No, this is not an update. This is an edit of a chapter I didn't like, so sorry if you got all excited for nothing. But on the bright side, I have about half of the next chapter finished! I'm hoping to get it posted on Sunday or Monday, but you know me and deadlines...yeah I always miss them. But it should be up soon! So this is for you Cyh...Feel free to tell me how bad it still is ;)
Isobel woke up screaming. Orange eyes hunted, tawny fur bristled, and sharp teeth crushed her throat throughout the endless night. The shriek echoed around the room until a heavy body landed on top of her and a hand fell over her mouth. Then all hell broke loose.
Isobel clawed and bit and scratched, trying desperately to get away. Only when a strong voice growled in her ear did she stop.
"Enough!" Killian shouted, effectively ceasing her attempts to escape. Her eyes flew open, meeting emerald, not orange. When she realized that the man on top of her was her mate and not a monster, she retracted her claws from his skin and tentatively brought them up to his face.
Seeing the change in her, Killian removed his hand from her mouth and leaned into her palm, sighting softly. "What the hell was that?" Isobel's lips quivered and she buried her face in his neck, inhaling deeply. Luna purred contentedly and nuzzled him as she sensed Ulfric straining to get closer.
"Bad dreams," she whispered and sniffled when his fingers moved to her hair, smoothing it down soothingly.
"He's not going to get you, Bells. You know I won't let him." Isobel hesitated, remembering the previous night when he had cut things a little too close for comfort. Killian stiffened, apparently thinking of the same thing.
"We'll be more careful next time." For the first time ever, Isobel wasn't comforted by his words. She squirmed under him and put a gentle hand on his shoulder when she found her strength to be useless against his.
"Please," she murmured and he rolled onto his back with a frustrated growl.
"Don't do this," he pleaded as she rolled out of his bed and grabbed one of his t-shirts. She frowned at him as she pulled it over her head.
"Do what, go to class? I worked hard for my scholarship; it would be a pity to waste it."
He snarled and leapt to his feet at her words. "You know that's not what I meant." He stalked forward, the constant aura of dominance around him thickening. Isobel pressed back against the wall and took deep breaths as she tried to ignore the creeping sense of fear.
"Stop it, Killian." She growled when he was inches from her, his naked body just brushing hers.
"Stop what, proving to my mate that her doubts are unjustified?"
Anger surging to the surface, Isobel shoved him away with a snort of disgust. "By seducing me? Scaring me into submission? That really makes me feel better, Killian." She growled sarcastically and ignored his crestfallen expression.
"I didn't mean to—"
"You did. And I'm tired of playing the submissive wolf all the time. If I need to prove to you that I can take care of myself, I will. I wish it wouldn't come to that and you would just trust me, but I can see that it won't work out that way." Seeing the pain in his eyes, she moved forward and put her hands on his cheeks, raking her nails over his stubble lightly.
"You can't always be there, and that's not your fault." She added softly when he cringed. "Last night was an accident waiting to happen and I don't blame you for anything. I just need some space. I need to think, something that never seems to happen when you're around."
Killian took a deep breath and placed his hands over hers, holding her there for a long moment. "When will you be back?" She bit her lip and glanced at the clock. It was two-thirty and classes started at five but she really did need to reconsider what being a mate really meant. It was a hell of a lot harder that she thought it would be. Sure, the sex was amazing but everything else was just so complicated. The fact that a serial killer was after her wasn't helping much either.
"Around eight. I have to work tonight, too." He released an irritated growl but Isobel went up on her toes and placed her lips against his. At first he denied her access, keeping his lips pressed together tightly. Then, seeming to realize that this was all he was going to get for the rest of the day, opened them with a sigh.
Isobel slipped into his mouth, coaxing his tongue into a gentle duel. She could tell that he was restraining himself, the rough beginnings to his soft kisses were a dead giveaway, but the fact that he was trying made all the difference.
She pulled away and kissed his nose. "I'll have my phone on at all times if you need to reach me." He watched her for a long moment, the amber slowly receding from his green eyes.
"At least let me drive you there. He won't attack you on campus." Isobel decided not to mention that she had been bitten on campus. The poor guy was already stressed enough as it was, so she nodded and pulled away from him before she could change her mind.
"That's fine. Give me thirty minutes." He nodded but his body was stiff with her absence. Only once she turned on the shower could she hear the deafening roar and the shatter of glass as he took all his anger out on their unsuspecting bedroom.
The ride to Julliard was filled with the scream of silence. Not even the newly hatched cicadas dared to breach it as if they too feared Killian's forbidding rage. Even Isobel, being the only creature that was safe from his terrifying strength and power, tried to quiet her breaths to avoid setting him off. Even though she was handed a free pass didn't mean that she would willingly throw a rabid Killian out into the world.
When the gates of her sanctuary finally came into view, Isobel started to relax. Just beyond these brown bricks and glass walls was a place where she could lose herself and at the same time become the best part of who she was. Here she could forget murder and mates and everything supernatural. It was paradise.
Killian held his hand out in expectation of her ID, his palm open and seemingly inviting. She hesitated, just for a moment but long enough for him to lose his patience. He snapped his fingers in her face and growled irritably.
"Sometime today would be nice." He muttered and all leniency that she had had with his pissy attitude vanished.
"Yes, it would be nice now wouldn't it?" Every muscle in his body suddenly stilled as his amber glare slowly slithered over to her.
"Do not test me right now, Isobel. So please, give me your goddamn ID." Isobel dropped it in his palm and shrank against the firmness of the door. She tried to contain her trembling but knew she was failing miserably.
Having even such a small portion of his anger directed towards her completely wilted any confidence she managed to scramble together. And to be honest it hurt that he would speak to her in such a way. After all, it was mostly his fault that she was feeling so unsure in the first place.
The gates opened and Killian carefully placed the once innocent piece of plastic back in the palm of her hand. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him reach towards her, most likely in apology, but Isobel would have none of it.
"Don't touch me." She snarled under her breath and was rewarded with a swerve to the side of the road and a slam on the brakes. Luna whined pathetically and shrunk to the back of Isobel's mind.
Now you've done it. Ulfric's about ready to throw you on the hood and teach you a lesson you'll never forget. Isobel gasped when Killian jerked her over to his side of the Porsche and slammed his mouth onto hers.
Why? Isobel managed to ask as her bottom lip split open. Killian growled deep in his throat and lapped up the salty liquid greedily.
You've already wounded their ego and now you're being stubborn. The instinct to prove their dominance his been provoked, and not for the first time. You'll be fine as long as you don't fight them. As if she even wanted to at this point.
Killian might not have been gentle, but the way his mouth taunted hers and how his hips ground against the place she needed him made her weak and wanton. She knew that she should stop him, knew that she had to stick to her plan, but by the time the thought registered his pants were undone and her shorts had mysteriously disappeared.
Killian growled and sank his teeth into Isobel's shoulder as he breached her, tightening his arms around her when she moaned. To say that she didn't enjoy the experience would be a lie. But to say that she wasn't pissed would send her straight to hell.
He was done after a few quick thrusts, leaving her frustrated and so angry steam could have blown out of her ears and she wouldn't have been surprised. She jerked away with an infuriated growl and retrieved her shorts, quickly sliding them on before climbing out of the car with one last dirty look over her shoulder.
She grabbed her cello from the backseat and took off down the road without looking back. He would think that she would return to the car once the blistering heat took hold but he was wrong. As if she would get into a vehicle with that asshole again!
That realization must have just taken hold for she heard the tires squeal as he spun the car in the opposite direction, leaving dust and the stench of burnt rubber in his wake.
"Asshole," Isobel growled under her breath and walked as well as she could after a brutal round of sex that had left her completely unsatisfied. The douche hadn't even thought about her, just about renewing some stupid claim. After that, there wouldn't be any claiming for a long time.
Isobel walked to her designated building, silently cursing Killian for her discomfort, and stopped abruptly in front of the locked metal door.
Closed for maintenance; classes canceled.
Isobel groaned and leaned back against the door, listening to the unpleasant squeal of flesh against metal as she slid to the scalding pavement below. She pressed her face into the palms of her hands and fell into the suffocating depths of loneliness and self-pity. The cello dropped to the ground with a startling hollow thud beside her, causing Isobel to peek out between her fingers and gaze at the battered case.
The once glossy black leather was now marred with scuffs and a few claw marks from when it had gotten unfortunately close during one of her shifts. Stickers curled away from the damaged material as if desperate to be rid of it and the latches were rusted so badly it was often a struggle to get them to lift.
But no matter how marred and ugly the case was it had always been there; ever since Christmas on her tenth year of life. It had been a gift from her dad after he saw her admiring it in the window of Cameron's Music Store. And the damned thing had seldom left her hand ever since.
Isobel stroked a hand over it, feeling the familiar scratches scrape against her fingertips in the most comforting way. Her thoughts drifted to her father and the family she had left behind in the forests of Michigan. She recalled the way his brown eyes, the same color as hers, crinkled with age at the corners when he laughed. How his calloused hands could make their ancient piano sing with the graces of Heaven; that is, if he remembered to tune it first. And finally to the comfort his strong arms brought when she came home crying from a particularly bad date she'd had in her sophomore year of high school.
And then suddenly, she didn't feel so alone. Isobel retrieved her cell phone from the pocket of her shorts and dialed the familiar number through foggy eyes. She swiped at tears while the phone buzzed, her hope slowly dimming as the number increased. She was about to hang up when a click sounded on the other end.
"Yeah, what do you want?" Her father's frazzled gruff voice grumbled irritably. Isobel nearly sobbed in relief but managed to suppress it to a small hiccup and a watery smile.
"Hi, Daddy." There was silence for a long moment, so long that Isobel began to worry that the man had had a heart attack at the sound of her voice. "Daddy?" A soft sound suddenly caught her attention, almost a small sniffle followed by the brush of cloth against the speaker. Was he…?
"Give me a moment here, Bells." Her father finally managed in a shaky voice. "Being the first time I've heard from you in two years, and all the while thinking you were dead, I think I deserve one." Isobel swallowed heavily and consented to wait.
It was true that she hadn't been in contact with her father in years. She hadn't spoken to her five brothers and two sisters in over triple that amount of time. School had consumed her time but she'd still managed to keep in touch with her dad. After the wolf got her she had gone missing for a year, lost to history as it seemed. She knew that her dad had searched for her, had even got the police involved, but the search was fruitless.
She didn't have friends they could ask, not even before she became a canine, and the teachers didn't know anything about her other than her talent with the cello so she knew he had hit a dead end fast. What was a man to do without clues or a wife to support him?
The police dropped the case within a month with only a lone canine hair on the hood of her car as evidence, which she got back without any questions asked. All she had to say was that she decided to go on a long vacation that her father, well into his later years, had simply forgotten about. Apparently, they didn't even bother to call her poor dad to tell him the news.
Almost as if reading her mind, her father spoke then. "Your mother would be spittin' fire are you right now." He growled, his tearful relief morphing to anger. "Do you know what you've put me through?" Isobel cringed and braced herself for the lecture that was to come.
"I had to tell your siblings that their youngest sister was missing. Spent the last of my pennies lookin' for you in that smog infested city that lacks anything redeeming and nearly lost my job because of it! Your mother…" He trailed off for a moment before adding quietly, "Bless her soul, she probably rolled over in her grave when I told her that I couldn't find you."
Isobel's lip trembled and she took a quivering breath as she prepared to speak but her father beat her to it. "But as angry as I am at you, I'm happier that you're alive and breathing. So so happy Bells." His voice broke and she heard him take a shuddering breath very similar to her own. "I've missed you as much if not more than your mother." That was all it took for her tears to break free in a rush of hysterical sobs.
"I'm so sorry Daddy!" She blubbered with a noisy hiccup. She knew that she was not a pretty crier, and anyone that said they were was lying. But right now Isobel barely had it in her to breathe let alone care.
The ranting switched to rapid apology almost at the flick of the switch. Her father hated tears, especially hers. She and her sisters were his soft spot but being the youngest child he held a special place in his heart for her. She resented using tears on him because they made him cave, whether she wanted him to or not. And right now she didn't deserve it or want it.
"I'm sorry baby girl." He murmured soothingly and she could almost feel his warm arms wrapping around her. Isobel sniffled and shook her head rapidly to clear the illusion. He wasn't here, not this time.
"No it was my fault. I should have called you the minute I got back." She heard him sigh and the telltale creak of his favorite recliner when he collapsed in it.
"There are many things in life that people wish they could change. Callin' your daddy when you get out of somethin' sticky should not be one of those things." He paused for another sigh, but this one was resigned.
"As much as I wish I was, I'm not the most important person in your life. And that's as it should be. Don't regret somethin' that was never meant to be." Isobel swiped at the tears streaming down her cheeks and smiled despite herself.
"Do you always have to know the right thing to say?" She could practically hear his chest swell with pride.
"Yes, but it comes with age." They shared a laugh and once it was finished Isobel could practically feel the heaviness lift from the conversation. Her father wouldn't ask what had happened to her as he didn't want to know. He always said that everyone got lost in something called a journey, an event that took a person away from who they were for awhile. And that journey was something that was never to be shared with anyone when it was over, even those closest to you.
It was too bad that that wasn't what had happened to her. Not in the slightest. Journeys were good things, an event that brought peace and self-realization. All that her time with the tawny wolf brought her was pain and Killian.
Killian. The stupid jackass that had almost let her get raped then practically raped her himself. A jackass who bossed her around and attempted to possess every part of her. The jackass who cared for her deeply, something someone even as blind as she could see. A jackass who Isobel herself cared for to a degree so terrifying that the word cared barely did the feeling justice.
Well maybe she had taken a journey after all.
Killian was mad. Mad? Furious was more like it. A burning, helpless rage buried deep in his gut that grew with every inch put between himself and Isobel. Twice he had to stop the car in order to calm himself before continuing on the ride back to the house.
He wasn't angry at Isobel. God, how could anyone ever hold a grudge against her for longer than a few seconds? With her big doe eyes and adorable golden ringlets that spiraled down to her waist she could almost look like a child. No, he was not angry at Isobel.
He was angry at himself.
If he had not failed yesterday then he had surely done so today. After almost failing to save her from a fate she had avoided during her captivity he had found it difficult to forgive himself. But with her help he had. But this…this was unforgiveable.
It was a disgrace to werewolves everywhere to have an urge so primal and savage that it was undeniable and unstoppable. Even one as strong as Killian was unable to prevent himself from marking her so brutally and without mercy. He was also unable to sate her desire before she left but he didn't blame her for escaping. Had she done that to him he would have left as fast as his legs could carry him.
No, this was a mistake that could not be mended. He lost her trust and her faith all in one royal fuck-up. And a fuck-up it was.
Killian opened his eyes and found himself in the driveway of the house he shared with Isobel and Grady. If Isobel even had the desire to live here any longer. Killian groaned and stepped out of the car but stopped when he saw Grady standing in the doorway.
The wizard's hair was down today and his jaw was badly bruised. Apparently his little spell only fixed broken bones and not damaged tissue. Normally this would have made Killian smile but right now all he wanted to do was scream and pound his fists into something.
Grady sighed and cast Killian a pitying smile. "You really fucked it up this time, didn't you?" Killian opened his mouth to snap back at him like he desperately wanted to but his voice failed him. He dropped to his knees in the middle of the driveway and buried his head in his hands.
"I failed her Grady," he whispered. "And this time, I don't think she'll forgive me." To his shock, Grady snorted and stalked back into the house.
"Stop being such a drama queen." Killian stood and glared at the retreating back of his 'friend'. If Grady thought that the ruins of Killian's relationship were amusing, surely he would find the placement of his head in his ass fucking hilarious. But the moment he walked through the door he was jumped.
Grady wrapped his legs around Killian's waist and fisted his fingers in his hair in a way that would be considered sexual if it weren't for the lack of pleasure and the presence of pain. Killian twisted and slammed back into the wall with Grady between his skin and the hard surface. The wizard cursed but held fast.
"Do you love her?" He demanded, sounding only slightly winded. Killian paused in the act of twisting Grady's ankle, eyes wide at the sudden question.
Did he? Killian wasn't sure, but he wasn't about to figure that out while a deranged wizard clung to his back like an ape. He reached back and grabbed the man by the collar of his shirt and flipped him over his shoulder before dropping the groaning body unceremoniously on the ground.
"I don't know." Killian murmured after a few moments of tense silence. Grady cracked an eye open and glared at him.
"It took throwing me over your shoulder to figure that out?" Killian shrugged and the wizard groaned. "Totally not worth it." He muttered as he stood with the help of Killian's hand.
"You should know better than to attack me." Killian scolded sourly and stalked over to the couch, his foul mood returning full force. Grady, being the fool that he was, followed.
"And you should know better than to doubt the bond between mates. You know better than I how strong it is." It was true. Killian could sense Isobel even from miles away, could practically taste her happiness at being away from him. All earlier sadness and anger had faded into this strange feeling of glee that she never felt when around him.
And if Grady thought his mood couldn't darken any more, he'd be wrong.
"Oh yes, I know how strong it is." He spat bitterly and covered his face with his arm to block out the light. The ache in his gut was growing stronger as the need to be close to Isobel flared to life. He had never been this far from her, at least not after he met her, and now Ulfric had blended with Killian's soul. Although words couldn't be formed, his desires spoke loud enough.
"God Killian give her some credit. If she can forgive you for almost allowing her to get raped, I'm sure she can forgive you for whatever you did." Killian scoffed and shook his head.
"You have too much faith in me." He could picture the wizard frowning over his words, trying to figure out what could have been so awful.
"You didn't go all wolf on her did you?" Killian tensed but didn't respond. The wizard was close, but not close enough. A heavy silence ensued and Killian focused on his friend's steady breathing, waiting for the hitch when he figured it out. As if on cue the man released a gush of air.
"You dumbass." He muttered and promptly left the room. Well that was it. Killian's only friend had deserted him and his mate was probably terrified of him. The day just couldn't get any fucking worse.
But suddenly Grady appeared with Killian's Master Card, his car keys, and a phone. He tossed him the phone which Killian caught out of reflex before sending him a quizzical look.
"What do you want me to do with this?" Grady rolled his eyes and tossed him the phonebook.
"Call Jean George's and schedule a reservation for tomorrow night." He commanded and even Killian felt a little nervous to defy him. So he flipped through the yellowed pages until he found the right one and called the overpriced restaurant. Once he was done there was a significant dent in his wallet.
"Did you schedule it?" Grady pressed and Killian nodded with a grimace.
"I bet they charged me for my call." He muttered but Grady ignored him and continued on with his master plan.
"Before you pick her up go buy her flowers. Roses or whatever I don't care and she won't care. Just do it." Killian opened his mouth to protest but Grady cut him off with a glare.
"Do you even want a chance at making her come near you?" Killian's neutral expression morphed into one of pure fury.
"Do you ask to mock me?" He snarled and Grady backed up with his hands in the air.
"Of course not! But you know of my way with women and it hurts that you would doubt me." Oh yes, Killian knew of Grady's bedroom trysts. Not only did he hear them, but was often forced to watch them as the man recorded almost all of his sexual encounters and enjoyed playing them on the TV to watch his prowess. Grady kept the massive selection of DVD's in his bedroom on the bookshelf, each labeled neatly with a name and date.
Grady must have seen the disgusted look on his face for he tisked lightly. "I've never known you to be a prude Killian but I must say ever since Isobel got here you've been such a Debby Downer." Killian sighed but made a gesture for the whorish man to continue in his advice.
"So after the flowers take her shopping for clothes. She texted to tell me school got cancelled, so you should be good to go." It stung that she didn't try to contact Killian but he frowned at the first part of his statement. Isobel didn't seem like the type of woman who enjoyed shopping. Her style as he had seen thus far was simple, consisting of t-shirts and jeans or shorts.
"Don't you know?" Grady asked quietly and Killian looked up at him questionably. Grady sighed. "Isobel only has about five articles of clothing, Killian. Weren't you there when she unpacked her bag?" He was but at the time he'd been concentrating on the blessing of finding his mate. Now, he was more interested as to how Grady had come to know of this information.
"And how do you know this, oh wise one?" Killian growled menacingly but the wizard simply rolled his eyes.
"Her backpack was so small that it obviously couldn't hold much. And unless she stuffed more in that ragged case of hers I doubt she has more. Plus, as I've told you hundreds of times, I'm not interested in Isobel. She's too virginal for my tastes." Killian relaxed at the logic of the situation and the reassurance that the wizard wasn't after his woman.
Because no matter how angry she might be with him, she was his.
"So take her shopping and come home. Do whatever it is you guys do," He paused to waggle his eyebrows. "And stop long enough to go out tomorrow night. It's foolproof." Killian mulled it over and nodded slowly. It was good enough and it should work as long as he could get his suddenly stubborn mate in the car with him.
So Killian stood and pulled Grady into a rough manly hug. "Thank you, for everything. Even if you are an asshole sometimes." Grady sighed and patted his back with returned affection before pushing him away.
"Yeah yeah go get your woman, you old sap." Killian paused before he walked out the door and looked back at the wizard.
"Stop blushing so hard Grady. You know I'll always come back to you." He winked before bounding down the steps, leaving Grady floundering with his mouth open.
A half hour later Killian was driving towards Julliard with a handpicked bouquet of wildflowers in the passenger seat. Why buy flowers when there were plenty just waiting to be chosen in the forest? But he was nervous as to what her reaction would be. He knew he couldn't win her back with a ribbon tied around a handful of flowers, but it was a start. Right?
He sighed and waited outside the gate for her to come out. He had texted beforehand and she replied with a simple "Ok" but didn't elaborate. So that was how he ended up leaning against the hood of his Porsche, plucking away the petals of a purple flour while murmuring "She hates me, she hates me not so much."
"Why are you ruining my flowers?" A soft voice inquired almost dully to his right. Killian spun and came face to face with Isobel who was eyeing the pile of petals at his feet with slight dismay. He hastily extended them to her and watched her eyes light up at the nervous gesture.
"Thank you." She whispered and brought them up to her nose, eyes slipping closed as she took a deep breath. Killian shifted from foot to foot, hands itching to touch her but forcing himself to refrain from doing so. She wasn't outwardly livid, but he knew he wasn't forgiven yet. God she was so beautiful it ached to look at her.
"How was your afternoon?" He managed to ask without much trouble. She glanced up at him then, big brown eyes carefully suppressing her emotions.
"It was wonderful, actually." Killian cringed and looked away.
"I guess I deserved that." He murmured and his voice sounded pained even to him. But just then a miraculous thing happened.
Isobel stepped closer and wrapped her arms around his waist while her face pressed into his shoulder, taking in his scent with a soft breath. Killian didn't move, hell he barely breathed in fear of scaring her off. She peeked up at him through her pale lashes and smiled.
"I talked to my dad for the first time since I was abducted today." Well that wasn't what he was expecting but it made him smile to see her so happy. He brushed a curl off her cheek carefully and gazed deep into her eyes.
"And?" She glanced down then and smiled a secret little smile.
"We decided that I should give you the chance to make it up to me." Killian liked the man already. "But he said to warn you that sixty years in Michigan makes a man skilled with a gun and to watch your ass if you ever hurt me again." Killian's smile slipped off his face as he bent down to lean his forehead against hers.
"I couldn't control it, Bells. I wasn't strong enough, and for that I will be eternally regretful. I would promise that it won't happen again but I can't guarantee it, seeing as you like to challenge me at every turn." He chuckled but it was bleak and humorless. "But I can guarantee that I will do everything in my power to prevent it from happening and to make it up to you." Isobel smiled but tears shone in her eyes as she went up on her toes to press a chaste kiss to his lips.
"I know you will, and that's why I'm not going to castrate you here and now." Killian jerked back, shocked that she would say such a thing, then crippled over laughing until his sides hurt. After he had wiped away the tears he kissed the palm of her hand.
"God it was a long afternoon without you." She smiled and moved to toss her cello in the backseat before sliding into the passenger seat while Killian climbed behind the wheel.
"Where are we going?" She asked lightly and Killian glanced at her as he turned around.
"We are going to buy you proper clothing." The horrified look on her face was priceless and reassuring.
Boy did he know his mate well.