WARNING!!! Rough language and mild descriptions of violence and rape are present in this chapter.
He sat in his little house contemplating his situation. If he hadn’t already killed them, he would have happily done it now. It was their fault he’d landed up in that institution to begin with. Sure, he was found to be insane and that was why he killed them in the first place. At least that was what the doctors and lawyers said. The real reason he killed them was because he was tired of his verbal attacks and her incessant weeping. Yes, her weeping was for him and his supposed “issues,” but he just couldn’t stand it. It made the voices stronger and more agitated. Above all, he had to keep the voices happy or they’d take over. He would be possessed, and there would be none of him remaining because of those accursed voices.
The only thing that kept him cemented to this god-forsaken world was his inventing abilities. He loved taking things apart, improving them, and putting them back together. He also had an uncanny knack for producing something tangible from his own imagination. Only when he was pounding and torching away were the voices relatively silent.
They said he was crazy before, but he nearly completely lost it when he wasn’t allowed to have his inventing bench in the institution. They said it was too dangerous and that he could hurt someone with the torch and other stuff he used. That was true, but his inventing tools were that, just inventing tools. He had other means for torture, means that nobody would ever find out and live to tell.
Then, one day, he saw her on television. Her name was Lenora, and she was a true divine vision of loveliness. During his most turbulent days when the voices gave him a splitting headache, he said her name over and over, and that calmed him. At first, he was angry that she was on TV trying to catch a man. That vampire guy was a fool for not choosing her. But then, he was glad he didn’t because it meant one less person to deal with when he was finally able to have Lenora to himself. Besides that, vamps were almost impossible to kill, as they didn’t react the same as vulnerable, fragile human flesh did.
Then, she’d gone on TV again. He watched as Lenora was flirted with, kissed, and held by other men. However, what boiled his blood even more was how that disgusting wolf guy handled her. He was following her around like a lost puppy. Then, when she chose the wolf guy, he’d nearly thrown a wrench at the TV but caught himself at the last instant. Breaking the TV would only make him not have a TV. He loved watching TV so much that if he didn’t have one, the voices would plague him even more.
“You don’t mean it, Lenora. You don’t love him. You love me but don’t know it yet. I will show you. I’ll take you far, far away, and then you’ll forget about him,” he said aloud.
It made his skin crawl to think of that wolf guy touching and making love to Lenora when it should be him making love to her. Lenora should be looking at him in that special way, nobody else. Lenora was his and he would claim her one day when the time was right.
His name was Allen Clayton, and he was completely and certifiably mad.
Allen felt himself growing more and more restless by the day. The only things that kept the voices at bay were his inventing and watching Lenora on television. Oh sure, it was episodes of Soulmates and her wedding to that disgusting wolf, but he consoled himself with thoughts of eradicating that from her mind once he had her here with him. He was mesmerized by her graceful movements, her lovely Irish accent, and her smile. “You will smile for me like that, Lenora. I’ll make sure of it. It will be me who holds and kisses you,” he said as he pounded on a piece of metal with his mallet, imagining it was Wolf Guy’s skull he was hitting.
He was so lost in his thoughts and work that he didn’t hear the phone ringing at first. “It is your brother,” one of the sinister voices inside his head told him, snickering.
Allen jumped, nearly setting himself on fire with his blowtorch. “Fuck!” he yelled, his heart rising to his throat and then slamming back into his chest. “What?” he barked into the phone once he got it to his ear.
“Allen, it’s Shane. I’ll be there tonight,” came the familiar voice.
“Okay,” Allen said distractedly.
“You okay, bro?” Shane asked.
“Fine…fine,” Allen said.
“I can tell otherwise. What’s wrong?” Shane asked.
“The voices. They’re getting worse. I-I…need her.”
Shane gave a gusty sigh on the other end of the line. “I will be there as soon as I can. We’ll talk about it then, all right? Will you be okay until then?”
“I’ll be okay,” Allen said.
Allen felt a huge weight lift from his shoulders when his brother arrived. Having Shane there would dampen the voices, at least temporarily, until he could get Lenora. Once he got Lenora, her presence would stop the voices for good. All he’d have to do was ask her to sing to him and they’d go away. For now, Shane’s presence would offer him solace. He hugged him tight and started to babble. “I thought you’d never get here. Shit, sometimes I wish I hadn’t killed the folks. It was the only thing I could do. All she did was cry. All he did was yell and beat on us. They had to go. I couldn’t help it, bro. I–”
“It’s over, Allen. Stop it!” Shane commanded, holding his brother at arm’s length. “Let me check your meds, okay?” He could tell right away that his brother was having one of his bad episodes.
Allen didn’t say a word and allowed Shane to lead him to a chair to sit down. Shane went to the drawer to take out the list of medications and dosages Allen was supposed to take. Then, he went to the medicine cabinet to check the amounts in the bottles. Allen was keeping up with the instructions, but Shane never put much stock in “crazy meds,” as he called them. It was all just a bunch of quackery and Shane was determined to put a stop to it sooner than later. Allen would get better, but it wouldn’t be because of a bunch of pills.
In the meantime, he decided to try to get Allen’s mind on something else. He introduced his brother to a woman who accompanied him. “Allen, this is Valerie. Val, my brother Allen.”
“You can call me Al if you want,” Allen said.
“Pleased to meet you, Al,” Valerie said, inclining her head. However, she didn’t look very pleased. She shot Shane a look, which spoke volumes.
Once Allen was settled in front of the television with the recording of Lenora’s wedding playing, Shane pulled Valerie into the kitchen where they talked in hushed tones.
“This isn’t how I envisioned things when I agreed to come back here with you, Shane,” Valerie hissed.
“I know, Val. I promise it won’t be like this for long. He needs me right now. Surely you can understand that,” Shane said.
Valerie shrugged and heaved a long sigh. “I do, but you can’t take care of him forever. If he’s going to live a productive life, he has to learn to function on his own. And what’s this about needing her? Who is this her he’s talking about?”
“Lenora Atherton, the writer,” Shane said.
“What? You mean the one who’s married to my brother?” Valerie’s voice rose a few notches, which brought on a burst of agitated babbling from Allen.
“Shh!” Shane hissed, placing a forefinger on Valerie’s lips. Turning his head toward the living room, he addressed his brother. “It’s okay, Al. We’re going to fix it, I promise. Everything will be okay.” He was glad his tone sounded soothing, which hid how wrung out he truly felt.
When Allen finally quieted down, Shane lowered his voice. “He’s had an obsession with Lenora for a long time ever since he saw her at one of her book signings. He thought he’d be able to take her away and make her forget about things, but then, Allen was institutionalized. They did the best they could for him, but he’s been stewing about Lenora for a long time.”
Valerie pursed her lips and studied Shane. “You do realize this will never go anywhere. There is no way your brother will ever get near her. My brother heavily guards her. Allen’s walking a dangerous line.”
An uneasy feeling swept over Valerie. She’d been withdrawn and sullen for a while now. Everyone seemed to blame her for her divorce, and she’d never felt like a red-headed stepchild more than she did now. She wasn’t a stepchild , of course, and her mother had birthed her like she did Tyrone and Theresa. Valerie was the baby of the family, but she always felt more like a lone wolf. Tyrone and Theresa, as twins, always had each other. Then, Tyrone and Theresa got the perfect soulmates while Valerie sported the title of Divorcee and remained a lone wolf.
Coming from a big, loving, musical family, Valerie was very skilled on the guitar and other instruments although she loved her guitar the best. It was really the only thing she could take solace in. She composed broodingly sad songs that depicted her situation and low feelings. She snorted to herself knowing her life was like an old depressing country song. Her husband worked too many long hours and didn’t have time for her. This led to Valerie spending a lot of time at the local bar drowning her miseries in several drinks, which led to her stepping out with the first man, albeit a drunk one, who showed any interest in her. It was a one-nighter, but several more one-nighters with different lovers followed. Caleb found out about it and immediately served her with divorce papers, blaming their problems on the fact that Valerie didn’t want to have kids. Then, Caleb went on some reality TV show and got another wife. It was amazing to Valerie how all of a sudden, Caleb found the time for this wife. Perhaps he never truly loved her, which was always the story of her life. Hell, she’d never Imprinted on him, which she supposed was a good thing after everything that had gone wrong. Thank the Great Alpha that they didn’t have kids because divorce could seriously fuck with kids.
She was brought back to the present when Shane spoke. “I know, but I have to try to help him keep himself in balance as much as I can. Even if it means just humoring him or even going as far as trying to nab the woman, I have to do what I can. I can’t abandon him,”
“No, of course you can’t abandon him. He’s your brother. Shane, isn’t he on meds? I mean, shouldn’t they be helping him think more clearly?” Valerie asked.
Shane snarled and rolled his eyes. “Pill pushers is all those quacks are. Money-grubbing, pill pushing quacks.”
Valerie shrugged. She quit counting after the fifth time when her family suggested she get counseling. Telling a complete stranger about how she was nothing but a fuck up didn’t sound very therapeutic to her. “Whatever. But you’d better figure something else out because there’s no way in hell neither of you’d ever get near Lenora.” Why was she even talking about it with this guy? She loved Lenora. Hell, everyone loved Lenora. Everyone loved Lenora…but who was there to love Valerie?
She didn’t object when Shane pulled her in for a kiss. They’d been a thing for a while since she’d seen him at the bar one night. She’d been crying and feeling sorry for herself when Shane bought her a drink. Her wolf’s instincts told her that he was a bad boy, and she’d been highly attracted to him at first. It hadn’t taken them long to give in to their physical desires.
Shane was an excellent lover, but that was as far as it went for Valerie. She didn’t love him, nor had she Imprinted on him. She knew Shane didn’t love her either, but they kept each other around for the awesome sex. Valerie was starting to realize, however, that physical attraction could only go so far. This was wearing on her, and having Allen in the mix now didn’t make her the least bit happy.
After the kiss, Shane pulled back to speak. “Listen, I have to go take care of something, but I’ll be back as soon as I can. Could you do me a solid and watch him for me?” he asked, nodding is head toward the living room where Allen was still watching Lenora’s wedding.
Valerie scowled and smacked him on the arm. “Geez, Shane, c’mon! I’m not a babysitter. I don’t know him from Adam and he doesn’t know me.”
Shane’s eyes darkened for a moment but it passed almost as quickly as it had arisen. “Just this once, Val, I promise. He’ll just keep replaying that damned wedding so you won’t even know he’s there.”
Valerie sighed gustily and shrugged.”Just this once, Shane, and you’d better be back in less than an hour.” The moment of darkness in Shane’s eyes didn’t escape Valerie’s notice or her wolf’s instincts, and it was unnerving. Shane had secrets, secrets that Valerie didn’t care to know. She was coming to the conclusion that it might be best to extricate Shane from her life. After all, he wasn’t the sort of guy that someone would be proud to bring home to meet the parents. She figured it was best to agree to watch the lunatic, which would give her time to compose her break-up speech. Then, she’d deliver said break-up speech once he got back from doing whatever it was that was so important. She wanted to be far, far away from whatever cockamamie schemes he and his crazy brother had in mind.
Shane waited a long time to make the bitch pay, and tonight, she was going to get her comeuppance. He whistled all the way to her house and smirked when he easily gained entrance. Debbie was nothing but a whore, and he had concrete evidence of it from watching her. Over the past few months, he’d made several trips to Aurora Skies in disguise and spied on his ex wife, unbeknownst to her. Tonight, he was going to make her sorry for all the shit she stirred up.
Shane couldn’t believe how easy it was to pin her to the floor and show her who was still in charge. The more he beat her, the more turned on he got. He was completely out of control by the time he spilled himself inside her. He felt incredibly pleased with himself afterwards and didn’t bat an eye as he left her crying and bleeding on the floor. If she had the audacity to report him to the police, he had ways of getting rid of her. He’d dispose of her in such a way that there would be nothing left of her to find.
When Shane returned, he quickly grabbed a shower and went to check on his brother. “Hey bro! Did you know that the awful wolf guy who has Lenora is Valerie’s brother?” Allen asked, wide eyed.
“Yes, Al, I know,” Shane’s reply was simple.
When Allen threw his arms around his brother in an enthusiastic and surprising hug, Shane looked over Allen’s shoulder and locked gazes with Valerie, who just shrugged.
“She’s so cool, Val is,” Allen said admiringly. “She treated me like a normal person.”
“That’s great,” Shane said. “I agree. Val is really cool. I’m happy you like her.”
Valerie signaled Shane, indicating that she wanted to talk in the kitchen. This had to be said here and now, especially now because she didn’t want Allen getting too attached to her. She’d conversed with him as best she could in Shane’s absence. He liked her, which was good, she supposed. But she wasn’t here to be a nursemaid or babysitter. She needed to be done with Shane…tonight.
She could see immediately that his demeanor was different. He was strutting and smirking, and her wolf’s sixth sense was sending alarm bells right and left. She had her own baggage to deal with; she sure as hell didn’t need his.
“I’m done, Shane. We had our fun, but I think you know as well as I do that it can’t continue. You have your brother to look after and I–”
She was shocked into silence when Shane grabbed her arm and pricked her skin with something. He was so fast that she couldn’t even scream. She felt a burning sensation travel throughout her system and the room started to spin. She tried to transform but for the first time in her life, the Wolf deserted her. “Wh-what…what…?” Her lips felt too thick to utter anything coherent.
“You think I’m stupid, don’t you?” Shane snarled, shaking her violently. “i’m good enough for a roll between the sheets any time you get an itch but not good enough for you to sully your precious Landgraab hands when I need you. I’ve seen this coming for a long time, lady, but I’m not going to allow it.” He shook her again and smirked when her head lolled.
“I need you to help me. Come hell or high water, you’ll do it even if it’s not by your will.” Valerie heard his words through what sounded like a tunnel. “Since your wolf side is much stronger than your normal side, I have to keep you from transforming so you stay under my control.”
Shane waited a few more minutes and watched as she partially regained her senses. She blinked slowly at him, but her eyes were dilated but empty. “Now then, are you with me, Landgraab, or do I have to slap you around to wake you up?”
“I’m here,” Valerie slurred in a flat voice.
“Good. Now, you’re not going anywhere, are you?”
“You’re going to do as I say, right?”
Valerie nodded her head.
“Good. Now, let’s go have some fun in the bedroom. You’ll feel much better in the morning,” Shane said, putting an arm around Valerie’s waist to lead her from the kitchen.
Shane half-led, half-carried Valerie to the bedroom where he pushed her down onto the bed. Valerie was easy to handle, much, much easier than Debbie had been. It wasn’t as much fun for him but it was a necessary step. He needed Valerie’s help with Allen’s situation, and Shane always got what he wanted. She wouldn’t remember any of this the next morning, but Shane could always dose her again whenever needed. Plus, he had other ways to make her cooperate.
Author’s Note: You can read Debbie’s story in As Tears Go By. You can find that story by navigating to the “Other Works by Me” section of this blog and clicking the appropriate link.
A big thank you to PiazzaGirl for the use of Valerie in my story. If you haven’t read her story, A Race Against Time, I’d highly recommend it. You can read it on her blog here.
I want to take this time to point out a few things. As you know, this story is being transferred here from it’s original blog on Blogger. With that decision came the decision to revise a few things, and this includes Valerie’s part. If you are familiar with the original chapters, Valerie is much different than how she appears now. I did decide, with PiazzaGirl’s permission, to keep Valerie’s original history with Caleb McIntyre. I don’t want to give away any spoilers for her story, so I’ll just say I tried to stay true to this history. I do have free reign with Valerie, so I’m definitely using that to my advantage. 🙂 Thank you, PiazzaGirl! You’re a gem.
Anyway, I’m writing this from Valerie’s POV, so I’m sorry if it makes Caleb sound like a real jerk. He’s actually a very, very nice guy who just ended up in a bad marriage. Sadly, Valerie has some bitter feelings about it though and as you have probably guessed, she’s suffering from a lot of self-esteem issues. Her involvement with Shane has complicated her life further, and I think it’s clear that he is up to no good.
Thank you for reading.