• XXII •

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Once I step out of the SUV, I look up, seeing Rebecca standing on the front porch, her face contorted into a worried expression. I give her a tired smile to reassure her that I'm fine—at this moment.

The door behind me slams closed by Zeus. I crane my head up; Zeus looks down at me and bends down to peck my temple. My gray eyes flutter close as Zeus keeps his warm lips on my temple longer than normal. When he pulls back, I reach for his hand and give it a squeeze; we walk towards Rebecca.

Ryder, ahead of Zeus and me, greets Rebecca with a hug, saying something in her ear that I can't understand. Ryder pulls away and heads inside the mansion, probably looking for Caitlyn, while Rebecca stays standing on the porch.

I walk up the three porch steps, being careful to not slip on the ice, when Rebecca attacks me in a warm, motherly hug right as my feet hit the last step. My arms rush to be around her curvy waist, and my gray eyes fill with tears.

I then realize Rebecca has become a mother figure for me since the distance between my own mother and me is too great.

Rebecca releases me and holds me arm's length away from her, running her sharp eyes along my body. I assume she's checking me for injuries.

"Please, tell me you're okay, Aurora." Rebecca states.

"My neck is stiff, I'm tired, and I'm—" my stomach growls from hunger.

Amusement grows in her brown eyes, and chuckling, Rebecca releases my shoulders to open the front door. I glance over my shoulder looking for Zeus to only find him leaning against the SUV, watching me and his mother. I don't call out to him before walking inside the mansion because I know he'll be behind me sooner or later.

There's a deafening silence inside the mansion. A silence when you know there shouldn't be one. Rebecca leads me to the kitchen and gestures to the island's bar stool for me to sit on. I do so because the thought of eating any of Rebecca's cooking makes my mouth water and stomach grumble.

"Where is everyone?" I question.

Rebecca pulls out Tupperware from the kitchen and a plate from a cabinet. I squint my gray eyes to see what's inside the plastic containers. Rebecca opens the containers and forks out what looks to be pasta onto the plate before opening the microwave to warm up my dinner.

"Zeus thought it'd be best to not have any guests for dinner, because of what happened to you."

My brows furrow together. "But what about the pack members who take meals back to their home?" I demand. "I don't want family members to not have a meal because some bullshit witchcraft was cast upon me!"

The beeping of the microwave is the only noise. Rebecca takes out the plate, mixes the noodles once or twice, and sets the steaming hot plate in front of me on the island.

"Eat, Aurora. You are tired." Rebecca gives me a sharp look and glances at the pasta.

I sigh. "But the pack members—"

"Will be fine. Zeus has it taken care of." Rebecca interrupts.

My tense shoulders drop in defeat, and I'm relieved to know the pack member's will be okay. But in the back of my head, I remind myself to find a way to help the pack members any way I can. I also remind myself to talk to Zeus about it.

I'm surprised when a large yawn escapes me, immediately proving Rebecca's point that I'm tired. Rebecca quirks an eyebrow and waits for me to start eating.

I chow down on the delicious pasta and am surprised at how hungry I am. I'm finished with my meal in a span of short minutes. With my belly full, I inhale deeply as a wave of tiredness hits me.

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