Chapter Thirty-Eight - Influences

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"So you've forgiven him just like that?"

Kyle and I were taking a stroll through the castle gardens, arms intertwined like a couple from the eighteenth century. It was a frosty day but we were well bundled up. I did feel the tip of my nose starting to freeze but warmth radiated off of Kyle so it wasn't intolerable. I kicked a pebble with the toe of my combat boot. "I guess so..." My voice faded the moment my ears detected the lie. "I don't know."

"You've told him you've forgiven him. You told your father you've forgiven him. Why are you lying if you haven't?" He frowned.

"I'm not lying. I hate seeing him so upset especially when my forgiveness could alleviate the pain. But when I see Adrienne it just makes me remember everything all over again and it-" I heaved out a frustrated breath. I'd never wanted to be that girl, "-It drives me crazy." It was amazing how in minutes I was spilling my guts out to Kyle. He was the only person who was able to draw such raw honesty from me.

"You have every right, you know." He stopped. We were a couple feet from the fountain that Thomas and I had observed not too long ago. Before I'd been abducted. Before Maverick had found his mate. "You dropped everything to be with him and he goes and does something ridiculously stupid."

"Kyle." I cautioned warningly. Even though there was undeniable tension between Jacobi and me, it didn't mean I wasn't protective of him when others disapproved.

"What?" Kyle groaned in irritation, loosening his grip on my arm. "How can you defend him still? You just admitted that you were upset about what he did."

I bit my lip, considering Kyle's frustration. He was not the best person to have a conversation with about Jacobi. He was extremely biased but he wasn't completely wrong. Up to this point, I'd put Jacobi on this shiny pedestal. I saw him as a prince not as my mate. He seemed like perfection and I always thought I wasn't good enough for him. Now that I was mated to Darcy, after he'd abducted me so easily, it made me realize that Jacobi wasn't the glorious prince I'd painted him to be all this time. It made me realize that my insecurities were foolish. "I'm upset about what he did." I admitted. "But he isn't perfect."

***

"Having an illicit affair with your ex in your mate's own backyard? That's fresh."

I pressed a hand on my erratic heart, startled by the figure appearing from the corner of the hallway. Gaining my senses, I snapped, "Why don't you mind your own business, Adrienne?" The girl had some nerve.

"You don't even deny it?" She crossed her arms, red hair cascading down her shoulders like a bloody waterfall.

"Oh believe me, if anybody in this castle were having an affair it most certainly wouldn't be me." I shot her an accusatory look.

"Oh please," She rolled her eyes, "The colour green doesn't suit you, Alaska."

I continued to walk down the halls, trying my best to ignore her but it was futile, she was following me. "What the hell do you want?" I whirled around irately.

"Stop treating Jacobi like shit, he doesn't deserve it."

I narrowed my eyes, "You'll have to forgive me, but I'm not going to be taking advice on how to handle things with my mate from you."

"Why not?" A smug smirk tugged her plump lips upward, "I used to share his bed too."

The urge to slap her pulsed through me like the vibration of a heavy bass guitar. Taking a deep breath I forced myself to continue walking away. The sound of her heels clacking behind me was fair warning that she was still following me. "Seriously, what the hell?" I cried.

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