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Rejected Mate and Following Fate novel Chapter 17

Chapter 17: The Attack

"All wolves have been called to the great hall, immediately" He drops his hand from my jaw and jumps to his feet, all naked glory of him and I avert my eyes, suddenly aware of this fact and instantly shy. He has your typical alpha package going on and it's not exactly easy not to look at. Generally, the males have something to be proud of and Colton is no exception. My face reddens, heat rising up my cheeks, and I huddle myself up, still recovering from this shitstorm we just put ourselves through and now blushing to my core because I ogled him completely starkers and realized he's well endowed.

I wait for him to leave, hoping to pull myself together with a little headspace and try not to also check out his ass, but he pauses when he sees I make no effort to follow.

"That means you too…. my goal's to have you initiated into this pack, Lorey. No matter what it takes. My father can't keep denying us if you're accepted. We need to have a plan…. steps to being together. I don't want to keep going through the emptiness of the last weeks and denying this between us. What I said in the forest; I was wrong." He shrugs as if he's reciting some bland nothing of speeches and not literally altering everything I thought was happening in the last weeks of agonizing life.

My eyes dart to him, shocked, yet not. Deep down I guess I knew this was his motive and his feelings on where we should end up. I'm just not so sure anymore. The words I said in anger still ring true and my heart is telling me that a bond should be stronger than his father's command. Can't shift that disappointment in him, because I feel like he was too quick to give me up.

I'm a whirlwind of emotions and so much has happened in the last twelve hours that I need some time to let my brain catch up. I've been through trauma, changes, a whirlwind, and I need to process it all. I can't tell which way is up, and I'm no longer in control of a single tiny thing in my own life. Not even where I'll sleep tonight, let alone live tomorrow. 

"Come. Please. You can't say here in this mess, and we need to get you some clothes." He stretches his hand to me extending his palm outwards and I brush it away.

"Why can't you let me leave to figure this out of my own. This is the last place on earth I want to be." Tears begin to fall as self-pity hits hard and I guess it's because I'm physically and mentally exhausted too. This is not how I thought my life would go and from the day I turned, it's been hell and heartache all rolled into one.

He exhales heavily, frustrated with me, and yanks me to my feet with a forceful lunge at my arms instead. Pulling me up despite my refusal. Taking charge and not in the mood for arguments.

"Listen to me. I need you to comply for a little while and we'll figure this out, together. I don't want you to go. When this settles I'll go to the orphanage and pack up all your stuff, and we can talk out where we go from there; but right now, I need you to come with me and do as I say." He has that edge to his voice I usually hear when he's leading his pack around. It's the don't argue with me, commanding tone, of Prince. Santo.

What else can I do. I'm technically a prisoner here, with nowhere else to go. I'm on my feet, with a persistent pain in my ass bossing me around, in a house full of people who hate me. I literally only have him on my side to depend on, and only because the fates forced it. I have nowhere else, and if I'm being honest with myself, everything is too messy, my gifts too new, and my mental state a little too on the fragile side to be thinking about going anywhere alone. So, I nod reluctantly.

"Come on then. Stay close to me." Colton turns and leads the way, sensing I don't want or need him touching me and I do as he says. Staying right behind him, clutching my covering and wait while he grabs one, wrapping it on like a toga, and heads towards the door. If Carmen saw us now, naked with ripped bed sheets to cover our modesty, she would only assume the worst and I can't imagine that going down well at all. Shuddering at the possibility she might see us.

Within seconds we're in the hall, moving along the wide passage in semi darkness, due to all the boarded up windows and lack of lighting and he leads onwards, following some turns and a flight of stairs until we get to the floor below. I was put on the top floor in the far end of the house, away from everyone, and now we seem to be on the third floor, in a brighter corridor with doors all bearing names, and keypads on each.

Colton stops me with an arm, pushes me back around the corner we rounded and hushes me with a finger to my lips as two Santo pack members appear from a door opening, both walk out and head away from us, completely unaware of our presence. He makes us wait a second before leading the way again, halfway down the hall to the third door on the right and turns, using his hand on the pad, scanning his palm as it clicks open. His name's on the door, so I guess this is his room.

"Why are we hiding if you're taking me downstairs anyway?" I ask blatantly, composing myself since leaving that room and he slides an arm around me and shuffles me into the darkened space, pulling me in and closing the door behind us with a last outwards check of the hall. He walks off across the bedroom, towards a set of wooden doors in front of me, sliding them open to reveal wardrobes, and starts pulling out clothes in multiples of two. It's dull in here thanks to boarded windows but light is shining through the cracks brightly now, illuminating enough, telling me daylight has come.

I follow him, taking in the almost Scandinavian, Ikea style, and minimalism of his room. He likes space, and neatness, with very few items cluttering it up. Neutral tones, light woods, plants and lots of floor, and open calmness. It's clean and airy and almost obsessively organized.

"Carmen just needs to know I brought you in here and she'll go nuclear. It's best if I appear downstairs with you, where she's contained, because frankly, my ears, and my head, can't handle her gifts right now. She still thinks we have a future, and I need to talk to her about that." He carries on focusing on clothes, his tone level as though he hasn't just caused me pain with careless words.

It quietens me and that distant heartache and pang of jealousy finds its way back home to my stomach. In all this mess I was starting to wonder if our bond has been dented and if I was starting to feel differently about him. I guess I'm not that lucky, as my heart still seems very attached, despite everything. I'm mad at him, disappointed in him, but yet, I still yearn and love him. My soul still wants and needs him.

We dress quickly, although his clothes are baggy on me, and ill-fitting, but it's better than showing up in a rag and a smile. Following him close to his heel, leaving his room, we make our way down another two flights of sweeping staircase and two other levels before we end up back where I caused such a scene hours ago. That sweeping final stair to the main entrance which is now immaculately calm.

It's a lot cleaner and tidier now the debris is gone, and the front door closed, with the addition of several new heavy-duty locking mechanisms in place. The boarded glass panels are screwed on with braces over them for now, hinting that the threat of another attack is on Juan's mind.

Colton takes my hand in his unexpectedly, sliding strong fingers into mine and leads the way across the vast marble floor into a small corridor that runs away from the bathroom he put me in earlier. I don't reject his touch, needing it now I'm on a comedown of what happened upstairs. Once again vulnerable and out of my depth and clinging to him to take charge while in his domain. Drawing from his strength and ability to swagger through the worst kind of chaos.

We walk down the dark almost claustrophobic space, with voices, noises, lots of movement cascading our way, and follow two Santos we catch up with inside the most crowded room I've ever seen. It's hard to tell how big it would be empty, for it's packed solid with adult Santo wolves, mostly male, from all over, even the ones who don't reside in the pack house. Easily over a hundred or so, and they're all squeezed in, fighting for breathing space as we join right at the back, unseen.

There are several elders and the Shaman, right down at the front, standing on a low podium facing back at us all. Men I have never seen before in my life, standing behind them, and I guess these are the older generation of retired elders, coming out in our time of need. Mostly men in here as is the way when dealing with important matters, or femmes who have no children and are better suited to battle, as all of those who are not are home minding their little ones. Juan Santo is right in the center and he seems to be waiting for everyone to quiet before he starts. The overwhelming seriousness of this cascades around the room, thickening the atmosphere with a heady tension.

Colton pulls me in front of him, placing me right at his chest so he's up against my back, lacing his fingers into both of my hands from behind as they hang by my sides in the darkest of our shadows. He rests his chin against the back of my head, bringing his body to fit snugly into mine, so we are completely joined without it being obvious to those around us. It looks like two people standing close due to the crushing lack of space as our hands are concealed in darkness. He's a good head taller than me, so it's a natural position, and I glance around to see if anyone is staring, but they're all too focused on their alpha king.

"Quiet now" A voice from the front rows hushes the uneasy mumbling and scraping in the room and everyone stops talking, the atmosphere somehow heavier with the forced hush. Juan steps forward, although I can barely see him over the people in front of me and have to stand on my tip toes to get a proper view between heads. There's a moment of pause as he looks around us all, his eyes catching his son across the crowds and I can't miss the fleeting surge of anger as he realizes I'm right in front of him.


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