Rejected Mate and Following Fate - Awakening Book

Chapter 81: Plans

It feels like it's been days in this truck, and between napping, sitting to watch the scenery go by, and
one fuel stop, nothing else has happened. Endless miles of road, strained moods, and a lot of boredom
as we pensively fall silent in our own thoughts.

We had some odd looks from passing cars on the road and at the garage we stopped at. The military
truck covered in rune symbols and carrying three obviously young-looking women seems to bring
attention from humans... males to be exact. I guess given the fact that wolves, after turning, are
physically attractive and I guess as close to perfection as we can get in the eyes of humans.

They are a strange species with absolutely no concept of boundaries. Meadow was so close to ripping
one guys throat out who tried to feel her ass when she was paying for the gas and I had to drag her
away before he spotted the glowing ember eyes or the low growl emitting from her chest. She was
about a millisecond away from turning feral and showing him how big her claws can get when riled.
Wolves are notorious for low levels of patience and hot tempers and it's one of the many reasons we
stay away from humans as much as possible. Other wolves can take the heat, the aggressive
responses and don't blink at turning wolf for a tussle.

Meadow is not a great fan of the human kind any day of the week, and after our short interactions at
one gas station, I can see why. Carmen on the other hand doesn't seem to care either way. I know she
spent far more time in the human world in the past, also given she's part one, and she ignored the
comments from passing vehicles when we opened the windows for air. I never knew cat calling women
from your car was a thing, it certainly isn't something wolves do, and I don't see what they hoped to
gain, other than a loss of blood. Human men are vile.

So now the windows are up, despite the muggy heat and the air con is nonexistent in this truck. It's
slow, plods along nosily and I'm bored out of my mind with nothing to focus on except the issues we
are avoiding talking about. All thoughts of imminent danger are hard to keep at the forefront when all

you have is endless miles of road and feeble humans who have no concept of how close to being
dinner they are if they keep irritating us.

"I'm getting crampy.... Carmen, it's time to switch." Meadow breaks the silence and pulls over to the
side so they can physically swap over and Carmen quickly takes the driver's seat. Meadow slides onto
the double seat beside me, as I'm by the window anyway and leans back stretching out her legs. It's
been more than half a day of her sat in that position and the relief as she sprawls out is evident.

"How much further?" I ask not really aware of how many hours I napped earlier and how many miles
we covered since.

"We're more than halfway... we made good time." She leans her head on my shoulder and curls her
arm through mine, snuggling in and taking comfort from my body. No awkwardness as we have been
snuggly many times in our friendship these past months. "Can I nap here? I'll move if it gets uncomfy."
She asks me softly, tiredness etched in her voice and I beam a smile and nod my head. I don't mind
being used as a cushion. It helps deal with the pangs of loneliness from not having Colton's touch or
his attentive presence keeping me warm. He's been on my mind constantly since we sat back here.
Long silent hours, as none of us really want to converse much and my mind wandered repetitively to
scenes of him, smiling, laughing, kissing me. Torturing me in a quiet somber mood and pushing my
heart into heavy sadness once again. There's so much going on in all our separate minds that we
haven't been great travel buddies in terms of conversation and the air is heavy with the knowing this
isn't a happy road trip or a vacation. Carmen especially has said nothing much at all since her initial
spat with Meadow.

"Stick with the road signs to New Mexico, we'll call Sierra when we get there." She commands Carmen
and then slides down further to curl against me and closes her eyes. Despite sleeping last night, it was
fitful and not really restful and both of us needed more than what we got. My nap was a great short-
term boost but I can't shift my emotional fatigue that's hanging over me like a dark cloud.

"What about you? Do you want some chat, music, company?" I ask Carmen, offering companionship
but she shakes her head without looking my way. Her face set in determination as she focuses on the
road and eases the trucvk under her control so effortlessly. We haven't had to stop for any kind of food
as we have enough in the packed crates and she's chewing on a granola bar as she drives.

I don't expect a verbal response and go back to leaning my head against the window, staring out in
hopes that I may fall back asleep and lose some of the hours of this monotonous trip.

"It's weird isn't it.... the lack of understanding danger in the human world. It's like they don't even
contemplate there's a whole other space out there, with creatures, and wars that don't touch their
lives." I point out, thinking aloud and sigh as we pass another holiday home type truck packed with a
family of young ones who are eagerly beaming out at the windows of passing vehicles to wave. I gaze
at them as we overtake and get in front, watching how one of the kids point at the symbols on our truck
and the mother in the passenger seat looks up in interest.

"Humans are oblivious, and self-absorbed. One of the cruelest species in so many ways, despite some
of us having blood lust urges and abilities to rip our enemies apart on a whim." Carmen taps the wheel,
a slight hint at annoyance in her husky response and I blink at her in intrigue.

"You seem to know a lot about humans. I know you spent time in their world. Are they really that bad."
This topic has intrigued me over the years, I guess. Given they make up most of the population yet
seem to be the most ill-informed and uneducated about the species of the world they live in.

"Not all of them, just different. Their world is not like ours. To them, they probably would never
understand our hierarchy, the way we do things, our aggression, or how we conduct our relationships.
Yet their values, their sense of community... packs... are not like ours. Many of them don't care about
anything beyond their own bubble, their own noses... I guess that's where I get it from."

Her words startle me and then it dawns on me that she is referring to what she said back at the
homestead, about being part human and I gaze at her for the longest moment, trying to form some kind
of response. She seems unfazed by verbally admitting it again. Colton was right and Carmen really is
so hard to read, even with my abilities in feeling people's emotions. It's like she carries a veil of
impenetrable rock and can shield everything under indifference or a cold front most of the time.

"You told Meadow you care about the wolves at the mountain.... So maybe you're not all that self-
absorbed. You loved your mom; you did what you thought was right for her." I point out, hoping to open
an avenue of conversation but her darkening look as she glares ahead tells me I said the wrong thing.
Her whole posture stiffening and signaling she doesn't want to talk about this.

"Look how that helped... I got her killed, and all this..... Maybe it's better when I don't give a shit about
people. They always fuck me over anyway." the biting undertone, the undercurrent of bitterness, and
guilt hits me in the stomach as I connect her last sentence to maybe what Colton did. What the sub
pack did in turning away from her and rooting for me instead. I guess it was a betrayal in her eyes that
she was so easily cast aside as something worthless, even if it's not exactly how it played out. Even
though he had no control over imprinting and breaking her heart, I guess she still carries the pain of
what she saw as adultery.

"What happened in the months since we left?" I don't know what else to say, so maybe a question will
be better and as she is clamping down on the other topic, I should try and ease the atmosphere with
some kind of chat. I feel out of my depths, weird and moody even though I seem calm and upbeat on
the surface.

"Life happened. Juan happened." Her voice croaks in her throat and she looks away to hide her face as
she quickly wipes it and goes back to glaring outside. A sudden hint of emotion again and she seems
to curse herself out for showing weakness in the form of a tear. So much hostility in her aura and I wish
she would just open up and tell me, to talk it out, to share and ease her weighty burden.

"Carmen, I'm trying to help. We don't know what went down after. We only know what we had to do at
the homestead to keep the people safe. You have to open up to ....." I try for my therapy tone of Luna,
the easing of a wolf to confide but she doesn't let me finish.

"I don't need to open up. I'm fine. The past is done. Nothing can change it and I just want to make up
for what I caused and be done with all of this." A curt snap, a tightening of fingers on the wheel and that
abrasive manner which is meant to shut me up. Only I'm as stubborn as she is. I grit my teeth to curb
my irritation at her and lock my eyes on her profile as she stares at where we are heading.

"You didn't cause this! I told you already." I grind out.

"Yes, I did..... not just my mom. All of it. Had I never interfered, had I never pulled Colton back to me
and tried to keep you apart when I did. Because of me you left, because of that Colton stood up to him,
split the pack and abandoned the mountain. That was the worst thing for everyone. Colton was the
influence that kept the people moderately safe. Whether he knew it or not. His father is a devil and
without Colton's presence, without the hope of his heir being his bright shining legacy, Juan let all the
evil in his heart finally out. I did that. I fucked up what the fates wanted, and they have punished me for
it ever since." She spins her head at me, her pallor pale, her eyes shining with moisture as she
struggles to hold it all in and I see the deep-rooted guilt etched all over the sudden show of vulnerable
in her face. I'm speechless as I stare at her in open mouthed shock, trying to absorb her words and
trying to organize some logic to her statement.

"It's not that simple, and the fates... they really did intend for things to go the way they did. It was all
part of the plan, Carmen. All those paths needed to be walked out to get us to where we needed to be."

"Was it, really?" she asks sarcastically, oozing bitterness. "I don't think so." She signals as we approach
a turn off and follows the road off behind a row of traffic and looks back at me, biting harshly with a
haughty tone. "My mom, she was just another notch. Another lashing from a whip that has been
coming down on me since Colton imprinted on you........ So, if I did nothing wrong, then why am I being

punished by the fates?" she throws her hair back over her shoulder and taps her nails impatiently on
the wheel as the traffic slows us right down and doesn't seem to want to look at me anymore. I can
taste the growing energy around her and it's not friendly at all. She has so much pent-up anger, pain,
and something else deep inside that I can't pull apart. A huge gulf of darkness that's clawing at her
aura and screaming out.

"What do you mean by that? What else has happened to you besides Colton's break up? Stop being
vague and just talk to me! I'm trying to help, to understand and I'm not psychic." Her emotions are
making me antsy, on edge as my senses are heightened and an overwhelming agony starts to claw at
my insides, feeding from her now she's releasing some of her hidden distress.

"Why? Because you're my Luna now? Because you suddenly care about me? We were never friends,
in fact the exact opposite, and if this is sympathy because of my mom, I don't want it. I don't need your

I can't respond to that because it's none of those things, yet all of them too. I have empathy; I see
someone that may be more than I thought she was but, yes, it's also driven because of what we now
share.... loss of our mothers in a horrific way. And the loss of her pack when they left her, the loss of
her family. Its complex and deeper than any of those singular things and partly because, since I
became Luna, this care, this need to look after and comfort my people is as natural as breathing. I feel
guilt towards her, because of my part in taking her mate from her on top of everything. I can' fight it,
and it doesn't differentiate between people, even with our pasts. Colton told me it was the marking that
did it, brought up all those necessary Luna gifts that were bestowed upon me the second I was his
mate, to be a better leader, and I can't switch it off. I care, because I'm meant to.

"Juan blamed me.... He punished me in that damn box.... for weeks! I failed to do what he wanted me
to do, and his son left and mated up with you. I had one job that I didn't do, and Juan, well, we all know
how crazy he is. If it wasn't for others in the pack and my mom getting me out, reasoning for my
release...... I would still be there while my father didn't give a shit about what he did to me." It's almost

shrill as she hits an emotional peak and then inhales to calm herself down, gripping the wheel, shifting
in her seat harshly, gritting her teeth, and the tears that wash down her cheek are swiped away

"He put you in an isolation tank?" I blanche at her words, tensing enough that Meadow shifts in her
sleep at my sudden reaction and murmurs before settling back down again. I'm shocked that Juan
would see fit to punish her for something she had no control over.

"He did.... and he made sure I felt pain every single day for disobeying him. He only let me heal when
my life depended on it, because he didn't want his new toy to die and give him nothing to torture
anymore. He had nowhere else to vent. Colton gone, half the pack too, his prisoners at his secret lab....
All he had were the people who opposed him, and the femme who failed to do what he demanded.
Juan's sick in the head on a level we never truly comprehended!" The pain in her voice goes far
beyond bitterness and for a second I feel a flash of the hatred, resentment and the lingering pain from
what she endured with this man.

"He tortured you, for Colton...for me....?" I feel sick to my stomach knowing the depths of agony she
endured while we were oblivious in our new life and barely gave her a second thought. Never would we
have guessed that after being the losing one in this scenario that she would still carry the weight of our
consequences in such horrifying ways.

"If I had known what would happen, I would've left when the rest did, but my mom.... She needed me."
Her words come out softer, broken somehow and she stifles a wavering sob coming up from the
depths. The intensity of her heartache finally coming out to show face and it hammers through my soul.
She's suffered because of what we did.

"Carmen, I'm so sorry." I can't even begin to understand what she has been through and to look at her,
you would never know. The wall is up again and growing taller before my eyes, the fierce is on show

once again and her only focus in all of this was her mother's safety. The final blow when the fates let
her die. No wonder she thinks she's cursed or somehow being punished by the higher powers.

"Yeah well, you didn't turn us away. At least her last hours were not there, not around that toxic man
and his minions. She got to experience the pack one more time, a safe place and genuine love before
she did what she did."

"So, the rumors about how he is treating the people." I interject, breathing heavily as all this swirls
around my brain and her hands clench and unclench as we get back up to speed in a new flow of faster
traffic. I can feel her inner battle as her mind tells her that vulnerability is a weakness, while her heart
begs to be allowed to grieve. Conflict thick around her.

"Juan likes to exert his dominance on anyone who doesn't march to the beat of his drum. Others were
in the tanks for punishment when I was. It was one of them who came back for me, convinced the
guards it wasn't right to do this to our own pack, and finally Juan got bored of using me to vent and
stopped coming to the cells. I was lying when I said I left the mountain for only my mom's sake.... I got
us out because I knew it was only a matter of time before I ended up back in there. Juan was getting
more controlling as the weeks passed. Anyone who even looked like they were questioning his orders
were shackled and dragged to the cells and he was going to notice eventually that I wasn't where he
left me. I was having to hide all the time, stay out of sight; luckily my father never came home, ever."

"I don't know what to say. We never knew that it was like that back there for you, for all of them. We
never imagined he would torture his own." I sit, dazed, looking at her face, watching the still almost
tough expression as she forces herself to not really breakdown in front of me, and I'm awed. I thought I
was tough with everything I got through in my lifetime, but Carmen is a whole other level.

"He tried to kill his own son and slaughtered any who helped him that didn't leave... what do you think
he's capable of?" It's a matter of fact retort, no hint of nasty, yet it has the same effect and sucker

punches me in the gut, rendering me breathless. I inhale sharply and turn away as the shock
reverberates around my skull. This is the first real confirmation that Juan killed wolves after the split,
none of the others ever came out and would truthfully tell Colton that some perished, probably for fear
he would go back there and rage a second war and lose more of our kind. He suspected but he wasn't
sure, and it seemed no one wanted him to carry the guilt by being honest either. He was their savior,
their alpha, and they kept it from him because they knew how he would take the news that many died
for helping him. I wonder how many held this, or maybe suspected.

"We never knew." I whisper and squeeze Meadows sleeping form a little tighter. Needing physical
touch to comfort me and ground my spiraling emotions as the guilt eats away heavily at my heart.

"You wouldn.t..... he wasn't exactly public about it. Those he ended, were taken down in the cells and
he burned their bodies to clean up the mess under his cloak of deceit. The people only assumed they
were kept there, or they ran after you when being freed. I'm guessing the ones who got here after
figured it out when they didn't find them waiting, or maybe they think they are all still locked up in the
cells. Who knows. I just saw too many die when I was down there, and always wondered why he never
killed me too."

"Your father... you're his only legacy, even if he has nothing to do with you. Juan is all about bloodline,
so despite your father not really wanting you, he wouldn't remove his beta's chance of a future. Juan's
twisted like that." I say it so numbly, like the logical part of my brain can still pull together thoughts while
my emotional side is in chaos, choking on revelations and inwardly crying for our people.

"Maybe...but what good am I? I never imprinted when I turned and I've seen every male in our pack
since, and it never happened. I thought I found love, and it wasn't real. I don't think there's anyone out
there that wants to be stuck with this and my father only had his sights set on me mating to Juan's
offspring." Carmen's factual statement makes me bleed for her, Instantly upset for her own lack of
worth, especially when I used to feel the same way and know how counterproductive it can be to your
mental state.

"Don't talk like that. We're one pack, in many. There's a wolf out there and maybe you just haven't
found him yet... the fates, they don't leave us alone... They always have a plan!" I hasten.

"Yes they do! Radar has been pining for Sierra for over a decade....I can guess he still is now she's
alive and here. The fates don't give a shit about mateless wolves as long as their 'plan' is steaming
ahead and going how they want it to. The casualties, like me, they get left on the sidelines as

"I used to think like you. I used to believe I was alone and there was no one out there who gave any
kind of crap about me. That I was worthless and invisible. I endured pain, I broke with heartache, and
grief, but I kept going. If someone like me can find love, and family, and belonging, then you can too.
Don't close your heart to hope." It sounds like I'm begging her to not give up, my tone soft yet high,
because everyone has to hold onto something or else they lose their way in life. This is why she isn't
afraid to die; every tiny bright thing she ever held onto is now snubbed out.

Carmen shakes her head, finally turning sad eyes to me and a bittersweet smile laced with sarcasm
takes over her flawless face. A haunting look, that is so detached yet cold and I truly wish she would
experience one kindness in life that could make a difference to her.

"You forget, Luna. I'm not some prophesied half vamp whose destined to lead a people. I'm half
human, from a family that is now gone.... No one needs me, no great destiny.... I'm not part of this story
and if I had one of my own, it would have happened before now."