Nors was so angry that he still doubted the wisdom of going to his sister’s house. The call from Rafe had incensed him so much that he'd already spent a while trying to calm down before tackling her about her latest stunt.
Freya had always been wild, had always had the power to push his buttons, but she’d been as good as gold the last few years; he had foolishly believed that she had been getting better, calming down. But this stunt against the pack was simply intolerable.
He didn’t knock on her front door when he arrived; he just opened it and entered. He stopped in shock as his eyes took in the total destruction that had once been her immaculate sitting room. Walking forward slowly he ran stunned eyes over the broken furniture and deep gouges in the walls. The room was completely destroyed with the exception of the piece of artwork that hung over the fireplace.
His rage warred with a sudden feeling of trepidation. What the fuck had happened here? Had someone attacked his sister? Was she all right?
“What do you see when you look at it, Nors?” Freya’s soft voice suddenly came from the room and he realised that she was sitting on the floor with her back against the wall to his left, behind the door.
“A fucking mess?” he guessed, his mind still in shock at the destruction.
“I meant the painting,” she sighed softly. “What do you see when you look at the painting?”
Finally realising that his sister was in no danger and the destruction of the room was her doing, Nors felt the shock leave him and his anger return in all its blazing glory. “I didn’t come here to discuss art, Freya. I came here because I received a call from Rafe Hanlon. You know who he is, don’t you? My fucking Alpha!”
He heard her move and his shock returned when he saw her rumpled clothes and wild hair, her beautiful face an empty mask of absolute nothingness. Freya was very fastidious about her appearance. To see her so dishevelled was unprecedented.
“I see me,” she breathed softly, walking over the ruined furniture to stand before the painting and gaze up at it. “It’s so full of pain, such utter despair in every brush stroke. It screams out to the world that it is broken.”
His disquiet grew, warring with his anger, but the anger won. “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, Freya,” he finally told her, distrust in his voice. “You think this will divert me somehow?” He waved his hand around the ruined room.
“Well, it’s not going to, sister. You attacked a member of the Armand-Hanlon pack. Not only is he a pack member but he’s also the only remaining person that Ashleigh calls family. You KNOW she cares about Dayton Alexander. You know he’s her last link to her family. What possessed you, Freya? What the fuck was going through your selfish little mind?”
Freya sighed softly and turned to face her brother. She had never seen him so angry before, not even when she had been so wild that The Council had been ready to terminate her. It was interesting to watch how loyalties shifted when someone mated and had a child.
Her brother was the only person she’d ever opened up to and even then she did so sparingly. She wanted him to understand, to really hear her but the expression on his face told her he wasn’t in a listening mood. She considered trying again and then decided it was a pointless waste of time.
She supposed it was only to be expected: when you fucked up so often, that was all anyone ever saw.
“I didn’t hurt him,” she finally answered, her tone dull and lifeless. “I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It was just a kiss, not even a very good one, at that.”
She closed her eyes so they couldn't call her a liar. It hadn’t been a good kiss; it had been a fucking fantastic kiss, one she could still taste on her lips as though she had been branded. Just as she saw an anguished pair of blue eyes every time she closed hers. They haunted her relentlessly, accused her, hated her.
Nors flew at her, grabbing her by the throat and shaking her hard. She didn’t fight him, simply let him do what he wanted.
“You took without consent,” he was hissing furiously. “You threatened another Were’s life. You know the punishment for that, Freya. You were there in the Council chambers that day. It’s only because Rafe hasn’t made this an official complaint that it wasn’t Caleb opening your door just now. If this becomes official then he will take your head and there is nothing I can do about it!”
He had stopped shaking her, releasing her with a groan of disgust as she just looked at him with the same irritatingly blank expression.
“Would you even try, Nors?” Curiosity laced her tone. “I mean, wouldn’t it be easier if I was dead? Then you’d have your perfect peaceful life with your perfect mate and perfect child. No more worry about what little sister is getting up to, what trouble she may be causing.”
He shot her a disgusted look although it took him a moment to hide the flash of pain in his eyes. “Self pity doesn’t suit you,” he ground out. “You love yourself too much to want to die, Freya. It’s just everyone else you don’t give a fuck about.”
He turned and walked away, unable to look at her any longer. “Stay the fuck away from the pack. And that goes for Dayton and his friend Rayne, too. They are under our protection.”
He stopped and turned as he reached the doorway. “Oh, and stay away from the house too. You’re no longer welcome in my home. Stay away from Ashleigh and Liam. If you come near us I swear I’ll kill you myself and find that peace you were just talking about.”
He turned and left the house, tears in his eyes as he walked away from her. He couldn’t believe she’d done this to him, to his family. He’d thought she was integrating well but it had all been a sham. She would never change, she would always be the same heartless creature. He just didn’t have the energy to deal with her anymore.
Freya watched him leave a sad smile on her face. Nors’ words hurt even though she knew he didn’t mean them. He would forgive her. He always did. He could no more leave her to drown in her own misery than he could leave Ashleigh or Liam. His guilt rode him too hard to do that. He deserved better, he always had. He just wasn’t the kind of man to walk away from that he considered his responsibilities.
She turned to stare back at the haunting painting. The melancholy within the brushstrokes pierced her soul like nothing else could. The wolf had lived this life for half a century. She had lived it for eternity and now she was weary of it.
Her brother was right. It was a minor miracle that Caleb Cullen hadn’t come looking for her. If that happened then Nors would lose his close friendship with the other Ancient as well as his sister. He would never be able to forgive Caleb for being the one to take her life even if she did deserve it.
She could do one last thing for her brother. He would hate her forever but he would finally get the peace he deserved. “Forgive me, Nors.”
Freya turned and headed into her pristine kitchen. She stared at the shiny white cupboards and stainless steel appliances with a blank expression. Then she smiled softly. “Now, where shall I start?” she whispered, walking to the nearest wall unit and reaching up to rip it down.