I woke up feeling terrible. My whole body was in pain and my brain felt like it went through a blender.
I remembered everything. I remembered waking up, being sure I was dead, and Andrew and Logan convincing me that I was alive.
I believed them now because there was no way I would be dead and in so much pain, right?
I groaned and opened my eyes.
“Emma.” I heard someone say. “How are you feeling?”
I turned my head and saw doctor Wren standing next to my bed, checking the machines around me.
“Like I’ve been hit by a train.” I mumbled.
“Understandable.” Doctor Wren said. “I’m going to give you something to help you with the pain.”
I nodded and looked around the room. Where was my brother? Where was Logan? My breathing picked up and I felt fear crawling up my spine.
“Emma?” doctor Wren called me. “What’s wrong, sweetie?”
“Where is my brother?” I asked, my voice trembling.
“He went home to shower and change his clothes.” he said, taking my hand in his. “I will tell him you woke up. He will be here in a few minutes.”
I nodded and tried to calm my breathing. He would be here soon. Maybe Logan would come as well? Maybe he would be willing to hold me? He helped with the pain. Nothing hurt when I was in his arms.
Suddenly, a pang of guilt hit me so hard I almost gasped. How could I expect help from him when I was the one who told him to give me some time? He probably wouldn’t even come. I was being incredibly selfish right now. I would deal with the pain myself.
“Would you be okay to talk when your brother comes, Emma?” doctor Wren’s voice pulled me out of my thoughts.
“About what happened?” I asked, feeling very nervous.
The doctor nodded. “I would like to update you on your health status, tell you what has been going on while you were asleep, and I would like to ask you some questions.”
“Okay.” I nodded, fidgeting with my fingers.
“Would you like to talk to me alone?” doctor Wren asked me. “Your brother doesn’t have to be here. I suggested it because I thought it would be easier for you with him here.”
I took a moment to think about what doctor Wren said. Did I want my brother here? I knew that it would be easier for me if he was with me. He made me feel safe. But that one word that Sienna said kept ringing in the back of my mind.
I didn’t want to be a burden. Maybe he didn’t want to hear what doctor Wren has to say about my health. Maybe he didn’t even want to come. He probably had pack business. Oh, Goddess, I shouldn’t have told doctor Wren to call him.
“Emma…” doctor Wren called my name just as the door to the room opened.
Andrew ran inside. His eyes widened when he saw my panicked face. He ran toward me and pulled me into a hug.
“What’s wrong, Em?” he asked, panicked. “I’m here, love. I’m so sorry I wasn’t here when you woke up. I went home to change my clothes. I thought I would be back before you woke up. I’m so sorry.”
I tried to calm my breathing, but it was hard. Everything Sienna said was repeating in my mind, and I couldn’t make it stop.
“Emma, love, what’s wrong?” Andrew asked, cupping my face. “Come on, deep breaths, Em. You can do it. Do what I do, come on.”
I tried to breathe like Andrew did. It was hard in the beginning, but I managed to calm down and copy what he was doing. The thoughts didn’t disappear though.
“It’s okay, little one.” Andrew said softly after I managed to calm down. “You are okay.”
He sat next to me on the bed and pulled me into his arms.
“What happened, Wren?” Andrew asked the doctor.
“I asked her if she wanted to talk to me about her injuries alone or if she wanted you to be here.” Wren explained.
“Of course I’m going to be here.” Andrew said, looking down at me. “Is there a reason why I shouldn’t be here, Em?”
Because I was a burden.
“No.” I said quietly.
“Okay.” Andrew said and looked back up at doctor Wren. “But I’m pretty sure that Logan will want to hear everything, too. Can we wait until he gets here?”
“Of course, Beta.” The doctor nodded. “Is that okay with you, Emma?”
“Okay.” Doctor Wren said. “I will come back when Alpha gets here.”
Andrew nodded, and I gave him a small smile. He smiled back at me and left the room.
“Do you want to tell me why you panicked when Wren asked if you wanted me in the room when he would tell you about your injuries?” Andrew asked as soon as the door behind doctor Wren closed.
“I don’t know.” I mumbled.
“Yes, you do, Em.” Andrew said as he sat up.
He looked at me and took my hands in his. “Does it have something to do with what Sienna told you?”
“No.” I lied.
Andrew frowned. “I know when you are lying, Emma. I raised you.”
I sighed and looked away. “I just can’t get it out of my head, Andrew. The things she said…”
“Were lies.” Andrew interrupted me. “I know what she said to you. All the crap about you being a burden and me not living the life I wanted, all of that was a lie. She did it to hurt you. She did it because she was sick, Emma.”
“How do you know what she said to me?” I asked, confused.
“Logan used alpha command on her.” Andrew explained. “She had no choice but to tell us everything.”
I nodded, and Andrew cupped my face. “I know I made a huge mistake when I didn’t believe you about her. There is no excuse for that. I was an i***t, and I didn’t want to believe that my friend would do something like that. I assumed that as a Beta, I couldn’t make a mistake in selecting the people I trusted. But I was wrong. I was very wrong, and I need to work on that. But, Emma, everything she said was a lie. You are not a burden. I am so lucky to have such an amazing person in my life. I am so proud of you and everything that you are. It has been my honor to watch you grow up, and it has been an even bigger honor to take care of you for the past eight years. Do you know why, love?”
I shook my head. Tears were streaming down my face, and Andrew had to wipe them away constantly.
“Because I can show off with you.” Andrew said, smiling. “I can point to you and say: ‘I made that’. People will be jealous of me, and I will be the most proud big brother on this whole damn planet.”
I laughed through my tears, and Andrew smiled at me, kissing my forehead.
“No, but seriously, Emma.” Andrew continued. “I love you so much. You are the most important thing in the world to me. I wouldn’t trade one moment with you for any damn party or whatever Sienna said I missed out on because of you. I didn’t missed out on anything, not a single f*****g thing, okay?”
“Language.” I scolded him playfully, just like he did when I cursed.
“Sorry.” he grinned.
I chuckled and sighed. Andrew kept rubbing my cheeks with his thumbs. I placed my hands over his and looked at him.
“I believe everything you said.” I said quietly. “I love you so much and I am so lucky to have you in my life. I want you to know that what she did wasn’t your fault. She was a really good actress. She did everything perfectly. I know, because I saw both sides of her. And I’m sure that, when I wasn’t around, she really was a friend to you. She did love you in her own twisted kind of way. I’m sure she didn’t fake that, Andrew. But I will need some time to put everything she did and said behind me. It’s hard, you know. I don’t know how long I was away, but all that time I kept replaying her words. That rogue kept telling me the same thing over and over again. A big part of me knows it’s not true, but there is still that small voice that keeps reminding me of what they said. The voice will go away, but it will take me some time.”
“I know, love.” Andrew said, pulling me into his chest. “I will be here every step of the way, proving to you how wrong their words were. I love you, Em.”
“I love you too.” I said and relaxed into my brother’s embrace.