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Chapter 5: Two Worlds, Inside and Outside the Wall

Moonlight caught the side of his handsome face, chiselling it starkly against the blurry backdrop of snow. Why was he thinking of me on a night like tonight? Surely he should be with his new Luna. The thought curdled my stomach and I started to turn away, tears pricking my eyes and my hand moving to cup my belly. I didn’t know what to do. I stood frozen, a deer in the headlights, a thousand ideas and dreams racing through my head.

A shadowed figure, walking swiftly towards him, snagged my gaze – and crushed my dreams. Hands covered her face and her shoulders shook with tears. She moved into the slant of moonlight, and I knew for sure then that it was Amy. Perfect Amy. He looked up, too, and his face twisted with emotion. I’d never seen him look at me like that. My Alpha – not my Alpha, not really – went to her and comforted her, pulling her head to his chest and pressing a kiss to her bowed forehead. 

It was his tenderness that broke my heart. When he looked at me, his eyes were full of desire. I was just a lowly Omega; that was the only emotion I could inspire. The pain came slow and deep. How many times could one heart break?

I watched as they started to walk back to the Alpha’s house. My baby was unusually active, hands and feet jabbing at me from the inside out, and I stood there for a moment, cradling my belly with both hands, tears streaming silently down my cheeks as I looked on. He smiled at her, a tiny, encouraging smile that shattered me. 

The Alpha could sense who was in and out of the pack so, once I crossed the border, I could be spotted. I had to deal with this before I left. For now, he wouldn’t realise I wasn’t where I was meant to be - unless he caught me. I bit my lip, but I didn’t change my mind. I couldn’t. I was too far gone, drowning in waves of agony and addicted to their pain.

Then I made a decision that terrified me. I followed them. It was like peering through my fingers at a gory horror film, sickened by what I saw and yet utterly unable to drag my eyes away from the carnage. Every gentle press of his fingertips to her face twisted the knife in my gut, ripping through my insides. Pain lanced outwards from my heart in every direction. But I followed them anyway, needing, aching, to see what happened next.

Hunter bent his head and kissed her. They kept moving as they kissed, shuffling inside and nudging open the door with his foot and her elbow. He swung her around so I could see his face over her shoulder. He looked happy. Sweet. Devoted.

I dug my nails into my burnt arm. It hurt less than seeing the way he looked at her. I cried silently, holding back sniffles, my lip wobbling as a wail built and died in my throat.

They went into the bedroom. Creeping around the outside of the house, I slid with my back along the wall until I was huddled by the bedroom window. The cold stone dug into my spine, seeping through the thin fabric of my torn sweater.

My shadow flickered along the wall beneath the window. I flinched away from the torch, giving the flame a reproachful look. Then I sagged, despair filling me anew. It wasn’t the fire’s fault I’d been burned. It was theirs. It was his.

I could hear his guttural moans and her girlish squeals. It was torture, listening to them, but I couldn’t make myself move. With a hollow chest and an empty heart I leant against the wall, hot tears stinging my frozen cheeks. The person I loved, my mate, was claiming somebody else. The ache came in waves, a dull, throbbing sense of hopelessness cut through with sharp shards of realisation. 

My mate was claiming another woman as his own. He was doing the things we did with her, but with that warm look in his eyes rather than the frenzied glint they bore when we made love. Made love. I almost laughed. We fucked. That was all. 

The harsh reality of what we had was colder than the snow. I was his Omega. His medicine. His plaything. Every word I thought was another lash of the whip down my spine, flaying skin from flesh, but I couldn’t stop myself. My head fell into my hands; my whole body convulsed from the force of my silent sobs.

My baby seemed to feel the desperation of their mother. The pain in my belly became more intense, the kicking and punching more frequent. I smoothed a hand over my distended belly, trying to soothe my baby.

“Shush, shush, it’s okay, Mommy is okay,” I whimpered.

But I wasn’t okay, and my baby knew it. Expressing their discontent and discomfort, my baby thrashed inside my womb.

“Ah!” I bit down on my lower lip to hold back my cries, managing to only let a tiny whimper of pain escape. But waves after waves of pain engulfed me, and I slid my back against the wall until I hit the floor. I wanted to scream from the agony tearing me apart; I dug my teeth into my already ruined bottom lip. It wasn’t enough. I lifted my good arm to my mouth and bit down, barely stopping my screams and ragged gasps. 

Even then, I was still afraid they would find me. I froze against the wall, silent tears carving down my cheeks.  

But the sounds coming from inside let me know how wild they were, how distracted. It would take more than my muffled cries for them to notice me.

Their moans grew wilder; she screamed his name, over and over again. The bed creaked, faster and faster. Their gasps rose into the air, joining like curls of smoke on the wind. I didn't want to hear. I wished I couldn’t hear my mate speaking such passionate words to another woman. There was an underlying tenderness to his groans, to the way he crooned her name, and it stung. It was a tenderness I had never experienced before.

She cried out in pleasure.

Two different moans: theirs of pleasure; mine of pain. Just like our relationship, their pleasure was my pain. 

And their moans drowned out mine.

My baby was flailing violently, kicking and punching my womb. “I know,” I whispered, my breaths coming short and shaky. “I know it hurts, sweetheart.”

A gush of water swept over my feet. Frowning, I looked down.

Oh, no. Not this. Not now.

My water had broken.

Their moans grew louder and louder, a rising crescendo of passion and ecstasy. I clutched my distended belly with both hands, screaming silently, my face distorted by my dual agonies. I had to stop this. 

Lifting a shaky hand to the torch on the wall, I lit another bunch of herbs. Shivering hard, I lifted the latch on the window and eased it open a crack. 

I gritted my teeth. Forcing myself to stay there, able to hear the rhythmic creaking of the bed and their breathy pants even louder than before, was hell. I pushed my palm to my chest, shoving back against the crushing of my heart. 

Holding the burning herbs up to the gap, I shuddered through the pain and the cold and I waited for the sounds to stop. Their moans grew fainter and fainter. 

“You’ll be okay,” I whispered to my baby, my lip quivering, my throat so thick with tears I could barely talk. “I promise, sweetheart. You’ll be okay.”

Silence swelled inside the house. I knew then that my herbs had worked. With nothing to hold me upright any longer I fell to my knees, crying out as they smacked a rock buried beneath the snow. Shivers wracked through me. I felt numb all over, frozen to ice everywhere except for my belly. That was a ball of fire. I couldn’t think – 

I had to get out of here. The smoke was making my head fuzzy. 

And my baby was coming! Pain flared, making my muscles spasm, but I started to crawl. I had to save my baby. My tears dropped onto the snow, melting tiny holes in its surface. We needed to make snow angels together. I sobbed harder, stopping to press a fist to my mouth. I couldn’t die here. I wouldn’t let my baby die because I was too weak to get to Daisy.

Steeling myself, I lifted my head. Blood streamed from my body. It took so much effort to drag myself along that my muscles spasmed, crying out for me to rest, but I hauled myself through the blizzard. I would do it for my baby. My poor baby, my own little snow angel. It became a mantra, thumping in my head, burning away the sounds of Hunter and Amy’s lovemaking. 

“For you,” I rasped, almost collapsing. Tremors wracked through me. 

My baby had to grow up far away from here. Far away from a dad that didn’t love me or them. I curled my hands into loose fists. Fireworks of pain exploded in my belly.

I cried out. Unlike theirs, they weren’t lustful moans of pleasure. They were raspy groans of pain, spat out through gritted teeth.

Something was wrong. The world spun around me. Snow covered my back, melting into my sweater and freezing right down into my bones. My sobs grew silent, my muscles convulsing. I couldn’t go on. I couldn’t.

I collapsed in the snow. My vision flared and faded, greying out. I closed my eyes.

“Jane?”

I shuddered. I tried to open my eyes; I managed a squint. Even the moonlight made my retinas sting. “Daisy?” I croaked. 

I was dreaming. None of this was real. I dipped in and out of consciousness, waking to a jolt of heat as my probably imagined Daisy lifted me gently out of the snow. I whimpered. I was dying. I had to be. Everything either hurt or was so frozen with the cold that it was numb. 

“I’m sorry,” I rasped, trying to clutch my burning belly. “Mommy is so sorry, sweetheart. I… I tried my best.”

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