Valen came back a few minutes later with a towel before marching into the bathroom and shutting the door while muttering under his breath. I heard the shower start and sighed. He had a point, though.
The media would go insane over two mates, especially one holding status in the city but living apart. The scandals it would lead to, and I could only imagine the speculation it would cause and the rift once everyone found out I was, in fact, Alpha John’s daughter.
That was another thing I was also worried about because it would come out. Secrets always do, they never remain hidden, and I know it would all come out when they dug into my past.
Yet the thought of having to answer to someone irked me, and living with Valen, I knew I would have to, plus he could pull rank over me, yet the stories that would be in the papers. I could already imagine the headlines. ‘Pack rivalry keeping mates apart.’
‘Valen’s cheating ways’ ‘Trouble with the notorious Alpha’ stupid sh*t and that would be stacked on top of the ‘Everly the gold digger trapping the Alpha.’ ones. F*ck! I never thought of the different scenarios, and now they appeared endless. Valen walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. He ignored me, and I could feel he was upset.
I chewed my lip before getting up off the couch, wandering down the hall toward his bedroom, and pushing the door open. Valen was getting ready for bed as he pulled the sheets back. “If you are coming in here to tell me you don’t want to live with me or to give more bullshit excuses, Everly, I don’t want to hear it,” Valen said, climbing in bed and tugging the blankets up. He turned away from me, facing the wall, and I sighed before showering myself and returning to the room.
I rummaged through his closet for a shirt to wear before climbing in bed with him. Through the bond, I could tell he was still festering over our argument and very much awake as he kept his back to me.
“You said earlier you wanted to be my Luna. How do you expect to do that if we live separately?” he said.
“The Alpha meeting is in two days. What do you expect me to tell everyone? Everly and I are mates, but it’s complicated? This isn’t like updating a F*ck status Everly; I get you don’t want me to mark you yet, but at least f*cking try,” I remained quiet, pondering over my thoughts and his words when he rolled over to face me.
“What are you afraid I will do, that you keep refusing to try and make this work?” Valen asked.
There were plenty of things I was afraid of, Valen taking control of ever hing in my life when I only just got some semblance of the normal back in it. I was scared of him taking my son and me losing the hotel and everyone who relies on that place, worried about the rogue woman losing everything when they have no jobs because I failed them.
But most of all, I was afraid of ending up back in a shitbox car living in the train station parking lot with Valarian. I was scared of losing everything, just like I had. Going back to having nothing and no one, at least with how things are, he can’t control everything. He can’t take it from me.
“Anything I say will sound like an excuse,” I tell him and he sighs.
Unless you had lived with the hopelessness of failing at everything and having no one to rely on, you couldn’t understand how terrifying it is to allow someone else to have even the slightest bit of controI when you worked so hard to get where you are. Moving in with Valen would be trusting him not to break me again, not to take everything I worked hard for away from me, and trusting him not to throw me away like trash like my family did.
“Try to explain, I want to understand Everly, no bt just tell me,” Valen breathed, frustrated.
“I lost everything for our son, everything Valen. I had no one and o my him until I found that place. No one helped me until Valarie, my own father, couldn’t bear the sight of me. Society displayed me as some vile homewrecking wh0*e; I lived with that. The other rogue women lived with that. I won’t lose it all, I won’t go back to that place where I let myself think I would have help, only to find out I wouldn’t and that everything could be taken away from me,” I answered honestly.
I used to use the excuse it was his cheating, the fact he didn’t recognize me, but deep down it had nothing to with that because he was here now, he proved he would stay, it was my own thoughts that ruined everything, I knew it was toxic, and my own safety mechanism but it was the truth. Until you hit rock bottom and clawed your way back, no one can tell you not to fear ending up back there again.
And that thought terrified me, I had too much to lose now, and if I did, I would lose everything, including my son.
“But no one is taking anything from you, Everly,”
“You did. I know that it’s in the past, I know you want to make up for it, but it f*cking haunts me. Do you have any idea how lonely it is when you have a baby relying on you to keep it alive and fed when you have nothing and no one to help? Then to feel so selfish for forcing that life on a child. Choosing yourself over your own kid because you can’t bear the heartbreak of giving them up, you can’t bear the
thought of letting someone else raise them, I lived with that guilt of thinking I was destroying my son, so I dam n near k*lled myself to earn the right to be his mother, one he deserved, I created a life for us, I won’t lose it,” I tell him.
“You do deserve him, and none of that will happen again; I am here now,” Valen says.
“Yes, you are, but what happens once you mark me? You make me give up the hotel? Take it from me, from them. Before Valarian, I was oblivious to how this city was run, like any other Alpha. Shunned the rogue w****s until I found myself one of them. Zoe, Macey, and I, we built that place. I won’t allow you to take it from us, from those that work there. I won’t just quit because you want a Luna. And I know you expect that. You expect that because it is what is taught to us. Luna’s abide by their AIpha. The Alpha has control. No one should have that son of power over someone else,”
“You think I will make you give it up?” Valen asks.
“Yes, but I am also worried about what they will think when I become one of those that suppressed them in the first place. You marking me doesn’t just affect me; it affects them when I become what society wants, what you want,” I tell him.
“What do you want then?”
“What I want is for my son not to be ashamed because he is rogue, I want the stereotypes gone. I want everything I have worked for to mean something so our son can say she tried. She had nothing but made something, something that made a difference, and that is why I don’t want you marking me. It will be like throwing everything we worked hard for away if you make me give it up, to toss what I was trying to change away, and all of them will go back to being just another rogue wh0*e, and I will just be another selfish Alpha,” I tell him.
“I just want my mate Everly, that is all,”
“You say that now until everyone stans putting pressure on you to force me to conform to their ways, you think I will remain quiet in Alpha meetings? When they speak garbage against the way they treat rogue-wh0*es or when the packs bring in another law that restricts them more, like the stupid schooling cuts they made last year? It will cause an uproar, one that will reflect poorly on you because you
can’t keep your Luna in line. You pull rank over me, Valen. You will have control, and when they kick up a stink that I am speaking against the way they have lived for decades, I know you will use it against me,” I tell him clutching my head. Everything was so f*cked up, and the stress was beginning to get to me, the stress of the mate bond, the hotel, people going missing, my father and this stupid
Alpha meeting. Tears burned my eyes, I was so sick and tired of the responsibility but at the same time I needed to keep going.
“No, you think you know, Everly. I am not trying to take anything from you; use your title how you want. F*ck,
abolish the laws for all I care, I’ll even help you,” I scoff and drop my hands and look over at him. That would go down well, the media would tear shreds off him, his pack would become a laughingstock. I shake my head. He seems to think it is so easy. That I should just accept him because his title could help, but it could also destroy everything. Valen sighs and sits up on his elbow and looks down at me.
“I mean it, Everly, you want to help the rogues. What better position than one of power? Change the laws, change their views but do it with me by your side and in your corner, you think you have to solve all their problems yourself; you don’t.”
“You backing me would stan a war, Valen. Wars never solved anything just got innocent people k*lled,”
“Yes, you’re right. But then those wars ended up in history books and became everyone’s turning point; A reflection of how we messed up and a place to see the error of their ways. You’re worried about war? The packs are always at war, but why not go to war for something that will hold value, give a future to someone who otherwise had none? You have my pack. They will fight for you if you are my Luna, they will fight for the rogues,” My brows crease as I think over his words, yet him saying it and allowing it after he marked me are two different things.
“one thing I have realized since meeting you is that the rogues hold just as much value, and are capable of more than they realize, because not one of your people have ever talked down to me, treated me differently or those that enter your doors, they treat everyone with kindness even though they are shown none, you want to change the laws, change things for the rogues then let me help you,”
“You could go back on your word, though, Valen,” I whispered. He could ruin everything because me taking that title gives him everything I own, what the rogues own.
“I won’t, I swear I won’t, and I will prove it,” Valen sighs, dropping his head on my shoulder and groans. He felt defeated, yet I could also tell he understood because his anger was gone.
“How?” I ask.
“Because tomorrow I will open up my packs schools for the rogue children, and I am shutting down that terrible place you call a schooI.” he lifts his head back up and presses his forehead against mine.
“Besides, when I spoke to Valarian about changing schools, he refused unless Casey and Taylor could come to his new school, so the more, the merrier.”
“But what of the rogues that work there? They will lose their jobs,”
“And I hear Mountainview Hotel is looking for extra employees. We can help find them jobs. We can work it out, “Valen says.
“In a city where rogues can’t go past the two streets on either side of the main street unless it is for the reserve, there are no jobs, Valen, no one will hire them,” Valen sighed and appeared to think for a second before pushing his knee between my legs and shoving them apart.