"How could you let this happen? How could you be so stupid?" I yell at Nina, who cowers in the corner like a wet cat.
"Lay up on her, Darren. No one knew that Elsa was going to play some disappearing act!" Samuel says.
"Do you think this is funny? You're making jokes?" I bellow. I walk up to him, finger in his face. "Do you know what's at stake? Does anyone know what's at stake here?"
My father's voice captures my attention. I turn to face him. We are all in the living room, trying to think of a plan. Any plan.
"It is no one's fault. We did poorly by the girl. We trapped her here like a prisoner. We were wrong. Of course she would flee." He says, grimly.
My father looks like he's aged since this whole crisis unfolded. I still remember the panic in Nina's voice when she told me she couldn't hear Elsa. I thought the worse. I was flying down the highway, heading back home. I called everyone that I could - the best trackers I had. But it wasn't easy. Nina and Elsa had been all over. The scent was old and muddled., We couldn't break out into our true forms in the middle of town and that made things even harder. She was probably miles away. Two days later and it wasn't getting easier. I had Nina tell me everything she remembered. Nothing seemed unusual. They shopped and ate and laughed. It was unexpected.
But it was all planned out. It had to be.
Elsa had left everything behind like clothing, mementos, her laptop. I searched everything for a clue but nothing turned up. I called her mother's place but she was as clueless. I knew she wasn't lying. I could hear the panic and fear in her voice. She was angry. She wanted to know where her daughter was. I was supposed to protect her - my one singular duty as her mate. I'd failed.
I'd failed her in so many ways.
"Father, we have to find her." I say, sitting down, holding my head in my hands.
"We will try as much as we can, son. We will try. I am sending agents to Pennsylvania. There is no where else she can go back back to her home. We will go to her old place. To her mother's house. She cannot have gotten too far."
"She is alone out there."
"She is strong, Darren. She will be okay." Samuel says.
"This is all my fault." I say, shaking my head. I feel my mother's hand on my shoulder.
"No, Darren. No. It isn't. This was too much for the girl."
"If other packs find out this will be our undoing." Samuel says. "Darren is supposed to assume your place father. If he isn't mated...things won't go well for us."
"There has to be something we can do." I say, mostly too myself. Every moment that goes by feels like an eternity.
"I have an idea..." Nina says, her voice quiet and unsure.
"I mean we might as well try. The worst has already happened." I say, throwing my hands up.
I wake up to the smell of bacon. My stomach rumbles. My mouth waters. Knowing my mom, breakfast will be accompanied by eggs, french toast, and fresh squeezed orange juice. I don't want to get up. I want to stay in bed however the scent of crisping bacon makes me sit upright. I look at the time. It is still so early, only 04:00 a.m. I wanted to sleep more but now that my eyes were open I couldn't manage to shut them again. I sit up, feeling achy. I look to the window and it is still dark out. Soon the sun will be coming up and everyone will start their routine, readying for work or getting children ready for school. Everyone going about their daily lives. What if they knew that the monsters in the closets were real. I never knew that I was one of them. That was still a hard pill to swallow.
I don't know if I would ever get it down.
I stand up, figuring I would have to face the music. I go to my door and open it, heading to the kitchen. My mother is standing in her bathrobe at the stove. She turns to look at me. She looks older than I remember, tinier too.
"What are you doing?" I ask.
"Making you breakfast. I packed you a lunch and a dinner."
"At 04:00 a.m.?"
"You need to make an early start."
"What do you mean."
"It won't be long until they come looking for you here. You need to leave as soon as you can. If what you want is to get away in time."
"Why are you helping me?" I ask. "You're not on my side."
She puts down her spatula and looks at me.
"I'm on the side of my daughter. And I will support you in whatever decision you make. You know that.
"I'll have to go far." I say.
"As long as you call me. That's all that I want." She says. I go to her, kissing her on the cheek.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you."
"It's okay, darling. I didn't do right by you...not telling you for so long. I figured you needed to know eventually. I just didn't know how to tell you."
"It's so hard to understand."
My mother came to me, gripping my shoulders.
"Know this. You are strong, capable, fearsome, and more powerful than you know. Take all the time that you need to process this. I know it's hard. There's a duffel bag at the door. I packed clothes and supplies. Whatever you may need."
"Thank you, mom." I say, holding onto her.
"I love you." She says.
"I love you too."
To Be Continued...