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 in the white fluff, stomp into puddles, and toss bundles of browns, oranges, and reds into the sky. My memories faded, and I no longer remembered what it was like to scream, laugh, and play. No matter the season, the attic always had a shadow cast over it.
When I was not in the attic, I was downstairs with my mother and father. Mornings for breakfast and nighttime for dinner. My lunch was brought to me by my mother who regularly had the Luna over, though I never knew why. I do remember one day when I was playing with my dolls, and I heard loud voices erupting from downstairs. My feet scurried to the window, and I watched as a man came rushing out the front door. My mother followed quickly behind him, shouting that she had nothing to hide, but clearly, she did. She told him to stop coming here, that it was an invasion of privacy with no reason behind it. They could not prove anything. Although the scene confused me as a child, it makes too much sense to me now.
The next day we left for Grandmothers.
I did not understand for a long time. Why was I kept separate? Why could I not attend lessons with the other children? Why did I have to be utterly, terribly, and outright alone? I try to make sense of it all now, and I do. My childhood was stolen by a man whose face I have never met, a man so absolutely obsessed with seeking revenge. This stranger is turning my soul black with hatred. I hate him for snatching my early years, I hate him for ripping me away from my parents, and I hate him for making me jump every time there is a creek in the house. My mind is consumed by him, by this Alpha. Why can I not live in peace? Why can I not grow with my mate without interruption? Why can I not escape him? All of this because of my ability, an ability I did not choose.
I look out the window now and gaze into the trees. Night seeps around them as the sun drops west, replaced by the dim, dull moon.
When I lay back and shut my eyes for the night, my mind conjures all kinds of terrors, and I cannot escape them.
The forest floor is damp underneath my feet, like a sponge it sinks when I step, releasing a thick, dark liquid onto my toes. There is a dense fog engulfing the trees and brush, consuming whatever lay in its path. It sits in the air like a hefty smoke. I know it is here, I can feel it around me, I can smell the pungent stench that emits off of it. My nose scrunches from the foul reek and my eyes water.
I am tired of running, tired of screaming and shouting for my parents and my mate, for they never come. The moon casts the spotlight down upon me, and I hold my breath, waiting, waiting for the beast to appear and for the chase to commence. This time, though, I am exhausted from the running, falling, and stumbling back up again. Defeat is standing before me, and I want to reach out and give in.
What if I feed the beast, give it what it wants? What will happen? The worst outcome would be that I die in my dream and wake up.
A low, rough growl grabs my attention, and I spin around. The beast is here. My eyes squeeze shut, and I swallow hard. The beast is coming closer. My hands wrap into fists at my sides. The beast is running. The beast is running towards me—sprinting with pounding steps. I cannot do it, I open my eyes, but it is too late. The beast pounces and digs its long, bent claws into my stomach, tearing through my flesh.
I spring up in the bed, breathing heavy and sweating profusely. The feeling of my stomach being dug into haunts my skin, making my head spin and my stomach bubble up in protest. Hot tears run down my cheeks with no sign of stopping. Immediately, I shake Sebastian awake selfishly.
"Sebastian," I frantically whisper his name, "Sebastian."
He wakes in a matter of seconds. "Evangeline," he breathes out. "What's happening? Did you have another nightmare?"
"I'm sorry," I ramble, "I didn't want to wake you, but the beast killed me—I let it kill me, and it tore open my stomach and—"
He hushes me and tugs me into his embrace. Familiar feelings rush through me, and I finally feel safe. It is in his arms where nothing can touch me, where not even the Alpha can penetrate my mind. An invisible barrier is built between the world and us, and not even my fears can bust through. Sebastian gently strokes my hair as I lay in his hold, willing to push past my anxiety and nerves to only be with him. It may be the adrenaline from my nightmare or the overwhelming sensation of protection, but I rest my head on his chest and breathe in his scent, his delicious, addictive scent that sends me into a state of complete assurance.
My face does not flush multiple shades of pink and red, my body does not become hot and bothered, and my head does not overthink. I merely lay, and savor the tranquility.
* * *
Sitting in one of the chairs in front of Sebastian's desk, I watch him as he prepares for the call. This specific phone call is with a high member of my old pack, possibly the Beta, or even the Alpha. We are both unsure of who will answer the phone, and if it is indeed the Alpha, I may just fall out of my seat. The thought of hearing the monster's voice makes me sick to my stomach. Sebastian glances up at me, telling me that he is about to call. "Remember, Evangeline. You are not here."
Sebastian places the call on speaker so I can hear the conversation. My heart jerks when the ringing begins.
Finally, an answer.
"Yes?" The anonymous voice comes through, and my eyes shoot up to my mate.
"Hello, this is Alpha Tate, may I ask who I am speaking with?"
"This is Alpha Kenn. I have to say; I was not expecting your call. May I ask the cause of it?" The voice makes me suck in a sharp breath. Alpha Kenn that has to be the man!
"My Luna was part of your pack as a child, and she is interested in learning more about the pack currently. Would you mind if I ask a few questions?" Sebastian says smoothly, as I view the entire ordeal on the edge of my seat.
"Shouldn't I be speaking with your Luna?" The voice taunts me.
Unexpectedly, Sebastian motions for me and I panic. He cannot be serious. I cannot talk with that monster. When he motions for me again, I hesitate before standing up and wandering over. He grabs my hand and places me in front of the phone, his lips close to my ear.
"Hello, this is Evangeline, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions," I repeat the words as Sebastian whispers them in my ear. I want to run away, straight out of this room. If it was not for Sebastian's touch and him telling me what to say, I am sure that I would end the call and hide under a bed.
"Oh, don't you sound sweet," the Alpha coos. "Go ahead, ask away."
I swallow and listen to Sebastian closely. "How long have you held the Alpha position?"
"Almost nine years."
It is not him. The Alpha that torments my family held position when I was apart of the pack, ten years ago. Relief takes over me, and I catch myself leaning against Sebastian.
"And you took over after your father?" I ask, Sebastian reminding me that the conversation is not over.
"No," Alpha Kenn corrects. "I replaced my Uncle."
"May I ask why you replaced him?"
"You know, these questions are becoming quite specific when I believed you wanted to know about the entire pack."
Suddenly I pull away from Sebastian and place both my hands on the desk. "Oh well I'm sorry, I'm just a bit too curious that's all. Excuse my digging," my voice is light, and kind, something I must have picked up from Fiona.
"No, no, it's alright. My Uncle, he became a tad too unstable for the position, and it was time someone fresh took over," he explains.
"And you treat your members well?"
"Only the best."
"And your Uncle, where is he?" I ask.
The line goes silent for a moment, and I begin to feel nervous. Have I ruined our chances?
"Do you know my Uncle, Evangeline?" The Alpha questions me, and I tumble into Sebastian's seat, sitting where he usually is, at the head of the room.
"Well, he was the Alpha when I was apart of the pack. I just want to know what he is doing now—if he still contributes?"
"I have not seen him in years."
After a few more questions to cover our real reason for calling, I set the phone down and look to Sebastian. He is leaning against the wall with his arms crossed, deep in thought. "Well, at least we know he is nowhere near my old pack. At least he's no longer in power," I say softly, not wanting to disrupt the calm vibe of the room. "Did I say the right things?"
"Yes," he speaks up. "You did well."
I stand up from his chair and steadily approach him. "Is everything alright?"
"Yes, I am just thinking."
His eyes find mine. "How I can nip this in the bud."
Sebastian never clarified if he believes me or not, if he deems my ability to be the truth. He is taking my situation seriously, and that is enough for me. I do not care if he believes me anymore because he cares enough to help me with my problem, to help put an end to this Alpha so desperate to end my family line. This is not about my ability to him. This is about my safety. All this time he has strived to protect me, to make sure I am comfortable and happy. I do not need to know if he thinks this is all crazy and insane because he cares enough to see past it.
The bond between us grows stronger every day, pulling us closer together. The anxiety and intimidation I felt when we first met are withering away. After sharing my ability and the story from my grandmother with him, I am beginning to realize that he knows a significant amount about me and my past, yet he shares so little about himself.
Later in the night, just before bed, I find myself sitting under the covers, watching him. "Sebastian," I grab his attention. "Where are your parents?"
"Why do you ask?" He questions me while shutting off the light as if he does not want to carry on with the conversation.
"I am just curious to know more about you, about your family."
"My parents left. They are probably in California," he tells me briefly.
I do not know where California is, but it sounds magical. His parents must be fulfilled there.
"They are rogues?"
"Technically yes, but they have Alpha blood, so other werewolves will know that they are not just normal rogues."
I nod. "Do you miss them?"
Sebastian gets into the bed, but I refuse to lay down. "Why's that?"
"Because I don't."
I cross my arms. "And you call me frustrating."
I can hardly see the rolling of his eyes in the light given from the moon. The tones of blue and green send a romantic cast over the room, but Sebastian's eyes keep me from fully admiring it. "I'm sorry, Evangeline," he says halfheartedly. "Now please lay down, get some sleep."
"But I wanted to talk about your—"
Suddenly he pulls me down, keeping only an inch between our faces, our lips. My breath is caught in my throat, and Sebastian presses his lips to mine.
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
The door to the room opens again, and a man I do not recognize comes to collect me. That man—Victor—said that we were waiting for our last guest, and all I can do now is believe that my love has arrived. He had toyed with my heart by telling me my mother and father are in the building, and after he left my room about three hours ago—a panicky guess—they were all I could think about. Somewhere in here, somewhere trapped in these same walls, my parents sit, alive. Once the first year had passed at grandmothers, I had given up waiting for them to come knocking on her door. Part of me always thought they had died somewhere and somehow and I would never discover why or how they did. It would be a mystery embedded in my mind for the rest of my life, one whose importance would die over time, but one that would always be there.Again, my future has been flipped. It all st