“Sweetie, I know you’re still in pain right now but can you please tell us what happened?” My mother’s soothing tone brought new tears to my eyes with the realization that I can no longer hide things. I can’t tell them it was Cameron and why he did what he did without telling them about Dominic and I can’t tell them that either without going back to the words that still weigh heavily on my heart and make me wish I’d been able to go through with my plan to leave this life. Maybe then my brother wouldn’t be angry with me, my parents wouldn’t be standing here practically coddling me like a child and Dominic...had I been successful, I would’ve never known what it’s like to be kissed passionately and to be lost in those amazing eyes of his.
Looking up at him I swallowed past my inhibitions and found the courage I needed. He was just a few feet away and something in me said that wouldn’t change any time soon. I pulled in my lips to moisten them before speaking but I was cut off by shouting, a very loud unmistakable growl, and more shouting that I am willing to bet came from Kenya. I couldn’t make out what she was said but she definitely didn’t sound happy.
A blurr of darkness shot past the open door then came back shocking me to my very core. Brown eyes gazed into mine with each step he took but it wasn’t quite like it used to be. Instead of the instantaneous love and feeling like the world stopped around us I can feel the many strings of anger pulling within me and quickly found myself glancing behind him at Dominic.
“Jade I’m so sorry!” A very messy looking Cameron approached the end of the bed holding out an arrangement of orange and yellow flowers with a trembling hand that I made no move to receive. Hold up, did he just say he was sorry? “Please I-” he stopped, his body tensed visibly. After sniffing the air hard and loudly he dropped the flowers, whipped around, and growled the last thing I ever expected him to say.
“You! You’re the one that marked my mate!”
“Your mate?” Dominic wasted no time replying, his eyes flashed with anger causing me to internally panic as the need to calm him became almost too much to bare. “You mean the one you didn’t want?”
“It doesn’t matter if I wanted her or not! I never formally rejected her so she still belongs to me and you had no right marking what is MINE!” He roared the last word shaking harder and harder as he and Dominic slowly advanced on one another and began walking around in circles sizing each other up.
“What is he talking about Jade? Cruz?” My father looked from me to Dominic then back at me joining my mother and twin who were staring at me, waiting for answers as well.
“I’ll tell you what I’m talking about!” Cameron snarled, stopped his pacing but didn’t turn his back on Dominic once, “The other day I experienced a throbbing pain and lost contact with my wolf. When I saw Jade earlier she...smelled like him and wears his mark!”
Simultaneously everyone looked from me scoldingly. I should have known that apology was bullshit but I never would have guessed he’d turn this all around on me, play the victim and once again make everything seem deliberate.
“Had you been a real man and accepted her for who she is maybe she wouldn’t have ended up in my arms and with my mark!”
Despite my parents and brother protesting I yanked the IV from my hand and the oxygen tube from my nose, pushed out of my mother’s attempt to hold me back and jumped between the two of them with my back against Dominic’s chest and my hand on Cameron’s chest as he continued to try to get around me.
“Cut it out Cam!” I screamed so loud I felt my own head throb from the echoing. “You’re the whole reason why this has happened--why EVERYTHING has happened so how dare you come in here pointing fingers and fight over me like you really give a damn! Dominic is right! Had you accepted me for who I am and what I’m not, he wouldn’t have been able to claim me!” The air around me grew thick and warmed as a sharp pain moved through my stomach and nausea hit hard. Tiny beads of sweat formed along my hairline and slid down the back of my neck despite the cool air circulate through the room from the vent just above the bed.
“So all of this is true?” The look on my mother’s face mirrored the same confusion and what looked like disappointment my father and brother expressed through raised brows and twisted lips.
“Yes Mom, it is. Cameron not only rejected me, he cheated on me at Kenya’s party because I’m a ‘defect’; an embarrassment to wolf-kind.” I looked at Cameron when I said this, watching his shoulder slowly slump under my scrutiny. “So I went to jagged point thinking I had nothing to live for but Dominic saved me. Things went a little too far and his wolf took over, claiming me as a result and when Cameron saw the mark earlier, he lashed out and tried to override Dominic’s claim which is why I’m here bleeding from my neck like a fucking fountain!” A heaviness falls over my chest with tightening in my ribs. Each breath is taking a lot from me and it’s becoming harder and harder to see straight.
As if he couldn’t see that I was in pain, Cameron’s hands shot out grabbing me by my shoulders and pulled me into him.
“It doesn’t matter what was said and done! You’re still MY mate and if I have to kill this bastard to prove my point, so be it!” And with that, all hell broke lose! Cameron shifted into a two-toned tan and golden brown wolf knocking me to the floor lunging at Dominic who was too quick for him even in human form. He easily dodged the attack by ducking under him and shifted into a pure chocolate brown wolf, standing over me on all fours protectively. For a moment I was in awe, amazed at the beauty of his wolf so much that I hadn’t realized that my father was pulling me back by my underarms.
They were snapping at each other knocking things out of place including my bed which was now away from the wall and sitting diagonally. Being that Dominic was trained by my father, it was easy to see how he was dominating Cameron by pushing at his muzzle with his paw exposing his neck several times to show that any time he could have taken the kill shot.
“Cruz! Cameron! Stop this right now!” My father’s commands fell upon deaf ears, were drowned out by the ferocious growls that had all the nurses crowding around the door. Finally, I’d had enough, wiggled out of my father’s grip with the intention of jumping between them but just as I made it to my feet a wave of dizziness overcame me with a strange burning feeling spreading throughout my skin.
“Jade?” I hear my name but can’t pinpoint what direction it came from. My stomach feels like something inside of it is trying to rip its way out. I fall to my knees clutching my stomach as now my entire body feels extremely hot and my heart pumps wildly.
I must have hit the cold linoleum floor harder and blacked out because when I came to I was back in bed and couldn’t feel my arms or my legs. My Dad was standing over me looking panicked with everyone else including a very naked Dominic standing behind him while from the corner of my eyes I saw Dr. Hemming and a few nurses shaking their heads seemingly puzzled over something.
I went to speak but all that came out was a whimper I didn’t recognize. A hand brushed over my face which burned along with the rest of my body still, drawing my eyes to my father once again.
“It’s alright Baby! Everything is alright!”
Why is he so...happy? I tried to ask what happened again only to be met by a strange sound mimicking a whine. Dad looked down at me as if he’d understood what I was asking and smiled.
“You shifted Baby...you’re a beautiful white wolf.”