All Disclaimers Apply!!!!!

Chapter Nine

Cody's POV

"Leave, now," she growled.

I knew then that no matter what I said, she would not believe me. I had betrayed the small amount of trust that I had gained from her. And that knowledge shattered my heart into a million pieces.

A single tear slid from my eye as I used my powers to Jump to the only place I could think to go, the cabin. I struggled with myself not to have anymore tears escape, but it was a losing battle. My breath heaved as I tried to breathe between the sobs.

My soul was gone, dead, and I was in mourning. Aiden was the only being that could make it better, but that was only a dream. She felt far too betrayed to ever forgive me.

With a heavy sigh, I steeled myself against the memories as I entered the cabin. But, the memories still assaulted me. Her warm intoxicating scent lingered in the air. I could hear the sounds of her gentle laughter, and her soft moans. It was killing me.

Suddenly, my brain was knocked from it's mourning by a severe burning over my heart. The pain was so strong that it's power brought me to my knees. I groaned as I gripped at the skin that was on fire. My lungs burned as I fought to breathe through the pain.

"Fuck," I whispered as the pain subsided.

I quickly jerked my shirt off and glanced down at the skin that was burning only a moment ago. A strange tattoo was burned into my flesh. It was a mating mark.

"Oh, shit," I breathed.

%%%%%

Aiden's POV

As the rest of the guys took Shane up to his room to heal, I remained downstairs, too lost in the dark sadness to be of any use to them. The pain that I felt was consuming me alive. It felt like my sorrow was a monster who was slowly devouring every inch of my flesh, but leaving my broken heart to bleed on the floor. Even though I didn't know Cody well enough to mourn his loss, I did.

Suddenly, heat vibrated through my chest. It was like a flame was licking at the skin over my heart. A small groan exited my lips as I clamped a hand over my heart. The heat increased to a painful level, making my legs give out beneath me. I landed on the floor with such force that it alerted the others.

Matthew was the first to get to me. He had jumped over the landing and ran to my side. Wrapping a muscular arm around my waist, he lifted me up and supported my slight weight as I struggled to fight through the fire on my chest.

"What's wrong?" he asked with concern.

It took me a moment to fight through the pain to answer him. "My chest is on fire."

Shannon lept over the couch and took hold of the neck of my shirt. With a quick jerk, he ripped the thin material off my body.

"Holy shit," he breathed.

"What," I groaned as the pain subsided.

I followed his gaze to a mark that gleamed on the flesh above my heart. The mark was a black tattoo. It was a small circle with a larger circle around it. Two straight lines bisected each circle in a cross fashion. At the ends of each line was the Celtic symbol for love.

"You've been mated," Matthew growled.

My brain was far too in shock to be able to get a reply from my mouth. I couldn't believe that I was mated to Cody. Of all the luck, I had to be mated to someone who was sent out to betray my pack.

Damn, I thought.

"You fucking slut," Matthew growled before he shoved me to the floor. "How dare you fuck that shifter!"

Fear swelled in me. I had never seen Matthew so angry.

"I'm sorry," I whined as I tried to move away from him.

"You're sorry," he mocked as he stocked closer to me. "You were supposed to be for me. My mate only, but you had to go and betray me, just like Lita."

His comparison of Lita and myself hurt, but it didn't hurt as much as the rage that shined in his eyes from me. I would never have thought Matthew would be this way towards me. Granted, I had slept with the enemy, but I was still a member of this pack.

"Matthew, that's enough," Shannon said as he placed himself between the Alpha and I. "She isn't like Lita. Aiden didn't do this on purpose."

"Get out of the way, Shannon."

I began to shake as Matthew's tone turned deadly. His dark eyes glared down at my half nude form. His rage burned me and hurt me more than anything had ever hurt before. He was like a big brother to me and his anger tore me in two.

"Matthew, please," I begged. Tears were streaming down my face. "I am so sorry."

Part of my was truly sorry, but a secret part was happy that Cody was my mate. Even though he was set out to betray my pack, he couldn't because of the love he had for me. I had sent many hours alone with him and no harm came to me. He was gentle and sweet towards me. But, I was not stupid enough to express this in anyway that Matthew could hear.

"Shut up," he growled. "You aren't sorry. You've done this on purpose. You and Rhodes have teamed together to destroy us."

What? I thought. That's insane!

Aiden, I heard Cody say. I could feel his worry, and it warmed my heart. What's wrong?

Do you want the short version or the long?

I could almost hear him sigh in frustration. Short, please.

Basically, Matthew is going crazy because of this mating mark.

I was hoping you would have been able to hide that from them.

You think!

"No, Matthew, that's wrong and you know it," Shannon said, trying to calm the situation down.

"Shannon, I command you to stay out of this," Matthew demanded in his Alpha tone.

I could tell that Shannon wanted to protect me, but the command was too strong to fight. He moved away from me and placed himself next to Jeffrey. They both wore concerned expressions as they continued to watch Matthew, who was stalking closer to me.

"I should have never taken you in," he growled as he reached out to lift me off the floor. "I should have just let you starve to death."

Those words felt like a knife stabbing me over and over again.

"Put her down, Matthew," I heard a very familiar voice demand.

I glanced over the Alpha's shoulder to see Cody standing no more than three feet from us. His muscular frame was tense under the loose fitting jeans and black shirt that he wore. His beautiful face was contorted in anger over Matthew's treatment of me.

"How dare you show your face," Matthew growled.

Run, I told Cody mentally.

I didn't want to see Cody hurt. The love that I had for him was too great to be a witness to his demise. My soul would not have taken the death of him.

Not without you!

"Leave her alone, Matthew. She has nothing to do with this." Cody took a step towards us. "Let her go."

"Fine," Matthew growled, throwing me towards Cody. "If you want her, then take her. But, she is no longer a part of this pack."

I looked at Matthew to see if there was any hurt or pain in his eyes. But, the only emotion I found was rage.

On shaky legs, I stood and curled myself into Cody's tall frame. He wrapped his strong arms around me in a protective manor. His warmth invaded my body, soothing all the pain that I felt about losing my pack.

He quickly Jumped us to the cabin.

"Are you okay," he asked me softly as he buried his face into my thick hair.

"Not really," I whispered honestly. "I can't believe that I just lost my pack, my family. It hurts so much." I paused for a moment to gather my thoughts. I was un-sure as to how Cody was going to take my next statement. "But, I am glad to be with you."

I could feel him smile into my hair as he pulled my closer to his warm frame. I stood amazed for a moment at how strong but gentle he felt and how he was taking my news. "Really? I thought that you never wanted to see me again."

Leaning back, I looked up into his eyes. I lost myself in them for a moment before I could stop myself. "I didn't mean what I said. I love you."

As he leaned down and took my lips into a fierce kiss, I couldn't help but realize that everything I knew had changed. I was no longer a member of the pack that had raised me from a defenseless cub. I was mated to a shifter that I hardly knew but was completely in love with. And, I was left with no family.

"What do we do now?" I asked after my lips left his.

"Be with each other forever," he answered as he ran a few fingers over my brow.

I smirked at him but didn't answer. Something was telling me that our troubles were far from over. I could feel in my bones that there was more to come. I just hoped that Cody and I could make it through with losing each other.

A TorturedTourniquet Beta