Ace didn’t wait for her to leave, instead he turned to face me before gripping my shoulders and turning me toward the house, and pushing me toward the stairs. I could hear Melana crying and begging for his attention, but he ignored her, and I looked up at him over my shoulder as I opened the door. He must have been quite confident in his Alpha aura just to turn his back on her like that. But they were Pure Hybrid, so I suppose it would be a first if anyone could withstand the pressure of their auras.
I heard her car leave, and Ace shut the door before walking over to me. I thought at first he was mad by the angry look on his face, but he grabbed my h!ps, and placed me on the counter. His hand lifted my shirt to look at where Melana had slid the knife between my ribs. It felt more bruised than actual pain, as it had all but closed up. Besides, thanks to the facility, my pain tolerance was higher than most people’s.
“Does it hurt?” Ace said, running his thumb over the small neat line that was almost completely closed.
“No, it just feels bruised,” I told him, looking down. The shirt was ruined and soaked in my blood. Ace cursed under his breath before tugging it down and stepping closer, moving between my legs and effectively trapping me. I could think of worse places to be than trapped in my mate’s arms.
Ace pressed his face in the crook of my neck, inhaling my scent, and I shivered when his hands moved to my ass, tugging me closer to the edge of the countertop. “Tyson is on his way home,” Ace whispered against my neck.
“What happened at the borders?” I asked him, and he shrugged. I could tell he was reluctant to tell me.
“He wants land on this side of the river that runs between packs.”
“Why, though?” I asked him, and he pulled back his hands, running up my thighs. For a second, his hands were all I could think about. I had to force myself to remain on topic and focus on Alpha Jamie. It seemed pretty stupid to start a war over land that wasn’t his to begin with.
“Tyson and I have a few theories as to why he wants it. More reasons not to give it to him,” Ace said.
“Like what? What could he possibly want with it? He could always get more land from his other neighboring pack.” Ace nodded, but I heard Tyson’s car pull up out the front, my eyes darting to the door before going back to Ace. He watched me carefully, and I could see he wanted to say something and held back. I wondered why he was hesitant to tell me about Alpha Jamie.
“Lucy, there is something I should tell you,” Ace said, looking away guiltily. I felt my confusion spread across my face. Maybe it was to do with me stepping over the border of Jamie’s pack without permission.
“What is it?” I asked him, slightly worried. Did I start a pack war?
“I went to see Avery and Aamon about your pills,” Ace started when the door opened up. Did something happen to Mr. Tanner? Did Avery not believe me even after what she saw? Yet, I could tell she did when she was here last. Tyson walked in, and Ace sighed before stepping away. I grabbed his hand, pulling him back.
“What’s wrong? Say it, Ace,” I told him, needing to know, my anxiety was through the roof.
Tyson stopped, assessing the situation before slowly emptying his pockets into the bowl that sat on the stand by the door.
“I am the reason you take those pills. Not the entire reason, but it is mostly because of me.”
“No, Ace. I have depression. Depression isn’t blamed on a person or any one thing,” I told him. How could he blame himself for my pills? I had been on them since I was a kid. Ace grabbed my face in his hands, and I saw Tyson move out of the corner of my eye like he was about to jump his own brother if needed.
“No. Lucy, think. Think about it. I knew you were my mate when you were twelve. You have been on those pills since then. Avery told me it was the aftermath of me …” He didn’t finish, but Tyson growled at him, stepping toward him and Ace looked at him.
“I didn’t know. You know I would never deliberately cause her harm,” Ace told him. Tyson’s eyes flickered to Tyrant, and Ace turned his attention back to me. I was confused, trying to piece together what he was saying.
I was twelve, so what? He found out I was his mate when I was twelve. It took a few minutes to piece together what he was saying, and my eyebrows shot up as recognition slipped over me. I stared at him, blinking back tears. Avery had convinced me that the pain I was feeling was due to the PTSD of the facility. Nearly all of us suffered from it. The things they did to us there were not easy to get over.
But Avery said the pain would worsen and that the pills would help stop it from being unbearable.
“Lucy?” Ace breathed, his hands still cupping my face. “I swear I didn’t know. I would never have been with her. I… I was stupid and selfish. Please understand. I wasn’t trying to hurt you.”
“Let me go,” I whispered to him. His l!ps parted like he wanted to say something, but I just wanted to get away from him. The number of times I had thought about ending my life just to make the pain stop. And it was because he was f*cking her, because he was being untrue to the mate bond.
“Lucy, please. Just …”
“Ace. Let me go,” I told him, and he nodded, dropping his hands from my face and stepping back. I jumped off the countertop. I started walking down the hall, my eyes burning with unshed tears, when I felt warmth pressing against my back as I stopped at the spare bedroom door.
“No. I am not sleeping without you again tonight. My room, Lucy,” Tyson said behind me, his hand on my h!ps, steering me toward his room.
“Be mad at him all you want. But please don’t hide away from me,” Tyson whispered below my ear before opening his bedroom door. He pushed it open before pushing me inside.