I got absolutely no sleep that night. My mind refused to shut off, especially now that I knew I might see Asher again. I picked at the silver cuffs on my wrists, wishing Tristan had removed them before he left.
I needed to talk to Asher again, to hear his voice so that it might wash the anxiety from my mind.
I lingered in the void between sleep and awareness, tossing and turning on the plush bed. The bed was comfortable, but even the softest of material couldn’t fix the unease churning in my gut.
The morning rolled around all too soon, bringing on the hardest part of the day. I had nothing but time, and nothing to do but wait until Asher’s group had come to the warehouse.
My Father and his troops would be leaving out at sunset, leaving the best opening for Asher’s men to get in and out without a huge battle.
After hours of lying in bed, lost in my worried thoughts, a knock sounded on my door. Only, it wasn’t Tristan who stepped inside. I assumed he belonged to my Father, though he couldn’t have been more than a few years older than me.
His chestnut hair was short and messy, a few strands falling in his face as he held a silver tray in his hands. I let my eyes glaze over as I sat up on the bed, ignoring the presence of the man who stepped into my room.
“Eat.” He grunted; his voice coated in a thick accent.
The name-less goon sat the tray on my bed, and I moved stiffly towards the glass of blood. Taking my time to finish the food on my tray, I watched withheld breath as the man left.
It was usually Tristan who brought me my food each day. The switch up had my chest pounding. Too much could go wrong in the short amount of time it would take Asher’s men to get to the warehouse.
Tristan could have been caught; his secrets revealed to my Father. For all I knew, he could be sitting in a cell somewhere–or worse, dead. He could have easily changed his mind, resorting to spilling the truth to my Father in an attempt to bargain his life.
Hours passed with no message, no visit from Tristan or anyone else. By the time I heart footsteps thundering down the hall, I was ready to pull my hair out. I leapt from the bed at the sound, flinching when my bedroom door swung open with a loud slam.
The name-less man who had brought my food was standing in the doorway, a look of surprise on his face as he stared into my eyes. My stomach dropped as I realized I had let my guard down, and that this man knew I wasn’t under Tristan’s influence.
His hands were braced on the door frame, and I watched as his mouth flopped open. Instead of words, a strangled gasp left his lips. His body fell forward, thudding to the floor. My eyes snapped forward as I spotted a familiar face down the hall.
Mason stood at the end of the hall; his arm stretched out as if he had just thrown something. I glanced down at the knife sticking out of the man’s back and figured Mason had killed him.
Mason, Sean, and four other men charged down the hall and into my bedroom, dragging the dead Vampire inside.
I was swept into a familiar pair of arms and breathed in the scent of my brother, the knot in my stomach finally beginning to unravel. Sean had an incredulous look on his face as he glared down at me.
“You’re absolutely insane, you know that right?” Sean scoffed, giving me a quick squeeze before setting me on my feet. “Luna or not, Dad’s going to f**king kill you. You’d be lucky if he doesn’t ground you for the rest of your life.”
“It was the best option at the time.” I shrugged, breathless from the joy of seeing my brother and friend again.
“Best option?” Sean snorted, “We can continue this conversation when we’re not minutes away from being killed.”
“It’s good to see you, Lola.” Mason murmured, pulling me in for a quick hug. “Breyona’s doing alright. She’s pretty pissed at you, though.”
“She’ll live.” I chuckled.
I walked over to the dead man and dug through his pockets, letting out a sigh of relief as I picked up a small, metal key. The key fit perfectly in the silver cuffs that irritated my wrists, and I smiled as the blistered skin already began healing.
“Agreed.” Mason nodded, his eyes hardening as he looked over at Sean. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Wait–” I called out, just as Sean opened my bedroom door. “We have to find my sister.”
The words were stuck in my throat as Tristan and Holly turned down the corner at the end of the hall. Holly had an arm around Tristan’s shoulders, who supported her weight as he dragged her down the hall. Holly’s face was pale, and she was sporting a nasty gash on her forehead.
I wasn’t sure about the healing rates of Vampire’s, but we didn’t have time to search for a spare pint of blood. Mason let out a rough snarl at the sight of Tristan.
I grabbed Mason’s shoulder and propelled myself forward, putting myself in between my friends and my new allies.
“Don’t hurt them.” I shook my head, turning my attention to Tristan and Holly. “Is she alright?”
“She’ll heal.” Tristan grunted, “Slowly, but it’ll speed up once she gets some blood in her system. I would’ve come sooner, but we were held up.”
“Breyona said he had gotten inside her head.” Mason murmured to Sean, who flashed me an uneasy glance.
“He’s not in my head, and were wasting time!” I snapped, “Whether you believe it or not, Tristan is the reason Asher has the information he needs.
Now, we either need to leave, or all of us can become prisoners once my Father comes back. As much as I loved staying here, I want to go home.”
It took Sean all of two seconds to see the truth in my eyes. He gave me a sharp nod and motioned for us to follow him into the hallway. Mason stopped Sean halfway, the muscles in his jaw working as he glanced at me.
“We can’t take him with us.” Mason growled under his breath, “He got in her head before, he could be pulling her strings now.”
Sean gave me a long look, seeing the impatient fire burning in my eyes. “She’s our Luna, and my sister. I trust her word, and you should probably do the same.”
We ran down the hallway and met up with Tristan, who was currently returning Mason’s deep glare. Sean and Mason took the lead with another of Asher’s men, while three remained behind Tristan, Holly and I. I slipped Holly’s other arm over my shoulder and supported the rest of her weight.
Tristan and I were all but dragging her down the hall, stepping over unconscious or dead men. I wasn’t sure which were Luna Freya’s men and which were my Fathers, but it didn’t matter at the moment.
“Brittany–” I huffed, glancing over at Tristan’s hardened face. “She was in on this, wasn’t she?”
“Your Father promised her your Alpha’s land once his pack had been disposed of. She was smart for leaving Tyler behind. Her Mother’s men followed her word and arrived just a week ago.” Tristan grunted.
“Looks like you decided to come with us.” I noted, watching as Mason and Sean disabled another guard.
“I’m trusting you, Lola.” Tristan’s eyes darkened as they met my own. “I’m trusting you not to get me killed. Besides, Holly is in no shape to escape without help.”
“I’m trusting you too, y’know.” I pointed out, “Don’t make me regret this.”
“I all but sealed my fate when I gave you that information.” Tristan grunted, “Your Father would have found out eventually. My family will disown me, wipe any trace of my existence from our history.”
I never bothered thinking about how all of this might affect Tristan. Not once had I considered he had a family of his own. The thought made me feel somewhat guilty, but Tristan was an adult, he was perfectly capable of making his own decisions.
“Your family?” I questioned.
“I do have a family, Lola.” Tristan chuckled dryly, “Old and wealthy, stuck in the old ways as most Vampires are. My little sister, she has no clue what’s going on. They’ve kept her sheltered for years.”
“That’s horrible.” I frowned, “Why would they do that?”
“Let’s make it through this, and maybe I’ll tell you.” Tristan’s smile was brittle and somewhat rueful.
We made it downstairs, and into the parking lot before I managed to take a deep breath. The sun had dipped behind the clouds, and I squinted against the brief remainder of light. I hadn’t been outside since arriving here, and missed the crisp breeze and the scent of nature.
I looked around at the parking lot, noting how few cars remained. Sean shot me a brief look, the corners of his lips twitching as he looked over each car.
“We disabled the cars.” Sean commented, “If they’re going to follow us, they’ll have to do it on foot.”
We hid behind cars, keeping out of sight as we drew closer and closer to a blacked-out van. Sean slid the side door open and Tristan and I carefully placed Holly in one of the seats. I climbed in beside her, followed by Tristan.
Sean and Mason took the front seats, while the remaining men situated themselves in the back. As soon as Sean sat down in the driver’s seat, the engine was roaring to life.
The wheels screeched against the pavement as we peeled away, my heart hammering in time with the thud of the gravel road.
‘Lola! Lola, are you there?’ Asher’s frantic voice filled my mind, sounding somewhat choppy, like we had bad service. ‘I can feel you. The bond–it’s faint, but I can feel it.’
The skin around my wrists had healed, sped up from the blood I had earlier in the day. The skin around my hands was still red and sore, but was no longer blistered and burnt.
Even with my wolf still asleep, I could feel the beginnings of the tether that bonded me to Asher.
‘I’m here! Asher, I’m here!’ I called out, frantically searching for him in the darkness of my mind. ‘Did something happen? What’s wrong?’
‘Everyone was evacuated safely.’ Asher huffed, ‘Wherever you got your information from, they were right. Your Father’s men came from the North, the rest are moving through town, trying to ambush us. They’re here, Lola. The war is starting.’