#Chapter 91 Faint
The ground trembles beneath my feet. I don’t think I can take another surprise this week. If what Arabella is saying is true, everything I thought I knew about my father-in-law, about this pack, is wrong.
“But,” The protest sounds feeble even to my own ears. “I can’t believe Gabriel would do that.”
“Selene, you’ve known him three years,” Arabella says gently. “I’ve known him since I was a child, please trust me when I say he is not what he seems. I promise you the Gabriel you see and the man he truly is, are two very different people.” She takes a sip of her coffee, clasping the mug with both hands to keep it from shaking. Slightly fortified by the rich drink, she levies me with her undivided attention. “He killed his own brother, do you really think he would bat an eye over killing a lesser pack member?”
“His brother tried to usurp him.” I hedge, recalling the details of the story. “There was an uprising, the entire pack was at risk.”
“So Gabriel says,” Arabella remarks deliberately, and I realize she has a point. I am too young to remember any details of the event, and everything I know about it now has come directly from the Alpha. “How many of us really know what happened that day? The entire city was evacuated into the mountain shelters – no one was allowed out. Only pack leaders and enforcers were actually there to see what went down.”
“What exactly are you saying?” I ask, trying to cut through the complicated histories and vague accusations to reach the crux of her point
“I’m saying that Gabriel wants something from you, badly enough that he would kill to get it.” Arabella reaches out and lays her hand over mine, “Stop and ask yourself, is there anything you can think of that might account for this?”
My stomach lurches. Is it possible I misjudged Gabriel? After all, I’ve learned the hard way never to trust anyone. Was I really so naive and foolish that I bought into more lies the moment I tasted freedom? In those early days I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly
The Alpha and his family were the first people to treat me with kindness in almost a decade – was I so starved for affection that I could repeat my mistake with Garrick?
“There’s something, isn’t there?” Though she still seems very solemn, a faint light appears in her dark irises. “You know why he wanted you as his daughter-in-law.”
“What about Bastien?” I ask, trying to distract her from this line of thought.
“Bastien was still a boy during the uprising. Please don’t judge him for his father’s misdeeds.” The blonde’s gaze is open and imploring, “We just want to be together.” She confides hopefully. “We’ve done everything Gabriel wanted, we’ve lost so many years and the last thing either of us want is to cause you pain. But as long as you’re here, I’m afraid Gabriel is never going to let that happen.”
My brow furrows, “The rejection ceremony is already being planned, it’s between Bastien and I. Gabriel can’t stop it.”
“Honey, he’s the Alpha.” She reminds me, “Of course he can.” Her teeth dent her lower lip, “And even if he lets it go forward, there are other ways to get to you.”
I try to imagine my father-in-law raising a hand against me, betraying me as Garrick had. I can’t see it, but then I never saw Garrick coming either. I feel dizzy with the strain of processing this new information. “You truly believe Gabriel is a threat to me?” | murmur uncertainly.
“Yes.” Arabella answers sadly, “I do.”
7 Days Until the Rejection Ceremony
After spending most of my day Friday on the floor of my bathroom, and now half of Saturday too, I’ve come to the conclusion that the doctor who came up with the term “morning sickness” was definitely a man. No one who has actually experienced the affliction would call it something so patently false.
I haven’t been able to keep any food or water down in three days. At first I tried to replace the nutrients I was losing, but I learned quickly there was no use. That’s about the time I stopped trying to do anything productive. After constantly running back and
forth to the bathroom every ten minutes I finally gave up, deciding to just stay put
Honestly it almost makes me miss being poisoned. Wolfsbane is excruciating but the pain only lasts a few minutes, this is neve ending and I end up every bit as drained and exhausted when the day is done.
I haven’t seen Bastien since the disastrous night of our anniversary, or heard any more from Arabella. Admittedly, living in a bathroom does limit one’s social calendar, but no one seems to have noticed my absence from the pack house either
Our conversation at the cafe has given me a great deal to think about, and in truth I’m no closer to understanding the truth than! was before. I don’t want to believe Gabriel is capable of the things Arabella suggested, but that’s exactly why I have to take the allegations so seriously. It’s easy to be suspicious and find fault in the people you don’t like. It’s the ones you do like who are the greatest threat, they are the ones you never see coming.
Gabriel wouldn’t be the first father figure to disappoint or betray me. At the same time, he knows the secret of my blood If there was ever a reason to wish me harm it would be the Volana lineage, yet he’s never acted on it.
My sickness began before Arabella gave me any reason to worry, but the stress and uncertainty has twisted my stomach into knots even as it churns with queasiness. I try to clear my head, to let the cool tiles beneath my cheek soothe my swirling thoughts The last week has been a particularly twisted roller coaster of emotions, and I’m starting to feel like I have whiplash from bouncing back and forth between joy and heartbreak.
I tell myself to focus on the joy, and I can’t help smiling as I try to picture my baby Who will you be? What will you look like? How will –
“Why in the Goddess’s name are you lying on the floor?
My head swings to where Bastien stands in the doorway so quickly that I fear I might now have actual whiplash, in addition to the emotional variety. I didn’t even hear him come in, and from the look on his face, he is not as sold on my new digs as I am
I try to sit up, well aware of how terrible i must look. My skin is pallid and clammy, and the wall moves away from me when I reach toward it for support. It’s not the only thing moving when it should not. Bastien is swimming in and out of my vision, and ! suddenly can’t be sure if there is one of him or two.
“Stop spinning.” i beg him irritably.
I feel myself tilting backward just before a pair of massive hands pluck me from the floor. Bastien is looking down at me with a disapproving expression, “How long have you been sick?”
“I’m not,” i insist. I’m bobbing through the air, the door drawing closer and closer. Abruptly I realize Bastien intends to remove me from the bathroom, “No, stay here!” i exclaim.
He stops, peering down at me curiously. “Why?”
“My bed is too far away.” I pull at his hold, trying to squirm free. The floor is fine.” I usually like being in Bastien’s arms more than anything, but right now it’s like being pressed up against a furnace. I miss the cool linoleum, “I like the floor.”
Bastien’s palm presses to my forehead and cheeks, *You have a fever.” He says it as if it’s my fault. “And if you’re so ill that you cannot leave the bathroom, then you need to go to the emergency room.”
Panic blooms in my chest. I can’t go to the hospital. I can’t see a doctor. They’ll find out I’m pregnant. They’ll tell him. “No”, object loudly. “I’m fine.”
“You aren’t,” he corrects me in a warning tone.” And you know how I feel about lies, little wolf.”
For once I don’t give a d**n about his scolding. “I won’t go, you can’t make me!” I cry, desperately trying to wriggle out of his arms. It’s no use, Bastien is too strong for me. I can fight all day long but we both know I won’t get anywhere. “Let me go!” I order angrily.
A warning rumble vibrates in Bastien’s chest. He abruptly settles me on the bathroom counter, clasping me by the arms and bending his head so I have to stare him in the eye. “Why won’t you go to the hospital?”
I can’t think of a single explanation that he will accept. Long seconds tick by as I blindly grasp for any logical answer. In the end i can only say, “Because I don’t want to.” My voice sounds small and pitiful, tear hover on my long eyelashes.
Bastien presses his lips into a hard line. “Not good enough.”
A moment before he moves, I realize what’s about to happen. I jerk away from his body, smacking his arms away as he tried to
get a grip on me. I can hear him growling, I can feel the waves of Alpha authority he’s sending my way, but for once I do not quell. / have something worth protecting now, something more important than myself.
We’re a vicious tangle of limbs, but I can feel him winning. I fight like a wild thing, lashing out any way I can, including chomping down on his arm when he tries to wrap it around my back.
The force of his answering snarl startles me into a full on panic. The last thing I remember is throwing myself as far away from him as possible. I hear a loud crack, followed by a sharp pain in the back of my head, then all is dark.