Chapter 20: Carmen

"No. I haven't let poppy seeds, blow or, umm... err I … no." I retort, face flaming, mumbling, babbling, as excruciating shyness almost kills me. Face reddening and unable to look her in the eye. I can feel Carmen's eyes boring down on me, waiting for my answer with vicious suspicion. I can feel her poised body getting ready for my take down if she thinks Colton has touched me sexually. "We haven't done anything… nothing." How can I tell them I turned, ripped him half to shreds, and then called him weak? I don't think that would go down well with his crew.

"Hmmm, disappointing. Well I can help with that." She gestures again for me to follow and when I hesitate, eyes roaming the enraged Carmen sitting near the doorway, she catches my sleeve and yanks me. Carmen is poised with a reply to what Meadow said, but I can see she's holding it in and simmering, despite the knives she's throwing with her eyes. I'm not sure what the story between Meadow and Carmen is, but I don't get happy bonded packmate vibes from either of them.

"Colton will be a while and my room is not far. We look around the same size if you roll up the legs a little. I'm sure I have something that makes you look less vagabunda."

"You'll help her with nothing. She's not and will never be his mate. You know who he chose and that he rejected her, so stop playing games, Meadow, and leave her be. The trash look suits her because it's what she is." Carmen couldn't hold it for much longer, and that flash of rage has Meadow spinning her way, almost taking me with her.

"Green is not a good color on you, Puta! I don't think you are in any position to make demands, considering whose bed I caught you in. You should be thanking your stars that I've not excised my right to punish such a betraying Perra as you. Don't make me reconsider it!"

There's a shocked silence and Carmen's eyes dart around the rest of them, obvious shame written across her face as all the others avert and avoid her. They all know, of course they do, and the silent tense moment tells me they're mad at her for betraying Colton as much as he is. She committed a sin that in the eyes of wolf law, is non comparable to his.

He was bonded and he kissed his fated mate. She had sex while promised to another, in a bid to wound him. It doesn't matter how double a standard it is, it's how this works, and our laws on commitment and betrayal are clear. She was linked to Colton and she chose to punish him with defiling their union after he already rejected the mate the fates gave him.

Packs are weird in they can fight all day long, get aggressive with one another, nip, and tease, but you wound one of them and they will turn on you. Even if you were one of their own. They have a special bond with their alpha, and I can see Carmen is in the doghouse. None of them like her right now.

"You have less than half an hour before Colton most likely shows. You know Juan likes to keep things short." Matteo points out and Meadow claps her hands happily.

"Plenty time. Come, we have some girl stuff to do. Carmen isn't welcome, she can sit over there and think about what she's done." Meadow tosses her hair back, that long sleek hair shining as it flies over her shoulder sassily, throwing her a pointed look and leads the way, yanking me with her once more. Cesar and Jesus, still standing in the entranceway, move out of the way and I catch the slight up and down appraisals as they size me up in passing.

The twin's eyes follow me and although it's not outright hostility I can tell none of the males, with the exception of maybe Matteo, are sure they want me here. I'm an outsider to them, an intruder to their pack, and not worthy to be bonded to their alpha.

As soon as we get to the corridor, Meadow slides her arm in mine and hauls me close a little aggressively for my liking. Leaning in so her perfume and natural wolf scent mingle and hit me with a heady concoction.

"I know we're supposed to follow Juan in his hatred of all the orphans he threw behind the mountain, but I lost family in that war and it could have well been me. Some of us were lucky enough to see some come back…. I don't believe for a second that only our strongest bloodlines came home. You can trust me, Amiga. I'm not like most of the pack. I have a mind of my own." She whispers it in hushed silence and throws me a soft look, that despite feeling her crazy vibes, rings true, she has an underlying kindness and I can feel it when we're this close. "Colton's a good boy, but he's also Juan's son. He knows his place in the pack and he knows if he defies his father and breaks that kind of respect for our laws, he'll never have the respect when his time comes to lead. I know what he wants, and I know why he can't have it… but it doesn't mean I don't want to have a little fun and make him suffer." A smile, wink, and almost mischievous laugh, and I frown in confusion. Unsure if I should question her or not. If she is close to Colton, then I literally have no idea what she means about having fun and making him suffer.

She leads the way, pulls me with her, up a stair and then down a left hall before we come to a polished wooden door with her name staring back at us from a polished and engraved gold plate. The scent up here is mainly female, and I guess they keep the sexes on different floors, although Cesar's scent lingers around the door and I guess because they're mated, he gets to stay in here too. Being mated is marriage and once you're marked, no one has the authority to stop you being together in every way, every second of every hour.

"I'm the queen of hair and makeup and you my, amiga, need a little Santo makeover, because like it or not, you're now our pack and our problem. As long as you live, so does Cole, and it's our job to keep it that way. That means you need to fit in and look the part…. not like this." She casts me an up down eye flicker of disapproval and exaggerated expression of 'yuck'. She scans her palm, pushes open the door and leads the way inside. Flicking on a light switch and grinning when it comes on.

"They finally replaced mine, thankfully. That was some show you put on in the hallway, and some mess you made. Impressive! I think you smashed every glass bottle I owned." She wiggles away from me to a dresser and starts rifling through the contents, throwing me devilish smiles. I relax a little, nerves winding down and anxiety untangling my internal organs, easing into the aura that surrounds her. There's something infectious and alluring that pulls you in and makes you feel like you can open up to her, and I stand awkwardly by the door watching her.