Fane lay beneath Lucas’ jaws, weak from all the blood loss. He heard Jacquelyn’s sobs, her pleading. He had seen her run into Lucas in an attempt to push Lucas off of him, and all the while he'd had to lie still. If he had moved his plan would not have worked. He kept his mind separate from Jacquelyn, making sure he did not give her any sign that he was okay. He hated seeing her hurt, but if she knew that he wasn’t dead, she would not have struggled so much which would have tipped off Lucas. As soon as Jacquelyn was out of sight, Lucas gave Fane one final shake and then let go of his neck. The fact that Lucas had not bothered to make sure Fane’s heart stopped was his mistake. Fane was holding his breath, which made Lucas think he had killed him.
Foolish, cocky Alpha, Fane thought.
Lucas released Fane’s throat and turned his head up towards the moon and howled. While he was distracted, his vulnerable throat was completely exposed to Fane, and Fane took full advantage. With all the strength Fane had left, he lunged up and sank his teeth deep into Lucas’ throat. He tasted blood and that fueled his anger. Fane gripped even tighter and felt his jaws crush the vocal cords and the wind pipe, silencing Lucas’ howl. Then Fane jerked his head violently to the left, pulling so hard that his teeth ripped Lucas’ throat wide open, severing arteries. Blood poured like a rushing river from Lucas’ throat, pooling on the ground. In less than a minute, Lucas collapsed on his side. Fane would not make the same mistake Lucas did. He took a paw and pushed Lucas onto his back, exposing the most vulnerable part of a wolf. He leaned down and once again sunk his teeth into the wolf’s flesh, tearing though skin and muscle until he disemboweled Lucas. That was an injury Fane knew Lucas would not get up from.
Fane turned to look at his father, who nodded his head once. Fane turned his head upward and howled in victory. Then he collapsed.
“Sorin, Alina. Get Fane and take him to the Henrys'. Clean him up. I will be there as quickly as I can to heal him,” Vasile ordered.
“Forgive me, Alpha, but why do you not want us to take him to his mate?” Sorin asked apprehensively.
“Jacquelyn was hysterical when she was dragged out of here. She is not likely to be any calmer yet, and she does not need to see Fane in his current state,” Vasile explained.
Sorin nodded his understanding. Then he, with Alina’s help, gathered Fane to take him to the Henrys'.
Vasile turned back to the wolves that Lucas left behind with his death.
“Who of you is Lucas’ second?” Vasile asked them.
A tall, bulky man stepped forward. “I am his second,” he answered.
“What is your name?” Vasile asked the man.
“Jeff Stone,” the wolf answered.
“You are second no longer, Jeff Stone. You stand Alpha of the Coldspring pack. You are to keep a record of your pack as is Canis lupus law. I will check on your pack to make sure you are abiding by these laws. If you do not know them,” Vasile reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet, from which he pulled out a card, “here is my card. Call me and I will inform you of them. Are we clear?”
Jeff nodded and turned his head, exposing his neck in submission to Vasile.
“Good. Now take your former Alpha and give him a proper burial. Let this be a lesson to each of you that you cannot claim women who are not your mates. Lucas would have never found comfort or peace with Jacquelyn because she was not his true mate. He would have eventually resented her for not being able to give him what he so desperately needed,” Vasile explained to the wolves. Then he simply said, “Go,” and watched as they collected Lucas’ body and left.
Vasile took a deep breath, preparing for the task before him: heal his son and somehow explain to his mate that they had intentionally planned for Fane to appear dead. This is not going to be pretty, he thought.
Fane moaned as he struggled to sit up. He was back in his human form and as he looked around, he realized he was in his room at the Henry’s house. He started to stand, but got very dizzy. and had to quickly sit back down.
“Take it easy, son. You’ve had quite a night,” Fane heard his father tell him.
“Where is Jacquelyn?” Fane asked the first question that now burned a hole in his head. He wanted her there with him so he could hold her and reassure her that he was fine. She had been so hysterical the last time he saw her, he knew she must still be a mess if she did not know he was alive.
“She is at her house. We did not take you there because I wanted you to look somewhat healthier than you did when Lucas was finished with you,” Vasile told him.
That makes sense, Fane thought. He gingerly tried standing again and was successful. He was thankful that someone had thought to put boxers on him so he wasn’t naked. He walked over to look in the mirror to survey the damage.
“It’s not too bad, after healing you up a bit. You still have some ugly bruising and minor cuts, but no broken bones,” his father told him.
He was right about the bruising. He looked like someone had taken black, gray, and blue paint and splattered it on him. He had deep cuts on his face, neck, back, and legs. Overall, though, it could have been so much worse. Fane was so thankful that he had been the victor. The thought of Jacquelyn came again to his mind and he felt bile rise up in his throat at the memory of her sobs. He had to see her, she needed to know he was okay. Then he would have to beg her forgiveness.
“I need to see her, Tata,” Fane told his father.
“I know, but you need to be prepared for-” before Vasile could finish Fane’s door swung open so hard that it hit the wall with a loud bang.
What came through it was the picture of pure, unadulterated rage, otherwise known as Jen. Sally followed, looking every bit as angry, but in a much more controlled way.
“What on, I mean, how in the – WTF Fane!” Jen finally yelled. “How could you not tell her that you were going to go all armadillo on her? Did you not trust her? Did you think she couldn’t handle watching you lay there not fighting back? What on earth was going through that pea sized, canine mush you call a brain?”
Fane looked confused and really he was, he didn’t understand.
“Um, Jen, I hear you and you have every right to be angry, but, well, I don’t know what you mean by 'going armadillo'.”
“You do realize that when I have to explain my comparisons and insults it takes a lot of the thunder away, right?” Jen rolled her eyes. “Armadillos play dead when they feel threatened. They fall on their sides and go all stiff, they really look dead but they aren’t. Are you with me now, flea bag?”