Chapter 1: Loss
"I'm sorry—I am so sorry," I sobbed, as I kneeled beside her. The sound of her labored, uneven breaths became scarcely audible over the erratic pounding of my heart, but it was there. That's all that mattered. "Please, stay with me. Help is coming, I promise," I told her. My voice broke, coming out strained and desperate. I was desperate, though. How could I not be? I was desperate to save my mate, desperate for this to be just a horrible nightmare, desperate for her to be okay. Her body lay before me, bloodied and mangled. The ground beneath her was gradually becoming saturated, stained by the crimson liquid seeping from the open wound on her side.
The mixture of blood, dirt, and sweat that marred my face was long forgotten. I didn't care that I was naked or that my leg was broken. None of that mattered now; nothing mattered except for her. The sight of her beautiful heart-shaped face, which was slowly turning a ghastly shade of white, caused pain like nothing I had ever felt. It ripped through me, from my gut right into my chest. I hadn't gotten to her in time. Guilt overwhelmed me as tears continued to pool in my eyes.
I peered around the familiar clearing, overgrown with an array of wildflowers, in hopes of finding help, even though I knew there would be none. The forest was unnaturally quiet; not even the rustling of leaves could be heard. The cold autumn wind had ceased its brutal assault as if it, too, knew the graveness of the situation.
Looking back down at her, I was devastated to see the sheer amount of blood still gushing from her abdomen. The bright red liquid began trickling from between her parted lips, and the rising and falling of her chest slowed dramatically. Her golden hair was splayed out around her, entangled with dirt, blood, and leaves. A shaky hand lightly cupped my cheek. Her fingers were cold, much colder than they should have been. She offered me a weak smile, though, it failed to reach her eyes.
"Logan, it's going to be o-okay," Olivia choked out in a whisper. I wanted to tell her not to speak, not to waste her energy, but I couldn't. I needed to hear her soothing, loving voice one last time.
"I know, baby. You're going to make it, just stay with me a little longer. Help is nearly here."
In a panic, I bolted upright, my body entangled within the thin linen sheets. For a moment, I was baffled by the sight of my dimly lit bedroom. My eyes automatically darted to the other side of the bed. Empty.
The same as it had been every morning for the last few years. Unable to ward off the hollowness I felt inside, I relinquished all hope for a restful sleep. I stumbled out of bed and shuffled towards the bathroom. The sensation of cold hardwood floor against my bare feet caused a shiver to run through me as I approached the sink. I stared my reflection in the cracked mirror, something I avoided doing most days, hating seeing the shadow of the man I once was.
It was easy to see how much my features had changed in the three years since Olivia's death. Stubble covered my face, which was something she would have never tolerated. A small smile crept its way onto my face just thinking of how she despised even the slightest facial hair. It's like sandpaper against my skin, she would always complain. The black hair atop my head was becoming far too long for my liking - and hers. I needed to make a mental note to get it cut although I probably wouldn't get around to it. My body was much scrawnier than before, and the bones had become slightly more visible beneath my tanned skin due to my lack of eating. I wasn't living anymore, merely surviving. Not looking forward to cold air on my wet skin, I decide to forgo a shower, half-assing my way through getting ready for the day.
Even after all the time that had passed the ache was still there, but reliving the memories was the most unbearable part. In the beginning, I had relished my nightmares, kidding myself into believing that seeing her, even if only in my sleep, was better than nothing, but each time I awoke was like failing her all over again.
"Morning, Alpha," Griffin said with a mock salute as he sauntered into my bedroom, uninvited. I couldn't help the slight smirk as I walked back into my room. The man had yet to learn the meaning of knocking.
"To what do I owe the displeasure of your company?" I half-jokingly asked while rummaging through my dresser for a clean shirt. There wasn't much to pick from, the overflowing hamper beside me could attest to that.
"Well," he drawled out, with his signature mischievous grin. "I thought it was my duty to inform you that your desk is about to collapse from the sheer weight of all the paperwork you have yet to finish going through. I mean, I know I'm amazing and all, but I can't do everything around here," he said, overly dramatic, as he threw himself onto my unmade bed.
Griffin tried to help, but truthfully, he didn't understand what I was going through. He couldn't; he had never lost a mate. In fact, Griffin had yet to find his. He was always joking he was just too awesome that the Moon Goddess couldn't find a she-wolf who could handle him. Which I believe very well might be true. Granted, I didn't believe in the Moon Goddess.
"So, you're bored then?" I asked already knowing that was the reason for his visit.
"Yes," he answered the same way someone might say duh. "Asher decided to flake off today." That didn't sound like Asher. It sounded a lot more like Griffin.
"Flake off where?" I asked skeptically shoving him off of my bed. He rolled ungracefully onto the floor, his head nearly colliding the small nightstand. Hopefully it would teach him to respect my personal space, though that was doubtful.
"He's off training a couple of guards or so he says." Griffin knew Asher probably better than even I did. So, he knew without question that was what Asher was doing. "Ya know if you wanted it rough, you only had to ask," he said with a wink once he got to his feet.
Rolling my eyes, I walked toward the door, not bothering to respond to his lewd comment. Anything I would have said would only have been twisted into something just as crude, if not worse. It was best to ignore him, and that is what I did, closing the door behind me.ns 22.214.171.124da2