Rejected Mate and Following Fate - Awakening Book

Chapter 79: Morning Comes

Surprisingly, despite my mind working overtime and inability to keep picturing Colton inside my head, I
fell asleep. Curled up with Meadow, talking quietly until the darkness grew that we could no longer see
each other, and we faded into tiredness. I don’t remember who fell asleep first, but I woke to her
rousing me with a shake and telling me we had to get up. Exhausted, groggy, and somewhat
disorientated, as I came to and impulsively reached for the warm and familiar body of my mate and
blinked at the shock of his absence.

It was then that it all came rushing back and I almost cried with the realization that none of it was a
dream, he’s really not here to welcome my day, to kiss me good morning or hug me awake. And that
today we have to leave to go drive an almost full day to find a witch who may or may not help us. It
feels like being sucker punched by a cannonball and my heart faltered before pounding through my
chest in the most agonizing way.

It’s way too early in the day, sun not quite fully up but I know we have to get out of here at first light to
make sure we hit our destination before the sun comes down again. The goal is to get there without
stopping if we can and try to make it in one day. The sooner we deal with this, the quicker we can break
the spell, and the faster I can get Colton back. That our pack can come home again.

I wander down with her, half asleep, fatigue kicking my ass still and we grab a cold quick breakfast in
the kitchens as quietly as we can so as not to attract attention and spread the word we are sneaking

We didn’t tell the pack we planned on leaving, so as not to cause panic and have the remainder of the
pack try and talk us out of going. We are relying on Sierra telling them after we go so no one can hinder
our progress. Wolves are naturally protective and when it comes to a Luna, they will hold me against
my will for my own safety if they feel it’s needed.

Everyone is on edge and I know the loss of their Luna on top of their alpha’s absence will send them
into a frenzy and barricade us from leaving. Wolves need the hierarchy more than is logical sometimes,
especially the peaceable land-dwelling type and by going out there, I am abandoning them to their own
fate should anything happen to me. They’re going to be unhappy when they know the Rema is now in
charge and they have neither Alpha nor Luna in the grounds.

It has to be done. I’m the one with the strongest gifts, and that gives us more chance of doing this
without death. And the spell books and the bottle seemed pretty certain I was meant to go with
Meadow to see this through, for whatever reason.

I walk slowly into the medi bay when Meadow cuts right to head outside and check the sentinels she
left in charge of loading the truck have done what they were asked. They know she’s leaving but they
don’t know about me. I am waiting until the last second to go out and jump in the truck with her, besides
I still have one task to carry out before we go.

Carmen is standing by the window when I walk in and staring outside at the obvious green mist which
is still lingering over the horizon. I can tell by the waves of mood coming her way she already knows
what’s happened while she was asleep. She’s quiet, still, somber, and standing upright like that frosty
bitch I knew so long ago, only now, I can feel her so much better than I used to, and the sadness is
almost suffocating. If I didn’t know her before, and only saw her like this now, I would be moved to pity
this vulnerable creature and wonder who had hurt her so deeply.

I clear my throat to get her attention, feeling like I’m invading her space and a little awkward; she snaps
around, startled at seeing it’s me and not the doctor, lowering her eyes immediately in submission,
knowing her place in our grounds.

“Luna…. I … I’m sorry for….” She begins with a waiver in her voice, her guilt seeping through so that I
know what she’s about to say; almost like an overwhelming heavy dampener in the air and I cut her off.
She is nothing like the fierce and stubborn girl of yesterday.

“You didn’t do this. She didn’t do this. It would have happened anyway. They were waiting for a time
and it was just coincidence.” I try to soothe her, but the lack of change in her tight expression tells me
my words are falling on deaf ears and her responsibility in this runs deep. I sigh and try a different
approach in a bid to remove that dark shroud of worthlessness which is cloaking her and making me
feel all kinds of emotional. “You can look at me, I give you permission. After all, you are one of my sub
pack and they’re family. No need for the formalities.” It’s the least I can do, given how awkward it is for
her to stare at the ground while I am attempting to comfort her and making a hash job of it.

Her eyes flash up at me, a hint of shock on that normally noble face as she second guesses my words,
looks away again and then flickers back at me unsurely. I think she’s trying to figure out if I actually
mean it, or if I’m trying to catch her out, but I haven’t got time to waste today.

“Look, I didn’t come here to have a chit chat… I came to ask you something.” My nerves are building,
knowing it’s almost time and I sigh and look around the room trying to ground myself and sound
stronger than I am at this moment in time. I feel like time is ticking away faster than I can deal with and
yet also not. Like wading through sand in terms of how long it’s been since Colton held me.

“Yes, Luna.” She has the sense not to question anyway. I guess she really is trying to step in line with
my new role, or that she’s so bogged down in her own grief that all her fight has left her. I’m thinking it’s
more that than anything else.

“Meadow and I… we have a plan, a possible solution to the fog, the spell. I’m sure the doctor has filled
you in on yesterday’s events and where we’re at. I want you to come with us, Meadow and I. I think you
may be useful, and we need the help while numbers here are not what they were. It’ll be the three of us
and only a couple of days away from here in the hopes of finding a solution.” My voice is steady and
low, afraid any passing wolf hears me but inside I’m a crumbling mess of doubt and insecurity. I have
no idea if this is even a good plan or going to help, but we have to do something.

She gasps, in first surprise, and then eyes me up, mistrust all over her face as she thinks something
through, and I can almost taste the apprehension coming from her in waves. That sharp look in her eye
as her thoughts align.

“You think it will ease my sense of guilt!” She homes in on that right away, stating it bluntly with a chill in
her tone and I have to pull myself rigid to not react in how well she saw through that ploy. It’s not all
about easing her guilt though, it’s also about her being useful. Meadow wouldn’t have suggested her if
she thought she would be a dead weight we drag along and right now; we need all the help we can get.
I’m terrified about what we may face out there and won’t turn down someone with a gift like hers.

“You have gifts. Meadow vouched for your worthiness as a fighter and as we are going without guards,
I think three is better than two.” I completely dodge her statement, not willing to confirm that yes, I’m
worried her sense of responsibility will have a long-term effect on her and I don’t want to burden Sierra
with her in our absence. She is going to have enough to deal with while we are gone and not have to
babysit Carmen for fear of another wolf legging it out into the forest to end things.

“I can fight. I’m fast. I can break eardrums, glass, sometimes brains….and I want to make up for what
my mother did that put us here. I brought her here. I did this. If I kept her at the mountain then … so
what I’m saying is, yes. Don’t cotton pad me, I’m capable and I’m willing.” Steel determination, even
tone and no hint of weakness as she locks an eye on me. Her emotion stabilizing as she regains
control and I’m impressed with how coldly she states it.

“Then you would all be enchanted too. And useless. The fog hit them not long after it hit here. We think
every pack in this entire area was probably caught the same way. We were not the aim; we were only
part of it.” I point out, needing her to know that what her mother did was not the only cause of this.

“So, everyone…” she starts, and I cut in.

“Yes. Which is why we have to leave now, because we have a possible fix.” I turn, motioning her to
follow me, but she hesitates, and I am forced to pause while she verbalizes whatever the issue is.

“Is it true…. that Sierra is a witch? That Colton’s also a ….” She trails off, her voice weakening to a
whisper and she gazes almost through me, caught somewhere in her head, and I realize, despite living
with all the exposed secrets all these months and making peace with them, this is all new to her. That
months of getting used to this fact has normalized it into a mute topic, but for her, it’s like suddenly
finding out everything you knew was wrong and she is still reeling. I don’t doubt she found out a whole
lot of things recently before coming here and is still digesting it all.

“It’s true.” I look over my shoulder at her, confirming with my serious expression, and her eyes widen on
me as she swallows noticeably. A sudden wave of unnatural wariness overcomes her aura.

“So, you?…. You’re a … part of them?” It’s part accusation, emphasis on the word them, a bitterness to
her tone that’s cut off with a croakiness of raw emotion breaking, and a tear rolls down her cheek
before she can check it. I falter because I know this reaction well and should have expected it, given
what’s happened. The realization that I’m part of the enemy and the people who just ripped her mother
to shreds, that I share their blood and stand before her, telling her I’m an ally and not foe. It was hard
for me to digest it so many months ago and it took a while for the pack to fully accept it and stop staring
at me like I was some kind of abomination at first, so I can’t even imagine what’s running through her
mind as she stares at me so intensely and see’s part monster who just destroyed her world.

“I am. Mother was part, so that makes me even less, I guess. Turns out there’s a few hybrids int the
Santos.” I sigh, dodging her obvious issue with this fact, really not wanting to stand and do this now
and yet she surprises me with blurting out a statement I suspected but didn’t really think I would ever

“My mum was half human. It’s why she was…. weak.” The shame that overcomes her tone, flushes her
cheeks red and pushes her gaze back to the ground, overwhelms me. I gasp in shock, turning back to

her in time to see her dropping her chin to her chest and exhaling painfully as though letting out a long-
burdened weight on her body and I wonder if this is the first time she has told anyone those words. I
know being Luna means I can somehow charm her pack into confiding deepest secrets, but I truly
never thought Carmen would be so willing to share something like this. I know for a fact Colton doesn’t
have this in his memory banks, so she never told him at all.

“My dad was livid when he found out. He was so mad, he never touched her again, but she was
already pregnant with me and he pressured her into aborting. He abhorred her for that part of her, and
me, because it lives in me too and he hated the fact she defied him and kept me. Inferior…weak.
Worthless. An impure hybrid with a species who is completely giftless and he was ashamed to know us
at all….. I don’t even know why I’m telling you this.”

It explains so much, especially Tawna’s inability to heal her mental state with turning. It explains
Carmen’s sometimes loner personality; while wolves, even me, really long to be part of the pack and
crave close connections but she always avoided it. Flaws from hybrids can be devastating on the
abilities most wolves are born with. Any discrepancy or mutation can affect us, like how I can override
Colton’s alpha tone even before I was his Luna. Sierra and the Doc found out a lot about this in the
years they studied and researched hybrids and it’s amazing a human was even able to carry a half wolf
to term.

“You’re none of those things. We don’t choose what we are Carmen, we just live with it, and learn how
to use it to our advantage. If you were weak, inferior, Meds wouldn’t have vouched for you as our back
up. So pull yourself together, grab whatever you need a for a few days and meet me out front. We need
to go and as much as I know I should be giving you time, empathy and compassion; I don’t have the
time right now. Come or stay, we leave in about fifteen minutes and I expect to see you there.”

I know I’m being harsh, but really, I don’t have the energy for this, if I let her wallow in pity she will
spiral, and it won’t help. We need to leave; we need to go before people wake and we want to be out of
here at the break of dawn as the sun peeks to make sure we have maximum time to get where we are

going. Safe from vamps, and early enough that maybe the wolves out there will be asleep, wherever
they are. I know that even enchanted that they do rest, we saw them trial off as the sun went down to
go wherever they were beckoned, and we can only assume it was to sleep. I don’t doubt that even
enchanted they need to do the basics of self-care, like eat, rest, use the bathroom. Here’s hoping they
all don’t wake at the same hour as Colton with an energy akin to the sun at that hour.

I don’t wait for an answer, feeling antsy and knowing I need to stay pulled together and strong, or else
I’ll break and I’m already emotionally exhausted. I walk off, leaving her there to decide what she’s doing
and make light work of getting outside in hyper speed. I’m in no mood for more interactions with other
wolves right now.

Meadow is outside with a very familiar truck pulled into the center of the drive and it’s covered all over
with symbols, spray painted on everything I can see. They are only a shade or two darker than the
green military paint so not overly showy, but I know they’re what I saw in the spell book yesterday. I
guess Sierra figured this was the best way to cast a protection spell on our vehicle. Keep the fog out
and maybe our pack too, much like the rune border does.

It’s the medical truck from the lab that the Doc and I came here in so many months ago and that sense
of Deja Vue and full circle claw at the back of my mind again, making my skin bristle and wonder at
why this feels like it has more importance than it should. Maybe the fates are coercing something once
again, but I truly can’t imagine how this circles back to all that’s come before. I push the feeling away
and set my eyes on the truck before me, in all its glory.

It’s large, roomy, with space in the back for supplies and us to lay down and sleep should we need it.
And when I wander round to the open back doors, I’m not shocked to see two beds clipped into place,
one on each side, and another one folded flat and pushed into a corner. I guess Meds figured should
we need to stop and spend a night somewhere, then a truck with a protection spell is the best place to
sleep. If the runes keep Vamps out here, then it should be the same on this vehicle, so inside we
wouldn’t be sitting targets at all. There’s a whole bunch of creates piled and strapped into one corner,

holding dried and fresh foods, a small camping stove and crates of water beside it. She really has
thought ahead, and it brings a veil of peace over my fraught nerves for a moment. Reminding me of
Colton’s capable command and attention to detail and just serves to remind me why Meadow is his

“Is she coming?” Meadow comes around, slightly pushing me over while she closes up the back doors
and locks them tight, showing more runic symbols painted on them and I run my fingertips over the
surface of them with interest.

“Were these successful?” I ask, not really answering her question when I don’t even know myself.
Carmen never gave me any real hint if she would actually follow me or not, even if she said she was

“She thinks so but we won’t know until we test it. She put them everywhere, even underneath and on
the roof. Thinking it will create a bubble, so the fog can’t get in and neither will anyone who’s
enchanted.” Meadow stands beside me and admires Sierra’s handywork with a silent stuff posture. I
can feel her tension ebbing my way, her mind caught in plans and the road ahead.

“How do we test it? I ask curiously and Meadow glares at the sentinel who has been helping her, one I
recognize as being called Tom. Someone Colton trusts and speaks highly of, who’s been on sentinel
patrol many times. I guess he is sworn to secrecy. He wouldn’t have been part of the search due to
labor of his mate yesterday and the arrival of twin puppies last night, so we’re lucky we have at least
one capable wolf staying here to assist Sierra.

“I volunteered.” he points out but Meadow shakes her head, giving off that aura of attitude and I know I
probably missed an argument.

“No, Tom. I told you. She needs you here, not some mindless whatever, out there with them if it doesn’t
work. Those puppies need their Papi; the first days are so important for the bond.” Meadow pats him on

his shoulder and while I completely agree with her, I see no possible way to test it if no one is going to
drive it into the fog. Maybe we should rely on me keeping the fog out until we get beyond its perimeter
after all, because I don’t want to take any chances at all.

“I’ll do it!” the voice startles me from behind us and we both turn in unison, surprised by the invasive
statement, to see Carmen standing there on the gravel in front of the main stairways in. She’s watching
us with interest and no hint of hesitation on her face at all now she’s fully dressed and out in the
sunlight to start a new day. “I can drive out there, to the main entrance, and if the fog gets me and I end
up like them, you don’t lose anything except a burden. If it works, then you’ll know.” Deadpan,
emotionless tone as she shrugs nonchalantly, and I can sense she really does not care if it puts her in

I open my mouth to argue with her but Meadow cuts in instead and silences me.

“Sacrifice isn’t admirable, nor smart. And we don’t take burdens along for the ride. If I didn’t think you
were worth coming along, you wouldn’t be. Don’t flatter yourself.” Its harsh even for her but given how
they always used to snap at each other, I think it’s the closest to niceness I think she’ll get verbally.
Meadow and Carmen had issues long before I came along and looking at the way Carmen stiffens up
and that fire of anger shows instantly, I wonder if maybe Meadow knows how to deal with her better
than I do.

“Look, it needs tested, you said so! I’ll drive only enough to get the hood into the fog, if it starts leaching
in, I’ll reverse. It can’t cross the runes, so it won’t be something that gets to me if I pay attention and
keep the wheel behind the runes.” Again, with that shrug of indifference and I squint at her, trying to get
a read on her emotional state and still find nothing but emptiness. She isn’t afraid of what’s out there,
she doesn’t care about dying it seems. That’s never good.

“Actually, that’s a pretty smart idea, thanks.” Meadow doesn’t wait, she turns and much to my despair,
hops into the truck and revs up the engine with every intention of doing it herself before either of us can

protest. Carmen blanches and I call out in utter panic, fear gripping my soul as my voice rasps in my
throat painfully.

“Meadow, NO! What if it doesn’t work, or you can’t reverse in time?” I raise my hands to use my gifts to
haul the truck back or lift its wheels so it can’t progress, but Carmen catches my wrists and tugs them
to her instead. Stopping me from interfering and shakes her head at me vigorously, daring to tell ME
how to react. I’m too shocked by this bold maneuver to initially react. She just detained her Luna and
stopped her from doing what she felt she had to do. Who gave her the right?

Meadow isn’t listening, instead she crunches gears of the stick shift and moves off before I can do or
say anything about it. Stuck in Carmen’s strong grip, wriggling against her, cursing and hating on her
with a fury as I bare down on her face with fire in my eyes. Carmen completely blanks me and looks at
the road ahead instead, waiting to see if the truck survives. That crunch of tires on gravel has me spin
back to her and the blood turns cold in my veins as all sense of fight dissolves.

“Meadow!” I start to freak out, panic rising in my throat, along with bile, as terror grips me, and I’m near
hysteria as she moves away from me, dragging my focus back to her departing image. I know fine well
that if I lose Meadow too, I’ll crumble and break. I can’t do this without her. I need her. She’s keeping
me sane, my head above water, and a sense of confidence that I can do this in the absence of the
Alpha. Without her, we’re doomed.

I lift my hands, yanking them free from Carmen’s now looser grip while she was distracted, ready to
push the fog back and drag the truck backwards but my wrists are grabbed from the side and yanked
away for a second time with an almighty sigh, sending a surge of energy out towards the tree line as
they quiver with the force. I round on Carmen, tears biting my eyes as she holds me steady once more
and tugs me hard as if shaking sense into me.

“Pull yourself together. Meadow’s not stupid. We need to know the spell works, because if it doesn’t,
we need another plan.” Carmen’s biting tone, angry scowl, and raspy scold silence me momentarily for

a second. I really want to punch her in throat for talking to me like that, yet all I can do is blink at her in
stupefied quiet, that she would even dare address me this way and turn when I hear the crunch of
brakes and the skid of the truck stopping at the perimeter. Just before Meadow inches it forward slowly,
carefully, edging out to test, and I’m glued to the spot as I watch it at a distance.

It seems to crawl onward, more and more, my nails biting into my own flesh cutting skin as I watch in
frozen fear, Carmen still holding my hands taut and we realize Meadow is not stopping.

“What’s she doing?” I utter shakily as the truck moves out further into the fog with no hint of stalling,
being swallowed into the green mist at an alarming rate, and my breath catches in my throat.

“Either… it works and she’s making sure, or …” she swallows loudly, and I stare at the red lights of the
rear hazards as they dull out mistily and the worst-case scenario floods my mind.

“She’s been taken and isn’t stopping!” I verbalize the fear but then sigh with relief as the truck halts
noisily, brakes making the wheels whine and she thrusts it into reverse at speed and comes all the way
back, no hesitation, and moves right to the spot she left us at with precise speed.

“Pretty sure she wouldn’t have got back in if she had been” Carmen points out factually, raising a brow
with a somehow know it all expression, and I still hold my breath until I hear the driver door open and
Meds yells out.

“Are you two coming or what? We ain’t got all day, Chicas. Move, move!”