Wolfsbane (Page 23)

Marco was speaking to him and he tried hard to focus. “I used to feel the same way you do, Brett. I almost lost Nicky a couple of times because I was too stubborn to really hear what he was saying to me. I tried to just bluster my way through an argument. Hell, I still do from time to time. I used the fact that I was bigger and stronger than he is to try to make him do what I wanted him to do.It didn’t work, Brett, and it won’t work with Evan.”

Brett looked down at his feet for a long moment and then back up at the alpha. “Can I see him?I won’t—I mean I don’t have to touch him. I just need to see him, Marco. I need to see if he hates me for what I did.”

Marco sighed. “I don’t think he hates you, Brett, but I don’t think he’ll come home right away, either.I’ve already spoken to both Nicky and Logan for their parts in this. Both of them are independent and strongwilled, and they’re veterans by now at fighting with their mates. They never should have allowed Evan to get so involved, as new as he is to Werekin life, and as new as your relationship is.” He took a deep breath and stood up.“There was no excuse for it, but no excuse for your behavior,either.”

“I know, Alpha. I’m sorry.” Marco gestured to him. “Come on. I’ll let you see him and talk to him. He’s still a little confused.I’m afraid you’ll face punishment for your treatment of him, Brett.It’s time for the older wolves and for some of the younger ones, too, to realize that things have changed. They can no longer hide behind tradition to make excuses for abusive behavior.I’ll talk to Ian and decide on a fitting punishment for your actions.In the meantime, I don’t suppose it would hurt for you to see Evan for a few minutes, if he agrees.” He left the council room and led him down the hall to his quarters.

“Stay here and I’ll see if he’ll agree to see you.” Brett stood in the hallway, feeling miserable and torn. On the one hand, he needed to see Evan almost as much as he needed air to breathe. On the other, he was ashamed and afraid. What if Evan didn’t want to see him? Or worse, what if he told him he hated him and rejected him as his mate?

Marco came back to the door and gestured for him to come in. Heaving a sigh, he stepped inside the door. Evan was reclining on the sofa, covered by a blanket, and Nicky had been reading in a chair next to him. Nicky scowled at Brett when he walked in, but Brett’s attention was focused on Evan. He had scooted to a sitting position and was picking at little pieces of lint on the blanket, looking down to avoid eye contact with Brett.

Marco motioned for Nicky to come with him, and they both stepped outside to give the couple some privacy. Brett noticed right away how nervous Evan seemed. He perched himself on the arm of the sofa to give him some space.

For a moment, neither of them said a word. Brett reached out cautiously to touch Evan’s foot under the blanket, but he pulled it away sharply. Brett pulled back his hand, literally at a loss for words. He gave a little ragged sigh.

“What do you want to do?” For a moment he thought Evan wasn’t going to answer. Still looking down, Evansaid, “I don’t know. I don’t want to come back, though.”

Even though he knew he was going to say those words, they still speared right through him. “Okay, I understand.” He stood up—he had to get out of there before he did something stupid, like fall to his knees and beg him.“If-if you need me for anything, just tell Marco.”

“I won’t,” Evan said shortly, ripping his heart out with those two little words.

“Oh. Okay...well...” He backed toward the door, afraid to say another word in case he started crying. He could feel the tears clogging up the back of his throat now, threatening to burst out and embarrass him completely. He had to ask the question though that was uppermost in his mind. He swallowed down the tears and forced the words out.

“Do you...have you rejected me, Evan?”

There was a long silence and Brett allowed himself to feel a bit of hope that Evanhadn’t said yes immediately. His next words dashed that hope.

“Not yet. Not officially, but I don’t think we have any future, Brett. You never really wanted a human mate in the first place. You told me so several times. You need someone who will let you boss them around,and I need someone who will respect me.”

Brett turned blindly toward the door, incapable of saying anything more. Evan was his life. He couldn’t live without his mate. He couldn’t live without his soul. He fumbled for the door handle when he heard Evan speak softly behind him.“Aren’t you even going to say you’re sorry?”

He turned back to face him, but he couldn’t speak. If he did, the sobs would burst from his throat.“Sorry,” he finally choked out, then turned and took off through the door and ran down the hall, passing Nicky and Marco on the way but unable to even speak to them.He saw Marco’s face filled with concern and then he was back inside the council room, slamming the door behind him.He couldn’t stand to face anyone right now.

He wished he was outside in the woods. He could pull his clothes off and shift to his wolf. He wanted only to get away. There was no way he could stay, knowing how much he’d hurt his mate—how he’d ruined the best thing that had ever happened to him. He’d lost him for good, it seemed. He put back his head and howled with the pain, the disappointment and the shame, and then he slumped down at the council table. He knew Marco was coming to mete out his punishment. He hoped he would be banished, sent far away.He couldn’t stay and watch as Evan took up with someone else. It would, quite literally, kill him.He’d rather be banished, and stay in his wolf form.He wouldn’t feel the pain quite so keenly then. He closed his eyes and let the pain crash down on him.

Nicky leaned over Marco’s shoulder as he read his email from the inside contacts at the Hunter complex. Marco had forwarded the picture of Tim that Zack had sent him to several of these contacts over the last few days and almost all of them recognized him as a young wolf who had been held captive at the prison complex for over six months. None of them were in a position to know what was done to him, but atleast they’d confirmed his presence. It was a part of the puzzle of what had happened to Tim to turn him into a rapist and murderer.

“Have you told Zack yet?” Nicky asked.

“I’m forwarding everything to him. It might give his parents comfort to know about it, but it could onlycause them more pain. Hard to say.” Marco turned around to face his mate.“Well, I guess I better go see Evan.You’re coming with me, right?”

“Oh, of course. It will be hard for him to feed from someone else this first time. I want to be there for him.” Nicky sat down in Marco’s lap and kissed the side of his neck. “Thanks for doing this for Evan.Rory offered too, but I don’t think Casey really liked the idea much—jealous pig that he is.”

Marco smiled. “I don’t mind, sweetheart. I just wish we’d hear something from Brett. I’m worried about him. Tomorrow will be two weeks since anyone has seen or heard from him, and it’s just not like him. When I sentenced him to thirty days in jail, I never thought he’d just take off like that.Brett’s the kind of man who makes mistakes, yes, but faces up to them. This behavior is unlike him, but then I’ve never seen him so distraught and upset.”

“Evan’s a wreck. He won’t admit it but he is. He’s scared to death that Brett will never come back, or that something has happened to him.We’d have heard if Winters got him, wouldn’t we?”

Marco nodded. “Yes, I’ve alerted all out contacts, even got word to Dr. Cornsilk. No one has seen any sign of him.”

“Stupid, stubborn wolf! Why would he just run away like that?”

“Well, from what Brett told me, Evanreally didn’t give Brett much hope he’d forgive him. Brett said he was going to reject him as his mate.”

Nicky blew out a skeptical breath. “Like he cared. Evan said he hardly even said he was sorry, and then only after he prompted him to. I wonder if he even cared about what he did to him.”

“You didn’t see him after their talk, Nicky. I did. He was practically destroyed. He cared deeply, believe me.I think his heart was broken, and I’m afraid something may have happened to him.”

A little gasping sound by the door made them both look up to see Evan standing just inside the door.He’d overheard what Marco said. His face registered a direct hit, and he swayed on his feet. Nicky jumped up to put a hand on his shoulder and guide him into the room.“It’s okay, Evan.He’s coming back, I’m sure of it.”

“What if he doesn’t, Nicky? I was so damn mad at him when he came to see me, I couldn’t even stand for him to touch me. I was awful to him—really hateful. He thinks I hate him now, so there’s no reason for him to come back.”

“You were just giving him some tough love, and it’s what he needed. He had to realize how serious it was and how much he hurt you emotionally. It was the only way for the two of you to ever make it work between you. You remember what I told you the first day I met you?He’s a wolf, and wolves mate for life. They have all these stupid wolf laws, but that’s one I always liked. That’s one I could always get behind.”

Evan gave Nicky a shaky little smile. “I hope you’re right.”

Nicky smiled at him encouragingly.“Come on over here now and you can feed from Marco.It won’t taste as good to you as Brett’s does, but it will nourish you.”

A knock on the door interrupted them, and Nicky went over to open it. It was Ian, and he looked serious and a little grim. He glanced over at Evan and then back at Marco.“It’s Brett, Marco. Dr. Cornsilk has gotten word to us. The Hunters have had him for over a week and the doctor just discovered it and has managed to get in and see him.They’ve been experimenting on him, Marco.Dr. Cornsilk says he’s afraid they’ve completely destroyed his mind.”

“We have to move quickly if this is going to work. The doctor said the Hunters think Brett has outlived his usefulness now,and they’re ready to execute him. ‘Put him out of his misery,’ as they put it.” Casey slammed his hand down on the table in front of him, contempt for the Hunters and their cruelty twisting his lips.