Part 22

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The next few days are long and harrowing. I'm able to leave the hospital because physically I'm stitched up and starting to heal. Mentally, on the other hand, I'm not doing so well. I keep telling myself not to be dramatic. Because Henry is somewhere in a coma or whatever, and I'm with Lucien. I'm safe. But it's hard to feel safe.

Not when the dark creeps in at night, reminding me of that dark road Henry found me on. I have to check multiple times to make sure the window to my room is locked before I sleep, worried that Henry will climb through and get me when I'm at my most vulnerable. And it's fine when Daemon is with me. But it's not like he can be with me all the time. He's busy. And it's been strange between us since the incident.

The nightmares have become worse. Instead of just featuring my stepfather, they feature Henry too. Sometimes they torture me together, or they take turns. I feel stupid, because all Henry did was batter me around a bit, he didn't get the chance to do the worst thing. But here I am so anxious and paranoid over him.

I try to act like I'm fine. Lucien and my friends check in on me constantly, but I just tell them everything's okay. I don't want to worry them, not more than I already have. I don't mind keeping it all to myself. Suffering in silence is what I do best.

Then the day comes when I have to stand before the Pack Council. I have to miss school for it. I confess everything that happened with Henry, feeling all their judgemental eyes on me as they deem whether my account adds up. It's ridiculous, in my opinion. It's obvious what happened. But it's pack rules so I have to follow them. Even Lucien can't get me out of it, despite being Head Alpha.   

After the long, invasive trial I'm finally free to go. "You did well," Lucien tells me. Perhaps he's trying to comfort me, but all I feel is sick.

The next week at school is even worse. It seems like everyone knows what happened, evident from the stares and whispers I get as I walk down the halls. There's also a rumor that I actually fucked Henry, which is just revolting.

Lylah, of course, is my number 1 defender. She shuts people up left and right, giving them a piece of her mind. When some guy passes by our table at lunch and not so discreetly calls me a whore, she pounces on him angrily. But it's like a chipmunk attacking a dog and because the guy is much bigger than her so Jay quickly pulls her off before she gets hurt.

"Fuck you, douchebag!" she flips him off as his friends help him up, giving us all dirty looks as they scramble away when Jay glares at them.

After the altercation, I'm so mortified by all the attention we've brought to ourselves that I just need to get out of there. I abruptly stand and excuse myself to the bathroom.

"Wait, Ash--" Lylah tries to stop me but I ignore her. I just want to be alone and get away as quickly as possible. I run out of the cafeteria to the empty halls, finally out of the scrutiny of the entire school.

I let my tears fall, wiping them into the sleeve of my sweater as I walk down a random hallway. I'm thankful that everyone's at lunch, not wanting to give anyone a front-row seat at my pity party. I decide to head to the bathroom so I can wash my face before 5th period starts.

"--and that little minx obviously seduced my brother so he could get him in trouble. Henry's still in the ICU from what Ash's guard-dog did to him,"

I stop in my tracks as I'm about to turn the corner to the stairwell, flattening myself to the wall. That's Trent's voice! What shit is he talking now?

"But what about the bruises on Ash's face?" Trent's friend says.

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