I’ve been back in the world of the living for less than twenty-four hours but now I truly understand what type of person Natalie is. Well was now since I’ve taken over her body. I had to wait to see how to act like her. I don’t know how to make her body permanently mine but I will find a way.
I was sick of being alone in purgatory, since Nathena hadn’t visited me in over sixteen years. I have no idea what happened to her but I don’t know if I’ll ever know.
I retrieved the sword of purity from the river. I may not be able to use it because it would give me away. The blue glow would be replaced with my green from my time; it would reveal the eyes of the wolf. My wolf doesn’t have blue eyes like Natalie’s, since the sword reflects your wolf. It might even expel me from her body altogether.
It wasn’t too hard to escape the whole family gathering. I just said I was tried and Aiden took me too his room. It was bigger than mine and had a double bed up against the wall. Clothes were in disarray around the room, paper and documents also cluttered the floor, the desk by the window was flipped over and the chair was in pieces next to it.
“I’m sorry about the mess. I’ll clean the floor so you can walk.” Aiden swept the mess into one corner of the room and tipped the table back up. “I’ll clean it up better later.”
“I think I can live with that.” I said a little too flatly. I got into the bed more tired than I thought I was.
He tucked me in like a child and kissed my forehead. “Goodnight, my love.” He got up to leave.
“Stay with me, please?” Natalie broke through.
“Okay.” He climbed in and snuggled up behind me with a protective arm over me.
I could feel Natalie relax into the corners of her mind. This was going to be a long night for me. It was her mate and I was the only white wolf in history to prefer to be by myself than with a mate, especially not after what happened.
It all seemed surreal having Nat back. I still couldn’t believe that she had concurred death to be back with us again. Things were finally looking up since her kidnapping. Something was different about her, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I don’t know whether it had to do with her having died or her time tortured by the vampires. It made my anger towards vampires increase above the normal hunter instinct.
It almost made me hate myself for loving Klaus a half vampire, half werewolf hybrid. I knew it was only the hunter talking.
After this is all over, I really need a girl’s night out. There is so much I want to ask Nat about and tell her but it didn’t look like that was going to happen any time soon. I don’t think Aiden is going to let her out of his sight. Last night he took her upstairs so she could sleep, but never returned back downstairs. Losing her had almost destroyed him after all.
It seems strange that I still have to go to school today despite everything that has happened. I wonder if Nat was coming to school today. What story were they going to tell to lie away the fact that Nat was back from the dead?
‘R u coming 2 school 2day?’ I texted Nat. Then I realised that she wasn’t even at her own house and she wouldn’t have it on her. I decided to look up the Fylakas’s up in the phone book.
When I dialled the number it wasn’t long before it was answered.
“Hello?” I heard Aiden say.
“Hey Aiden, it’s Sam. Can I speak with Nat?”
“Sure,” a muffled sound passed through the phone as he handed it over to Nat.
“Hello?” She said.
“Hey Nat, it’s Sam. I’m just wondering if you are coming to school today?”
“Yeah, I can’t see why not. We already dealt with the police and news reporters on my ‘disappearance’. I just hope I don’t get asked too many questions at school. I’m done with questions it was hard enough keeping up the lie with the police.” Nat replied.
“I’ll see you at school then,” it felt good to have my bestie back to battle through high school with.
“See you there.” Click.
Almost a week had passed since Nat had been back and I hadn’t been able to ask her what was wrong. I noticed it when she came back to school even though it didn’t help that everyone was hovering over her, trying to get the scoop on what had happened to her. She brushed them off by repeating the story that the media was told. I don’t know what they expected. She had seemed to have changed from it and she kept a lot of it to herself. She lost her naivety and innocence in those few days and I still have no idea what happened in purgatory.
That’s why today I was going to ask her. It has been hard to get her alone since Aiden hadn’t left her side for the past week.
“Hey, Nat. Do you want to go rowing after school?” It had been a while since we had been out on the water. It was going to be a good opportunity to ask her what was up.
“Sounds great,” she almost looked relieved about it. She must be getting sick of being around Aiden, but that seemed unlike her. If they were really mates then aren’t they supposed to always want to be around each other?
Speaking of which I haven’t seen Klaus since the day Nat came back, I thought we had a connection of some kind. I know he was now the alpha of the Fylakas Pack. Aiden had handed it over it to him as soon as he lost Nat then when she back he didn’t care about taking the position back even though he said Klaus had insisted that Aiden should still be alpha, Aiden refused. Nat hadn’t even tried to convince him that he shouldn’t give up on be alpha because of her, another thing that seemed a bit out of character.
She was the glue that held us together. The one who cared a lot for those she loved and nothing would stop her from trying to make sure everyone was happy. She was the one who encouraged me to stick with rowing if it was something I loved doing. She had her parents talk to the headmaster about letting us have keys to the boat shed so we could go out on the water whenever we wanted since the coaches didn’t agree with someone as small as me having any other seat besides coxon. Nat believed I could be great at anything I set my mind to. That wasn’t the only thing though; she would always be there to cheer you up when you were sad even if she was mad or sad herself. If you wanted her help she would never hesitate to help it was in her nature to help her friends.
It saddened me that her other friends didn’t appreciate her after all she did for them even when she was announced dead to the world.
It wasn’t long until the end of last period and once it was, Nat and I were off to the boat sheds and not to long after that we were on the water again. It also felt different. Her strokes weren’t as in time as normal and felt sloppier than usual plus the water was still very smooth so that couldn’t be causing it.
We didn’t talk on our way to our swimming hole. When we got there it didn’t seem like she wanted to talk but she was going to have to anyway.
“Why are you all different all of a sudden? I swear purgatory wouldn’t change you into a different person.” I spoke out first. Hopefully she would answer me with truth.
“It didn’t. I’m still me. I’m just having trouble readjusting to the real world. In purgatory time moves by faster than the real world. We--- I had been fighting through the dark side of purgatory for over a month.” She explained but something didn’t sound right. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
“How has it been difficult for you to adjust? You know I’m always here to help right?” I hope she would open up to me some. She never used to keep so much to herself.
“I don’t know. I know you’re always there but I just don’t know what’s holding me back.” That looked to me like a little white lie; it looked to me like she actually knew but for some reason didn’t trust me with it.
“Spit it out you do know and you know you can always trust me.” I insisted.
“No. You don’t need to know and never will you know! God, mercy! Just leave it be why don’t you?” She shouted and for a small moment her eyes glowed bright green in her fit of rage.
“Who are you and what have you done with Natalie?” It made sense now that I had seen the wolfs eyes, just moments earlier she corrected we to I and all the strange behaviour that had made me think she was acting like a completely different person. She in fact was a different person.
“How long have you known?”
“I have noticed since the day you got back something was different. It wasn’t until now that I knew you weren’t Natalie. In the boat over here it was almost like you had never rowed before. When you talked about purgatory that was your mistake correcting we to I and the fact that you wouldn’t tell me the truth it made me connect everything together. So who the hell are you?”
“Jacqueline River, the previous white wolf who was betrayed by her own.” She sighed in defeat.
“What gives you the right to take over Natalie’s life? What did she ever do to you to deserve this?” I was disgusted by this imposter who seemingly had taken over Nat’s life without reason.
“Nothing, she was nice to me and let me help her travel through the dark side of purgatory. I was just so lonely my friend Nathena hadn’t visited me in sixteen years in purgatory. I---I just didn’t know what to do or think. I couldn’t find her either. When I saw a second chance at life and maybe even friends that would accept me for who I am. I took it and by the time I got to know Nat just a bit I didn’t want to do it anymore but, I would remain alone if had I stayed in the afterlife. Also when I said sixteen years I meant real life time not purgatory time. I’ve been alone for at least three times that in purgatory. Please have mercy on me.” She cried like a child who had lost her parents at the supermarket never to see them again.
“As much as I am sorry for your loss, it isn’t right to take someone else’s life to make up for those who have wronged you. You need to give Nat her life back.”
“I know. I guess it was nice while it lasted.”She sobbed.
“We’ll go and see Ava. She’ll be able to sort this out.” I stated and I watched her as she made her way back to the boat and I jumped in front of her in the boat. “I think it will be easier if it is just me who rows us back.” She didn’t object.
“I don’t have any family in purgatory that would want to see me. That’s why it had just been me and Nathena for all of these years. The reason why I had no family is because back when I was alive in my village, I rejected my mate then they disowned me. My mate didn’t even love me he just wanted me because of power and that meant he would become an alpha in the pack also next in line. I was only a beta even though I was a white wolf but that was how things worked in my pack. Nathena was my best friend even though I knew she was only a spirit trying to guide me along the right path. My only other best friend was Henry he was the white hunter. He was---“
“Why do you think I want to know any of this?” I asked.
“I was just trying to explain way I am the way I am. To try and get you to understand.”
“I’m not the one who needs an explanation, Nat does.” It made her quiet for the rest of the trip into the part of town where Ava lived. She was silently miserable over the whole trip.
“Ava I need your help. A spirit from purgatory claiming to be the past white wolf by the name of Jackie River has possessed Nat. Is there anything you can do to send her back?” I asked.
“Yes there is such a spell. Is it really you Jackie?”
“Yes,” her eyes flashed green for a second as if to prove something.
“I’m sorry about what they did to you. I should have been there to stop them. No one should have to die like that, ripped apart by your own family in frenzy because of some stupid pack law. You were so young. I really am sorry.” Ava cried. “You deserved better than you got.”
They embraced each other, like old friends reunited. There were tears which made me feel awkward and intruding on their moment.
“I’m sorry to interrupt but something needs to be done.” I may have sounded a bit rude but I hoped Ava would understand.
“I have an idea. I lived so long that I would actually like to see the rest of my family in purgatory. I will give you my body after the war is over Jackie, but as for now.” Ava stopped to think for a moment before continuing. “I will trap your spirit in a gem, don’t worry we can still talk to each other. I think I have one in the attic.” Ava led us away to the attic in her house. She searched through several dust covered boxes until she found what she was looking for.
A blue and white gem on a silver chain was clasped in her hand. Soon after Jackie nodded her head towards Ava, Ava began to mutter an incarnation under her breath. Threads of bright green light ascended into the necklace in Ava’s hand.
Nat fell to the floor once the last flare of green light left her body. I was soon by her side as she groaned, slowly becoming conscience again.
“What happened?” she breathed groggily as if she had awoken from a long nap.
“You were possessed Nat. Jackie took advantage of you and once she got an idea of what you were like she took over your body for about a week. I’m so sorry Nat, I knew something was up but I didn’t say anything for such a long time.” I wept in my shame of knowing that I could have ended this earlier.
“It’s not your fault. At least you figured out that it wasn’t me. It seems strange; the last thing I remember is going into your arms just after managing to get back from purgatory. The rest all seems like a long dream from deep within my subconscious.” There was a sad look in her eyes. She looked exhausted and something was bugging her that was just beneath the surface by the expression on her face. She had been betrayal more than enough times by those who she called friends. First it was Penny, then Jackie what was Nat going to do next?
“Are you ready to go home? Or do you want to stay over at my house tonight?” I asked thinking that she really needed someone to talk to right now.
“That would be nice. I’ll go home to get some clothes first. I just have one thing I need to say to Jackie before we go.”
“She is in this necklace. She should be able to hear you.” Ava stated.
“I hate you and I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive you for what you did to me. I thought you were my friend but obviously I was wrong.” Nat turned heel and started to run. I took off after her but there was no catching up with her. She was going full speed with her emotions driving her. It was long before I knew where she was going. The river wasn’t that far away, and she was headed towards our swimming spot.
Nat dived into the still starry water with a reflection of the pale moon. She reappeared on the other side of the river and climbed up an old willow tree. She tucked her knees into her chest and hid her face then for the first time in a long I heard her cry.
I made my way across the river and approached her. I wrapped an arm around her to try and comfort her. That’s when the tears came a tumbling down in earnest, she looked so broken.
“Why does it have to always happen to me? What have I ever done to deserve this?” Nat sobbed. “He didn’t even realise it wasn’t me all this time? You’re the only one who could tell and I thank you for that, but why me?” choked sobs was all that came next and she eventually turned around to claim a hug. We sat there for hours as Nat tried to put all the broken pieces back together again.
I too could not believe that anyone else had not noticed that Nat had not been Nat since she had been back, but I couldn’t blame her parents for not noticing since Jackie had obviously avoiding them every chance she got. I wonder how Jackie managed to fool Aiden so easily. It made me mad that he hadn’t noticed or maybe didn’t want to notice since he still feels guilty about not being able to save Nat from the forest incident and most importantly her life.
Once it was completely dark Nat was finally ready to leave. It was the first time in a week that she had went home to her parents. The first thing she did when she got in the door was run up and hug each member of her household with tears of joy streaming down her cheeks. At first her parents looked confused by her sudden actions but then chose to ignore it and enjoy the moment. She even managed to get a hug out of Matt. Shortly after she made her way up to her bedroom saying that she was exhausted and she would talk to everyone tomorrow.
“Thank you Sam for bringing her back.” Katy said as if seeming to understand what was going on.
“I better get going. I’ll come back to get her before school tomorrow.” I don’t know what was going to happen when Nat saw Aiden, but I really hope everything turns out alright.
“So long as she has you Sam, she will never be lost. I’ll see you tomorrow.” And with that I left.
“I’m so sorry, Nat. Please forgive me. I don’t know what I would do if you hated me.” I pleaded. I had arrived early this morning to see how Nat was, after Sam took off with her last night.
“I could never hate you because I love you, but I hate it. I wasn’t me for a week and you didn’t notice a thing!” She cried.
Could see the hurt in her eyes, I knew that I should have noticed since I hadn’t let out of my sight for the past week. Something bothered me about it, which from the past week seemed most like Nat was Nat.
“Sometimes you were there. Especially when we were alone you seemed to be most like yourself. You’d ask me to stay with you when you were about to go sleep at night. It was so confusing for me, but I promise I will make it up to you anyway I can.” I vowed.
“I thought that was just a dream...” she seemed to get lost in thought for a moment like she was trying desperately to figure out what had happened over the past week. Her brow creased in confusion that made her look more venerable than normal. She eventually sighed in frustration when no memories surfaced, but some flashes of pictures and thoughts sat on her mind that didn’t fall in place.
This was the first time in a week she had left her mind open to me. “Are you alright?” I had hoped that maybe she would talk to me about it.
“Get out of my head, Aiden!” She shut me out just like that. I remembered then that, she didn’t forgive as easily as most people since Sam said that betrayal or the hurt she felt from incidents like this cut her deep, because she cares deeply for those around her. It’s my fault. I know I should have been more observant and careful towards her when I finally got her back.
“I’ll give you some time, but please remember I will always be here for you. I know it may not seem like it from what happened over the past week, but... I promise this from now on,” I vowed.
“I going to school now,” she said as she pushed past me to get to the door. In a rush she collided with Sam who had been on the way to the door. “I’m sorry Sam. Let’s get going.” Nat helped her up and they walked off together.
I was stuck standing firmly planted to the ground. I was in a trance, trying not to believe what had just happened. I knew that she wouldn’t want to see me at school, but I’m afraid if I miss much more school they’ll put me down a grade. I definitely won’t be getting help in maths from Nat, so I don’t know whether or not I’ll pass.
I probably should get going. Even if she doesn’t talk to me, I am going to have to just live with it for awhile. It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t like me right now. I just need to find a way to ease the hurt she feels.
School was harder than I expected. She was so cool and detached from what was going on that when those around her they were lucky to more than a nod or one word answer. She was wallowing in her own sadness, even without the mind link sadness rolled off her in waves of energy she gave off. It only made me feel guiltier for causing her pain.
It looked like Sam was the only one she was speaking to at the moment. I can only hope that, I’ll be able to fix this soon.