Fighting the Inevitable Ch. 07byJazCullen©
Apologies for the slight delaying getting this chapter posted. I've lost my editor so hope you will bear with me if there are any little things I've missed in this chapter be they spelling or grammatical errors. Trying to find a new editor so fingers crossed that happens soon. Hope you enjoy this chapter and look forward to hearing your comments.
Rhianna sobbed against him, her wet tears soaking the fur on the back of his neck as she wept uncontrollably. His Alpha had moved off a bit to give them some privacy and Rafe could only tremble and whine as his little sister cried so brokenly. He wanted to hold her and comfort her and tell her how sorry he was but he would need to shift to do that and he was too afraid to look at her with his human eyes.
She wept on and the longer she wept the worse Rafe felt. It was sheer agony to hear her heartbreak and he howled loudly once more before he shifted beneath her and wrapped his arms around her tiny body.
"Don't cry, Annie. Please don't cry," he whispered into her hair. "You're breaking my heart with your tears. I'm so sorry, Annie. I'm so sorry I've done this to you!"
Rhianna heard the rich timber of her brother's voice and felt the steel bands of his strong arms crushing her tightly against him. She cried harder, trying to speak, trying to tell him of the sheer joy she felt at finding him alive but the tears wouldn't let her. She settled on kissing him instead. She twisted in his arms and grabbed his handsome face and planted kiss after joyful kiss on every single part of his skin she could reach.
He went rigid with shock for a moment and then he slowly relaxed and he was kissing her back, his big hands brushing at her wet cheeks so gently as if afraid he would hurt her. "Annie," he breathed softly. "My baby girl!"
"I can't believe you're alive, Rafe," she finally managed to get out. "I can't believe you're not really dead." She was crying and laughing at the same time, hugging him tightly one minute and then kissing his face the next.
Rafe could feel the joy radiating from her and he felt such shame. How could she be so happy he was alive when he had put her through such pain and misery? "Why don't you hate me, Annie?" he asked his voice breaking as he spoke.
Rafe's misery finally penetrated through Rhianna's happy haze and she drew back and looked into his anguished face. She knew her expression must be one of complete shock because that was how she was feeling inside. "I could never hate you," she whispered. "How can you even think that, Rafe? You're everything to me. You always have been." Her lavender eyes saw the denial in his and she really looked at him and saw the deep lines of abject misery on his face.
She turned to find Jared and the dark haired man approached them slowly and sat down beside them. He placed a hand on Rafe's shoulder and she watched her brother flinch from the contact.
"Be at ease, Rafe," Jared said, his tone soothing. "I am not going to take you away from your precious Annie."
Rafe relaxed slowly and nodded his head to his Alpha as Rhianna quickly ran through what Jared had told her about Wolfie just before she found out he was her brother. Her heart broke at the thought of how hard Rafe was finding it to adjust to his new life. She could understand his pain. Her big brother was even more tender hearted than she was. He refused to swat a fly or stomp on a spider. He would always find some other way to deal with the little pests. Having a wild wolf inside him would be so hard for him to comes to terms with.
"Why did you run in front of my car, Rafe?" she asked suddenly and she saw the truth before he was able to slide his ashamed eyes away from her. "No, Rafe," she groaned her heart clenching with fear. She squeezed her eyes shut and shuddered before she took a deep breath and opened them again.
"What happened to you create own happiness, Rafe?" she asked softly. "You always told me that. You brought me up telling me to never give up no matter how hard things became. It's what helped me get through the pain of losing you. How could you give up, Rafe? How could you stop fighting?"
He bowed his head in shame. She was so right. He had given up. He had stopped fighting. "I don't know how to make myself happy being what I am now, Annie," he replied brokenly. "I don't know how to be at peace with the wolf inside me."
Rhianna met Jared's troubled eyes and she saw the deep concern he had for her brother. He was worried Rafe would try and kill himself again.
"The pack needs your help, Annie," Jared said quietly. "I need your help. You are all Rafe thinks about, the only person he has a true connection with. We want him back in our pack but not until he is ready to return willingly. Will you help him, Annie? Will you mend his wounded soul so he can one day come home to us?"
The plea in Jared's voice touched her. He really, genuinely cared about her brother. The whole pack obviously did otherwise they would never have broken their laws and revealed themselves to her. "Where can I take him?" she asked. "I can't take him home Millie is there. She'll ask questions which neither of us can answer."
She thought of Caleb's mansion as she spoke. She could take him there. She didn't think Caleb would mind. If Rafe was there then she would be spending a lot of time there too and she knew Caleb would be up for her spending as much time with him as possible.
"I can take him to Caleb's," she said before Jared could answer. "He's got plenty of spare rooms."
Jared arched an eyebrow at her. "Don't you think it would be a wise idea to ask first?" he remarked slightly drolly. "I mean Caleb's okay for a vampire but Weres and vampires don't usually get on that well."
Rhianna snorted. "I don't care about that," she said with a determined expression in her face. "Love me, love my family. He'll just have to like it or lump it." She didn't feel half as confident as she sounded but she needed somewhere safe to take her brother and Caleb's was the only place she could think of.
"Come on, Rafe," she said standing up. "Can you put those sweats on? You are naked." She turned her back while her brother quickly pulled on the sweats.
Jared smiled warmly at her. "Caleb really doesn't know what he has let himself in for, does he?" he laughed softly.
"I think he has a fair idea," she laughed back and then she turned serious again. "I'll take good care of Rafe, Jared. I'm not angry with you or your pack. I understand why you did what you did and I know you only have my brother's best interests at heart. I have already sworn once I would keep your secret. I mean that tenfold now. No one will ever learn from me of your existence."
On impulse she wrapped her arms around Jared's big body and gave him a tight hug. He hesitated briefly and then hugged her back.
"Thank you for trusting me, Jared. Thank you for giving me my brother back." She stepped back and turned to look at the wolves sitting patiently just outside the ring of the trees surrounding them. "Thank you," she called loudly. They regarded her solemnly for a moment and then the golden streaked wolf chuffed lightly in her direction.
"Aaron says it is you we should be thanking," Jared translated. "He is Rafe's closest friend in the pack. He has fought as long and hard as I have to keep your brother well."
"You have my eternal gratitude, Aaron," Rhianna said quietly to the beautifully marked wolf. "I will keep him well." The wolf grinned at her and bowed his head.
She turned to her brother who was staring silently off into the distance as if trying to distance himself from the wolves around him. She gave Jared one more smile and then turned away. "Come on, Rafe," she said quietly and pulled on his arm to move him over to the car.
He was silent as she drove towards Caleb's mansion. Her mind was whirling frantically as it tried to assimilate everything which had happened. She was really worried about Rafe. The depth of his depression was scary. She had promised to keep him well but she didn't know if she even knew where to begin.
"Your bloodsucker will not be happy at me being in his home," Rafe said suddenly and she was surprised at him speaking and also the certainty in his voice.
"I'll talk to him," she answered slowly.
"He wanted to kill me last night," Rafe said his voice completely lacking in emotion.
"He what?" she gasped shocked. Caleb knew? He knew Rafe was alive and he hadn't told her? Her hands tightened hard on the steering wheel and she felt a deep anger begin to pulse inside her. She couldn't believe Caleb could keep something like this from her. How could he say he loved her and leave her grieving for her brother when he knew Rafe was still alive? She felt Rafe's eyes on her and she tried to relax some of the tension from her body.
Rafe sighed loudly and leaned his head against the headrest. "Don't be angry with him, Annie. He didn't find out until last night. He knows the Alpha well. Something you said to him led him to put the pieces together. He came to Old Forest Road with his people. He was beyond rage. His fury was on your behalf. He demanded justice for the pain our pack had caused you. He was quite magnificent actually." His tone was clipped and precise. He used only as many words as he really needed to.
"He should have told me!" she blurted out and then she remembered their earlier conversation about how he couldn't tell her something because it was someone else's secret. How she had told him not to worry about it. She felt her anger lessen slightly and took a deep breath.
"He would have started a war if he had," Rafe told her quietly. "He almost started one last night. The vampires would have decimated the pack even though they were in smaller numbers. They are faster than us and their bite is deadly to us. He agreed with the Alpha to reveal his true nature to you so he could prove you were able to accept the truth and protect those you cared for. He risked losing you so he could convince the Alpha to agree to tell you I still lived. It would be rather mean and petty of you to be angry with him after he did all that for you. Don't you think so?"
He opened his eyes and looked at his sister. She was biting her lip hard as she listened to what he had to say. Her hands slowly relaxed completely around the steering wheel and her lips tugged in a slight smile. "Maybe just a little," she finally agreed.
She was reeling at the information she had just learned. Caleb had almost started a war because of her? He really needed to work on learning how to handle his newfound emotions. A little part of her was flattered too. He had told her he loved her but she hadn't understood just how much he did. He was willing to lose her so she could have her brother back? That was huge!
"Rafe, don't worry about Caleb," she said as she pulled up outside his mansion. "He really is a wonderful man. He's still learning how to control his emotions so he may be a bit erratic at expressing them from time to time but his heart is kind even if he doesn't quite believe it yet."
She smiled at him and stepped out of the car. She opened the boot and pulled out her overnight bag and waited for her brother to decide he was getting out of the car.
She waited patiently as Rafe just sat there. Long moments passed and she began to bite her lip gently. She didn't want to press him too hard but she couldn't just stand on the driveway all night. The sound of front door opening behind her drew her eyes and she took a deep breath as Caleb stepped out of the house.
Caleb's quick gaze took in Rhianna's tearstained face and her anxious expression as she looked at him and then back at the huge man sitting half naked in her car. He tensed and felt his anger start to boil up. Had the man hurt his Annie? He took one threatening step forward and then stopped as suddenly as he had moved.
He recognised the man from the night before. He watched Rafe Armand intently as he sat staring straight ahead. Annie's brother was truly wounded to his core. It was plain for all to see. Caleb stepped forward again, keeping his tread light. He opened the passenger side door and looked down at the man.
"Welcome to my home, Rafe," he said quietly. "You are welcome to stay for as long as you need."
Rafe turned his head and looked at the vampire who had captured his sister's heart. He didn't look half as intimidating as he had the night before. He sensed no intent on the vampire's part to harm him in anyway. Perhaps Rhianna was right about the bloodsucker. He unbuckled his seatbelt and climbed out of the car as the vampire stood back.
Caleb closed the door then turned to looked at Rhianna. Her beautiful face showed relief and also gratitude. Did she doubt he would welcome her brother into his home? Was she going to be angry with him? He knew she must know everything. Obviously something had transpired on her way over to his place.
"I'll tell you about it later," she said quietly walking over to him. He took her overnight bag and slipped an arm around her shoulder. At least she was talking to him.
"Coming, Rafe?" she asked holding out her other hand to her brother. He moved to take it and they walked into the house together.
Caleb set her bag down in the hallway and turned to her with a questioning look but she shook her head quickly at him but managed a smile which did reach her beautiful eyes. No trace of anger yet. Perhaps it was a good sign.
"Are you hungry, Rafe?" she asked her brother and he shook his head in the negative.
"I'd really just like to lie down," he said tonelessly.
Rhianna sighed deeply and frowned at him. "Well that's just tough," she said quite tartly. "Is that how you escaped your pack? Did you pretend to be tired and then sneak off the moment their backs were turned? Well you're not doing that to me, Rafe. I've only just found you again and I am not going to lose you. Now get a grip of yourself and act your age!"
Caleb didn't know who was the more surprised, himself or Rafe. The big man's head snapped up and a small smile began to tug at his lips as he regarded his sister intently.
"Is it running with vampires which has turned you into a little harpy?" he asked drolly with a shake of his head.
"No, it's having an ass of a brother who also happens to be a part time wolf," she retorted waspishly. "Really, Rafe. I don't know what to do with you. I don't recognise this person in front of me. My brother is inside there somewhere and I want him back. So have a chat with Wolfie and work out how you're both going to accomplish that."
He blinked at her in surprise and then laughed harshly, his brown eyes narrowing. "You think it's that simple, Rhianna?" he growled. "Just snap my fingers, say hi to Wolfie, and everything is going to be okay?" He felt his anger rise and he struggled to dampen it down aware of the dangerous man at his sister's side.
"It's a simple or as hard as you want to make it, Rafe," she answered her tone less abrasive. "My big brother used to tell me that and he was a very wise man. Maybe you should talk to him about it."
She turned to Caleb and slipped her arms around his waist and leaned her head against his chest. "I could really use one of your excellent mochas," she said with a smile for him.
He followed her lead and ignored the burnt out man at their side. He smiled slowly and picked her up so he could give her a very long, very thorough kiss. "As my lady commands," he answered lightly before he set her feet back down on the floor and escorted her into the kitchen leaving Rafe alone in the ornate hallway.
He gathered her into his arms the moment they were alone and sat her on one of the kitchen counters, easing between her thighs so he could bring his face close to hers. "You're making him angry," he said quietly, his golden brown eyes searching hers intently.
"I know," she answered equally as quietly. "It's the only time he has a spark of life in him, Caleb. He needs to remember what it feels like to have some fight in him. I'm going to push him hard, love, and I need you to not interfere no matter how angry he gets with me. I know I'm asking a lot of you but you have to trust me. Rafe will never hurt me no matter how angry he gets."
Caleb frowned darkly at her, his expression turning mutinous. "He's not only Rafe now, Annie. He's a wolf too and he is unstable at the moment. He could accidentally hurt you. You can't expect me to stand idly by and do nothing to protect you."
"Wolfie will never hurt me either, Caleb," she sighed softly. "I keep telling you that but you don't seem to believe me. I'm asking you to have some trust in me, Caleb. I need you to trust me to know what is best for my brother."
He didn't want to argue with her and he could tell from her set expression she would dig her heels in if he pushed her and her first night in his bed would be a distinctly chilly event. He smoothed his frown away but his unhappiness was still etched across his face.
"I'll try, Annie," he conceded. "It's the best I can give you. You're just too precious to me, my love. I don't want to lose you when I've only just found you."
She smiled and cupped his face gently. "It's a start, Caleb. Just count to ten very slowly if you feel your anger taking hold. Rafe told me what happened last night with the Weres. Whilst I appreciate your need to protect me and your sense of outrage at the perceived injustice done to me, I really will be very unhappy if you start a war in my name."
Caleb actually blushed and looked down, his teeth worrying his bottom lip. "I'm sorry about that, Annie." He almost sounded humble. "I wanted to tell you about Rafe, I truly did, but Jared needed to be sure you could handle finding out about me first. It was his intention to put the question of whether or not to tell you the truth to his pack once I'd had the chance to meet with him again after I had revealed myself to you. I didn't quite expect it to happen so soon. I was going to meet with Jared tomorrow. Something serious must have happened to have brought about all this." He raised his eyes and searched her face intently for some clue as to what had happened on her way over to his place.
"I tried to commit suicide by throwing myself in front of a passing car," Rafe said from the doorway and they both turned around and looked at him. He rolled his eyes and snorted. "I am a wolf now," he said derisively. "You could at least try and remember I have enhanced hearing abilities. It will make it less embarrassing for both of you when I overhear you talking about me."
"Rafe," Rhianna sighed trying to hop down from the counter but Caleb kept her pinned with his body. He growled low in his throat and his hands tightened on her hips painfully.
"If you tell me you selfishly threw yourself in front of Annie's car I am going to beat the living daylights out of you, dog!" he hissed furiously.
"Caleb!" Rhianna gasped stunned by the onset of his sudden rage. "Count to ten very slowly. Now!"
He ignored her and continued to glare at Rafe, another long hiss coming from his throat as the other man did not deny his actions.
"Caleb!" She tried to get his attention again but he was totally focused on her brother. She could feel the rage in the tenseness of his body and she was afraid he would give in to it and attack Rafe.
He seemed to pay her no heed so she changed tactics as her fear began to build quickly. She moaned low in her throat and let her body go completely limp. As she started to fall back against the counter Caleb's head spun around as his arms wrapped around her and he pressed her against his body, Rafe completely forgotten.
"Annie," he groaned hoarsely, his hand cupping her cheek lightly.
She opened her eyes slowly and caught his gaze with hers. She watched slow realisation dawn in his eyes and then anger flare for a brief moment before his expression slowly cleared and he gave her a rueful smile.