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Not One of Them.

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Elaina’s POV

                I scream, jolting myself awake, my eyes darting the dark, vaguely familiar room, as I try to process my nightmare. A cold sweat is making my mate’s shirt stick to me – I still don’t know his damned name – and I feel tears running down my face as my already wobbly vision blurs even more. I draw my arms around my body, trying to hold myself together, as sobs rack through my chest and my shoulders shake. I feel flimsy, with each shudder, with every sob; fragile, and oh so close to breaking. I don’t know what to do to keep myself in one piece, staying the way that I am, instead of falling apart. I don’t even know if I want to keep myself together. Maybe I should just break. Before the abuse my pack did to me can finally catch up with my body and kill me off.

                That’s what my nightmare had been about; my death. Not the peaceful, easy one I had planned when I took that blade to my wrist almost a week ago; no, this one was where I died the way that healer said I would die. Writhing in pain, having is spread through my body in slow torrents, like fire intent on destroying an inch of me completely before it moved onto the next section of my body, leaving me convulsing and begging for the end.

                I hadn’t forgotten about the healer’s words; I knew that I would die in a month, give or take. And I knew that it would be hell, tormenting me until my body couldn’t take any more. But now, his warnings are in the forefront of my mind, taking up every thought I can create.

                My mate walks in, then, and I look away, feeling ashamed for my tears and hating the damned feeling of hope rising in my wolf. We’re going to die. Why can’t he just make it easier? Rather than pretending he cares, and filling my very soul with that awful sense of hope and longing.

                Out of the corner of my eye, I see him rush over to me, kneeling on the bed beside me. I stare at the wall in front of me, trying to keep my face blank as uncanny desperation rises within me. I want to throw myself into his arms, and let him hold me, and convince me it would be okay. But I know it wouldn’t, couldn’t, ever be okay, so I stay where I am.

                He reaches out to touch my cheek, his expression looking broken when he takes in my dishevelled, shaking appearance.

                “Don’t,” I whisper, my voice thick with my tears, as my body shivers, suddenly getting cold. He frowns, pausing his hand only an inch from the soft skin of my cheek, and drops it back down to his side.

                “What’s wron-” he starts, but I cut him off, more tears rolling through my body at the amount of care and worry held in his voice. I want to believe it’s true, so desperately that my heart aches, but I can’t. He can’t care about me.

                “Don’t,” I whisper again, squeezing my eyes shut as hard as I can as tears pour from under my eyelids, hunching my shoulders a little.

                “Look …” He trails off uncertainly, and I realize that he’s waiting for me to say my name.

                “Elaina,” I whimper, the tears keeping me from speaking properly.

                “Elaina,” he breathes, and his voice sounds like a caress, gently holding my name like a precious diamond. “Look, Elaina, I don’t know why you think that I’m going to hurt you, but I’m not. Okay?  Iswear to you. I would never, ever, even think about hurting you… You’re my mate. And you’re beautiful. In – what is it, six days? – you’ve become my whole world. I won’t hurt you; nobody will, ever again.”

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