I looked at Conrad. His stunned silence had continued despite becoming aware of the seriousness of moment. This was what he wanted all along. A chance to acknowledged my failures as a mate and as a person. What was he waiting for?
“Well? Come on Conrad. You have our attention. What is it that you have wanted to say?” I asked, my voice hardening despite my attempts to keep it neutral. Meanwhile, Conrad just stared at me, like a dear caught in headlights. I sighed, looking at Chris for some direction. I wanted to finish this discussion today and get them off my land by nightfall. For that I needed Conrad to state whatever he wanted too.
“Uh. I’m not sure where to start or what I am supposed to say.” Said Conrad, looking to his father for guidance, his voice shaky. Don rolled his eyes at him. I found myself surprised at his response. Since leaving the medical rooms, Don had been acting off with his leaders. Not out of line, but still close enough to notice.
“Just be honest.” Said his dad, still looking down, unable to lift his head. Conrad swallowed and then said something I never expected him to say.
“I’m sorry. I am so genuinely truly sorry for not believing you.”
I was stunned. I expected him to give some half-ass excuse to his actions, not an apology.
“I shouldn’t have assumed you were acting on your fathers behalf. Even if I had, I should have given you a chance to explain. More importantly I shouldn’t have determined you were guilty. You were innocent and we, no, I should have waited for evidence before I thought otherwise. I’m also sorry that I rejected you. That day in the diner, I was caught off guard. I let my emotions rule and allowed irrational thought to lead me. I laid my hands on you. As a leader I should have protected you. I didn’t. As a man, I shouldn’t have laid my hands on you. I did. As someone who was to love you, I wounded you. I know that your voice will forever be damaged because of that day. I’m sorry. If I could take it back, I would. I would take all of it back.” He said, looking at me, his eyes filled with sympathy.
“I am sorry that I cheated on you. That I slept with so many women. I knew I was causing you pain. The truth was that I wanted to. I wanted to hurt you over and over because your father hurt us. I wanted someone to pay and I took it out on you. I knew I was causing you pain, but I never cared. I got caught up in loving you but needing to hate you. I needed someone to hate. The problem was that it was so easy to lose perspective and to miss all the warnings and signs I should have headed to. I am sorry for that. I am also sorry that I treated you like a one night stand. I shouldn’t have done that.” He said. However he bit his lip, trying to hold back something. Something he wanted to hide. My instincts went off.
“But?” I asked filling in the word he wanted to say.
“But, you had a choice too. You didn’t have to sleep with me. You could have walked away. It takes two to tango as they say.” He said, blushing faintly at having to discuss his indiscretions.
My jaw dropped in shock.
“So you think I just wanted to sleep with you? Like you wanted to with me?” I asked in disbelief.
“Well, yeah. Why else would you have come in costume?” He replied his eyebrows rising at the notion. I felt my heart rate spike.
“Let’s take a couple steps back here. See because this is how I remember things were. For more than a year before that party, I would have people spit on me when I walked by. Woman would come up to me and slap me without warning or reason. I had to buy food in the next town because no one would serve me! The previous pack event that I went to, I was turned away and left with a concussion as a parting gift. For a year, I never had anyone look at me with anything other than disgust. In order for me to be around people I had to literally transform in someone else. For one night I wanted to be normal! I wanted to be apart of a pack again. I wanted to belong and be around the people I had pledge my life too. That’s why I was in a costume!” I said, unable to hide the hurt in my voice.
“But you didn’t have to sleep with him either. You could have stayed at the party and just left when he approached you.” Said Paul, echoing his son’s thoughts.
“You right. I did have a choice. Instead, like a fool I chose to ignore my values and beliefs. I mistook your words Conrad as a declaration of your love. After all, I thought when a person says something so serious they mean it. What did you say that night? ‘You are different. I think I might have a chance with you. You make me feel alive, you make me want to live but most of all you make me feel like I am home.’ Like an idiot I thought you meant those words. After all, they were the most precious thing I had ever heard. They melted away every bad thing that had happened before then and I loved you. In that moment, I utterly and completely was devoted to you. I thought you had accepted me, loved me and wanted me. That you had seen through the costume and finally wanted your mate. I guess I was so desperate for love I would have clung to anything that gave the illusion of it. I must have been an idiot for thinking sex equated with love. After all, just because I waited for my mate, why would he consider sex to be valuable and precious? I don’t know what is more humiliating, having to have heard you say those same exact words to someone else an hour later, having a mate treat me like a one night stand or having to retell my most shameful experience to you because you never even noticed it.” I said, my words void of all emotion, but my eyes filled with all the pain and disgrace I felt.
|Sophia Bush||as Sarah Crossen|
|Josh Brolin||as Rogan|
|Robert Downey Jr.||as Ben|
|Meryl Streep||as Dr Jacobs|
|Sean O'pry||as Conrad|
|Eric Close||as Richard|