That isn‘t fair. I object immediately. And it isn‘t ethical, how can you abide bringing an innocent child into your troubles.
You mean the way you oh so ethically chose to hide your Volana daughter in a pack you know is incapable of safeguarding her, all the while knowing the Calypsos are after you? Bastien growls, genuine anger in his voice.
From the sounds of it we wouldn‘t be any safer in Elysium. I rebut, conveniently omitting the fact that I know we‘re safer here because his saboteur is far from our only antagonist.
At least in Elysium there‘s an Alpha capable of protecting you. He rumbles. Now come on, out with it, who is her father?
Why do you even care, Bastien? I exclaim. She‘s not yours so why does it matter whose she is?
He prowls forward, circling me ominously. Because until you give me another viable candidate I‘m not going to believe she isn‘t mine. His molten eyes flash. And because if she is mine, then you‘re in trouble for a lot more than faking your death.
For the last time, I grind out, I did not fake my death!
Then who did? He thunders.
Probably your damned saboteur! I throw back, narrowing my eyes to slits. Or maybe it‘s the person who set the fire after locking me in the closet. I can‘t imagine they were very amused when they realized I escaped.
Bastien freezes. What are you talking about?
What, you didn‘t think it was an accident did you? I goad him, feeling particularly feisty in my wolf‘s skin. And I just magically got. locked inside in the small window of time your mother was gone.
No, of course we assumed it was murder at the time. Bastien combats. I just
What? I prompt. Thought a fake body eliminated the element of foul play?
Then you saw who did it? Bastien questions urgently.
Saw them, spoke with them, the whole nine yards. I bare my fangs, and by the way Mr. Alpha Protector, that wasn‘t even the first time they tried to kill me.
Too late, I realize I might have bitten off more than I can chew. Bastien has gone from circling me to stalking me into the hillside. You need to start talking right now, Selene.
You have to choose. I double down. I can tell you who fathered Lila, or I can tell you who tried to kill me. Which will it be?
I want you to think very carefully, Selene. Bastien threatens, If this is really the way you want to play this?
Am I to take it that your answer is neither? I drawl.
I jump out of the way just in time to dodge Bastien‘s pounce, trying to put some distance between us as the larger wolf turns to follow me. And this is how you treat your mate‘? I say with faux disbelief. I‘d hate to see how you treat your enemies.
Keep digging little wolf. Bastien purrs, making my hackles raise. He stalks me for another long moment, Is this little game of yours really more important to you than getting back to Lila?
I falter at my daughter‘s name, pausing just long enough for Bastien to make his move. He lunges forward and catches my scruff between his teeth, holding me in place but not applying any pressure. I wriggle and squirm but he simply pulls his head up and lifts my feet off the ground, leaving my paws bicycling in the air. Yield. He commands.
I make the most pathetic sounding whimper I can, and the big brute actually snorts. Nice try baby, you forget my wolf can sense yours‘ emotions. Now submit to your Alpha.
Not a chance, Drake is my Alpha.
Bastien‘s answering snarl is so vicious I actually do whimper now, tucking my tail between my legs and trying to curl my legs up to protect my belly. Bastien sets my paws on the ground but doesn‘t release my scruff.
Is Drake Lila‘s father? Bastien asks.
pause to think, it‘s the most believable answer, but it‘s also the one most likely to enrage him. What if he is?
Bastien‘s next words take me completely by surprise. Is he the one you were in love with while we were together? The one you loved for 15 years.
What? I croak dumbly.
You heard me. Bastien replies.
What in the goddess‘s name is he talking about? The only person I‘ve loved for that length of time is Bastien. How would he even know about that? I don‘t think he remembers meeting me and even if he did, it would be quite a leap to assume I held onto any feelings for him.
I didn‘t even meet Drake until your Father‘s birthday. I assure him, You know, the time he saved my life because you left me alone with a pack of she–devils?
He ignores the accusation. Is he Lila‘s father?
When I don‘t reply, Bastien gives me a little shake, and the word tumbles from my lips before I can stop it, Yes! I exclaim, Alright? Yes, Drake is Lila‘s father.
His hold on my nape softens slightly, and I can feel his disappointment through our bond. Then, another feeling filters through, a slight tinge of betrayal, Did you... Was she conceived while we were together?
Of course not. I answer immediately. You would have known. You would have smelled him on me. No, unlike you, I was faithful.
Confusion unclenches the massive wolf‘s jaw, and I glance back over my shoulder to look up at Bastien as he thinks, What are you saying? I was always faithful to you.
You don‘t need to bother lying. Bitterness coats my tongue. I‘m over it.
Selene, I‘m not lying. Bastien claims fervently.
Oh please. I roll my eyes, You and Arabella weren‘t exactly subtle, the nights out, midnight rendezvous, jewelry shopping trips. The entire pack knew you were sleeping together.
That‘s ridiculous, I told you yesterday that there‘s nothing between Arabella and I. Bastien offers the lie so earnestly I almost think he believes it. A long time ago, I thought about marrying her, but that was before I met you.
Goddess, you must really believe I‘m stupid. I shake my head, trying to stand and failing when one of Bastien‘s large paws lands on my shoulder, keeping me pinned beneath him. I might not have had an education, Bastien, but I‘m not a complete moron.
Where is this coming from, Selene? He fairly explodes, You were victim of enough rumors that I should think you wouldn‘t be susceptible to believing them about others.
They weren‘t rumors Bastien! I cry. Arabella confirmed it to my face – multiple times!
For the first time since our argument began, Bastien backs away from me, giving me space to stand. You had to have misunderstood.
promise you I didn‘t. I hiss. She was very protective of your relationship. I didn‘t question Drake when he told me you two were going to be married, because I ran into you the day you were picking out her engagement ring.
Appearing truly baffled, he furrows his brow, that day in the mall? She was helping me pick out a necklace for you.
If that‘s true, then why didn‘t you ever give it to me? I question.
Oddly enough, my father‘s murder was something of a distraction. He snipes.
Bastien, she told me point blank that you were leaving me for her. I enunciate each word, speaking slowly to ensure my point is driven home. She‘s the one who told me you and I were mates, but that you chose her instead.
Selene, Bastien beseeches me, I had no idea any of that was happening. I knew she hadn‘t let go of the idea of marrying me, but I had no idea her jealousy was that extreme or that she would go to such lengths to separate us.
| snort, if only he knew.
What? He asks immediately.
I think you underestimated her even more than you underestimated me. I state icily, And that‘s saying something
By which you mean...? He prods.
For the love of the Goddess, she faked a kidnapping, Bastien! I exclaim, wishing I were in my human form so I could gesticulate.
Wait, slow down, she faked the kidnapping? He parrots unhelpfully.
And that‘s far from the worst. I blurt out the words before I can stop myself, She tried to push me down the stairs when she found
What? Bastien asks sharply. When she found out what?
Pulling myself together with a deep breath, I pull a quick diversion. You think rumors and lies are the worst she‘s capable of? || insinuate, watching his wolfish expression closely. If what you‘re telling me is true and you really don‘t have a relationship with Arabella, then you‘ve got bigger problems than saboteurs. I announce. Because Arabella is the one who set the fire that was supposed to have killed me.