© 2015, Elizabeth Dadelik

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My father wasn't always a bastard. There was a time when I loved him with all my heart and believed he would protect me. The thought that his actions would have resulted in my mate rejecting me was unfathomable.

My childhood memories of him were always filled with love and fairness. Growing up he was pretty much the ideal dad. He trained my soccer team, went to every school play and bought me ice cream when it rained. I remember one day breaking my arm. He ran all the way to the hospital, never once jarring me.

People said that he used to be a rebel when he was younger, petty theft and joyrides. The defining change was when he met my mom. He had walked into a store, wanting to rob the place. Instead he looked into the eyes of his mate. Instantly he wanted to be a better man for her. The change was so profound; my mother had won over the respect and admiration of the entire pack.

As a result, everyone welcomed her into the pack and supported my dad's choice to change her to a wolf. She underwent the change without hesitate, grateful that it meant that she would have a longer life with him. Their love was intentional, profound and all consuming. I grew up seeing what a mate did, that they loved you without conditions, protected you with all their hearts and made your life fulfilled.

Then things changed.

My mother had gone to visit her brother. I was writing exams at school and my dad had to stay for a pack meeting so we couldn't go with her. She insisted on going and my father caved despite his concern of her traveling alone. She promised to stop and rest at a hotel for the night. Instead she drove straight through, wanting to surprise us with an earlier arrival.

My mom had underestimated just how tired she was.

The police say that she had fallen asleep at the wheel. Her car was found at the bottom of a ravine,the steering wheel had crushed her chest, trapping her in the car. As a werewolf, she would have been able to survive if she had gotten out of the car. Her crushed ribs would have realigned, the punctured holes in her lungs and heart would have healed over. However she had sustained a head injury, rendering her unconscious. She became a prisoner of the mangled steel and bleed out. It took us three days to find her. The worst part was that she was only three hours away from home.

At the age of sixteen I lost the person who inspired every dream, hope and love that I had ever had. The lost had left me deeply scarred and broken. However the impact on my father was a thousand times worst. When he found out that she had died, he lost all reason and went on a rampage. It took eight grown werewolves to hold him down. I would never forget how he had to be carried away, crying sobs of anguish and pain.

After the funeral, he locked himself in his room inconsolable. I gave him his space, thinking he just needed a period to mourn before he would come back. I didn't know that the person who would return would be the rebel of his youth. Only this time he was a shell of a man, filled with anger and bitterness. On good days he would lock himself in his study with a bottle of Jack Daniels to keep him company. On a bad day, he would finish several bottles of whiskey and pour out his anger on any available ear.

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