My jaw dropped. I blinked a couple time to make sure that what happened was real. Of course, it was. He actually thought that I wasn’t real. “What the hell?” I muttered to myself.
“Well, that was unexpected.”
I jumped, “Geez, Charlie! You scared me.”
“Sorry. What are you going to do now?” Charlie asked.
“You know what, I’m going to find Rem. I’ve been wondering why on earth it’s so quiet here.”
“Yeah, this place gives me a creepy vibe.”
“I’m feeling the same way.” I agreed.
I walked in the direction that I came. Luckily, Rem’s house wasn’t far away but my shoulder began to ache from carrying around my luggage. Since I was coming back to the house I decided to just put my bags down next to the porch.
Walking through the forest made me feel calm, and I realized how much I missed it. It was ten times better than living in a mountain. I never wanted to go back to that place. It wasn’t the coldness that bothered me because witches stayed warm, it was the lack of people. It got boring and lonely with just three other people. Another thing that made it miserable there was that there was no wildlife. I missed all the flowers, trees, and animals.
There may not have been people walking about, but there surely were flowers blooming and animals living. The summer season spoke to me as the berries were ripe this year and the pink flowers were full of life. I believe since I came back to life, I learned to appreciate the little things in life.
I stopped at Rem’s door and knocked. I repeated to knock about four more times but no one answered. “Rem! Are you home?” I called out while knocking.
I took a deep breath. This may be considered rude but I don’t think he would mind. I jiggled the doorknob and discovered that the door was unlocked. As I walked in I took a deep breath. I closed the door and looked around the living room. Nothing has changed, except his home looked to have a little bit of a feminine touch. I frowned in confusion but then smiled. Maybe he found his mate. I would be happy to learn that he did.
“Rem!” My calls echoed throughout the house. After a minute of silence, I searched around the first floor and then checked the second floor.
“Leah, I don’t believe he is here.” Charlie suddenly appeared beside me like a magician. I jumped again. I don’t think I would ever get use to that. Charlie noticed that he startled me, “Sorry.”
“It is fine,” I assured him because I suppose I would just have to get use to him just popping out of nowhere.
I jogged downstairs and lingered in the living room for a while. I was about to leave but then the door opened. My eyes snapped toward the door as Grace and Ava walked through the door. They weren’t exactly who I expected to see but at least it is still people that I know.
Grace and Ava looked at me with shock as they screamed. Grace was holding groceries but they dropped to the floor as she looked like she seen a ghost. Not exactly the reaction I was expecting either. I knew I looked horrible right now but I didn’t think it was that bad.
I heard heavy footsteps running to the door. Rem burst through the frame door and looked at Grace and Ava. “What’s wrong?” He asked.
Grace just had a horrified look on her face as she watched me. She didn’t say a single word. Rem followed her stare and his eyes locked with mine.
“Holy fucking shit!” He breathed out.
“Hey.” I greeted them and an awkward silence filled the room.
“Is this real? Someone pinch me.” Rem blurted out loud. No one moved at all. Grace pinched Rem’s arm and I laughed. “Ouch! What the hell?” Rem glared at Grace but it dissolved with love.
I connected the dots. “Are you two mates?” I asked.
“Yes,” Grace answered.
Rem walked to me slowly and placed his hand on my cheek. “How are you alive?” He whispered. “Alec told me you where dead.”
“I was. But that doesn’t matter. I’m here now.” I told them. Rem retracted his hand and looked at my figure.
“You look different.”
“How?” I asked him.
“You look more muscular than you use to be. Your aura has changed too. I cannot place it yet, but something else has changed.” Rem said looking at me with confusion in his eyes.
“Maybe it is because you haven’t seen me in so long.” I shrugged.
“That’s probably it. I cannot believe your actually here.” He said and stared at me.
It was beginning to feel awkward and I began to fidget under his gaze. I guess Ava sensed my discomfort but she ran up to me and hugged me. “Thank you for saving us.” Ava thanked me.
I hugged her back. “No problem.”
“Yes, thank you for saving my mate and sister.” Rem snapped back into reality.
I blushed, “I couldn’t have done it without Alec, Damon, and Insuvai.”
“Ava, come. Let’s go put away the groceries. I’m sure Rem and Leah have some catching up to do.” Grace wholeheartedly smiled at me and left with Ava.
Rem went to the living room and sat on the couch. I followed him and sat on the opposite side.
“Are you staying?” Rem asked.
“Of course. As long as Alec can behave.”
“He is a bastard. For doing what he did to you. I should have stopped it a long time ago.”
I did not expect him to say that. “It’s okay. I’m here now.”
“Did you talk to him yet?” Rem asked.
“I tried. He didn’t even acknowledge me. He said that I wasn’t real.”
Rem’s eyes widened in realization. “I haven’t talked to him much since he has returned, but from what I gather from Damon- he has been having hallucinations about you for a couple months now. They really mess with his mind.” Rem stated.
“Damon’s here? And why haven’t you talked to him?”
“Yes, he is here. Alec offered for him to join the pack and he agreed, and I was just mad at him for what he did to you.”
“But he still needed his best friend and beta,” I argued.
“I’m stepping down as the beta.”
“Why would you do that?”
“He did kill you, Leah. I don’t understand how you are alive right now, but that doesn’t matter. Alec told me that it was his fault that you were dead,” Rem said.
“It was not his fault! That was my decision to die for him so he could gain back his eyesight. It was my choice,” I defended Alec.
“It doesn’t seem like a very good choice to me.”
“Well, I’m sorry you feel like that. Anyway, weren’t you the one that told me not to give up on him anyway? That’s kind of hypocritical if you ask me.” I sassed him while crossing my arms. Besides self-defense, Insuvai also taught me how to stick up for myself. Anyway, I was upset that he gave up on him.
“I didn’t give up on him. I just couldn’t be around him.” Rem clenched his teeth.
A throat clearing interrupted our argument. “Would you guys like something to eat?” Grace asked.
“Yes, thank you Grace,” I thanked her. Grace brought some food out to the living room for us. Rem and I continued to talk as we ate.
“If you want I can take you over to the house when we are done.” Rem offered and I accepted.
After we were done eating I hugged Grace and Ava. “I’m glad he has you,” I said to Grace as I waved to her.
“Thanks. Hey! Rem, wait a minute.” Grace jogged up to Rem and kissed him passionately on the lips. They continued to kiss for a couple seconds.
Rem had to force himself to break the kiss, “I’ll be back soon, okay?”
“Love you too.”
I smiled at the cuteness overload. I hoped that one day Alec and I would be able to have something like that.
Rem shut the door and we walked on the dirt path back to the alpha house. “So how has it been?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, you were dead ya know. How are you here today?”
“The witches, my relatives, did a really huge spell and it brought me back,” I told him. Rem already knew about my witch bloodline, so I saw no point in hiding it from him.
“Was that the plan all along? Did you know that you would come back to life?”
“No,” I answered honestly. I glanced at Rem and his fist was tightened. “Honestly, I was supposed to remain dead. I guess they had a different plan. I thought they would just let me die in peace.”
“Did you not want to come back?”
“I don’t know yet.” I looked away as I said this.
We continued to walk in silence. Rem picked up a rock and started to play with it. I looked along the forest line and spotted some deer and a couple birds.
“You look different. I can’t get over it.”
“What do you mean?” I asked nervously.
“You look stronger, healthier, and you have a different aura as I said earlier. You are sassier too. Your scent is different as well.”
“Do I smell like death?” I asked. I knew why I smelled different, I wasn’t a wolf anymore. I just asked the question to distract him from his thinking. I hoped he wouldn’t figure out, after all, he did have a witch as a friend. He knew what a witch smelled like and it wouldn’t take long for him to figure out. Maybe, I could mask my scent with a spell when I get the time.
Then again, I should just tell him but a part of me trusted no one anymore. I knew I trusted him before but I guess in my newly restored life I was just more paranoid. Another part of me just didn’t want to admit it, I didn’t want to accept the fact that I lost my wolf. It was a horrible feeling.
“No,” He chuckled.
Looking around the land, I suddenly remembered something. “Why is it so quiet?” I asked.
“Most people don’t want to come out. It use to be like walking around eggshells here. Alec has slowly gained back some trust of the pack members, but they still don’t come out to socialize like normal.” Rem looked down with saddened eyes. “When I took you to the library, was it for research about getting Alec’s eyesight back?” Rem asked me.
“Yes.” I unwillingly muttered.
When we arrived at the house we just walked in. We found Alec in the kitchen making himself food. Rem and I sat at the barstools. Alec’s head snapped toward us when he heard the commotion.
His eyebrows rose when he saw Rem. Alec’s eyes lingered on me and he took a deep breath, “It is not real.” His voice was so soft that I could barely hear it, but I knew Rem easily heard it.
He greeted Rem with a nervous smile and completely ignored me. He was blocking out my presence for obvious reasons. It made me feel pain but I wondered what all has been happening with Alec, besides hallucinations, to make him believe I wasn’t here when he clearly saw me. Rem slightly grinned with amusement as Alec ignored that I was sitting right next to Rem.
“Do you need something?” Alec nervously fiddled with his fingers. I’ve never seen him act like this before. It was kind of cute. I could understand why he acted weird around Rem, he didn’t just lose his Beta. He lost his best friend. I easily sensed the tension in the air. Something must have happened more deeply between them that Rem did not explain.
“Interesting.” My head snapped to the barstool beside me. Charlie spoke as he sat beside me to watch the scene unfold.
“I’m not stepping down as the Beta anymore.”
“That’s wonderful!” Alec exclaimed. “Do you want food?”
“Things are not going to go back to the way they were. Trust and respect still needs to be earned.” Rem stated harshly.
“I’m sorry. Is Grace feeling better?” Alec asked concerned.
“She is fine.” Rem was short with him. They discussed pack matters for a good five minutes. Alec still continued on like I wasn’t there and I didn’t bother to say anything. I just observed him and from what I could tell he seemed to have better behavior than before.
“You know what I wonder?” Rem blurted out.
“What?” Alec asked.
“How long are you going to stand there ignoring your own mate? That’s the question of the day.”
Alec’s eyes widened, “Excuse me?” His voice was slightly shaky and he couldn’t believe what was said.
Before Rem could say anything Alec placed his hands over mine. He breathing was tremulous. “You’re real.” He whispered to himself trying to process everything.
“Yes, I am.”
“How?” Was all he said.
“It is a long story.”
“I’m leaving now. Have fun you two.” Rem said and left.
“Oh my god,” Alec said and intently stared at me. “I cannot believe you are actually here. I’ve missed you.” He said slowly.
“Okay.” I awkwardly responded. I sounded so dumb.
He looks at our hands, then suddenly he looks me directly and intently in the eyes, “Do you know what Stockholm Syndrome is?”
His question confused me.