Chapter 30

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A certain gloominess fell over the entire territory when Dante left. He was undoubtedly the heart and soul of the pack, and when he left, everyone could feel his absence. Jade felt it, with a deep heaviness and decided the best thing to do would be to go to the gym. It would pass the time and give her something to do, so she quickly dressed in her workout clothes and headed down to the basement.

As soon as she entered the gym, she almost turned around and left. It was mostly empty, but the blonde from the training grounds was there, lifting weights with one of the machines. Jade could feel the blood rushing to her face as she flushed at the unexpectedness of seeing the blonde. But she decided she wasn't going to let the other woman's presence stop her from going about her plans for the day, so she headed to the treadmill and began to run. Jade had been running for about ten minutes when the blonde strolled over and leaned against Jade's machine.

"You're still here, huh?" she asked, obviously not expecting a response. "I'm a little surprised, everyone has been hoping you weren't going to stay. I figured you would have gotten the hint by now, that you aren't really wanted here, since Dante has been coming to see me at night, and he never smells like you" she said nonchalantly. Jade stumbled a little at hearing this, but corrected herself quickly and continued to run, never looking at the blonde.

"Well, I can see he still hasn't marked you. Kind of desperate and clingy of you, isn't it? Trying to claim his attention, when he's obviously not interested? Eh, suit yourself." And she walked away, leaving Jade to fixate on what she had said.

Jade was filled with an array of emotions. She felt sick to her stomach, wondering if anything the blonde had said was true. She knew there were several nights when Dante was gone, for hours at time, long after Jackson had left for the night. She couldn't help but wonder if Dante really had been going out to spend time with the blonde. Was it possible he really did prefer the blonde over her? Jade felt like it was probable. The blonde was beautiful, she was a well-trained warrior, and would make an excellent Luna. She was obviously not afraid to speak, like Jade, and more than likely the entire pack would look up to her.

Tears began to stream down Jade's face as she continued to run. She was hurt and the jealousy she felt was tearing her apart inside. She wanted Dante, and she wanted him for herself. She couldn't help but imagine him with the blonde, and when she thought of him touching her and kissing her, she actually started to gag, and had to quickly get off the treadmill, and make her way to the trash can, where she promptly threw up.

Peter walked in just as she vomited a second time into the trash can.

"Hey" he said, rushing to her side "are you ok?" And he grabbed a cup and filled it with water and handed it to her. "Here, have a drink. Don't get sick while the Alpha's gone" he said jokingly, "it'll be my head."

Jade took the water and sipped it a little before sitting down on the one of the weight benches.

"Thank you, Peter" she finally managed to say.

Peter was shocked. He hadn't expected her to speak to him. He didn't even know she could speak. Her condition had kind of been on a 'need to know' basis, and thus far all the Alpha had felt Peter needed to know was that she didn't talk, and not to be weird about it.

"Please tell me you've talked to the Alpha, before talking to me?" Peter suddenly said. He knew how possessive mates could be, and it terrified him to think that Jade might have spoken to him before speaking to Dante, and if that were the case, Dante might actually kill him.

"Yes" she whispered. "I talk to him."

Peter visibly sighed in relief. "Are you ok?" he asked. He could tell she was upset, something was bothering her much more than just overexertion while exercising.

Jade wanted someone to confide in, but didn't even know where to start. "I'll be ok" she finally said. "I'm going to go to my room for a bit" and then she went upstairs to take a shower, and then she stayed in her room the rest of the morning. She didn't really want to see anyone. She considered not going downstairs for lunch, but she felt like that would draw more attention, and she just wanted to make it through the day without further incident, so she felt like she needed to keep up appearances.

Lunch was quiet without Dante. Everyone pretty much just ate in silence, with only a few remarks here and there. Jade ate quickly and then as soon as it felt like it would be acceptable to leave, she stood and nodded a goodbye to everyone, and she returned to her room.

The hours seemed to drag by slowly. Off and on, Jade tried to read her book on battle tactics, but found that she kept reading the same passages over and over, never remembering what it was that she had read. A few times, she considered going outside, but every time she started to leave her room, she decided against it. She didn't want to chance running into the blonde anywhere, and she didn't really want to see anyone. She also wasn't sure what she was going to do when Dante returned. She felt like she had to know if he had been seeing the blonde, but she had no idea how she was going to bring up that topic. She also felt like it might not be appropriate when he got back, because he would undoubtedly have a lot on his mind after meeting with the Council, and her insecurities should probably wait to be addressed until he had solved whatever issues it was he was currently trying to deal with.

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