I bury my face in her neck, stealing a whiff of her scent. “Why are you here?” she repeats. “To see you, why else? You haven’t been answering my calls,” I tell her, placing her back on her feet. I stared down at her, she had lost weight, which should be impossible with how skinny she already was. Her pants rolled at her hips to hold them up and looked four times bigger than her. Her white shirt, I could tell, was one of Kades. She had her pants rolled at her ankle. She glances down the driveway nervously, and I look behind me.
“Expecting someone?” I ask. “Kade hasn’t been by for a couple of days. He said he was out of town, but…” she pauses. “But what?” “Nothing, but sometimes this car comes and parks down the end. They never get out.” She shakes her head. “Probably just paranoid,” she laughs. “Coffee?”
I nod and turn back to my car, grabbing the bags out before following her inside. The porch creaks as I step on it, the wooden blanks bending under my weight. The door even hung weirdly as she opened it, having to lift it like the hinges were busted. Stepping inside, the place seems even tinier. The kitchen, bedroom, and living room are all in one little room.
“Where is the bathroom?”
*There is an outhouse out the back,” she shrugs, turning the stove on before filling a camping kettle and placing it on the heating element. I stare around in disbelief at how Kade had his mate living. There wasn’t even a bed, just a fold-out couch or futon thing that was neatly made. I sit on the edge of it. The springs groaned, and I could feel the metal bar beneath digging into my backside.
“You should come back with me,’ I tell her.
“Not this again, Gannon, please,” Abbie whines, and I growl before remembering the bags clutched in my hands. I hold them out to her, and her brows furrow.
“Take it,” I tell her, and she sighs, walking over before grabbing the bags. She places them on the table and looks inside them, and her eyes light up as she pulls out some sugar clouds.
Those, I had noticed, were her favorite; she immediately opened the bag and grabbed one out. She offers me the bag, but I shake my head. I didn’t like sugary stuff, I only ever brought them for her when I took her into town to grab supplies for Clarice and noticed her looking at them.
That was also when I found out she only had candy before her parents died and only on special occasions when they could afford it. So, always made sure I had a never-ending stockpile on me when I would see her.
I watch as she stuffs another in her mouth before pulling her pants up as they slide down her hips. The lolly stained her lips red, coating them in sugar. I chuckle before watching her go to the tiny fridge and open it. I growl when I see it is nearly empty, besides half a bottle of milk and a block of cheese. Getting up, I check the cupboards to find them almost bare.
“Why is there no food here?” | growl.
“There is. Kade said he would come out soon to bring more,” she shrugs, retrieving coffee and tea bags.
“What the fuck have you been eating?” I snarl.
She chews her lips nervously and looks out the window at the forest.
“Have you been hunting your own food?”
“No, I promise, I killed nothing. I just took some bird eggs,” she gasps, confusing my anger at being directed toward her for hunting.
“Bird eggs?” I scoff.
“I tried to kill a rabbit, but I couldn’t do it, I swear,” she stutters.
“I don’t care about you hunting, Abbie. My point is you shouldn’t have to. You are an Alpha’s mate, not some fucking slave or a dirty little secret,” I snarl.
“I’m not; he is introducing me to the pack soon. It isn’t safe. He is having issues with a neighboring pack,” she stammers, turning back to her kettle that started whistling.
“Do you know how stupid that sounds? You’re his fucking Luna, and he has you living out here in squalor.”
“It’s not safe,” she defends him.
“The safest place would be by his side, don’t you think? Not out here along the border where anyone could get you.” I argue, but she had every excuse under the sun to defend him, lies he had fed her.
It’s like arguing with a brick wall. I fucking hated this mate bond bullshit. It made she-wolves blind to their mate’s errors and gullible. All of it is made worse when he only has to show her the tiniest bit of what she perceives as kindness because she has known none. Abbie believes wholeheartedly that is how it works, that she should trust him blindly because he is her mate, that he is some blessing from the moon goddess
“No, you’re coming back with me,” I tell her, grabbing her arm.
“What? No, I have a mate; I can’t just leave. He will worry.” she says, however I wondered if it was more than that she looked miserable.
Worty? Where the fuck is he then, Abbie?” I yell at her, trying to drag her toward the door.
“No!” she screams, thrashing in my grip. “Gannon, stop,” she says before she starts crying. “He loves me, he said he loves me, he will be back she sobs.
“I fucking love you. He doesn’t,” I scream at her.
Abbie whimpered, and I realized my claws had slipped out, nicking her skin, thankfully not deeply, and I let her go, watching it as it healed.
You have a mate out there somewhere. How can you say that?” she demands, tears in her eyes.
“No, I don’t; I want you. Why can’t you see that?”
“But I am not yours; I am Kade’s mate. He loves me, and I love him,” she murmurs but not even she seemed convinced by her own words.
“If you think this is love, you are mistaken; you don’t hide someone you love away. You don’t force them to live like this,” I snap at her. Her brows scrunch together, and tears well in her beautiful emerald doe eyes. She shakes her head before sniffling, wiping her hands on the front of her shirt. “You should go,” she whispers, unable to meet my eyes.
I swallow, and she wraps her arms around herself, rubbing her arms as she turns back toward the kitchen.
“Gannon, please, just don’t” she breathes.
*Tell me you’re happy here? Tell me something because this, this isn’t right; I would take care of you,” I tell her.
“I’m not yours,” she says slowly, emphasizing her words.
“But you could be. You just need to ignore the bond, Abbie. See-through his bullshit,” I tell her, but she shakes her head.
“It’s temporary. He will be back soon,” she says, pouring the hot water into her mug and jiggling the tea bag. I click my tongue, unsure of another way to convince her.