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Chapter 19: Attack

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"Here, drink more."

Maude hands me my cup of water, so I take it and drink the rest even though the thought of consuming anything at all makes me queasy. However, I couldn't possibly vomit anymore—everything has already come up, and then some.

"I'm sorry, Celeste. I shouldn't have given you the tea. I don't know what I was thinking feeding you something with wolfsbane in it; it's too risky. You're my Luna, and sometimes I forget that. I see you like my little sister, but you're not." Maude runs a hand through her dark, bluntly cut hair. "If something happened to you, and Alpha Draven—"

"It's okay," I persist, and I hand her the empty cup, my energy running low. "How many times do I have to say it? I'm fine. I know you had good intentions; it just turns out my body can't handle wolfsbane. Of course it can't. Why would my body help me?"

"Well, you know how to mate now. Maybe this is a sign to stop fighting heat. You and the Alpha were getting along so well, and you looked happy during your Luna ceremony—Elise and I watched from the window."

"He told me he'd be busy until the attack is over. I can handle him being busy—being gone from sunrise till sundown—but I can't handle him being gone every night. When he is, I start to wonder why I'm even here trying to make our bond work. It feels like he doesn't want to be with me as much as I want to be with him."

The wise woman enters the room with a small opaque brown bottle in her hand. "Ready to get moving?" she asks.

"We should get back," I tell Maude and push off the couch cushions. She grabs my arm and makes sure I'm steady.

The wise woman comes to me and hands me the glass bottle. "For the Alpha."

"What is it?"

"Tell him it's from me and he'll know."

I swish the liquid around but see nothing particularly special. If it's from the wise woman, is it medicine?

Maude monitors my every step from the corner of her eye as we walk to the pack house. "You should lie down when we get back. I'll wake you up before dinner."

"I think I'll shower first."

"Still feel nauseous?"

"Not so much, just tired, like my body is heavy."

"I'll tell Elise you aren't feeling well, and she'll make something that'll be easy on your stomach."

I hold up the small bottle. "What do you think this is?"

"I wouldn't be surprised if the Alpha takes one of her concoctions—a lot of people do. It sort of looks like a tincture John takes in the morning. He injured his back while shifted a few years ago, and he says it helps the stiffness."

"Why wouldn't she tell me then?"

"I don't know. She's an interesting woman."

"Or she knows to keep her mouth shut about it." I unscrew the cap and smell it, but it smells like nothing.

We approach the house, and the second Maude opens the door, Theo's scent hits me. He calls, "Celeste?"

"I'll get you clean towels for your shower," Maude says abruptly and then heads upstairs.

Theo emerges from the living room to the right, surely coming from the study. "Where did you go?"

"Have you been here long?" I ask.

"I was about to go looking for you. I got here a moment ago, smelled blood, and saw it on one of the couch pillows." He grabs my wrist and holds up my blood-stained sleeve. "Talk."

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