I swallowed the bile that threatened to creep up my throat and spill onto the plate in front of me. My eyes were glued to the bag on the table that contained every belonging I had left in this world and also the diary that contained the only photo I have of my twin sister. A diary filled with my darkest secrets, the only one I hadn’t lost over the years.
“The key you had cut?” Thane says, and I blink at him. The key? Who gives a f**k about a key? He held my entire world in that bag.
“Where did you get that?” I blurt, though I knew, and it was a dumb question, yet the only one my mind could conjure at this exact moment. My brain turned to mush and threatened to melt out my damn ears as I tried to come up with something, anything that would dig me out of the crater that opened up at my feet and sucked me in. Thane growls, annoyed, and starts ripping stuff out of the bag. I shriek, lurching onto the table, and I snatch the bag from him.
My heart thudded against my chest when Thane leaned forward, plucking the bag effortlessly from my grip, my fingers desperately clinging to the fabric of the handle. I didn’t know if I would throw up or pass out. Either way, with how my was heart beating, I was dangerously at risk of a heart attack.
“What the f**k, Zara?” Thane bellowed as he glared down at me. It was only then that I realized everyone was standing, and I noticed the fork embedded between my thumb and index finger webbing. Staring down, the plates and cutlery were on the ground, the table a mess, and my hand was bleeding as I tried to figure out how I had stabbed myself with a fork.
Still, I felt nothing except dread and panic, no pain. Nothing. I pull the fork out, drop it on the table, and look up. Thane looked at the bag he was holding. I was an idiot. I should have remained calm because now he was looking at the bag as if it contained a bomb or something dangerous.
Making me realize my mistake. He had stuffed it full of everything but never really looked in it. He rips everything out of it, and my eyes widen in horror when I see the diary spill onto the table. My hands snatch it before he does, and he growls, his aura slipping out with the weight of a damn elephant, and I was the peanut beneath its foot about to be crushed to smithereens as it stamps its foot.
“Hand it over,” Thane snarls. Yet my death grip and panic refused as he tried to pry it from my fingers. His command was excruciating, and I would rather his command kill me than hand it over. Either way, I would be dead if he opened it. Dead if he doesn’t.
“Zara!” he bellows. Yanking it out of my hands. He snarls, wiping it on his pants where my blood had spilled onto the cover. The moment his aura dropped, I lunged at him, tackling him. Only he was quicker and swatted me away quickly.
Raidon grips my arm before I hit the ground. But Thane was furious. F**k my job. I couldn’t care less. All I cared about was that diary and that photo. That one photo was all we had that we took in one of those photo booths in a shopping center, the one time we snuck out of that horrible place.
“We try to help you, and you carry on like this?” he snarls, his teeth turning to sharp points as his canines extended. Seeing his face half morphed into a monster was terrifying. He looked demonic, his black eyes so dark they looked like bottomless pits straight to hell.
*Please,” I begged, my eyes on the diary, and he looked at it in his hand.
“I didn’t read it, but by the look on your face, I probably should,” he snaps, gripping it in both hands, about to open it. I step forward, about to snatch it, when Raidon yanks me back.
“Are you insane?” he growls as Thane opens it, the photo falling out from between the pages, and his eyes look down at it. He moves to pick it up, and I shake out of Raidon’s grip. My knee lifts as Thane bends down to pick it up and connects with his face, hard.
I honestly hadn’t meant to do that, but the sickening crunch was loud. I heard them gasp when Thane clutched his face and roared. He drops the diary, and I snatch it and the photo bolting out of the place while Rhen, Leon, and Raidon stand stunned.
I caught a glimpse of them as I slid on the tiles into the hall before careening into the wall. My feet grabbed traction, and I ran for the doors, my hand twisted on the handle. I yanked it, but it was locked. I fumbled with the locking system when I heard the table get upended.
The bang made the door rattle as I finally got it open and ripped it wide, only for his hands to wrap around my hair and pull me back, my feet yanked out from under me, and I hit the ground hard, staring up at Thane whose feet were now on either side of my head.
I blinked up at him, and he snatched the diary from my hands, only for it to be ripped out of his, and Rhen backed away from him, his back hitting the open door.
“Calm down, Thane,” Rhen murmurs.
“Give me the damn thing.’ Thane says, holding his hands out when Rhen’s eyes dart to mine as I sit up..
“She has a right to privacy.”
“Not in my house. She doesn’t,” Thane says, his voice ice cold. Rhen swallows and looks down at me, and I shake my head and plead with him not to give it to him.
“Choose Rhen, her or me,” Thane snarls, and Rhen sighs, handing him the diary.
“Sorry, Zara, he’s my mate,” Rhen says, and I see Raidon had a hold of Rhen’s shoulder as if he was about to pull him away, worried Thane would attack him. Leon stood in the doorway to the dining room, looking at everyone, horrified.
“Thane, please. It isn’t yours,” I murmur in a last-ditch effort when he growls.
“You attacked me over this!” he roared, and I flinched and dropped my gaze to the floor.
“We know nothing about you. Your landlord knew nothing about you! Talon and Bree, also nothing. What are you hiding? Are the answers in here?” he says, and I look up only for him to crouch down beside me. He shakes the diary at me. I blink back tears, knowing if he opened that, I wouldn’t just be a supposed dead girl but a real one. How stupid of me to put my thought where they could be read.
“Answer me, give us something, Zara. If not, I will read it,” he growls, gripping my chin. His fingers dig into my cheeks.
“What are you running from?” he asks.
“Everyone,” I whisper. His brows furrow before going to the photo in my hands.
“What is that?” he asks, letting my face go. I look down at the back of the photo clutched in my hand, now crumpled.
“A photo,” I answer. The Omega facility had no photos. We were underage, and it wasn’t allowed without our permission or parent signing off on it because being Omega was rare and the risks of such photos being leaked could result in us being kidnapped. There is enough attacks on facilities. No way would they risk photos circulating, it put staff at risk and us.
It also helped with anonymous bidders too. They couldn’t be picky about who they bid by judging our looks. Only our numbers mattered. Yet still, one photo leaked of me which was the grainy footage from the restaurant. So it wouldn’t hurt for him to see it unless he knew Harlow was a twin.
“Of who?” Thane snatches it from me and turns it over. Zara and I were thirteen in it. –
“You’re a twin?” he asked, clearly shocked by that information, and I nodded when he handed it to Rhen. He looks at the diary in his hand.
“Where is she now?”
“Dead,” I tell him, and he bites the inside of his cheek. “I’m sorry,” he whispers, and he holds his hand out for the photo. Rhen gives it to him, and he passes it back to me.
“And this?” Thane asks, holding the diary up.
“I give this to you; then you need to give me something, Zara. Are you running from the authorities?” I stare at him.
“Yes,” I admit.
“For what? Robbery, murder, not registering? If I let you stay with us, I need assurance you aren’t a risk to my mates. Were you?
“No, no. I just didn’t want to join a pack. I never registered, and I have no ID.”
letting out a breath. I wasn’t going to correct him and tell him I was also running from him and the Obsidian Pack.
Thane hands me the diary back, and I hesitantly take it. “I’ll fix your fines. Have you got a birth certificate?” I shake my head
“Fine, we will order you one tomorrow at work, then register you.”
“You can’t register me. I have no pack links,” I tell him. Once registered, every Alpha in the city will be aware of my existence, and I will be bloody hounded relentlessly, all because of my DNA, and I would be forced to hand it over to the council, so they have my numbers.
Thane curses and looks over his shoulder before he drops his head, his shoulders slumping. Thane then presses his lips in a line and rises to his feet.
T’ll register you with mine,” he says before turning on his heel and heading for the stairs.
“And I want the master key you had cut!” he says, leaving no room for argument, not that I would need it on the run.
Because registering me still didn’t help me. My DNA was in the system, and once crossed over, they would find out, yet he would have to wait for my birth certificate before doing that. Another thing I couldn’t order. Yet I could give him some fake name and buy myself a few days to escape the city. Either way, by the end of the week, he would figure out who I was one way or another, and now I had just signed my death warrant..
Looking up, Leon was almost bouncing on his heels, and Raidon sent me a wink, a smirk on his lips. “We get to keep her,” Leon nearly squeals with excitement.
“Appears so,” Rhen says, smiling down at me. I gulped. Harlow destroyed them last time, and now I was about to do it again when they figured out me, and her, are one and the same.