The Silent Alpha Chapter 36: Hidden IIl

***Zane***

“Zane, l-“

Talia pauses for a moment to wipe her tears and several thoughts fill my head.

ls my past too much of a burden to share with her? Am I too broken to love?

“Thank you so much for sharing with me,” she murmurs, my entire body tensing as I brace myself for her to turn me down for my baggage.

My mate, however, interlocks our fingers together, bringing my hand up to her lips and k!ssing it.

“You are so strong, Zane,” she whispers through her tears.

“So strong and so brave,” she adds, giving my hand a squeeze.

“My problems feel so small compared to yours now,” she chuckles sheepishly.

“I had a much easier life than you did.Good parents and for a brief time, a good husband.”

She fidgets with her hair at the mention of her ex husband and I frown at her.I did not show her my past to compare pain.

Pain is pain, no matter how small or big.I hold her close, hoping I can somehow shield her away from any more pain and suffering.

“I guess it’s my turn, isn’t it?” she says quietly, resting her it?”

I nod my head and place my hands over her eyes.

My walls come down and I focus on her thoughts until the pitch black fades away.

It doesn’t take long for me to figure out that I am in a hospital room of sorts, a machine steadily beeping in the corner as I look around.

The room is quite spacious with a large window overlooking the city.

A woman lays asleep on the hospital bed, a series of tubes coming out of her.

Her face is bruised and swollen, her entire body covered in bandages.

Talia sits by her side, her thumb caressing the back of the woman’s hand.

“I’m sorry, Mami,” she murmurs as she strokes the woman’s cheek.

“I-I’m so sorry for pushing you away this past year.I should have…I should have tried to understand you more because I know that you only ever had the best intentions for me.”

She stops to catch her breath and wipe her tears.

“I know you don’t like him much, but Christian is a good man…” she says with a forced smile.

“And he’ll take good care of me.I know he will…So you don’t have to worry about me anymore.You can rest now with Dad.Yo voy a estar bien {I’m gonna be okay},”

She leans over her mother and k!sses her on the forehead.

“Te quiero mucho, mami.{I love you}.Siempre te voy a querer {I will always love you}.For a moment, she stays there with her cheek pressed against her mother’s before her phone dings and she looks down to read the message.is almost here, okay? Just a little more and then I-I’ll…I’ll let you go, okay?” she smiles through her tears.

Her lips tremble as she brushes away the woman’s hair.

“Un poquito mas {Just a little more}.”

The heart monitor responds with its beeping but the woman never stirs.

Suddenly, the door bursts open, the same woman from Talia’s last memory and her ex-husband bursting in.

That must be Vanessa, I note, watching her ignore Talia as she rushes to the woman’s side and k!sses her forehead.

Christian, however, comes up behind Talia and holds her to his chest.

I know it shouldn’t, but it angers me to see my mate in his arms.

“Ay, Mami,”

Vanessa whispers as brushes away her mother’s hair, her voice morphing into a sob.

“;Qué te pasd? ;Qué te hicieron? {What happened to you? What did they do to you?}”

She turns to Talia, her face stained with tears.

“Are you sure she’s…”

Her voice trails off at the end but Talia understands and nods as she wipes the tears on her face.

“And Dad?” Talia shakes her head, a fresh stream of tears rolling down her cheeks.

Christain squeezes her tightly, Talia burying her face in his chest as he responds on her behalf.

“They couldn’t do anything for him.He died on impact…” he Asmall whimper escapes Talia’s throat while Vanessa caresses her mother’s cheeks.

The medical team arrives, Talia sobbing even louder now that the end is near.

“l-is she in pain?” Vanessa asks.

“Does she hurt?”

One of the nurses steps forward.

“No, sweetie.She’s not in any pain.”

“Good,” Vanessa nods to herself.

“And…H-how many….How many lives is she saving?”

“Four,” the nurse responds.

“She’s saving four.”

“O-Okay,”

Vanessa says to herself, k!ssing her mothers cheek.

“H-How long will it take before…she umm…before she…”

“Not long,” the nurse.

“Only a few minutes and we’ll make sure she’s comfortable.”

“O-okay,”

Vanessa replies, looking over at Talia.

“Okay.”

Talia steps out of Christian’s arms to stand by her sister, grabbing hold of her mother’s hand.

“Adios, Mami,”

Talia whimpers, giving her mother’s hand a squeeze as the nurse begins to turn off the machines.

Vanessa watches closely as the nurse reaches over to remove the ventilator from her mother’s mouth when she suddenly bursts into tears.

“I can’t,” she whispers breathlessly.

“I can’t do this.I can’t watch.”

Talia tries to calm her down by hugging her.

“Vanessa-“

“No!”

Vanessa snaps, storming out of the room and into the The nurse pauses and looks at Talia who only squeezes her mother’s hand.

“Keep going,” she murmurs, the nurse nodding and proceeding with the removal of the tube.

“It’s okay, Mami,”

Talia whimpers, wiping away the last of her tears.

“She’s just scared but I’ll take good care of her for you.You just go home to Dad.We’ll be okay.”

As the nurse promised, it only takes a few minutes before Talia’s mother finally goes home, the medical team wheeling her into surgery.

Christian holds Talia for a few more moments while she sobs silently before she rushes off to find her sister.

It does not take her long to find her, Vanessa curled up on the floor, hugging her knees to her chest.

Talia does not appear angry or upset, quietly sitting beside her sister.

“I’m sorry,” Vanessa whimpers, her body shaking with grief.

“I just couldn’t do it.I couldn’t watch them …k-kill her,” she hiccups, Talia throwing her arm around her sister’s shoulder.

“I couldn’t…I couldn’t…”

She bursts into another sob, Talia giving her a tight squeeze and letting her rest her head on her shoulder.

“I know…”

The hallway of the hospital disappears into the abyss, morphing into an office.

The room is painted white with minimal decor, just a few plants here and there.

A large desk sits in the middle of the room, right wall, there is a reading nook with a large comfy chair and a matching coffee table.

The entire left wall is a book shelf full of thick books and a wedding portrait of Talia and Christian.

Talia sits at the desk, punching away at a calculator and jotting something down on a sheet of paper.

Her brows are furrowed in concentration when a gentle knock on the door draws her attention.

“Come in,” she calls out, a beautiful woman and a brooding man walking into the room.

The woman holds a small bouquet of flowers and a little red box in her hands, a beaming smile on her lips.

“Mrs.Hart!” Talia smiles happily, rushing to greet the woman with a hug.

“Nat, we’ve talked about this,” the woman corrects her, her smile never faltering.

“You can call me Kay. You know Mrs.Hart makes me feel old.”

Talia chuckles as she puts the flowers on her desk and nods nervously at the man beside Kay.

“Mr.Hart,” she says, forcing a smile for the silent man who only gives her a quick glance and nods in acknowledgment.

Kay nudges her husband in the stomach to behave but Mr.Hart only growls in annoyance.

Thoroughly embarrassed, Kay clears her throat and cheerfully hands the small red box to Talia.

“Happy Anniversary, my dear,” she chirps, smiling like a two years and Goddess you have done an incredible job.

“Right, honey?” She asks her husband.

The man only looks at Talia, his intense stare sending chills down my spine.

Talia does not seem bothered by his cold demeanor, keeping her attention on Kay.

“Anyways, we have a gift for you,” Kay continues, attempting to diffuse the developing tension.

“I hope you like it.”

Talia opens the box and extracts a beautiful bracelet with stone beads “It’s a fertility bracelet,”

Kay explains, a bit of hurt flickering in Talia’s eyes.

“It’s meant to bring you good luck with your fertility.Figured it would be worth a shot.”

“Oh I see,”

Talia smiles politely, although I see the anger twitching in her cheek.

“Thank you.How thoughtful of you.”

“Ah, yes.Because a few stones are going to fix the problem here,”

Mr Hart mutters, Talia doing her best to stay calm.

“Face it, Kay.She’s a human pretending to be a she-wolf.A pathetic one at that.A real she-wolf would have already delivered a whole litter of pups by now.”

“Christopher!”

Kay snaps at her husband.

“You take that back this instant!”

“She might be a Luna, but she’s a disgrace to this pack!” Mr.Hart snarls.

Natalia stands tall as Mr.Hart berates her for her failure to produce an heir but I still see the slight tremor in her left hand as

“Christian is turning 26 next month,” Mr.Hart adds, his voice low and threatening.

“He’s not getting any younger.You have one more year, Natalia, one more year to give him an heir or I will see to it that you are removed from your position.”

“Christopher!”

Kay shouts, her husband only glaring at her in response.

“I should have never approved of this marriage,” he mutters to himself before storming out of the room.

Kay looks at Talia with shame.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispers.

“I didn’t…I didn’t think he would-“

“It’s alright,” Talia shrugs, walking back to her desk.

“I’m getting used to it.”

Kay’s face softens and she excuses herself to go find her husband.I watch Talia sit at her desk for a moment, her eyes studying the fertility bracelet.

She rolls the beads between her fingers, as if willing them to work.She ties the bracelet on left wrist, her lower lip quivering when she finally looks back up.

Tears roll down her cheeks as she closes her eyes to take a deep breath.I walk over to her, wishing I could somehow soothe her pain.

Talia, however, does not need me, wiping her own tears and sitting up straighter.

I’m left in awe of her as she dives into her work, somehow finding the strength to focus on the spreadsheet in front of her.

Just as suddenly as she begins her work, Talia doubles over, intensifies, pushing herself away from the desk.

Her mouth hangs open in a silent scream and she collapses on her knees onto the floor, her arms wrapping around her stomach.

It takes her a moment to reach for her phone on the desk, her fingers shaking as she dials a number.

“Jor-dan,” she gaps into the phone, her voice hoarse.

“He-help me.”

She lays on the floor for several minutes before a man bursts through the door, kneeling down beside her.

“Nat, what happened?” the man asks, pulling Talia in his arms.

She holds back her scream to answer.

“I-I don’t know,” She gasps.

“It just hurts.”

“What hurts?”

“Everything!”

She cries, her hands clawing at her chest.

“I can’t breathe! Jordan, I can’t breathe.I can’t breathe!”

“Okay,” the man named Jordan replies, blinking hard as he tries to think of what to do.

“O-okay, I’ll take you to the pack clinic so Dr.Lila can take a look at you,” he says, carrying her out of the room.

The room morphs into a clinic, Talia sitting anxiously on an exam table in a patient gown and Jordan sitting beside her as he holds her hand.

The pain seems to have subsided temporarily, Talia no longer screaming or writhing but still equally fearful.

“It’s going to be fine, Luna,”

Jordan tries to soothe her.

“I’m Talia nods, trying to convince herself that his words are true but her furrowed brows never relax.Someone knocks on the door and a tall woman walks into the room wearing scrubs and carrying a clipboard in her hand.She sits down across from Talia and forces a smile on her face as she removes her glasses.Something’s wrong here…”

“Okay, Luna.I have some good news and some bad news,” she sighs, her eyes flicking to Jordan.

He gives her a warning look, before he forces a smile and squeezes Talia’s hand.

“The good news,” The doctor says, clearing her throat.

“Is that all the tests came back negative.Your uterus is fine, your heart looks good, your lungs sound excellent, your kidneys are both functioning, no gallstones or kidney stones from the looks of it.Just perfect.Your health is perfect.”

“See, Luna?”

Jordan chuckles, the laugh not reaching his eyes.

“I told ya you were fine.” A small smile of relief forms on Talia’s lips.

“So then…?”

“The bad news,” the doctor sighs, lowering her clipboard.

“Is that this pain you’re feeling is likely just stress.”

“Stress?” Talia repeats as if the word is foreign to her.

“It’s just…stress?”

The doctor nods.

“All in your head, Luna.You said the pain started after your altercation with Alph- I mean Mr.Hart.Well, it reacting.”

“This doesn’t feel like stress,” Talia retorts.

“I’ve worked as an EMT before.I know stress.This is definitely not it-“

The doctor raises her hand to speak.

“Work-related stress and emotional stress can manifest very differently,” she explains.

“Emotional stress can feel like everything is collapsing on you, and you suddenly feel like you can’t breathe.Does that sound familiar to you?”

“Yes…” Talia nods.

“And did your heart start to beat uncontrollably, like it was going to burst out of your chest any second?”

“Yes…”

Talia whispers, her hands gripping the edge of the table.

“Were you afraid?” The doctor asks.

“Yes…” Talia whimpers, a small sob escaping her throat.

“Y-yes, yes.I thought I was dying,” she hiccups.

“And, for a brief moment, did you feel like giving up?”

Talia only nods, unable to find the words to explain her pain.

The doctor rolls her chair closer to Talia, resting her hand over hers.

“Luna,” the doctor murmurs.

“You have put a lot of pressure on yourself to conceive and your body knows it.You need to relax.Do something fun for yourself and let your body do what it needs to do.Your time as a mother will come when it’s meant to be.Not any sooner or later.” diagnosis.

“I will prescribe you something for the pain,” the doctor says, jotting something down on her clipboard.

“But please, just take it easy from now on.Spend some time with your husband and have some fun.A pack hurts when its Luna is not feeling well.”

The doctor once again exchanges looks with Jordan, and I realize then that the doctor is lying about something, holding the truth hostage in her mind.

The memory slowly distorts to a bedroom, Talia standing in front of a mirror as she applies lipstick.She looks incredible in a black floor length dress with an asymmetrical neckline and a thigh slit.

“Babe, are you ready?” Talia calls out, Christian walking into the room in a smart tuxedo.

“I’ve been ready,” he chuckles, hugging her from behind.

“Even Vanessa is all dressed up.We’re all just waiting on you.” He peppers k!sses on her bare neck and shoulders.

“Ya know, I could eat you right here…”

He purrs, Talia smiling with delight as she enjoys his k!sses.

“You’re almost perfect.” Talia raises an eyebrow as she scrutinizes her reflection in the mirror.

“Almost?”

“Mmhmm,”

Christian murmurs, sliding his hand down to her perfectly flat abdomen.

“Almost…If only there were a pup or two inside your belly,” he sighs heavily.

“Then I think you would truly deserve the Luna of the Year Award.” turning to face her ex-mate and k!ssing his bearded cheek.

“The award is given to the best Luna in the region for outstanding leadership and performance, not for how many pups she has,” Talia reminds him.

“You’re just mad you didn’t get the Alpha Award,” she teases him.

“Awards are stupid,” Christian snorts, Talia’s smile growing smaller by the second.

“And you shouldn’t let awards get to your head.Don’t forget, you have yet to fulfill your most important duty to your pack.”

He pulls away from her arms, muttering his displeasure under his breath.

“Now hurry up! We don’t have all day.You wouldn’t want to be late for your ‘oh so special award’.”

Christian slams the door to the bedroom, Talia blinking fast and fanning her eyes to stop the tears.

She grabs a pill bottle from the medicine cabinet and dry swallows two little white pills while she glares at her reflection.

“You’re a good Luna,” she whispers to herself, practicing a smile on her face that doesn’t reach her eyes.

“You’re a good Luna, ” she repeats over and over again as she heads out the door.

The memory fades once more to an award ceremony, hundreds of Alphas, Lunas, Betas, Gammas, and other high ranking wolves, sitting around at some tables in front of a stage.I can see Talia poking her head from behind the stage, scanning the room for her pack.

Jordan and another man wave at her, both of them grinning from ear to ear.

Kay and Mr.Hart are also present, beside Jordan and I realize Christian and Vanessa are nowhere to be found.

Talia’s excitement declines as she too struggles to find her mate.

She then doubles over in pain, biting her lip as she tries to gain control of her agony.

“Not only did she serve as a third party mediator to help settle pack relations between two rival packs, but she also helped negotiate funding for the AEP complex building that will house the business of her pack and those of her allies, thus creating over 700 new jobs for the packs in her region,” an announcer says over the loudspeaker.

“She is truly a force to be reckoned with and an inspiration to Lunas and she-wolves everywhere.Please help me congratulate this year’s Luna of the Year, Mrs.Natalia Hart of the Silver Crest pack!” Talia takes several slow and deep breaths, repeating her earlier mantra to herself…

She forces on her practiced smile and stands upright, her hand on her abdomen. Taking one step after the next, she walks on stage and accepts her award.

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