“Yes, okay. Now I understand. There are a couple of reasons I didn’t tell her. The first is that we didn’t decide on that plan until about fifteen minutes before the challenge started. The second was we needed her reaction to be authentic.” Fane realized as soon as Jen’s face began to turn shades of purple that that last part might not have been necessary.
“Please, please, for the love of all things that are not werewolves, tell me you did not just say you wanted her reaction to be authentic.” Jen sounded so calm, and calm was actually scarier than her yelling.
Fane didn’t get a word out before a fist suddenly connected with the left side of his face. He was truly in shock. He had never been hit by a girl, and although it didn’t hurt, he felt really bad that she felt his behavior deserved physical violence.
When he turned his head, he looked at Jen only to see that she was in turn looking at Sally, who was jumping up and down, shaking her hand, and growling out any and all expletives she could think of.
“Holy crap, man. Why is your face so freaking hard!” Sally yelled.
Jen’s mouth was wide open in disbelief and then a sly grin spread across it. “That was so bad ass! It’s about time you recognize that my way has some definite pluses to it.”
“Well, other than my hand being broken, it was definitely worth it,” Sally told her.
Fane knelt down on one knee in front of the two girls. startling them into silence.
He laid his hand across his heart and bowed his head.
“I am truly sorry that my actions caused so much pain. It truly wasn’t my intention and it tore a hole in me to see my love so broken. I beg your forgiveness, but I understand if you do not give it,” Fane told them with all sincerity.
Jen and Sally looked at Fane and then at each other. Then they looked at Vasile who had silently been watching the whole thing.
“Is he for real?” Sally asked Vasile.
“I ordered him to do it, therefore he could not disobey. Ultimately your anger should be at me. And yes, he is for real, as you put it,” Vasile explained.
“Fane,” Sally began and then used her hand to tilt his head up so that he was looking at them, “we know why you did it, and it was actually an awesome strategy. It’s just that we had to watch as Jacque sobbed so hard that she was puking up her guts, and then she just passed out. It was like her brain just couldn’t handle what her emotions were doing to her body, so it just turned off. It was horrible. So even though we know it was probably the best strategy, we had to defend our girl. Of course we forgive you. I wish I could tell you how Jacque is going to react when you tell her what you had to do, but it could go either way. She may be so thankful you’re alive that she doesn’t care, or she may be in such shock from the pain that she tries to kill you herself. So good luck with that.” And with that Jen and Sally turned and left him in silence.
“She doesn’t know yet?” Fane softly asked his father.
“No son, that honor has been left to you. As the two avenging angels who just left said, good luck with that,” Vasile told him. “Get dressed. It’s time for you to go see your mate.”
His father left him, and Fane stood up, feeling very numb. He was so broken at having hurt Jacquelyn. How was he going to face her? Without any thought to what he was doing, Fane got dressed, brushed his hair and teeth, and then headed over to Jacquelyn’s. It was the longest walk he’d ever made, and yet it was the shortest as well.
Fane opened the front door to Jacquelyn’s house and nearly turned back and shut it behind him. Everyone, save Jacquelyn, was sitting in the living room, and as he walked in all their eyes landed on him. He took a deep breath and walked in. His mother was the first to move. She came over to him and exposed her neck. Fane took a step back in disbelief at her action.
“I am your mother, and your Alpha, but I acknowledge the sacrifice you had to make.” She kissed him on the cheek as a tear rolled down her face. Fane reached up and wiped it away.
“I’m sorry I hurt you, mama,” Fane told her.
“Tsk, tsk. You did what needed to be done, that is what an Alpha does. There will be many decisions you will make as an Alpha others will not understand because of the responsibility you hold. No offense to the humans, but they cannot begin to understand the weight you will carry on your shoulders, nor the weight you carried this night. You did what no one else could have. That, my son, is what the Alpha does. Never doubt that.” When Alina turned back to the room all of the wolves and, to Fane’s astonishment, even the humans, bowed their heads in submission.
“Jacque is in her room, Fane. She isn’t awake yet. She apparently passed out at the challenge and has been out ever since,” Lilly told him.
Fane closed his eyes and squeezed them against the tears that threatened to spill. His mate, his love, broken because of him, but not with Lucas either. She is ours, he heard his wolf say. As our Alpha said we did what we had to. Fane turned from the crowded living room and walked up the stairs to Jacquelyn’s room.
As he opened the door, he used his wolf vision because the room was dark, only a night light shining. He made his way over to her bed and sat down on the edge. She laid there, hands folded across her stomach, so still. Fane leaned down and kissed her forehead. He took a deep breath and let her scent fill his lungs. He kissed both cheeks, he kissed her nose and her chin, and then he kissed her lips. He had tears running down his face and he was trembling. He wanted to hold her but didn’t want to startle her awake. Slowly, he pulled away from her, and as he sat up he realized her eyes were open, really open, like very wide open.
Jacquelyn screamed and threw the covers over her head. “I’ve finally gone crazy. His death pushed me over the edge. Here I’ve been teetering all along, and then BAM, I’m in the middle of crazy ground.” Jacquelyn was mumbling to herself, not totally hysterical but definitely on the verge. Fane thought he’d better catch her quick before she really did lose it.
“Luna, you’re not crazy, I’m really here. I’m not dead, love, it was fake. I was faking it in order to lure Lucas into a false victory,” Jacque heard the hallucination that was Fane say.
She wasn’t going to fall for that. Fane would've told her that he was going to do something like that. He would have never allowed her to be hurt so deeply.
“Jacquelyn, please. It’s really me. I didn’t -” he paused and took a deep breath. Jacque was caught off guard by this show of emotion from a hallucination, not that she had much experience with hallucinations, thank goodness. She pulled the covers down just enough to be able to see Fane. His head was bowed so he didn’t know she was looking at him. “I didn’t tell you I was going to pretend to die because…” His shoulders shook with sobs. The tears fell and wet his hands.