Cerulean blue eyes flickered open just as the sun was beginning to rise. The light of the morning already beginning to cast an illuminating glow within the confines of the tent.
Rubbing at her eyes, Chloe peaked out through her lashes, squinting as they adjusted to the light. She wished the material of the tent had been a darker shade, it would've created a dimmer setting to wake up to and blocked out most of the light.
Oh well, first world problems and all that. Turning her head to the side, she gazed over the sleeping form of her mate. Beca looked so peaceful in that moment, like all of the baggage from her past and the threat of hunters was nothing more than a distant memory.
It made Chloe momentarily sad. She wished she could do something to relieve all the worries her mate carried on her shoulders, anything that could bring peace to a restless mind.
Suddenly, Beca began to rouse from sleep and midnight blue eyes gazed groggily over at Chloe making the redhead smile in return.
"Morning," Beca mumbled as she rubbed at her eyes, trying to adjust to being awake. Chloe leaned up and placed a kiss to the corner of her mates mouth.
"'Morning to you too. You're cute when you sleep you know that?" Chloe said, making Beca grumble.
"Are the others awake?" Beca asked, as she adjusted her position so she was more comfortable. Chloe shook her head and leaned back down so that she was curled into her mates side, head resting snugly on Beca's shoulder.
"No, it's still pretty early and Stacie isn't one for waking up with the sun, unless it's a school day and she has no choice," Chloe replied as she toyed with the pendent sound Beca's neck. The brunette sighed.
"Good, I'm not ready to get up just yet," Beca said as she curled her arm around Chloe and pulled her close, eliminating any ounce of space there may have been before leaning down for a sweet chaste kiss.
As she pulled away, Beca's eyes gazed over Chloe's face, taking everything in, every single freckle, every laughter line, the sparkle in her eye, the small scar on her forehead, all of the things that made Chloe, Chloe.
"You're beautiful," Beca whispered, her hand coming up to stroke at her mates quickly reddening cheek. The ginger blushed furiously, and turned her face in towards the brunettes' shoulder before bashfully gazing back up into midnight blue eyes.
"Nobody's ever called me that before," Chloe admitted with a small shrug of her shoulder. Beca frowned at this.
"I find that hard to believe. You're Chloe Beale, most sought after girl at Westlake High," Beca grinned and Chloe rolled her eyes at the obvious playfulness of her mates tone.
"I mean sure, I've heard the cat calls and been called hot, anything that has a hint of a sexual undertone, but no-one's ever called me beautiful. It's like they saw what they wanted to see rather seeing me. No one's ever cared enough I guess," Chloe huffed out a breath of a chuckle at the end, as if it was somehow a joke.
Beca frowned at this, she hated that her girlfriend had this insecurity, this feeling of somehow only being the object of someone's lust rather than their affection. It chipped away at her heart because to Beca, Chloe was everything.
This gorgeous soul with a beautiful mind and a precious heart. Three things Beca always wanted to keep safe and treasure, because they deserved to be treasured. Chloe deserved to be treasured.
"Hey look at me," Beca said, as she watched Chloe fidget with the zip on their sleeping bag. Ocean blue eyes gazed up questioningly and Beca cupped Chloe's cheek in the palm of her hand.
"I see you. You're beautiful, all of you, every single piece of you. If they couldn't see that then they didn't deserve you. You're everything, and I'm gonna remind you of that every chance I get because somehow, I'm lucky enough to be able to call you mine."
Chloe could feel the warmth in her chest, the literal burn of Beca's passion as she spoke, the feeling of what her mate was feeling as she reminded Chloe that she was more than her looks or her perceived popularity and it stirred her emotions.
Ignoring the tears welling in her eyes, Chloe pressed her lips to Beca's and kissed her with as much emotion as she could, hands coming up to hold Beca's face. She could feel arms wrap around her and hands settle in respectful places and Chloe never felt more loved than in that moment.
Some guys would've taken advantage of her emotions to get a little something out of it for themselves, not Beca, never Beca. Even now she was careful not to cross any lines or boundaries with Chloe, even if that longing had been growing in the ginger since they officially mated.
Without so much as thinking about it, Chloe gripped one of Beca's hands and began to slip it under her shirt. Beca instantly pulled back from the kiss, a brow creased in genuine concern as she thought about the consequences of Chloe's actions.
"Chlo...," she started but she was cut off by a quick kiss and Chloe cupping her face in the palm of her hand
"You've been more than generous and caring with how you've treated my body, but you don't have to hold back anymore. You can touch me Bec's, I want you to touch me. I'm the most comfortable and safe I've ever been with anyone. You don't need to hold back anymore."
Beca gazed deep into her girlfriends eyes for any sign of discomfort, but she saw none, in fact she could feel the desire Chloe had to be touched and it made Beca lower her inhibitions. Placing a hand over the one cupping her cheek she pressed a kiss to its palm.
"I just want you to know, we don't have to do anything else if you're not ready. If you ever feel like things are getting too much just tell me and I'll back off," Beca assured and Chloe smiled a warm genuine smile at her.
"I know, and I know you would never pressure me. I'm not ready for us to take that step yet, but, that doesn't mean we can't get a little handsy," she winked, making Beca snort out a laugh.
And just like that, hands were roaming under shirts and groping at various body parts, because as Stacie once informed Chloe, some heavy petting never hurt anyone.
A little while later, after a heavy make out session that got pretty hot for what they were used to, Beca and Chloe eventually emerged from the their unit of the tent to find Jesse and Stacie attempting to make breakfast over the fire.
"Well look who finally pulled themselves out of the sex dungeon. Pick your jaw up Beca it's rude to drool," Stacie teased as Beca glanced at Chloe with a look that questioned if Stacie was always that forward.
"You get used to it," Chloe muttered, as they settled themselves by the fire pit, accepting the pieces of bacon and scrambled eggs that were handed to them on a plate.
Eventually they were joined by the rest of the group, CR and Stacie picking up right where they left off with their conversation from the night before while Ashley, Jess, Benji and Jesse immersed themselves in a conversation about cartoon classics.
Chloe beamed as she looped her arm though her mates and rested her head on her shoulder, feeling so much gratitude in that moment as she watched their two groups of friends integrate like they'd been friends forever.
Beca must have felt Chloe's emotions as she felt a kiss being dropped to the top of her head.
"I wish Aubrey could've been a part of this," Chloe said, and the comment made Beca stall, eyes lowering to Chloe as the conversation she'd had with Gail came flooding back.
Chloe felt the shift in Beca's emotions and lifted her head from where it was resting, glancing at her mate with a questioning gaze. Beca knew in that moment that she couldn't backtrack. Chloe had to know the truth.
"There's something I need to tell you. Not right now, later, when we're alone. I've been trying to find the right time but, honestly I don't think there is one," Beca said and Chloe frowned deeply at this.
She wasn't sure what the correlation was between this conversation they needed to have and the shift in Beca's emotions at the mention of Aubrey, but it left her with a sinking feeling that she was about to hear something she wasn't going to like.
Chloe wanted to ask for more details but hearing the chuckles of their friends behind them she knew it wasn't the best place. Whatever Beca needed to tell her was probably something not for public consumption.
She gave Beca a subtle tip of the head to indicate that she understood and then returned her attention to the rest of the group, trying desperately not to focus on the knot that was quickly forming in her gut.
"Hey, let's break out the canoes," Jesse says, slapping his hands against his thighs in excitement. Beca rolled her eyes, damn Gail and her desire to have Beca be more active.
"You have canoes?" Stacie asked and Jesse tipped his head towards Beca, who rolled her eyes.
"My dad was into water sports. He had a bunch of equipment he would break out to make the most of the lake," she replied.
It was true, Calvin Mitchell had all the goods, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, anything that he could partake in with his daughter. Gail didn't have the heart to get rid of them after Cal and Diane had died, so she kept them in storage for her niece.
Having someone like Jesse around meant Beca always made the most of the outdoors, so the equipment never went to waste.
"I'm game," Stacie said, as Jess and Ashley nodded their heads. CR shrugged her shoulders while Benji looked more like an unwilling participant but joined in anyways.
"Great, why don't we pack up all this stuff and meet at Beca's house," he suggested, everyone looking to the brunette girl to see if she was actually okay with it. Beca simply nodded and lifted her hand, gesturing for them to carry on.
Chloe stood up and pulled Beca with her, entering their shared tent unit to gather up their stuff, an air of tension around them as they both ruminated over the conversation they needed to have.
Beca gently reached out and placed her hand on Chloe's arm, letting it slide down until it linked with her mates. She gave it a gentle squeeze, a silent gesture that everything would somehow be okay. She wasn't sure if that was true or not but for Chloe, she would try.
Having cleared up the campsite, the group all dispersed to their cars, Chloe, Beca and Jesse hiking the trail up to Beca's house where they had parked their cars while the others followed,
Upon reaching the gated house, Beca tapped in the code and opened the small side gate, the one next to the main gate to allow them in. As they walked up the drive Chloe spotted a car she hadn't seen around before, a sleek black Mercedes with tinted windows.
"It's John, he works with Gail at the hospital. He's one of us," Beca explained as Chloe nodded her head at the information. Jesse made himself scarce, choosing to put his stuff in his car and get to work on pulling out the canoes from the storage shed.
Meanwhile, Beca led Chloe inside, deciding she should become acquainted with the rest of her circle to familiarise herself with friendly faces, people she could trust.
Depositing their bags in the cloakroom next to the main entrance, Beca linked her hand with Chloe's and guided her to the kitchen where she knew Gail and John would be.
Their presence was instantly felt by the elders in the room before they came into view, two sets of eyes zoning in on the girls as they came into view. John regarded Chloe for a moment, almost as if trying to size her up before a grin took hold of his face.
"You must be Chloe, a pleasure," John said as he stood up and bowed his head at her before taking her outstretched hand in his.
"Again with the whole bowing thing," Chloe said though a smile, still adjusting to some of the beliefs, virtues and practices of the wolf community. This was one she was pretty sure she would never get used to. John just laughed.
"It looks a lot less ridiculous when you see wolves doing it," he countered, as he released her hand and took a seat back down by Gail, the blonde women taking a sip of her coffee as she took in the two teens before her.
"What are you two up to?" She asked and Beca gestured with her thumb over her shoulder.
"We're gonna take the canoes out and take a trip down to Fishers point and back," Beca said, Gail just tipping her head in a manner that suggested she was fine with it.
"Be careful and, please make sure Benji has a life vest on. I love the kid but there's only so many times I can fish his ass out of that lake before it starts getting ridiculous," Gail sighed.
Beca snorted out a laugh, her mind instantly flashing back to a handful of occasions where she had watched her aunt pull the boy in from the shoreline. Beca replied with a salute gesture as Gail rolled her eyes.
"I'm getting take out tonight, Chloe will you be joining us?" Gail asked, wrapping her hands around her mug. The redhead glanced back and forth between her mate and her mates aunt, Beca's eyes pleading with her to say yes.
"If that's not too much trouble," she replied graciously and Gail simply waved off her comment.
"If I ain't cooking, it ain't any trouble," Gail said as Beca shook her head and blinked in embarrassment at her aunts attempts at a southern drawl.
"Okay we're leaving now. Bye," Beca threw over her shoulder as she pulled Chloe out of the kitchen and back out towards the front of the house.
Somehow, Jesse had managed to wheel the canoes out on the tow trailer and was latching them onto the back of Beca's jeep. It being the only vehicle with a tow bar and big enough to lug the canoes.
"The others are just outside the gate. I told them to follow us," Jesse explained as Beca and Chloe joined him, the brunette tipping her head up and down and unlocking her jeep with the remote.
"Cool," she said, opening the front passenger door for Chloe to climb in, earning herself a kiss on the cheek as the ginger climbed inside. Jesse climbed in the back and Beca planted herself in the drivers seat, pressing the button on the fob of her keys to open the gate.
She waved at the others as she pulled out, the other two cars falling in line behind as they made their way down to the starting point, the part of the lake Beca and Jesse always used to park up.
Upon reaching the lake, Beca manoeuvred the jeep around so that the trailer was easily reversed into the lake so the canoes could be lowered in instead of being lifted off, Chloe more than a little impressed at Beca's motoring skills
"You know if my dad sees you driving like this, he might try rope you into doing chores on the ranch," Chloe joked and Beca chuckled.
"If it means I get to see you in those tight riding pants I'll volunteer my services any time," Beca cheekily replied adding a wink for good measure.
Chloe's cheeks reddened as she felt the temperature in the car suddenly rise, damn hormones getting her all worked up. Jesse cleared his throat from the back of the car and awkwardly gestured with his thumb out the back window.
"Yeah I'll just... I'll go... yeah," he trailed off as he climbed out of the car, realising neither of the girls were paying attention to him anyway.
A couple of minutes later, both girls exited the car and joined the rest of the group by the canoes which were situated just enough onto the bank to keep them at bay.
"Okay so how do we wanna split this up?" CR asked as she gestured between the two canoes. Beca scratched at the back of her head.
"Well Jesse and I have the most experience so what if Chloe, CR and Stacie ride with me and Benji, Ashley and Jessica go with Jesse. Seem cool?"
Beca was being slightly strategic. She knew that Benji and Jesse had bonded with Jessica and Ashley, and that CR and Stacie were getting along famously, it just made the most sense to split the groups into those particular formations.
Plus, if Benji did fall in, Jesse would have much better luck lugging him back into the canoe than any of the girls would. Hence the decision to keep the boys together rather than splitting up man power.
"Alright let's go," CR clapped as they all gathered up a life vest and strapped themselves in.
Fishers Point was only a couple of miles and back which gave them all plenty of time to talk, bond some more and be back in time for lunch. It didn't however co-operate well with some of the girls work our routines, which in Stacie and CR's case, were mostly non-existent.
"Dude I can't believe you do this for fun," Stacie commented, her arms beginning to feel the burn about three quarters of the way down the lake.
"Dude I can't believe you look like that and you don't even work out," Beca replied earning a look from Chloe.
"Been checking out my friends have we Bec's?" Chloe asked, her brow furrowed inquisitively. The brunette faltered in her rowing as she regarded Chloe and noticed the look on her face.
"Wha- no, I didn't mean it like that I just meant that she's got a nice figure. NOT that I've been staring at her in that way- I mean obviously she's got a great body..." Beca stumbled all over her words as she tried to dig herself out of a hole without causing offence to anyone.
Chloe threw a wink at Stacie while Beca was staring straight ahead and revelled in watching her girlfriend trying desperately to cling to a lifeline to pull herself out of her word vomit. Eventually Beca emitted a grunt of annoyance and turned to Chloe.
"All I meant was Stacie has a great figure for someone who doesn't work out and that is something I've noticed in a strictly platonic way that by no means undermines or diminishes how attracted I am to you," Beca huffed out, feeling agitated that she may have unintentionally cheapened her attraction to Chloe.
The redhead took pity on her mate when she felt the underlying angst that was simmering from the brunette and decided to ease her mind.
"Bec's calm down, you're gonna give yourself an aneurysm. Anyone with eyes can see how hot Stacie is."
Beca glanced over her shoulder and looked between her girlfriend and the other brunette at the back of the canoe, seeing grins on both of their faces.
"I hate you both," she remarked before turning her attention back to rowing. CR snorting out a laugh.
"Damn shortie, she got you all kinds of whipped."
The comment elicited laughter while Beca just rolled her eyes, eager to move on from the teasing.
By the time they had returned from Fishers Point, the teasing had ceased, and so had everyone's energy levels. Once the canoes were back on the tow trailer, everyone gathered around to gauge what the mood was.
"I dunno about you guys but I'm beat. Think I'm about ready for a nap," CR stated, her sentiments echoed by Jessica, Ashley and Stacie.
"Yeah I really gotta get home and finish my Calculus homework," Benji added, feeling like he had the nerdiest excuse ever to be calling it a day. Jesse scratched at his neck and checked the time.
"I better head too, my Dad has me on stock check at the store," Jesse sighed, hating that his dad managed the largest sporting goods store in the county. It meant Jesse was often used as free labour in lieu of regular chores on stock check days once a month. Though it did provide him with a part time job for the summer and some weekend shifts for extra cash so he couldn't really complain.
The group bid their goodbyes and dispersed to their cars, Jesse heading back with Beca and Chloe to retrieve his car. Upon arriving at Beca's home, Chloe noted that John was gone, slightly relieved as she wasn't really in a mood to be assessed or judged by someone she had just met.
As Jesse left, Chloe and Beca headed inside and were greeted by Gail shoving a pile of takeout menus into their hands as she picked up her keys and regarded the two teens before her.
"I'm heading into town to do some grocery shopping. Decide what you want and text me your order, I'll pick it up on my way home. Oh, and behave," she said, tapping her niece on the cheek in a playful manner.
The girls watched as Gail left and Beca quickly lead them into the kitchen to grab some sodas from the fridge before they steeled themselves in the living room, Beca flicking on the large screen tv for a bit of background noise as they situated themselves on the comfy couch.
"I know you probably wanna wait until after dinner, but I can't wait that long. You said you need to tell me something and I'm guessing it has something to do with Aubrey..." she trailed off, watching as Beca shifted away from her as she inhaled a large breath.
"So, it is about Aubrey," Chloe concluded. She rubbed at her brow as she tried to compose her emotions. The atmosphere around them had grown tense which was already putting Chloe on edge and Beca hadn't even spoken yet.
"Look whatever it is just tell me," Chloe said, hoping it was something mundane that they could easily work past and move on from, but the sinking feeling in her gut told her to expect the worst.
"I wish I could, but, I don't know how without hurting you," Beca sighed, rubbing at her temples, feeling the tell-tale signs of a tension headache forming. Something that had been a common occurrence since Gail insisted on her telling her mate the truth. Chloe frowned.
"What could possibly be so bad that you..."
"Aubrey's a hunter."
There it was. Straight, direct and to the point. No band aid, no softening of the sentiment, just a no holds barred statement and the feeling of Chloe's heart sinking as the words began to resonate with her.
"Wh-what?" She asked, stumbling over her own tongue. Beca swallowed thickly.
"Aubrey, she's a hunter. Her family are hunters."
Chloe sat forward, leaning her elbows on her knees and resting her head in her hands as she tried to wrap her mind around this new information. Beca reached out a hand to offer some sort of comfort but as soon as it rested on her mates shoulder, Chloe shrugged it off and stood up, putting space between herself and Beca by standing across from her.
"N-no. There has to- there has be a mistake," Chloe said, unable to deal with the idea that her girlfriend and the girl who had been her best friend since they were kids, were born enemies, destined to be pitted against one another in a never-ending war.
Beca glanced down at the floor and shook her head.
"There isn't. Aubrey is a hunter. That's why we've always clashed. She knows about me, about my pack. The only reason she hasn't exposed us, is because it would mean exposing herself."
Chloe brought a hand to her mouth as a sob threatened to escape. This couldn't be happening, it couldn't be real. For months Chloe had been hoping and praying that Aubrey would come around to Beca, that she would get over whatever her problem was and that Chloe would get to have her best friend and her girlfriend without the animosity.
To have the rug swept so unceremoniously out from under her with the true reality of the world she was living in, was a punch to the gut like no other. Her mate was a wolf, her best friend, the girl Chloe had been torn over for a while, was a hunter.
Suddenly it all made sense, the disdain Aubrey held for Beca, the back and forth insults that would come from both women, Beca more so to annoy Aubrey and Aubrey, well she just seemed to want to get rid of the brunette.
A since of despair settled itself in Chloe's chest. Not for the first time she was faced with the realisation that whatever decision she made with regards to the information she now held, could have serious repercussions further on down the road.
She was angry, angry at Beca for telling her the truth and now leaving her in a situation of uncertainty about the relationships she held, and angry at Aubrey because the idea of her best friend being a killer, hurt more than she could've possibly imagined.
Beca could feel the tidal wave of emotions that had over taken her girlfriend and she stood up. She wanted to offer comfort, to reach out and pull her into her arms and tell her everything would be okay. But she knew Chloe was mad at her.
Her anger may have been misguided, it was more out of frustration with what she had just been told, but angry at Beca non the less. Beca wanted to reach out, but instead she respected Chloe's space.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. I just, I didn't know how. Aubrey's been your best friend your whole life, I didn't wanna be the one to break that," Beca sighed.
She was being genuine in her sentiment. As much as she would rather not have to be around hunters, part of her had hoped that they could find a way to make it work. That she could find a way to bridge the gap between herself and Aubrey. To build bridges for Chloe's sake.
However, a much larger part of her couldn't get past the pain that Aubrey's family had inflicted upon her, upon her family. The Posen's and the Walp's had taken her parents away from her. Had orphaned her when she was just a small kid.
Had it not been for Gail, Beca wasn't sure where she would've ended up. It was why she was never able to reconcile how someone as good and as humanly perfect as Chloe, could be friends with someone who came from such despicable stock.
But she knew in her heart, that if Chloe asked her to, she would find a way to make it work with Aubrey, or at least be civil. She could never forgive herself for taking the redhead away from her best friend and she never intentionally would. Not if there was a chance they could keep the peace by ensuring that the hunters were unaware of Chloe's knowledge of them.
Unfortunately for Aubrey, her disdain for Beca and her kind had been doing a fine job of pushing Chloe away without any help from anyone. The blonde just couldn't accept Chloe's relationship with a wolf.
Beca continued to watch as Chloe paced back and forth, trying to digest the information she had been given. Sometimes she hated being able to feel her mates emotions and this was one of those times.
She hated knowing Chloe was angry or hurt when there was nothing she could do to ease it or because she had unintentionally caused it. Chloe was an emotional person by nature, she felt everything intensely which was why she was such an empathetic person.
Beca on the other hand was quite guarded, she kept her thoughts and emotions private, or as private as they could be when you're mate can hear and feel them, and even pushed them down at times just to avoid having to deal with them because pain had been too big a part of her life for so long.
Being able to feel everything Chloe felt was an adjustment, because she couldn't just ignore or shut off her mates emotions like she could her own. It forced her at times to deal with things, like the situation she was currently in.
Finally feeling composed enough to speak, Chloe stopped her pacing and turned to face her mate. She could tell by what she was feeling, and also by the incessant way Beca kept rubbing at her wrist, that the brunette was anxious, afraid that she had ruined things between them.
As much as Chloe was hurting over the revelation, as angry as she was with the situation, her feelings weren't directed at Beca, because deep down she understood the reason why her mate kept it from her. It was for the same reason she kept hidden her wolf identity.
Beca was afraid of exposing too much of her world, and by extension, that meant keeping Aubrey's secret too. But everything she knew was now waging a war inside of her, pressing down on her chest like a lead weight.
Then something came to her, something that gnawed at her insides and needed to be answered or confronted. Something she didn't want to ask but knew she had to if she was to have all of the information. Gazing into Beca's eyes she locked her focus on her.
"Your parents, the hunters that kil..." Chloe trailed off, unable to finish the sentence when there was a possibility that the culprits were closer to her than she thought.
"Was it the Posen's?" Chloe asked, her face clearly displaying her fear. Beca looked hesitant to answer and Chloe could sense that her mate was trying to find a way out of the conversation so she intervened before that could happen.
"Beca please, just tell me," the redhead pleaded.
Gazing up into worried eyes, Beca couldn't lie, but the truth was caught somewhere in the back of her throat as the strangled response finally left her lips.
In that moment Chloe's world began to crumble beneath her feet. Her best friend, the person she had trusted for so many years, had deeply hurt and scarred the person Chloe loved most.
Tears escaped Chloe's eyes and she quickly covered her mouth to quell the sob that wanted to escape. How could she ever look at Aubrey the same way again, knowing the truth of what had happened all those years ago?
Her heart had been aching for Beca for so long, knowing the sadness and the anguish the loss had caused the brunette. To know that it was at the hands of people she knew was something Chloe was struggling to wrap her head around.
Feeling what Chloe was feeling, knowing now that there was nothing she could do to make it okay, Beca bowed her head, her own eyes filling with tears.
"I'm sorry Chlo," Beca cried as she continued wringing her hands as if physically trying to rid herself of the emotions she was feeling. Chloe frowned.
"Why are you sorry?" She asked, her tone more curious than angry or annoyed. Beca briefly gazed up at her and shrugged her shoulders and glanced back down.
"If I'd kept my distance, stayed out of your life, you wouldn't have to deal with any of this."
Chloe choked on her own breath at that statement. It was true that Chloe's life had been less complicated before the truth about wolves and hunters was revealed, but a life without Beca? That wasn't worth any amount of ignorant bliss.
"Bec's, none of this is your fault," Chloe sighed, shoulders sagging as she gazed over the apologetic figure of her mate.
"Yes, it hurts knowing the truth about Aubrey. But what hurts more, is knowing that those people hurt you," Chloe managed to get out with a shaky breath. She was on the verge of tears again but she needed to keep going.
"Aubrey has been my best friend my whole life, and that's not something I can just forget. But I can't ignore the fact that her family are killers."
Beca looked up with wide eyes at Chloe's statement. She had not been expecting Chloe to be so blunt, so forceful in her words. But she could see in those blue eyes she adored, that Chloe was deeply conflicted and would need time to work through everything.
Chloe took a few steps to bridge the distance and reached out for her girlfriends' hands, lacing their fingers together, her eyes landing on the pendent around Beca's neck before looking up into those midnight blues that made her feel so safe.
"I'm not mad at you. I'm just, I'm angry at the situation and I don't know how to process it yet," Chloe said, her eyes gazing at the hands she was currently squeezing for dear life. Beca nodded understandingly and squeezed back.
Chloe swallowed thickly, taking in a few deep breaths to ground herself and to settle her emotions so she didn't unintentionally misdirect any negative feelings towards her mate.
"I understand the reason why you kept it from me, and as much as it sucks I respect it because you had legitimate reason not to tell me. Which is why I need you to respect what I need to do."
Beca frowned in confusion, curious as hell as to where this was going, but from the look of determination on Chloe's face, she knew whatever it was, couldn't be good.
"I need to talk to Aubrey..." before Chloe could finish Beca was shaking her head and pulling her hands free.
"Chloe NO! You can't talk to Aubrey. If she knows that you know the truth, it will blow everything wide open. They would use you to get to me," Beca argued. Chloe's eyes softened seeing the fear in her mates eyes.
"And what if it doesn't. What if me talking to Aubrey changes things, makes her realise that wolves aren't a threat to humans. Surely it's worth trying," Chloe countered.
Part of her knew that there was every chance that the opposite would happen, that it would just further drive a wedge between she and her best friend. But she needed to try. If it meant the survival of wolves, of Beca, she couldn't not speak to her best friend.
But Beca wasn't convinced. Her shoulders were set, eyes narrowed, the tell-tale sign of tears sparkling in her eyes as her chest heaved out of anger or upset, Chloe wasn't sure. But one thing she did know, she'd never seen this look aimed at her before.
"The Posens killed my parents in cold blood. They knew who we were, they knew we weren't a threat and they still hung them out to dry like the scum of the earth. Don't you get it, there is no talking to hunters, they don't wanna listen," Beca shouted, her anger growing.
She didn't mean to get so wound up but when it came to the Posen's, hunters, her parents, the only thing Beca could feel was rage. That was why she spent so much of her time trying to keep the peace, because she didn't want a war, she didn't want any more bloodshed.
She just wanted to be left alone and she feared what would happen should Aubrey find out the truth. She didn't trust the blonde, and she especially didn't trust what she would do to Chloe if she knew she and Beca were mated.
"Chloe please," Beca pleaded, her voice breaking as the fear finally replaced the anger, "please don't do this. I've already lost my parents, my entire lineage is under threat, I can't risk upsetting the balance. I can't lose anymore. I just, I can't."
In that moment Chloe saw and felt how truly shattered Beca was by her past experiences and it broke something in her. Chloe had experienced loss, sure, but it was a natural part of life.
She'd never experienced having something taken from her in such gruesome and unexpected circumstances and she could see now, how much it had truly scarred Beca to lose her parents the way she did.
Reluctantly Chloe nodded her head and whispered a soft 'okay' before wrapping her arms around her mate in a comforting hug. When Beca latched onto her she was surprised by the intensity of the hug. The brunette wasn't seeing comfort in the embrace, she was seeking an anchor, something to ground her and Chloe squeezed her tight, hoping to offer her that.
A couple of hours later, after a relatively quiet dinner consisting of Chinese food and idle chit chat, Chloe excused herself to the bathroom. She couldn't silence the voice in the back of her head telling her that she needed to do something, to act.
Beca has made her feelings on the matter quite clear, but Chloe couldn't help but feel like she was making the wrong one. The redhead had always been strong willed and that will to fix things was winning out.
Pulling out her phone she fired off a quick text. Fiddling with the phone in her hands she looked at the message she had just sent and blew out a breath, hoping that what she had just done had the outcome she desired. It had to. The alternative wasn't worth thinking about.
To Aubrey: Hey, I know it's been a while, but I feel like we need to talk. Can we meet up? X...