- A Plan
The entire ride home, I’m dead silent. I don’t know what to make of it. Everything that happened has hit me like a tonne of bricks.
Atticus knew who I was… I knew I should have changed my first name! I should have worn contacts or changed my hair colour! We were too careless
Goddess, I’m so stupid.
Mom said it isn’t important, but deep down I know it isn’t good enough, I just should have listened to my gut feeling. Plus, stupidly taking her maiden name? It’s all one big stupid mess. I’m angry at myself for just going with it.
Mom has been stressed, I can’t blame her.
It was my duty to think carefully I should have been firm, even if it meant delaying leaving Dark Hollow Falls for a little while. We should at least have had a more solid backstory
How was I so foolish to think Atticus wouldn’t investigate it? I bet he does his round of checks on everyone who shows up at his pack looking to reside here
Of course, he must have!
Why would he let random people in? I mean, anyone could be a spy trying to get in.
Only now do I see how ridiculous it truly is… Everything about this was stupid.
Because we were thinking only in the moment and driven by emotion.
I can’t make that same mistake again
Now is the time to think carefully and smartly….
“Zaia I blink, looking up sharply at
Atticus and realise the car has stopped. I glance out the window and see we are outside our home
The small hallway window upstairs is glowing with a dim light.
Mom’s still awake…
“I’m sorry I partially lied,” I begin quietly “I know I shouldn’t have, and you have every right to be angry, but we needed somewhere safe to stay…” I trail off, not knowing what to say, or how I can justify my lie
He shakes his head, sighing.
“I had a feeling you may not know, but I have seen you before Zaia Toussaint back when you were still part of your father’s pack remember the Lunar festival? I was there four years ago.”
My heart skips a beat and I look up sharply at him
“That was an allied pack event
“Well, you’re not the only one to sneak into a pack uninvited. I was younger, wilder, the pleasure in taking a risk was enticing “He winks at me
I frown but say nothing, I am in ne position to question him
“I wouldn’t forget those eyes or that hair I may have been drawn to you too But then I found out months later you were mated to Sebastian King,” he sighs as he leans back in his seat and places his hand on the steering wheel
“And although I never saw your face in that mask that night, I recognised your eyes when you stepped into this pack After all, the true daughter of Hugh Toussaint had eyes as unique as a shadow eclipse or as the saying goes
True daughter ….
Only my word…
“So, you knew all along,” I state.
“Not completely. Your aura was and is extremely less than what I felt from you four years ago, but a little background check got me some information I was missing. With Sebastian himself not announcing his split or rejection of his fated mate, I was a little confused… but tonight confirmed the rest.”
I nod slowly. “I’m sorry…” I murmur
We need to leave this pack… there is no way I can stay here any longer. I don’t want to come between Atticus’s and Sebastian’s issues and only make matters worse.
I bet that’s the only reason Sebastian even paid me a little attention.
“Don’t be. You’re safe here, and he cannot get to you,” he says quietly.
Our eyes meet and I simply nod before 1 open the door He instantly gets out and comes around, helping me out of the car. I hold my bag tightly, my other hand on my stomach as I look at the moon.
When do things get better?
“Just get some rest. Things will be back to normal tomorrow,” he says, as our eyes meet.
I look up at him and although a part of me wants to believe that, my mind says there are too many red flags.
From here on out, I need to be smart going forward.
“Good night Atticus, and thank you,” I say quietly before I head to the door.
He’s watching me, but I don’t look back until I reach the door, giving him a small wave.
Someone knows I am here in this pack someone has been poisoning me. I can’t trust anyone including Atticus…
I want to trust him but I can’t risk it
I unlock the door, and he gives me a
smile as I close the door and lock it. Someone in this pack had met up with
I can’t trust anyone and it’s time we get out of here. I hurry up the steps and I hear mom’s footsteps as she exits her bedroom.
“Zaia!” she exclaims, looking relieved, although confusion replaces it when she looks at my dress.
I’m about to reply as I stare at her. She’s been looking ill
“Mom… I want to ask you something Please answer me truthfully”
She looks surprised at my question, but
she nods fervently.
“How is your health?” I ask quietly, my eyes trained on her
Her eyes flit around before she looks at me “F-fine…”
“I am fine, it’s nothing, I just feel a little tired lately, thats all…”
I frown as I walk over to her It makes sense if she’s being poisoned too. Who knows how it is being given to me? It could be through our food or even the water system… Whatever it is, someone is out to get us, and I need to protect her at all costs. The doctor had done tests here… had she never picked up on anything?
“Mom. Begin packing. We are going to leave.”
“No, why! What happened, Zaia? Did he find out?”
“Yes Mom, and it was a mistake to go… but I think it was needed. Tonight has been eventful… but… we need to go somewhere safe…” I say, entering my bedroom and taking out one of the empty suitcases from under my bed.
“Zaia… Zaia! Tell me what happened?” Mom says, helping me lift it onto the bed.
She’s worried, but I know my decision is the right one.
I quickly fill her in on everything. What happened with Annalise, Sebastian, Atticus, and Valerie, not leaving anything out as I simultaneously pack my things?
“Wait… Sebastian said that?” Mom asks, making me pause from telling her about when he asked about the baby..
“Yes,” I say, as I zip the suitcase shut and take out the rest of the things from the cupboard.
“But Sebastian saw the report…
wouldn’t he have known that you were carrying twins?” she muses thoughtfully
I pause, tilting my head. “I’m not sure I mean it depends on if he read it all… either way it doesn’t matter whether he thinks it’s one or two. I am done.”
She nods as I try to think back to my conversation with Valerie, but I can’t really recall…
“Zaia… Atticus seems to be promising us safety….” Mom begins hesitantly when I finish.
I pause from where I’m placing some trinkets into a cardboard box.
“But we’re not safe here… and I don’t trust anyone. You yourself said to be wary of him.” I remind her.
“Then what will you do? Where will we go?” Mom asks. “Zaia, we need to think things through!”
I stare at the box in front of me, a small frown creasing my brow. I haven’t thought that far but I will….
Where will I go…
I look up at her suddenly, my heart skipping a beat, knowing exactly where I’m going.
I’m shocked the thought didn’t come sooner
“I know exactly where we are going, Mom,” I say quietly. “Trust me, I have never thought things through better I’m done hiding, I’m done running and I’m done listening.”
“Where are we going?” Mom asks. She can tell how certain I am.
“Where else but to claim what’s rightfully mine…”
“Sebastian?” Mom asks, stunned.
1 I tilt my head as I sit down on the bed and shake my head. “No Mom, we are going to the Crystal Shadow Pack.”
Her eyes fly open, and she places a hand on her chest.
“What… to your father’s…”
“Yes Mom, it’s time we go back… I think it’s high time I claim my rights,” I say firmly.
Mom and Dad were mated when I was conceived and had claimed one another
I am the rightful heir to that pack. I gave it all up for Sebastian and Dad had put it all in Annalise’s name But… now she is with Sebastian, I don’t think she’s winning any favours.
That pack is mine… and I think the time to reclaim it is now.
I’m tired of putting everyone before myself… I will secure my children’s future in an influential pack and if anything, it will be a little safer there…
Also, it might help to get some insight into everything that has happened with Annalise.
After all, if she really was kidnapped for the last three years… Why had we never heard of it? Surely Dad and her mother would have been worried earlier if she didn’t contact them in three years…
“Zaia… there’s a fire in your eyes and it’s worrying me,” Mom whispers, taking my hands.
“No Mom, you’re not the one that should be worried. Those who have wronged us should be the ones worrying, because it’s time Zaia Toussaint rises from the pitiful woman she has become and fights back,” I whisper.
“I will expose every single lie that has ruined my life and I will hold all who have tried to hurt me accountable.” I continue.
“Oh, Zaia…” Mom looks worried, but I’m not changing my mind..
I know it’s going to be hard for Mom to return there, but I need her. I need her by my side, and more so to keep her close and safe
“Let’s do this, Mom… let’s go back to the very first pack that ever wronged us,” I whisper “Let’s take back everything that was taken from us. For once… let’s be selfish, for us.”
Mom tilts her head, but I know she’s beginning to crumble.
I pick up my phone and send Valerie a text.
ZAIA. Call me when you can.
My phone beeps as I get a notification pop-up on the screen.
This message failed to send.
I try again, but nothing.
Feeling worried, I hit the dial button.
“Sorry, but the number you have called cannot be recognised….”
I frown as I hang up.
Did Sebastian cut it off?
Then we are on our own…
“The number can’t be recognised…” I murmur.
“This isn’t good,” Mom replies nervously.
I simply shake my head.
“Don’t worry Mom, we’ll be ok,” I say, taking out two vials of antidote. I open the first for Mom and motion her to take it.
She listens without even a question, trusting me with her life and takes it.
I take the second one myself before I stand up and walk around the bed to the window. I place my hands on the ledge as I stare out at the night sky.
For the first time in months, I truly feel strong.
I have a goal in mind, a destination to reach, a truth to reveal, and above all, a victory to achieve.
It’s time they all remember who I truly am.
It’s time that Zaia Toussaint steps back onto the battlefield.
“I’m coming for you, Annalise… I hope you’re ready.”
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