“Now, I sent the nurse downstairs to collect fresh clothes for you and she said there were none,” he pauses, looking at me. I look down at my fidgety hands again. I wear the same clothes every day. If I find a bar of old soap in the trash, I wash my clothes and myself in the little sink in the back of the dungeon. There’s only cold water, but it was better than nothing. At least I'm not a rogue. My father was and look how he ended up.
The nurse walks in with a duffle bag and places it at the end of the bed, “We got you a few things to wear. Nothing fancy, but they are clean and should fit.”
“Thank you,” I smile back.
“You’ll be here another two days. Stay in this room. No visitors until we find out who did this to you or you're fully healed, whichever comes first. Diane will let you know when you can leave,” the doctor orders and walks out.
I look at the nurse who is staring at me. When she realizes I caught her, her eyes dart away. What's that about?
Okay, lady. Rude.
“I'll leave you now," she says, "You can go in the bathroom and wash up. Just take that pole with the IV solution with you. There are shorts and fresh underwear in the bag. You need to leave the hospital gown on until your back heals. Alright?”
“Yes, ma'am. Thank you, Diane," she nods and leaves the room.
It's the first time in my life people have been kind to me. I mean, I think it's part of their job but still. All I've known so far were insults, physical misery, and hard work. Never any kindness, never any love. I think I can trust the doctor but I'm still wary of Nurse Diane. The way she stared at me just now makes me uncomfortable.
I pick up the duffle bag and go to the bathroom. I avoid looking in the mirror. I'm not sure I'm ready to see the damage on my face. Everything in the bathroom is fresh and white. There's a shower, but I'm worried the pressure of the water will hurt my back. I decide to fill the tub halfway and get in. The water is warm and soothing. There's a washcloth and a fresh bar of soap. I clean myself until the water is gross. All the dried blood tinges the water pink. I drain the tub, wipe out the ring of dirt around the edge, and fill it again. The water is not nearly as dirty as I finish washing. It hurts to raise my arms, but I don't want to call the nurse to help me. I gently wash my hair and use a cup to rinse it. I dry off and wrap the soft towel around my hair.
There's a toothbrush and a small tube of paste on the shelf by the sink. I'm living in the lap of luxury in the pack hospital! I pick them up and start brushing my teeth. I can't avoid it anymore, I need to look in the mirror. I work up the courage to take a peek. What I see makes me drop the toothbrush.
My face is still covered in bruises, but that's not what made me drop the toothbrush. The iris of my left eye is violet. Not like a shade of blue that could be a purple in the right light. No no. My right iris is still the drab gray I'm used to, but the left looks crazy. I blink my eyes hard a few times. Still the same. I try rubbing my eye but it doesn't make a difference. There's no mistaking it - my eye is bright, practically glowing...violet.
Two days seem to last forever. I'm not complaining though. I've never gotten so much sleep in my life and as a bonus, I get three meals a day. Three! I keep looking in the mirror. I can't get over how weird my purple eye looks.
I stare at myself in the mirror for the millionth time on the second day. My left eye is still violet. Now my right eye seems like it's starting to turn violet as well. There was nothing I can do about it, so I decide to try not to worry. Since Silver Moon is a pretty big pack, we have a high school on pack territory. The library has a really big werewolf lore research section. I will do some research during lunch.
As I tilt my head to the side to brush my hair, I notice a chunk of my hair has changed color. Instead of my normal mousy brown, it is silvery gray.
Okay seriously now. What is going on? What is happening to me? Is this a trick? Is there bleach in the shampoo or something? If it is a trick, it isn't funny. I pick up the bottle and smell it. It smells like strawberries, not bleach. Weird. I have never heard of a wolf's eye or hair color changing when they are coming of age but that's what the doctor thinks is happening.
Diane comes in after lunch with paperwork and pamphlets for me. She hands me another little bag, "Just a little something to help you stay incognito until you are finished healing," she says.
"Thank you for everything," I say as I open the bag. There is a baseball cap and a pair of dark sunglasses.
"How do I look?" I ask as I model them for her.
She giggles at my poses, "You're a star, darling."
Maybe she isn't so bad after all.
She gives me a gentle hug before I leave. I have another two hours before I need to prep dinner. I decide to take my new clothes to my room and clean up the mess so I can sleep tonight.
Something smells different as I walk down the hall of the dungeon, like a cleaning solution. I turn on my lamp to find the room has been transformed. My lamp isn't sitting on a stack of milk crates. It's on a nightstand. There is a new bed too, my old cot is gone. I have a proper bed. Complete with new sheets and blankets. There is also a small desk and chair with all my school books arranged in a basket next to it. I must be dreaming. That or I walked into someone else's room by accident, except no one else lives down here. You can barely tell it was an old dungeon cell. It looks like what I imagine a dorm room would look like.
I peek out of the doorway to make sure I am in the right place. I seem to be. What gives? I walk over to the bed and sit carefully as if it will disappear if I move too fast. It is like a cloud. The gray and turquoise linens are fresh and new. There are even two pillows. I never had a proper pillow before, let alone two.
As far as I know, Diane is the only one who came down here while I was in the hospital. Could she have had all this done? Surely she'll get in trouble when Alpha Graham finds out. Then I remember she doesn't know how much the Alpha hates me. I don't know how I'm going to explain it when he finds out but I won't tattle on anyone for trying to help me either.
I put my new clothes away in the drawers of the nightstand. I stash the duffle bag under the mattress. Once I'm seventeen, I will figure out a way to get out of this place. Find a new pack that will accept a violet-eyed weakling of a wolf.
I sit at the desk and write a thank you letter to the doctor and Nurse Diane. I turn in the chair looking around the like-new room. I must have been daydreaming because I don't hear the door at the top of the stairs, but I hear two sets of footsteps coming down the hall. Instantly I freeze. I can smell Alpha Graham's scent getting closer. I don't know who the other scent belongs to.
Instinctively, I scramble and stand in the middle of the room just as they get to the doorway. He leans against the frame and crosses his arms in front of himself. My whole body trembling as he stares. My eyes are glued to the ground. I definitely don't want him to see my new eye color shining through.
"C-can I help y-you, Alpha Graham?"
"That little stunt you pulled cost me a lot of money," he says with a calm, gravelly voice, "And when you cost me money, you cost my whole family money."
"I'm sorry, sir," I apologize. I have no idea what stunt he is talking about. I look up just enough to see Ryan, the Alpha's son, also standing in the doorway.
Ryan takes a step closer and I can feel tears sting the corners of my eyes as my arms shake uncontrollably. How am I going to face him at school? As far as I know, he had no idea I live down here. He is going to tell everyone for sure.
"Surgery and hospital stays aren't cheap, Kas," Alpha Graham sneers from the doorway, "And do you know how disgusting the food has been for the past two and a half days?"
I just nod, still looking at the ground. I'm not trying to argue with a lunatic. It isn't my fault I had to have surgery. He's the one who broke a bottle and threw me into the broken pieces! If he hadn't, I would have been just fine. I would have been able to bounce back the next day and make breakfast like I was supposed to, even if I was banged up.
There is a pause and he finally growls, "Where did all this furniture come from? Did you steal it?”
“N-no, sir. I-I...it was here when I g-got back from the hospital wing. I don't know wh-who brought it.”
"You owe me, Kas Latmus. And whoever turned your room into the Ritz-Carlton. You'll work in the packhouse until you pay back every cent. For the rest of your life if necessary. No more school. You don't need education to cook and clean."
He uses his Alpha tone. I cannot disobey. With those words, the small flame of hope in my heart extinguishes. I don't get paid so I don't know how I could ever pay back any debt. Luna Caroline told me years ago that the room in the dungeon was payment enough for my services. I'm less than an omega now. I am a slave.
"Ryan, teach her a lesson for wasting our money."
Tears stream down my face as the reality of my fate sets in. Alpha Graham is passing the torch of his cruelty down to his son. But I know better than that. He will never stop hurting me.
Ryan reaches forward and claps the back of my neck. He forces me into a bowing position and growls deeply, "You should be grateful my father doesn't banish you. If you were a rogue, I would make damn sure you never made it to the border of the territory."
A squeak escapes my throat. I'm so scared I feel like I'm going to pass out. I can feel blackness in the edges of my vision as my heart races.
Ryan turns to his father, "Don't worry, Alpha. I've got this situation covered."
I hear Alpha Graham's footsteps walk back down the hallway as he leaves the dungeon. Ryan tightens his grip on my neck, extending his wolf claws, making me yelp. As soon the door slams, Ryan releases my neck and kneels in front of me. His face is contorted with anger. His eyes flicker black as his wolf, Dagger, comes to the surface. He grabs my shoulders, shaking me roughly, "What the Hell did you do to make him so mad?" Why isn't he beating me like he told Alpha Graham he would? I stiffen my whole body, avoiding eye contact with him. I'm shaking so badly, I can't even speak now. The thought of two people beating me regularly for the rest of my life...it just can't be real. Can it? How can the Goddess allow this to happen? I want to die. That's not an exaggeration. That's not me being dramatic. Please, Goddess, don't let this happen. Just let me die. I shake so badly that I fall to my knees. I start to sob hysterically and my brain shuts down from being able to think rationally. R
The next month and a half are the worst of my life. Thank Goddess for Lex. She keeps me going. Any motivation I ever had is gone now. Instead of just breakfast and dinner, now I make lunch too and I'm still on pantry duty. Every moment of my day is filled with work from the time I wake up until the time I crash in my bed. Lex convinces me to enjoy the time that she and I get to spend together, which is when I'm cooking meals. I find I actually do enjoy cooking while Lex is with me. No one comes to bother me, so we get to have great conversations without interruptions. In the end, I have created something people will enjoy. I even found a couple of recipe books in the back of one of the kitchen cupboards and taught myself some new techniques and dishes to make. Everything else in my life is complete shit. Alpha Graham allows pack members to hit me and verbally abuse me and they take full advantage at every opportunity. He comes to my room multiple times a week to beat me and berate me
**Trigger Warning - This chapter has sensitive content related to S.A.** Sam scoots back on his backside away from me, wide-eyed, then clambers up and runs away as fast as he can. Suddenly, I'm thrust back into my normal state of mind and I fall back to the ground, exhausted. My hands are no longer glowing but they feel like they are on fire and full of static electricity. "Lex! What was that?" I scold her, but mostly because it scared me. "I couldn't help it. He was threatening us." "Okay, but what was with the glowy purple, burny hands thing?! That's not normal!" "Kas, we've been through this. We are a child of the Moon Goddess. We are special. The 'glowy purple, burny hands thing' is a gift from our mother. There is more too. You will see after we shift for the first time. Until then, I'm not strong enough to show you. Besides, it isn't like I hurt him; his wolf will heal him before he is back in his office." "I-I don-, wait, you mean the Moon Goddess is my actual mom? Like
I finish pantry duty, making sure everything is set in the guest rooms. I had Sam order bouquets for each of the suites as an extra touch. In the guest Alpha's suite, I also add a bottle of champagne. If this is the last thing I ever get to do, I want it to be something that makes someone else happy. It is almost one-thirty in the morning before I plop into bed, exhausted. It has been a shit day. If Luna Caroline has anything to do with it, it will probably be my last. Lex is exhausted too. She stops sulking long enough to tell me she needs me to shift, but I can't. I have no time or energy. I keep promising her I will, but I feel like I've broken that promise. I float off to sleep to the sounds of her whimpering in my head while I cry into the pillow. To my surprise, my alarm wakes me in the morning. Lex makes me promise to hang on for one more day. We go through the motions of the life I hate. While I'm getting ready, I look in the mirror to find my hair is completely silvery white
I make a four-course meal of Caesar salad, bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizers, beef wellington with braised Brussels sprouts for the main dish, and a key lime pie for dessert. I also make bruschetta, crostinis, tomato fritters, mini calzones, assorted veggie trays with dip, and chocolate truffles to serve for the party. I finished the desserts and veggie trays between breakfast and lunch so there was less for me to worry about now. I realize Lex's advice of finding happiness in cooking has helped me enjoy making this dinner. Maybe because I'm serving people other than my pack or maybe it's because I'm making special food, not just the regular stuff I make for the pack? Either way, I don't mind my work today. I feel a sense of pride in it. There are servers for dinner service since it's a formal event. I stay in the kitchen and make sure everything is plated and going out the door in perfect condition. I'm in the zone, as they say. I peek out from the kitchen after each course is served
I wake up feeling woozy, laying on my stomach in my bed. What the Hell? Was last night some sort of weird dream? I think the Alpha from Blood River attacked me. No. That doesn't seem right. As hard as I try, I can’t remember the details. I hear unfamiliar voices in the hallway but I also hear the doctor and nurse Diane. There is a large man, wearing all black, standing in the doorway with his back facing me. I realize I'm not wearing a shirt. I'm only covered by a sheet and my back is covered in bandages. "Lex, are you there?" I ask, suddenly feeling scared. "I'm here, Kas," Her voice is soft and far away. "Are you okay, Lex? I'm so sorry," I can feel her weakness and pain. Tears sting my eyes. "You have nothing to apologize for, Kas. I'll be alright. You were strong. You held out as long as you could. I tried to slow down time to give you more time to get help but it made me weaker." "Wait, that was you?" "Well, yeah, but it didn't work the way it was supposed to. I can explain
Bronx's POV As soon as my guard, Tyree, told me an omega was trying to get in my suite, I left the party and rushed upstairs. My wolf, Saint, urged me to hurry. “Something’s wrong. We need to get to her now,” he growls. I don’t have any pack secrets in the suite but that doesn't mean I want a stranger going in without my permission. As we turn the corner, we see a scrawny little girl at the end of the hall struggling to push open the heavy door of my suite. The scent of fresh rain and lilacs wafts in the air, somehow making me feel less angry. The girl looks up at us from under her baseball cap when Tyree yells at her. I can’t see her face from the shadow of the hat, but I don’t need to. I’m immediately drawn to her. My heart almost skips a beat. “Mate,” Saint cries out, taking over control of my body. He strides over and roughly pushes her against the door. I feel my fangs extending as I deeply breathe in her scent. “Saint, don’t you DARE mark her,” I warn, pulling on his con
Bronx's POV After about fifteen minutes of failed attempts to try to convince Kas to come out from under the bed, I call Lenora and a nurse to help coax her out. I go to my room to shower and change while they do that. Lenora meets me out in the hallway before I can go back into Kas’s suite. “Is she alright?” I ask, searching Lenora’s eyes for the truth. “Yeah, but that whole thing exhausted her. She is back in bed sleeping,” she admits, shoving her hands in her pockets. "Bronx, I know I told you to be here and be with Kas, but maybe you should go get some sleep yourself," She looks at me sympathetically, "I cant believe you were so distracted that she was able to break your nose. You have to take care of yourself if you're going to take care of her." I sigh in frustration and rub my hands over my face, “I’m fine, Lenora.” "No. You’re not fine. An eighty pound she-wolf just broke Bronx Mason’s nose. Does that sound fine to you?,” her tone is forceful, “I'll stay here for a few