the action, lashes soaked with his own tears, he lifts a hand to grip my wrist.
“I. . .I d. .don’t want t. .to die,” his voice trembles, a cough surging up his chest and racking his body, blood pooling into his mouth and slipping over. “I have s. .so much to d. .do.”
My heart clenches at his words, the blood in my veins being replaced with cold hard fear. “You’re not because it’s going to be okay, you’re not going anywhere,” I mutter softly. “SAM! COME OUT HERE!”
“Shït!” I breathe out, crystals gliding down my cheeks as water.
His breathing begins to pick up, Noah’s chest rising and falling rapidly, eyes widening as he looks beyond, the color from his eyes begins to drain and my tears begin to fall faster. The briefness of smiles splays along his lips.
“I. . kept m. .my promise.” an airy chuckle escapes him, the last of the air in his lungs wasted on that action, the dark brown that once darken his eyes fading away.
For the second time, I’m staring into dull lifeless eyes, a brightness that once glowed within them, shying away from my gaze, shining when I have them a compliment; now gone. A good soul lost to the harshness of a feud.