Park and Kraig sandwiched Lydia between them, holding her tight. She patted and rubbed their arms where they clung to her. “What’s going on?” she asked again.
“Cameron found Henry’s body.” Delivering the grim news was my duty as her alpha, as Henry’s alpha. It wasn’t something I expected to have to do. Most mates couldn’t hold on when the lost that connection between their animal souls. “How do you feel?”
I couldn’t imagine living without that pairing between us, if I lost Kraig. It was already an intrinsic link I depended on to know that he was okay. Without it… I was half of nothing.
“I feel fine,” Lydia said. She blinked several times. “He’s really dead? That’s… That doesn’t make any sense." She rubbed her chest. “I’d feel something. I’d know.”
It was hard to find the delicacy I needed to share my fears. In the end, I just had to say it. “He was clearly working with some humans, and we know they were behind what happened to Kraig. I’m afraid they might have —"
Lydia gasped. “No!”
I stood awkwardly near the door as they held her close, but I couldn’t fade away so they could grieve privately. She deserved to know everything, since it was her mate who had died. I waited for her sobs to fade to hiccupping breaths. “Cameron is bringing his body back, but my fear is that they use the same procedure on him that the doctor did on the werekin before they gave their souls to Kraig. I thought, with the doctor dead, they wouldn’t be able to do it again. Clearly I was wrong.”
“You couldn’t know how many people were involved,” Park said. “We’re going to get to the bottom of this, and stop them from hurting anyone else. We’ll find them.” Hate dripped through his words, turning them into a promise of retribution.
“And when you do?” Lydia wiped the tears from her cheeks. “What will you do with the person who holds Henry’s soul?” She shuddered. “I can imagine being bonded to someone who isn’t my mate, even after everything he did. But I just got you back.” She squeezed Kraig’s arm and buried his head against her shoulder. “And I’m afraid I haven’t been a good mother to you since Kraig first disappeared,” she said to Park.
“I don’t want to die.” The bleak despair in her eyes stabbed me in the heart.
My stomach churned. “That won’t happen. We’ll find a way. If they are still experimenting on human werekin, he will probably be a victim of these cruel bastards.”
Lydia took a deep breath. “Is it wrong that I hope that’s true?”
Her despair and self-disgust were so strong that I could feel them. I inched up next to the bed and sat on the very edge. Lydia let me take her hand. I tried to send her as much comfort as I could, concentrating on the bond between us as her alpha. “Of course not.”
Needing a few moments to herself, Lydia shut the bathroom door behind her, so we went downstairs. Kraig started water heating for tea. The ten of chamomile tea bags was up in the cupboard where it had always been. He pulled down his mom’s favorite cup. Pausing as he set a bag in the empty cup Kraig gave a strangled laugh.
“How can so many things stay the same and feel so normal, when everything that’s important has changed? He took a deep breath and let it out. “I can tell you where everything is in this house. Nothing’s been moved. It’s been two years, and it feels like I just walked out the door. I never imagined when I left for college that this would happen. Maybe if I’d stayed…?”
Park grabbed the container of honey out of the cupboard and set it down next to Lydia’s cup. “You didn’t even make it to school before they took you. Dad had to be on the well before then. Maybe he would’ve found another way, another time that they could snatch you up and make you disappear. Maybe then we never would’ve found you.”
“Maybe is a word we need to stop saying,” I said. “Maybe this, maybe that. We need evidence and the truth. I feel like they’re staring us in the face. Look how long it took me to realize that she humans were behind this. We need to focus.”
“Maybe Radford’s finally figured out something that could actually help us.” Park grimaced. “I can pick him up in the morning.”
Kraig poured the hot water over the teabag just as Lydia came down the stairs. She sank into a chair at the table, and Kraig carefully placed the cup in front of her. He took a seat by her side. “War discussions over chamomile tea.” Lydia huffed. “Where’s the liquor?”
I could see Park was all for it, but I knew we needed to keep clear heads. Alcohol might dull the pain of what they were going through for a short time, but finding answers and putting a stop to the horrors would be what finally gave them peace.
“Why don’t you guys stay here with your mom,” I suggested. “I know we’re probably not going to get any more sleep tonight, but my laptop is back at the house. I’ve put off looking through those files for too long.”
I might not be the best at technology, but I was great at looking things up. If I just stayed focused on the details, I’d find the clues we needed. Kraig stood up, and I pulled him close. I whispered, “You lit up my life and made the darkness go away. I love you.” His fangs nipped my bottom lip as we kissed. “I’ll be back soon.” I did not make the mistake of asking if he was all right with staying there. See, I could learn.
Do you think he'll finally find the clue they need, or if Cameron will have discovered something? More next week!