Authors: Stormy Glenn
Tags: #Glenn, #Stormy
“It’s good to be happy.”
“How can I help your friend?”
“Oh.” Nate pulled away from Joe to walk over and stand next to Tommy. “This is my brother-in-law, Tommy, and his mate, Elliot.”
Roane nodded and stepped closer, but not too close.
“Something happened and Elliot shifted into his wolf form. He won’t shift back and the doc thinks he needs to shift to heal properly. We thought you might be able to help us reach Elliot.”
“I might, but I can’t promise anything.”
“Roane, I have to be honest with you,” Nate said, “I’m not sure Elliot is still in here.”
Tommy’s fingers tightened in Elliot’s fur. “He’s still here,” he growled. He flushed when Roane paled and looked over at him. “Sorry, Roane, I didn’t mean to sound angry. I’m just tired of people saying Elliot is gone. He’s not. He’s just having a problem coming home.”
Roane seemed to watch him intently for several moments before finally nodding his head. “It’s good that you believe that. You’ll need that belief if you hope to reach your Elliot.”
“Do you really think you can help me reach him?” Tommy had doubts. Hell, he had doubts about all of this psychic crap. If it wasn’t for Nate, he would have believed it was all nonsense.
“I can only try.” Roane frowned, the corners of his lips turning down. “How long has he been like this?”
“Have his responses been usual wolf responses?”
“Uh.” Tommy glanced at Nate, then Joe. He had no idea what Roane meant by that.
“Has he been acting like you would if you were in wolf form?”
“Oh, yeah, for the most part,” Tommy replied. “He knows we’re mates and he’s very protective but he’s also protective of Nate and my mother.”
“Just the three of you? Is that normal?”
“There has been some, uh, issue with the rest of my family accepting our mating. Nate and my mother have readily accepted Elliot. The rest of my family has not. Elliot pretty much doesn’t want anything to do with anyone that hasn’t accepted him.”
“I think I can understand that.” Roane glanced around the room, looking slightly anxious when his gaze fell on the doctor. “I’m going to need a quiet place to work. Is it possible for Elliot to be moved to one of the bedrooms, or will that hurt him too much?”
“If we’re careful, I think he can be moved.”
Tommy wasted no time. He leaned down and scooped Elliot up into his arms and carried him out of the kitchen. He could hear the footsteps of others following behind him. Tommy didn’t care who joined him as long as one of them was Roane.
Tommy carried Elliot up the stairs and down the hallway to the guestroom he used when he stayed over, the same one he and Elliot slept on last night. The bed was still unmade, so Tommy waited while Nate quickly pulled the sheets up then gently laid Elliot on top of them.
“So, what now, Roane?” he asked as he looked at the little man. “How do we do this?”
“I need one person to stay in the room to keep an eye on us in case—”
“I’ll stay,” Levi said, stepping into the room. He crossed his arms over his chest as if daring anyone to disagree with him.
A small smile crossed Roane’s lips before he nodded and turned back to Tommy. “You need to lie down on the bed next to Elliot and you need to be touching him somehow. That will help you reach him.
Tommy kicked off his boots then crawled up onto the bed to lie down next to his mate. He reached over and grabbed a handful of Elliot’s fur, giving it a gentle squeeze, then rubbed his hand down Elliot’s hip.
“Okay, now what?”
“Levi, can you move this chair closer to the bed?” Roane pointed to a tan wingback chair that sat near the window. “I need to be able to touch Tommy.”
Levi didn’t look happy about it, but he did as Roane asked. Roane immediately sat down then nodded toward the door. “I need everyone to leave except for Levi.”
Tommy watched the room empty of people except for him, Roane, Levi, and Elliot. Once the door had shut, Roane turned to look at him, holding out his hand. Tommy took it, nervous about what was going to happen but willing to try anything to get his Elliot back.
“Close your eyes and we’ll begin.”
Elliot hummed softly to himself as picked at the edge of his shirt. He tried to keep his eyes on the soft fabric, but every once in awhile he glanced up and the horror of the abyss surrounding him filled him all over again.
The world around him was in shades of black and grey, piles of rubble, big granite rocks, and dark dirt. Even the sky above him was grey. The only color seemed to come from the occasional eruption of fire and lava.
He sat on a ledge overlooking a river of fiery red lava. Its source seemed to come from a distance away, a waterfall of lava falling down the side of a grey stone cliff. Elliot didn’t know what was beyond that burning waterfall. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
Elliot imagined this was what hell looked like.
He sat curled up against one particularly large boulder, his knees pressed against his chest. He had yet to try and explore the cavern behind him. It was dark and eerie with strange sounds coming from deep inside.
Elliot didn’t know how long he had been sitting there. It seemed like forever. He didn’t know how he had come to be in such a place either. He didn’t remember ever doing anything so wrong that this nightmare would be his punishment.
He had just wanted all of his pain to end. He didn’t realize that meant he would spend the rest of his life in a hell like this. Elliot clenched his fists until his nails dug into the palms of his hand. Was this hell any better or any worse than what he had been in before? Elliot just didn’t know.
A sudden noise at the back of the dark cavern made Elliot’s heart pound rapidly in his chest. He turned to look into the black nothingness. Elliot swallowed with difficulty and found his voice. “Hello? Is there someone there?”
Elliot scrambled back until he reached the edge of the cliff when a figure began to take shape out of the darkness. He pressed one hand against his chest, afraid that his thundering heart might jump right out of his chest.
“Please, who are you?” Elliot could hardly lift his voice above a whisper as fear filled him. “What do you want?”
The voice was like an echo from an empty tomb, rough and hard. It scared Elliot as nothing else could. He glanced over his shoulder to the river of burning lava below him and wondered how much it would hurt if he just fell over the edge? How long did it take to die in lava? To burn alive?
Elliot pressed himself back against the cavern wall as he turned to look at the shape walking out of the darkness. Disbelief filled him as the shape took form and slowly became the one person Elliot didn’t want to see the most.
This was hell.
“Hello, pretty baby, I’ve been looking for you.”
“Go away,” Elliot whispered. He closed his eyes as tightly as he could and began wishing with everything in him. If wishing had gotten him here in the first place, maybe wishing would take him away again.
The soft caress of a hand against his cheek yanked Elliot out of his wishful chanting. He jerked away, the touch of Tommy’s hand too much for him to handle. It was something he wanted too much and something he couldn’t have.
“Please,” Elliot pleaded as he opened his eyes to look at Tommy, taking in his tall form with hungry eyes.
“Ssh, pretty baby, it’s okay,” Tommy said. “I’m here to take you home.”
Elliot shook his head. He didn’t want to go home even if it meant staying here. Home meant pain and anguish and people that didn’t want him. It meant a mate that was afraid of him and betrayed everything he promised.
No, being here was better even if this place was dismal, Elliot thought to himself. Too many people in his life only offered their love and affection if he became who or what they wanted. No one wanted him unconditionally.
“Just leave me alone,” Elliot cried out desperately as he pushed at the hands Tommy held out to him.
“Oh, baby, I can’t do that,” Tommy replied as he tried again to reach for Elliot. “You’re going to die if you don’t go back.”
“Then let me die!”
Elliot couldn’t tell if Tommy was angry with him or saddened by his words, but the man definitely did not look happy. Elliot just wasn’t sure he cared. He had wanted just one night with Tommy, one night to savor in his memories.
Instead, Tommy had promised him the world until Elliot began to believe that it was possible to have someone in his life that truly wanted him. Elliot had let down all of his guards and allowed Tommy into his heart, a place he guarded from everyone.
Tommy’s betrayal, his treachery, had ripped Elliot’s heart into so many pieces he wasn’t sure it could ever be repaired. Elliot couldn’t go through that again. He couldn’t start to believe again only to have it ripped away once more.
Elliot watched Tommy carefully as he pushed himself away from the man and crept closer to the edge of the ledge. He could feel the heat from the flaming lava against the skin of his back. He shook his head slowly.
“I’m not going back.” His voice was shakier than he would have liked, but he was terrified that Tommy would make him return. “You can’t make me go back.”
“Elliot.” Tommy’s voice was rough, almost unnatural in its tone. He took a step closer to Elliot, reaching out for him. “Wha—”
“Stay away from me!” Elliot shouted. “Don’t touch me.”
He watched Tommy’s eyebrows gather into a deep frown as the man’s hand slowly fell to his sides. Elliot couldn’t prevent the twinge of guilt he felt at the confusion and dawning sadness on Tommy’s face.
“You don’t want to go back, Elliot?” Tommy asked in a whisper of a voice. “You’ll die if you don’t go back, pretty baby.”
“I don’t care.”
“Elliot, how can you say that?”
“There’s nothing back there for me.”
“So this is where you choose to be?” Tommy’s arms spread wide. “Elliot, this is no place for you.”
“And back there is?” Elliot snorted. “Everyone hates me there.”
“Elliot, no one hates you.”
“I don’t believe you.” Elliot swallowed hard and squared his shoulders as he glares at Tommy. “I don’t believe anything you say.”
An agonized expression moved across Tommy’s face. “Elliot, you don’t mean that.”
“I do mean it. You’ve done nothing but lie to me from the moment we met.” Elliot took a deep breath as his chaotic emotions threatened to overcome him. “You made me believe, and you lied to me.”
“You lied to me,” Elliot murmured. He bit his lip to stifle a sob as tears filled his eyes. His misery was so acute that it was a physical pain. Elliot wrapped his arms around his waist and dropped down to his knees in the dirt.
Tommy fell to his knees right in front of Elliot, but he didn’t try and touch him. “Elliot, I never lied to you, I swear.”
“You did,” Elliot insisted as the tears he’d been holding back broke free and started trailing down his cheeks. “You promised we would always be together, that everything would be okay, and you lied.”
“But, baby, we will be together if you just come back with me.” Tommy’s shoulders moved as he gave something that resembled half a shrug and waved his hands around the dark cavern. “Or we can stay here if that’s what you want. I’ll go wherever you want, stay wherever you want.”
“I don’t believe you.” Elliot’s anger and resentment started to build up in him. Tommy was saying the same old words, but his actions said differently.
“Elliot, what can I do to convince you?”
“Nothing,” he spat out. “You proved your loyalty when you let them lock me away like a common criminal. You believed them. You—” Elliot snapped his mouth closed and shook his head. There just didn’t seem to be anything more to say. Tommy couldn’t sweet talk himself out of this. His actions more than proved to Elliot how the man really felt.
“Elliot.” Tommy rubbed the top of his bald head. Elliot noted that Tommy's hand was shaking and wondered what his game was now. “You don’t understand, Elliot. I had to let them lock you away. It was the only way to keep you safe. Joe was ready to explode after Nate passed out. I thought it was best for you to be somewhere safe while I calmed him down.”
“That doesn’t explain why you wouldn’t touch me.” Elliot steeled himself against the need he felt to give in to Tommy’s words. He knew it would only bring him more heartache. “I needed you and you turned away from me.”
“Elliot, I never turned away from you.”
“You did!” Elliot dug his fingernails into the palms of his hands so he wouldn’t try and pull at his hair. He felt frustrated, like he was talking to a brick wall. “I reached for you and you turned away from me.”
“Because Nate said not to touch you, Elliot.”
Elliot inhaled sharply as daggers of pain stabbed at his chest. “And you believed him.”
“I couldn’t take the chance that touching you would hurt you somehow.” Tommy suddenly sat back on his legs and rubbed both of his hands down his face before resting them on his thighs. “You don’t understand, Elliot. Nate has special abilities, abilities we don’t have even as wolves, and I’ve learned to trust those abilities.”