Thanks to bimiogun for the song suggestion! So...so good!! If you cry while listening to it, blame it on her. LOL
Chapter dedicated to HBFhelly. Thanks for reading and commenting! It's fascinating to me to read different reader perspectives because I find value in all of them and so far, your perspective is pretty spot on. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.
I cradled my head in my heads. My Wolf's howling had echoed in my mind, panic and devastation, ripping through her as she watched her mate walk away. But now, the only thing that remained was silence...
I needed to comfort her. She would make it through this, just as I would. But I was in no frame of mind to be of use to anyone right then. Tears coursed down my cheeks.
I had expected it would be hard to say goodbye to Leander, but I never anticipated to feel such emptiness and...lack of purpose. There was a gaping hole in my chest that I suspected would never be filled again.
I also hadn't expected Leander to bring up his mother right then, and I certainly wasn't emotionally prepared for the conversation, not while we were on the cusp of saying goodbye. I cringed as remembered the harsh words spoken. I wished there'd been a way to speak the truths of my heart without destroying him, but my chaotic frame of mind had resulted in cold, hard responses. Maybe a better shewolf could have come up with better words, but my own overwhelming pain and sorrow had made it impossible.
And it wasn't that I didn't want to stay. I did.
But the fact that Leander had killed my parents and my pack would always be between us.
In the back of my mind, the truth of the matter would always be there. I couldn't let it go. How did someone let something like that just go? And if I could never resolve myself to it, any future we had was doomed before it even started.
On one hand, I understood and couldn't deny his motivation for what he'd done. We were wolves who engaged in violent wars. Our packs had fought over territory as far back as I could remember. It was that understanding alone that allowed me to have any positive interaction with Leander. When he'd destroyed all of those I loved in my life, he'd done it out of loyalty and obligation to his own pack. I hated it but I understood it.
And my parents and pack were not innocent in the matter. They'd inflicted significant damage to Leander's pack over the years. I hadn't been surprised when Lucky told me our parents had killed Leander's mother because my father had always said, "The easiest way to take down a King was to take out his Queen."
Wolves didn't associate our hierarchy in royalty terms but the meaning behind the sentiment was relevant. And my father had been right. Their targeted strike resulted in exactly what he wanted—Alpha Cyril stepped down within six months of his mate's death, unable to manage his duties as Alpha and grieve at the same time, leaving Leander in his place.
And that was where my parents had gone wrong. They'd underestimated Leander. And in return, he'd taken his just revenge. I got that. I knew why he did it. I never needed him to tell me why he'd killed hundreds of people. We were at war and wars had casualties. It was as simple as that.
And even though we'd never discussed it, I was sure Leander's pack hadn't come out of the conflict unscathed either. Most certainly, they'd suffered losses as well.
And it was because I understood what drove his behavior that I was able to separate his two identities in my mind—avenging alpha versus loving mate—and still care for him.
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"Shh, little mouse, you don't have to run away..." my words were hypnotic, whispering into the magic of the atmosphere. "Spanking can be a form of pleasure, just as much as it can discipline." She gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head, spin...