She woke in her room, the light next to the bed was on but the rest of the room was in complete darkness and it all came back to her. She’d taken on T.J., something had come over her, her whole body had burned like it was on fire. Her whole damned back had burned so hot and she’d felt so much anger and rage at being tossed aside, that something inside of her had just snapped and she’d lost all control of herself and turned on her most trusted friend.
Her hand clamped over her mouth as a sob ripped out of her, pain touching her at what she had done to him. Tears burned her eyes and she covered her face and cried, felt a pair of arms slide around her and looked through her tears and saw him, right there, didn’t even he look mad at her.
“Shh.” T.J. said and pulled her into his chest. “We’re okay I promise.”
Jo-anne rolled over and into his big chest, curled her arms around him and sobbed “I’m sorry.” and just lay there and cry into him. It was not the first time she’d been wrapped in his arms, sobbing in pain. But it was the first time, she didn’t think he should be there holding her and trying to comfort her, after what she had done.
She didn’t deserve his comfort, but she had no-one else, just him. Always just him, she felt a little bit broken, knowing that.
Her own father had tried to kill her and her stepmother didn’t want to have anything to do with her.
No family left. She tried to hold it in but just couldn’t and she felt more tears pour out of her, her whole body shuddered as it was wracked with uncontrollable sobbing. Couldn’t stop, tried to but couldn’t.
He just lay there and held on to her. She could feel he was rubbing her back and registered he was telling her it was all going to be okay, that he was here for her.
That, no matter what, he would always be here for her. It just made her cry even harder. She didn’t deserve a friend like him. He was too good for her.
Jo-anne knew that something was wrong with her.
She’d never been angry before, always calm, able to just take what life had thrown at her, never gotten angry, not about anything ever and she had a past to be plenty angry about. The way her family had treated her, the missing memory, her entire Mate Bond, so much she could have been angry about, but never had she let it consume her.
Today had been different, the need to understand why he had turned on her so completely, there had to be more to it than what he told her. It couldn’t just be a punishment dealt out to him that had made him want to kill her. She needed to know, every day it bothered her, why he had done it.
Who was he? He was not the man who had loved her, the man she recalled smiling down at her when tucking her in to her bed, reading her bedtime stories, occasionally even sang to her, had pushed her on the swings in the park and chased her around tickling her while she laughed up at him. What had happened to her dad to make him hate her so much? This man was not that man, not anymore.
Or was it her? She knew she had changed over the years, but that had not been her fault. She’d not asked for that mark to appear on her, and didn’t know why it was there. Or even what it meant. Did he know about it?
Was that why? Was it because she was different that he didn’t love her anymore?
There were too many unanswered questions, questions only he could answer, she supposed, and she wanted those answers. Needed them now more than ever, now she was turning against those she did not want to hurt. He was just a patrol man, but what was her mother? She didn’t know anything about her, he’d only ever told her she was beautiful and had a kind soul. That she had her eyes and temperament, but maybe she wasn’t normal.
She had no idea how long she lay sobbing on his chest, or just lay there silently when she stopped, didn’t want to move away from him. He’d always been there for her. Why was another thing she didn’t know or understand?
“Yes Jo-Jo.” he spoke softly.
“What are you to me?”
“That is a difficult question to answer. Even I don’t understand it, Jo-Jo,” he sighed softly.
At least he understood what she had meant, “l’m not normal T.J. There is something wrong with me.”
“No there is not…but there is something we do need to discuss with you.”
“We?” she asked.
“Mm, West and I. It’s time we three sat down and talked.”
“West? Why West?” she asked, a bit confused.
“Because he’s the Alpha, and what you decide will be up to him to follow through on.”
“I don’t understand you. You’re not making sense T.J.” she pushed away from him and sat up to look at him, caught movement by the window and blinked when she realised it was West standing over there. Had he been here the whole time? She’d rarely cried in front of him, T.J. hell that man had seen it all the time. But not West.
Watched him as he walked across the darkened room and sank down on the side of her bed, just looked at her. She couldn’t read his expression. It was a bit mixed. Looked from one to the other.
“Terence is right, Jo-Anne, we need to talk to you. What you will hear is not going to be.” he sighed, looked at T.J. who nodded, then she watched him rub his temples “Not going to be easy to understand, or to hear even. But after today, you need to hear it.”
Jo-anne just stared at him. He’d never spoken to her like this before. He sounded unhappy about what he was going to impart. “Better just say it then.” she sighed herself “l guess I deserve it.” she knew she had attacked the pack Beta, he was here to punish her, she supposed.
He was looking right at her, a frown on his face as though he didn’t understand her, then he shook his head and sighed heavily “l’m not here to lay out a punishment, Jo-anne. What happened today. It was strange to say the least, but we’ll get to the bottom of that another day.”
“But I attack T.J.”
“Yes you did, but you didn’t actually harm him and T.J. doesn’t want you punished.”
Her eyes moved from West to T.J. He just smiled at her reassuringly. “It’s okay Jo-Jo, you have a lot going on. It would break the strongest of people.”
“I feel broken,” she admitted.
“T.J. we can’t do this now.” West suddenly got up.
“West, if you leave this room, I swear I will come out there and beat the hell out of you, we agreed already”
Jo-anne’s eyes widened at his statement. He just threatened West, his own Alpha, threatening to beat the hell out of him. She’d never thought that would ever happen, they’d always been so close. The oddest thing was West was just standing there staring at his Beta, didn’t even seem offended by it, or surprised even that he had said it.
She was looking from one to the other, waiting to see what was going to happen, even Clova was on alert to get out of the way when the Alpha on Beta fight broke out right here in their room.
West’s eyes turned right on her, “Fuck.” he muttered and sat back down, “fine T.J. but it could just make it Worse.
“Lets just get it over with, the sooner the better, that was the agreement considering today’s events.”
They were talking in circles as far as Jo-anne was concerned, but whatever it was, they had been in agreement, but not anymore. He took a deep breath in and looked right at her. “Jo-anne, Heath is not your real father.”
“What?” she shook her head. ” Yes he is. My mother died in childbirth. l’m named after her and everything.”
“No. that is all a lie. Sh!t sorry, that was a bit harsh.” he seemed to want to correct himself.
“It was not the truth of the situation, Jo-Jo, but Heath’s Mate did die in childbirth and her name was Jo-anne just like yours. But you were not named after her.”
She was staring at T.J. now “You’re not making any sense.”
“Jo-anne, you were an orphan and my mother placed you with Heath, bled you into his line so you would feel connected to him, that he was your father.”
“What? No!” she shook her head.
“Yes Jo-Jo, I was the one who found you. I was 4 and you were alone out in the snow, no one around.”
“What? Why are you saying this?” she could feel pain welling inside her chest.
“Jo-Anne, we need to sever your blood bond to Heath, that’s why we’re telling you.”
“What? No, he’s my father. I don’t want that.” She moved away from them, backed up on the bed.
“Jo-Jo, it’s the only way. You need to trust us. We would not hurt you on purpose.”
She actually snorted with sarcastic laughter, and her eyes moved to West, “Really, I don’t know if I believe that.”
Saw West stand up, his facial expression changed instantly, became impassive and unreadable. “I would not on purpose hurt you, Jo-anne.” he stated, a hard edge to his voice.
She was looking right at him. He had many times.
Alpha ordered her on purpose, causing her pain. He’d known it would, did it anyway, and had walked away uncaring and never once apologised to her for it either.
For two years, not one apology, and how many Alpha orders did he have on her right this minute? That caused her pain.
She believed T.J. would not, hurt her on purpose, he’d always been her protector, he’d even saved her life from West once. She had no doubts about T.J. whatsoever, but West, no that man would if he wanted to. Had plenty of times before, and his attitude towards her had not changed all that much, was always angry with her. Didn’t even like being in the same room as her for that matter.
She could feel anger welling off of him, raised an eyebrow right at him as if making her point, he balled his fists. She noted, T.J. got up off the bed and put his hand on him, “Go stand by the window and try to calm down.”
“I told you, she would never believe me.” he snapped and stalked off to stare out the window, a silhouette in the darkness.
T.J. walked around the bed and sat next to her. “Jo-Jo trust me then, we can deal with your and West’s trust issues later. Tonight I need you to really understand. I did find you out in the snow when I was 4. There was no-one with you, just a little newborn baby crying in the snow. İ was even the one who named you.
Your real name is Jo-Jo. lts why l’m the only one that calls you that.”
“I don’t understand, I know he’s my father. I feel it T.J.” She touched her chest.
“I know you do, but Jo-Jo, he is not. I actually wanted to keep you but Luna Natalia took you from me. Gave you to Heath, I can tell you | threw one hell of a tantrum and I was only 4.”
“Punched mother if I recall correctly,” West interrupted, sounded a bit calmer, she noted.
“Bit my own father and kicked him too.” T.J. snorted
“I was a bit of a nightmare over your removal, our bond is very strong Jo-Jo, you know that.”
Jo-anne did know that, but she still could feel it, her bond to her father, how much she loved him, even after all he did, how much it hurt. It couldn’t possible hurt this much unless he was her father. She shook her head.
“West, best bring the file for her to read” T.J. sighed.
Jo-anne turned her eyes to West and he moved from the window to the bedside table and picked up a folder.
She shot off the bed and backed away, shaking her head, “No.” her insides were twisting like a knife, she didn’t want to see that. Backed all the way away from him as he walked around the room, shaking her head the whole time.
He handed the folder to T.J. and looked at her. “The process is quite quick Jo-anne, though it will be painful if you resist. Best you read this.”
She shook her head, “No.” she stared up at him, pain welling inside her at just the thought of losing that man.
He might be a horrible person but he had raised her. She had many wonderful memories. “I don’t want to.”
“l understand, but please do. Heath has somehow, for some unknown reason, turned against you. He is dangerous to you now. And if you won’t give me your permission to deal with him the way I should have the day he attacked you. Then I, Jo-anne, am asking you, to please read your own file and let me break his hold over you.”
“I’ll have no-one West.” she bit her l!p, tears spilled down her face and she shook her head “I’ll be all alone,” she sobbed.
He walked across the room and pulled her into his arms, into his chest. “No you won’t, you will still have T.J. and me. I know that is not much, but we will be here for Jo-anne stood there, not knowing what to say, not knowing what to do. West had never held her before, didn’t exactly know how to feel about that right this minute. He sighed and stepped back, and looked down at her, brushed her tears away gently.” Please read the file, I’ll come back later, T.J. will stay with you, and when you’re ready he’ll let me know.” Then he turned and walked from her out of her room.
Her eyes moved to T.J. more than a little shocked, he chuckled softly “The man has a soft side, you’ve only seen it once, I believe.”
T.J. raised an eyebrow at her, “Do you not recall that k!ss in the hospital?”
That snapped her head up. “What? No surely not.
That was a bloody oxygen-deprived hallucination. “T.J. burst out laughing “Then Jo-Jo how do I know about it?”
Jo-anne was staring at him, her fingers moved to her mouth, touched her own l!ps gently as she recalled the way West had looked down at her, had been looking right into her eyes, his eyes filled with compassion, how soft it had been, how nice it had actually felt, how much comfort it had given her at that time, no surely, she must have told him, maybe told someone and he overheard.
“Wow Jo-Jo, it must have been some k!ss if it literally blew your mind away.” T.J. laughed.
She ran over and whacked him several times, which only made him laugh even harder. “From your reaction to just thinking about it. Bet you wanna do it again” he burst out laughing.
“Shut up, that is not funny,” she yelled at him.
“Yes it is, I should have taken a picture when I walked in on the two of you, making out all lovey-dovey.”
“T.J. that’s enough.”
“I’m going to torment you with it forever.”
“Oh yeah, well “‘ll tel Cole, you dry humped the hell out of Ella.” she shot back.
“I did no such thing.”
“Bull, you want me to tell you what she said, or that she had to go home and get out her vibrator to sort herself out afterwards.”
He was staring at her now, a smirk on his face, “I am good. Probably took her hours to sort herself out, thinking about me.” he wiggled his eyebrows at her.
Jo-anne laughed. “Named her vibrator Terence. He grinned right at her now. “Really, now that I like. Damn,” she watched him lean back on the bed, his hands behind his head and stare up at the ceiling. She knew he was thinking about it. Watched him roll over and look right at her “What did she say, I wanna know. All the details.”
“You bloody girl.”
“Cough it up or I’m going out there to tell West you got all hot and bothered thinking about that k!ss.”
“I did not.” she shot at him. “Just didn’t know it was real. Honestly, though it was a dream.”
“Nope, it was real Jo-Jo. Did you like it?”
“None ya business.” she shot at him.
He snort “you did.”
She glared at him. Till he started poking her with a finger. “Come on spill the details about Ella, what did the woman say?”
“I owe her one Beta.”
“Well hell woman, if you owe her one Beta, you’d better find a way to pay back that debt, sooner rather than later, if you know what I mean.”
“And what, you want me to walk up to Cole and tell him, Hey Cole, I want you to let T.J. f**k your sister.”
“Well, not be so crude about it. But hey, if it works.”
“And why would he accept it from me? I’m nothing.”
“Ah, you’re still a Luna-ranked wolf, so technically you still outrank him,” She stared at him. Point a finger at him, and thought about that for a moment “Ha. I outrank you then.”
He roared with laughter “I got Royal blood sister, no way you’ll ever outrank me.”
“You know T.J.” Jo-anne lay down on the bed and looked at him. “I know lots of secrets about you, I might just start telling Ella.”
“Go ahead better tell her all the good stuff, you know.” again he wiggled his eyebrows at her.
“The first thing I’m gonna tell her is..” she smirked right at him, then jabbed him right in the side and dug her fingers in, tickling him. He burst out laughing and smacked her hands away.
“Don’t you dare, I’m the pack Beta. I need to be seen as tough and strong and not brought down by being ticklish.”
Jo-anne laughed at him, and then just sighed, and stared at him, all fun gone at the thought of what she had to do. “I’ll stay with you till your ready.”
She shook her head, “I don’t want to read it.”
“You need to Jo-Jo.”
“Did you really name me?”
“I did,” he nodded.
“How’d you find me?”
“Now that’s a stupid question. How do I ever find you? I guess we were connected from the moment you were born. Can I ask you a question, Jo-Jo?”
“Can I see your back?”
“The day of your 18th birthday, likely the time you were born, I got a mark on me, I think it’s the same as what’s on your back. I got a glimpse of it when Patterson was stitching you up.”
That got her undivided attention. “You get any weird side effects from it?” she sat up and turned her back to him, lifted up her shirt for him to see it.
“No, why do you?”
“Nope,” she bit her l!p “just curious is all. Is it the same?”
“Yes it is.” he said, “Look.” he moved the sleeve of his shirt up and there on the inside of his bicep was indeed an identical mark to hers. Though it was much smaller.
“What do you make of it?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Though I always suspected you had one too.”
“It’s weird. The only thing I know is it’s called Celestial Moon Phases.” He shrugged, “Means nothing to me.”
“Me either.” she lay back down and stared up at the ceiling. She knew just from his answers he had been the one to find her, which meant it was all true. Heath was not her father, never had been. And his Mate Jo-anne had never been her mother. So who was she? Turned and looked at him “Call West, let’s just get it over with.
Whatever hold Heath has over me, puts you in danger, I don’t ever want to do that again.”
“You don’t want to read it?”
“No, I believe you T.J.”
West arrived like 5 minutes later, with the pack ceremonial blade in his hand. She sighed, he sat down on the bed next to her, took hold of her hand, “l will asking you to renounce your blood tie to him, then l have to cut you. The research l did says only the blood from him will come from the cut. Once it does, the tie will be severed.”
“Yes, quite simple. You ready?”
“Just do it.” she sighed.
He cleared his throat and she saw Volt on the surface with him, smiled up at his wolf, they winked right at her. She knew it was Volt, not West. By the way, he shook his head slightly afterwards “I Alpha Westley ask you, Jo-anne Morris, do you want to sever your blood bond with Heath Morris.” his voice was gravelly, him and his wolf talking together.
“Yes, I want to sever my blood bond with Heath Morris, I no longer accept him as my father.”
West made a small nick on the palm of her hand, and it bled just a single drop and then sealed over.
“How do you feel?” he asked.
“No different. Really.” She shook her head “how am I supposed to feel?”
“Disconnected,” he was frowning at her.
She watched as he wiped the blood away with a tissue from her bedside table, “maybe it takes awhile.” she shrugged.
“Should be instant. But let’s give it a few hours.” He stood up. “try and get some rest.”
“West?” he turned and looked at her “If I’m not a Morris any more, what am I?”
He seemed to think about it for a moment. “A Carlton l guess.”
Her eyes widened as she watched him walk out.