I feel dirty. I am dirty. I am disgusting.
And it's no one's fault but my own. I shouldn't have taken the shortcut and entered those damned woods in the first place.
Even though I made it back home in one piece, relatively untouched, I've never been so disgusted with myself before. My mind was a mess, and I had no idea how I snuck home unnoticed. If my mother or dad were to catch me- the near-rape situation wouldn't seem so bad anymore.
I didn't bother to take off my coat when I got into my bedroom and rushed into the bathroom. It was the longest shower I'd taken in my life. The more I tried to scrape my skin clean of the dirt and phantoms of their hands, the dirtier I felt.
At one point, I broke down crying because no matter how violently I scratched my skin, no matter how deep I dug my nails, I couldn't get rid of the remnants of their touch.
I thought there were no tears left to cry, but as soon as I faced the monstrosity in my bathroom mirror, more came out, dragging my consciousness deeper into despair.
Even though these men didn't get the chance to go along with their plan, I still felt violated. After hours of scrubbing my skin and trying to scrape off the disgust, I gave up and crawled under the covers.
I have no idea when I finally fell asleep, but the frantic knocking on my bedroom door jolts me out of bed. My forehead is covered in sweat, and my heart is pounding against my ribcage.
I try to speak, but my throat is so sore, it hurts to breathe. That might be because of all of the screaming and crying from hours ago.
"Selena, wake up, darn it! We will be late for the ceremony if you don't hurry up. You know the Alpha doesn't like to wait. Especially not on humans!" Mom clearly got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Usually, she's cheerful and bubbly; this is a whole new side of her.
Ever so slowly, I approach the bedroom door, unlock it, and open it for her to enter. Mom doesn't spare me a glance, but that's for best- I have no idea what I look like. Yesterday's heavy scratching and everything that happened in the woods might have left a mark or two. If there are any, she won't be happy about it.
"Where are your clo-" mom stops herself mid-sentence as she turns to me. The colour disappears from her face as she slowly scans me from head to toe. "What in the world have you done to yourself, Selena? Your skin, your eyes, your hair," she whispers.
I part my lips to explain myself, but before I can say a word, I change my mind. It doesn't matter what I say or what excuse I use- she's still going to be mad at me.
Mom grabs me by the upper arm and drags me into the bathroom. She forces me in front of the mirror and holds my head, so I stare directly at my reflection.
"Did you do this to avoid the ceremony? To appear unattractive and fool men into thinking you're nothing but damaged goods? Your behaviour is unacceptable. Selena, your father and I have invested our last savings for this boy to choose you! You could have status in society, money, anything you could want! And this is how you repay us? By sabotaging our plans? By sabotaging your own chance at a better future?" I hope dad's not home because, at this point, she's screaming at the top of her lungs.
"I'm not trying to sabotage any of your plans," I whisper under my breath. Although my voice is barely audible, speaking still hurts, so I leave most of that part to my mom.
As soon as she lets go of my head, I cast my eyes to my feet. I'm ashamed of my appearance, but it's not like I could face my mom, look into her eyes and tell her everything that almost happened to me. Those were the consequences of my own decision, and I'm sure mom will be happy to remind me of that.
A bitter laugh escapes her lips. "You're not trying to sabotage our plans, right? So what on earth would you call that?" She gestures at my entire body. "Selena, you don't seem to understand today is the most important day of your life, and you managed to ruin your chances before you could leave your bedroom. We suspected you wouldn't want to attend the ceremony, but we did not think you'd go this far," her eyes take me in one last time before she turns her back on me.
I want to comfort my mom, I really want to explain myself, but I don't have it in me to bring up the topic.
"You've gone too far, Selena, way too fucking far," I gasp at her words. I've never heard my mom curse before. "How could you? You bring so much shame and humiliation upon our family name! How am I supposed to face your possible in-laws when you look like this? I promised them that their son could marry a beautiful, intelligent young woman, not a crippled remnant of what she once was!"
I take a deep breath and try to place my hand on her shoulder, but she immediately slaps it away. "Mom, please calm down; the way I look has nothing to do with the ceremony." If that's what it takes to get her to listen to me- I'll drop to my knees. I don't want my parents to think so poorly of me. I'm sure she'll understand if I tell her the truth. Which I have to do either way- I can't hide it forever.
"Mom." I take a step toward her, but unexpectedly my mother turns, and her palm collides with my cheek. Tears well up in my eyes as I stare at her.
"Don't try to use your pathetic excuses on me! Just wait until your father finds out what you did!" She screams and tries to leave the bathroom, but I grab her by the wrist to hold her back.
"Yesterday, I was attacked on my way home." If the truth makes her listen, that's exactly what she'll get. "Two werewolves tried to rape me, and everything you see is the result of me trying to fight back and later get rid of the feeling of their disgusting hands all over me."
"D-Did they... You know, finish the thing?" Of all the things she could have said, the only thing that worries her is this?
"No." I look at my feet in shame.
"What if someone finds out about this, Selena? People will talk, they'll gossip, they'll spread rumours! If your future in-laws find out about this, they won't be happy. Can you imagine a family like theirs taking in a woman who goes around provoking men? What were you wearing yesterday? This is even worse than I thought; you've ruined our family!" I watch as my mother paces around the bathroom as she keeps mumbling something under her breath.
At first, I'm too shocked to speak, but as I take in her words, I boil with anger and find my voice. "I was dragged deep into the woods, two men assaulted me, and all you care about is your family's reputation? Mom, I did everything I could to fight back, to stop them and run away- the whole thing was the most horrifying thing that's ever happened to me, and you're worried about reputation. I can't believe it; how shallow can you be?" Tears cloud my vision. She should support and protect me, not blaming me for something I barely escaped. I'm here, alive- isn't that enough to be happy?
The tiny spark of hope in me dies as soon as she points her finger at me. There is no compassion when it comes to my mother's plans or goals. "Just because they didn't finish the job doesn't mean it didn't happen. No man will want you now, no matter how much money we offer. Because of your stupidity, you'll spend the rest of your days in shame. No husband, no family, no future. But don't think I'll let you off so easily. I'm sure you planned at least part of it to avoid the ceremony!" She continues to accuse me even after I told her what had happened.
I knew she wasn't happy when she found out she was pregnant with me, but I never thought my own mother could hate me so much.
"Get ready; we are leaving in ten minutes," mom announces and leaves me behind, slamming the door to my room to make her point.
KaneI stand aside from the crowd. Some people noticed my arrival and started gossiping no longer than a few seconds later. I knew something like this might happen because it's the first time I have shown up, so obviously, everyone would make a big deal out of it.My mother and Amon walk around greeting any shifter near them but give the present humans the cold shoulder. I roll my eyes as I lean against the tree.My gaze follows them as they take their places on the platform. Amon clears his throat as he steps in front of the microphone. "I would like to congratulate everyone who has come here today. It may seem that there aren't many people here today, but I can assure everyone that you will find someone special today." No sooner do these words pass his lips tha
SelenaMom drags me down the street. Every time she pulls me to move faster, I have to adjust the straps of the stupid dress. I don't understand why I had to wear it- it's freezing outside, but I'm running around like it's the middle of summer.Not to mention the dress makes me look like a corpse. Plus, mom put so much foundation on everything she deemed as imperfect- my legs and arms are covered in yellow spots. Her attempt to hide the "hideous" parts has resulted in me looking sick.We get to the ceremonial clearing on time, but I still have to listen to everything mom says. She whispers insulting things; I know the wolves can hear us- a few give me nasty looks. Why me when she's the one being unreasonable and rude? KaneAs I carry her away from the ceremonial clearing, all I can think about is how much I'd like to see this woman wrapped in my sheets. I'd fucking love to see her fall asleep and wake up in my bed.Although she's been mine since I chose her, there are a few rules I have to follow. I have to bring her home first and discuss when she can move in with me. It's a stupid tradition, but I can't change something we've been doing for centuries.I carry her to her house and let her stand back to her feet as soon as we approach the front door. Only when she raises an eyebrow, I realise I didn't ask her for the address."Great way to appear like a creep. Amazing first impression," my wolf laughs at me, but I blo
The Forsaken Alpha It's not like I asked him to choose me.
KaneAs I carry her away from the ceremonial clearing, all I can think about is how much I'd like to see this woman wrapped in my sheets. I'd fucking love to see her fall asleep and wake up in my bed.Although she's been mine since I chose her, there are a few rules I have to follow. I have to bring her home first and discuss when she can move in with me. It's a stupid tradition, but I can't change something we've been doing for centuries.I carry her to her house and let her stand back to her feet as soon as we approach the front door. Only when she raises an eyebrow, I realise I didn't ask her for the address."Great way to appear like a creep. Amazing first impression," my wolf laughs at me, but I blo
SelenaI don't know her. I don't know my best friend. The person standing in front of me is anything but the girl I once loved and adored.She has changed for the worse.And as if the yelling and accusing me of things I haven't done weren't enough, she slapped me.I stare at her wide-eyed, shocked beyond limits. But before I can regain my senses and say anything, my bedroom door is kicked down by the same man Kelly is so angry about.He ignores me and stomps straight towards her. I watch everything in horror.He grabs Kelly by the neck and forces her body against the wall. Her feet leave the floor
KaneI'm seething with anger as I head downstairs to stop by her parents. Selena's father looks worried, while her mother is pissed off about something."Tell her that today was the first and last time I'm going to take any shit from her." I clench my hands into fists to keep myself together. I don't want to cause more damage here than I already did. "I'll be back in three days; then, I'm taking Selena home with me, with or without her consent." I don't warn anyone anymore- every word that passes my lips is a promise.Her parents watch me leave. I'm fucking furious. How dare she act out like this when she knows I'm doing her a huge favour.As usual, my wolf shows up when I don't need him. "Calm down, you scare
SelenaI stare at the girl in the mirror. She looks exactly like me, but it can't be me.For the past two days, I couldn't sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, the only image I could see was him- the barbaric stranger who chose me as his own.Although I'm more apathetic and tired than usual, I still want to find something to make me feel a little happier.It's hard to accept that one of them chose me. I struggle to learn things and their customs to fit in. All that, and the horrible thoughts of the man who will come here to take me away from everything I love.I put my hair in a ponytail and bite my lip to distract myself, but as soon as I
Kane Selena's heart pounds against her ribcage with such force, I can feel it. Her breathing quickens as her gaze roams the room. I'm sure she's looking for an escape, but I'm determined to provide none. "Could you please let me go?" Selena whispers ever so softly. "You don't see it, but I'm really trying," I shake my head. I drop my arm to my side and let out the breath I didn't know I was holding. "Trying to do what? Let me go?" Selena tries to push me away, but her hands on my chest feel more like an invitation to taste her than an attempt to increase the distance between us. "It sucks to be the one delivering the bad news, but it doesn't count as letting go when you cage someone in your
SelenaNever in my life have I felt how quickly time can pass. Since the day Kane stormed out of my bedroom, I could almost see seconds turning into minutes and those morph into hours, bringing me closer to the dreaded day.I feel more pressure with each passing day, especially from my mother. Sometimes, after her lectures, I feel guilty for lying to Kane. But the guilt doesn't last- I've gained more time."Selena, princess, please leave the bedroom," my mother suddenly appears by my bedroom door. What in the world? Why does she sound so concerned all of a sudden?"I'm drained, maybe tomorrow." I yawn and turn to my other side.She storms