Rejected Mate and Following Fate - Awakening Book

Chapter 103: The Mountain

The day passes like a blink and it feels like time is sand in my fingertips, that I can’t stop from filtering
away no matter how hard I try. Clinging on with anxious determination, yet it slips right through. Like an
awful countdown to something I don’t want but can’t run from, and I know this is inevitable and
everything before was leading us back to this moment.

To the mountain that was once our home, to the man that started everything and the fight we have
been avoiding, to stay alive. Fate really did make sure that we had no choice but to come full circle,
ready to battle and put things to rights in the oddest turn of events. The wars, the prophecy, the people
involved in everything that came before…. we are all convening in the place where it began. The
mountain. The Santo Valley.

Jasper is coming back to the place that I watched him walk away from with my family a decade ago, to
avenge their death, whether I want him to or not. Everything different to what it was on the day of my
awakening, yet it all falls into place so neatly. Tonight, is the end, but also the beginning. Problems can
be resolved so we can start a life that we hoped for but didn’t know how to achieve, minus the war,
minus Juan’s lingering shadow.

We just need to get through, stay safe, hope for the best and try to protect as many of our pack as we
can if we can’t stop the attack completely.

“You okay?” Colton’s voice pulls me out of my own head, sat in the balcony of our room where we
came for some quiet time before we leave. The cool air trying to penetrate the consuming fire raging in
my soul and doing little to calm it’s volcanic fury.

He spent hours downstairs earlier sorting things out, issuing commands, and sent me to nap. His
overprotectiveness kicking in and it made me smile for a moment, amid the chaos. I wanted space and
some time out while he got his thoughts in order, our details finalized after dinner with Sierra earlier,

and as the time comes to go, my nerves are all over the place and my apprehension is almost choking
me. I can’t verbalize the anxiety but the whole house is reverberating with the tension.

“Yup.” I clench my teeth trying to appear relaxed, but I know it’s pointless. He can feel it, shares the
emotion, sees it, knows me well enough to hear it, as he comes at me from behind. He hugs me into
him by leaning into the chair where I’m sat and buries his face in my neck. A warm and necessary
contact that melts my body in an instant. Sighing against me and I physically feel his tension ease too
at the touch he tells me always makes him feel better. When everything is stripped away and it’s only
us like this, the world seems so much better.

“Nothing will get near you. I won’t leave your side and Radar and the Luna’s guard will flank you and
my mom every step of the way. There won’t be a second that you’re not protected and not a single hair
on your head will be harmed. It won’t be like before; I won’t leave you. I know you have to be there, and
she wants to, but I honestly would rather you both stayed here where it’s safe.” Colton squeezes me to
reinforce that he doesn’t intend to let me out of his sight, and I relax, still so needy for his touch after
the last week without him. It still feels like a dream and I am scared I wake up and he’s not here. I close
my eyes and savor every sensation that his presence brings me and find a kind of calm in knowing he’s
my safety net.

“You know I can’t. If we have a chance of stopping Jasper and Lord Varro…. it’s on me to make it
happen. He needs to see me there. Jasper too, and maybe with Carmen there, it’ll pull his focus and
give me enough leverage to reason with him.”

Colton pauses for a second and I can tell the gears in his head are working. Thinking this through. His
stillness is reassuring.

“You really think he will reject Carmen from now until the end? I gave the order that nothing happens to
him, no matter what. His life is bound to hers and he’s your brother. They know he shouldn’t be

harmed. For both their sakes.” He nuzzles against me again and traces a light kiss on my throat before
pulling his fingers through my hair.

I warm at Colton’s reminder that he is always thinking of every detail and yet I sigh too, because
nothing is ever simple. Carmen, the girl I never thought I would ever give a crap about, is now in
danger of dying and I don’t want that to happen. Her life, my brother’s life, matter equally to me now.
And it’s not because of their bond.

“His hatred of a bloodline is stupid. Even though I used to feel the same. You’re not to blame for your
father, and neither are the pack. I don’t blame any of you anymore. They would have stopped him had
they known; they’re good people. His loyal should pay for their sins but the not the rest of us and
Jasper needs to see that. He needs to see that Carmen’s innocent too, she’s not involved, and until the
second she told him she was Santo he wanted her. He accepted her and asked her to go with him. I
don’t think he wants to reject her; I think he’s blinded and in turmoil and that when he has nothing left to
avenge, maybe he’ll see clearly.” My words tumble out in an exasperated gush.

“I hope you’re right, for her sake and ours. Jasper is your family, that makes him mine. His place is with
his pack, and his mate, whether he accepts Santos or not. Carmen could do with a little good in her life.
Not this… not rejection. Not after everything that she has gone through.” He sighs and his sadness for
her tinge son my mood too. Colton knows about the baby; he saw it when I shared all my memories,
and I felt the pain then that he had for her suffering. The regret at pushing her aside and leaving her
behind. As her ex-mate, as her friend, as her Alpha. Colton carries the guilt even now.

I know everything that happened before somehow makes it feel like this is her karma for her sins of the
past, but I really don’t want it to be. She’s not who I thought she was and in the past few days I’ve
begun to understand her a little, see through the armor. I care about her.

She’s lonely. She pushes people away. She never had anyone except her mother who really needed
her, and she was a burden that held her down with her own weakness. She never sheltered her as a

mother should. She left her at a time when she needed her most. Carmen’s in pain and I consider her
my friend whether she agrees or not. Her actions when we went to find Leyanne showed me that there
is more to her than I ever thought there could be. She loves in her own way and she doesn’t deserve to
live an unhappy life. She needs security and someone to lean on, to show her she can trust those
around her and that she has worth.

“Baby, turn around. Come here.” Colton releases me from his almost upside-down embrace and pulls
my chair to coax me to him. Instead of spinning I get up and slide into his open arms as he pulls me
close in a tight bear hug that envelopes my small body perfectly in his. Surrounded by muscle and that
unique scent of Colton.

“What?” I blink innocently closing my eyes automatically as I find my shelter, tucked under his chin and
within that secure hold that can wipe away the darkest of days. Submerging and inhaling that familiar
him. We haven’t even spent one night together since I got him back and I long to be laid in the dark,
nestled together, and back with him intimately as soon as this is over.

“I love you….” His hoarse voice reverberates through my body and a wave of deep emotion surges
between us. Pain and need and a hint of regret. “I’m so sorry about everything…. not just this….. but
every ounce of pain I’ve caused you since the moment we bonded. And then before… for everything
you went through at the hands of my father.” His voice breaks and tears fill my eyes at this sudden
apology that I never needed form him.

“Colton, you don’t…” I try to soothe him, but he shushes me with a squeeze.

“You’re my life, my soul, my reason for getting up every day….. and I never even told you what you
being pregnant means to me. I’ve brushed it off and focused on all of this for my own sanity and you
don’t deserve that. I’m sorry, baby. You deserve me making you secure, telling you how happy you
make me, how happy I am that you’re pregnant. And I am…. crazy happy. You have no idea.” He gives
me an extra squeeze and almost winds me. “I wanna yell it from the rooftops, I’m that ecstatic about it.

I’ll do anything to protect you and my babies. I’ll do everything in my power to give you the life you all
deserve with me. You make my life complete.” Colton pulls my chin up with a gentle finger under it and
sinks a tender kiss on me, stealing my breath away and silencing every doubt and nerve in my body.
The emptiness and pain of the last week finally fades away and I melt into him like hot liquid, so quick
for the passion to ignite between us and I kiss him back with fervor. Pushing my tongue against his and
notching up the desire into instant fire.

Colton surprises me, being he’s the one who always wants to push things to sex at any opportunity, by
pulling back and cooling the tempo with a sudden pause. Toning down our make out session back to
simmering sweetness.

“We shouldn’t…. not until it’s safe. Three months, right? Do we even know how far on you are?” He
traces my kiss swollen lips with his thumb so gently that I can’t be mad at him for stopping this. His
eyes glittering with emotion as he focuses on my face and that smile bringing out his dimples, radiating
genuine happiness. Always protecting what’s his, always attentive to every detail.

“With everything that’s happened, no. I haven’t even had a chance to properly be seen by the Doctor.” I
admit with a blush, knowing that saying it allowed makes me sound uncaring.

“We have time. We could go down now… we could …”

“No!” I catch his hands as he tries to lasso me to move and pull him back a little aggressively. Instant
tears hitting me for no apparent reason with his sudden need to get me downstairs to the med bay, and
emotion overwhelms me so suddenly. A lurching of my heart and a neediness hitting full throttle.

“I need you here with me alone, for now. Just us, until it’s time! I missed you and I need you to stay
here. I don’t want to go down there yet or deal with that…. not with this hanging over us, coloring it this
way. After, I promise, but not now, please, Colton. When it’s done, when we can focus on these…” It’s
almost a whining wail and tears blur my vision. I have no idea where this came from.

I rub my hand over my flat abdomen and look down at the life I know is growing in there with a soft sniff
to catch my stupid tears back where they belong. Colton patient and quiet as he listens to me and
strokes my hair as a way to say he’s not moving us. His eyes locked on mine and that mature and calm
expression he gets when he knows I need something from him and he should take note.

“That’s when we do it. Whatever is needed, and it feels special, not rushed. For right now, I just need
you to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be okay, like you always do. That we can do this.
That we will get through this.” It’s what I needed most when I didn’t have him. His dependency, his solid
confidence, and ability to make everything right in my world. Colton always finds a way. I needed my
protector and now he’s here, I want to let go of everything and go back to being sheltered for a

“Baby.” Colton slides me back against him and tucks my head under his chin with a large palm, once
again wrapping me up in his strong arms against that chiseled body and applies a little reassuring
pressure. “You know I will always do whatever you need. It’s my life’s mission to make you happy.” He
soothes me, stroking back my hair and makes me feel like everything is safe once more. That he won’t
slip away the second I close my eyes and that we’re not being rushed to part anytime soon.

I don’t even know where this sudden insecurity sprung from. I was fine earlier when he went downstairs
to make sure everyone knew the plan and talk to the pack, but it’s maybe because the sun is starting to
fade, and I’m scared of what’s coming. What we have to do. Emotional because of what he said and
how he’s being. His apology felt like something more.

I almost failed in the forest. I wasn’t as strong or as able as previously and I almost died. I was useless,
and even with Carmen and Sierra trying to stay with me, I wasn’t what I thought I would be. I
disappointed myself. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I thought being some sort of prophecy
meant I was invincible, and nothing could pull me down, yet out there, facing my own mate… I couldn’t
fight him like this. Pregnant, weak, restrained. It was pathetic.

I would have died and so would he; our babies, Sierra, if Leyanne hadn’t broken the curse when she
did. I was so close and now there’s a fear deep inside of me that tonight, I will only let my mate and my
pack down. I’m not worthy, not in the way I thought I was meant to be. I don’t know if the prophecy
really has the right wolf after all. I think after the events of the last week, a part of me is afraid that
Colton will disappear again when we go back out there. That somehow, he isn’t safe and that maybe
we might lose our pack in some freaking magical way again and I’ll be just as powerless. If that
happens, I feel like it will all be my fault, because this all started with my mother and then me.

I grip him so tightly and hug him half to death, burying my face against that familiar feel and his strong
chest and just hold on to the last ounces of sanity.

“Lorey?... hey?...” Colton nudges me on top of my head with his chin and it draws me out of my dark
cavern of safety, pulling back so I can gaze up at him. My eyes wet with dampness, even though I
didn’t think I was crying, and he smiles at me. So sweetly, full dimples and white teeth, charm and
sexiness personified and it makes me smile too.

“What?” I sniff out, so close to properly sobbing and melt a little at how gooey my mate makes me with
one perfectly pulled cute boy gesture.

“I believe in you.” He says it with authority, and I realize he has been absorbing my fear, my doubts,
and read me like a book. Knowing what was going on in my brain even while I was trying to hold it in. I
sigh and sink against him once more.

“I wish I did too.”

“Hey. Have a little faith in the fates, right? Isn’t that what you told me. That they put us on these paths
because they have a plan.” He pulls me back again and slides his hand between us and cups my
abdomen softly. Gently moving it in a soft rub that sends goosebumps across my skin. “They most

definitely have a plan. They wouldn’t have let this happen otherwise, not now, unless they know this is
going to be okay.” His words soothe me, knowing it makes sense, and I exhale with heaviness.

“I guess.” My hand moves to cover his hand as he lasso’s my fingers between his and pulls them under
to fully entangle them without leaving my stomach.

“Leave the fighting to us. Your only job is to talk to Jasper and Varro, from a safe distance, behind the
shield of your mate and your pack. Nothing else. I don’t want to see you lift one finger to do anything
except that. Swear to me Lorey!” He bumps his head against mine and locks his beautiful coffee brown
eyes on mine, both sighing in sync. Making me powerless to disobey or reject the cotton wool padding
he is already wrapping around me now he knows about the babies.

“I swear.” What else can I do. I know myself that I’m vulnerable now and that fighting isn’t going to keep
these children safe. My powers drain quickly, the forest showed me that, and healing is something I
have to rely on Colton and his mother for if I get hurt. I saw how easily we got separated and I can’t be
too confident that the same won’t happen at the mountain. Even though I know Colton will do anything
in his power to make sure he stays with me. It’s why he has brought the Luna’s guard back into play. In
case anything goes wrong and he can’t shadow me like he wants. Always thinking of the details and
covering his angles.

He knows just like I do that this is going to change everything and there’s a chance that some of our
pack won’t see tomorrow.