Chapter 12- Second Chance Mate
My world spun and mind-numbing quietness filled my mind. Second chance mates were supposed to be myths. There was no way what Silas said could be possible but the way Sebastian had tensed led me to believe it was.
I blinked, trying to bring my world back into focus. Sebastian stood still, eyes wide, lips thinned into a line. The stink of sulfur still lingered in the air, burning my nostrils.
“What is he talking about, Sebastian?”
My pounding heart nearly drowned out his response. “I didn’t want to believe it.”
“Who?” I asked softly.
A part of me knew the answer but I needed to hear it. I needed him to confirm my suspicions.
I swallowed. “Does he know?”
“No. Only a few suspected that day he was able to keep you from raging and shifting.”
Embarrassment made its way through me, flushing my already clammy skin with heat. The shame of losing my composure still nagged at me.
“I thought second chance mates were a myth.”
He shook his head. “It’s extremely rare but it happens.”
“But how do I have a second chance mate when I have you?”
“I honestly don’t know. We’re still not sure if he is your second chance mate.” He swallowed roughly. “We can test it if you’d like to know.”
I ignored his offer. “Were you ever going to tell me?”
I raised a brow.
“Eventually,” he finally admitted.
I narrowed my eyes and scowled.
“How had you heard about Silas?” he asked.
I bit my lip and shrugged. “Around.”
It was his turn to narrow his eyes.
“What?” I asked. “It’s not like we’ve had time this week to really get to know each other.”
He sighed. “Lyla, you should have asked me about it once you’d heard the story.”
I had planned on it but we’d both been so busy. I opened my mouth to respond but six pack members tore through the trees. Emotion drained from his face. He was all alpha now. He barked orders to the wolves who were quick to do his bidding.
Caius shifted from foot to foot in his human form as he waited for Sebastian to give him his attention. I rolled my eyes, an action Caius didn’t miss.
Sebastian faced us and Caius straightened.
“Take her home,” Sebastian said simply to him.
A growl rumbled through my chest.
“I’m not saying you’re less than,” he said as his eyes softened, “but we do need to talk and establish roles and responsibility before we head into something dangerous together.”
I sighed. As much as I wanted to go, I knew he was right. It would reduce the potential for disaster and it wouldn’t always be this way.
My anger fell away. “Okay.”
His eyes widened a fraction.
I didn’t blame him for thinking I’d give him a hard time. I wasn’t the easiest person to work with. “Be safe and hurry home.”
The blue of his eyes brightened at my use of the word home.
He cupped my cheek and held his forehead to mine. I shut my eyes and basked in the feel of the unspoken words between us. He dropped his hand and the beat of his heart moved away from mine.
Even after the lies and the anger, I needed him in my life and even though I knew Caspian was possibly my second chance mate, it changed nothing. Sebastian was my mate. The Moon Goddess had chosen him to hold the other half of my soul.
We had plenty of things to work through but it was him I wanted to work through things with. My feelings for Caspian were there but they paled in comparison to the mere shadow of what Sebastian and I could have together.
I opened my eyes to find him and the warriors gone.
Caius and I stood alone. He moved closer. “Ready?”
“Yeah, but do you mind if we walk instead of shifting?”
He obviously wanted to say no but instead, he nodded stiffly.
The walk back was silent and awkward. Caius was a stranger. We’d only had several two sentence conversations over the past week. I knew he was Beta of the pack and that he liked Twizzlers. Other than that he was just another face in the crowd of strangers in this new pack that would be my family. I knew it was up to me to close the gap of unfamiliarity but I didn’t know how. In all the classes I was forced to take with Teresa none of them were on social skills.
Caius had obviously picked up on the tension between Sebastian and me and tried to defuse it. “He means well.”
I sighed. “I know he does.”
The grunts and chatter of sparring pack members began to reach our ears as we neared the house.
“He cares about you,” he added quietly.
“I care for him as well but there is more to a relationship than that. His actions speak pretty loud at times.”
We walked in silence for another minute before he responded. “Be patient with him. He’ll figure it out,” he said as we came upon the pack house.
“If you’re ever curious as to how I came to be a part of this pack, come find me. Not many know the story and it’ll give you the chance to learn more about your mate.”
I was curious and I was tempted to ask him to tell me now but Teresa came running out of the pack house.
Her tiny body slammed into my own. “Thank the Goddess you’re okay.”
I wrapped my arms around her, returning her embrace. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
She pulled back, eyebrows furrowed. “I was with Magnolia, finishing the centerpieces for the ball when she stiffened as she received some internal pack warning. She said you and Sebastian were in danger and ran off to do something. I didn’t know what was going on and the cow left without telling me anything else. I ran out to the field just as pack warriors were shifting and racing into the woods. No one would tell me anything,” she whined as she let me loose.
“Everyone is okay,” I reassured.
Caius excused himself to check in with the rest of the pack.
“Tell me everything,” she demanded in her alpha tone.
It rankled my nerves.
We sat in an alcove off to the right of the training fields where we had a view of the remaining wolves who continued to train amongst each other. Tonya and Titus must have been called to patrol the borders again.
Everything would be fine. Silas had retreated and the rogues were gone. I had to believe Sebastian would be okay. The pit in my stomach came from knowing the possible danger he undoubtedly could get into but he was an Alpha. He could take care of himself.
He’d make it back.
He had to.
Teresa nudged my shoulder; bringing my attention back to her. I told her everything that happened but managed to keep the small detail of Caspian being a possible second chancemate to myself. I didn’t know what kept me from telling her about it but it wasn’t something I was ready to share.
Teresa blew out a breath and leaned back into the cushioned chair. “Intense.”
“Tell me about it,” I said matching her position on the patio chair. I even went further and lifted my feet onto the table, letting the day’s events wash over me.
This was the first time I saw her since I walked in on her and Reed naked that I was able to fully relax around her. We’d worked together for days on last minute details for the ball but neither of us had said a word about it, choosing to ignore the awkwardness.
“I’ve missed you,” I said, spitting the words out, even though I’d seen her every day since the x-rated scene in her room.
She sighed and looked over at me. “Me too. I know I’ve been a bit distant since that day. I had other issues to work through and was taking it out on you. I’m sorry.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
“Not particularly,” she grimaced. “Living through it once was enough.”
There was something else going on besides my accidental viewing of their ‘fun time’, as Teresa liked to call it. I was about to push and find a way to get her to open up so we could finally push pass whatever was taking a toll on our friendship but Magnolia plopped down on the other side of Teresa.
“I should have known I’d find y’all on your asses,” she said throwing her feet upon the table next to mine.
Teresa and I shared a WTF look.
“Can we help you?” Teresa asked annoyed.
“Not really. I just happened to be walking by and overheard your conversation.”
Teresa scoffed. “You sure you weren’t eavesdropping?”
Magnolia rolled her eyes and ignored her. “As I was saying, I just happened to overhear y’alls conversation and I thought it’d be a perfect time to get to know y’all better.”
Teresa’s expression matched my own, utter disbelief.
She flipped a blonde curl over her dainty shoulder. “What? I’m trying okay. Sebastian gave an order and I have no choice.”
Now that made more sense.
“So how does this work?” she asked gesturing between us all.
Teresa snickered but I gave her a sharp look. She shrugged her shoulders and gestured for me to take this one.
“You’ve never had girlfriends?” I asked, trying to be sensitive about it.
Her pale blue eyes narrowed. “No.”
“That’s not a surprise,” Teresa muttered.
Magnolia and I ignored her. I motioned for her to continue. Order or not, she was trying and I wasn’t going to begrudge her that.
She sighed and wrapped her arms around her torso. “I only ever had two friends, Alex and Sebastian. Alex eventually became my mate and we were so happy.”
Her face held none of that happiness, only a shadow of the pain that still haunted her.
“We were going to try for a pup but then Silas’s first attack came. I lost him and a part of myself that day.”
My mouth had gone dry. Even Teresa couldn’t keep up the cold façade.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered.
The pain she must have endured would have been crippling.
Teresa was sympathetic but mistrust still lingered in her gaze. She wasn’t as forgiving as I and she held grudges that could last a decade. Not that I’d forgiven Magnolia for her behavior since my arrival since she still hadn’t apologized and maybe she wouldn’t. The word apology didn’t seem to be in her vocabulary.
“When did things change between you and Sebastian?” Teresa asked.
I mentally thanked my bestie for asking the question I was dying to know the answer to. If I wanted peace and a strong relationship with Sebastian, I needed to know.
She continued. “Was Silas telling the truth? Were you guys a thing when you were younger?”
I held my breath as I waited for Magnolia to respond.
She laughed; the peal of her laughter filled the air. “No. We were only friends. I used to get teased growing up and he and Alex were the only ones that were nice. Things didn’t change between us until this last year,” she said eyeing me.
“Go on,” I forced out.
“He needed a Luna and I needed something to help me keep going. I was drowning in my solitude and pain. He pulled me out and gave me a purpose. I helped him with Luna duties and people began to assume we were more. Neither he nor I said anything to dissuade them. One night we were working late in his office and I kissed him, taking him completely by surprise.”
The apples of her cheeks turned a rosy pink.
I swallowed roughly as the pain in my chest grew with every word she uttered. I rubbed it, trying to soothe the pain that caused my heart to roar in agony.
“I think I shocked us both and truth be told I wanted to feel something other than the numbness I had become accustomed to. I’d decided to go for it but it did nothing for me. It was bland and passionless. I wanted to feel something so badly that I ignored what that kiss had already told me and kissed him again. There was nothing. Absolutely nothing. I kissed him a few more times and the results were the same. Nothing every single time.”
She chuckled as the memory of that encounter continued to play in her mind. “He pulled me into his arms and said everything would be okay. We pretended that that night never happened and I continued to help him where I could. It wasn’t until his last birthday came around that he truly lost hope in finding you. A few days later he asked me to marry him and to become his Luna.”
Teresa’s eyes were wide and I could only imagine what my own face looked like as Magnolia continued her story.
“As you know, I said yes. Two months later and here you are, his mate.”
There was no malice in her words. Just defeat.
“I knew he wasn’t mine and I knew he belonged to someone else but I didn’t care.”
“Why didn’t he just tell me that?” I asked angrily to no one in particular.
“He felt it was more my story to tell, ” Magnolia answered.
I exhaled. The last echo of the pain I felt earlier evaporated. “Thank you for telling me that.”
Teresa piped in. “I still don’t like you.”
Magnolia chuckled. “Ditto.”
She turned and looked at me again. “I know how I’ve come across and I can’t change that. I think I was so caught up in the hope that Sebastian would be my second chance mate that I didn’t care who I offended. He pulled me out of the darkness and I honestly believed he was meant for me after everything with Alex but the bond never snapped into place. I still can’t believe you have a second chance mate while your mate is alive. It’s not fair.”
I didn’t miss the venom in that last sentence but I ignored it. My blood had drained from my face as I turned towards Teresa.
“What?” she asked, looking from me to Magnolia.
Why hadn’t I just told her?
“Explain,” she ordered, pointing her purple colored nail at me.
I sighed but quickly filled her in.
“Caspian is your second chance mate?”
“Figures.” She rolled her eyes and she let herself fall back into her chair.
Magnolia raised her brows, curious as well.
“I always thought he was going to be your mate but your birthday came around and nothing.”
“That doesn’t answer why you thought he was my mate.”
“Well,” she started nervously.
“I sort of had the biggest crush on Caspian but when I introduced you guys everything else seemed to disappear and before I knew it you guys were dating.”
My mouth had fallen open. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Because you were happy and I didn’t want to ruin that.”
“Is that why you treat him so badly? I squeaked.
A light reddish hue tinged her brown complexion. “Maybe at first but after a while, he annoyed the hell out of me.”
Magnolia and I laughed, glancing at each other apprehensively. I didn’t know what to think of the tiny blonde anymore. A part of me wanted to like her and another part of me wanted her far away from Sebastian as possible.
Sebastian’s voice cut through the laughter. My head snapped in the direction of his voice. He stood at the edge of the woods watching us.
Had we missed everyone’s return?
“Can we talk?” he asked.
He wore the same grey sweats from earlier, chest still completely exposed. His eyes burned bright as they bore into mine. I stood to follow but looked down at Magnolia and Teresa.
“Go,” Magnolia mouthed.
The part of me that disliked her grew smaller.
Teresa and I had a conversation to finish but she lifted her hands and swatted for me to go.
And so I did. I followed my mate back into the woods.