iot. ” Cassie sighed.

”Then leave. ” Ang barked. ”Go on, get out. ”

”Ang, no. ” Echo glanced back at her. ”Im not going to let him walk into his own suicide attempt. ” He looked back at me. ”I forbid you to leave until Alaska comes back, if you want to argue then you can fight me. ”

I stared dumbstruck at Echo.

”If you leave and Alaska isn with you then you will be betraying this pack and you will never be welcomed back. ” He folded his arms and gave me a fatherly disappointed look. ”If you do that, you will lose us but you will also outcast Cassie. The only way you can counter my orders is if you fight me and win. ”

”I can fight you Echo. ” I looked up at him. ”You know I can ! ”

I looked at everyone, shook my head then headed for the back door. When I was outside I headed to the shed and to the punching bag. I hit it with all the ferocity I could muster. I couldn leave and do anything that would make like hell for Cassie and I refused to fight the man that cared for me like a father. I punched the punching bag for so long that I couldn feel my fists anymore, I knew they would be sore but I didn care.

”Youll feel that later. ” Ang was watching me from the doorway her arms crossed over her chest.

”Go away. ” I threw a left hook at the bag.

”You can be mad all you want. I get where you are coming from, I was more wreck-less when I was younger. ” Ang gave me a pitiful look. ”I almost died, we don want that to happen to you, wether you like it or not we have your best interest in our minds as well as that of the future. ”

”I just don want people to die just because I lived when I wasn supposed to. ” I sank to the floor. ”I should be out there doing more. I know you and echo are doing everything you can, I just want to do more. ”

”I know. ” Ang tilted her head. ”Can I tell you a story. ”

”Sure. ”

”A long time ago, when I was a teenager I was rebellious and wild, as wild as you could get. There was a wolf from a different territory that I had taken a liking to, my parents forbid us to meet. Like you I thought I had a right to do what I wanted. Yes it was a completely different reason than yours, but I went against what my parents had wanted. One day my parents caught me with him before we had the fences up, I was so angry with them I starved myself for a month. I told they I would do what they wished after I realized they wouldn cave, but the first chance I got I ran. I ran far away to him, but that was a mistake, I had entered a wolf territory that my parents had declared enemies and they thought I was a spy. ”

”I didn know… ” I looked up at her.

”I don tell many people about it. ” She smiled. ”They didn have to torture me to know what pack I belonged to, they could smell it. I pleaded with them, begged them to let me be with the man I thought I loved. They brought him to see me and he told them that he had never seen me in his whole life. Then Akantha did this. ” She lifted her shirt showing her hip and the side of her back. ”She wasn even in her wolf form, she was going to tear me from the skin inwards, just to do it. I saw her kill and torture other wolves that her pack had enslaved and I couldn do anything about it because I laid on the floor slowly bleeding out. If you think she would give you mercy your wrong. ”

”Im sorry. ”

”Don be kid. After five days something had come up, Akantha didn come that night. ” I gave her a curious look. ”Some of the others that she hadn killed or tortured gathered up all of us that were clinging on to life even if by a thread, I couldn tell you if it was luck or what, but all the doors to the outside world were unlocked. I was too injured to travel home so I jumped from home to home while I healed with other rouge wolves. Then finally when I had healed enough to go home I did, but my parents were dead and Fred was the Alfa, he welcomed me home but I had been gone for so long that I didn get the chance to say goodbye. They died thinking that I was dead and Freddie had agreed to allow the black wolves to take from our people. ”

”What happened to them? ”

”Akanthas parents killed them. Shortly after that Akantha had killed her parents and named herself the queen Luna. She took it upon herself to destroy what was left of the blue wolves from the inside out, her first mate Lucifer. Turns out that the night she had forgot to lock the doors thats what she was doing, her pack watched as she made her mate burn his home down. Then she took him and they bonded. After that in the short couple of months she targeted your parents. I saw it, I saw them from the safe place we were camping at. ” She gave me a sad look. ”I had heard rumors they were celebrating the birth of a boy, that night I sat where I could see the mansion from the cave we were in. They had the most elegant fireworks I had ever seen, huge and beautiful, it was the first time I had smiled in months. ” I knew what she was about to tell me I couldn form words.

”A couple hours after the fireworks had finished we could hear siren. I woke up and the whole building was engulfed in flames, the whole property was for miles, it looked like a lake of fire from the cave. There was nothing anyone could do, it had happened so suddenly, fire on every side, everyone that was inside the gates was trapped in. Akantha killed at least seventy people in that fire. Whoever got you out, the only way they could have was if they were someone on Akanthas side gone trailer. ”

”So… they didn even stand a chance. ” I felt a shiver creep down my spine.

”No. ” Any sighed. ”And then almost eleven years later we found you. Akantha seeing you told her one thing about that night, someone betrayed her. I think its been quiet because instead of war planning shes trying to figure out who saved you, and possibly who left those doors unlocked the night I escaped. ”

”I hope whoever it is they reveal their true colors then. ”

”Im sure whoever it was will be dead, if they aren already. ” Any patted my shoulder. ”Akantha is unpredictable, but her thirst for violence is predictable and she will eat you alive if you are unprepared for her. ”

”Then teach me. ” I looked at Ang, a new fire burning somewhere inside. ”Teach me everything you can. ”

”I will, but you need to stop with this new angry lupin that had been inhabiting out home, I don like him. ” She smiled at me.

We walked inside, I immediately went to find Echo to apologize, he was in the study talking on the phone.

”That was Alaska. ” He put his phone in his pocket. ”Says hell be headed this way in a couple of weeks. Wouldn say what he was doing. ”

”Echo, Im sorry that Ive been moody and irritable lately. ” He nodded.

”Glad to hear you come around to your senses. ” He smiled too.

”I just have a new perspective to think about things. ” I looked at Echo. ”She told me… ” I hesitated. ”Echo, it was worse than I had ever imagined. ”

Echo just nodded.

”Im going to go find Cassie. ” I turned back at the door. ”Thank you Echo. ” Then I headed to my room.

Cassie wasn in there so I checked downstairs and the front porch. Then I went back up and checked the bathroom, it was unlocked so I went in. I knew it wasn Fred or Saphire (I could hear them in there room) so I quietly slipped out of my clothes and climbed into the back of the shower. Cassie had her eyes closed letting the hot water roll down her face and beautiful body.

I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her close for a kiss. Our lips brushed then Cassie pulled away from me. She frowned and folded her arms glaring at me.

”Im sorry. ” I tried to grab her hands, but she tucked them under her arms. ”I know you are mad at me, I understand why. ”

”Im more than mad at you. ” She turned her back to me.

”Cassie, please look at me. ” She shook her head. ”I said some messed up stuff. I practically wanted to throw myself in the face of danger where my likelihood of death would be pretty much one hundred percent guaranteed. ”

Cassie turned around, tears running down her cheeks. ”You stupid idiot. ”

”Exactly, I was a stupid idiot. Not to mention I should have told you that I was going for a run. ”

Cassie looked up into my eyes. ”I thought youd left, I didn even hear you leave this morning. ”

I did feel guilty seeing Cassie in tears, this hurt me more than anything. ”I wouldn leave without telling you, I wouldn . I think its great that you have been training, you should be able to defend yourself. All this time Ive just been pushing you away to keep you safe. ”

”I know. ” Cassie wrapped herself around me. ”I just didn want to accept it. ”

I wrapped my arms around Cassie and we stood in the shower just holding each other as the water fell down on us. I reached over and turned the shower off, I clambered out of the shower carrying Cass in my arms and to our room. I laid her down then crawled in next to her and we cuddled till both of us fell asleep.

All the things Angie had told me about in her story played though my head in my dreams, I saw as if floating above the scene a younger Akantha torturing and killing, then I had dreams of everything burning and a stranger carrying a baby out just as the small fortress began to burn. I felt restless, I tossed and turned throughout the whole night.

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