***Natalia*** Four Years Ago....
Up until this morning, my life had been quite simple. I was the Alpha's human mate. I was his Luna. I was his wife. And then, in a blink of an eye, I was nothing…
A surge of pain ripples from my abdomen as I wait for the doctor to return with my test results. I've been getting these pains a lot recently and they are starting to freak me out. Doctor Lila said it was all in my head, that I was simply putting too much pressure on myself to get pregnant.
She couldn't have been more wrong.
I grip the edge of the table, whimpering to myself as I let the pain roll through on its own. The walls feel as though they are closing in on me at the thought of receiving another negative test result. Christian and I had been trying for several months now and I could feel it driving a wedge between us. He was colder, distant. I knew how much he wanted a son and it hurt to know I was failing so miserably to make him happy.
The door swings open and I nearly fall off the table from the fright of the sound. Doctor Lila offers me a warm smile, rubbing some hand sanitizer on her hands as she settles down on her chair. I could hear my heart pounding against my ribcage at an unnatural speed as I wait for her to speak.
"Just breathe, Luna," she smiles, inhaling slowly with me and reaching for my hands.
My hands were trembling but I manage to calm down. Doctor Lila's smile deepens.
"Congratulations, Luna," she says, placing her hand on my tummy. "You're carrying our little Alpha in there."
My heart skips a beat as I process the news.
I'm pregnant! Oh my gosh, I'm pregnant!
"H-how far along?" I whisper, barely able to string together a sentence from holding back the sob in my throat.
"Well, let's find out, shall we?" she smiles, pulling the ultrasound machine out and squirting cold gel on my belly.
Butterflies dance in my stomach as I stare at the screen, unable to read the images but hoping somewhere in that black and white mess my little Alpha would show up.
"Well, I'd say from the looks of it, about four weeks, which means we have to start your prep immediately, Luna," she says sternly, handing me some documents. "A werewolf pregnancy is very dangerous for a human. We'll have to take extra precautions."
She wipes the gel off my stomach and gives me a crash course on what to expect and prescribes me a full regime of prenatal care.
I rub my belly the entire ride home, still on cloud nine from the news. I couldn't wait to tell Christian. He was going to be so happy about this. As I pull up to the pack house, the pain once again returns and I sit still in the car for a minute to let it pass, clenching my teeth together to keep from screaming.
Slowly, I drag myself out of the car and through the front door of the house. I'm usually met with several omegas eager to take my things, but the house was eerily quiet and empty. I don't have time to question it when a burning sensation spreads across my chest, making every breath I take unbearable. I couldn't scream even if I wanted to, my lungs on fire.
I climb up the stairs to the second floor, looking forward to lying down and resting. My every step is more difficult than the last as the pain intensifies, a thousand tiny needles piercing through my stomach. From where I stood at the top of the stairs, I could see the door to my room slightly cracked open, a strange muffled sound coming from within.
As I inch closer, an unmistakable scene unfolds before me, my blood boiling at the sight.
Peeking through the door, I see my sister, Vanessa, riding my husband, a look of sheer delight on the contorted features of her face.
"Ah! Ah! Ah! Christian!" She moans, eagerly bouncing up and down his shaft.
He says nothing, just palming her bare breasts in his hand as he moves her up and down his c**k.
"f**k!" she whimpers, bouncing frantically. “Please!" she begs. "I'll give you the pup you deserve. I'll be your Luna."
Tears burn my eyes as I watch him flip her over, forcing her up on her knees so that her ass was on full display for him. He gives her cheeks a good spanking before railing into her from behind.
My heart shatters as I hear Christian's reply. "Give. Me. A. Pup.” he pants between thrusts, Vanessa’s moans growing louder as she orgasms.
My pain reaches a crescendo as I watch him empty his seed inside her and I place my hand over my mouth to keep myself quiet.
“And I’ll make you my Luna,” he whispers.
I didn't need to see anymore of this grotesque encounter and slowly back away from the room and tiptoe down the stairs, their climax ringing in my ears. I nearly sprint out of the house, still clutching my pregnancy test in my hands as I climb into my car. I didn’t know where I was going, but I put my car in drive and speed off down the driveway.
It all made so much more sense now. All the pain, all the anguish I felt… was because Christian was betraying our bond, our love. Everyone, my mate, my gamma, the doctor, the other she-wolves and the omegas, all of them had told me it was all in my head. That I was just stressed and needed to relax.
It was all a lie. They knew. They knew what I was feeling was my mate’s betrayal, and yet they kept it from me, to mock me for being so absolutely clueless. I had been so stupid to believe any of them ever cared about me. Wolves only care about wolves and no matter my title, I was still only a human to them, an outsider.
To make matters worse, the betrayal came from none other than my own sister, my own blood. I had brought Vanessa to our pack after I mated with Christian. She had known Christian before I had and it was she who introduced us to each other. Christians had no objections to her joining the pack and with our parents gone, I wanted to keep her close. She was the only family I had left.
Was. After today, we were nothing.
I drive on for miles through the forest, feeling the pain start all over again. At some point, a horrid sensation burns across my body and I pull over, stumbling out of the car to empty the contents of my stomach. I was truly a pitiful sight and I was suddenly grateful Jordan, my gamma, was busy leading a training session today. I needed to be alone and I knew if he saw me like this, he'd be attached to my hip. Gammas were extremely overprotective, Jordan being no exception.
Alone, angry, humiliated and pregnant, I climb back into my car, wiping the tears on my face with my sleeve.
I had been Luna for over two years and while I was human; I had done everything that had been asked of me. I was the calm to Christian's anger. I was the mother everyone turned to in crisis. I was the woman who held this pack together when Christian and his beta, Derek, were away. I had been a good Luna… and I did not deserve this pain.
"Come on, Tali," I scold myself, tapping my steering wheel. "No more tears. Not for them."
I'm about to start the car again when I catch a glimpse of my pregnancy test I had tossed in the passenger seat. I look down at my flat stomach and realize no one beside Doctor Lila and I knew I was pregnant… And it was going to stay that way.
Mate or not, I would never tolerate infidelity. Ever. But I knew Christian would never let me go if he knew I was carrying his child. He needed his heir.
With renewed determination, I start the car and head to the town library where I spend the next two hours formulating my plan. I scour the web for fertility tests, recreating my own version with which to trick Christian. If he thought I could not give him a child, he would easily seek to break our bond and that's exactly what I wanted.
Mate bonds, once formed through a marking, were hard to break, but not impossible. There were two ways to break it: (1) Have a Spirit Witch divide our mated souls or (2) Get the approval of the pack elders and hold a rejection ceremony. It would be humiliating to be stripped of my title but it was better than remaining by my unfaithful husband’s side as his Luna.
Pleased with my work, I shred the pregnancy test, not willing to leave evidence behind. I knew Doctor Lila could out me anytime now so I would have to act quickly and get Christian to reject me immediately.
As I pull into the driveway, I feel the tears pool in my eyes again and I take a moment to collect myself before walking into the pack house. The omegas had returned, several rushing to take my things. It takes everything in me not to scream at them for betraying me but instead I force a smile, clutching my purse to my side as I make my way to the dining room.
My sister and husband are already seated at the table, chattering away amongst themselves as the omegas scramble to serve their meal. Lost in conversation, they don’t even notice my arrival and I stare at them, completely bewildered by what I see. Vanessa playfully places her hand on Christian's arm, giggling at whatever it was he said to her.
I couldn't help but wonder how it was that I never noticed their affair.
Jordan and Derek both notice me however, and both get to their feet to greet me. I offer a small smile, tucking away my disgust for my sister and husband.
Jordan pulls out my chair for me, a look of concern swimming in his crystal blue eyes.
“You okay?” He whispers as I sit down in my chair.
I remind myself that it was our bond he was concerned about. He didn’t actually care about my well being. In fact, he probably knew of Christian’s betrayal and while he had sworn to protect me, his loyalty belonged to his Alpha. Who knows how many times he’d covered for Christian?
“I’m fine,” I smile innocently at him, waving him away so he can take his seat and leave me alone.
I can tell he’s not convinced, but I didn’t care and focus instead on my plate.
Christian and Vanessa finally notice that I'm present and Christian reaches for my hand to kiss it. I flinch at his touch and he gives me a puzzled look.
"You okay, babe?" he asks, c*****g his head to the side in mild curiosity.
“It's just the pain,” I smile, picking at my food. "It was worse today."
"This again?" he sighs in distaste, his silverware clinking with his plate. "Goddess Nat, you're always complaining. How many times do we have to tell you, it's all in your head? Take some aspirin and quit nagging. It's getting on my nerves."
His reaction doesn’t surprise me. He's never been the nurturing type and found comforting people to be a pointless task. I twirl my fork in my hands and force a smile at him, hiding the sadness in my heart that only seemed to grow stronger by the second.
"Right," I mutter, continuing to pick at my food.
An awkward silence settles in the room as we all try to eat. I focus on the vegetables on my plate and force myself to eat, knowing I now had to worry about life growing within me.
“So what did the doctor say?” Vanessa smirks, interrupting the silence. “Any luck with a baby?” She asks, tilting her head innocently to the side.
I tighten my grip on the fork and count to ten to calm down.
“Judging by the look on your face, I’ll take that as a no,” she laughs. “Shocker.”
I bite down on my tongue and stare at my plate. It was all I could do to keep myself from jumping across the table and stabbing her in the neck.
Gently setting my fork down, I rise to my feet and smile. "I think I'll go to bed now. Goodnight ."
"Nat, don't do this," Christian groans. "Don't be a drama queen."
"I'm not," I shrug, still holding my smile. "I'm simply tired. Goodnight."
I simply can't stomach your presence, is what I should have said, but I hold my tongue. I didn’t need him to unleash his anger. There would be plenty of time for that later.
I excuse myself and climb up to my bedroom, anger settling in the pit of my stomach as I stare at our bed. No trace of his betrayal had been left behind, the sheets changed and scented with lavender perfumes that used to bring peace to me while I slept. We had shared so many intimate moments together on that bed, so many beautiful mornings and evenings.
He had ruined those memories, tarnishing them all with Vanessa. Now all I saw was a bed of broken promises.
I head into the closet, sifting through my clothes until I find the items I had first arrived with here and stuff them into a small bag. I would not be taking anything Christian had ever gifted me when I left.
A knock at the door nearly makes my heart leap out of my throat and I quickly stuff the bag in the closet and rush to answer it. Jordan stands in the hallway, smiling sheepishly at me.
“What Is it?” I ask, hiding behind the door. “You’ve caught me changing.
He blushes slightly and turns to face the hall.
“Oh sorry,” he mutters. “I just came to see how you were doing, Luna. You seemed distracted at dinner,” he shrugs, looking at his feet. “Is everything okay?”
I want to scream the truth but instead force a tight smile and shake my head.
“I’m fine, I promise,” I sigh. “My head just hurts from all the pain I’ve been feeling.”
He turns around, worry in his eyes. “Have you taken your aspirin today?” He asks. "It'll lessen the pain.”
A part of me held onto the hope that he would tell the truth about the pain but of course, he doesn't. So I just smile and nod.
“Yes, I have. Now if you’ll excuse me. I’d like to get ready for bed,” I smile, waving my hand to dismiss him.
He eyes me suspiciously but does not question me any further and leaves. I close the door and nearly burst into tears, saddened that even my closest friend had never really been a friend at all. He was a liar like the rest of them.
I have no time to cry, I remind myself. Get going, Tali. We have work to do.
I hide my belongings in the guest room before returning to the bedroom and pulling out the fertility test. Refusing to touch the bed, I settle down on a chair and stare intently at the false document, going over my plan.
My heart nearly stops when I hear the door click open and my mate walks into the room, a deep frown on his face. I take a deep breath and pull my shoulders back.
Here goes nothing.