Three days Later
I spoke with my mates daily except Thane and I refused to speak about him and they appeared to listen. Besides that day he had a panic attack for whatever reason. I hadn’t spoken to him, although he had tried to speak to me. I ignored his messages, not ready to delve into the arguments I was constantly waiting for.
It helped the loneliness of being in this guest house by myself, however, this place still didn’t feel like home, and I knew it never would. No matter how much I tried to settle in here, the longer I spent here the more unsettled I became.
Hearing my phone I recently bought, ring. I got up from the small sofa I was sitting on reading. Walking over to it, I notice it is a private number.
Pressing answer I put the phone to my ear only to see movement out the small window in the kitchenette. Jake was walking down the path that was lined with hedges from the house toward the guest house.
“Hello?” I murmur into the phone while turning toward the door to unlock it for Jake. I flick the lock on the screen door and push it open for him when Thane’s voice on the other end makes me jump.
“I didn’t think you would answer,” he says and I immediately hang up, heart racing in my chest at the sound of his voice. The phone immediately starts ringing as Jake steps into the small place.
“Hey Jake,” I tell him, glancing at the phone screen when he suddenly becomes nervous, he scratches the back of his neck and I wondered if the guest house was still making Zara antsy.
“I need to head into town, but I need to take my mates with me in case things get messy. Can you sit with Zara until we get back?” he asks and I smile.
I was about to head up there to see her and was excited to spend time with her by herself. She was never alone, she constantly had one of her mates with her, that realization suddenly worried me.
“Is everything alright?” I ask him.
“It will be, I’ll sort it out,” he tells me not offering anything more than that.
“Okay, I will just grab my charger, my phone is nearly dead,” I tell him and he nods waiting by the door for me.
I follow him along the path back to the main house and we enter through the back of the house. Upon entering I find Zara’s mates in loose-fitting clothes as if they were expecting to shift, that just made me more nervous for some reason.
Mainly because I knew whatever was going on must be serious if all of them were going. Zara I find is asleep on the couch. Completely unaware of what was going on, the moment I entered the room she picked up my scent and her eyes flew open.
She smiles sleepily, “Sis, you came up?” she says yawning before rubbing her eyes. When she opens them she stares at her mates who were getting ready to leave.
“Where are all of you going?” she asks them and her eyes suddenly glaze over and I knew she was mind-linking one of them just as Sam passed me Mason who was eating a toffee apple.
“Aunty Haha,” He squeals and I k!ss his sticky cheek. My name was too much of a mouthful for him so I was now called Aunty Haha. I found his nickname cute.
He offers me some of his toffee apple and I take a bite of the sticky goodness, making exaggerated chomping noises as I make my way over to Zara whose eyes flick to me nervously.
After everyone left, Zara put on Mason’s favorite movie and I told her I would make popcorn when he kept complaining he needed it. Zara’s feet were ridiculously swollen and she looked like she was in pain.
Ligament pain from her huge belly made her uncomfortable and even the prenatal belly belt wasn’t offering her any relief. Walking into the kitchen, I put the popcorn in the microwave and wait, listening to the popping noise as the paper bag expands. I was only gone for a few minutes when I heard Zara’s blood curdling scream as she screamed out to Mason..
The sound made my heart lurch in my chest as I raced out to find Zara no longer in the living room.
“Zara?” I screamed out, looking for her while rushing through the place only to find her at the back of the house. She was in a full-blown panic attack standing by the glass sliding doors that lead onto the patio, trying to breathe and scream out for her son.
“Zara?” I stuttered and she couldn’t even speak, just kept pointing out the door as she tried to breathe. I peered out to find Mason had walked out back to his small sandpit. Completely oblivious to his mother freaking out behind him.
“It’s fine, I will get him,” I tell her, stepping out and wandering over to him, I pick him up and he giggles while I nearly toss my back out as I scooped him up and he kicked his legs.
“He’s fine Zara, see. Perfectly fine,” I tell her as she clutches her chest, her breathing slowing as she peered warily out the door, one hand clutching her stomach.
She was as pale as a ghost and her eyes glazed over and I knew one of her mates must be mind-linking her feeling her terror.
Mason continues to kick, wanting to go back to his sandpit and I set him down. Zara whimpered, making my eyes dart to her and I knew she feared leaving the house. I just didn’t think it was this extreme.
What if no one was here and the house caught on fire or Mason escaped her, it worried me how bad her mental health was, it was heartbreaking to see and sad to know she never leaves the place.
“I’m right here,” I tell her before grabbing one of the patio chairs and placing it inside the door. “Sit, I won’t let anything happen to him,” I tell her, wanting her to sit down. It was one thing picking up Mason, I don’t think I would have enough strength to lift her if she fainted.
I sit out the back watching Mason and Zara sits just inside the door watching us. “You never come outside?” I ask her and she shakes her head.
“Why?” I ask her but I don’t think even she knew truly what scared her. Her hands smooth over her giant belly and she looks at her son guiltily.
“I..I can’t,” is all she says.
“What about the patio?” I ask her and she shakes her head looking like she may run off at the mere thought.
“Do you miss it?”
“It’s not safe,” she says and I look at her son who for the past half an hour had been trying to get her to come to look at his sandcastle.
“What if I hold your hand?” I ask her, but still she refuses.
“Mummy,” Mason calls pointing at his castle, Zara cranes her neck to look but he is too far for her to see.
“Pass me your phone, I will take a photo,” I tell her and she stands to retrieve it from her back pocket. As she hands the phone to me, I grip her hands and hold her there. Her eyes widen, and she shakes her head.
“Harlow I can’t,” she rushes out. Still, I don’t let her hands go.
“Yes, you can,” I told her but she was still stuck in her own head. Mason calls for her, excited to see his mother standing by the door.
“Just a few seconds,” I tell her. She closes her eyes and shakes her head, her fingers digging into my wrists.
“Do you trust me?” I ask her.
“Always,” she whispers.
“Then keep your eyes closed,” I tell her and I see her swallow.
“Remember when we went to the theme park?” I ask her and her l!ps tug up in the corners.
“Yes, mum didn’t want to get on the rollercoaster,” she laughs and I take a step back. Her l!ps part but her feet slide across and over the small l!p of the door frame.
“But we couldn’t get on it without an adult,” I chuckle.
“And dad refused more chicken than her, he wouldn’t let go of the railing when she tried to force him to go with us,” she laughs and I take another step..
“I still remember his squeal when mum tried to pry his fingers off the railing,” Zara laughs. I glance over my shoulder at Mason.
“So mum went and she screamed the entire way,” I laughed remembering her ear-piercing screams between us, her death grip on our hands to the point I thought my fingers would never work again, the way she prayed to some god about not dying and confessing her love for him if he let her survive.
“She threw up on dad when she got off, she was so green and dad had to walk around with no shirt on for the rest of the day” Zara laughs.
“Dad was so sunburnt,” I chuckle remembering that day as if it were yesterday, a day not long before we lost them.
“Yeah, then she got back on it again at the end with us,” I tell her and she smiles nodding her head.
“I miss them,” Zara says and I nod my head and give her hands a squeeze as we inch closer to the sand pit.
“Do you ever wonder why we survived and they didn’t?” she asks.
“Every day,” I whisper and she nods. “Me too,” “They would have loved Mason,” I told her.
“And Little Lowe,” Zara says. Zara shudders as the breeze rushes over her skin and she tenses, we were still a few meters away but she was outside. “I can’t Harlow,” “You are already here,” I tell her and her eyes open darting to mine. “And just look at how excited Mason is,” I tell her and her l!p quivers as her eyes dart past me to her son.
Mason moves closer before rushing toward her and grasping her legs and I let her go as she brushes her fingers through his hair. I retrieve the chair from inside the door and bring it over. She may not move any further from where she is but it was something, she left the house. No matter how small of a step that was, she at least took it.
I waited with Zara until Sam returned home. The shock on his face when he saw her sitting on the back patio watching Mason made me giggle, he looked
stunned before shaking himself as if it was the most normal thing in the world to see her outside the house. He didn’t make a big deal out of it which I was glad, instead coming over to peck her cheek and I got up from my seat offering it to him before retrieving my phone from inside. I needed to lay down and didn’t feel like being a third wheel.
Walking back down the pathway to the guest house I was excited to sit down. The moment I entered, I instantly fell onto the couch only to groan as my phone started ringing. I pulled it from my back pocket seeing the private number cut across the screen just as the screen door opened to the place and Jake stepped inside.
“I’m sorry Harlow, I couldn’t stop him from passing the border, I did ask him to wait, and Raidon came with him” My stomach sinks as the phone continues to vibrate in my hand and I sit up.
“Pardon?” Jake sighs and glances back at the front door.
“Thane is here, it’s why we went into the city, I thought you had been talking with your mates, he says otherwise,” he asks and I swallow guiltily.
“I have, I have just been ignoring Thane,” I admit breathing out. The phone rings again. Holding it up, I glance at it before pressing my l!ps in a line and answering it.
“Please, don’t hang up,” Thane’s voice says on the other end “You need to leave, Thane,” I tell him and hurt pangs through the bond, but f***k him, he hurt me too and I wasn’t going to feel bad for not wanting to see him.
Jake points toward the main house and I nod knowing he was just coming down here to warn me.
“Harlow, I am not leaving. I did not drive all this way only to leave without seeing you,” Thane tells me. I stared at Jake who was waiting for me to tell him to leave.” Just pull over, she has gone silent,” I hear Thane tell Raidon while I growl annoyed.
“I’m in the guest house out back,” I tell Thane, hanging up on him.
“Wait,” I call out to Jake. He stops and looks at me.
“You’re not going to make me go back with him are you?”
“No, of course not. Say the word Harlow and I will get a hold of the council here, worst case scenario we have tranquilizers to sedate him. Raidon will take him back home. You aren’t alone here, and Sam is already on the roof with his gun ready. Thane also knows this, so scream and he will find a dart in his a****s. Sam won’t miss that I can assure you,” Jake tells me and I follow Jake to the door where he points to the roof and I find Sam up top.
He waves to me and I nod once to him only to see Zara’s other mates wandering around this side of the property which they usually didn’t do.
“Fine,” I breathe, feeling a little safer, knowing they were loitering and it would be good to see Raidon. Walking back inside, I grab my jacket. Since the sun had started going down the temperature had dropped significantly. A shudder runs up my spine as I hear their car pull around to the side of the guest house.
Fear coursed through me, wondering if Thane would come barging in and drag me out kicking and screaming. Yet Thane didn’t even enter, Raidon was the one to open the door making me spin to face it before all fear left as his scent wafted to me. My bond tugged painfully at his presence and my feet moved at their own accord as my body smashed into his.
“Ah I missed you,” Raidon growled as he grabbed me. My legs locked around his waist, my nose buried in his neck, devouring his scent. A scent that I found intoxicating and soothing. His fingers tangle in my hair as he k!sses the side of my face yet I could feel the tension in him, that underlying worry he felt for Thane. Raidon chuckles, his hands caressing up the sides of my bulging stomach.
“You look good, better,” he murmurs when I realize I crushed my bump against him and dropped my legs to stand. Embarrassment floods me at how I tossed myself at him.
“Rhen and Leon?”
“At home, this was kind of a spontaneous idea. One minute I was driving to work with him when he pulled onto the highway, saying he wanted to see you,” he tells me scratching the back of his neck.
“I know you don’t want to see him, but he won’t hurt you. Jake’s mates would shoot the moment he moved, Thane agreed to those conditions,”
“I’m not going back,” I tell him, and Raidon purses his l!ps before he sighs.
“Just hear him out,” “I have done nothing but listen and hear him out, it’s me he doesn’t hear, Raidon,” I tell him, stepping away from him.
“He’ll listen this time,” I shake my head.
“He wasn’t the only one that didn’t believe me, none of you did,” “We didn’t keep you prisoner though,” Raidon says.
“But not one of you stopped him from doing it either,” I tell him.
“Just- He won’t leave Harlow, I am not asking you to forgive him but he won’t leave unless you go out there. He will damn well camp outside your door,” “Then tell him to pitch a f****king tent and happy camping,” I tell Raidon, turning back to the kitchen.
“I’m not really the camping type,” Thane says, making me spin around and so does Raidon to find Thane standing inside the door with his hands in his pockets.