Though I have not seen my mother in a decade, we now have something in common. Paranoia. The constant feeling of eyes on me is driving me to near madness. I am now doing things differently than I naturally would, reacting in other ways because the intense fear that he is watching me is always on my mind. Before I make a decision, something as simple as taking a sip of water, he pops into my head. Do I want to drink this in front of him?
Marina has noticed this in the morning. She stares at me as I reluctantly eat breakfast. My eyes will glance out the window every few minutes before I take another slow bite. She has asked me if something is wrong, but I tell her no. The only places that I can find privacy are in rooms with no windows, or if the curtains or pulled closed. I can no longer fall asleep with the windows open either, even with Sebastian beside me. I worry that he will slip through and steal me away in the middle of the night.
It is hard to fear someone you have never seen before. My dreams of being chased have continued, and I am convinced that the beast is him. A blood-lusting, thunderous-growling monster, is his form in my head. I wonder if my mother has dreams about him, though hers must be different, more real and lifelike. Part of me dreams of changing his mind, convincing him that I am no demon, no witch that is thirsty for power. My hopes for this died once Sebastian came back from the searches and told me that a guard had spotted something lurking between the trees. The guard explained that it was watching him, stalking him with intense eyes. Sebastian only told me this because I begged him to let me know if anything happens, as I knew he would not want me to worry, to feel unsafe.
The guard chased after it until the watcher disappeared. The thing moved in a way that disoriented him, dragging him far from the group and into the dense forest, further into the unclaimed land. Sebastian told me that the unclaimed land is areas that belong to no packs, land free for rogues to roam. Grandmother and I lived on unclaimed land. Right after learning about the dangers of unclaimed land for a werewolf like her, I panicked and wanted to force her over. It was safer when she lived with grandfather, as they had each other to protect themselves, but now that she is aged and alone, dirty rogues can take advantage of her. I have also decided to call the bad rogues dirty rogues, as I believe they can clean up their act and become good. It makes me feel better about their situation.
This morning I find myself taking a few bites of breakfast only to look back out the window. My eyes scan the foliage, searching for others staring back at me. I have never caught anything, but that has not stopped me.
I begin to hear Marina's voice in the background, and another's, but I do not pay enough attention to unveil them. My eyes stare at the undergrowth as it seems to sway back and forth. Could be the wind, could be something peering through the dense leaves. My eyes study each gap, searching for the pair of eyes, searching for someth—
I jump in my spot as my heart jolts in my chest. Looking up, I see Sebastian standing in front of me. I take a deep breath and run a hand through my hair. "You scared me."
"What are you looking at?" He questions and scans the trees himself.
"She's been looking out that window every morning," Marina confesses for me. I gaze up at her with pleading eyes, not wanting Sebastian to worry about me, or think I am even more insane than before.
"You have?" Sebastian focuses in on me, making me shrink. "Why?"
"I just look out the window. The scenery is beautiful in the morning," I lie, though I do enjoy the scenery. The birds' songs sound much more magical after the sun rises and the day is just beginning.
Sebastian does not seem very convinced, but I did not expect him to be. "Fiona, she wants to meet you."
"Fiona, Andrews mate? The girl who let me borrow her clothes?"
"Yes. I thought I could bring you over. Distract yourself for a bit, no more staring out windows," Sebastian says.
Distract myself. That sounds nice. I can no longer escape from the pesky thoughts in my sleep so a friend should do me good. I cannot keep bothering Henry whenever I want to chat about nonsense anyway.
Fiona, I hope she is kind, I hope she does not mind that I borrowed her clothes when I first got here. Though, I doubt Fiona would only want to meet me so she can yell about how she despises sharing. I have never had a friend that is a girl, besides the moon goddess, but I do not label her as a friend. The moon goddess is more of a mother figure to me. Henry is the only friend that I have had that is a boy, which seems quite sad now that I think about it. A life in hiding is a life alone, I suppose.
I should take advantage of this moment, enjoy making a new friend. My younger self would have conquered this opportunity with excitement and strive, determined to live life to the fullest. My younger self-imagined herself playing and laughing with the other kids, watching down from the attic window with tears in her eyes. I have to do this for her.
"Sebastian," I grab his attention as I follow him along, "I was looking for him, in the forest."
"I know you were."
"Then why did you ask?"
"I was hoping you'd say something different."
I grab his arm, halting our movements for a moment. His eyes fall to the connection before looking into mine. "I did say something different."
"Yes, but you're not a very good liar."
I let go of his arm, missing the feeling of his skin against mine. The mate bond is sure to leave a longing in my heart. "I don't want you to worry."
"Evangeline," he says my name, toying with my emotions, "you believe a man is going to come and kill you."
"Because he might."
"You are frustrating," he exhales.
This time he stops me from moving ahead. "Because I could surround you with ways of protection and you will still feel unsafe, still jump every time that Alpha is mentioned."
"Because it is my fear, you cannot protect me from my fears," I dramatically say.
The rest of the way is silent, not a word spoken by either of us until Sebastian brings me up to the house. He tells me that he will be back later after knocking firmly on the door. A girl opens it, maybe a year or two older than me. Fiona, I am assuming, reminds me of the dolls I used to play with. Her smile is sweet and inviting, her hair is jet black and filled with shiny, large curls, and her entire aroma makes you want to please her. I look up at her with admiration, wanting to know how she makes everything seem dandy. "You must be Evangeline," her voice is something of an angel's, a voice you would want to sing lullabies, rocking you to sleep.
"Um, yes," I awkwardly spit out. I thought this was going to be easy, a walk in the park. How am I supposed to make friends with a perfect girl like her if I suddenly cannot remember my name? "Fiona?" I ask, hoping that the person in front of me is not Fiona so that I can get another chance.
"Of course," she says following with a toothy smile, all her teeth being straight and white. "Please come in, I'm so happy you're here. You're so pretty."
Am I pretty? If I am pretty she is something above gorgeous. Next to her I probably resemble a troll, preferably one from under a bridge. I look back at Sebastian, wanting to know if he indeed sees Fiona as well. He seems to be.
"I'll be back to get you later unless you two end up at the house somehow," he tells me again, but this time I abruptly grab his hand, not wanting him to go. This feels all too familiar.
He gives me a questioning look.
"I'll give you two a moment to say goodbye," Fiona blushes and politely closes the door.
"What's wrong, Evangeline?" He asks, and I do not let go of his hand.
My breaths quicken as the memories come back to me, though I am not sure why they are affecting me now. Sebastian has left me before this, leaving the house for the searches, for Alpha duties, but for some reason this time it is different. "Where are you going?"
"To the west border," he tells me briefly. "Are you alright?"
"When will you get me—what time?"
"Probably in a few hours, maybe more. Just get to know Fiona, have fun, and I'll be back."
Sebastian makes a move to walk away, but my grip on him tightens, not letting him go.
It is all coming to me: Her eyes gaze up at mine, the lovely chocolate color that usually brings a smile to my face, but this time I could not smile. I latch onto her arm tightly, with all the strength I have. "Sweetheart, we'll be back in a few days okay? Grandma will take care of you until then."
"I don't know Grandma," I mumble.
"Well, you can get to know her, she can play dolls with you," my mother strokes my cheek, wiping the stray tears from them. "Don't cry. Daddy and I are coming back."
I could see the pain in her eyes. "Please don't go. Why can't I stay with you?"
"The pack isn't safe right now. Once things clear up from the attack, I'll be knocking on the door, alright?"
I shake my head, gripping onto her tightly. "Don't leave me." The tears continue to fall down my cheeks, only to have more follow behind. "Please don't go."
"I'm sorry, sweetheart," She whispers while pulling her arm from my grasp. "Daddy and I will be back, we'll be back," she calls to me as she hurries to my father in the distance. My grandmother holds onto my shoulders, stopping me from chasing after her. I sob, and I sob, and I sob.
"Mom!" I shout at the trees. "Mom!"
"Evangeline?" Sebastian's voice caresses me. "Are you crying?"
Suddenly my hand shoots up to my cheeks, and I fiercely wipe the tears off my face. "No, I mean—no I just," I struggle to come up with the right thing to say. Turning away from him, I curse myself and fan my eyes with my hands.
Sebastian grabs me and turns me back around, back facing him. "What happened? What did I say?" The concern is evident on his face, and I hate myself for making him feel this way.
"You didn't do anything, I-I just—I don't know."
"Calm down," he tells me until some sort of realization comes to his eyes. He places his hands on either side of me, forcing me to look up at his handsome face. "I'm coming back. I'm coming back, okay? I'll be at the west border," Sebastian points in the direction, "I'll be just over there. If you need me, tell Fiona, and she will take you to me."
"You know what, just step outside, scream my name, and I will come running. I'm not going anywhere."
I take few deep breaths, trusting Sebastian, trusting that I will see him again. "Okay, okay. Can I have a hug?"
Sebastian does not think twice before wrapping his arms around me. I take in his scent greedily and finally find myself relaxing. "If you need me—"
"I'll scream," I interrupt as we pull apart. At this moment I feel close to him, I feel our bond strengthening, and it is a good feeling. "Thank you."
I watch Sebastian walk away for a few seconds before slowly opening the door and peeking inside. "Fiona?" I call into the house.
"Right here," she pulls my gaze to the side, and I see her sitting in a small living room. "You two are so cute. Please, come in."
Once inside Fiona offers me water and a snack, which I kindly refuse, so she leads me towards the living room. I sit down on a couch while she takes a chair across from me. Trying to act proper, I place my hands neatly on my lap.
"So I heard about how you and Sebastian met, Andrew told me the story. You are so brave for saving those rogues like that."
She must not know that they were dirty rogues. "Oh, it was a spur of the moment kind of thing. I didn't know much about packs and how they work, but thank you."
"You were a rogue?"
"Sort of. I lived with my grandmother, but before that, I belonged to a pack. How did you and Andrew meet?"
A smile lights up her face. "Well, back before I met Andrew I was a bit of a party girl. Oh my gosh, my friends and I used to drive all the way to the closest city and see what we could get ourselves into. One night, we were walking down the street and across the road Andrew was walking the opposite way. I felt it, you know the pull, his scent, and I knew he was my mate. I was so excited and taken by him that I stupidly stepped out into the road and almost got hit by a car. I don't know why, but for some reason, I thought that the world had suddenly stopped spinning for me. Andrew saw all this, obviously going through the feelings too, and he ran across the road, dodging cars to make sure I was okay."
I watch her as she begins to fill with color, probably thinking back to the exact moment, remembering everything she felt. "Right when I looked up at his face, I knew he was going to be the end of me. He changed me for the better, making me into the person I am today. I don't know where I would be without him. But I'm sure you know how it is. Sebastian, he looks at you with such adoration."
"Really?" I let a small smile curve from my lips and a light blush coat my cheeks.
"Oh, it is as clear as day. I can tell that he cares about you, wants to protect you."
A moment passes while I think about her words. "Thank you for letting me borrow your clothes. I'm assuming you got them back?"
"Oh, yes. Marina thanked me enough already, don't worry about it. My younger sister used to steal my clothes all the time."
"Your younger sister, is she part of this pack?"
Fiona shakes her head, letting the curls bounce off of her shoulders. "No, she's still at my old pack, but hopefully she'll find her mate soon."
"Do you miss your family?" I ask. Maybe we could have this in common.
"All of the time. At first I was excited to leave home, start my own life, but now I try and visit them as often as possible."
Our conversation continues, and I find myself enjoying her company. She was intimidating at first, but once I began to dig, Fiona became a normal person. All I had to do was open my mind and not worry about anything else, which was difficult at first. Sebastian kept coming to mind, making me wonder what he might be doing at that exact moment. Could he be thinking about me? Is it selfish to desire for his thoughts to be overrun by me?
"You're bringing me back to when Andrew and I first started off as mates. The glimmer in your eye, it will give you away every time," Fiona pulls me back down to earth. "Mates, they make everything seem okay. They turn on the light when things get dark, they yell at you when you put yourself at risk, they make a crumbling world seem like a paradise, all to keep you happy. You'll think that you don't deserve him—or at least I did—but know that he is thinking the same way."
My time in the attic was difficult. Not only was I very young, but I did not understand why I had to be hidden away. All I knew was that my ability held me back in some ways. It held me back from making friends with the other children, it held me back from learning with others, it held my mind back and caused me stress. Communicating with the moon goddess was a shoulder for me to lean on when I shouted that I could not go any further. When the desert sun boiled my back, and the climb seemed too hard, she gave me a drink of water and threw me a rope. I counted on her, and for the most part, she answered my calls.I remember some days more clearly than others. The winter months blend together, mix into one long day, while the summer months are chopped up by the hour. I watched the snow from my attic window, the rain, the leaves falling from the trees—I would watch the children dance
It is unique, the feeling of a kiss. Sebastian's lips caress mine, sending an unforgettable sensation throughout my body. There is an ignition inside of me, and I have the opportunity to back away, to push myself off of him, but I cannot. Half of me is gripped on tight, not willing to put an end to the pleasant feeling on my lips and in the pit of my stomach. His hand rests on the side of my face, holding back any stray hairs from slipping down and interrupting. It is a gentle kiss, no force, just pure instinct. When it does come to an end, I find myself wanting more.There are no words spoken between us. Sebastian pulls me into his hold and continues to embrace me through the night. No nightmare or terror comes to me, but a dream instead. A dream about my mate, about our kiss and so much more. My mind will not let go of the feeling. When we connected, it felt overwhelmingly right.
The house is empty. My grandmother is gone. Two guards wait outside as I roam through the vacant space. Everything is still here, the furniture, some clothes, food, it is like she just disappeared. Right when I came through the door and called through the house, realizing that she is not here, I panicked almost to the point of an attack. Immediately, I blame it on the Alpha, as my mind cannot conjure up any other guilty man.After shouting at the guards to search the area for her, I scavenge for a note, possibly saying that she has gone away. Once I find none, tears spring to my eyes and my heart squeezes tightly in my chest, the pounding shielding any other sounds from slipping in. What if he took her? What if he killed her? The thoughts rush as if the dam holding them back finally broke.The house is silent besides the frantic s
"Please, tell me you've found something," I ask the guard as they return from the latest, and most likely the last search. The guard tells me the usual, and my shoulders fall, disappointed and weighed down by worry. I could take this information two ways; the first is that she could still be alive, and the second is that she could be high above us. As always, it is easier to visualize the second."Are you sure you found nothing? How far out did you go?"The guard looks down at me, pitying my desperation. "We went out farther than the last time and saw nothing but forest. I'm sorry, Luna.""Where is Sebastian?"Heading in the guard's direction, I find my mate close by talking with Andrew. He notices me, most likely seeing the depressio
My head leans against the window as the events from last night come back to haunt me. Everything is a little fuzzy, but I can recall my embarrassing actions quite clearly. The kissing, the intense feelings, the headache, it was all horrifying, though I did enjoy the kissing very much. I cannot help it, the Mate bond has me tightly in its hold. The bond will surely give me a hard time these next few days, as Sebastian is painfully far from the Kenn Pack. I wonder if he will be able to sleep because I know that I will be tossing and turning for most of the dreadful night. My anxiety is already continuously reminding me of the nightmares since Sebastian will not be here to shield me from it all.Saying goodbye was a hurdle, and I almost did not make it over. This is the first time we will ever be apart for more than half a day, and the realization of being on my own is making my foot tap ra
I walk freely along the path, into the heart of the pack, with my guards following strictly behind me. With each step, I wait for something to be set off, some triggering effect in my mind to suddenly release all memories of this place from when I was a child. With each step, I am pulled further away from Alpha Kenn's house, but I continue with no plan of stopping. Am I supposed to feel lost here? Though I did not venture off much, a part of me is still hoping for a familiar building or area. It is when I come up to a set of homes, that my fingers begin to tremble, shaking slightly with anticipation. Finally, something familiar, the air smells of something I have tasted before, something pliable so I can bend it to mean what I want.I continue along and study each house as we pass by, gazing up the structures from foundation to roof. My eyes act as a metal detector, waiting for an
"Sebastian?""I cannot wait for you to come home tomorrow," his voice soothes me, making my raging nerves settle for a while. "My heart has grown too fond if that is possible.""Today will go by quick, okay? Just focus on work, and I promise it will be morning before you know it." A smile lights up my dreary face. "I can't wait to tell you everything when I get back.""Was the trip worth it?""At night when I am lying awake, no, but when I am talking with Alpha Kenn, definitely. I have learned so much, and when I get back, I'm sure all of our problems will be solved.""You sure are confident in what he is telling you."I watch Alpha
With my eyes closed, I can still visualize her beautiful face, the face I grew up gazing at. My mother. I saw her standing right in front of me as if the past has suddenly changed and now she was in it. My years with Grandmother are replaced with figments of my imagination, ones including her and all the pretend things we did. The memory of my abandonment is forgotten and replaced with this new one: the sight of her calling my name, of her reaching out to me, and then of her towering figure as I lay helpless on the patchy grass.The sight of her has given me a new hope, causing me to forget about the confusing events leading up to my slumber. If my mother is alright, then my father must be too. I have a chance at a real family again. Suddenly the bad Alpha is the least of my worries as my mind drifts to images of the three of us, living, growing, loving. They can meet Sebastian, Henry, M