Chapter 12: What Now?

I tremble in front of the huge roaring fire, in a state of surreal daydream of the grand fireplace in the room that Colton left me when he brought me into his pack house. My blanket draped around my shoulders as my only modesty covering, as he goes and fetches clothes.

I'm tucked into the armchair in the corner, out of the way, while some of his pack pace around in the clearing directly in front of the flames, inwardly thrashing something out. They're wired, agitated, the air thick with the stench of testosterone, blood, and fury and more are returning by the minute to convene here in this house. Obviously, the pack returning from chasing off those vile murderous intruders.

It's all in their actions, their mannerisms but as I'm not privy to Santo Pack linking, all I can do is watch the animated expressions and occasional outbursts of a word here and there.


They know I'm here, but yet, are completely ignoring my presence, much like they have done for years. It's not like I care. My head aches, and emotions are fragile, barely keeping it together and I can't stop replaying the horrific scene in my head of what I saw laid out in front of me in my on courtyard. Vanka's scent burning my nose even still and I shudder at every thud they make while pacing around so erratically. Unable to wipe that noise from memory.

"Here" I jump when Colton touches my shoulder, so preoccupied in my own mind I hadn't even realized he'd come back. I'm too nervy, too coiled tight and antsy. He drops a pile of clothes on my lap, a simple grey hoody, a pair of sweats and a t-shirt that I guess are all his.

"I'll show you where you can dress in private" he motions for me to follow; his face softening and his manner follows. I think he can sense how not myself I am right now and reverts to gentle handling. He waits for me to get up, pulling the dark grey covering around myself a little more snugly before leading the way out of the room with me close on his heel, cradling my new bundle in against me. My head stuck in surreal and detached from a whole lot of feelings in this moment.

"Cole? We need you in this!" A voice echoes his way and he throws the male back a silent look, eyes glinting as his wolf connects with his packmate. An exchange of nods and he turns his attention back to me to hold the door open out into the large spacious hallway.

"What the fuck is she doing here?" A nasty, biting tone is spat our way as Carmen comes marching across from the open doorway in the main hall, which is sitting wide for returning wolves, and accusingly squares up in front of me, shoving Colton hard in the shoulder as she does so. It looks like she's just returned from the hunt, robed in a blanket like mine and visibly grimy from being out as her wolf self. Most of the pack have gone straight to their rooms for fresh clothes on entry but I guess she thinks yelling at us is more important.

Something inside of me lets out a tiny murmur of a growl in outrage, that she would physically shove him, come at us angrily after the night we have all had, and I quickly swallow it down and drop my eyes to the floor as she spins on me hatefully. Bravado waning fast as I sigh at my own impulsive reaction with immediate regret.

"Did you just growl at me, Reject!" She almost bites it at my face getting close enough to make me flinch. Snarling, scathing anger that makes my body bristle and for a second, I swear my claws begin to peak involuntarily. An anger swirling warmly in my belly as she pokes some deep internal beast.

"Leave her alone… Go into the main room, I'll be there in a minute." Colton pushes in front of me to make her step back, intent on still guiding me away but his protective need taking over. She doesn't like it one bit and the change in her manner is obvious. She gets even madder. Spinning to face him down instead of me.

"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell she's doing here!" She spits a little more venomously this time, eyes glowing bright amber and throat eliciting a snarling growling undertone in her words. She's on the verge of turning and her wolf is already riled and ready to fight. I shiver, not sure I can take any more violence tonight. I may be healed, but I'm in no state to have a femme go at it with me over a mate who doesn't even want me.