Chapter 2

I am jolted awake by the sounds of many footsteps hitting the cement floors. I push myself from the cold, hard ground and yawn. My body aches and my bones are chilled—it was like sleeping in a freezer, a dusty, potent freezer meant to hold dead bodies. This entire building feels like a death chamber.

I glance at the other girl in the cell; she seems to be still sleeping.

My hands run down my face, and when I look at my palms, there are thin streaks of dirt on them. I am thirsty. My mouth is like a desert that has not seen rain in years. I wonder what grandmother is doing, what she is thinking, if she is panicking—hopefully, she does not have a heart attack. I just need to get back to her.

The footsteps grow louder until the man from yesterday stops in front of the bars of the cell. A glare hardens on my face as he opens the door and motions for me to go with him. It would not be smart of me to refuse. I glance back at the girl. I do not want to leave her, but I will find a way to get her out too. I struggle to my feet with a sore back and trudge towards the man. He shuts and locks the door after I am out.

"Do I have to drag you, or can you obediently follow? Well, if you tried to run, I would have to kill you," he says. I nervously nod my head and follow him out of the brick building. When the sun hits me I am blinded, my eyes burning from the sudden light. I rub them until it does not sting to have them open. "This way," the man orders.

I trail behind him as we walk from the brick building and towards the houses in the distance. The closer we get, the more I study them. There are about three houses in a row with more farther in the distance. The three homes are vast, but the one in the middle is mesmerizing. It is white on the outside with accents of gray stone. We hurry to the front steps, and I feel a little on edge when the man knocks on the two grand, white doors.

It does not take long before a young, handsome guy opens one of them.

"What ya got, Andrew?" He asks the man excited, just from this small encounter I can tell he is an overall happy person.

All of the sudden, a dog of some breed comes running out the door and straight towards me. I have never seen a dog in person before.

"Bruiser! Get back here!"

I immediately crouch down and start to pet the sweet thing. I have always wanted a dog, but grandma said if I can barely take care of myself, I cannot take care of an animal, though I was a child when she told me that. "Hey there, aren't you just a big sweetheart," I coo at the slobbering dog, his stubby tail wagging like crazy. He jumps up at me, placing his paws on my shoulders and starts to lick my face. I let out a giggle, returning to some other version of myself who still wishes for pets. "You're silly, aren't you?"

I peer up at the two people, and their expressions are full of surprise. I pat the dog on his head and stand up, remembering my position.

"Um, okay, come on in, he's in his office," the guy at the door welcomes us and the man, whose name is Andrew, leads me into the house.

Andrew grabs my arm and pulls me down a long hallway. Portraits hang in between the windows that have silky curtains framing them, like white waterfalls, they pool on the wooden floor. As we venture further into the lovely looking house, my heart starts to beat faster, as if something is calling me to come closer.

All I want is to get back home to grandmother so I can get on my knees and beg for forgiveness. I miss her terribly, and I bet she is panicking like a child that cannot find their mother.

We near two large, gray doors, and I can tell that whatever is behind them is the thing calling me, whispering for me to burst through. An irresistible aroma floods the air; it is woodsy, fresh, and very masculine. I never want not to smell it as the particular scent has my knees wobbling. I start to breathe heavy as the temperature in this house begins to rise. What's happening? I ask my wolf, in need of an explanation.

I-I don't know. She sounds different; she is being affected by this hypnotic trance also.

We reach the doors, and my wolf is utterly restless, not being able to calm down. Andrew chooses one of the two, knocks on it, and seconds later I hear a low "come in."

My heart thumps hard.

Andrew slowly pushes the door open, and it takes a second but feels like an hour-long ordeal. My eyes dart into the room. Bookshelves line two opposite walls, and they are filled with hundreds of books. The walls are a dark gray, and the floor is a dark, clean wood. There are two comfortable looking seats placed in front of a grand, wood desk.

Sitting behind the desk is a man.

He has deep brown hair neatly on his head, and it suits him well. Even though he is sitting down, I can tell he is well built. The strangers fierce, dark green eyes glide up from the papers scattered about the desk as soon as I step in. I suck in a breath and stare at his addictive, handsome face. It is unreal, inconceivable—this creature set before me is something I could not fathom even in my limitless imagination. The scent took over my brain the second the door opened, and now I feel the intense need it to breathe. His gaze burns through me, and unlike any time before, I worry about how I look, dust and dirt from the cell cover my face, and I must look monstrous. His eyes roam my body, making me feel naked. He must be the Alpha. Does he have this effect on everyone?

"I brought the rogue," Andrew says, reminding me of where I am.

I do not realize I am holding my breath until the man behind the desk stands up, making me release it all. The stranger is like a mighty statue of a warrior from long ago—like the man beside me—intimidating me so easily. My body slightly shakes under his harsh gaze, my knees growing weak and my palms clammy. I force myself to look away, averting my eyes to my feet as I cannot look at him any longer without realizing the truth.

"Very well, you can leave." His voice sends a shiver down my spine, and the hairs stand up on my arms. On the inside, I cannot help but hope the order was for me, but it was not. Andrew's footsteps flee the room, and the sound of the door closing taunts me, but my gaze stays strictly glued to the floor.

"Look up."

This time his voice sounds smoother, like a melody in my ears.

"Look at me."

My breath hitches in my throat as he steps closer to me. I cannot bear to look at him. I cannot admit to the inevitable effect he has on me.

"I said look up," he repeats, sounding more serious like I am a child and he is scolding me. I start to panic.

"Please, I didn't k-know that I crossed on your...territory, I don't even know what's happening," I ramble. Where is my wolf when I need her?

Suddenly, his hand grips my jaw and brings my eyes to connect with his. My heart jumps from the electric feeling of his skin on mine, as I am obedient in his arms. Mate... Mate! His hand slowly slides from my jaw to the back of my neck, and I study his emerald green eyes, the eyes of my mate. I have found him, the person that grandmother has told me so much about, the person that is supposed to matter so much. I cannot control it, the sudden need to be with him. He is a stranger, yet I have an abrupt need to please him.

"What is your name?" He asks quietly, not moving his hand while the other continues to rest on my back. I cannot focus, his touch is distracting.

"Evangeline," I breathe out, unsure of my answer. "I'm so sorry for what I did, but I have to go," I say and glance away from his handsome face, landing my eyes on the wall. Maybe if I do not look at him, I will gain back the ability to speak properly. My mind is torn, part of me never wants to leave his arms, and the other knows I have to return home swiftly.

"Who put you in the cell?" He asks, not fazed by my words.

"I don't know."

"You do," he corrects me.

"I don't know his name."

The Alpha moves my eyes in the right direction again. "Tell me, Evangeline."

Again, I refuse to answer. Andrew did indeed lock me in a cell, forcing me to lay in the dirt, but I will not turn him in. Something tells me he would be punished. "Why do you need to know who? They couldn't have known."

"Nothing will happen to them," he assures me, though I have my doubts.

"If I tell you, I can go?" The Alpha, my mate, nods. "Okay, it was Andrew but—"

"Marina," he calls out. It only takes a few seconds for the doors to open, revealing a short woman with caramel colored hair. She has an apron wrapped around her body and white tennis shoes, ones that older women tend to wear, which is understandable. Her skin is tan and glowing.

"Yes, Alpha?" She asks, quick.

"Take Evangeline and get her cleaned up," he says to her. Hearing him say my name makes lips part, never has it sounded so beautiful, so desirable. Before I know it I am being led out of the room by the woman, Marina. When I climb out of the trance, my mate placed me in. My eyes grow wide. "Wait. I have to go," I tell her.

She turns around with a soft, welcoming smile. "Come on honey, let's get you cleaned up."


"Come," she links my arm with hers and leads me down a hall, then unexpectedly, to a room upstairs. The room is at the end of the long hallway, guarded by two large doors. She pushes one open and pulls me in gently, and I do not plan on fighting her. My head spins when I enter the dark room, as his scent is everywhere, everything seems to hold it. In the center of it all is a bed, a bed with silky sheets peeking out from the side. My face flushes all possible shades of red. I tear my eyes away, and they land on a doorway which connects a bathroom. Marina is inside, folding fluffy, white towels and resting them on the edge of the substantial tub. Beside the bathtub is a modern, dark brown tiled shower. Everything is dark.

"I'll leave you to shower, and I'll grab some clothes from Fiona. They will be on the bed when you are done." Before leaving, she smiles again, almost excitedly. I nervously smile back.

I hear the door shut and I know I am alone.

Surely she cannot expect me to shower in a bathroom that does not belong to me, or anyone I know. This is all so bizarre, but knowing my mate is down the steps, so close, makes me feel less uncomfortable. He said I could go home, he said it to my face, but the bond between us has blinded me.

Maybe he meant after I get cleaned up? Oh gosh, I just want to be at home in my own bed, wrapped up like an infant. This has been the most insane, most unbelievable day of my life. Why did the creek possess me, as if it grabbed onto my feet and used me like a puppet? He is why I felt so attached to the idea of crossing, and I know that now, but look where the action has gotten me. I have found my mate.

Hesitantly, I take off my filthy clothes after checking to make sure the door is locked. Never have I felt so bare.

Under the water's current, my mind continues to question and conjure. The Alpha, the stranger, my mate, he can play me like a violin and part of me would not see the wrong in it. Something about him has me addicted, hooked on by his every word, move, breath—like he has cast a spell over me. Never have I been so undecided. Of course, I cannot help but think about abandoning my old life, leaving it all behind to be with someone made for me. A mate, oh, how sweet the possibilities sound. Then there is the other half of me, the half that worries for my grandmother. What if she has gone out looking for me, what if she accidentally crosses the land as I did? They cannot put a fragile, old lady in a grimy, noxious cage as they did to me.

The warmth of the water leaves me.

Stepping out, I grab one of the towels and cover myself. Marina told me the clothes would be on the bed, so I look out into the bedroom and thankfully find the pile there. The bedroom door is closed, so I venture out and quickly change. Still feeling somewhat bare—though the borrowed clothing overs me—I grab a robe from the bathroom and wrap it around myself.

Staring into the mirror above the counter, I sigh. Anxiety caused by all this is keeping me from leaving the room. What if he is out there? What if he tells me that I can never go home? I cannot stay in here and curse myself continuously for wandering over the stream and throwing myself into this mess. Wishing it never happened will not get me out of this situation. My mate, gosh his he intimidating, just his eyes have me begging for mercy. There is not enough courage inside of me to stand up to a man like him, and that is not even acknowledging that he is an Alpha. "How could you do this?"

"What have I done?" She softly asks, though, she knows what, I am sure of it.

Glancing to the side, I see her looking at me with the same eyes that she always has, even since I was a child. Every time I peer into them, they bring me back, reminding me of times not so pleasant before my grandmother took me in. "Why now?"

"The choice was yours."

"It hardly was, not with all the feelings poking at me to cross over. You know that I barely had a choice. Now, look where I am. How do I get back home?"

The moon goddess says only, "Evangeline, you are home. Finally, a place where you can be accepted."

I swallow. "My parents couldn't accept me. What makes you believe this man you have set me with will? Because he is my mate? It doesn't make sense. My own mother kept me hidden, so why should he listen—believe me?"

I was a child, watching the other pups playing, laughing, crying, shouting outside. I watched from the attic window alone, as I was often by myself. They would tell me that the attic was a safe place, a place where no one could hurt me, yet there I was more hurt than ever. As a child, I felt abandoned, left in a room and forgotten about by the two people who are supposed to love me the most. They never saw me as their child after I told my mother, only a secret to be hidden and kept from the world, but for what? What was the point in keeping me alive if I could not live?

I stayed in the attic, pretending I was normal, pretending that I was the child they longed for. I had no one but the moon goddess to talk to, to play with. My mother set up a bed and dresser for me, even a toy box with dolls and such. Though I often did not want to play with toys, but the other children in our pack. As I watched them from the window, I would imagine myself there with them, wrestling, learning, embracing childhood as a werewolf, something unique. I guess I was too unique.

I did not know that no one else can see her, talk with her. I thought it was normal.

You are strong, my wolf tells me, coming out from her corner.

I nod my head and turn towards the bedroom doors.

I peek into the hallway and see no one. After taking a calming breath, I quietly sneak down the hall until I reach the same stairs Marina lead me up. Once at the bottom, I hear voices.

"He did, I saw her when she first came in."

"Well, what does she look like?"

"She's a pretty girl, but she seems a little off. I don't know, not normal."

Are they talking about me?

Before I can listen any longer, the voices grow to close; they are coming around the corner. Immediately I head off in the opposite direction, away from the staircase, but I am not fast enough. "Hey, it's you," the familiar voice calls out to me, and when I reluctantly turn around I see the boy who opened the door, the one standing there when the dog ran out. "Where were you going?" He asks.

"Um, I'm not sure."

Another guy is standing beside him, watching me.

"You're my brothers' mate."

The boy is the Alpha's brother. I did not think about my mate having a family before, though the idea of it is quite evident. He must have parents, and a brother is normal, I suppose. The boy does not look much like the Alpha though. "Yes, I am."

"I was just on my way to get you. My brother wants to see you," he tells me. "I'm Henry."


He nods, and the boy beside him drifts away without saying a word. Henry glances at him, then back to me. "I'll take you to him."

Deciding to take a risk, I catch his attention. "Wait, I have to get back to my grandmother. She doesn't know where I am. Your brother, the Alpha, said I could go."

"My brother said you could leave?"

"Well, yes. We made a deal," I explain. "Now can you point me in the direction of the door, oh, and the stream also if you can."

Henry does not seem convinced. "You better talk to him about it. He just told me to go check on you, take you down if you're ready."

I hold my breath.

"Alright. Fine. Take me to him."

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