Before you begin reading, I did a lot of editing and restructuring in all prior chapters. So if you've forgotten the story, you may want to reread some parts. I hope this time around your reading experience is much more enjoyable. Comments and critiques are always welcome, they help me write better! Thank you.
I'm very pleased to present Chapter 11. New characters, new plots, everything is getting exciting I hope!
Amy J Mars
Chapter 11 - Losing Control
The silence was so loud that Amelia could hear the thump-thump of her heartbeat. Everyone was frozen by her bold statement. Hank had said she would have to be firm.
Within the past hour, Hank had given her a brief introduction to Fateds, elders and pack rules. It was enought to make her world tilt on its axis and she was still quite skeptical about most of it. But she did not have the luxury of time to second guess what looked very real.
Hank's warning had awoken a fear she had kept under lock and key ever since her run had started. Yes, she knew her death was inevitable. And yes, she was scared. But as young as she was, she accepted it. Or more accurately, she had learned to ignore it. That is, until Hank verbalized it. What if she wasn't the last? What if the killing didn't stop at just her? And worst of all, what if the future deaths were ultimately her fault? Amelia had shuddered at the fear that his words weren't just a warning, but a prediction.
Amelia could be stubborn, but she wasn't stupid. The plainly saw the opportunity that Lucas represented. It was a chance to stop future murders. By agreeing to stay, she knew that some members of Lucas' pack would die. And she already mourned for them. However, if she left, she would be signing death warrants for even more innocent lives. In her mind, at least werewolves stood a fighting chance against what she was facing.
The silence in the room thickened and Amelia grew bolder in her decision. Her chest inflated and her shoulders straightened proudly. Yes, she told herself. This was the correct choice.
"You." Amelia looked at the powerful man at one end of the table. He stumbled toward her in disbelief and Amelia saw his telltale limp. So this was Rictor. Hank had said that he was the who she would need to stand up to. Amelia took one deliberate step to face Rictor head on. Her nose rose an inch higher. At her wordless challenge, Rictor's face snapped to an ugly fury. He crouched low and his thick arms spread wide for an attack.
"You." There was such hate in that voice that Amelia lost her nerve momentarily. She had expected resistance but Rictor's face was filled with pure hate for her. She gave herself a mental shake and her eyes held steady.
"You goddamned girl! Do you realize what you've done?! Stupid, foolish girl!" Rictor jerked several steps in her direction. Amelia matched his pose and prepared for attack. Injured or not, she would prove herself to this man. Her nails lengthened to sharp claws as Rictor stalked closer. She could feel Lucas next to her readying himself for the possible fight.
"Stand down, Rictor! We'll find a solution for Boothe. Father! Piotr!" The two men were already at Rictor's side holding him back. Boothe stood behind his Uncle and wrapped his arms around his midsection. Rictor was fast losing control and going berserk. He was twisting and lunging now, dragging the three men forward with every jump.
"Selfish bitch! You've damned my nephew to hell! You've killed him with your ignorance!" The harsh words made doubt creep into Amelia's resolve. Rictor continued his onslaught unmercifully. "This was his last chance to live and you have sentenced him to death! Goddamn you! Goddamn you to hell!" Rictor's eyes went wild with a heated craze. With every lunge forward toward Amelia he became more animal-like and uncontrollable. His face elongated and sharp teeth grew. The three men were fast losing their footing and could not transform for fear of losing their grip on Rictor.
Lucas shoved Amelia behind him into Hank's arms. "Hank! Take her!" Hank jumped to action. He grabbed Amelia's hand and started to pull her back the way they came. Amelia resisted. She would stay here until the end. She refused to run from a problem she created.
Lucas' eyes burned with the alpha's dominance. "Stand down, Rictor! Stand down to me!" Lucas was yelling at the top of his lungs, his voice rumbling in the small room. The wolf-man visibly cringed at the order. The slight pause was enough for the three men to pin Rictor to the ground. Although the now fully transformed wolf was subdued, its breaths were erratic and foam dripped from its mouth. But those beady green eyes were pinpointed straight at Amelia. They stared at her unforgivingly, promising retribution with a strange, humanlike hatred.
Time stopped for Amelia and Rictor the wolf. The hatred emanating from the wolf's green eyes were only enhanced by the constant movement and noise around them. The three men above Rictor were grasping and talking to the wolf while Lucas attempted to use his alpha's dominance to get Rictor's attention. Even Hank was trying to pull Amelia away from the scene, but nothing could budge her. A twinge of horror at the consequences of her choice kept her eyes glued to the wolf's. Somehow Amelia sensed what would happen next. She yelled a warning, but it was already too late. The wolf jerked upward and bit down on the closest hand to its face.
"Argh!" Dylan yelled out as his hand crunched to pieces. Piotr pounced on the wolf's mouth forcing it to open, freeing the bottom half of the wolf's body. Boothe yelled out a warning but the wolf's body was already free from restraint. The wolf had the upperhand now and it threw both Dylan and Piotr to one side of the room. There bodies smashed into the wall. It would take only mere moments now for the wolf to gain control of the fight. Boothe was somehow managing to anchor the wolf's body, but he could not hold his grip for long.
Lucas turned back to Hank and Amelia. "Get her out of here, Hank. Amelia, go now! Go!"
Amelia objected. "I-I won't Lucas." Amelia tightened her voice. "I refuse. Don't you dare touch me, Hank." Amelia turned to snarl at his touch at her shoulder, but she immediately pulled it back. Instead of Hank, it was the woman Amelia had seen when they had first enetered the house. A strange woman in this pack of wolves.
The woman didn't even spare a glance at Amelia and instead was looking straight ahead. Amelia followed the young woman's clear gaze. By now the wolf, Rictor, had rid himself of his own nephew, who lay smashed into the cabinet behind him. Blood framed his body on the glass around him. The wolf slowly turned to face Lucas and rolled it's shoulders back like a boxer before a match. Lucas stepped forward as the last barrier between the wolf and Amelia.
The woman next to Amelia took a step forward toward the monstrous wolf. Amelia grasped at her arm to pull her back to safety.
"Hey! Stay back, it's dangerous!"
The woman turned her head back to face Amelia as if in surprise. She looked down at her arm where Amelia was holding her back. When the woman brought her solemn gaze up to meet Amelia's, she could not help the sudden squeamishness at the bottom of her belly. She was young, possibly younger than Amelia herself. She was a small woman and Amelia was sure she would be ripped apart if she went into that room. Still, the strange woman's steady gaze made Amelia uncomfortable enough to consider releasing the woman's arm. Unnerved, Amelia did not release her hold. However, she did shift her gaze to avoid eye contact.
The woman called out to Lucas instead. "Allow me, Lucas."
Lucas did not take his eyes off of Rictor. He was poised in a crouch, ready to transform into a wolf at a moment's notice. Nevertheless, he did spare her an answer.
"He'll hurt you, Beth. Possibly kill you. God dammit, Hank! Get both of them out of here."
Hank had been trying to do just that for the past few minutes, but short of knocking them both unconscious and dragging them out, he'd been unsuccessful so far. He made as if to try to grab Amelia once more, but she shot him down with a withering look that made the lanky man visibly wilt. Hank stepped back with a cringe. "She ain't budgin', Lucas," he admitted lamely.
Beth stepped forward once more and this time Amelia released her. Her hand softly landed on Lucas' tense shoulder. "Please, Lucas. Let me."
Lucas's body stiffened in response and Amelia could see the options warring within him. Although in her opinion, there was only the one option of standing up and fighting for herself. Sending out that small woman to Rictor would be like sending a lamb to slaughter. Which was why she was horrified when Lucas quickly nodded his acquiescence and stepped back slowly.
"Lucas, what are you doing? She'll be killed!"
Lucas did not expound on his answer. Instead his gaze was steady at Rictor and Beth in front of him. Amelia could do nothing except to follow his gaze.
By now Beth was just an arms length away from the wolf. Its snout was trembling as it bared its teeth. It did not look at Beth, but kept its full attention on Amelia. Beth did not block the wolf's view and instead remained on its side. She knelt down and inched closer so that her face was right next to the wolf's snarling head. Amelia had to fight a sudden queasiness when Beth started to whisper right into the wolf's ear.
"Rictor, come back to me. Boothe is fine. Lucas will help us. You know he will. Rictor. Rictor."
Beth could hardly breathe. She didn't know what it was exactly. Rictor's body was still tense in attack mode and his growls hadn't lessened. But something changed and she knew that Beth had reached a part of Rictor that Lucas and the three men had not been able to. Rictor continued to glare at her but it was not the wild look she had received before. This was something entirely different, almost magical. Even Lucas seemed to relax a bit at Beth's results. Amelia smiled at the wonder of Beth.
Suddenly without warning Rictor's body seized right back up and he shook his head as if to rid himself of Beth's spell. He tossed his head in retaliation and hit Beth to the side of the room. Her cry was cut off when her slight body slammed into the other cabinet. Her head slumped to the side in unconsciousness.
Lucas let out an expletive. Amelia dragged her eyes from Beth's body back to Rictor. Lucas had taken a step forward to Rictor in challenge.
"Rictor! Look at Beth!" The wolf snarled and snapped and paid no attention to the woman at the side of the room. Neither did it focus on Lucas. Its entire attention was zeroed in on Amelia. She crouched low for attack. The wolf leapt.
"Damn you, Rictor!" Amelia watched in horror as Lucas leapt straight at Rictor still in human form. His hand wrapped around Rictor's throat and he threw Rictor down to the ground. The wolf was snarling and snapping at Lucas' hands around his throat and head. Lucas finally managed to get a good grip and forced Rictor to look in Beth's direction.
"Look. At. Beth!"
At first the wolf struggled and continued to fight Lucas' hold, but his motions slowed within seconds. They were both breathing hard with exertion, but Lucas refused to release his hold even when the wolf completely stilled. It wasn't until the whining and desperate struggles began when Lucas decided to roll his weight off of the wolf.
The wolf crawled on its belly toward Beth. The whining was difficult to listen to. It wasn't the whining of a dog wanting food or a walk. This was a whine of despair.
The wolf nudged its wet nose into Beth's hand. She didn't move.
Piotr had already managed to bandage up Dylan's hand with a part of his shirt. The two of them were working to pull Boothe up and out of the rubble. Boothe shook off the dust. When he saw the devastation of Beth's body he quickly rushed towards her. Piotr held him back. "Let him change back first, he's still dangerous," he warned. Boothe didn't step back, but he did nod at Piotr's words.
When Rictor finally did change back into a human, it was hard for Amelia to match the human with the wolf she had just seen. The naked man before her was shaking and his fingers drifted over her body in regret. Blood from the broken glass and wood covered Beth's skin and clothes. His hands continued to hover, as if in fear of causing more injury to her. Even his voice seemed broken and trampled on. "Oh Beth. My Beth. What have I done to you?"
Boothe knelt on the other side of Beth. "Let me help you, Uncle." Rictor gave no sign of consent, but he did help Boothe lift Beth out of the cabinet. Boothe carefully straightened out her body as Rictor cradled her head in his arms. His face buried itself into her neck and he rocked back and forth. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. So sorry, my love."
In front of her, Amelia heard Lucas sigh. She couldn't help but relax along with him. Her legs felt like jello and she put a hand on the wall to steady herself.
Lucas stepped forward into the room. "Piotr, take Father to Mother. She'll want to bandage him as soon as possible. Then bring her here as quickly as possible." He checked Beth's body quickly while keeping a watchful eye on Rictor. "She's mostly scratches and Rictor needs some time to cool off anyway before anyone comes near. Rictor, I'll get the bedroom ready for you two." Lucas walked out the other doorway supposedly leading to the bedroom. Rictor, his eyes reserved solely for the woman in his arms, tenderly cradled Beth and followed Lucas out of the dining room wordlessly.
Dylan and Piotr stumbled out of the room and walked toward Amelia and Hank. Despite the pain that must have been burning him up, Dylan paused next to Amelia. Wearily, but with a half-smile, he introduced himself. "I don't believe we've been formally introduced. I am Dylan Quinn, Lucas' father."
"Oh-" Amelia's mind went blank at the normality of the conversation. After the wolves, the fight and the strange woman named Beth, it was hard to return to the niceties of politeness.
"Nice to meet you," she exclaimed automatically with an awkward wave.
Dylan chuckled. "Well, nice is not what I would call this." He waved his uninjured hand at the room to indicate the last few minutes. Amelia could only smile weakly and shrug her shoulders in response.
"Although it may seem unbelievable now, I do thank you for choosing my son." Amelia had no answer for that. It was a strange sentence coming from someone who looked so much like Lucas. Dylan seemed to require a response so she rambled up the first thing she could think of. "It was an easy choice to make."
Amelia noted how high Hank's eyebrow rose at that but she chose to ignore it. Dylan nodded and Amelia watched as he walked past the kitchen and joined Peter, who was waiting at the front door. When the door shut closed, Amelia gave a huge sigh of relief.
"Shut up, Hank."
"Hah. Ain't gonna happen, sister."
Amelia turned to face Hank. "Anyways, a lot of this is your fault. You told me to just come in here and stand my ground. And look what happened!"
Hank went red in the face. "Yeah, I wasn't really expectin' that last part to happen. When things calm down I'll go apologize and explain what happened, alright? Amelia? You OK? What're you lookin' at?"
Hank turned around and had to take a half-step back. The last man left in the room was a stranger to Amelia. She hadn't even noticed him until Hank had started talking. Her attention had wandered and when she looked over Hank's shoulder into the room, her eyes had connected with his. The man had obviously taken this as an invitation and slowly, as if mesmerized, walked closer until he stood just behind Hank.
"Whoa Boothe, didn't even notice you there. You OK?"
Boothe closed his eyes and inhaled a huge amount of air, as if he could taste something delicious in the air. When his eyes finally opened, his green eyes were strong and directed fully on her.
"Now what in the world are you?"