#Chapter 94 Elysium
By the time I’m clean and dressed in fresh clothes, Lila’s tantrum has subsided. I find her and Selene by the campfire, the pup sniffling softly against her mother’s neck. Selene trails a gentle hand up and down Lila’s back, somehow soothing her and scolding her all at once.
“I know it’s a lot of big changes and it’s all happening very fast,” She murmurs, kissing Lila’s hair. “it probably seems like all of these things are happening around you and you don’t know what’s going on, just that all the grown ups are telling you that everything’s going to be different and you don’t have a say in any of it.”
Lila nods, rubbing her wet, salty skin over Selene’s collar. A wave of guilt washes over me. Here I thought her tantrum was just regular toddler mood swings – I took it at face value, but Selene knew instantly. I wonder if it’s maternal intuition, or simply experience and knowing the pup so much better than I do.
A few weeks ago I would have felt bitter about her advantage with Lila, but now I simply feel wretched for causing my daughter distress. Maybe Lila was right to say she doesn’t like me anymore, it sounds like I deserved it.
“It’s alright to feel upset or scared or angry.” My mate continues, “I feel the same way sometimes, but you know better than to say mean things simply because you’re feeling out of sorts. You hurt your Daddy’s feelings.”
“I didn mean it.” Lila moans piteously.
“I know angel, but words are very powerful.” Selene explains, rocking her gently. “You can’t take them back, saying sorry doesn’t make someone forget that you thought those things in the first place. And that hurts.”
“Is h-he m-mad at m-me?” the pup hiccups weakly.
My wife meets my gaze over our daughter’s head, “Why don’t you ask him?” She suggests. Moving to sit next to Selene, I rest my hand on Lila’s small head, prompting her to look up at me tearfully. “Poor pup, you’ve had too much excitement haven’t you?”
Lila looks positively miserable, like she wants to reach for me but isn’t sure if I’ll take her. The thought nearly breaks my heart.”)” m sorry, Daddy.” She s**s.
Pulling her out of Selene’s lap and wrapping her up tight in my arms, I answer,”I’m sorry too, little one.” She’s so tiny, so fragile ! have to remind myself not to squeeze her too tightly.
“Please don be m-mad at me.” She cries, holding onto me as tight as she can.
It takes me a moment to pry her off my chest, but I need her to look at me when I say this, “Listen to me very carefully, Lila.” || instruct seriously, staring into her two-toned eyes. “There is nothing you could ever do or say that will make me stop loving you. I might get angry or disappointed sometimes, but that’s only because I care about you so much. You can always come to me, and you never need to worry that I’ll turn you away, because that will never happen.”
Her lower lip is still quivering, but she no longer looks so anxious. “Just like Mommy?”
“Just like Mommy.” I confirm, looking to Selene and searing her with my gaze so she’ll know I’m not only talking about a parent’s love, but a mate’s as well. In some ways it’s harder with Selene because Lila has only ever known love, so it’s easier for her to accept these concepts.
Four little words drag my attention back to my pup, the four most perfect words that I’ve ever heard. “I love you, Daddy.”
My mate’s miniature is looking up at me bashfully, with red eyes and a red nose, her plump limbs still smeared with mud. Her tantrum is all but forgotten, and her proclamation washes away the hurt I was feeling a little while ago. I feel like my heart has swollen three sizes. “I love you too, Lila.”
Though we got through Lila’s fit with relative ease, I was right to think our honeymoon was over. Our wedding and makeshift
#Chapter 94 Elysium
campsite was only an hour outside of Elysium, so the final leg of the trip was swift and easy. Our arrival was another story.
My breath caught the first time I glimpsed the beautiful city over the ridge of the North mountain, in fact I was so mesmerized by
the sight that I temporarily lost the ability to speak. Luna had been ecstatic to be back in the fresh alpine air last night, but returning to Elysium makes me feel like a fish that has been trying to survive on land and finally made it back to the water.
You might think I never wanted to see Elysium again after everything I went through with Garrick, but his dank basement was a world away from the incredible city where I spent my childhood. That dark cell was the exact opposite of the wide open greenspaces and towering mountain peaks dominating the Nova territory.
Making it out into the city is what saved me. Elysium is where I found my freedom, where I met my mate. Bastien and I had three years of happiness here before Arabella returned, and even her horrid influence can’t poison those early memories.
More than anything else, I think this land is simply in my blood. My mother might have fled the Calypso pack, but they are mountain wolves too – Elysium is my element, pure and simple. “Look Lila,” Bastien pointed out the window, “there it is – your new home.”
“Lysium?!” She exclaimed.
“That’s right,” He confirmed warmly, reaching over to stroke my nape as I navigated the twisting mountain roads, “and you see that big house right at the top of that ridge?”
“That’s the pack house. That’s where you’re going to live.” Bastien shared, sounding so happy that my insides melted.
Lila continued asking questions and reveling in the scenery as we drove through the city gates and up the main road. However my own excitement dampened the further we ventured into Elysium. The news had clearly spread about my return – and Lila’s existence.
Bastien’s sleek black car has always been like a flashing marquee announcing that the Alpha is away from the pack house. I’ve never driven with him without half the city turning to stare and signal their respect, but it hadn’t even been like this before. It seemed like the entire pack was lined up on the sidewalks awaiting our arrival.
These weren’t just intrigued glances or cursory salutes from wolves going about their business, these people were expecting a show. Luckily the windows were tinted so heavily that I didn’t have to worry about anyone actually seeing inside the car, but I still felt the weight of their prying eyes.
It didn’t help that Bastien seemed taken aback by this development, though he hid his feelings better than I did. We forged up the serpentine streets towards the Pack House and Nova Hall, our wheels bumping over the cobblestones and further fraying my nerves. And the closer we came to our destination, the larger the crowds grew.
I tried to tell myself this was all because of Lila, because the pack wanted to see the Alpha’s pup and nothing more. Of course then all I could think about was the fact that thousands of people would be gawking at my pup like some sort of circus animal – an idea that made Luna snarl with maternal outrage.
“So many people!” Lila observed, making me wince.
“Bastien,” I’d murmured nervously, unable to compose a sentence or voice my concerns in front of my pup.
“Easy sweetheart,” He purred, massaging my tense shoulders, “they’re just curious.” Unfortunately the note of tension in his deep bass belied his placating words. He didn’t believe what he was saying.
Reporters and camera crews were assembled at the Pack House’s security gate, and I breathed a little easier when we cleared the guardhouse and the gates closed behind us, safely locking out the medie. Of course, my relief vanished when we rounded the final corner of the drive, and the house came into view.
Half of the elder council was gathered in the mansion’s doorway, and they did not look pleased to see us.
I pulled into the garage rather than parking out front, triggering the door close” button on the remote and waiting for the wide metal curtain to lower completely before stepping out of the car. I headed Bastien off before he could open the back door to extract Lila from her carseat, closing my hand over his on the handle. “Tell me the truth, Bastien.” I begged, “Why are they here?”
He sighed, scrubbing his hand over his face. “The truth is that I don’t know.”
“But it’s not good – is it?” | demanded.
My husband studied me for a long moment before answering. “No baby,” He acknowledged, sounding resigned. “it isn’t.”