Chapter 58: Bonded
Sitting in a study with a large double bed in the corner that looks completely out of place in an alcove,
as though it’s a new addition, with the sub pack in eerie quiet tension as they all absorb everything we
showed them outside. Sat in minorly dazed moods as we all digest the truth of combined memories.
It’s a small room with a bay window, a large couch and armchair nestled in front of a rustic fireplace
cozily. A large handmade desk sits off to the side, just in the nook of the window space, facing in with a
worn chair tucked behind. There’s an entire wall lined with dark stained bookcases, crammed full of old
leather-bound journals of varying shades of tan, brown, and black, with no titles on display and I
wonder what exactly is contained within the aged pages for them to bear no mark. There are oddities,
and bottles, of all kinds nestled among them, and facing that wall are three large closed cupboards in
matching deep wood that narrow the space considerably. There isn’t much floor to move around yet it
has a snug quality rather than crowded.
The décor of dark autumn hues, golds, oranges, russet, browns, and rich in color, which only makes
the room close in on us more so. Especially with the heavy drapes at the window in dark red velvet,
blocking out what should be light, but it’s almost the middle of the night already, so there’s a wall of
black in the windowpane. The lamps are dim, almost candle flickering in intensity, dotted sporadically
around small side tables and shelves, and add to an eerie atmosphere as the pack all sit around
nestled together. Some on them are perched on the arms of chairs, lounging, while Colton stands by
the fireplace, and I’m laid down on the bed out of the way to finally get some rest. The bed’s modern, I
can tell by the comfiness and the new crisp bedding that this was put in here recently.
My body is weary and heavy, and it feels good to finally know what a comfy safe bed feels like again.
It’s been so long since I was in a room by choice, surrounded by people I care about in a safe space,
and I can spread out and not have to be on high alert at all. Weeks of living with tension, and
heightened senses, all coming to an end, and I realize how incredibly exhausted I am. It feels beyond
amazing to not have one eye behind me, and one eye on my surroundings, worrying about my next
meal, or where to set up a good camp.
Colton moved us in here once they’d seen everything they needed to see in our shared memories, and
it was obvious they needed a little privacy to talk this out and calm down. We were making a spectacle
out front, and even though other pack members dispersed, we caught many peeking at windows.
The reactions were varied to what the pack saw out there when we mind bonded, and I think they’re all
still reeling in shock, and sadness, at finding out they’ve been raised with so many lies, for so many
years. That the man they trusted proved himself to be the villain in our own story. I can imagine, despite
it not being their family, their parents, it’s still their pack, their blood, and their alpha, that it has to cut
deep. The Santo pack has always been a proud close-knit unit, even for its massive size. It’s how it’s
lasted the test of generations.
Meadow sobbed, hugged me like she was going to crack every bone in my body, and went onto a
Spanish rant that involved a lot of cussing for a solid ten minutes, while she stomped around, throwing
her hands in the air dramatically and pointing at the sky. I think she was telling the fates off for allowing
all of this, but as Spanish is a language I never really picked up, I’ve no idea. She was animated and
filled with fury, and yet deep sadness, as she kept stopping to catch her breath and cry some more.
Cesar quietly stared at me for the longest moment, until I felt almost uncomfortable; a thoughtful face
etched with concern, before apologizing to me wholeheartedly about everything his ‘blood’ has done to
me for most of my life. Right before moving in and giving me a tight embrace that truly felt good. It was
solid and real, and I could feel his genuine remorse for being part of the bond that took away all of
mine. Cesar is a paternal role in the subs, and for the first time, I felt like one of his pups.
The twins sat on the ground, overcome, and kept shaking their heads in disbelief, lost, and yet
somehow enlightened at the same time, and they kept staring at one another, clearly mind linking to
question every detail. They seemed to be the slowest at figuring out how it all pieced together, and then
sat and looked bewildered. Blank expressions, except for wide eyes, and a downturn of their mouths.
Sadness evident in their aura.
Radar lost his shit completely, and I flinched when he growled out loud, cursed Juan’s name and
stormed off amid a rant, semi turned into wolf because he couldn’t control it, and gave us space. His
words mumbled, yet I heard the name Sierra, and how Juan all these years kept her a prisoner of her
own mind and denied Radar his right to protect his Luna. Radar seemed the one with the most fury, but
I guess given how he feels about Luna Sierra, then it makes sense he would react aggressively. He
came back after Meadow was done cursing out the fates, and stood silent, and broody, while
occasionally staring at the ground in deep thought. His mind in turmoil.
Matteo as always, the calm within the group, kept questioning Colton, saying things like ‘I just can’t …’
and then turning over every detail as though he needed confirmation. Emotionally, he seemed in
disbelief, his manner cool, yet that look of utter heartbreak in his eyes at the fact their alpha lied to
them all. He stayed close to Colton, providing a sense of stable quiet when the others were in disarray.
Jesus vented loudly, at no one, at everything, wandering in circles and talking to himself while kicking
gravel across the drive with force. Every so often he would come back to the circle, rub my head, and
say ‘Lo siento mucho, niña’
I think it means sorry, but I’m not sure, and I didn’t want to ask while everyone is visibly shaken. Jesus
has something of the dramatic about him, and his energy was bristling the air around me anytime he
paced close. That need to hurt something for hurting his pack. It was overly protective, and I could
almost taste his desire for revenge against Juan.
Colton and I stood side by side and he took my hand, waiting for them to have some time to let it
absorb. I stood blank faced, and numb, fatigue controlling my body, and the only thing I could focus on
was Colton’s warm skin against mine, and how it was so heartbreakingly right. His touch as always,
killing me softly.
Now we’re all inside, nursing mugs of coffee, except me, as I declined and wanted to lie horizontal
while they all bashed it out between them. I need a little quiet and calm to let everything that has
happened in the last two days settle and wash over me. It feels like my head has been bombarded and
knocked to hell and somehow, I’m mentally bruised and in need of soothing soft silence. It’s quiet now,
and they are all stuck in their own minds, with the occasional infrequent sentence thrown out there,
mostly nods. I think this may take more than a few short hours for them to really grasp the levity of the
situation, and the past. We still don’t know what else Sierra will add to the pot if anything.
It does feel good to be back among them though. The familiarity, the safety, and even though I was
only part of their pack for a short time, I feel like I’m home and back within the arms of my family.
Something I’ve wanted and ached for, for the last ten years of my life, and never thought it would exist
within the Santo pack. Especially after finding out all of this about Juan. Carmen is still not here, and
I’m starting to wonder if her absence has to do with the war on the mountain.
Colton said her father was Juan’s beta, so of course he would forbid her from coming here, and maybe
even held her hostage to make sure she didn’t shame her family by following ‘the traitor’. I can’t
imagine that would not have gone down well with Juan, if his second in command’s own blood followed
his son off the mountain. Juan already believes he’s more powerful than a mate bond. That would
explain Colton’s desire to start something with me, as though he didn’t already have himself a femme
tucked away. He thinks his mate is unreachable, unattainable, from circumstance, and a lost cause that
he chose under pressure, and thinks he can ignore the bond and start fresh with me. Because our
emotional bond was never severed, and his feelings didn’t change like he hoped.
It’s not happening. The very thought of it chokes me to the core, and makes my heart constrict, and
pulse, painfully. That uncomfortable heaviness in my gut, reminding me that I can never forgive and
forget that he gave up on us and did what hurt me the most. I can’t move past the betrayal, or what he
did, and I definitely cannot become some tarnished femme willing to have someone else’s mate, just
because she can’t physically be here. It makes me sick to my stomach that he would even ask that of
me. Love means nothing when you’re mate bonded to another. It’s against the rules, the pack laws,
and against my own moral code. I deserve more.
“So, what now? Alora is in danger if Juan now knows she’s here. He may try and pull together enough
wolves to attack the homestead!” Matteo breaks the silence, bringing all eyes to him as he nestles in
the armchair. His words bringing me out of my own thoughts and I sit up on one elbow to look at him
from a semi lounging position, my gut swirling a little, and anxiety piquing, that my being here might just
endanger everyone I love. More so than already, and I can’t really predict if that’s true.
“No. My mom life linked to her…. if anything happens to Alora, then my mom dies too, and as she’s still
bonded to my dad, it’ll be his end. He’s crazy, but not stupid. He’d never jeopardize his own life. He
won’t attack because we outnumber him in terms of warriors, and he already lost at the mountain,
there’s also no point in trying to get them back now. He knows we have the truth and soon we’ll spread
it among our pack to let it free. Containing it won’t be his goal anymore, as he can’t turn back time. The
only threat now is Alora rising to fulfil the prophecy that he can’t do a damn thing about. We protect her,
we keep her close within our circle, same as any of the rest of us. We shield her and my mom. They’re
the two most important people in this, and to me.” Colton turns and leans against the mantle and
exhales heavily. His own fatigue evident on his face, his pallor pale, with dark smudges under his lower
lids, his body sagging instead of the usual confident, strong, and tall posture he normally has. He
catches my eye across the room over the heads of those on the couch and e gives me that soft, almost
nothing, smile, that makes my heart giddy and insides erupts in fluttering butterflies. I look away
quickly, my face flushing with the stupid reaction to him, and lay back down to avoid his eyes on me. I
don’t want to feel his pull constantly, always sending my body into crazy spins and tingles, I want to
sleep and to not feel, and not be torn every second with this gnawing need for him.