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The Chemistry In Darkness

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The Chemistry In Darkness 

Chapter One 

Monday 9th December 2019 

“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” Elly muttered to herself as she walked from the Waterhole back home to Ramsay Street where she lived with her Aunt and Uncle.  

Or waddled may have been the correct term for what Elly was doing.  

Elly was eight and a half months pregnant with her first child. Yet had spent the night at her best friend’s hen’s party in preparation for Chloe to marry Pierce the following day. Chloe hadn’t wanted Elly to go home for the night and insisted that she call Elly a taxi but Elly had insisted the fresh air and walk would do her well. 

Elly had left the hen's party earlier than she thought she would, leaving her sister, Bea, with Dipi, Sheila and Chloe, claiming she was feeling tired but the truth was she was tired about how mixed up her feelings were. Despite seeing how happy Chloe was with the strippers Elly had organized for her to liven up the hen's party, Chloe had spent time at the party gushing over Pierce, the man she was set to marry the following afternoon. 

Everything between Chloe and Pierce had happened far too quickly, Elly had barely had time to adjust to the fact her best friend was getting married the following day. 

Chloe was more than Elly's best friend and the mixed-up feelings Elly had about that were becoming harder to deal with as she had to accept Chloe had well and truly moved on from her. 

A year ago, Chloe had fallen in love with Elly. Elly was in a relationship with Chloe's eldest brother, Mark, reacted to the news of Chloe's feelings by proposing to Mark. In typical Elly fashion, her life de-railed in the space of 3 months. Elly had always been with men, the idea of falling for another woman wasn't something that had ever crossed her mind even after the bisexual Chloe had planted a kiss on her and then confessed, she was in love with her. 

But with her unexplained jealousy when Chloe got back together with her ex-girlfriend, Mel, and lack of support from Mark to their relationship and upcoming wedding, Elly had ended up sleeping with Chloe two nights before she married Mark when he'd told her the wedding was off. 

The wedding was called back on, though Elly's marriage to Mark didn't end there five minutes after they married and Elly confessed to sleeping with Chloe. With Mark not showing signs of forgiving his wife, Elly strayed again and had a one-night stand with a man who turned out to be the younger brother of Elly's tormentor, Finn Kelly. Finn's brother, Shaun, turned out to be the father of her unborn child Elly fell pregnant with. Mark and Elly's marriage had dissolved at the truth she was carrying another man's baby. Shaun was no longer in their lives, having being killed in Switzerland in an avalanche accident. 

The accident killing the father of her unborn child had happened after Elly had reconnected with Chloe, where she had finally confessed that she was attracted to Chloe and wanted to see where their feelings for one another could lead. However, after an amazing date it was like they couldn't make it work. They had very little support from friends and family, upset that the pair wanted to explore their feelings for each other when Chloe was the instigator in Elly's marriage to Mark failing and that Elly wasn't quite as open and comfortable with her feelings for Chloe as she would've been if Chloe was a guy. Elly needed more time to accept her feelings, Chloe wasn't sure if Elly would be able to do so when Elly needed to focus on her upcoming life as a mum. 

Chloe was not quite as prepared to be that parental figure in Elly's child's life then she wanted to be despite her love for Elly. It's not that Chloe didn't want to. Chloe was more scared of leaving the child and Elly one day in the future. Chloe had been diagnosed with Huntington's disease, whilst it wouldn't affect her until her 40's or 50's, her life as she knew it would become difficult quickly.  

Instead of watching a child grow up into adulthood and become a successful person in the world, Chloe knew that child, along with her partner, would spend their years caring for her. Chloe wasn't sure if that's the future she wanted for herself, Elly and Elly's child. 

So, Chloe had ended things with Elly before they had barely begun. And now, barely three months later, she was getting married to Pierce. 

A businessman and billionaire, Pierce Greyson, had swooped in for Chloe almost the moment Elly couldn't convince Chloe to give them another chance.  

Pierce had convinced Chloe that he could be the one to care for her when she needed it. Chloe's surprise at Pierce having a teenage son and daughter that he had failed to mention, despite knowing one another for nearly a year, had made her relax more that she could be an influence on their lives as opposed to a child's entire life. Or as it seemed to be, an influence on Pierce's teenage son, Hendrix, who had come to live with his Dad. Pierce's daughter, Alana, was seemingly not a big part of Pierce's life. Chloe hadn’t even met her yet. 

A rushed engagement had followed, then a promise to walk down the aisle not 3 months into dating one another, Chloe didn't seem to see any issues in committing to Pierce. 

And that bothered Elly to say the least. 

Elly still hadn't wrapped her head around what her feelings were for her best friend. She knew it was more than friendship, that it always had been. But when she was so unsure if she could love Chloe as much as Chloe loved her, what else was Elly to do? 

Except support Chloe's decision to rush into marriage to a guy she barely knew. Even though the thought of sitting there at the wedding the next day almost made Elly want to throw up. Listening to Chloe gushing over Pierce and how supportive he was to her, made Elly question if she should skip out on the wedding. 

Claudia, Shaun's mother, and her baby's grandmother had arrived in town just that day. Could Elly use her as an excuse not to attend and watch the woman she did have feelings for marry someone else? 

Even though Chloe herself had found a way to sit through watching Elly marry Mark. 

Or could Elly be brave enough to tell Chloe she didn't want to attend as she did still have feelings for her? 

Elly shook her head at the mere thought of being the reason her best friend didn't get married the next day and the only thing she could do was to attend the wedding and celebrate with Chloe and Pierce. 

And if the marriage didn't work out, Elly would be okay with that too. 

Elly smiled at the thought of Chloe's marriage not lasting with Pierce, shyly blushing at the thought of being able to kiss the stunning blonde one day. A thought like that not having crossed Elly's mind in weeks. It still confused Elly greatly.  

Did Elly want to be with Chloe again or did she simply want her best friend to realize rushing into marriage to a guy who said he was prepared to care for her through her Huntington's couldn't possibly last? 

Elly smirked at the idea that Chloe possibly loved her too much to want to see Elly and Elly's child suffer through losing her to her illness in several decades time yet was comfortable enough for Pierce to lose her. Did that mean Chloe was not as in love with Pierce as what she should be to agree to spend her life with him? 

Elly's rambling thoughts and berating herself over being unable to work out just what her feelings for Chloe were, suddenly got interrupted when she felt the sensation that she was being followed. 

The feeling came out of nowhere and completely unnerved the soon-to-be mum as Elly regretted not taking Chloe's advice to take a taxi home. Walking as quickly as her body allowed her too, Elly turned backwards at the sound of a growl behind her. 

Seeing nothing there, Elly turned back, hoping to walk home as quickly as possible. 

Elly let out a quick yelp when a man stood before her and he grabbed hold of her.  

Elly yelled out in shock at him, wanting to point out that she was pregnant and not to hurt her or her baby, but she couldn't get the words out of her mouth. Only a few seconds ago she was worried about her love life and now she was terrified about her own life and that of her unborn child. 

The guy grabbed hold of Elly, knocking her to the ground, Elly landing on her back, fearful for any damage to her baby, but thankful she hadn't fallen down on her pregnant belly. The guy was nondescript to Elly in the darkness, she could barely make out any features other than he seemed to be of normal build. 

"Please don't hurt me," Elly pleaded as he stood over her, then screamed in pain as he struck out his hand at her, striking her arm as she raised it to block him, but his fingernails clawed into her arm, drawing blood. 

Elly grabbed hold of her arm, trying to stem the bleeding, panicking over what else her attacker could do to her. 

But as Elly began feeling feint at the loss of blood, her arm throbbing in pain, Elly heard another noise behind her. 

Though she didn't know what the noise was, Elly saw her attacker flee away from her. Elly sighed in relief that he had been scared off but as she looked down at her arm and the deep gash, Elly's eyes flickered before she fell unconscious. 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Two

Monday 9th December 2019

An indeterminate amount of time later, Elly felt a sharp pain to her head and arm as she rustled awake from her unconscious state. Elly blinked her eyes wildly as she opened them, taking in her surroundings which were not familiar to her in the least.

A bedroom, the room was dark despite a bedside table lamp on. The walls of the room looked more like it was a cabin rather than a house.

Elly immediately placed her hand of her non-injured arm to her pregnant belly, soon feeling her baby kicking her, like he or she knew she needed to know the baby was okay. The relief Elly felt that her baby felt safe was enormous. Elly then sat up, leaning back on her non-injured arm, realizing she'd being lying unconscious on a bed she didn't recognize.

"Hello, Elly," came a soft and comforting voice from across the room.

"How do you know my name?" Elly immediately asked as she glanced down at her injured arm, seeing that it had been bandaged up in what looked to be a rather professional manner to begin healing from the wound inflicted on her by the guy whom attacked her. She wondered if she'd been taken to hospital and not known but then realized an unconscious woman would hardly be released by hospital staff.

"I checked your drivers' license in your purse. I haven't stolen anything from it, I only needed to know your name. I hope you don't mind, Elly," the voice explained.

Elly saw her handbag along with her purse sitting on a table across from the bed, wondering if her phone was still in her handbag and how soon she could get to it to call for help.

Elly eyed the woman sitting across the room from her. She'd never met her. She looked to be early to mid-40's, brunette hair with a tinge of blonde through it past her shoulders, pale blue eyes. She was wearing a pair of jeans, a three-quarter length top and joggers. A casual comfortable enough look, not over or under dressed.

"Who are you?" Elly asked in concern.

"My name's Abby. I'm here to help you, my whole family is in fact. You'll meet the rest of them later, tomorrow morning as it's quite late and you and your baby need sleep tonight," Abby introduced herself.

"Did you rescue me from the man whom attacked me earlier this evening...it was this evening, right? I haven't been unconscious for days on end?" Elly wondered, her mind quickly flicking to whether or not she'd missed Chloe's wedding to Pierce, not by choice, frowning at having a thought like that when she was trying to figure out how long she'd been unconscious for.

Abby nodded, "It's still the same evening, Elly...it's almost midnight. I wasn't the one that was there with you when you were attacked. My husband, Romulus, was. He brought you here. I'm a surgeon, I patched up your arm for you...as best I could but I couldn't undo the damage done."

Elly eyed Abby suspiciously, "My Uncle's a doctor, he can help me treat the wound from here. Can I have my phone so I can call my family and ask them to come and get me...from wherever your husband brought me to?"

"We're in my family's cabin out in the woods...about an hour's drive from where Romulas found you...in Erinsborough," Abby replied before admitting vaguely, "You can't go home, Elly...it may be a very long time before you see your family again."

"What the hell are you talking about? You took me an hour away from my home! Why would you do that? My family are going to be worried about me. They'll know by now I didn't make it home as I was with my sister this evening and she was heading home not too long after me. You can't hold me here, I'm going home to my family," Elly told her angrily.

"You'll only hurt them if you do," Abby replied.

"They are my family. I'd never hurt them. My baby is gonna need them. My baby's father was killed recently. I'm going to be a single mum to my baby. I still need my families support," Elly insisted, trying not to feel the sense she'd been so overcome with the past few months, especially the last few weeks since she'd lost her job as a teacher, that her life was spiraling into not knowing what she was doing with her life besides trying to stay positive she could provide a happy life for her child.

"Things have changed, Elly, since you were attacked. You have a new family now. My family and I will take you into our fold and help you with your baby...and with the...changes in your life," Abby offered.

"What changes? What is going on? You can't hold me hostage with your family and make me part of your family here...wherever here is!" Elly argued.

"We don't want to hold you hostage. We're not about that but you need to stay with us until Wednesday night and then you'll see why you can't go back to your family...for a while…you'll see why we're trying to protect you, your baby and everyone you care about," Abby explained, her vagueness still evident.

"What happens Wednesday?" Elly asked with worry, yet a minor tinge of relief knowing the decision not to attend Chloe's wedding could be made for her if she got back home later in the week, telling them she'd been kidnapped by a bunch of strangers.

Chloe would need to forgive her for missing her special day due to this ordeal and not because Elly wasn't sure if could go through with attending or not.

"The first phase of this month's full moon...the night before the full moon...there are three nights in a row every month that you will need to pay attention to for the rest of your life. The night before, the night of and the night after the full moon," Abby told her quietly.

"Why would I care about the full moon and it's phases? Are you some kind of hippies who worship the moon in the middle of the woods?" Elly frowned.

"The would-be-attacker from earlier this evening...he wasn't a man, Elly," Abby replied, ignoring Elly's questions, "There are beings like us that walk amongst the humans...they think we're just myths...we're not myths. We've walked this world for longer than you might believe."

"We?" Elly gulped gently.

Abby stared deep into Elly's eyes, "The would-be-attacker whom scratched up your arm…he was one of those beings you and your people mistake as being a myth…"

Elly shrugged, trying to remain unperturbed by what Abby was saying, praying she could find a way to get to her phone or to escape, even though she genuinely didn't feel any danger coming from the woman, "Guy seemed like a regular man to me. A little strange and dangerous on account of attacking a pregnant woman he doesn't know but a man who-"

"He wasn't a man, Elly," Abby repeated but before she could continue, Elly interrupted.

"Cut the cryptic crap! Tell me what's going on so I can damn well go home to my family and friends. I don't have time to be messed about. I've got a wedding I don't want to go to tomorrow…" Elly trailed off as she realized her own words and what they meant.

Though there was no time for Elly to address her own words and what they meant as Abby raised her eyebrow at her then spoke up, "Your attacker was one of our kind…a werewolf."

Elly opened her mouth but no words came out.

"Do you know what that means, Elly?" Abby asked quietly.

"Yeah…you're insane if you're about to tell me that werewolves and monsters exist in the world. I don't have time for this, I need to go home to my family now," Elly declared.

"I've told you, Elly, you can't go home to your family as you'll hurt them. You need to stay with my family now as you get used to your new life," Abby tried to tell her.

"What new life? I'm not staying here, why would I hurt my family?" Elly scrambled out, her mind running wild, trying to make sense of the mere idea of what Abby had said about her attacker.

"Elly, your attacker was a werewolf and when he ripped that gash down your arm…he turned you into one too," Abby finally told Elly, "You're not human anymore, you won't be again, I'm sorry as there's no way to reverse what was done…you're just like me and the rest of my family now… Elly, you're a werewolf."

Elly blinked wildly in disbelief, "Huh?"

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Three 

Tuesday 10th December 2019 

The following morning, Elly awoke way later than normal. She was normally an early riser but when she looked at her watch, which she’d forgotten to remove before falling asleep, Elly was surprised to see it was nearly 10am. 

Chloe’s getting married today…I better not be the reason Chloe doesn’t get married…Bea would’ve told Chloe by now that I never made it home last night…she’ll be worried about me…but not enough to the point of not going ahead with her wedding? 

If I was the reason Chloe doesn’t get married…I want it to be because she knows she loves me more than she’ll ever love Pierce… 

Oh, and apparently, I was turned into a werewolf last night…which one is more important? 

“Good morning, Elly,” Abby’s voice came from across the room, “How are you feeling?” 

Elly glanced over at the woman who stood at the bedroom doorway, as she pulled back the doona on the bed that was covering her, “Terrific…slept so weird last night.” 

“Your sleeping patterns may be interrupted for the next few weeks while your body adjusts to the changes,” Abby told her. 

“Oh, you mean since I’m a werewolf now?” Elly scoffed in disbelief. 

“Still having trouble believing me like you were last night?” Abby pointed out. 

Elly brought her legs around to sit on the edge of the bed, her feet feeling cold on the wooden floorboards of the room, “Why would I believe that I’m a werewolf? That your family is a pack of wolves? That the supernatural world really exists? You may feel like a trustful person, Abby, but you must be on something to think I’m going to believe this is nothing more than a bunch of kidnappers keeping me and my baby from going home.” 

“Can I check your arm to see how the wound has healed?” Abby asked, knowing Elly needed to believe her. 

Elly shrugged, “Why not?” 

Abby walked over to Elly sitting on the bed, “How is the arm feeling?” 

“No pain at all, whatever pain killers you gave me worked a bloody treat,” Elly answered. 

“I didn’t give you any pain killers, Elly. I didn’t think it would be safe to do so in the late stage of your pregnancy unless you really needed them,” Abby told her as she crouched down in front of Elly, reaching out for her bandaged arm and beginning to unravel the bandages. 

Elly frowned at the woman, knowing that before she had fallen unconscious the previous night, her arm was in all kind of pain as the guy who attacked her left a deep gash in it, “I don’t feel any pain.” 

“Hmm,” Abby hummed, already knowing the reason why as she removed the bandages from Elly’s arm. 

“What the…?” Elly stared at her arm once the bandages were no longer covering it, “Where’s the wound? I had a deep gash right there!” 

Abby smirked at the brunette, “Werewolves heal faster than humans and we have a higher pain of threshold that doesn’t need pain killers.” 

“You’re having me on!” Elly accused, “There’s no way in the world I’m a…werewolf. They don’t exist!” 

“Why don’t we go for a walk? You can meet the rest of my family and we can talk some more,” Abby offered. 

Elly chewed on her lip as she stared down at the clothes she’d slept in. 

“We don’t have any spare clothes for you, sorry. Maternity dresses aren’t something we have lying around. My daughter has gone to the shops to take care of that for you, she’ll be back soon and you can freshen up with a shower then. She’ll get you some non-maternity clothes too, seeing as though your baby must be due to be born soon. We’ll need to look at getting you some baby stuff too to make sure your little one is well taken care of,” Abby explained politely. 

Elly tensed up, “I’m not going to be here as long as that!” 

“Let’s walk,” Abby replied, her tone more instructive than before. 

“I’m not really…one for walking very far at the moment,” Elly told her, placing her newly healed arm against her belly. 

“We won’t go far, just around the cabin and back again,” Abby promised. 

“Can I have my phone back, please?” Elly asked, “My family would be going crazy right now, wondering where I am…I need to know they’ve called and messaged…” 

Has Chloe called or messaged? Does she even know I’m missing or have they not told her to risk her not going ahead with the wedding? Why do you keep thinking there’s any chance of Chloe not going ahead with this wedding because of you? 

Abby shook her head, “You can but you can’t turn it on anymore. Romulus switched it off before he left Erinsborough and brought you out here. We can’t have anyone tracking you here as it’ll be a danger to you and my family. I know you’re worried about your family but they will be okay.” 

“I can’t never have access to my phone again! I have photos and videos on it. I only have one or two photos of my baby’s father that I took with him last time he was here before he died. My baby needs to be able to know who his or her Dad was when they are old enough,” Elly argued, thinking appealing to Abby for the sentimentality of her baby was better than admitting it was photos of her family and friends were way more important than the single photo she knew she did have of Shaun on her phone. 

“It’s all okay, Elly, you still have access to all the files on your phone. My daughter has already sorted that for you. She had the phone switched on for less than a minute, blocked it being tracked for location which sadly only works for a small time, transferred all the files on it to her laptop and will give it to you when you meet her,” Abby smiled gently. 

“Your daughter did all that? How’d she unlock my phone without the passcode?” Elly frowned. 

“Raven is beyond a whiz with computers and all technology as you’ll soon learn. I’m still getting used to using a smart phone. Life was a lot less complicated a hundred years ago without technology as I fondly look back at those days,” Abby admitted, standing up and walking back over to the bedroom door. 

“Why do you talk about days like that a hundred years ago like you were there?” Elly pondered. 

“I’m a lot older than I look, Elly,” Abby grinned, “C’mon, I’ll explain more on our walk.” 

A few minutes later, Elly stood on the front porch of a cabin surrounded by a clearing yet beyond that was a wooded area shrouded in trees and bushes, “124 years old!? You’re absolutely having me on and trying to make me believe this whole supernatural werewolf crap, aren’t you?” 

“How old do I look?” Abby smirked back at Elly. 

“40…45 tops,” Elly decided. 

“Good guess, I was turned when I was 41…83 years ago,” Abby smiled as she walked down the porch. 

“Sure, you were,” Elly rolled her eyes. 

“Wait ‘til you meet my husband. Romulus is over a thousand years old and the stories he can tell you aren’t from the history books,” Abby winked at Elly. 

Elly shook her head as she followed Abby, falling into step with her, glad Abby was walking slowly, allowing for the heavily pregnant woman to walk at a pace comfortable to her, “Yeah and I’m going to stay young and beautiful at 34 years of age for the rest of my life.” 

“That’s the idea!” Abby insisted, “Werewolves don’t age from whatever age they were when they were turned. Unless they are turned as a child or teenager, then their body grows normally until they are an adult, usually around 21 years of age.” 

“I don’t like the sound of staying 34 forever. Can’t have my child out aging me,” Elly decided. 

Abby bit her lip, “Y’know I should tell you…even though your child is almost fully formed there is…a chance…your baby will be just like us…we won’t know either way until your child is at least school age.” 

Elly shook her head, “I don’t want that kind of life for my child…not that I believe this life about werewolves is real.” 

“Why don’t I tell you a little bit more about my family?” Abby offered. 

“Married to a 1000-year old werewolf and you have a daughter…werewolves have children? Or did you adopt a younger werewolf into your family?” Elly mused. 

“Romulus and I met nearly seventy years ago. If you’ve ever thought you’ve been waiting around for your true love to come into your life…have a chat to Romulus about waiting 1000 plus years for me to come into his life. The pair of us have two daughters in fact. Yes, werewolves can have their own children. The impossible is possible when it comes to our world…maybe one day you’ll learn that for yourself,” Abby promised. 

Elly blinked at the mere thought that her waiting around months or years to work out her feelings for Chloe felt like forever and that when Chloe had come into her life in a romantic sense, it had scared her beyond words, “Maybe I will…if I ever believed you about this whole werewolf thing. You want to tell me about your daughters?” 

“Raven is the technology whiz that got all the data from your phone for you. She’s got a smart head on her but she has her moments of wanting to keep to herself. Then there’s Clarke, the eldest of the two, a lot more opinionated and rash but she does mean well. They both grew up to look like they’re early-twenties but they are both nearly thirty,” Abby explained. 

“So…you’re telling me both your daughters…are werewolves?” Elly asked, trying to play along as she still didn’t think Abby was telling her the truth. 

“Yes, children birthed by two werewolf mates do become werewolves themselves. I don’t know if you ever planned to have more children but it’s not out of the possibility for you to if you meet the person you’re meant to be with,” Abby told her, her tone expressing hopefulness. 

“I haven’t really given it much thought…this pregnancy wasn’t exactly…planned. My life is a bit lost right now…and I certainly don’t know if I have met the person, I’m meant to be with… Let’s just say if I have, I messed it up royally. I’m not in the space to want to meet someone new. I need to focus on creating a life for my child, I can’t think about anything to do with my love life or finding the person I need to be with,” Elly confessed. 

As the pair rounded the corner of the cabin, Elly looked out to the side of them where there was a lake not too far away from the cabin. Elly swallowed hard when she spotted a woman swimming out in the lake. 

As Elly continued staring at the woman, she made her way to the shore of the lake. Elly blushed heavily seeing that the woman not only had tattoos across her arms and one on her hip, but that she was naked as she picked up a towel from the sandy shore. 

Not as gorgeous as Chloe is naked…great now I’m being reminded of the night Chloe and I made love to one another…don’t think about anything to do with your love life…don’t think about anything to do with your love life…Chloe… 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Four 

Tuesday 10th December 2019 

Elly stood next to Abby as she looked out to a lake that was next to the cabin. Elly had spotted a young woman swimming in the lake, whom then walked out of the lake naked and picked up a towel. Elly had tried desperately not to compare the woman’s figure to that of Chloe’s. 

The woman picked up her towel, seemingly spotting the pair not far from her, but instead of wrapping the towel around her body, she placed it over her shoulders, and used the sides of it to dry her wet hair a little bit. After a moment, the woman walked over to Elly and Abby. 

Elly stared down at her feet, trying to focus more on noticing the woman was walking barefoot across the grass and how that should be hurting her feet, instead of the fact the woman was unashamedly naked. 

As the woman joined them, Elly raised her head, instead focusing her eyes on the brownish eyes that almost felt like they had a tinge of gold in them, “This Raven or Clarke?” 

“This is Lexa, Clarke’s mate,” Abby answered, then shook her head at the tattooed woman, “Lexa, cover up.” 

Lexa rolled her eyes as she dragged the towel off her shoulders, taking her time wrapping it around her body, “So this is Fresh Meat, is it? She got a problem with the fact I swim naked or that I have no shame standing here naked?” 

“Lexa, play nice,” Abby instructed. 

As Lexa continued taking her time wrapping the towel around her, Elly decided she didn’t want the woman looking down on her even though she didn’t know why so lowered her eyes to stare at Lexa’s figure for a moment until the towel was tied around her, “I don’t have a problem, you do whatever it is you do.” 

“Isn’t that a good thing? As wolves we don’t really have a choice but to get used to being naked around each other…kinda happens when wolves don’t wear clothes and we wake up naked and all,” Lexa smirked. 

Elly blushed then her eyes widened, “I can’t do that. I’m eight and a half months pregnant. Nobody should see me naked anytime soon. And not even after I have my baby, my body will take time to try to get back to some sense of normal.” 

“Don’t worry about that now, Elly,” Abby reassured, “I worried about the same thing when I had my girls. We’re very non-judgmental here.” 

“You didn’t tell us Fresh Meat is heavily pregnant. You told us last night we’d have another member of the Pack, not that they’d be a screaming baby around with her,” Lexa eyed Elly’s belly. 

“Could you not call me Fresh Meat?” Elly retaliated, “And, the Pack?” 

“Lexa this is Elly, she was turned last night, be nice. You didn’t have the easiest time adjusting to this life and struggled to adjust to being with us. You at least had Clarke to stand by you as your mate. You should be able to relate,” Abby scolded. 

“Whatever,” Lexa dismissed, “I’m not sticking around to listen to you give her the lowdown on how things work here. I’ll be in my room waiting around for Clarke to get back from getting Fresh Meat supplies. We probably won’t come up for air ‘til tomorrow arvo. Best of luck adjusting to this new life, Fresh Meat. Get in mine or Clarke’s way, you and I are gonna have issues!” 

Lexa stormed off back to the cabin, leaving Elly confused over what the woman’s problem was with her. 

Abby eyed Elly watching Lexa leave, “Lexa’s very…protective of my daughter, Clarke. They’re very…in love and don’t hesitate to show it. She wasn’t joking about us not seeing either of them ‘til before the full moon starts it’s phase tomorrow. Lexa’s wary of anyone or anything that’ll upset Clarke. You don’t…have an issue with them being…?” 

“What? A gay couple? Nope. My best friend is bisexual,” Elly told her. 

Best friend I slept with and am not quite sure of my feelings for… 

“I was just checking,” Abby smiled, still feeling relieved, “Lexa was right that it’s being a while since we introduced anyone into our Pack, she’s wary you’re not the right fit for us but I think you’re gonna fit in perfectly fine.” 

Elly pulled a face at the idea of being the right fit for a family she didn’t even know, “How long has it being since Lexa…went through this?” 

“My daughter met Lexa six years ago. Lexa was 16 and an absolute trouble maker, in and out of the foster system most of her life. Meeting Clarke changed her whole life. Lexa became part of our Pack as a human soon after they met…’til Clarke finally turned Lexa nearly two years ago…they wanted to wait until Lexa was an adult and so they could spend their lives together rather than Clarke outliving her mate in the future decades,” Abby explained. 

“Makes sense…not that I believe any of this werewolf stuff yet,” Elly asserted, before asking, “What’s with all this ‘mate’ stuff you refer to them as?”  

“It’s how we refer to our partners when they are…our mates for life. He or she is the person you can’t live without. You love them more powerfully than anyone else in your life and nothing will ever stop the two of you from being together. Anything in the world can be between you both and yet you know you have to be with one another. We have a tendency to show it though as our eyes change colour when your first around them…I guess it’s the sign we need to know even though you feel it in every fiber of your being. Once you meet that person…your life is complete. Have you ever felt that kind of love, Elly?” Abby smiled gently. 

Elly didn’t need to think very long, “No…there was someone who loved me but it wasn’t as strong as that. It didn’t work out between us as my feelings couldn’t quite get there. I’m not even sure that kind of love exists.” 

“It does exist, Elly, and you will find it one day. Don’t ever doubt that,” Abby promised, “And if you ever think that you won’t…just remember Romulus took over 1000 years before he met me.” 

“Terrific…it probably will take me that long to get into another relationship,” Elly grumbled. 

“You can still date, Elly. You don’t need to not be in a relationship until you meet your mate. But when you do…that person is it for you. You’ll never be able to not be with them,” Abby replied. 

“Do they need to be another werewolf?” Elly asked. 

Abby shook her head, “No, Clarke met Lexa when she was human remember. If your mate is a human…you will have a decision to make…if you want to turn them. It’s not an easy decision to make. It took Clarke and Lexa several years to make their choice. Seeing what they went through…part of me was glad Romulus and I never had to go through that. But whichever option presents…nothing can stop you and your mate from being together.” 

“Even someone like me who messes up every relationship I’ve ever been in because I’m too busy searching for someone to love me like I want rather than me accept I don’t feel that way about them?” Elly asked in concern, yet almost smiled as she realized Abby had been using the pronoun ‘they’ rather than ‘him’ for her and wondered why that was. 

Does Abby know about Chloe…or more about my life than she’s letting on…like there’s a reason why I was the person whom was attacked last night? I don’t know if I can trust these people. 

“Your past relationships do not define your future ones, Elly. Nor your search for your mate,” Abby settled, “You’ll find them…or maybe you already have…” 

“How do you mean?” Elly frowned, “I’ve never felt the way you’ve described before.” 

“Yeah but things have changed. The way you see the world has…or it will when you accept what you are now… You have a mate in this world and it may still be someone you’ve had in your life. When you meet them again…it’ll be different, you’ll feel different about them and you’ll know they’re your mate,” Abby explained. 

Elly ran her hand through her hair, “How do you expect me to accept any of this?” 

“Tomorrow evening as the moon rises in the sky…you will. ‘Til then…I’ll keep trying to tell you that this life as a werewolf three nights out of a month is gonna happen. You need to be prepared for the next few nights, Elly. My Pack and I run free during the nights. We’ve been doing so for years. We do have a cage we’ve built into a nearby bunker we found out here. You’ll need to spend your nights in there for the first few months until you’ve adjusted and won’t be a risk to society. Not that there’s anyone around these parts but we won’t risk it anyway…especially as your baby will be around,” Abby advised. 

Elly sighed heavily, “What about my baby? I mean…after the baby has been born. I’m not locking myself in a cage or being away from my baby for three nights a month.” 

“We have people in our world who can come mind your baby but you’re not going to have a choice but to leave your baby those nights, Elly. It’s for their safety. When I had my babies, Romulus and I didn’t have anyone to look after them. We had to leave them on their own for 12 hours three nights in a row every night…I hated it but it didn’t hurt my girls overall. Your instinct will be to be with your baby every moment you can…but he or she really will be okay. You’ll make sure they aren’t underfed,” Abby told Elly. 

Elly stared at Abby, “I don’t want to think about being away from my baby like that. I don’t want to think about any of this for the time being. I need another nap.” 

Abby nodded, “You know where your room is, it’s yours as long as you’re with us. I’ll have Clarke leave your new clothes in the bathroom across the hall. When we’re not working, the Pack and I spend our afternoons together hanging out around the back of the cabin. Come find us when you’ve rested up. You’ll meet the rest of my family then.” 

Elly apologized as she yawned suddenly, “I still don’t believe any of this werewolf stuff.” 

“You soon will,” Abby chuckled after her.  

Elly walked back to the cabin entry, quietly wondering if Abby saying ‘when they’re not working’ implied she and the rest of her family did have jobs. Elly couldn’t help but avoiding then having hope that it meant if she would be left alone, she could escape and return to her family. 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Five 

Tuesday 10th December 2019 

Elly awoke from her nap later in the afternoon. Rolling over, she pulled her watch up to look at the time. 

2.50pm…10 minutes ‘til Chloe’s married to Pierce…and any chance I’ll ever have of figuring out my feelings for her cause even if I did…it wouldn’t matter anymore…she’ll be with Pierce for the rest of her life… 

Elly shuffled to sit on the edge of the bed, much like she’d done earlier that day. She’d shifted her handbag to the bedside table before taking her nap. Pulling it to her, she sighed despite knowing her phone wasn’t in there, feeling cut off from her family. 

Elly pulled her purse from the handbag, opening it and looking at the family photo sitting in the inside of the purse. Elly smiled as she looked at how happy herself and Bea looked with their Uncle Karl and Aunty Susan. She couldn’t quite remember when the photo was taken aside from it being not long after Bea had moved in with them all. 

Elly ran her tongue over her lips nervously, as she reached behind that photo to the one behind it, “Okay…let’s see if this whole ‘mate’ thing might be true…or at the very least answer the question on if the fuzzy feelings I do have for Chloe actually mean anything…” 

Elly slipped the photo of Chloe and herself out of the purse, hating that she hid it in there behind the photo of her family and was confused over why she felt the need to carry a photo of her best friend everywhere she went. They’d taken the photo after their date on the boat. The boat was barely seen in the background, Elly had her arm around Chloe’s shoulder and Chloe was lightly pecking Elly on the cheek with a kiss. 

Elly smiled at the photo, at how happy she was in that moment, then sighed as she realized she didn’t feel anything more than that from it, “I don’t feel like nothing in the world would get in our way.” 

Guess that settles it…Chloe’s not my mate…stupid of me to think that these feelings I do have for Chloe could possibly mean more than that…not that I believe this whole…’mate’ thing… 

“It doesn’t work that way, y’know,” a voice piped up from the bedroom doorway. 

“Which one are you?” Elly glanced over at the brunette woman, ignoring her statement. 

The brunette smiled, “Raven. Tech wiz. You must be Elly.” 

Elly nodded, “What gave it away?” 

Raven tilted her head at the photo in Elly’s hand, “You don’t believe us when my mum and Lexa have told you you’re a werewolf but you’re testing out the ‘mate’ theory?” 

Elly shrugged, placing the photo back inside the purse without showing Raven whom it was of, “I knew it wouldn’t work…I already knew this wasn’t the person I can’t live without…just wanted confirmation so I can officially move on.” 

“A photo doesn’t tell you either way if that person is your mate or not, Elly. It only happens when you meet them or re-meet them in person. Everything about being around that person changes you. Watched my sister go through it with her girlfriend…it’s annoying how in love with each other they are. Trust me, being around thirty years, still waiting to meet my mate too. He or she will show eventually. I’m a tech wiz. If a photo is what would’ve done it, I’d have been spending my days scouring photos of the world to find him or her…none of us know who our mate will be, we’re very open that it could be anyone. So, as for that photo your holding…it’s not confirmation of anything…guess you won’t be moving on anytime soon,” Raven winked at her. 

“Oh,” Elly whispered, then scoffing as she glanced at her watch once more, “I have to…my best friend is getting married in a few minutes…it’s over…and I will move on.” 

Raven walked over to Elly, sitting on the edge of the bed next to her, “Missing your best friend’s wedding? No wonder Mum said you were anxious away from your family. Were you meant to be a bridesmaid?” 

Elly threw her purse back on the bedside table, “Don’t really have a choice but to miss it, do I? No, I wasn’t to be bridesmaid. The groom barely approved of me being at the Hen’s party last night, got two people to plan it whom…aren’t even attending the wedding.” 

“I feel like this involves a complicated story,” Raven teased. 

“Chloe. She’s my best friend. She loves…loved me. I’ve only ever being with men my whole romantic life. One thing led to another, we slept together before I got married to her brother. It was…the beginning of ending my marriage to him. I got pregnant to another guy. Chloe and I dated for…just over a week a few months ago. It ended cause I wasn’t getting there with my feelings for her. Plus, the baby…Chloe has a terminal disease…and she got swept off her feet by a guy who can give her the world…and now she’s getting married today. And I don’t know if I’m missing the wedding because…I’m stuck here with your family or because…I don’t want to watch my best friend marry someone else. Complicated enough for you?” Elly confessed, silently wondering why she was sharing so much with a stranger when she couldn’t even think about saying them to her own sister. 

“That’s complicated,” Raven assessed, throwing a smile at Elly. 

Raven then pulled out a phone from her pocket, handing it to Elly, “I shouldn’t be giving you this. It’s a new phone with all tracking and location apps switched off. I transferred all your phone files to my laptop and then to this phone so you can at least access the messages from your family and friends. Don’t…use it to call or message anyone. You can’t contact them until we know you have a handle on your new powers or you risk their safety. That’s an order.” 

Elly took the phone, “I don’t take orders.” 

“You do now. The order has come from my father, Romulus. He’s in charge of our Pack. He’s our Alpha. The first Alpha of his kind. You cross him, you won’t make it in this life,” Raven advised, “Y’know the wolf whom attacked you last night, he was…” 

Raven trailed off as Elly was distracted flicking on the new phone and wasn’t listening to her. 

Elly flicked past the notifications on the phone showing all the missed calls from her family, scrolling to her messages, skipping all the ones from Bea, Susan, Karl, Aaron etc and opened the single text message from Chloe. 

‘Elly, please tell me you’re safe. I’ll be thinking of you every moment of today.’ 

Elly’s eyes looked at the clock on the screen as it flicked over to 3pm. 

Except when you’re walking down the aisle to Pierce right now, Chlo. I’ve lost you. 

Elly then flicked through to the numerous messages from Bea, more than twenty of them, before looking back at Raven, “What makes you think I won’t use this phone to contact my family?” 

“Because whether you like it or not your life has changed,” Raven reminded her. 

Chloe’s at the altar marrying Pierce right now…oh she means the werewolf thing…why is everything about Chloe for you? 

“You have a responsibility to keep your family away from all this. If you defy my father and contact them before he gives you permission to…betrayal isn’t treated well amongst our kind. As I was trying to tell you earlier…the wolf whom attacked you was an Omega. A betrayer. He fell in love with his Alpha Pack’s mate, tried to come between them and kill his Alpha. My Dad was part of the hunting party to bring that wolf to his punishment. It’s not often other Packs get together to help each other but they do when they need to keep our secret from the rest of the world. Do you want to get the people you love in the middle of our world?” Raven asked quietly. 

“I don’t even believe this whole werewolf crock of shite,” Elly glared at her. 

Raven stared at Elly, “You can keep denying what’s happening to you but you know deep down something has changed. Your arm healed from a deep gash overnight. Your overly tired, that’s normal for the first few days, then you’ll be awake more hours than you can count soon. You haven’t had anything to eat since you’ve been here. Your trying to suppress your hunger. Your eyes take in more than they used to. And your hearing has improved dramatically. Close your eyes, what do you hear?”  

Elly put the phone to her side, closed her eyes and listened intently, “I hear…someone…screaming…” 

Raven rolled her eyes, “That’s my sister having sex with her girlfriend on the other side of the cabin…great hearing you got there. Get used to the sound of it. They’re annoyingly in love and all over each other, in case I forgot to mention it. Now, how about you come with me and we go quench that hunger of yours with an incredibly late lunch?” 

Elly blushed as she thought back to the naked woman, she’d met earlier that day, still able to admit to herself she found Chloe more attractive. Elly then looked down at her phone as a notification message came through from Bea. 

‘Chloe looked beautiful yet incredibly sad walking down the aisle, like she was looking for you everywhere. Her vows were hardly inspirational that she truly loves Pierce the way you said she loved you. We need you to come home, Elly.’ 

And like that…Chloe’s married. I’d say I need a drink but that wouldn’t be good for my baby…food will have to do. 

Elly threw her new phone on the bedside table, “Aside from my family, I don’t have any other reason to go home now. My family will be okay as long as I’m okay and I can go back to them soon. I know they’ll believe nothing bad has happened to me and I’ll be back when I can. Give me twenty minutes to have a shower and freshen up then we can go eat, okay?” 

Raven winked at the brunette, “I’ll be back here in twenty. I think you’re gonna fit in here with us, Elly.” 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Six 

Tuesday 10th December 2019 

Elly followed Raven around the back of the cabin to a small clearing where Abby was lying out on some sun chairs with a guy. Elly assumed he could only be her partner and the guy who supposedly rescued her from the wolf whom had attacked her the previous night, bringing her back here to live with his family – Romulus. 

Romulus was gruff looking, early to mid-50’s, a scruffy short beard, grey flecks through his hair that was shoulder length. He looked like he had a million and one stories he could tell her. 

As Elly walked over to them with their daughter, Raven, Elly could’ve sworn Romulus put his nose up in the air, sniffing, before looking over to her, “You’re shorter than I recall from last night.” 

“I’d say it’s good to see you again but I don’t remember you at all and to be honest I’m not sure if I should thank you for saving me last night when you’ve taken me from my family. Not to mention your family trying to sell me on this crock that you’re all a bunch of werewolves!” Elly couldn’t help but snap. 

Abby raised her eyebrow, before tilting her head at one of the chairs indicating for Elly to sit down, then at a huge platter of food on a bench next to the chair, “None of us believed at first, Elly, but you will come to accept what you are.” 

Elly sat down, unable to resist digging into a sandwich, “Sure, I will.” 

Raven laid down on another seat, “Elly’s best friend just got married without her being there and she was trying to figure out from a photo of her if she was her mate.” 

Elly glared at Raven, “I didn’t tell you all that so you could blurt it out to everyone.” 

“We don’t keep secrets in this family, Elly,” Romulus told her, his voice filled with authority, and Elly quickly felt like she knew that betraying him was against everything she could ever do. 

“I’m over Chloe and I'm straight. She was the only woman I had a fling with just to clear that up for you. If you want me to stay here ‘til tomorrow night when nothing will happen when the moon begins to rise then I want you to at least get a message to my family that I’m fine,” Elly requested, even though she wasn't sure she believed anything she had said about being over Chloe. 

"We can't risk anyone finding us out here," Romulus told her gruffly, "Especially not this close to the full moon starting tomorrow night for three nights. If we were to be forced to run now, you'll be putting other lives on the line. My family and I stay out here away from people for their own good. It's not just your own family at risk. Got it?" 

"Got it," Elly replied meekly, "Can I call them on the weekend...?" then off Romulus's glare, "I'll take that as a no." 

"Your life has changed, Elly, as you'll see for yourself tomorrow night. We're not saying you'll never be able to go back to your family, you will and you'll be able to move back to them to live with the understanding you will need to return to us each month the full moon cycle begins. But you can't do so until you can control the beast within. 'Til you can, our family will help you and your baby settle into a new life," Abby informed Elly. 

Elly finished off her sandwich, unable to resist taking a second one, “I can’t stay away from my family for very long. I have a baby on the way, he or she will need my family in their life.” 

“You will be able to go back to them, Elly, but for now you need to stay with us,” Romulus told her, his voice firm yet Elly didn’t feel any malice in him. 

“Let me guess,” Lexa interrupted them all, “Fresh Meat still doesn’t believe us and wants to run back to her family?” 

“I told you not to call me that,” Elly snapped at the woman. 

The blonde standing next to Lexa, holding her hand, Elly could only assume was Raven’s sister and Lexa’s girlfriend, Clarke, “Leave her alone, babe. You struggled to adapt being in our Pack as a human let alone when I finally turned you.” 

“Whatever. I still don’t see the need to have another member to our family. She’s a stranger, set Fresh Meat free or send her off to the other Pack’s tribe since it’s their fault their wolfie went out to attack people,” Lexa complained as she sat down on one of the chairs, wrapping the blonde into her arms. 

They look so comfortable together…Chloe and I could be like that…in a world where Chloe didn’t marry Pierce and you know how you feel about her… 

“Enough, Lexa. Elly stays with us. I’m not sending her out to hurt people or reveal our secret to the world. Our Pack is stronger when we’re united. It’s always been the downfall of other Packs. I won’t let that happen to us,” Romulus ordered sternly. 

Raven raised her eyes to the couple, “Didn't think we'd see either of you two 'til tomorrow evening.” 

Lexa rolled her eyes once more, something Elly was beginning to get used to, "Clarke wanted to meet Fresh Meat. You know me, my girl always gets what she wants." 

Elly pursed her lips at Lexa’s continual use of the nick name she’d been given by the tattooed brunette but stayed silent as she eyed the way the couple cuddled up to one another. 

I want that… 

“Ignore her,” Clarke voiced to Elly. 

The way Lexa’s sliding her hand up and down your lower back in comfort…? Oh, right…the nick name… 

“I’m Clarke,” Clarke introduced herself to Elly, “Raven’s slightly older sister, Lexa’s girl. It’s good to have another member of the Pack with us. We really are your friends here, Elly.” 

“I’d like to believe that but right now…there hasn’t been a single thing any of you have been able to prove to me that would make me think any of you are werewolves…let alone myself. And when I get back to my family, they are gonna find out what you’re really up to out here,” Elly declared. 

The family all stared at one another, knowing it wouldn’t be long before Elly believed them. 

“Eat up, Elly, hang out here to get to know us all, get a good nights’ rest tonight, take it easy tomorrow…then tomorrow night…you’ll finally see why we need you to stay with us,” Abby told Elly calmly. 

“Maybe give Fresh Meat ‘til the following morning considering it takes a year or so to build up the mental capacity to remember everything that happens once we transform,” Lexa reminded Abby. 

Abby nodded at Elly, “Lexa’s right, you won’t remember what will happen to you when the full moon has risen tomorrow night…but you’ll know you’ve transformed by the time the sun rises in its place.” 

Elly eyed the family suspiciously, wondering if there was any chance, they could be telling her the truth… 

The following afternoon with less than half an hour before sunset, Elly was standing with Abby and Clarke, "You seriously want to lock me in this cage and then leave me...a woman two weeks away from giving birth to her first child...all night long whilst your whole family...just disappears for the night?" 

"We're not disappearing, Elly...we're turning into werewolves and spending the night roaming free because we're capable of remembering every moment that we're wolves. For you it'll be like you're missing time...you'll change into a werewolf then it'll be tomorrow morning. It'll take you a year or so before you get to that point. We don't have anyone else to watch you. Even if we do remember our time being wolves, we couldn't do anything to look out for you...so we leave you here...and we'll be back in the morning to help you deal with your feelings about this," Clarke told Elly calmly. 

"There are two spare sets of clothes for you, one hanging out here which you can reach from inside the cage and a pair inside if you don’t damage them whilst in wolf-mode," Abby informed Elly as she pointed at them. 

"Why do I need spare clothes...? Oh, don't tell me you were serious that I have to be all...naked, nobody needs to see that when I'm heavily pregnant!" Elly screeched. 

"Nobody is going to see, Elly. We'll call out before we come back down to the bunker in the morning to make sure you've changed into the spare clothes. If you need help, don't be ashamed, I am a doctor, Elly, and I had two children, I've seen it all before," Abby reassured her. 

Elly stared at the steel bars that lined half the bunker, the door that had been created and that the entire cage with the steel bars welded professionally had been specially made and fit out in the bunker. Elly assumed Romulus had created it, wondering if it would hold a werewolf from escaping, then shaking her head at the thought that the supernatural even existed, "How am I to trust you will even come back for me and won't lock me in here for my baby and I to die of dehydration and starvation?" 

"Do we look like the type of monsters that would do that to you?" Clarke raised her eyebrow. 

"You're asking me to believe in monsters, how am I to know what you'd do to me and my baby?" Elly worried. 

"Werewolves aren't monsters, Elly, we’re just…creatures of the full moon cycle. There are those of our kind who want to hurt people like the one whom attacked you but not us. We sacrifice a lot to live how we live. The key to the cage door,” Abby then held up a key, gently testing it on the cage door to lock and unlock it in front of Elly, before walking over to the set of clothes hanging on a hook just outside the cage within reach of Elly and placing the key in the pocket of the pants, turning back to Elly, pleading softly, “Please…trust us." 

Elly thought for a moment, trusting that having the key to the cage to unlock it if she needed made her feel less worried, they would never return for her, before stepping inside the cage and locking the door behind her, “Better not dash off with that key now.” 

Abby escorted Clarke out of the bunker, turning back to Elly, “I’ll be back as soon as I can in the morning. I wish I could sit here with you to be here whilst you change but that wouldn’t do either of us any good as our wolves might clash with one another. Stay calm…and let the change happen, Elly.” 

Elly placed her hands against the steel bars, watching Abby and Clarke exit the bunker, shaking her head, “Nothing is going to happen tonight.” 

Half an hour later, Elly was pacing the bunker’s cage with her hand on her pregnant belly, wishing she had asked for a chair to sit on as she didn’t want to sit on the floor and not have anyone be able to help her get up ‘til the morning. Deciding to give it another ten minutes before she let herself out, Elly looked out a window in the cage that was clearly stationed on the ground outside as the bunker was half bedded into the ground. It had steel bars on it on either side, seemingly impossible to break out of. 

Elly watched as it looked like the sun was going down and she wondered how long it would be for the moon to rise so she could leave the cage when nothing happened. 

But a few moments later, Elly felt a pain shoot through her back, "Ow, what the hell was that?" 

Elly groaned as the pain shifted to the rest of her body. Holding out her right hand in front of her face, her left hand resting on her belly, Elly's eyes glanced back out of the window as she saw the sun had gone down as slowly darkness was filling its void.  

Elly's eyes widened more than they ever had in her life as she watched the hand before her contort and change as her fingernails extended until they were more like claws, then fur seemed to grow from it, covering her entire hand. 

"What the absolute fuck?" was all the mum-to-be could utter, as she held up her other hand to find it was the same. 

Before Elly could react any further, she found herself leaning backwards, then falling to the floor, landing not on her hands and feet. Elly landed on four paws instead. 

Elly arched her back upwards, like her body had completely forgotten she was heavily pregnant, she felt the dress she was wearing tearing at the seams. 

Then like magic, the rest of Elly's body transformed. 

Elly's shoulder-length brunette hair disappeared, replaced by fur all over her body and face. Her nose protruded outwards into a snout. A tail appeared out of nowhere behind her. Her pregnancy belly vanished but Elly didn't have time to worry if her baby had been hurt as her thoughts were no longer understandable to even herself. 

Elly growled loudly as she could no longer talk. 

Elly was no longer standing alone in a cage. 

A werewolf was standing on all fours in her place. 

WolfElly shook off the remains of the dress, bra and underwear Elly had been wearing, before howling loudly at the moon now visible in the window and launching herself at the door and walls of the cage, wanting nothing less but to escape and spend the night roaming free with the other werewolves she could hear howling in the distance. 

WolfElly spent the next couple hours pacing the cage, throwing her newly formed wolf body at all the walls and door of the cage, howling out in frustration at being trapped. Finally, WolfElly curled up on the floor, falling asleep for the rest of the night. 

Hours later, Elly awoke suddenly, blinking her eyes, feeling like her whole body was throbbing in a weird pain yet it was almost like she couldn’t feel it. Elly groaned then blushed heavily as she quickly realized she was curled up on the floor of the cage naked.  

Elly struggled for a moment before managing to haul her pregnant body up from the floor, then leaning against the steel bars, she dragged the clothes hanging outside of the cage down to her, but the key fell out of the pants pocket to the floor. 

Least it landed on my side of the steel bars, I’ll pick it up in a minute. 

Elly took her time dragging the maternity wear pants up her legs, balancing against the steel bars. Dragging the sweatshirt top over her head was easier but it still felt weird to be wearing clothes that weren’t hers and that she might have to tell the Pack dresses were easier for her to change into.  

Elly leant down to pick up the key from the floor but before she knew it, she was exhausted and instead curled back down on the floor, hoping help would come her way to release her from the cage and back to the house. 

Elly shivered as she laid on the floor, having changed into the clothes provided for her. She was breathing deeply, her entire body agitated, after her experience, all she could do was lay there, wondering what her future held for her and her baby. 

Elly looked up from where she laid as she heard the bunker door open and Abby stepped down the steps. 

Abby looked Elly over, calmly asking, “Believe us now?” 

Yes…I’m a werewolf…what the hell does this mean for the rest of my life? 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Seven 

Friday 13th March 2020 – Three Months Later 

“I’m home!” Elly squealed to an annoyed Lexa as the tattooed woman drove her pickup truck into Ramsay Street, Erinsborough. 

“So, this is the famous street…court? Smaller than I thought, Fresh Meat,” Lexa smirked with annoyance. 

“Ah, shush it, Lexa, I’m home and I’m happy to be here. My family are gonna flip the fuck out that I’m back. I still don’t even know how I’m going to explain to them my disappearance the past three months,” Elly admitted with agitation, shyly smiling now having gotten used to Lexa’s nick name for her. 

As Elly pointed to #28, Karl and Susan’s house, Lexa floored the pickup truck ‘til she parked it in front of the house on the street, “I’d say you should tell them the truth…you got attacked by a werewolf, you’re now a werewolf, you’ve spent the past three months and four full moon cycles with your new family of werewolves, getting used to controlling your inner wolf and now you believe you have so you’ve returned to your family to live with them again except for the nights of the full moon cycle where you’ll come back to our Pack to roam free those nights as wolves…or not…” 

“Definitely not, my family won’t know anything about the supernatural existing or the whole…werewolf thing. I’ll just take their questions as they come and figure out what to tell them. Probably just some shite that I needed time to myself, I wasn’t coping with the idea of being a single mum after Shaun’s death…such a pack of lies…I haven’t thought about Shaun since we had a memorial for him. I’m quite capable of raising my child on my own yet still need an excuse as to why I disappeared,” Elly decided, then sighed, “I should’ve brought Aster with me.” 

“The peanut will be fine with the Pack for a couple days ‘til you know you’re okay to be back with your family without losing control of your wolf powers. Clarke loves looking after Aster for you,” Lexa told Elly. 

“I know, I just really want my family to meet my baby girl. I trust Clarke and the rest of the Pack will keep her safe for me, it’s just a couple days…more days for Clarke to get clucky for a baby, aye, Lex,” Elly teased. 

Lexa glared at Elly, “You bring a baby into our family and all of a sudden my girlfriend wants me and her to have werewolf babies one day in the future. I hate you, Fresh Meat.” 

Elly winked at her in return, “No, you don’t. You secretly love the idea of having werewolf babies with Clarke one day. You just don’t want to admit it. I’ve seen the way you’ve stared at my baby girl. Aunty Lexa wants to know if Aster will be a werewolf like me one day and you want one of them for yourself.” 

“Maybe,” Lexa reluctantly admitted, before rolling her eyes, “Go on, go see your family and friends, have the happy reunion. I’m gonna stay out here for a lil bit just in case you need anything. I’m sure you’ll be fine being around your family with your powers under control now but it’s still such a huge change for you to be around people now. You need to make sure you don’t let on about your strength or how you’re eating habits have changed or your heightened abilities with your hearing and what not. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” 

“Yes, absolutely, I know the rules, can’t let anyone know what I truly am. I will do whatever I can to stop people from noticing. We planned this out properly, the last full moon cycle ended two nights ago. I have several weeks until the next one so I won’t turn back into a werewolf until then. I need to go back to the Pack to spend the full moon cycle with y’all, although obviously I’ll be back in a day or two for Aster just as soon as I know I’m safe here and my baby girl will be too,” Elly declared, then off Lexa’s look, “I’ll be fine, I’m past the agitated stage of the recent full moon cycle.” 

“What about the hungry and horny stage of those three days?” Lexa quipped. 

Elly licked her lips, “Yes, I’m past that too…’til next months’ cycle. At least you have Clarke to work out your stage with. Being single sucks…but I can cope with it for my lil girl. I’m not going to abandon her any more than I already do just to jump some guy cause I don’t want to be alone when I’m feeling really… I’m fine, I’m over it. I’m putting Aster first before my needs. That’s what mum’s do. But enough about all that. I’ve got a family to catch up with. I’ll text you if I need anything.” 

As Elly moved to get out of the truck, Lexa smiled at her, “I’ll be right out here for a lil bit, then I’ll go spend the rest of the day hanging out by the Waterhole or the Tram in case you need anything. You’ll be fine, Fresh Meat. Best of luck reuniting with your family.” 

“Thanks, Lex,” Elly grinned as she got out of the truck, taking a small bag of a few belongings with her, waving back to her friend, glad they’d managed to bond over the previous three months and strike up a bond between them.  

Elly stared around the quiet street, secretly glad her return hadn’t been spoiled to her family by some of their neighbours spotting her, before practically skipping up the pathway to the front door. Elly pulled out her house keys from her bag but wasn’t surprised to find the door unlocked. Elly smiled knowing one of her family members must be home. 

“Hello,” Elly called out seeing the living area of the house empty, half-expecting Bea or Susan to come running out of the bedrooms to throw their arms around her in shock at knowing she was back. 

But no one came running, so Elly called out again, “Anyone home? I’m back!” 

Still no one responded to her calls. Elly wandered around the house for several minutes, still not finding any of her family around the place. As Elly returned back to the dining room, she pulled out her phone, the new one Raven had given her, about to dial Bea’s number when she suddenly heard a noise that sounded like it was coming from the backyard. 

Putting the phone back in her pocket, Elly skipped to the back door, opening it quietly and walking outside. Of course, anyone out there wasn’t going to hear Elly coming. She’d gotten the hang of walking silently without anyone knowing she was there. It was an art that annoyed Raven and Clarke the most. 

Elly was surprised when she saw the only person in the backyard was Finn. 

Oh…I’d almost forgotten about Finn and that he was living here…guess Finn and Bea are still together…well as long as Bea’s happy… 

Elly was about to announce her presence to Finn, whom was facing away from her, when the smile she had on her face fell sharply and she froze as she overheard him. 

Finn was standing there in the backyard, holding his phone up in the air, recording a video of himself, “I got my memories back…all of them…I remember it all.” 

Elly’s eyes widened at Finn’s confession. 

“I know who I am, I know what I did,” Finn revealed darkly, “It started off as just one memory…Bea she started getting all upset about Elly’s disappearance again, she wouldn’t shut up about her and talking about how Elly would’ve wanted to have a naming ceremony for the baby and that she would’ve done that by now if she and the baby were still here with us…I kissed Elly…it was a flash from the past…I remember kissing Elly.” 

Elly swallowed hard at the knowledge a memory of herself had triggered Finn’s memories. 

“It was just that one flash then over the past few days…more came back…about Elly…about my past…then over the past few days they came flooding back. Nobody knows…how can I tell anyone? They’ll look at me like I’m a monster…I am now,” Finn rambled to himself. 

Finn doesn’t know anything…I’m a monster…he’s just an unhinged man. 

“But I know one thing…I love Elly,” Finn confessed. 

Elly felt disgusted at the thought. 

“I love her…I never stopped. Elly was the reason for everything I did…I wanted to hate her but deep down I loved her instead…it was always Elly. Now that I have my memories back…I know what I need to do,” Finn told himself. 

Break up with Bea so you don’t hurt my sister? 

“I need to find Elly,” Finn answered Elly’s question without even knowing she was there, “Elly went missing, the baby would be three months old. I need to find them both. I need to be a family with them. Elly will love me. My niece or nephew will love me like a father. We’re going to be together.” 

Elly silently shook her head at the mere thought of Finn wanting to be with her and be a father to Aster, even if he had still been good Finn without the memories of his dark past. 

“But Elly would never accept that,” Finn said, not seeing Elly nodding in agreement, “Neither would Bea. How could I do that to them? Elly wouldn’t want to be with me knowing it would hurt her sister and Bea wouldn’t be able to stand the idea of Elly and I being a family with the baby…so there’s only one thing I can do…Bea’s the person in the way of Elly and I being together…I have to eliminate Bea.” 

Elly’s eyes continued to widen at the darkness Finn was revealing, worried about what would’ve happened had she not returned home to find Finn in this state so she could warn her family from him. 

“I’ve worked out exactly how to do it…no one will suspect it was me,” Finn chuckled to himself, “We’re going to Pierce’s island…” 

Pierce has an island…? Course he fucking does! 

“I’m scanned the map of the island. I’ve spoken to Harry. I visited the storage locker where all my old belongings are. I’ve got equipment in there to build a bomb but I don’t want people to suspect I hurt Bea. There’s a mine shift in the middle of the island. I’m gonna lead Bea out there…I’m gonna send her down the mine shaft…it’ll look like Bea tried to kill herself after being so distraught the past few months over Elly’s disappearance,” Finn suggested as he smiled into the phone camera. 

Elly curled her hands into fists, the anger in her brewing at the idea that Finn would murder her little sister and make it look like it was a suicide in order to win her back in some crazy fantasy of his. Elly still didn’t believe in the werewolves’ tales of mates but she was glad knowing she would never fall for this psychopathic man whom was threatening to kill her sister. 

But as Elly was almost about to announce her presence to Finn, to use her strength to drag him down and hold him hostage until she could call for help, Elly felt the darkness in Finn growing even more as he continued talking to himself. 

Finn raised his phone as he ranted to the recording, "Bea's not the only one in the way of me finding and reuniting with Elly. Chloe's in my way too." 

Elly's ears perked up at the mention of her best friend. 

Why would Chloe be in Finn's way? 

"This whole glamping trip to Pierce's island that Chloe has planned for a bunch of the Ramsay Street residents...it's all for Elly!" Finn revealed, "To honour what would've been Elly's 35th Birthday...who does that? Plans a trip away with her dumb dumb husband and friends to honour her bestie whom she misses? How blind can Pierce be? Chloe's doing all this so she can have a chance to go out to this island, find a way to spend time away from Pierce to grieve for Elly cause she can't do it with him following her around everywhere. Who does that for someone who is just a friend? Nobody. Chloe might've married Pierce quick smart rushing down the aisle to secure her future but Chloe...still loves Elly." 

She does...? Do I want her to still love me...? 

"Chloe will never get over Elly, she'll love her no matter what. I can't have someone like that around if I become a family with Elly. It'll be worse than Bea not coping with it," Finn ranted, then stared into the phone camera, "I have to kill Chloe." 

Elly gritted her teeth, her hands curled into fists as her fingernails dug into her own skin as her anger took hold. 

Nobody hurts Chloe! 

Before Elly could have another thought, her anger at the idea of Finn killing Chloe and Bea consumed her with a rage she’d never experienced before. Elly glanced up at the sky, seeing the sun blaring back at her. But that didn’t stop what happened next cause despite the lack of the full moon cycle anywhere near them, Elly found herself transforming into her wolf formation. 

But this wasn’t a regular transformation into her wolfy being standing on four legs. 

Elly found herself changing into a wolf whom stood two meters tall on two legs, her teeth and claws more dangerous than normal, her eyes swirling as pools of bright red engulfed them. 

“I’m going to kill Bea and Chloe before I can win Elly back,” Finn declared with all the assurance he could muster, before he suddenly froze as he saw something behind him in the phone camera. 

Lifting the phone camera up to focus on what was behind him, Finn couldn’t even turn around as he saw what was reflected in his phone camera. 

WolfElly howled loudly at the sky. Finn let out a scream before the wolf leapt at Finn, attacking him and tossing Finn to the ground in a total loss of control as the wolf had taken over the moment Elly realized she couldn’t contemplate him hurting those she loved… 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry in Darkness

Chapter Eight 

Friday 13th March 2020 

Elly groaned as she re-opened her eyes, then blinked wildly as she took in her surroundings.  

Where am I?  

Elly soon realized she was lying in the backyard of the Kennedy’s house.  

And she was naked.  

Elly had transformed into wolf formation but it had been different to the previous times she’d turned into a werewolf. She’d been upright on her two back legs, grown taller, her teeth and claws more vicious and her eyes blood red.  

But Elly didn’t have time to think about what she’d become when she realized what she’d done because of it was horrendous.  

Finn had gotten his memories back, threatened to kill Bea and Chloe before he attempted to track Elly down to be a family with her and Aster.  

Elly hadn’t taken to Finn’s threats lightly. She’d lost all control and without the full moon in the sky, Elly had found a way to shift into a werewolf, attacking Finn in the process.  

Elly had killed him.  

Finn laid dead in the Kennedy’s backyard.  

Elly wanted to throw up as she stared at his vacant eyes in front of her but she resisted the urge.  

What the hell have I done? He threatened to kill Chloe and Bea…I had reason to lose control… I’m a monster…a killer…  

Elly slowly rose to her feet. She glanced down at her body, naked, splotches of blood across her arms, legs and chest. Elly glanced away from Finn’s body lying on the ground, claw marks at his neck telling Elly how he’d being killed by her. Elly ran her hands over her face, unable to believe what she’d done.  

Panicking, Elly wanted to run away from Erinsborough and never return after what she’d done but she was so torn as she’d been desperate to get back to her family to be part of their lives again.  

Have I ruined any chance to be with my family and see my friends again?   

Am I nothing but a monster whom can’t be around humans anymore?  

Noticing that there was laundry hanging on the line, Elly quickly recognized some of Bea’s clothes and swiped some undies, jeans and a top that didn’t suit her at all but would have to do. Elly quickly changed into the clothes, picking up her own ripped apart clothes lying on the ground.  

Leaving Finn’s body where it was, Elly made a run for it back to the front of the house, hoping Lexa was still waiting for her in case she needed help.  

Coming to terms with murdering her ex-boyfriend and sister’s current boyfriend wasn’t the type of help Elly had ever expected to need Lexa’s help with.  

Lexa smelt the blood as soon as Elly rushed back outside, let alone seeing the state she was in. Lexa quickly hopped out of the pickup truck, “What happened?”  

Elly could barely make out the words, “He was going to kill them…I stopped him…I had to…right?”  

“Show me,” Lexa directed, realizing immediately Elly was panicking and the last thing they needed was for their kind to be discovered. She had to help Elly cover this up, whatever she’d done.  

Elly led Lexa through the house to the backyard, her mind racing over why she’d lost control and killed him and if she could ever make this right. She knew she wasn’t ever going to be able to confess to killing Finn. Serving time in prison wasn’t an option when her life as a werewolf would be discovered as soon as the night before the full moon began.  

Or now that she knew she could shift into werewolf formation without the full moon cycle if she was angry enough, would that mean she could never entertain the thought of having a normal life outside of 3 days every month?  

As they reached the backyard, Lexa didn’t flinch at seeing Finn’s dead body lying on the ground, his blood splattered mostly on his clothes, if not over Elly which Lexa could still see underneath the clothes Elly had changed into.  

“I didn’t mean to…he wanted to kill them…Bea and…Chloe…he was recording himself on his phone…saying all these things that he wanted to find me…they were in his way…I lost control and I turned… I didn’t know I could without the full moon,” Elly tried explaining as she gasped for air.  

Lexa placed her hand on Elly’s back, “We’ll deal with this. We’ll get you back home to the Pack and make sure no one finds out about you…us…what’s happened here?”  

“How? People can’t find out about me…what we are…what I did. They’ll never forgive me,” Elly spluttered.  

Lexa pointed to some bed sheets hanging on the clothes line, “Grab them.”  

“I can’t steal Suze and Karl’s expensive bed sheets…” Elly started saying before shaking her head, “They’ll forgive me one day. I can’t have them find out what I am or what I did to Finn.”  

Elly pulled the sheets from the clothes line, handing them to Lexa. With Elly’s help, the pair, placed them on the ground and wrapped Finn’s body on to the sheets. Using her strength, Lexa dragged the dead body onto her shoulder, “Keep a look out for me…we need to get him into the back of the truck without anyone seeing us. I’ll come back here to do what I can to clean up the scene.”  

Elly glanced around at the area, still fighting the urge to throw up, then saw Finn’s phone lying on the ground. Picking it up she looked at Lexa, scared of what she’d done, “Do I leave this…? It’s proof that Finn was a bad guy and wanted to kill my sister. She can move on from him without ever thinking that he was worthy of her loving him.”  

“Is there anything incriminating on it that you were here?” Lexa asked.  

“Maybe…” Elly answered, unsure of exactly what had happened after she’d turned into the wolf formation, “Can you edit the video he was taking if there is?”  

“I ain’t Raven,” Lexa pointed out, “Bring it with us, better to be safe than sorry. I know you don’t want your family knowing what you did but if they find out about what you are…they’ll be in danger.”  

Elly nodded slowly, after months of dreaming about returning home to her family and friends to reunite with them and introduce her baby daughter to them once she knew it was safe, instead she had created a nightmare for herself, wondering if she could ever move past the guilt of murdering Finn in order to come back to her family.  

Elly pocketed Finn’s phone, then quietly led Lexa back through the house. As they reached the front door, Elly glanced around nervously for a moment, praying no one would see them. When it appeared the street was as quiet as when they arrived, Lexa and Elly rushed out of the house to the pickup truck quick as a flash.  

Lexa dragged Finn’s body into the truck’s ute, covering it up with some tarp lying there unused, before turning back to Elly, and handing her the keys to the truck, “You stay here, I’ll be two minutes. If anyone sees you, you take off, do you hear me? You get the hell out of here, you don’t talk to anyone even if it’s your family who sees you. Drive to the Waterhole, park as far away from the entrance as possible. I’ll meet you there.”  

Elly didn’t hesitate to jump in the drivers’ seat of the pickup truck, watching on as Lexa disappeared back into the house. Elly sat there with her head between her hands, feeling utterly sick that she had murdered someone. Even if it was because Finn was threatening to fake a suicide for Bea and murder Chloe so he could get her back.  

What have I done? What is Aster going to think of me if she ever finds out? I’m a killer, I’m too dangerous to be around my family and…is that Chloe?  

Elly’s terror was interrupted as she overheard her best friend.  

Elly got out of the truck, looking over at #24, the house Chloe had moved into with Pierce right after they got engaged.  

Married…Chloe’s married now…to Pierce… Would Pierce have had it in him to kill Finn if he knew Finn wanted to kill Chloe? He wouldn’t…he’s not a monster like me…  

Elly focused her hearing on the house, able to hear the couple even though she was standing outside the street from her Aunt and Uncle’s house across the road.  

“I’m not in the mood, Pierce,” Chloe told her husband.  

“I left the office for the day cause I am, get in the mood, Chloe. I’m your husband, I want to be with you,” Pierce insisted.  

Oh God…he’s just a different kind of monster…is he seriously telling Chloe she needs to have sex with him just because he’s in the mood to? Why is Chloe even home on a workday when she should be at the hotel…? First question way more important.  

“Please, Pierce, can we wait until tonight? I’m supposed to pick up the kids from school soon,” Chloe pleaded.  

The kids? I hope she means Hendrix and Harlow and I haven’t just skipped more than three months of Chloe’s life as the idea of Chloe having kids with Pierce makes me sick.  

“Hey, let’s go,” Lexa announced, breaking Elly’s concentration to hear Chloe and Pierce’s conversation, then as she watched the way Elly continued staring at the house across the road like she was trying to hear something, “Oi, did you hear me? We gotta go. What are you doing out of the truck?”  

“I have to see my friend,” Elly asserted.  

Lexa moved in front of Elly, placing her hand to Elly’s chest, “The hell you are. If you haven’t been spotted here by anyone, we need to get you far away from this place. They don’t know you came back, if they knew, they will link you to this guy’s disappearance and perhaps work out you killed him. Then you won’t ever be able to come back here and see your family. You will be on the run for the rest of your life, do you hear me?”  

Elly growled at Lexa, “Her husband is arguing with her to have sex with him when she doesn’t want to and is trying to put him off ‘til this evening. I’m not leaving Chloe in that situation.”  

“Chloe,” Lexa repeated gently, before pushing Elly back again, “You can’t do this. I know she’s your best friend and maybe there was something more between the pair of you but you cannot go to her rescue. You need to trust your friend is not in as bad a situation as you think it is. Her husband isn’t going to force her to sleep with him. If he came close, you need to trust Chloe will kick him in the nads. You cannot help her. Not only will you alert people that you’ve returned on the day Finn went missing but the rage you are feeling…you will kill her husband. You’ve already lost control a few minutes ago and killed, do you want to do that again?”  

Elly struggled with being unable to concentrate on Chloe’s voice so she could hear what was going on between her and Pierce and knowing she probably would tear Pierce apart if she thought he really would force Chloe into their bed, “I’m a monster, may as well act like it to protect her.”  

“That is not protecting Chloe. You think she’s gonna thank you if you go in there and kill her husband? Let alone turn into a monster in front of her? She will never forgive you. You might even turn on Chloe and kill her. Do you want to put Chloe more at risk by being around you when you’re a werewolf?" Lexa asked. 

Elly was even more terrified at the thought of hurting Chloe herself, "I won't hurt Chloe...I couldn't." 

"You don't know that. You will not get your life back ever if you do this. Do you want to do that to Aster?” Lexa demanded.  

Elly finally looked away from Chloe’s house at the mention of her daughter.  

“You need to think of Aster right now. Anything you do now affects her, it already has. Do you want to risk losing your baby girl? Cause that’s what your risking if you go in that house and people know your back when a missing person occurs at the same time,” Lexa threatened, “Is Chloe worth that when she could be perfectly fine and having a normal argument with her husband?”  

Yes…maybe…no…I’m a mum, nobody should come before my lil girl, right? I’ve already potentially destroyed her life if anyone finds out what I’ve done…I need to put Aster first…I need to trust Chloe will be fine…that Pierce could never be close to the kind of monster like I am.  

“Fine,” Elly snapped at Lexa, taking her eyes off Chloe’s house and storming back to the pickup truck, getting into the passengers’ seat.  

Lexa checked the back of the ute once more that the body wouldn’t be spotted by anyone driving past before joining Elly in the truck, “You will be okay, Elly.”  

First time Lexa’s called me by my first name…  

“I just killed a person, I’m not going to be okay,” Elly put her face in her hands, “I really am a monster. I’m worse than Finn, he was only threatening to kill, I actually did it.”  

“No, you lost control. Let’s get the body back to the cabin. We’ll bury it there and work out how to help you,” Lexa decided as she started the truck and gently hit the accelerator.  

Elly felt tears welling up in her eyes as she looked back at her home, wondering if she would ever be able to return home to her family and friends or if killing Finn for wanting to kill her sister and ex-girlfriend was enough to destroy that dream…  

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Nine 

Friday 13th March 2020 

“You doing okay?” Lexa asked as she watched Elly quietly.  

Elly stood next to the hardened woman whom had just buried Finn’s body for her out on the land in the woods they owned near the cabin, “No…I didn’t know I was capable of this.”  

“It wasn’t you, Fresh Meat, when the wolf takes over, we lose our way. Even when we remember after we transform, we don’t have full control all the time. Finn provoked something in you to protect the people he was threatening. You will get through this…the guilt your feeling,” Lexa insisted.  

“I doubt that,” Elly whispered, “Did you tell the rest of the Pack what I did?”  

Lexa glanced at Elly as they stood by the makeshift grave, “Yes, they know. We don’t judge here. This…family we’ve built up here, we protect one another. None of us judge you for what you did today. You’re not the only werewolf to have killed…we’ve all lost control and done so…except Raven. She’s too nice to everyone to ever lose control of her annoyingly upbeat outlook on everything in life.”  

“You’ve…all killed a person before…?” Elly was shocked.  

Lexa nodded, “Romulus has been in dozens of wars over his thousands of years. As you know, nowadays he occasionally goes after the worst criminals who have escaped the justice system. Abby’s a surgeon…she knows when sometimes…a person is in pain and relieves them from it rather than let them suffer for months on end. She’s only done it two or three times, it’s not her agenda to not heal people. Clarke…it was like you…when she was a young wolf, not in control of the beast…a man was threatening Raven…she lashed out at him to stop it.”  

“What about you?” Elly asked.  

“I killed a rapist,” Lexa revealed darkly, “I dropped out of school at thirteen after…a teacher at the school raped the school nurse and I walked in on it…the nurse didn’t want to press charges…no one believed me but I know what I saw. I bounced around the foster care system for years cause I couldn’t trust men after that…and women incapable of seeking justice for their trauma. Then I met Clarke and things were good for a while…okay they’ve always being good between us, she’s my mate. I love her ‘til the end of the world…but not long after she turned me…we went out for a night on the town…a normal night, no full moon. We ran into the rapist in an alley behind the clubs…and before Clarke could talk me down, I transformed and I killed him…and I don’t regret what I did.”  

“Because of the trauma he caused your entire life after you saw him…sexually assault the nurse,” Elly realized.  

“Yes, he ruined my life…yet when I think about it…would I have met Clarke without going through all that…years of bouncing around different foster homes, unable to trust people, refusing to go to school?” Lexa wondered.  

Elly shrugged, "Probably not though the way you lot go on about the whole werewolves and their mates thing, you likely would've at some stage." 

Lexa smirked, "You sound like you still don't believe us just because you haven't come across yours yet. You will and that overwhelming feeling that they are the only person in the world you will ever want to be with will slap you down." 

"I doubt that," Elly replied, still disbelieving she could ever find someone to love like that, let alone to love her when she stoically believed she was a monster, "Besides it's not exactly high on my priorities. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to see my family again after what I did. I've spent the last three months out here just waiting to be able to go back to them. I had my daughter here; they don't even know I have a baby girl yet. Who knows what they actually think happened to me? From some of the things Finn said Bea's devastated over my disappearance. It was a mistake to ever think I could go back to them and pretend to live a normal life." 

Lexa folded her arms in front of her chest, "It wasn't a mistake, Fresh Meat. I mean, yeah, maybe we sent you home too early before you had gained control of your wolf but none of us could've predicted you been faced with your sister's boyfriend plotting the deaths of her and Chloe. You could've spent a year or two here working on controlling the inner beast only to be faced with that or having returned to the aftermath of them being killed and not knowing who'd murdered them. You did save their lives." 

"Destroyed my own in the process, probably Aster's too," Elly replied sadly, "What do I do now? Will I ever get to go back to my family when I know if I lose control I can still turn into a werewolf?" 

Lexa chewed on her lip as she stared at the grave in front of them, “We’ll see what Abby and Romulus suggest but I think maybe you’ll need to stay with us a while longer until you’re sure that you can control any anger you do feel.” 

“I don’t know if I can stay away from my family even though I’m terrified of hurting them if I can’t control the wolf. How long could I be away from them now?” Elly worried. 

“I’m not sure, it might be a while,” Lexa admitted, “We can check in on your family to make sure they’re doing okay.” 

Elly raised her eyebrow, “You mean, like you already have been?” 

“Busted,” Lexa smiled gently, “How long have you known Clarke and I have been hanging out in Erinsborough to check in on your family?” 

“I had a feeling you were and when you talked about hanging out at the Waterhole or Tram until you knew I’d be okay,” Elly pointed out. 

“We just go out there every few weeks, hang out at those places, pretend to be visiting, speak to the locals, get the low down on the goings on with the local area. We swiped a look of the photos you carry in your purse of your family and… We’ve managed to each be at the Waterhole when your family has been there for a meal. They clearly miss you, Fresh Meat,” Lexa revealed, “I bumped into Chloe the last time I was at the Tram…she’s cute.” 

“I don’t want to talk about Chloe,” Elly suddenly snapped at the mention of the blonde, feeling an air of disappointment that hearing Chloe's voice for the first time in months hadn't invoked any strong feelings in her, having wondered for months if there could still ever be more between them.  

Lexa gave Elly a questioning look then shrugged, “We should get you back to Aster. She needs her mum.” 

Elly nodded, turning around to head back to the cabin, still wondering if she’d ever see her friends and family again. 

Nearly Four Years Later 

Monday 18th November 2024  

Pierce smiled at Chloe across the room as she walked into the kitchen from their bedroom, "Good morning, beautiful. You're up late." 

"Slept in," Chloe shrugged as she opened the pantry drawer looking for breakfast then had to stop herself from shuddering as Pierce glided over to her, wrapping his arms around her waist, "Thought you'd have left for work by now." 

"I was just about to head out the door," Pierce replied, pressing his lips to Chloe's, "What are your plans for the day, my love?" 

Chloe felt an annoyance at being stopped from getting her breakfast, politely placing her hands on Pierce's arms, "Missed my run this morning but I'll go for my run after I take the kids to school. Might do some painting when I get back, then when I get the kids from school they'll be here as usual trying to tear the house apart keeping me busy. I'll get them back to Aaron and Mark's before you get home this evening." 

"Those kids are terrors. I love having them around but you have more patience then I do. They love their Aunty Chloe. I love your brothers and David and Paige but their lax parenting to keep their kids under control is a pain. Our children will be raised differently," Pierce insisted, "Any chance we can try again tonight?" 

Chloe smiled up at Pierce, wondering if the smile on her face looked real, "My family don't have lax parenting skills, Pierce. The four of them having full time jobs whilst living together with four kids under 10 is what's done it. The kids tire them all out. Not tonight. We're taking a break from trying, remember?" 

Pierce sighed, "Right...put less pressure on ourselves for being unable to have a baby...yet. A few more weeks off to relax from the disappointment of it not happening for us and then we'll start trying again?" 

"Exactly," Chloe agreed, though wondered if she really did, "Enjoy your day at work." 

"Do you want to stop by the hotel for lunch?" Pierce asked before informing Chloe, "Rene dropped by a few moments ago to deliver our lunches and dinners for the day, bring yours with you. He's going to do a grocery run for us today and will drop off the supplies later today if you'll be home. Text him if there's anything you want him to buy or cook up for tomorrow's meals." 

Chloe nodded up at him, wondering if she was more annoyed that her husband always seemed to want to remind her how their personal chef worked or that they had one in the first place and she hadn't had a meal Rene hadn't cooked or sourced the food for in years, "Sounds great, I'll text you when I know what time I'll be able to stop by." 

"I love you," Pierce beamed as he kissed his wife once more. 

"You too," Chloe replied back, as she removed herself from his grasp and watched her husband leave their house for the day. 

Once he was out the door, Chloe relaxed away from his presence, "Another day...nothing ever changes...should've just gotten up and finished my run by now...why didn't I?" 

Two hours later, Chloe's feet pounded the pavement as her run led her back to Ramsay Street. As soon as she entered the street her run came to a halt quicker than it normally did where she would usually run to the edge of her driveway to finish up her exercise run. Chloe had spotted an expensive looking Maserati parked in front of the Kennedy's house. 

Who do the Kennedy's know who has the kind of money for a car like that? It looks better than Pierce's car. 

Chloe slowly walked past Paul and Terese's house, approaching her own but was mesmerized by the sight of this unexpected car sitting in front of her neighbours’ house and wondered how slow she could walk without looking like she was waiting to find out who the car belonged to. 

Chloe didn't have to wait long and was more than mesmerized when the driver of the car opened the car's door and stepped out onto the footpath. 

With her brunette hair flowing down past her shoulder blades, dark pants, leather boots and black leather jacket, Chloe's jaw dropped as she recognized the woman she hadn't seen in years. 

Elly? 

Am I drooling…? Yes, I’m drooling cause…wow! Elly… 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Ten 

Monday 18th November 2024   

Chloe wandered over to the woman who had just gotten out of the sports car parked in front of the Kennedy's house, terrified she was dreaming or hallucinating that it was her best friend and the woman she'd fallen madly in love with years ago, "Elly?" 

As soon as Elly heard Chloe’s voice behind her, her back stiffened up and she felt every hair on her arms stand up. She hadn’t been expecting to bump into Chloe so soon, she’d barely gotten out of her car. But here she was behind her, she had to face her, having disappeared from her life nearly four years ago. 

Elly closed the driver’s car door, then swung around to Chloe, but she wasn’t expecting the feelings invoked in her at the mere presence of the blonde. 

Before Elly could react to it, she felt like she’d been thrown to the ground as her feelings for Chloe hit her like a brick. A large wall full of bricks and every single one battered her.

Every inch of Elly’s body was humming as she felt Chloe’s eyes roam across her, knowing Chloe was trying to process her being back. 

Then before she knew it, Elly was almost thrown to the ground as Chloe all but tackled her into a hug. Elly had to use all her strength to stay upright and to stop Chloe falling to the ground too. All her strength just happened to be a lot more than your average person, that’s how strong Chloe was hugging her. 

As Chloe’s arms enveloped Elly’s body tightly and she buried her face into the crook of Elly’s neck, Elly felt emotions she didn’t know she was capable of. Everything about Chloe was heightening as she had her in her arms. 

The feel of her skin against hers, the smell of her hair, the sound of Chloe’s heart beating slowly. Time was slowing down and Elly didn’t want to let the blonde go. Ever. 

But as much as she wanted to hold Chloe in her arms forever, Elly eventually lifted her right hand, stroking it through Chloe’s blonde ponytail, and moving some threads of her hair out of her face, then pulled Chloe back to stare deep into her eyes, “Hi, Chloe.” 

Elly’s eyes flicked down to Chloe’s lips. 

Kissable… 

“How?” Chloe managed to mumble out. 

“I’m home, Chloe, back where I belong,” Elly replied quietly. 

In your arms, staring at your lips, wanting to kiss you…where the hell has this feeling for Chloe come from? It’s been years since we dated…didn’t even date much longer than a week. 

“But you went missing and we thought you were…you’re here? How?” Chloe asked, staring up at the brunette, unable to ignore the feeling that Elly didn’t look like she’d aged a day since she’d gone away. 

Whereas, Chloe felt she herself had aged more than her thirty-four years suggested. Years since Elly disappeared after her Hen’s party, Chloe had spent worrying about her best friend, worrying about if she’d made the right decision to marry Pierce, that him wanting to start a family with her was the right decision for them. 

“I have so much to explain about where I’ve been, Chlo,” Elly whispered, her eyes focusing on every little detail about Chloe’s face, taking in every inch of her, “But I need to see my family first…explain it to them…is that okay?” 

Chloe nodded gently, “Right…yes, you should see your family.” 

Elly’s skin still felt like it was dancing around on every millimeter of her that had Chloe’s skin to hers, “I will explain it to you. I’ll find you tomorrow…we’ll catch up…on everything. I should spend the day with my family.” 

“You’ve missed a lot,” Chloe whispered. 

“I’m so sorry about that. It’s really good to see you, Chloe,” Elly admitted. 

See you, hear you, hold you in my arms, never want to let you go, kiss you…what the hell is this? There’s always been something between us but this feels…so much more…like nothing in the world can keep us apart… 

“Mama,” came a quiet voice unexpectedly from the car, breaking Chloe and Elly from being unable to let each other go. 

“I’ll get you in a moment, kiddo,” Elly called out. 

Chloe stared into the back seat of Elly’s car, “Is that…?” 

Elly reluctantly let her arms fall from Chloe as she reached over to the car door opening it, “This is Aster.” 

Chloe’s jaw dropped as she stared at the young girl, “You had a girl?” 

“Mum, can I get out of the car? I had too much to drink,” Aster admitted as she eyed the blonde her mum had been hugging. 

“And now you need the bathroom after I suggested you go before we left but you didn’t listen to your mum? Sound about right, my girl?” Elly asked teasingly, as she leaned over to reach into the car to unlock Aster from her car seat. 

“Yes, mum,” Aster admitted, then pointed at Chloe, “Can she get me?” 

Elly paused halfway leaning into the car to look back at Chloe, “It’s okay with me if…” 

Well I was enjoying the view of Elly leaning…but I can lean… 

“Sure, of course,” Chloe replied, surprised the young girl had asked her to get her out of the car. 

Chloe waited ‘til Elly had shifted back to allow her room to lean into the car. 

Damn…Chloe can keep running with how good her legs look in those tight shorts… 

Chloe unclipped the car seats straps and before she knew it, Aster had sat out of the seat and curled her arms around Chloe’s shoulders. Chloe shifted back out of the car, with Aster wrapped to her left hip and her arms around her shoulders. 

Chloe stared down at the young girl in her arms, “Hi, I’m--” 

“Chloe?” Aster answered, unafraid to interrupt the blonde, “Mum talks about you all the time.” 

Elly blushed at Chloe, “Well, not…all the time.” 

Chloe smiled at their words, gazing back down at the young girl, admiring her light brunette hair that was tied up in two even plaits, “You’re exactly how I pictured you, Aster. I can’t believe how big you are. You’re…nearly four years old.” 

Elly observed Chloe nearly quiver at those last words. 

No matter what I tell Chloe, she’ll never quite understand why I had to go away for so long. 

Aster suddenly reached out her left arm to Elly. Elly stepped towards her daughter and Chloe, assuming Aster wanted to crawl into her arms, but instead Aster just wrapped her arm around Elly’s shoulders, pulling the three of them close together. 

Chloe smiled up at Elly, “Aster’s perfect, Elly. I don’t know what you’ve been through but…you two look like you’ve looked after one another.” 

“We have, Aster got me through a lot,” Elly admitted, then without realizing it she placed her free hand to Chloe’s hip, her fingers grazing against Chloe’s skin where shirt had ridden up. 

“I’m glad, you two are perfect together,” Chloe replied, unaffected by the way Elly was holding her. 

The three of us are perfect together…this…I want this. Chloe and I. With Aster. I want the three of us…I want this more than anything like nothing in the world could possibly stop Chloe, Aster and I from having this…being a family…loving each other… 

The fucking rings! 

Elly tried to hide the fact she swallowed hard as she noticed Chloe’s wedding ring on her fingers as she shifted her hand against Aster. 

You knew Chloe was still married…cause of course she is! As if Chloe would leave Pierce when he’s her security blanket for her Huntington’s…is he the one thing in the world who can stop this…? Chloe, Aster and I being a family…? 

Elly cleared her throat, her mind and feelings mixed with so much confusion over how she felt about Chloe that she hadn’t expected to have upon seeing her again after so long, “I gotta get Aster inside to the bathroom and to see my family.” 

Chloe nodded at Elly, even though she didn’t want to let the pair of them go, “You go do the mum thing with your gorgeous girl and then see your family. They’ll be beside themselves when they see you. I’ll see you tomorrow, right?” 

“I’ll find you tomorrow sometime,” Elly agreed, squeezing Chloe’s hip before gently allowing Chloe to slip Aster from her hip and onto Elly’s. 

Chloe stepped back from the pair, the smile on her face wide and glowing, “I can’t wait.” 

Elly watched as Chloe turned around and practically skipped away from them over to #24 and up the driveway. It almost pained Elly to be apart from Chloe after holding her in her arms. 

Chloe makes me feel like… 

“Muma, your eyes are golden,” Aster giggled up her mum. 

“What? My eyes are not golden,” Elly nearly frowned at her daughter, then glanced at herself in the window of the car, shocked to see her eyes brightly shining back at her. 

“You just met your mate,” Aster teased. 

“I did nothing of the sort, Aster. Mates are just a werewolf folk tale your Aunty Lexa and Aunty Clarke keep spinning,” Elly asserted. 

“Chloe’s your mate and nothing in the world is going to stop you two from being together. Those are the rules. You’ve met her, your entire world is spinning and your eyes have turned golden,” Aster giggled once more, “Do I get to call Chloe, step mum?” 

“Don’t you dare call Chloe step mum, she’s just a friend, Aster,” Elly insisted, “There’s no such thing as mates. It’s just a legend. Even if it wasn’t, Chloe’s married, I’m not getting between that.” 

“Chloe’s your mate,” Aster repeated, “You love her. My mummy’s in love. I get a second mummy. I like it here, Muma…I need to pee.” 

Elly glanced at herself in the car window, glad to see her eyes had reverted back to their normal colour, then turned around to begin carrying Aster to the front door of her Aunt and Uncle’s house, “Aster, baby girl, you can’t be saying stuff like that. Nobody can know I’m a werewolf. Everyone will be in danger if they know the truth. Chloe’s not my mate, she’s just an old friend…” 

Aster shrugged, “I’ll keep your secret, Muma. Chloe’s your mate…you’ll see.” 

Chloe can’t be…I can’t possibly love Chloe more than anything in the world nor think that nothing will ever stop us from being together…right? The whole wanting the pair of us to be a family with Aster doesn’t mean Chloe’s my… 

Every single second with Chloe…my world felt different…it felt right for the first time in my life. 

I think Chloe is my mate…what the hell do I do now? 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Eleven 

Monday 18th November 2024   

Elly stood outside the Kennedy’s front door, she’d just slipped Aster from her hip and was now holding her daughter’s hand. Elly wanted to take a moment to herself after her experience reconnecting with Chloe but being a mum meant focusing on her little girl more than herself even though her whole world felt like it was spinning if Chloe was her mate and yet she was still married to Pierce.  

As Elly held Aster’s hand, she reached into the pocket of her handbag she had hanging from her shoulder, reaching for the set of keys she’d held onto yet hadn’t used in nearly four years. Elly wondered if the house keys would even work anymore. Would Karl or Susan have changed the locks for some reason or other? Should Elly even let herself in to her former home she hadn’t lived in for four years? 

Though the years apart from her family and friends were almost impossible for Elly to deal with, she was somewhat aware that they were all okay. 

Lexa had stopped by Erinsborough every couple of months, spent time at the local Waterhole, the Tram or Grease Monkeys. She had on occasion spotted Bea, Karl, Susan or Chloe out and about. Elly’s two photos of them helped Lexa to know who to look out for. She never intervened, never spoke to them but knowing they were going about their lives was enough to keep Elly from rushing back to them far too early before she could find full control of her supernatural powers and strength.  

Last time, Elly had been at this house, she’d murdered Finn. 

Elly refused to ever allow that to happen again, she wouldn’t harm another human being. 

Elly’s guilt and focus to harness her anger and strength had being the reason behind staying away from Erinsborough for so long but now she felt she was ready to return home to everyone who loved her and hoped they would find a way to forgive her for being away…and not suspect she ever had anything to do with Finn’s disappearance. 

And despite being completely thrown over the idea she’d finally met her mate and that mate had turned out to be her married best friend, Elly knew she had to leave that alone for the moment…or as long as Chloe was married to focus on her family. 

Smiling down at Aster, Elly took a deep breath then unlocked the front door to the Kennedy’s, praying her family would take her back with open arms and allow room in their hearts for her daughter. 

Opening the door and allowing Aster to walk gently in front of her, Elly called out, “Hello, anyone home?” 

Despite it being a weekday, Elly was still hoping that any one of her family members would be there. The three night full moon cycle for the month had come to an end as the sun rose that morning and Elly had being keen to get back to her family as soon as possible to spend the entire month with them before she would need to make her excuses to go back to the Pack to spend the next full moon cycle with them. 

Aster looked around the house with curiosity, having heard about the place from her mum but still she wanted to meet her Aunty Bea and her mum’s Aunt and Uncle that she’d heard so much about. 

“Hello,” Elly announced, unable to hide some hesitation in her voice as she was still afraid that after all this time her family might not forgive her for disappearing for so long. 

Elly’s hearing finally picked up the sound of one of the bedroom doors opening, then a voice yelled down the hallway, “Baby, what flavour ice cream do you want?” 

That’s not Bea… 

“Whatever flavour my fiancé wants,” another voice yelled back. 

That’s Bea…fiancé?!? 

Elly’s eyes widened as they fell upon the person whom the first voice belonged to as they sauntered out from the hallway, “Yashvi?” 

Yashvi and Bea? Did Lexa know about this and not tell me? 

Yashvi spun around at the voice that clearly surprised her. 

Elly’s eyes widened even further by what Yashvi was wearing or wasn’t wearing which was the case and Elly immediately placed her hand over Aster’s eyes, annoying her daughter. 

Yashvi quickly wrapped her dressing gown, tying it up, having walked through the house naked with the dressing gown open and having flashed her body to Elly and the young girl that stood next to her. 

Yashvi was beyond shocked that the house wasn’t empty like she had assumed as she was used to wandering around the house scantily clad but her shock at flashing the pair in front of her was immediately replaced by the shock of who was standing there at the doorway, “Elly?” 

Aster continued pulling her hands at Elly’s hand over her eyes, “Let me see, Mum.” 

“Yashvi, what are you doing here at the Kennedy’s…dressed like…that?” Elly wanted to know. 

Yashvi opened and closed her mouth, her mind immediately thinking of Bea and how she was going to react to her sister reappearing in her life after so many years long thought missing or dead. 

Yashvi and Elly then turned to the hallway as Bea’s voice came calling once more, “Babe, what’s taking so long? Hey, how do you want to announce our engagement to our families? Should we get everyone together tonight to tell them?” 

Yashvi continued staring at Elly as the young girl in front of her finally got out of Elly’s grasp with Elly’s hand dropping from her eyes, “Ah…babe…I think we might have to keep our announcement for another time, we got something more important to tell your family.” 

“Yeah right, what’s more important than that?” Bea teased as she strolled down the hallway. 

Elly covered Aster’s eyes once more as she saw her younger sister was as scantily clad as Yashvi in only her own dressing gown, also untied and flashing her body. Bea quickly closed her dressing gown based on the look Yashvi was giving her, before her eyes fell to the pair standing at the door. 

“Hey, Bea,” Elly said quietly, gently removing her hand from Aster’s eyes, shifting both her hands onto Aster’s shoulders, “I’m home…we’re home.” 

Bea continued staring at her sister and the little girl standing in front of her, protectively held by Elly. 

As the silence between the three adults fell over them, Aster glanced up at her mum then back over at Bea, “Are you my Aunty Bea?” 

Elly smiled down at her daughter, knowing that she did know it was Bea as she’d showed her the photo she had of her family, “That’s her, my girl, just like I always told you.” 

Bea stared at Yashvi questioningly, pleading to know if she was imagining Elly had returned. 

Elly watched as it almost looked like Bea and Yashvi were talking to one another without words, something she never would’ve expected from her little sister but was pleasantly surprised to see how she had seemingly found someone whom she could connect like that with. 

“It’s me, Bea, I really am home,” Elly reassured. 

Elly then reached out one of her hands and smiled as Bea seemingly relented from the shock of seeing her back then eventually strolled over to Elly, wrapping her arms around her sister. Aster shifted out of the way but still stood next to Elly and held onto one of her mum’s hands. 

“I missed you so much, Bea,” Elly whispered. 

Bea clung onto Elly tightly, almost forgetting about the young girl standing underneath them, “I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. We all thought you were dead?” 

“I’m home, Bea,” Elly repeated. 

Aster interrupted the siblings to tug on Elly’s arm, “Mum, bathroom, need to pee.” 

“Right, sorry,” Elly apologized to her daughter, before relinquishing the hug Bea was giving her, “I’ll be back in a minute.” 

Bea stared after Elly as she walked away from her with the young girl down the hallway. Yashvi walked over to Bea, wrapping her arms around her waist. Bea smiled at her, “Elly’s alive…and has a daughter…I don’t even know her name…I never expected this when I woke up this morning.” 

Yashvi kissed her lightly, holding up her hand, “I never expected this ring this morning so I guess we both got a huge surprise. Yours feels like the bigger surprise. Maybe we should keep our engagement quiet until the shock of Elly being alive, returning home with her daughter kinda…wears off…not that I expect it to anytime soon but y’know…I don’t want to think we’re stealing her spotlight?” 

“I think both are worth celebrating tonight with our families, we’re telling them we’re engaged, okay?” Bea decided for the pair of them. 

“Okay,” Yashvi agreed, then cleared her throat as Elly and the young girl returned to the living area. 

Elly had the young girl attached to her hip, holding her, “I just realized I hadn’t introduced you. Bea…this is your niece, Aster. Aster, this is your Aunty Bea…and Yashvi…Bea’s…” 

“Fiancé,” Bea finished off proudly. 

“When did this happen?” Elly asked quickly, quietly scolding herself and hoping it didn’t come off like she was questioning anything in Bea’s life when she had no right to after completely disappearing from it. 

Bea held up Yashvi’s hand, showing off the ring on her hand, “About 10 minutes ago…I literally just proposed when we were curled up in bed together. I hadn’t planned to do it then but I had the ring in my drawer and we just had a moment where it felt like the perfect time to ask. It must’ve been as I got the answer, I wanted from Yashvi when she agreed to marry me. We’ve been together about three years now but the…fiancé part is new.” 

“I’m really happy for you, Bea,” Elly whispered. 

I want that…I want Chloe to hold me in her arms like Yashvi is holding Bea…stop that! You can’t think about Chloe like that…she’s married…and you’re a freaking werewolf! 

Bea then turned her attention to the girl in Elly’s arms, “You had a little girl? Aster…like Shaun wanted to call her?” 

“Yeah, I figured it was the only thing Shaun got to do as a Dad before he was killed in the avalanche before Aster was born and I like the name too,” Elly told them. 

Bea glanced at Yashvi, frowning her eyebrows gently, but Yashvi shook her head. Elly noticed their action but didn’t question it, “Do you want to hold your niece, Bea?” 

“I never thought I would,” Bea replied but stepped forwards out of Yashvi’s embrace, smiling when the young girl reached her arms out to her so she could scoop her up into her arms, “Hey, Aster, it’s nice to finally meet you.” 

“It’s nice to meet you too, Aunty Bea,” Aster giggled. 

Yashvi watched the pair interact and that Elly was looking at them nervously, “Do you want me to call Susan and Karl to have them come home from work so they can know you’re back, Elly?” 

“That’d be great if you could…don’t tell them I’m back over the phone, I’d prefer they find out when they see me. I’ve got a lot to explain to you all…and I should give you both time to like…get dressed,” Elly decided. 

“You’ve got more than a lot to explain to us, Elly,” Bea shot out at her sister, her hurt from the past few years dripping into every word, leaving Elly knowing that her sister would need some time to forgive her. 

“I’ll call them,” Yashvi told Elly, “But as for the getting dressed…Karl and Suze are kinda used to us like this.” 

“Right, of course, sorry…I guess it was just a surprise finding out you two are a couple,” Elly apologized. 

“I think our surprise has nothing on yours coming back here after years presumed dead,” Bea gritted out, then shook her head at letting out her anger, looking down at Aster, “I’m sorry, Aster, I’m just blown away that you’re here with us…but your mum’s got some explaining to do.” 

“I know, Bea, and I will as soon as Karl and Susan come home so I can tell all of you,” Elly replied quietly, even though deep down she was still completely unsure just how she was going to explain her 4-year absence from her family. 

You’d think after all this time I’d have my excuse down by now…but lying to my family about where I’ve been for this long is more than just coming up with an excuse that’s believable. 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twelve 

Monday 18th November 2024   

Half an hour later, Elly was sitting on the couch, watching Bea and Yashvi spend time with Aster, as they waited for Karl to pick Susan up from the school then return home. They weren’t told the reason why, just it was important for them to get home as soon as possible, and preferably together. 

Elly clutched her hands together as she smiled at her daughter immediately getting to know Bea and that she showed zero care in the world Bea was with Yashvi. Growing up around Clarke and Lexa had obviously helped the young girl develop an affinity with a same sex couple. 

Elly was still nervous watching her younger sister. Not with Aster of course as Bea was seemingly a natural with her daughter, leaving Elly wondering if there were other kids in Bea’s life, not that Bea herself appeared to have any kids with Yashvi but the fact that Elly had been gone for so long that she could’ve had children of her own, hit Elly hard as she’d never thought just how much of Bea’s life she had missed.  

Having Lexa check in on her family every month or so from afar wasn’t as reassuring to Elly right now realizing she hadn’t even known her sister had fallen in love with her best friend. 

Sound familiar…? Wait…does Chloe have a kid…or kids with Pierce? Just because there’s a chance of passing on her Huntington’s disease to a child doesn’t mean Chloe isn’t a mum and just because Chloe didn’t particularly look like she was a mum doesn’t mean she isn’t…so much could’ve happened in the last four years…you’ve missed so much… 

Chloe being a mum wouldn’t be something to be opposed to…I’m a mum…but if Chloe’s my mate…it’d be an obstacle to nothing in the world can stop us from being together…for Chloe to not only leave Pierce for me but with her kid…s. 

I should ask Bea. 

“You’re really good with Aster, Bea,” Elly spoke up nervously, “Um…do you…--?” 

Bea eyed her sister as Aster curled up between herself and Yashvi, “No, we don’t have children of our own yet and whilst it is something Yashvi and I want, the fact that we’ve been together for three years and could have a couple of kids by now if we wanted should tell you how much of my life you’ve missed.” 

Elly nodded, feeling guilty and unsurprised Bea had picked up on exactly what Elly had being scolding herself for, “I know, Bea. I missed so much. Does anyone else on the street have kids that you…?” 

Bea raised her eyebrow, wondering if Elly was referring to Chloe, “Aside from Toadie with Nellyfish and Hugo…Mark and Paige moved back here a few years ago with their daughter and Gabe, you probably missed the news they reunited…not long after you disappeared. They’re living with David and Aaron who have two foster boys who’ve lived with them all for over a year now. I babysit them on occasion when Chloe can’t.” 

And…no more from Bea must mean at least Chloe doesn’t have children so that’s one minor thing less to nothing in the world stopping us from being together…if she’s my mate. 

“How did you two get together?” Elly asked curiously, feeling like Bea was still holding her at a distance with how hurt she was. 

Bea glanced at Yashvi, Elly observing how her face lit up from simply looking at her, “Some things happened with Finn… A few months later Yashvi split from Ned after he got tangled up in some desperate attempts to make money…then months after all that…later that year we just…fell for one another. We didn’t try to fight it, we just let it happen and we’ve been together ever since.” 

If I’d have done that with Chloe then I wouldn’t be a werewolf…or a mum to Aster… 

“Yashvi was there for me after you went missing,” Bea then added pointedly. 

Elly swallowed hard and even though she didn’t want to draw any attention to it, asked anyway, “What happened with Finn? Did me disappearing have anything to do with your relationship with Finn breaking down?” 

Course it did, you killed him and Bea doesn’t know that! 

Bea blinked at Elly uncertainly, the idea of talking about Finn bringing it all back to her even though she was the one who brought him up but hadn’t expected Elly to be keen to know more, “Finn disappeared about three months after you did…” 

Disappeared…not killed…good, they don’t know that part… 

“Finn’s laptop device was forensically investigated by the police department as part of his disappearance…they found video diaries he’d filmed on his laptop. Finn had his memories back…for about a week or so before he went missing…he never told any of us he’d gotten them back. He was seemingly losing it…then he just…vanished… Weeks later…police tracked down that the day Finn went missing there was a chartered plane that left a small airfield close to here for Shanghai…Finn was linked to travelling on it. He fled and they never managed to catch up to him in Shanghai…or wherever he is now,” Bea quietly revealed. 

Shanghai…? What the fuck did Lexa and Raven do to fool police detectives that Finn left the country…and not even tell me they did that? 

Yashvi looked at Bea before adding, “Elly, the police linked Finn’s disappearance with yours. I was still training at the academy at the time and wasn’t able to access the file when I did become a cop but they…went with a theory that Finn had killed you then the guilt ate him up ‘til it brought back all his memories and he…fled.” 

“You all thought I was dead?” Elly was shocked. 

“Couldn’t think of any reasonable excuse you wouldn’t come home to your family, you dying seemed like the only thing that could’ve happened,” Bea snapped. 

They linked Finn and I’s disappearances…what the hell did Lexa and Raven do for that to have happened without the police figuring out I killed him? Let alone what they did to make people think I had died! I’m gonna wring their necks when I see them next for making my family think I’d died. 

Bea’s angry…I don’t blame her…I was attacked, turned into a werewolf and couldn’t return to my family until it was safe to do so…is hardly going to be believed. 

“Bea, I’m so sorry,” Elly apologized. 

“Save the apologies ‘til Karl and Suze get here so you can tell us all just where you’ve been the last four years and why you kept my niece from me,” Bea cracked at her sister. 

“Bea, I never wanted to keep Aster from you. It wasn’t--” Elly begun to say until they were all interrupted by the front door opening. 

Karl and Susan were still opening the doors as Karl immediately called out, “Yashvi, what’s happened? What’s wrong?” 

Bea gently shifted Aster from her lap over to Yashvi as she stood up, before Karl and Susan had barely gotten in the door, “Yashvi and I got engaged this morning but that’s not why we called you home. Our news got trumped by the fact Elly isn’t dead, she’s back and you have a great-niece, Aster.” 

As Karl and Susan walked into the house, they stood stunned as their eyes all landed on Elly sitting on the couch and the young girl curling up into Yashvi’s arms. 

“I need a drink,” Bea decided as she stormed off to the kitchen. 

“Hey Suze, Karl,” Elly whispered. 

Elly smiled as her Aunt and Uncle weren’t as hesitant as Bea was and immediately rushed over to her, barely giving Elly a chance to stand up before they wrapped her up in a hug. 

With numerous words of thinking Elly was dead, how they’d missed her and how they never wanted to give up on her without knowing for sure, Elly clung to her Aunt and Uncle for several minutes. 

After introducing Karl and Susan to her daughter and seeing the bright look on Aster’s face at having more family around her then she ever expected, Bea finally walked back over to her family, quietly yet firmly demanding, “So, where were you?” 

Elly sat back on the couch, unable to hide her happiness when Aster crawled back into her arms, knowing that her daughter knew she needed support, as the rest of her family sat down on the other couch and single-sofa seat. 

When Bea curled up next to Yashvi, the cop frowned, “Maybe I should head home, I’ve got a shift in an hour anyway to get ready for.” 

“No, it’s fine, Yashvi…your family now,” Elly told her then chewed on her lip, not sure how to approach lying to her family and found herself distracted by asking, “You don’t live here, Yashvi?” 

Bea sighed at her sister’s obvious delaying tactic, “Yashvi spends most nights here and has unofficially moved in but technically she still has a room at the Rebecchi’s.” 

“Right,” Elly nodded. 

“So, where were you?” Bea asked again, “You went missing after Chloe’s Hen’s party and you never came home…’til today.” 

“Chloe is mum’s mate,” Aster suddenly perked up. 

Elly curled her arms around Aster, knowing she needed to remind her daughter not to say anything about her werewolf life, “Yes, baby girl, Chloe is my best friend.” 

“No, she’s your mate that you lo--” Aster started but Elly gently placed her hand over Aster’s mouth. 

“Okay, Chloe’s my best mate that I would like to catch up with tomorrow…I bumped into Chloe on the street. She knows I’m back. She met Aster and has fast become Aster’s favourite person as you can see by the way my little girl talks about her but I haven’t explained anything to Chloe. I needed to tell you all first,” Elly admitted, then silently eyed Aster until the little girl relented to her mum’s message to keep quiet on anything that could lead to her supernatural life to be discovered. 

“So, tell us,” Bea told Elly quickly. 

Elly took a deep breath, “I got attacked that night walking home from the Hen’s party…should’ve listened to you and Chloe when you told me to take a taxi home.” 

Bea glanced around at everyone nervously, “Attacked?” 

“Physically attacked, Bea, not,” Elly placed her hands over Aster’s ears for a brief moment, “Sexually…I mean y’know I was eight and a half months pregnant at the time with this little monster. A guy came out of nowhere and…beat me…I was in a really bad way.” 

“My God, I knew it had to be something bad but…” Bea immediately sympathized with her sister. 

“I got rescued by this…really gruff guy that probably looked like he’d have done the beating but he’s amazingly sweet. His family took care of me, helped me give birth to Aster, then helped me get back on my feet to raise my little girl,” Elly half-told the truth. 

“We need to thank him,” Susan decided quickly. 

But Bea was still curious, “How long until you had healed from the attack?” 

“Several months,” Elly answered without thinking it through, wanting to make it seem like it had been serious but not life-threatening. 

“And what about the other three and a half years? Did you…lose your memory? Weren’t able to get home from this stranger whom saved you? What did you fall in love with him and want to leave all of us behind for him?” Bea demanded, shirking Yashvi from trying to calm her down. 

Elly raised her eyes at the mere thought of being in love with Romulus, “No, Bea, I had my memories. I wasn’t held captive. The guy whom rescued me, Romulus, he has a wife, Abby, and two daughters, Clarke and Raven. Clarke has a girlfriend, like you, Lexa. They are really good people…” 

Werewolves. 

“Aster and I…we just fit into their family. Raven and Clarke are like my sisters, Lexa is a pain in the backside but a really good friend and…Romulus and Abby…they are better parents then Liz ever was to us. I just…fell into their family and…we fit. My life wasn’t kicking goals before I disappeared. Unemployed, heavily pregnant, single, going to be raising my baby on my own…I know I had the three of you in my life…I was just lost…they helped me…’til I finally got the courage to return home to make things right with you all,” Elly continued explaining. 

“Wow, sounds like we were really important to you that you didn’t want to come home for four years,” Bea reacted with frustration before standing up and storming off to her bedroom. 

Elly sighed after her sister, knowing only the truth could explain her absence, yet she was unable to tell her. 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirteen 

Monday 18th November 2024   

Pierce grinned as he strolled into his house, despite feeling disappointed earlier that day when Chloe hadn’t turned up for their lunch. As soon as his eyes landed on Chloe, he felt like the luckiest guy in the world.   

Chloe was in the kitchen, heating up their prepared meals. He stood at the entryway, taking his time dropping his belongings on the entryway counter, admiring his wife and the way she looked so happy, skipping around the kitchen.  

“Chloe,” Pierce practically beamed back at her, “You look amazing. How was your day?”  

Chloe looked up at him, “As amazing as I look apparently. Sorry, I forgot all about our lunch plans. The day just kind of got away from me.”  

“Maybe tomorrow,” Pierce decided, “Everything go okay looking after the kids?”  

“Yep, same as always. Rose got to day care, Gabe, Daniel and Felix off to school, then picked them all up and had them here for a few hours before I took them back home. Paige got me to keep them an extra hour so she could spend some time to herself after work. In case you haven’t noticed, you and Terese drive her hard at the hotel, she probably wishes she didn’t take my job,” Chloe grinned happily.  

“We treat all our employees the same, Chloe, we miss you at the hotel but y’know how I feel about you working. There’s no need for you to. I like knowing you’re at home keeping yourself busy and not worrying about work at the office,” Pierce reminded her, then watched as Chloe zoned out on him, “Chloe?”  

Chloe smiled up at him, “Sorry, I was just thinking about the day I had. It was amazing.”  

Pierce watched on as Chloe looked like she was glowing happily, unable to stop smiling to himself as he suddenly realized, “Chloe, are you pregnant?”  

Chloe’s eyes widened up at him, “Where did that come from? What would make you think I'm pregnant? We’re taking a break from trying as it’s just not happening for us.”  

“Chloe, you’re…glowing, you look really happy, sorry I guess I just thought the only reason you would look like that would be if you found out we were having a child of our own,” Pierce pondered why else Chloe would be skipping around the kitchen.  

“Elly’s back,” Chloe announced, her voice giddy and excited at the mere thought of Elly’s name.  

I can't get Elly out of my head...I want to see her again to know she's really back but I can't as she needs to be with her family. 

Pierce’s face immediately dropped, but Chloe didn’t notice as she had turned back to their meals to place them on the dining table, “Elly? I thought she took off to hook up with Finn years ago.”  

Chloe resisted rolling her eyes at him, “You’re the only one who ever thought that, Pierce. I’m not even sure your theory that Elly and Finn fell in love and disappeared months apart to elude suspicion of their illicit affair on Bea was better than the police detectives at the time deciding Elly must’ve being killed by Finn before they believe he took off to Shanghai.”  

“So, what did happen to her?” Pierce wanted to know, still feeling off at the idea of Chloe’s former flame being back in the picture.  

"I'm not sure. I ran into her when she arrived back to the Kennedy's but she said she needed to tell them everything first and that she'd find me tomorrow to explain it to me where she's been...maybe I should've told her I don't work at the hotel anymore so when she tries to find me she doesn't waste her time going there," Chloe pondered, "I guess Bea will probably fill her in on all the changes that have happened these past few years." 

"Don't forget about the kids tomorrow, you know your brothers and Paige rely on you and weren't you due to go to the salon to get your hair done? Maybe you should leave Elly to spend time with her family for a few days?" Pierce suggested. 

Chloe sat down at the table, not waiting for Pierce to join her or address his question, "I haven't even told you the second-best part to Elly being back...Aster! Elly has a little girl, Aster! She's a mini version of Elly and so adorable. Aster asked me to help get her out of the car and just holding her...it felt like I was holding my own daughter." 

Pierce slowly sat down at the table opposite Chloe, his wife's words echoing at him that Elly's daughter felt like Chloe's when she held her, "I'm sure Aster has got a lot of Shaun in her...anyway enough about Elly...I should tell you about my day at work." 

Chloe smiled at Pierce, pretending she was listening to his tales of office dilemmas at the hotel that had happened that day but instead there was only two things on her mind. 

Elly and Aster...and me? 

Over at the Kennedy's household, Elly nervously knocked on Bea's bedroom door then sighed as Bea called out, "I'm sleeping." 

Elly opened the door anyway, finding Bea lying on the bed, with her head in the pillow, "No, you're not. Can we talk?" 

Bea shrugged in response, "You ruined my engagement." 

Elly closed the door behind her then sat down on the bed, "I know, I'm sorry, if I'd have known I'd have come back here tomorrow to let you and Yashvi have your moment to celebrate." 

"Karl and Suze didn't even react to the news when I told them, all their focus went straight to you and Aster. I shouldn't have told them, I knew you returning was a way bigger thing then a silly little ring I got my girlfriend," Bea sighed. 

"It's not a silly little ring, Bea, you're engaged...my little sister is getting married," Elly enthused, "I'm glad I didn't miss your wedding. Maybe we should tell Karl and Suze again about your news? Now that it's sunk in to them that I'm back, they can focus on you." 

"Maybe tomorrow," Bea decided, glancing up at Elly, "I am glad you're home...I'm just...a mess of different emotions right now...finally got the courage to propose to Yashvi this morning then all of a sudden my sister long thought dead came home...and I have a niece I never knew I had." 

"I'm glad I'm home too," Elly whispered, "I really am sorry that I was gone for so long and kept Aster from getting to know her family. I know it may not make sense why I stayed away...but it really was for the best. I intend on fixing my mistakes. I'll still go see the family I stayed with every so often..." 

Once a month, full moon cycle, three nights, so you don't find out I'm a werewolf, no biggie...? 

"But I'm back here permanently, okay?" Elly insisted. 

"You already back in your old room? What about Aster? We don't exactly have a child's bed lying around," Bea asked, knowing after she'd stormed off earlier that morning, she hadn't left her bedroom, yet had overheard Elly and Aster spending the entire day catching up with their Aunt and Uncle after Yashvi went to work. 

"Yes, I'm back in my old room, feels like home already. Aster can bunk in next to me on the bed, she's kinda used to it. Once she grew out of the cot, my room at the cabin didn't have enough space for a single bed. But I'm hoping maybe she can have her own room here soon when I have a moment to set it all up for her," Elly explained. 

"I take it a toddler bunking in your bed killed any chance of you having a love life whilst you were away," Bea queried. 

"On occasion Aster crashed with the others as she liked how fun they are and didn't make her go to bed on time like I do...but if your question was leading into my love life since I've been gone...yes, there were a couple guys I dated, not much longer than a week or so before it petered out cause I wasn't into it...I almost had a one night stand with a woman a year back...but it really made me realize Chloe was and is the only woman I could ever be attracted to...not that it means anything, she's married," Elly rambled, shaking her head at bringing up Chloe yet her mind had being spinning about the blonde all day long. 

"To a guy who doesn't deserve my best friend, Pierce is a prat," Bea rolled her eyes, then shrugged, "Chloe and I got closer after you went missing...we're kinda best friends now." 

"I'm glad you had each other...and that you have Yashvi now. I was surprised when I first saw you two together...okay the naked in dressing gowns might've had something to do with my shock...but I can see Yashvi makes you happy," Elly told her sister. 

"She does," Bea admitted, "I worry about her when she's at work...I'm always scared something will happen to her but I know she loves being a cop and I could never take that away from her." 

"What time does Yashvi get home?" Elly asked. 

Bea looked at her clock on the bedside table, "Yashvi finishes her shift in 1 hour so 1 hour and 7 minutes." 

Elly smiled down at her sister, "Not that your counting. Do you have to go to work tomorrow? I want to catch up with Chloe and get Aster settled a bit more here but I'd like to spend time with you if I can." 

"I had the day off today and I suppose my sister coming back from the dead means I can wrangle an extra day off at the garage," Bea agreed. 

"I'll see you then, for now I should get back to Aster and let you...spend the next 1 hour and 6 minutes until your girlfriend comes home," Elly grinned as she stood up to leave the room, hoping she’d feel that way about someone, waiting for them to come home to her. 

Chloe… 

A moment later, Elly returned to the main area of the house where Susan and Karl were being entertained by Aster, enjoying having the young girl spending time with them and asking them questions about her mum. 

“How’s Bea going?” Susan asked. 

“It’s a lot to take in…me coming back after all this time. I really hurt her. It’s gonna take some time but I’m determined to fix things between myself and Bea,” Elly told them, “Speaking of…would you be able to get Shane and Dipi to come over here before Yashvi gets back from work in an hour?” 

“You want to let Shane and Dipi know you’re back?” Karl assumed, “I kinda figured you guys weren’t that close.” 

“No, I don’t want you to let them know I’m back. They can find out tomorrow or whenever word starts getting out. I need an early night to settle Aster into the new place. But Bea needs time to celebrate and focus on her and Yashvi without me taking the attention away,” Elly replied. 

“Celebrate what?” Susan asked, as she cuddled Aster on the couch. 

“Y’all missed Bea’s announcement that she told you and the ring on Yashvi’s finger on account of Aster and I being back here,” Elly pointed out. 

Karl suddenly looked like he was calculating math in his head, before exclaiming, “Bea and Yashvi are engaged!?” 

Elly nodded, “Yes and I ruined it by…being here and distracting you from their news. They need to celebrate with their family so I am going to take Aster and get her sorted for bed. You organize for Shane and Dipi to come by in less than an hour as you know the girls have news for y’all…and act surprised when they tell you…okay? Let them have their moment to celebrate getting engaged…without me getting in the way.” 

“Are you sure?” Susan asked her niece. 

“Absolutely,” Elly decided. 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fourteen 

Tuesday 19th November 2024   

Bea knocked on Elly’s bedroom door early in the morning, something she hadn’t done in years. In fact, she’d barely taken a step into the room for almost as long. As long as they didn’t need the room for any family members staying or waifs needing a roof over their heads, it had stayed the same from the way Elly had left it before she disappeared. 

When Bea heard Elly’s words of “Come in,” she couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief that perhaps her sister returning yesterday hadn’t being a dream. 

“Morning,” Bea said quietly as she smiled at Elly curled up in her bed with her daughter next to her, obviously having a very animated talk with her mum despite Elly looking exhausted, “Just checking you were still here.” 

Elly sat up gently, allowing Aster to curl up in her arms, seeing the sheepish look on Bea’s face, “I told you, I’m not going anywhere…I’ll have to go back to see the family I stayed with next month sometime for a few nights as I don’t just want to abandon them but aside from spending a bit of time with them every so often…I’m back, Bea.” 

Bea nodded, still not sure what to make of Elly seemingly fitting in with a whole new family and wanting to split time with them, “I take it that it was you that got Karl and Suze to put on the impromptu celebration last night with Dipi and Shane for Yashvi and I?” 

“You deserved to celebrate your engagement sans sister and niece returning after years apart. I can get the attention from everyone about my return another time. I’m glad you got to celebrate last night…very loudly after Shane and Dipi went home…you know we have a young child in the house now, Bea,” Elly teased as she clapped her hands over Aster’s ears, her daughter wriggling out of them. 

Bea winked proudly, “Yashvi and I are not going to change how…loud we are after all these years. Karl and Suze got over it years ago, deal with it, sis!” 

Elly rolled her eyes, “Am I going to have to hear you two every night?” 

“Of course not…you have those nights you’ll go back to the other family where you won’t be here to hear Yashvi and I,” Bea teased back. 

“You’re probably lucky this little one got used to how loud our friends Clarke and Lexa were. Their room was on the other side of the cabin…we could still hear them,” Elly admitted. 

Bea chewed on her lip, wanting to ask about more info on the couple or the so-called cabin, Elly had mentioned a couple times but worried if she asked too many questions, Elly may have had more reasons to stay away from Erinsborough after all these years, “Anyway, what are your plans for today?” 

Elly chewed on her lip, “I want to catch Chloe, I need to explain things to her. Then I want to spend the rest of the day hanging out with you and Aster, get her used to being here in what’s a new place for her. I spoke to Suze about turning the guest bedroom into Aster’s room. I’ll leave it for now but it’s something I want to tackle before the end of the week so she can finally have her own bed for once. I’m really lucky Suze and Karl have taken us in so quickly without any hesitation after what I put y’all through these past few years.” 

Trying not to dwell on all the thoughts that had endured her in worrying about Elly for so many years that had all being for nothing as Elly was alive and well with Aster, Bea then realized she had no idea how Elly had made a living the past few years, “You have the money for that or do you need…?”  

“Did you see my car, Bea? I’m good for money…the family I fell in with…they’re pretty well off and I did a lot of tutoring and random other things to help them…they didn’t mind sharing to enable me the help I needed to raise Aster,” Elly explained vaguely, “Anyway, I’m going to sleep a bit more, then I’ll catch Chloe before she goes to work.” 

Bea couldn’t help but scoff, “Sorry, not you. Chloe doesn’t work at the hotel anymore…anywhere really. Pierce didn’t like the idea of her continuing to work after they got married, he’s such a priss. Chloe’s at home most days but she looks after Mark and Aaron’s kids before and after school for them. In fact, if you want to catch her…she’s normally out for her morning run that she leaves for in…ten minutes…or I guess you can see her after she drops all the kids at scho—where’s the fire?” 

Chloe? Run? Short shorts? Tight gym top? I’m up. 

Elly dragged herself out of bed, leaving Aster curled up in the middle of the bed, grumbling at her mum, “A run sounds good. I’ve got all my running gear here with me, I’ve kept up with my running whilst I was away…well after I recovered from child birth. If I can catch Chloe then I can hopefully spend a bit of time with her before I spend the day with you and Aster…” 

Bea watched as Elly stared down at her daughter, “It’s okay, I can look after Aster for an hour. Yashvi will be up soon. We’ll get Aster dressed and sort out breakfast. Sound good?” 

“Sounds great,” Elly agreed, then grinned at her daughter, “You cool with spending the morning with your Auntie Bea and Yashvi while I catch up with Chloe?” 

Aster bounded out of bed, almost flinging herself over to Bea, “Cool. You go spend time with your mate.” 

“Friend,” Elly replied instantly, her mind still swirling since she’d encountered Chloe and she wasn’t sure if she was excited or worried about the prospect of Chloe being her mate. 

“Chloe’s your mate, muma, you’ll see,” Aster grinned. 

“Aster,” Elly almost glared at the youngster. 

Bea frowned at the pair, wondering if they had some kind of secret that they weren’t telling her, “C’mon, kiddo, let’s go wake Yashvi up so we can let your mum attempt to catch Chloe.” 

Ten minutes later, Chloe was bounding down the steps out the front of her house, heading for her morning run that she’d gotten up on time for that day. As she reached the bottom of the steps, she saw the front door of the Kennedy’s house open but continued jogging down her driveway. 

Is that Elly? Should I go over to see her? No, let her be, go on your run, you can catch up to Elly later on when she’s ready. She’d be busy catching up with her family. 

As Chloe reached the end of her driveway, she nearly tripped over her own feet as out of nowhere, Elly was leaning casually against the fence by the mailbox at her house, calling out to her, “Need a running partner?” 

How the absolute frecking freck did Elly go from exiting the Kennedy’s house to standing right here at the end of my driveway within several seconds cause I’m fairly certain it only takes me a few seconds to jog down my driveway? 

“How did you get there, weren’t you just at the Kennedy’s front door?” Chloe asked quickly. 

Drats, Chloe spotted me leaving my place, play it cool, not like you can say you have super powers as a werewolf and rushing across the road within seconds is something I can do now… 

Elly shrugged, “I wanted to catch you. Bea told me you go running most mornings at this time, she’s looking after Aster with Yashvi to get her dressed and feed her breakfast for me so I thought I’d come find you for a bit. Do you mind if I join you on your run?” 

Why do I feel like Elly’s lying about something…? 

“I thought you wanted to catch up with me when you were ready to tell me where you’ve been for the past four years?” Chloe wondered, “Running doesn’t quite gel with conversations like that.” 

Chloe’s so cute when she’s worried…why do you have to call her cute? 

Elly smiled at the blonde, “I know and I will, Chlo. What do you say we run to Grease Monkeys for a milkshake, we can catch up about our lives the past few years over a drink before running back here? Do you have time for that or do you need to get back here sooner?” 

God, that smile… 

“I can make time for that; my run normally takes me much further than Grease Monkeys. I won’t bother with having a milkshake there as I’ve got breakfast waiting for me here after my run but we can stop for a bit if you want to have a drink. You think one milkshake is enough for both of us to catch up over what’s happened to us the past four years?” Chloe questioned. 

“Good point, there’s a lot I want to tell you…it’s a good thing I’m back for good and have all the time in the world to catch up with you, not just this morning,” Elly agreed then smirked, “Last one to Grease Monkeys has to tell the other three things about what the other missed?” 

Chloe didn’t even have a chance to agree, before Elly winked at her and took off down the path leading out of the street, “Oi, your head start shouldn’t count.” 

As Elly heard Chloe’s feet pounding the pavement after her, she turned back to the blonde, “Catch me if you can, Chlo, to learn all about my life that you missed.” 

Chloe rolled her eyes as she ran after the brunette but was determined to catch up to her. 

A few minutes later, Chloe had managed to catch up to Elly and they were running side by side headed to the Lassiters Complex on their way to Power Street where Grease Monkeys resided. Chloe couldn’t help but smile wildly at the feeling of having her best friend back in her life. There weren’t even any words needed between them. 

I missed Elly so much. Did she miss me too? What has her life being like? 

Running at Chloe’s pace is actually hard, I know I can run faster, way faster, but damn it’s actually hard to run slower than I can and not make it look like I’m running weirdly. Why did you have to make that stupid bet? The point of this catch up was for you to explain things to Chloe but the stupid competitor in you wants to win…and I’m not sure I can handle running behind Chloe cause then I’ll be forced to check her out cause she’s smoking hot and irresistible and maybe you definitely do have feelings for her and…she’s married! 

Compelled by being unable to accept if she let Chloe run ahead of her that she’d just spend the entire time trailing behind the blonde checking her out when she knew Chloe was off-limits even if she was her mate, Elly sped up, pushing ahead of Chloe to outpace her, calling back to her, “See you at Grease Monkeys, Chlo.” 

“Ugh, how does Elly run like that…? Wow she looks incredible,” Chloe grunted out when she thought Elly was out of earshot, not knowing that Elly’s super-powered hearing heard every word and silently smirked to herself. 

Chloe said I look incredible…maybe running on ahead of her and giving Chloe a chance to check you out isn’t so bad…ugh stop it, you don’t want Chloe, your married friend, to be checking you out…she’s not your mate…she can’t be…it’s too complicated if she is…this is just unresolved feelings for Chloe after she broke it off with you cause she thought you could never have feelings for her and maybe you still do…right? 

I can’t believe I just thought Elly looks incredible…I mean she does but you’re married and you don’t even know what Elly’s been through the past four years or why she disappeared…and Elly doesn’t have feelings for you…and bloody hell woman, how the hell is Elly running so damn fast…? So much for checking her out…she’s barely in my eyesight anymore, she’s running so damn fast, I’ll never catch her…did you just say to yourself you were checking Elly out? 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifteen 

Tuesday 19th November 2024   

Chloe felt out of breath when she finally reached Power Road on her run that had started with Elly joining her but had quickly turned into her trailing long behind Elly and losing her quickly with how fast Elly managed to outrun her.  

And here I thought I was fit…Elly’s an entirely different level of fit…  

As Chloe spotted Grease Monkeys up ahead, she smiled shyly as she saw Elly leaning against the building of the restaurant, then she finally slowed down as she reached her.  

Wait…why is Elly holding a milkshake that looks 3/4‘s empty…? No way did Elly outrun me that fast that she not only reached Grease Monkeys that quickly, got her milkshake ordered when they are always busy at this time of morning and drink most of it…she must’ve thrown most of her milkshake out to make it look like she’s been waiting for me for ages. I missed the way Elly would tease me like that…she thinks she’s so cheeky.  

“Hey,” Chloe spluttered out as she reached Elly.  

Elly eyed the blonde as she was out of breath, “You right there, Chlo? Look a lil tired.”  

Chloe placed her hands on her hips as she nearly keeled over, “Oh, good if I only look a lil tired cause I feel a lot more tired than that. How the hell did you do that?”  

Elly grinned wickedly at Chloe, taking a sip of her milkshake, “Do what?”  

Chloe placed one of her hands on the building wall next to Elly, “Run so damn quickly. I’ve been building my fitness running for years but you just outpaced me way more than you used to. I’ve never seen you run like that.”  

“Looks like you’ve got some work to do to catch me, Chlo. We might have to make this a regular dat…thing that we do each morning to see how much fitter you can get,” Elly teased.  

I almost said date!!  

Did Elly almost say date?! Did I want Elly to say date?!  

With Chloe still catching her breath, Elly offered Chloe a milkshake Chloe hadn’t even realized she’d been holding at her side, “Here, I thought after burning you off to get here quicker, it’s the least you deserve.”  

Chloe hesitated as she looked at the drink, “Nah, I’m good, I don’t really…drink milkshakes anymore…they’re bad for me.”  

Elly eyed Chloe once more, feeling the warmth radiating from her body, “Yes, with all the healthy dairy. I know it’s not great to run after digesting a drink like this but it works for me. You sure you don’t want it?”  

“I’m fine, really. I said before I’ve got breakfast at home to have, I don’t mind watching you drink whilst we catch up. Besides, you really should drink the milkshake considering you obviously ditched over half of yours to make it look like you were waiting ages for me to catch up to you,” Chloe rolled her eyes.  

Elly then shifted to eyeing Chloe questioningly, “What do you mean ditched half my drink?”  

“Nice try, Elly, I couldn’t possibly have been so far behind you that you nearly skulled an entire milkshake so you threw most of it out to make it look like you’ve been here longer than you have. I’ve missed your teasing,” Chloe chuckled at her.  

Right…this whole pretending to be human and not use your werewolf speed and endurance…gotta keep an eye on that not to get caught out.  

“You got me, can’t get anything past you,” Elly pretended to agree, then as she was about to take another sip of her milkshake, felt a tap on her shoulder.  

“Your breakfast order,” one of the Grease Monkey staff members announced.  

Elly turned around to him but with both hands full, Chloe sidled up next to Elly to take it for her, smiling up at Elly as the guy went back inside the café.  

Chloe’s so close to me…I want to kiss her…I can’t kiss her!  

“Thanks, Chlo,” Elly whispered.  

Is Elly looking at me like she wants to kiss me? Am I looking at Elly like I want to kiss her? Why would either of us look at the other like that…we haven’t been together in more than four years…and I’m married…  

Chloe took a gentle step backwards, then looked down at the meal she’d taken from the guy, “Wait…you ordered us both breakfast burritos?”  

Yes…I ordered them for…us…not just myself cause that’s an average meal for me nowadays and I eat more than three times a human adult does…you are seriously failing at this inability to get caught out at how different you are…  

“Of course,” Elly lied, “Your healthy breakfast at home can wait ‘til tomorrow.”  

Chloe frowned, “No, I meant breakfast burritos at Grease Monkeys take like 10 minutes to be served first thing in the morning. There’s no way you got these so quickly…and there’s no way in hell you outran me that much.”  

Oh, right…that…just another way I’m failing at pretending to be a normal human…cause you’re not and Chloe’s gonna figure that out before you know it if you keep this up…  

“An order must’ve cancelled and they had them prepared already,” Elly shrugged off, then pointed to an empty table.  

After sitting down at the table, Elly was surprised when Chloe placed both meals in front of her, “You’re not hungry?”  

“Nah, I’m good. Sorry, I should’ve said before you went to all the trouble of arranging us this meal…I’m not really…eating this kind of food at the moment, Pierce has us hooked up with a personal chef so I’ve got breakfast waiting for me and I definitely prefer to eat after my run. I’m sorry,” Chloe apologized.  

Oh, thank God, I’m starving and can now eat the entire meal like I’d intended…seriously, you have to stop making it so obvious your eating habits are not like they used to be… Personal chef? Ugh, Pierce!  

Elly couldn’t resist the glint in her eyes, “It’s okay, more for me.”  

“You’re going to eat all that?” Chloe surveyed both the breakfast burritos and the milkshakes as Elly sipped the last of the first milkshake, “And then…run home?”  

“You might actually beat me home, Chlo,” Elly teased, trying to distract Chloe from her point that it was a lot of food that she was going to eat.  

“Well, I’d better after you attempt to eat all that, Elly, otherwise I’m more unfit than I thought I was,” Chloe teased back.  

“I’ve missed this,” Elly replied.  

I’ve missed you, everything about you is so familiar yet so foreign. I feel like I’m spinning and you’re the only thing on my mind, Chlo. Why do I feel like this? It can’t be because you’re my mate, Chlo, you can’t be…our lives would be too complicated…you don’t want to be with a werewolf…  

“Same,” Chloe whispered, then finally asked, “Where were you, Elly? You were meant to come to my wedding but you…disappeared…”  

Elly took a moment to start eating her breakfast, “What happened to our bet that the second one to Grease Monkey’s would need to tell the other three things that has happened since I left?”  

Chloe chewed on her lip, “You came up with that bet knowing full well you were going to beat me here. What don’t you want to tell me?”  

“Nothing, I just…I want to hear about your life, Chlo…and I talked enough about myself yesterday with everyone and Bea almost kinda hates me but is trying to get over it…and I’d rather hear your story,” Elly admitted then off Chloe’s continued look, “Tell me three things and I’ll…tell you my story when we get back to yours.”  

“Fine,” Chloe conceded, “There’s really not much to tell. I’m still married to Pierce, I no longer work at the hotel, and Mark and Paige ended up together after she was in Adelaide visiting her adopted parents, they got married and moved back here with their daughter and Gabe to live with David and Aaron and their two foster boys. I look after the kids in the mornings and afternoons. That’s kinda the last four years of my life…not much to say as I said.”  

“There’s got to be something more than that,” Elly persuaded Chloe softly.  

Chloe shrugged, “I live a pretty simple life now…no complications.”  

Like me coming back and my entire world spinning off its axis cause I think you may be the person that nothing will come between us being together…yet there’s so many things in our way…  

Chloe fiddled with her finger nails, “Mark and Paige moved back here last year cause…my mum…she…well y’know, she fought the Huntington’s as long as she could but it…she passed peacefully in her sleep…which is probably more than we could have asked for with how much the disease affected her. Not that I could be there for her. Pierce didn't want me to see her in her last few days alive even though she asked me to come with Aaron to see her. Aaron went alone and the three boys were with her the evening before she passed. Pierce didn't want me seeing my future...I'll never be sure if that was the right decision or not but I'm not sure I would've been able to handle being there her final days.”  

“I’m really sorry, Chloe. I trust that you did make the right decision for what you would've been capable of dealing with losing Fay...even if Pierce drove the decision. I'm sure you did have people around you to support you but I can't help but feel that I should’ve been there for you,” Elly apologized. 

“That would’ve been nice,” Chloe whispered, before sighing, “Can we talk about something else?”  

“Sure,” Elly agreed, regretting just how much of Chloe’s life she had missed, changing the subject back to something Bea had already mentioned but she wanted Chloe’s take on it, “You said you don't work at the hotel anymore? Where's your career taken you?” 

Chloe shuffled in her seat awkwardly, trying to focus on Elly's ability to finish the first breakfast burrito as she started on the next one, "About as far as my home...I don't work anymore...at all. After I got married, Pierce...didn't like the idea of his wife working when he had the financial security that we didn't have to. He's still at the hotel as he loves it and it's his investment. I got into some artwork...found I had a talent for it so I spend my days working on my art... Plus, I look out for Mark and Aaron's kids for them to get them to and from school. They're great kids." 

“Are you happy with that?” Elly asked simply. 

Chloe shrugged, “Sure, it’s a good life not having to worry about hotel politics. My art is something I get to do for myself and I love looking after the kids. It helps Aaron, Mark, David and Paige all stay in their full-time jobs and helps them makes things easier. Paige even took over my old job being Terese’s assistant. Well, technically there was another girl who won the role after I gave it up but when Paige and Mark returned to Erinsborough to live with the guys, the role quickly became available. It was Paige’s job before I took it on. Pierce and Terese love having her back.” 

Elly soon finished her meal, noting to herself that the blonde didn’t really seem as happy with how her life had panned out despite how she was talking about it, “What else has been going on in your life? Are you and…Pierce happy?” 

Oh, why did you have to go and ask that? Cause maybe if Chloe is your mate then deep down you need to know how impossible it’d be for you to be with her… 

Happy…? Stable and unfulfilling…more like it… 

“Yeah, we’re happy, he’s a really good guy and he treats me well,” Chloe settled on. 

Impossible… 

Before Elly could open her mouth the respond, Chloe looked at her watch, “We should head back or I’ll be late when the kids get to my place. Don’t suppose after all that food, you’d like to walk for a bit whilst I’ll get a head start on my run to beat you back?”    

“Not a chance, Chlo,” Elly winked, “You know I like to win and I always get what I want.” 

But is what I want…you? 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Sixteen 

Tuesday 19th November 2024   

Elly stood casually at the end of Chloe’s driveway, leaning against the fence like she had been when Chloe first spotted her there before their run. Chloe and Elly had run back to the street from Grease Monkey’s, with Elly outpacing Chloe soon enough though she had taken a bit longer this time to do so and couldn’t help but feel an enjoyment out of staying within Chloe’s eyesight for the most part. 

Elly sighed when she heard the front door of Chloe’s house open, as she knew it could only be Pierce as she could almost hear his breathing as he walked down the steps. Elly frowned, suddenly realizing that Chloe hadn’t mentioned Hendrix during their brief catch up. 

Elly stepped around the fence so that Pierce could see her waiting there for Chloe, “Pierce, it’s been a while.” 

Pierce frowned as he spotted Elly standing there, “Elly…so the rumours of your return are true.” 

“Sure are,” Elly winked. 

Pierce glanced at his watch, his other hand carrying his briefcase, “If you’re here to see Chloe, she’s on her morning run, she should’ve been back by now, she’s late and I’ve got to get to work. The kids have already been dropped off here, where is she?” 

“Oh, I’ve already seen Chloe, we were on a run together, she’ll be back soon, I kinda outpaced her. It’s my fault she’s late, we stopped at Grease Monkey’s to chat for a bit,” Elly explained. 

Pierce narrowed his eyes, wondering why it didn’t look like Elly had being on a run as she was barely sweating but then he shook his head, “Ugh Grease Monkey’s, can’t think of any worse kind of food to put in your body. Don’t tell me Chloe broke her healthy eating for that muck.” 

Elly rolled her eyes at him, “Live a little, Pierce, it’s just food but no, Chloe said she had breakfast waiting at home for her. Couldn’t even tempt her with a milkshake.” 

Elly watched as Pierce glanced at his watch again, clearly impatient, then was distracted herself as she overheard the sound of Chloe’s heartbeat and feet pounding the ground on the street that leads onto Ramsay Street, “Here’s Chloe now…in…three, two, one…” 

On one, Chloe rounded the corner onto Ramsay Street, running the rest of the way home. Pierce frowned at Elly once more, wondering how she had managed to predict the exact moment Chloe was gonna round the corner up ahead. Chloe looked exhausted when she came to a stop in front of Pierce and Elly. 

Pierce frowned all over again as he glanced between the two women and how different they looked after their run with Chloe out of breath and sweaty but Elly had barely broken a sweat, “Chloe, the kids are inside already. You right to take them to school cause I’m already late for work?” 

Chloe put her thumbs up, “Yep…I’m good.” 

Pierce chewed on his lip at the thought of Elly sticking around to spend more time with his wife and his curiosity of finding out why Elly had returned got the better of him, “Why don’t we get you inside, Chloe? I can be a few more minutes late.” 

“I’ll leave you both to it,” Elly decided, “Chlo, you want to make this morning run together a regular thing?” 

“You gonna kick my ass and outrun me every day?” Chloe smiled. 

“Count on it,” Elly winked, “See you tomorrow bright and early.” 

“Just no stopping at Grease Monkey’s every morning, okay? I can’t sit there and watch you eat an insane amount of food and still outrun me without getting a stitch,” Chloe decided.

"Okay but we do still need to catch up on some things as I still have a lot to tell you. Do you want to do dinner tonight?" Elly asked.

"We'll be busy tonight; Chloe's got a busy day today. Why don't you join us for dinner tomorrow evening?" Pierce stepped in before Chloe could answer, inviting himself to their plans before they had a chance to arrange something between them.

"Only if I can bring Aster with me as she’s already wanting to spend more time with Chloe, although dinner would be too late for Aster, maybe we should make it lunch instead," Elly settled, hoping she could catch Pierce off guard to his decision to join her and Chloe and she couldn’t help but feel curious at the thought of her daughter spending time with her and Chloe.

“I’ll make sure I take the time off work,” Pierce immediately countered, feeling threatened at the idea of Elly spending time with his wife, “And I’ll give our chef, René, a call to make sure he can rustle us up a nice meal for us all.”

I’ll just hope there’s a crisis at the hotel tomorrow.

"Perfect," Chloe agreed.

Nearly perfect…

Before Elly could turn around to go back to the Kennedy's, all three of them turned at the sound of Hendrix's voice from behind them, "Morning, Chloe. Running late for work. Bye, Chloe."

"Hi Hendrix, have a good day," Chloe called out.

Elly frowned as she realized Hendrix was across the road from them exiting Aaron and David's house before waving at the young man.

Hendrix suddenly paused when he recognized Elly standing there with his Dad and Chloe, "Elly...? Okay, I'm late, I'll call Chloe later on to find out what I've clearly missed. Bye, Chloe."

Chloe waved goodbye to him once more as Elly creased her eyebrows at the fact Hendrix had been at the house across the road and both Hendrix and Pierce had completely ignored interacting with one another.

Before Elly could ask about that, Pierce placed his hand on Chloe's shoulder, as Elly turned back to them, "We look forward to seeing you and Aster tomorrow at lunch... When are you taking her to Switzerland or is that where you've been for the past 4 years?"

Elly frowned even more, "Why would I go to Switzerland?"

Taking in Elly's question, Chloe raised her hand in a swiping motion to Pierce but he ignored her, "Aster should have her Dad in her life, if you clearly haven't been there the past four years, then I'm surprised you're not already on your way there."

"What are you talking about? Shaun's dead, he died in the avalanche," Elly pointed out.

Chloe cleared her throat, "I think you might want to speak to Bea...about Shaun...cause he's kinda...”

“Alive," Pierce finished for her, surprised when Chloe thumped him across the chest.

"What?" Elly asked in shock.

"I didn't know Elly didn't know," Pierce grumbled as he reacted to Chloe swatting him.

"I should go…talk to Bea," Elly swallowed hard, her mind spinning once more.

Chloe could barely get out a goodbye before Elly was gone, Pierce squeezed her shoulder, then lead her up the driveway, asking her, “So, you gonna tell me where Elly was all this time?”

Chloe shrugged, feeling bad Pierce had stunned Elly with the news about Aster’s Dad before her family had had a chance, “I’m not sure, we mostly spoke about me. We were supposed to talk about Elly when we got back here…but I guess that's not going to happen until lunch tomorrow...nice going with telling Elly about Shaun. How about you don't go telling Elly things you simply think her family have already told her?”

"I'd have thought Bea would've told her and the way Elly took off, she's probably going to skip lunch tomorrow and get on a flight straight to Switzerland," Pierce mused hopefully.

As Chloe climbed the stairs with Pierce, she glanced back over her shoulder but was surprised to see Elly was nowhere to be found.

Please don't rush back off to chase Shaun...I just got you back...

Elly bolted back over to the Kennedy's house, spotting Aster sitting in between Bea and Yashvi having breakfast, "Bea, can I talk to you?"

Bea raised her eyes at Elly's abruptness, "Ah...sure."

Yashvi eyed the pair then leant over to Aster, "Has anyone taken you out the back to see Karl's green house or the pizza oven?"

Aster shook her head, "Pizza!"

"Okay, pizza oven first, let's go give you a tour of the outside area of the house," Yashvi said, helping Aster down from her chair then led her outside.

As soon as Aster and Yashvi were out of earshot, Bea chewed on her lip, "What happened?"

"Shaun?" Elly stated simply.

"Oh...that," Bea sighed then stood up and started moving their breakfast dishes to the kitchen, "Chloe told you?"

"No, Pierce told me he was alive, Chloe told me to talk to you about it," Elly responded abruptly.

Bea stood opposite Elly in the kitchen, "Shaun survived the avalanche...he spent 7 months locked up in a hut living on rations with an injured ankle. He was determined to survive for..."

"Aster," Elly realized.

"Yeah and maybe you because you two had kinda started things before he left. But anyway, he rocked up here out of nowhere having jumped on a flight as soon as he got back to Geneva. He didn't even see his mum before coming out here. He didn't know about what had happened to you, the baby or Finn. We had to break it to him that you had disappeared in December before you'd had the baby and that about 6 weeks prior to his miraculous return...Finn had disappeared too after regaining his memories. Shaun was devastated by all of it...felt like he'd survived a nightmare to walk straight into another nightmare. Shaun looked for you...or I mean he hired a detective and that detective was part of declaring that...Finn had murdered you and taken off to Shanghai. Shaun couldn't handle it...he got help back in Switzerland but...he went back there after the case was closed," Bea explained.

"Do you know how he is?" Elly wondered.

Bea shook her head, "You and Finn were his only connections and with you both gone...and seemingly connected...he didn't have anything to keep him here. We haven't heard from Shaun in about three years...last time we did...he'd gotten things together; he was taking over his mum's role in her company and...he was considering dating again. What do you want to do?"

"I can't really keep this from Aster, he's her Dad but I don't want to go chasing Shaun in Switzerland. Shaun's probably moved on with his life and I don't need him jumping on a jet to come here. We just got back here, I want Aster to be settled and I want to get used to being back here with you all. And just because Shaun and I kissed the last time I saw him, doesn't mean anything should happen between us and I don't want to confuse Aster over this. I don't know. What do you think I should do?" Elly sighed.

I can't even entertain the idea of getting on a flight to Switzerland, what if I get stuck there in some custody argument with Shaun? I can't go overseas as a werewolf and risk being found out. And to be honest, I haven't given Shaun a single thought in years...but I can't have Aster find out from someone like Pierce.

“I think you should tell Aster the truth about her Dad being alive. If she desperately wants to meet him, then let her…but I agree that you should stay here ‘til your settled…we just got you back,” Bea tried to hide her emotions at the thought of Elly leaving again let alone for a guy she barely knew even though Shaun was Aster’s Dad.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Elly promised, “I just need some time to think.”

Bea nodded as Elly then wandered off to her bedroom, praying her sister didn’t want to go running after Shaun.

Okay, I need to figure out what to do...

Entering her room, Elly pulled out her phone, dialing Lexa’s phone number, waiting patiently until she picked up, “Didn’t even last a day before you called us, Fresh Meat! How’s the family? Don’t tell me you want to come back to us this quickly.”

Elly rolled her eyes at her friend, “Aster and I have been fine here. I made the right decision for us to come back…but I do miss you guys quite a bit, kinda can’t wait until I can get back to see you all next month if you don’t come visit me here earlier. Family are good, shocked obviously as they thought I may’ve died…which I’m gonna go off at you and Raven when I do see you both next…but that’s not why I’m calling…I have a problem and I don’t know what to do about it…”

“I’m listening,” Lexa replied when Elly went silent for a few seconds.

Elly ran her hand through her hair, “I think…I may’ve met my mate.”

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Seventeen 

Tuesday 19th November 2024   

Lexa smiled at Elly’s words that she had met her mate, “Aw, you so have, haven’t you? I can hear it in your voice, Fresh Meat. So, what’s the problem? You do know finding your mate is a good thing.”

“She’s married,” Elly answered quietly, even though her bedroom door was closed she was afraid anyone could walk past and hear her.

Lexa nodded to herself, “It’s a complication but not the first time a werewolf’s mate has been entangled in a prior marriage at the time they met. Divorce exists for a reason.”

“I don’t want to break up a marriage…even though her husband is an absolute douche,” Elly admitted.

“Chloe, huh? Yeah that guy I saw hanging off her on the few occasions I checked up on your family, he really did seem to be a douche,” Lexa replied.

“How did you know I was talking about Chloe?” Elly wondered.

“Just a feeling,” Lexa shrugged.

“Chloe can’t be my mate…least of all because it’s complicated as anything. I still don’t believe your lil folklore that werewolves have mates and that person is the only person they will love for the rest of their life,” Elly resolved.

“Yet you know we’re werewolves and the supernatural world exists but the idea of someone being the one and only person you’ll ever love for the rest of your life and we’ve simply coined the term of ‘mates’ for them can’t possibly be real?” Lexa scoffed.

“Well, mine can’t be Chloe, that’s all I know cause of how much of a problem that could end up being,” Elly decided.

“And how did you feel when you saw Chloe for the first time since you were turned?” Lexa asked simply.

Elly chewed on her lip, “Like my world was spinning.”

“And all you wanted was to hold her in your arms?” Lexa concluded.

“Yes,” Elly admitted, “And then Chloe was holding Aster and I just wanted it to be the three of us forever.”

“You got it bad, girl,” Lexa teased.

“What am I supposed to do? Chloe’s married, she’s not going to leave Pierce for me,” Elly insisted.

“The world works in mysterious ways,” Lexa told Elly cryptically, “If Chloe’s your mate then you’ll end up together one way or another no matter how long it takes but honestly…it won’t take as long as you think. You know the feelings of Chloe being your mate goes both ways. Even as a human, Chloe will feel a pull to you. It may not be as strong as yours to her and she won’t get what it means but she’ll feel it and she’ll know she has to be with you too. But seeing as though she’s married…she might try to fight it a bit more.”

“Did you feel that way about Clarke when you met her?” Elly asked.

“Yes, I was human and I still felt the pull of being Clarke’s mate. It just all made sense once she explained it to me like it will when you tell Chloe,” Lexa advised.

“I can’t tell Chloe. Are you kidding? Chloe can never find out what I am, she’ll be in danger if she learns the truth,” Elly declared.

“Fresh Meat, if Chloe’s your mate, she’s gonna have to know once your together, remember you don’t age, pretty sure Chloe will notice that,” Lexa pointed out.

Elly shook her head at the thought, “No, Chloe is too good and pure to be mixed up into this dangerous life and my darkness. You know what…I have this all wrong. There’s no way what I’m feeling for Chloe is that she’s my mate and nothing in the world will stop us from being together. It’s just…a strong feeling that I’ve missed my best friend.”

“Keep telling yourself that, Fresh Meat. You’ll accept it sooner or later,” Lexa sniggered, “Now, anything else you want to tell me about how your family reunion has gone?”

Elly groaned, “I’m not the only one who came back from the dead so to speak. Aster’s father, Shaun, survived that avalanche we thought had killed him. I have to tell Aster before anyone else does and maybe I’m a total bitch but I really don’t want to have to involve Shaun back in our lives…for now. I just want to get Aster settled into living here with everyone and have some semblance of a normal life without complicating it with someone like Shaun around…even though he is her Dad. Any advice?”

“Chloe’s your mate, focus on her instead of Shaun,” Lexa chuckled.

“That’s not what I meant,” Elly shook her head as she realized before she’d even said the words, Lexa had hung up on her, “Ugh.”

Chloe cannot be my mate…what the hell do I do about Shaun?

The following morning, Chloe sighed softly as she jogged down the steps out the front of her house. She soon yelped when walking down the end of her driveway and Elly was leaning against the fence out the front, “You have got to stop doing that, Elly!”

Elly smirked at the blonde, “I’m getting used to spooking you, Chlo, it’s fun.”

“You know you could just come to the front door like a normal person,” Chloe pointed out.

I’m not a normal person anymore…and that would involve bumping into Pierce…

“Nah, I’d rather hang here waiting for you for our run so you can expect me here every morning and not be so spooked anymore,” Elly decided.

Chloe placed her hands on her hips, “I wasn’t sure you were going to turn up this morning after you ran off yesterday.”

“How come?” Elly frowned.

“Well…after Pierce spilt the…Shaun’s alive beans…I thought maybe…” Chloe trailed off.

You’d rush off to Switzerland last night to reunite with Shaun and I’d never see you again…

Sensing Chloe’s worry, Elly smiled, “What? That I’d rush to the airport with Aster to get on the first flight to Switzerland? Hardly. Aster and I just got back here; she needs to be settled here as I want this to be her home for as much of her childhood as possible. I sat down with Aster last night and I explained about Shaun being alive, that had I known I wouldn’t have kept her away from this place for so long.”

“How’d Aster take the news?” Chloe asked.

Elly smiled at Chloe’s concern for her daughter, “Confused mostly but she doesn’t want us rushing off to Switzerland either…”

Aster knows I can’t…we can’t risk travelling like that cause I could get stuck over there when the full moon cycle comes around.

“Aster knows we need to settle down here properly and that it’s not like her parents need to be together so there’s no rush for us to get in contact with Shaun to let him know we’re alive,” Elly continued.

Aster’s sold on Chloe being my mate so she’s already accepted Shaun and I would never be anything other than co-parents.

“Besides, Shaun could have a whole new life that maybe he’d prefer us not to announce our presence or maybe that’s just me being selfish and not wanting Aster to be rejected by him if he’s not in a place to want her in his life. We will get in contact with Shaun eventually to let him know so he can come out here to meet Aster if he wants to…but we’re in no rush to do so. I need Aster to get used to living here and I need to focus on settling the pair of us back into normal life here,” Elly concluded.

“So…you’re not taking off anytime soon?” Chloe asked anxiously.

Elly winked at the blonde, “Only taking off in front of you on our run and waiting for you to catch up to me.”

Chloe rolled her eyes, then groaned as Elly immediately took off down the path, leaving her already rushing to try and keep up with the brunette.

Seriously, how is Elly this fit? She likes outrunning me…and I can’t say I dislike it…cause…wow just look at her…

An hour later, Elly and Chloe both returned to Ramsay Street from their run. Together as Elly had generously not outpaced Chloe during their run this time, mostly because as they weren’t running to a location like Grease Monkey’s the previous day, Elly quickly realized she didn’t know exactly what route Chloe usually took for her run and also because she was getting used to running at a slower pace than normal. Having Chloe running beside her and so close to her could never be a downside.

As they finished their run, Elly couldn’t help but smirk at how exhausted the blonde looked compared to how she herself had barely broken a sweat, “We still on for lunch today?”

Chloe nodded, out of breath.

“Hey, what time do your brother’s drop their kids off to your place as I thought maybe if I hung around a bit that I could catch Aaron or Mark to organize when would be a good time for Aster and I to meet up with them and their families? I’m sure Aster would love to get to know Mark and Paige’s lil girl. You should join us in catching up with all of them,” Elly offered.

Chloe took a deep breath, “Oh, the kids just walk across the road and come over to our place once they are ready for school. I don’t see Mark and Aaron all that much. You should definitely catch up with them all for a meal this week. Rose is a year younger than Aster but she’ll get on with your lil girl easily. I don’t want to interrupt your time with your friends, you should catch up with them on your own with Aster. You don’t need me there.”

Elly frowned at Chloe turning her down as well as saying she doesn’t see her brothers much when they live across the road, Chloe takes their kids to and from school and no longer spends all her days at the hotel. Before Elly could ask Chloe about it, like the previous day, Hendrix exited Aaron and David’s house across the road, waved to the pair of them, yelled out a ‘Good Morning’ and then was on his way to work.

Okay…I need to ask Chloe about that...why is Hendrix living at Aaron and David’s? And Mark and Paige’s if they live there too…with their four children between them…isn’t Chloe and Pierce’s house…kinda empty and it’s just…Chloe and Pierce?

Before Elly could open her mouth, Chloe spoke up, “I gotta run to the shower and get ready to take my niece and nephews’ to school. Lunch today at midday? Pierce and I will see you and Aster at ours then?”

“Any chance we could get there early? There’s still a few things…okay kinda everything I haven’t really told you about for the past few years of my life and…you know chatting over lunch…I feel like we’ll get distracted from all that,” Elly asked.

Chloe paused for a moment, leading Elly to frown again at her hesitation, before she finally nodded, “Sure…I guess. Not too early. Say quarter to midday? Pierce will be home at midday; we’ll have lunch prepared and dropped off to us soon by our chef. Pierce won’t want to take that much time from the office.”

“Ah…sure, sounds good. I’ll see you then,” Elly agreed, then as Chloe turned to head inside, Elly couldn’t help but wonder why Chloe seemed hesitant to spend time with her without Pierce around except when she had talked Chloe into letting her join her each morning for her run.

Hendrix not living with Chloe and Pierce, Chloe not seeing her brothers very often when they live across the street…what is going on in Chloe’s life that she’s not telling me…? And what right do you even have to ask that question when you can’t ever tell Chloe the truth about yourself…whether she’s your mate or not…Chloe can’t ever find out. I’d rather not ever be with my mate then ever hurt Chloe…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Eighteen 

Wednesday 20th November 2024   

Elly stood on the doorstep to Chloe’s place, holding Aster’s hand, “Are you going to be good for me today at lunch?”

“Maybe. When will you and Chloe get together?” Aster asked cheekily.

Elly squeezed Aster’s hand, “Aster, you can’t talk like that. Chloe’s married to Pierce, she’s happy, I’m not ruining that.”

“But Chloe’s your mate, which means there’s nothing in the world that will stop the pair of you from being together. You should just tell Pierce,” Aster smiled up at her mum.

“Aster, we can’t talk about our folklores like that or I’ll risk being found out and we’ll both be in danger. So will the Pack and the rest of our family here. I’m not telling Pierce or Chloe or anyone. If…and that’s a big if…Chloe is my mate then I will not do anything to come between Chloe and Pierce. If nothing in the world is meant to stop the pair of us from being together…then that means I will need to wait as long as it takes for Chloe’s marriage to end of its own accord. Now, I mean it, Aster, I need you to be good and keep our secrets, okay?” Elly stood firm with her daughter.

“Okay, Mum,” Aster relented as Elly knocked on the front door.

A moment later, Chloe opened the door, smiling at the pair, inviting them in. Aster immediately reached out her arms to Chloe to which Chloe knelt down to pick the young girl up and swung her onto her hip, “Hi Aster, welcome to my home.”

Aster stared around at the living room and kitchen area, “It doesn’t feel like this is your home, Chloe. I think your more suited to moving to--”

“Aster, baby, this is Chloe’s home, she’s not moving anywhere,” Elly interrupted then unable to resist a way of trying to distract both Chloe and Aster from continuing to discuss Chloe’s living situation knowing that Aster was doing so as she wanted Chloe to be with her mum, Elly leant forward, wrapping her arm around Chloe’s shoulder, pulling her into a hug.

Damn it, this was supposed to distract Chloe, now I’m just reminded by how much I want this…Chloe, Aster and I…it feels so perfect…

Why does it feel so good to have these two in my arms?

Elly released Chloe from the hug, then reached out and allowed Aster to crawl into her own arms, “You feeling good after your run this morning, Chlo?”

Chloe nodded, then closed the front door behind Elly and pointed to the couch for them to sit down on, “You’re definitely making me work harder than I have the last couple years. I know you were running slower for my benefit this morning. Pierce should be home soon. Did you end up catching Mark or Aaron?”

Elly sat down on the couch, next to Chloe, with Aster curling herself up on Elly’s lap, “Yeah, I bumped into Aaron. He’d heard the rumours of my return but was still bewildered to see me. Aster and I are gonna have dinner with them all Friday evening. You’re welcome to come with us.”

“Nah, I think Pierce has dinner plans for us then,” Chloe dismissed, then smiled at the pair, “So, are you going to finally tell me where you’ve been the past four years, Elly? Or do I need to pry the info out of Aster?”

“I don’t remember much except Mum was always there for me and so were the Pack,” Aster answered.

“The Pack?” Chloe frowned at the words.

“The Pack of our friends that took us in. Aster’s still getting used to words for things and she came up with that name for them,” Elly explained away, wondering how long it would be before Aster got her in more trouble with revealing too much.

“Your friends sound…interesting,” Chloe settled on, “But I guess that does answer one of my questions on whether or not you were alone or…had people in your life whilst you were gone. What happened, Elly? You were meant to be at my wedding but you disappeared the night before and never made it home after my Hen’s Party.”

“I really wanted to be there for you, Chlo,” Elly reassured.  

Yeah…to maybe have stopped you from marrying Pierce, Chlo…even back then I knew we still had something…I never would’ve had it in me to stop you…but there hasn’t been a single day that’s gone by that I haven’t wondered what would’ve happened if I’d stayed at your Hen’s party…never being turned into a werewolf. Would we have found a way through in that maybe your marriage to Pierce wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has and you’ve had given it another chance with me…and Aster?  

“My disappearance had nothing to do with Finn,” Elly started out, “Bea told me how the police had linked it to Finn and people thought maybe he’d killed me then he got his memories back after the guilt ate away at him and he took off himself.”  

Okay, Finn was the reason I haven’t been able to come back here for the last three plus years on account of the fact I murdered him and I needed to learn to control my anger so I don’t turn into a great big werewolf without the full moon and hurt anyone else. It was my guilt eating away at me.   

Chloe nodded along quietly as Elly recounted her experience of being attacked the night she’d left the Hen’s party, her story stayed the same as what she’d explained to Bea, Karl, Susan and Yashvi two days earlier.  

Chloe had reacted much the same as Bea had at Elly’s story, except she hadn’t taken it to heart as much as Bea had that Elly had made the decision to stay away from her home and family when she should’ve come home to them years ago.  

“I know I made a mistake when I stayed away from everyone, Chlo. I kept Aster away from her family when Bea, Suze and Karl should’ve helped me raise my lil girl…let alone Shaun had I known he was still alive and could be the father to Aster he wanted to be. I was scared. I felt like I was a failure in those days leading up to the attack, I’d found this new family who accepted me for who I am and I just…the days kept getting away from me, I kept telling myself I needed to return home to y’all so I could face up to the fact I had stayed away and start making amends for it,” Elly concluded.

“Well, I’m glad you made your way home to everyone so you could start making amends cause we really missed you…and the chance to have Aster grow up into the lil girl that she’s becoming…we always wondered what had happened to you both. I’m sorry you didn’t think you could come back here before now,” Chloe sympathized with her friend.

“I’m glad I’m back too. I meant what I said, I don’t have any intention of taking off again. I’m staying here no matter what, Aster and I both are,” Elly insisted.

“Sounds like I have a running partner every morning and another little munchkin for me to look after whenever you need a help with Aster,” Chloe offered.

Aster giggled at the thought, “Can you let Chloe look after me, Mum?”    

Elly squeezed Aster’s hips, “Maybe, we both know your trouble and I’m not sure Chloe wants to look after trouble when her niece and nephews are probably a lot more behaved then you are if I know the way Mark and Aaron would be as parents.”

“I’ll be more behaved with Chloe,” Aster insisted.

Chloe chuckled at the young girl, “I’m sure you will, Aster. I’d love to spend time with you but y’know you’ve got your Auntie Bea and Yashvi and Karl and Susan to look after you too. Oh, and your mum is definitely right about how Aaron and Mark are as parents to their kids. Even after all these years away, your mum still knows us Brennan’s.”

How glad I am that Chloe never took Pierce’s name. Chloe’s the one I know most of all and want to continue knowing even more…

“Hey, Chlo, I was gonna ask you…it’s just you said earlier that you don’t see your brothers very often…that just doesn’t sound like you guys. You and your brothers have always been close,” Elly pried gently.

Chloe shrugged nervously, “We’re…just not anymore. They have such busy lives with their kids, partners and jobs. I really don’t see Mark or Aaron all that much anymore. I see their kids more than I see them. It’s just the way it is.”

“The boys live across the street from you,” Elly pointed out.

Before Chloe could try to answer Elly’s nudging over what was going on with her brothers and she not having the same close relationship they used to have, they were interrupted when Pierce walked in the front door.

“Hey, Pierce,” Chloe greeted her husband.

Pierce tilted his head at the fact Elly and Aster were already there, “Chloe, you look really nice in that dress. Elly, good to see you again. You must be Aster, nice to meet you.”

Chloe looks really good in that dress…do I want Chloe to be making an effort to look good around me?

“What’s for lunch?” Aster asked Pierce quickly, ignoring his greeting.

Pierce glanced at Chloe whom answered, “We’ve got some prawns and calamari with salad. René dropped it off an hour or so ago. You snap your fingers at him, Pierce, and he cooks up and delivers the freshest food around.”

“What else you got?” Aster looked up at Pierce again.

“Aster, be polite, we’ll eat the food we’re served, we’re their guests, remember?” Elly pointed out to her daughter.

Aster continued staring up at Pierce, until he shrugged, “Why don’t I check the fridge?”

“I’ll come with to see what I want. That okay, mum?” Aster decided for herself, then asked Elly for permission.

“Sure,” Elly agreed, helping Aster to crawl off the couch as she then walked over to Pierce and followed him into the kitchen to the fridge.

“Sorry, she’s…a little fussy about food but she’s always liked seafood so I don’t know why she wouldn’t like your prawns and calamari,” Elly explained.

“Don’t worry about it, we’ll find her something she’ll like. I probably should’ve asked before you got here if there was anything we should get for her,” Chloe realized.

Elly raised her eyebrow as she overheard Aster telling Pierce “No” to several options he was suggesting to her.

Oh…Aster’s giving me a moment alone with Chloe…how very Elly of her…she’s definitely my girl.

“So, I meant to ask you too about Hendrix being at Aaron’s place the last couple days and when Pierce was there yesterday, Hendrix was kinda…ignorant of Pierce. Does Hendrix not live with you anymore?” Elly brought up.

Chloe shook her head, “Hendrix is…living in the sunroom at Aaron and David’s place…at the moment.”

“The sunroom?” Elly repeated, “With…Aaron and David…Mark and Paige…and…their kids?”

“Rose, Felix and Daniel, yes. Plus, Gabe, when he’s not staying with Jack. Jack has Gabe just about every school holidays but Paige and Jack still share him during the big holidays like Christmas and his birthday. The three boys share a room which is bordering on insanity but the room is big enough for bunk beds for Felix and Daniel then a single bed for Gabe. Rose has her own room. Mark and Paige have been house hunting for the past few months but Mark is so picky about the type of house he wants and it’s driving Paige insane as this move to live with Aaron, David and their kids was only meant to be for a few weeks until they found a place but they’ve been here going on a year now. Despite all the kids and the chaos, Hendrix camps out in the sunroom,” Chloe explained.

“Why?” Elly asked simply.

Chloe hesitated as she glanced over at Pierce, “Pierce…forgot the Harlix wedding a year ago.”

Elly took a few seconds to react, “Hendrix married Harlow? What do you mean Pierce forgot? How do you forget a wedding…your son’s wedding?”

Chloe looked back at Elly, “Pierce had been overworked and he just…forgot…I reminded him…numerous times. I told Harlow and Hendrix to delay the wedding ‘til I could track down Pierce…kinda like how Pierce had to track down Hendrix to attend our wedding…long story not worth telling you about. Hendrix didn’t want to wait so they got married then I went to get Pierce for the reception with Hendrix…only Hendrix…blew up at Pierce right in the middle of the Lassiters complex…I still remember all the faces of strangers staring at them as they yelled at one another for a solid ten minutes or so. Hendrix eventually took a swing at Pierce…and they haven’t spoken since.”

“Sounds like I missed some solid Ramsay Street drama…I can’t believe Pierce forgot about Hendrix’s wedding. So, Hendrix…and Harlow live at Aaron’s now?” Elly was surprised.

“Harlow’s studying to be a nurse, she got a placement for her final year at a Sydney Hospital so their first year of being newlyweds has mostly been spent apart. Once Harlow has completed her degree in a few weeks’ time, they’ll get their own place here in Erinsborough, Hendrix didn’t want to get a place then be on his own for nearly a year. They travel back and forth every weekend or two to see each other. They stay with Terese and Paul when Harlow comes back here but Hendrix doesn’t want to get in their way to live there permanently,” Chloe explained more.

“So, he lives with four other adults and four kids?” Elly pointed out.

“It’s a bit more complicated with Paul and Terese…” Chloe looked up as Aster and Pierce returned to them, “I’ll explain in a bit.”

“You sort out lunch you’ll be happy to eat, baby girl?” Elly asked.

“Aster will have the prawn and calamari with salad,” Pierce announced, his tone suggesting his exhaustion of Aster running him around for the past five minutes for no reason.

Elly smirked at Pierce, then at Aster, “Couldn’t find anything better after all that, huh?”

“No, mum, you were right, I’ll have the food I’m served,” Aster giggled.

“Kids, love to drive you crazy, am I right?” Elly chucked.

“Our kids won’t be like this,” Pierce announced then looked at Chloe, “Let’s get this lunch served.”

“We don’t know what any future kids would be like, Pierce. We’ll worry about that if we get there. Let’s focus on what we can control,” Chloe replied, trying not to start a conversation with Pierce that she didn’t want to have in front of Elly.

As Chloe left Elly alone on the couch, with Aster deciding to follow Chloe and Pierce into the kitchen to ask them questions about their life, Elly couldn’t help but continue to stare after Chloe.

‘Our kids’…I don’t get the sense that Chloe’s pregnant but it sounds like Pierce wants them to have kids and Chloe’s…I can’t tell if she’s on board with wanting kids with him or not. You can’t get in the middle of this…if Chloe wants to start a family with Pierce, you need to respect that and leave them be to their future…it doesn’t matter if Chloe’s your mate…you can’t break up a marriage or be with her if there are kids involved for Chloe and Pierce…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Nineteen 

Wednesday 20th November 2024   

As Elly sat down at Chloe and Pierce’s dining table for lunch with the couple, Aster walked over to her, with Elly pulling her daughter up to sit on her lap.

Chloe came to the table with their meals, smiling at the pair, “You gonna eat your meal sitting on your mum’s lap, Aster?”

“She’ll be fine here with me,” Elly answered, “I’m used to eating around her being on my lap and helping her to eat her meal too.”

“Adorable,” Chloe grinned.

Why can’t Chloe be thinking that about me?

Pierce sat down at the table opposite Elly and Aster as Chloe brought their meals over to them and placed them in front of the mum and daughter.

Aster looked at the plate of food that Chloe had served up for her mum, then looked up at her, “That’s not enough food for you, Mum. That’s more like a snack. You getting seconds and thirds, right?”

When Pierce stared at Elly strangely at Aster’s comment, Elly giggled softly, “Oh…she’s just being funny. This lunch is great,” then when Pierce was distracted by helping Chloe sit at the table by pulling out her chair for her, Elly whispered in Aster’s ear, “I need to eat like a regular human in front of people. I’ll take you to the shops after our meal and I’ll get something else there.”

Aster nodded, “Okay, Mum.”

As Elly begun helping Aster to eat her lunch, Pierce glanced at the pair once more, “Sorry again for spilling the Shaun tea yesterday…uh I assume you’ve now told…”

Really, Pierce, you apologize for spilling the Shaun tea then assume I told Aster! What if I hadn’t?

“Yes, I spoke to Bea yesterday and she explained what had happened with Shaun. I sat Aster down last night and explained it to her. She knows her Dad survived the avalanche and that I had no idea about it ‘til yesterday. We’re not going to rush getting in contact with Shaun until we’re ready. We need to settle back into life here first after so many years away. I’m not being selfish to Shaun by not letting him know we’re alive immediately, we need time to put our lives back together here first. Any problems with the way I’ve decided to handle this?” Elly put to Pierce, wondering if she was being paranoid to think he didn’t want her around.

“I think Shaun would want to know as soon as possible about Aster but that’s just my opinion,” Pierce told Elly.

“He will but Mum needs to look out for us first before contacting my Dad,” Aster backed Elly up.

“So, where were you all these years, Elly?” Pierce wondered.

Seeing Elly trying to help Aster eat her lunch, Chloe began explaining the story to Pierce that Elly had recounted to her earlier. Elly whispered her “thanks” to Chloe, with Chloe smiling softly at the brunette.

Please, look at me forever like that, Chloe. Forever…you can’t spend forever with Chloe…unless you make her like you and you would never ever do that to Chloe…ever.

Pierce glanced at Elly suspiciously as Chloe explained where Elly had been and why she hadn’t returned to her family until this week. Elly saw the looks he was giving her, half-worried that he knew most of it was a lie, but she was hardly concerned that Pierce of all people would figure out the truth that she was a werewolf and had killed Finn.

“I’m not sure I quite understand why you stayed away with your daughter for nearly four years,” Pierce remarked at the end of Chloe’s explanation.

“I’ve made some mistakes in the last few years thinking my family could never forgive me for not letting them know I was alive and raising my daughter. I know what I did put them through hell. I’m here now to make up for all of it. I’ve got a lot of work to do with my family to get them to trust I’m not just gonna take off again. I’d appreciate it if Aster and I could be given support by our family and friends whilst we get used to our lives here,” Elly replied with authority.

“You definitely have our support, Elly. We don’t want you going anywhere,” Chloe perked up.

I just got you back, Elly, I need you here with me…

Pierce looked annoyed that Chloe had spoken for him but he was hardly one to want to make a scene with his wife in front of her ex-girlfriend.

“So, what else have I missed these past few years I’ve been away from Erinsborough?” Elly shifted the conversation along.

“Not a whole lot,” Pierce answered.

Elly lowered her eyes at the businessman, “Really? Cause not gonna lie I was a little surprised about Bea and Yashvi being engaged yet it---”

“Wait, Bea finally proposed? Yashvi said yes! How did we not hear about this? Bea’s had that ring on her for the past six months. I kept telling her to ask Yashvi but she was so scared Yashvi isn’t the marrying type,” Chloe blurted out.

Elly smiled over at the blonde for her rambling, “I think the girls are waiting until the shock of me being back wears off before they announce their engagement to everyone. They had Dipi and Shane over to celebrate with them, Suze and Karl, so it’s not like they aren’t telling people. I’m sure by the weekend, they’ll be ready to tell the world.”

“We need to throw them an engagement party,” Chloe enthused.

“We never had one of those,” Pierce replied.

“That’s because we got married like a month after getting engaged and didn’t really have time,” Chloe pointed out.

Rushing into marriage with a guy you barely know…how different would our lives have been if I’d have stopped you?

“Why don’t I run the idea past them? Make sure they want an engagement party. For all I know, they may want to rush down the aisle…seeing as though I don’t really know Bea and Yashvi as a couple and am still getting used to my little sister getting married,” Elly offered.

“Perfect. When Bea and Yashvi say yes because I know they will, you and I should plan the engagement party for them,” Chloe winked at Elly.

“You and I?” Elly repeated, trying not to get her hopes up.

“Yes, absolutely, we’ll get together and we’ll plan the entire party for them. With some help from lil Aster, of course. What do you say, Elly?” Chloe asked.

“I think Elly’s got a lot she needs to catch up on and doesn’t need to be involved in planning some lil party that you can manage all on your own, Chloe,” Pierce piped up.

“Sounds perfect,” Elly grinned, ignoring Pierce, “Why don’t Aster and I come over this weekend and we’ll start putting our ideas together?”

“Chloe and I are spending the weekend together. How about you come over one night this week and we’ll discuss this over dinner? We’ll make it an early dinner for Aster,” Pierce offered.

“This weekend sounds great,” Chloe agreed, ignoring Pierce’s idea, “You can clear out for a few hours, let Elly, Aster and I have the house to ourselves so we can plan this event, Pierce? C’mon, you know Bea’s my best friend and this will be a chance for Elly to start making it up to Bea for missing the last few years of her life where she could’ve seen Bea falling for Yashvi and how adorable a couple they were once they got together.”

“I suppose there’s some work I can do from home here on the weekend, you won’t even notice me,” Pierce offered.

“We’re only talking like an hour or two, you can go for a run or go to the gym or something to leave us in peace,” Chloe challenged.

Why do I get the sense that Chloe is literally having to ask Pierce permission to spend time with someone who isn’t him…? I still don’t understand why Chloe isn’t close to her brothers anymore…

“Okay, fine, why don’t you invite Bea and Yashvi over so the four of you plus Aster can plan the party together? Bea and Yashvi will want their input into the occasion,” Pierce suggested.

“Oh, please, Bea and Yashvi will be fine with us planning a little engagement party. It’s not like we’re gonna be planning some secluded party on your island for us to spend the week at,” Chloe rolled her eyes at her husband.

Ugh Pierce’s island, I remember when Finn wanted to kill Bea and Chloe on the---I’m not supposed to know about the island because I can’t have anyone knowing that I came home the day Finn disappeared…after you killed him…

Pierce shrugged, “Well, you don’t know what--”

“Pierce has an island!” Elly reacted slowly yet loudly.

Chloe raised her eyebrow at Elly, “Ah…yes, you weren’t around when…Pierce has an island. I only found out a few months after you went missing. We went out there for several days. Actually, that was a day or two after Finn went missing. Bea had a hell of a time dealing with that but it was really good we all got away. We haven’t had too many chances to head back there. Lightning hit the island, half of it went up in flames…which it should be well and truly regrown by now. We should check on it in the next few weeks to make sure it’s back to being habitable. Might actually be able to sell it if it is.”

“You want to sell an island!?” Elly raised her own eyebrow back at Chloe.

“We can put it on the market…see if it attracts any buyers,” Pierce decided, “We’re kinda off topic, we’ll look into the island over the next month or so…maybe leave it to the new year since there’s no rush. But back to Bea and Yashvi’s engagement party, I think they would want input into their celebration.”

Elly shook her head at Piere, “Nah, Chloe and I will organize the whole thing along with Aster’s input, of course. I’ll ask Bea if she’s happy for us to plan it.”

“I reckon the only thing Bea will want to plan is the date to make sure Yashvi isn’t working the night shift that day. The rest they will happily palm off to us,” Chloe smiled.

“So, that’s settled. You, me, Aster, engagement party planning this weekend. Sound fun, baby girl?” Elly enthused.

Aster grinned up at Elly then over at Chloe, happily seeing the way Chloe was looking at her mum, “Lots of fun.”

“Yeah…fun,” Pierce repeated their word slowly as he sat there staring between the two women and the smiles on their faces at one another, feeling uneasy about Elly’s return to Chloe’s life.

Pierce knew deep down Chloe had loved Elly fiercely and he’d always worried that she’d never felt as strongly about him despite choosing to marry him over pursuing a relationship with Elly. Now that Elly had returned after her absence, he was already starting to feel anxious of the pair spending time together and where that could lead but needed to stay positive that nothing in the world could lead Chloe from his arms…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty

Friday 22nd November 2024   

“Hey, Bea, have you and Yashvi settled on a date for Chloe, Aster and I to plan your engagement party or would you like us to arrange that for you too?” Elly asked her younger sister as soon as she walked in the door of the Kennedy’s for her lunch break.

“Hello to you too,” Bea teased as she walked over to the dining table where Elly was sitting with Aster and Karl, whom was home after his night shift at the hospital, giving her niece a quick kiss on the top of her head, “At least Aster’s glad to see me home, aren’t you lil one?”

“Yes, Auntie Bea,” Aster giggled.

“How has the morning been setting up your new bedroom, Aster? Do you like the bed your mum got you?” Bea fired off questions to the young girl as she headed to the kitchen to grab some lunch.

“Yes, it’s gonna be awesome having my own bed for the first time ever,” Aster enthused.

Bea smirked as Elly raised her eyebrow at her, “Right, so engagement party. Are you sure you and Chloe want to plan the celebration for us?”

“And me, Auntie Bea,” Aster piped up.

“Yes, sorry, Aster too, I bet your ideas for the food and music are gonna be amazing!” Bea smiled at the youngster.

“You bet they are, they’ll be food and music for kids too as you’ll be inviting Mark, Aaron and Toadie’s kids, won’t you?” Aster asked.

“Of course,” Bea agreed, “You looking forward to meeting the entire Brennan clan over dinner tonight?”

Chloe won’t be there tonight…I want her to be…maybe I should pop over to her place to ask her again…

“Yes, Auntie Bea, I can make friends with their kids. I never had friends me own age,” Aster revealed.

“I’m sorry about that, Aster,” Elly apologized, not wanting to remind her daughter in front of Karl and Bea why they couldn’t integrate with other people besides the Pack for the past few years, then looking back up at Bea, “So, do you have a date we can work with or not?”

Bea grabbed her lunch and walked over to the table to sit next to Karl, opposite Elly, “Yashvi and I aren’t rushing down the aisle anytime soon. We’ll probably marry in the second half of next year so we don’t need to rush to an engagement party but we do want to do that this year.”

“Okay…excellent decision not to rush down the aisle unlike Mark and I…so do you have a date in mind for the party?” Elly pushed again.

Bea shrugged, “Well, Yashvi’s drawn the short straw at the police station. She’s rostered on for the next two weeks as night shifts but then the polite human being that she is has swapped her shifts with a colleague for an extra week so I am barely gonna see my girlfriend except when she stumbles into bed when I’m getting up to go to the garage for three weeks straight.”

“Three weeks of silence at night so we can all sleep?” Elly teased, then furrowed her eyebrow.

Wait…three weeks from now…no…not that weekend! Next full moon is Sunday 15th December so I need to head back to the Pack the Saturday morning for the three-night cycle of the full moon. Crap! What do I do if Bea wants her party the Saturday night? Yes, I told my family that I need to go back to my friends for several nights next month sometime but I was playing it vaguely as to when I’ll go back to them. Not that I have the dates in my calendar and need to do this every single month without arising suspicion. How can I talk my sister into changing the date of her engagement party without letting her know I need her to avoid the full moon cycle?

“Yes, you will enjoy that but I’ll be hoping the garage is quiet so I can wrap up late afternoon early to…spend quality time with my fiancé before she goes off to work for the evening,” Bea stuck her tongue out at Elly.

Elly watched as Karl seemed to be amused by something Aster was doing rather than listen to their conversation, “So…what date exactly does Yashvi finish her night shifts? Or we can do the party the week after, no need to rush it.”

“The Thursday night in three weeks is her last night shift for at least a month or so, not that I’ll be counting down the days,” Bea answered.

“Perfect, we’ll have the party on the Friday night then…which is the…” Elly fiddled with her phone feigning looking at her calendar, “13th December. Sound good?”

“Wouldn’t the party be better on the Saturday night?” Bea asked.

Elly shook her head, knowing she was lying to her sister for her own personal benefit, “See if you have the party on the Friday night then you get to continue the celebration into Saturday and Saturday night. Whereas Saturday night just goes straight into Sunday and you have those Sunday blues feels about work the next day.”

“I suppose you do have a point, Elly,” Bea agreed, “Though when was the last time you had those feels as I thought you didn’t really work whilst you were away?”

“I did a lot of tutoring for one of my friends, Lexa, as she quit school far too young and I helped her to achieve graduating from high school through my tutoring,” Elly replied proudly, then wanting to shift the conversation away from Lexa in case it led to more questions about the Pack, “We good to start planning the party for that Friday night?”

“Sure,” Bea decided, “I’ll text Yashvi to let her know so she doesn’t go and swap any more of her shifts out of the kindness of her heart. Are you sure the three of you want to plan this party cause Yashvi and I will be fine to organize the event ourselves?”

“Perfect. Yes, Bea, I want to do this for you, both of you. I’ve missed so much of your life and I want to do something small to start making up for it,” Elly insisted.

“And spending time with Chloe, aye?” Bea wiggled her eyebrow.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Elly worried.

“I see that little smile on your face every time the word Chloe comes up,” Bea winked.

“Auntie Bea’s right, Mum, you always smile around Chloe,” Aster piped up.

“So, I was right,” Bea chuckled.

“I don’t know what you two are trying to get at as Chloe’s my best friend, why wouldn’t I smile around her?” Elly played innocent, praying Aster wouldn’t pop back up to call Chloe her ‘mate.’

“Chloe deserves someone better than Pierce, always has, and we all know she was wildly in love with you. If anything was to ever happen between you two…post-Pierce, as I don’t condone cheating, Elly, then I’d be very happy for the two of you,” Bea declared.

“Well, that’s just insanity as Chloe’s married and seems very happy with Pierce so nothing is going to happen between us,” Elly insisted.

Except for the fact I’m starting to accept more and more that Chloe is my mate and that means we will find our way to being together…

Before Bea could argue further, Elly added, “Karl, are you okay to mind Aster for a bit for me? I’m going to pop over to Chloe’s to check when she wants us to get together on the weekend to plan this engagement party…and maybe try to talk her into joining Aster and I for our meal at the Brenaka’s tonight with her fam.”

Karl nodded in agreement, oblivious to most of the rest of their conversation.

“Hmm both things you can do via text but you want to see Chloe,” Bea smirked.

“I’m just trying to make more of an effort with everyone now that I’m back, that’s all there is to it,” Elly told her sister.

As Elly stood up, ran her hand through Aster’s hair then kissing her cheek, to say goodbye until she got back from Chloe’s, Bea shook her head at Elly, “Sure.”

Bea is so gonna work out my feelings for Chloe before I know it…I guess I’m lucky she won’t comprehend the extent of them by knowing what Chloe being my mate means…

A moment later, Elly bounded silently up the stairs to Chloe’s house. Her ability to skip up them without making a sound, still amused Elly that she had powers like that as a werewolf even when she was in human form.

As Elly reached the top of the stairs, she found herself glancing into the side window at the front door which was tinted to obstruct people from seeing inside the house. But Elly wasn’t a normal human being and her powers of sight allowed her eyes to see through the tinted glass.

Chloe was standing in the living room, where the couch usually sat. The couch, Elly assumed though she couldn’t see must have been shifted out of the way. Chloe stood there in her gym outfit with Elly unable to make out what she was doing, seeing the blonde from behind. Chloe’s phone suddenly rung.

Elly couldn’t help but listen in to Chloe’s side of the conversation, the door and windows thick enough to stop her being able to clearly make out the caller’s side of the conversation. Even though she knew she shouldn’t use her heightened powers around her friends and family, Elly justified it to herself that it was Chloe and she wanted to know what was going on with her best friend.

“Yep, we’re still on for today, my Uber is on the way. I’ll be out of here in a few moments… Y’know, you don’t have to call to check in on me every time before I leave to see you, even though it is rather sweet of you to do so…Course Pierce doesn’t know. I wouldn’t have even answered your call if he was around… Yes, just gotta be home by 3 o’clock to pick up my niece and nephews from school… Okay, see you soon,” Chloe said to the caller.

Chloe’s hiding something from Pierce…I really want to know what…

A moment later, Elly heard some shuffling coming from the living room, glancing in the window once more, she realized the couch had been shifted back into position. Elly ducked down the stairs, finding herself slipping to the side of the house. Pulling out her phone, Elly texted Karl, saying Chloe wasn’t at home but she wanted to go to the shops if he wouldn’t mind looking after Aster for her for a little while longer. The reply from Karl was almost instant, agreeing to mind Aster longer for her.

Where is Chloe going? And why is she hiding it from Pierce?

Elly held her breath as she slipped her head around the corner of her hiding spot, seeing Chloe bounding down the stairs as a car pulled up at the end of the driveway.

Chloe’s still wearing her gym outfit…with a sexy leather jacket too…damn she looks so freaking fine! Why are you hiding here and making excuses as to why you won’t be home within minutes? Ugh…I’m so curious where Chloe’s off to and what she’s hiding from Pierce…I want to follow her…you can’t follow her…but I want to follow her… What if Chloe’s in some kind of trouble? You’re the worst…you know deep down Chloe is your mate…and you are so keen to learn anything about Chloe and Pierce that will prove Chloe doesn’t belong to him and she has to be yours one day in the future…

Groaning at herself for being unable to ignore her desire to follow her best friend for any kind of insight into Chloe’s life now as she felt Chloe was still quite guarded over how her life has been for the past couple years, Elly was glad that she had her car keys in her pocket.

Once the Uber drove to the end of the court, Elly raced to her car parked in the Kennedy’s driveway. Jumping in her car, Elly quickly had the vehicle reversing out of the driveway to follow Chloe.

I am the worst…following Chloe rather than letting her live her life that you really have no reason to be part of to this level that you want to find out what she’s hiding from her husband…cause you know she’s your mate and for you and Chloe to be together then Chloe and Pierce need to split…but I’m not going to actively try to break them up…right? How can I? Chloe wouldn’t want to be with me if she learnt what I really am…

And yet I’m still following Chloe…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-One

Friday 22nd November 2024   

Ten minutes later, Elly slowed her car down and pulled it over to park in a free bay that she was lucky enough was there before where Chloe’s Uber was parked so she didn’t have to overtake the car and risk Chloe seeing her.

Elly’s car was five cars down from where Chloe was getting out of the Uber. Elly watched the blonde from afar as she walked across the road from her to a shopping strip.

“Well, at least I wasn’t lying to Karl when I said I was going to the shops,” Elly mumbled to herself.

Elly lowered her eyes when she saw Chloe turn towards a hairdresser’s shop and was greeted at the door by a man whom immediately brought Chloe into a hug on the footpath in front of the shop.

“Oh…kay…not what I was expecting at all…” Elly sighed, “Chloe looks cosy with him…well…not that kinda cosy cause I hope I’m not making assumptions but my first impression of this guy is that he’s…okay yep he’s gay…he just checked out the guy walking past them…okay I guess he could still be bisexual like Chloe…my instincts suggest he’s gay.”

Why is Chloe hiding the fact she’s taken an Uber to a hairdresser’s and is somewhat close to the guy who…I guess is her hairdresser or runs the place…? I’m missing something here…

Elly continued watching as the guy wrapped his arm around Chloe’s shoulders and led her inside the shop.

Well, this was a total waste of time and I feel like an absolute fool for following Chloe when all she’s doing is getting her hair done…but why would Chloe feel the need to hide that from Pierce? Does Pierce not want his wife to have her hair done by a guy whom I very much assume after seeing him for a few seconds at a distance is a gay man?

That doesn’t make any sense… If Pierce was ever worried Chloe would want to be with anyone else in the world, then a gay man is the exact person Pierce should feel the least threatened by… Am I just reading too much into this? Maybe Chloe wants to surprise Pierce with a new do?

I should go home and pop over to Chloe’s after she’s picked up Mark and Aaron’s kids to see if I can convince her to come to dinner tonight and check out her new do then…

Although I did manage to get Karl to take Aster for a little while so it wouldn’t hurt if I stayed here for a little while to make sure Chloe’s fine…ugh you’re such a stalker and this is not the way to go about treating your mate…when did you even come to start referring to Chloe as your mate?

Nearly two hours later, Elly was still sitting in her car, the window down, letting the cool air in but she was frustrated as anything, “What the hell am I still doing here? Did Chloe slip out the back door of this place and left another way? You need to go home to Aster and stop making excuses to Karl as to why you need him to keep looking after your daughter!”

As Elly placed her key in the ignition, she grumbled, “Oh, now Chloe finishes up at the hairdressers…damn she’s so beautiful…seriously that leather jacket she’s wearing is something else! You need to stop thinking and saying things like… Wait, what exactly did Chloe get done to her hair that took nearly two hours? She looks the same as when she went into the hairdressers…”

As Chloe stood out on the street, typing on her phone, Elly assumed ordering an Uber to take her back home or to the school to pick up the kids, Elly continued staring at the blonde. Elly’s eyes slowly adjusted to being able to see more than your average human being.

A trim? Chloe was in the hairdresser’s for nearly two hours to have a centimetre or less cut from her hair? I know Pierce is a billionaire and Chloe could afford to go to the most expensive hairdresser’s in the city but there’s no way this place is it nor anyone would wait that long for a trim… Plus, hiding a visit to the hairdresser’s from Pierce…something is going on with Chloe…and I need to find out what…

Several hours later, Elly bounded back up the steps to #24 with Aster in tow. Knocking on the front door, Elly grinned as Chloe opened the front door.

“Hey, you! Any chance Aster and I can talk you into joining us for dinner at your brothers place?” Elly asked pleadingly.

“Please, Chloe, we’d have lots of fun with you there tonight!” Aster smiled up at the blonde, keen for Chloe to spend as much time with her mum as she could hoping Elly would find happiness as she completely believed Chloe was Elly’s mate and they needed to be together for the rest of their lives.

“Hey, girls,” Chloe greeted them, “Pierce should be home from the hotel soon. He always aims to get home early on Fridays to start off the weekend well. I would love to but I should really spend the evening at home. You have plenty to catch up on with Mark, Aaron, David and especially Paige, Elly, you haven’t seen her since she left Erinsborough. You don’t need me there.”

“Please, Chloe,” Aster begged simply once more.

Elly ran her hand through Aster’s hair, “Pierce…can join us too when he gets home if he wants. Your brothers would love to see you. I’d love to spend more time with you and let’s face it…can you really say no to this cute little nearly 4-year-old face?”

Wow am I desperate to spend more time with Chloe…I just invited Pierce to join us!

Elly’s just being polite inviting Pierce to come with us…what is it about Elly that is making me want to spend all the time in the world with her that I can…? Yet I don’t know if I can…

Chloe stared down at Aster and the look on the little girl’s face that was pleading with her to join them, “I suppose since it’s such an early dinner I could maybe go for a bit.”

“Yeah?” Elly was almost surprised she had managed to twist Chloe’s arm to come with them yet was silently concerned that Chloe was so hesitant to come with them.

Why is Chloe so hesitant to come to dinner with me to her brothers’ place? Is it because it’s spending time with me? That Chloe feels this pull to me because she’s my mate except she doesn’t understand it and is trying to fight it because she doesn’t want to leave Pierce? Or has Chloe become so co-dependent on Pierce that spending a meal away from him isn’t something she likes doing? Or has something happened between Chloe and her brothers that has strained their relationship? I’ve been away for so many years, Hendrix refuses to talk to Pierce anymore…anything could’ve happened between Chloe, Mark and Aaron…

“Just for a bit,” Chloe repeated, then glanced behind her back into the house before turning back to them, “I had dinners prepared for Pierce and I that I was going to heat up later tonight…I’ll just have a drink at Aaron’s, I’m not hungry yet for dinner. Pierce doesn’t like me wasting the food our chef makes us anyway.”

“Okay, sounds good,” Elly shrugged, unable to hide her excitement at Chloe agreeing to spend more time with her.

“I’ll just leave Pierce a note about where I am and let him know to come over to Aaron’s when he gets home if he wants,” Chloe decided then wandered back inside the house to do so.

Aster grinned up at her mum, “Chloe wants to spend time with you, Mama. She likes you.”

“Shush it with those types of things my lil girl,” Elly replied calmly, “We’re just friends who hang out with one another. I don’t need to remind you that Chloe’s married and as long as she is nothing will ever happen between us.”

“Mmm hmm,” Aster giggled her disbelief.

“We all ready to go?” Chloe asked as she reappeared holding her handbag, phone and keys.

Elly smiled over at Chloe, “Let’s do this.”

A few moments later, Elly knocked on the front door of the house across the street from Chloe’s place. Aaron answered the door, smiling brightly, “Come in, come in. Gosh it’s really good to see you, Elly. I know we bumped into each other the other day but it’s still kinda incredible to see you alive and well. And this must be Aster, you, lil girl, look exactly like your mum!”

Elly nudged Chloe who was standing beside her, “And guess who I talked into joining us.”

“Chloe,” Aaron nodded at his younger sister, “It’s been a couple weeks, you doing well?”

A couple weeks? What is going on with the siblings?

“Yeah, sorry about that, Pierce has been busy the last few weeks so we haven’t had a chance to come over to see you guys,” Chloe apologized.

Since when does Chloe need to wait for Pierce to be free to go spend time with her brothers?

“Good to see ya, sis,” Aaron greeted warmly.

Elly smiled over at Chloe as the pair of them led Aster into the house as Aaron stepped aside.

Why can’t I have this? Chloe and I being together and bringing my daughter over for meals with her family cause the three of us are a family too? You haven’t even been back here a week and you’re wanting Chloe to be part of your family…could Chloe ever feel the same? If she’s my mate, then will she feel the need to be with me too…and act on it?

When Elly walked into the familiar living room of the Brenaka’s house, she was almost immediately beset upon by Mark, David and Paige. Elly was surprised the most by Mark’s reaction to her being back seeing as though he was her ex-husband whom she’d cheated on twice including with his sister, Chloe, and then having a child with her other extra-marital cheating incident. But it seemed like the years that had gone by had given Mark a new lease on life.

As Mark hugged her, Elly was glad that he genuinely seemed happy to see she was alive and well. Paige, Elly’s friend she hadn’t seen in years before she was last in Erinsborough as Paige had moved to the Gold Coast to live with family and the father of her first child, Gabe, before obviously finding a way to reunite with her ex-boyfriend, Mark, marry him and have their own child together. Elly was excited to see her again after so long and was glad the feeling was mutual.

David hadn’t changed in the years Elly had been gone, Elly immediately noticed as she gave him a quick hug.

After Elly had quickly caught up with the three of them plus Aaron to let them know she and Aster were both doing well back at home and that the past few years away from everyone was now behind them, Elly silently watched as Mark seemed just as surprised as Aaron to see his sister.

As Elly knelt down next to Aster, introducing her daughter to everyone, she watched as Mark walked over to Chloe, giving her a quick hug.

Elly’s hearing was soon split between her own conversation with Aster, Aaron, Paige and David, whilst she was capable of following Chloe’s conversation with Mark too. It had taken her several years to master the ability to do so but she’d been successful eventually to being able to listen to two conversations at once.

“It’s good to see you, Chlo,” Mark greeted, “Where’s Pierce?”

“Still at work, I left him a note that I’m here if he wants to join us when he gets home. I won’t stay for dinner as I have our meals at home waiting for me but Elly talked me into coming over for a drink at least. And Aster, that lil girl could talk me into just about anything,” Chloe enthused.

That’s my girl! Can Aster talk you into accepting that you may just be the love of my life and nothing in the world could keep us apart?

Mark seemed surprised, “I don’t think I’ve seen you without Pierce hanging off your arm the entire year I’ve been back here. It’s good to see you have a mind of your own for once and for that I’m glad Elly’s back if she’s the only one who could talk you into spending time with your family.”

Elly narrowed her eyes at Mark’s words, then also at Chloe’s, “I do have my own mind, Mark. You wouldn’t understand. Elly being back has nothing to do with me spending time with my brothers. Do you want me here or not?”

What is going on with the siblings for Chloe to be this disconnected with her brothers?

“Of course, I do, Chlo. I just wish it hadn’t taken Elly to get you to spend time with us and you would’ve come over here without Pierce hanging off your arm months ago,” Mark whispered.

“Me too,” Chloe admitted back quietly.

Elly’s attention was quickly brought back to her own conversation with everyone else when Paige smiled as her own daughter walked down the hallway from her bedroom and the two women were soon introducing the two young girls to one another.

Rose quickly latched onto Aster, dragging her down the hallway to meet Gabe, Felix and Daniel.

With Chloe swapping to chat to David and Paige, Elly let her be to sidle up to Mark who offered her a drink.

“Thanks for getting Chloe to come over here,” Mark said quietly.

“What is going on between Chloe and you guys? I know I’ve been away for years and things change but the Brennan siblings have always been close, not even Chloe and I broke you guys apart forever. Why are you and Aaron so disconnected with your sister?” Elly asked directly.

Mark chewed on his lip as he stared at Chloe across the room, “You really want to know?”

“Yeah, I do,” Elly answered quickly.

Mark shrugged, “Pierce controls every aspect of Chloe’s life, she refuses to see it let alone accept it and Aaron and I are done trying to tell Chloe that she deserves better.”

Am I that someone better? Even if I am…how does Chloe see that if Pierce is as controlling of Chloe’s life that her siblings have given up trying to help her? Without losing control of myself because if Pierce is as controlling as what Mark says...so much for nothing in the world being able to keep Chloe and I apart if I want to kill Pierce for how he treats the woman I love... 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-Two

Friday 22nd November 2024   

Elly nodded up at Mark after he'd told her that Pierce had been controlling Chloe's life and her siblings were over trying to help Chloe see it, "Maybe it'll take an outsider like me who hasn't been here to see what her relationship with Pierce is like to get her to see the way he treats her is controlling. I won't be able to say that to her straight away because I really haven't spent much time with them together but from what I have seen already...you're right, I see it already. I can keep an eye on her for you and if I see Pierce do or say the wrong thing or I see that controlling nature then I'll call it out to Chloe. Trust me, I'm not the least bit scared of Pierce."

"Thanks," Mark half-smiled at his ex, "It hasn't been easy for us to see Chloe's life just disappear into Pierce's and have her ignore our concerns. I get it that you can't just come out and say what Aaron and I have been saying for the past year or so and need to give it some time to see it for yourself. I just hope she listens to you as she needs to listen to someone as Aaron and I aren't being over dramatic about how lost Chloe has become in her marriage."

"I'll look out for her," Elly promised.

"Who are you looking out for?" came Chloe's voice behind the pair, surprising them.

"Aster," Elly immediately threw out, "Just making sure I keep an eye on her to make sure she's settling back in here okay and that this news about Shaun nor my decision to not overwhelm her by rushing to get in contact with him will affect her."

"Yes..." Mark agreed slowly trying to convince his sister that's what they were talking about, "What's best for Aster is that Elly..."

"Settles her here with my family rather than rush off overseas or have another person she doesn't know rushing here to get to know her...even though he is her Dad. I also don't want to risk contacting Shaun without having some idea what his life is like now, I don't want to risk Shaun rejecting Aster if he already has a whole other family in his life. Anything could have happened in his life in the last four years," Elly finished.

"Precisely," Mark agreed, more confidently this time, "And if Elly wants help to work out what Shaun's life has become before reaching out to him, then I will be happy to help."

"Thanks, Mark," Elly replied.

"Sounds like a plan to me," Chloe decided, before changing the subject, "I saw Aster get dragged away by Rose before, the kids all seem to be getting along well as I can hear them giggling from one of the bedrooms."

"Aster's a good kid, she hasn't had much chance to mix with kids her age her entire life which has been my fault so I'm glad to hear she's mixing with them well," Elly smiled.

"How come Aster hasn't mixed with other kids her age?" Mark asked.

Because I'm a werewolf and lived for four years with a pack of werewolves in the middle of nowhere so no one would find us, they didn't have any kids amongst them and the supernatural friends that we do have with kids don't often stick around for long enough for Aster to develop friendships or...

"Y'know, why don't I explain a little bit about where I've been the past few years to all of you at once so I don't need to tell you all several times over. You and Paige can tell me and Aster all about your reunion and how that happened. Sound good?" Elly offered.

Mark smiled at his ex-wife, surprised by how easy it seemed to be in Elly's presence and that telling her about how he fell in love with his current wife all over again wasn't as awkward as he first thought, "That sounds like the catch up this evening was designed for. Aaron's gonna start cooking dinner on the barbie soon, why don't we all go outside and sit out there to have our drinks and wait for him to cook up our feast?"

"I can only stay for a drink before I have to go home to have dinner with Pierce," Chloe reminded them, her voice meek.

"No problems," Mark replied, trying to hide his pain that Chloe felt she had to go home for her meal then spend the evening with them.

I'll keep an eye on my mate, Mark, don't worry, I'll see to Chloe understanding she deserves more than a controlling man...did I just call Chloe my mate? Have I accepted that she is?

Several moments later, everyone was sitting outside with a drink in their hand or on the table in front of them, except for Aaron who was standing at the barbie cooking their dinner after David had covered the table in bowls of salads for them to serve when the rest of their meals were ready.

Elly had been silently elated when Chloe had chosen to sit next to her at the table, with Mark on Chloe’s other side. On Elly’s other side was a free chair for Aster, who was still playing with the other kids until dinner was ready.

Having explained her situation of why she disappeared for four years, once more lying to the people around her, answering their questions and glad that the Detective in Mark didn’t ask her too many questions, as the last thing Elly wanted was to have to further her lies on the spot, Elly was enjoying spending time with her friends.

The conversation naturally turned to the others with Mark and Paige telling Elly about their journey back to one another. Mark had been brought back to Erinsborough for a case that had involved 3D printer guns been smuggled through a fight club Ned, both Bea and Yashvi’s ex, was part of. Finn’s disappearance as the first case had wrapped up had kept Mark in town for a handful of weeks.

Elly tried not to look guilty when her friends had brought up Finn’s ‘disappearance,’ yet felt somewhat surprised that her horrible mistake of killing her psychopathic ex had one small good thing that had come out of it. With Paige splitting from Jack, she returned to Erinsborough for a visit to Terese and Paul, the same time Mark was attempting to discover what had become of Finn. They had found themselves rushing down the aisle at a wedding expo Lassiters had held, then realized they wanted to get married legally before they were soon having their own child together.

Though Mark had been disappointed to leave Erinsborough without solving the case involving Finn, to Elly’s relief, he moved back to Adelaide with his new wife, Paige, her son, Gabe, and the baby they were expecting. Gabe’s father, Jack, followed them too, getting a job at a church not far from them so he could still be a huge part in Gabe’s life. Jack also joined the family in their move to Melbourne, his ability to shift to another church as their priest this time kept him at a suburb half an hour drive away from Erinsborough but close enough to have Gabe as often as he could without being the third wheel to the married couple.

Aaron and David had recounted their fostering journey to Elly that they had endured the past few years, from the children that had lived with them for a matter of days to months to the two sibling boys whom had been with them for over a year now. Elly had asked them if they were considering adopting the children, to which David and Aaron shyly admitted they were thinking about it as they had formed a bond with the pair and they had no other family in their lives.

During their conversations, Chloe had remained quiet throughout. Elly wondered if it was simply because Chloe had already heard her story and had being in her brothers’ lives so there was nothing she didn’t already know. As Aaron looked set to take the food off the barbie and place it on a platter so everyone could pick and choose what they wanted, Elly nudged Chloe.

“You okay?” Elly asked.

Chloe took a sip of her drink, before leaning over to Elly, “Yeah, just thinking about how much all of you have been through the past few years. I’ve just been here with Pierce, not working, dealing with Pierce and Hendrix’s issues with one another but that’s it.”

“Doesn’t mean you haven’t been through a lot, Chlo,” Elly whispered.

With Paige leaving the table for a moment to round up the kids, Elly smiled as Aster soon came running over to her, enthusiastically telling her about the other kids even though the other kids appeared with her too.

After Elly was introduced to them all, Aster ignored the free seat next to Elly, instead crawling up to sit on her mum’s lap, before smiling up at Chloe. Elly smiled as Chloe and Aster started talking about her excitement at meeting Chloe’s niece and nephews. Unable to resist, Elly found herself reaching out her arm and leaning it on the back of Chloe’s chair to which the blonde didn’t react to.

Chloe’s so beautiful and the way she’s chatting away to Aster…I want this, just the three of us, no one else…I want to be able to wrap my arm around her shoulders and have her sink into the embrace rather than get as close to doing that as possible by leaning my arm on her chair. How long am I going to need to wait until Chloe sees I’m her mate and even though she won’t understand the bond between us, she’ll still feel it and she’ll know the three of us are meant to be together?

“Chloe?!” came Pierce’s voice from the side of the Brenaka’s backyard as he stormed over to the group, “What’s going on?”

Elly struggled not to roll her eyes at the businessman, but remained confident enough to leave her arm along Chloe’s chair behind her.

What’s Pierce gonna do to me…? Besides end any chance of me being with my mate if Chloe learns what I am especially if it’s because I lose my temper and hurt her husband…keep calm.

The smile on Chloe’s face fell at the sound of Pierce’s voice, feeling embarrassed that everyone’s eyes were on her and her husband, who didn’t look like he was in a good mood, “I left you a note on the kitchen table. I came over to have a drink with everyone. I was just about to go back home to have dinner with you.”

Pierce eyed Aaron and David who were shifting around the table laying all the food out for their guests, “Yeah, I saw the note, Chloe. I thought we were having dinner together on our own tonight.”

“We are, I just thought it would be nice to have a drink with my family before they had their dinner and I went back home to spend the evening with you,” Chloe reiterated.

“Right, well I’m home from work now, so why don’t we get you home?” Pierce offered, flashing a smile.

Chloe ignored the glares her brothers were giving her at Pierce’s insistence, “Why don’t you head home and get a start on dinner?” then holding up her glass to show there was only a handful of sips worth of her drink left to be consumed, “I’ll be home in a few moments to help you finish cooking our meals, I’d like to finish my drink first.”

Elly shook her head as she wondered how Chloe didn’t see the way Pierce treated her, “I’ll walk Chloe home in a moment to thank her for joining us.”

Pierce wanted to seethe at the way Elly was leaning her arm around Chloe’s chair without Chloe seeming to care and Elly’s daughter was staring up at his wife like she was entranced by her but he already knew Mark and Aaron had their issues with the way Chloe didn’t spend much time with them and didn’t want to make more of a scene then he was already making, “I’ll see you at home in a few moments, Chloe.”

Elly heard Chloe sigh in relief, realizing it was so silent, nobody else would’ve heard it.

Is Chloe relieved Pierce didn’t make a scene or that she has a few moments before she has to go back to him?

Elly watched as Chloe took another sip of her drink, more than she’d been sipping on the drink previously, before the blonde shrugged at everyone else sitting at the table, “Sorry, I can’t stay for dinner with you all. Maybe next time we could plan an evening like this for Pierce and I to join you…we’d probably need to bring our own food…Pierce is rather fussy over us not wasting the food that’s prepared for us by our chef.”

“Maybe next Friday?” Mark asked politely, even though he hated that he couldn’t seem to get more time with his sister without her husband around.

“I’ll check with Pierce,” Chloe decided, taking the final sip of her drink, “I should get home.”

“I’ll walk you,” Elly offered, “Can you guys mind Aster for 2 minutes?”

As their friends agreed, Chloe hesitated for a moment at the idea of spending more time with Elly alone, her feelings about the brunette conflicting everything she thought she knew, before nodding.

A few moments later, the pair had walked across the street in silence. As they reached the driveway, Chloe finally spoke up, “Thanks for letting me tag along for a bit. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay longer.”

“Pierce really couldn’t be without you for a few extra hours?” Elly asked.

“Pierce just likes things a certain way and planned out. If I tell him at dinner about Mark wanting us to come over for a meal next week, Pierce will be fine with it. He’ll get our chef to cater the entire meal, make sure there’s enough of his wine delivered to the boys’ house. He just…likes to have things planned,” Chloe explained away.

As they reached the stairs leading up to the house, Elly was surprised when Chloe stepped up on the first step then turned around to stare down at her, rather than allow Elly to walk her up the stairs to the front door.

“Thanks for walking me home,” Chloe whispered.

Elly stared up at Chloe, trying not to be distracted as she could overhear Pierce in the kitchen struggling with whatever it was that he was cooking and loudly cursing when he dropped a utensil, but Elly couldn’t let on that she could hear him from where she was standing.

Pierce really is useless.

“Anytime,” Elly promised back, “I’ll see you in the morning for our run?”

Chloe nodded, “Of course. Do you want to do the engagement planning after our run? Take a break to clean up with a shower then you get Aster ready and come over to mine?”

A shower…damnit, Chloe, if you only knew my mind is gonna be swirling of images of you showering for the rest of the night.

“Sounds perfect,” Elly agreed, then without thinking about it she leaned up and wrapped her arms around Chloe in a hug.

Chloe leant into the hug, her own arms wrapping around Elly’s waist.

I could pull out of this hug, look up at Chloe and those beautiful blue eyes of hers, lean forward and kiss her, grab hold of her waist and hoist her onto my hips, before lying her down on these stairs, kissing every inch of her body…if Chloe wasn’t married and my daughter wasn’t expecting me back in a moment…

Having Elly back in my arms…what is this feeling that is enveloping me as I hold her? She’s been back less than a week and I feel like my entire world is spinning. I got over Elly years ago…didn’t I?

Elly reluctantly let go of the blonde, refusing to give into her desires to kiss Chloe, knowing it wasn’t her time to make a move on Chloe whilst she was married, “See you tomorrow, Chlo.”

Chloe stood silently on the steps as she watched Elly turn away from her and head back to her brothers’ house.

Whatever I’m feeling…it doesn’t matter…my world might be spinning with Elly back in my life but Elly’s life isn’t doing the same thing.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-Three

Saturday 23rd November 2024   

Elly found herself skipping up the steps to Chloe’s place the next day with Aster at her side, her daughter almost as excited as she was to spend more time with Chloe.

Elly turned up her nose as she got to the front door, she didn’t say anything to Aster but she could smell Pierce was still at home. She’d hoped he’d have disappeared for several hours like he said he would whilst Elly and Aster came over to help Chloe plan an engagement party for Bea and Yashvi.

Pierce had better be just about to leave or else I’m really gonna start believing when Mark said Pierce is controlling Chloe’s life that he’s absolutely right…and that Chloe needs to be freed from that…

“Are you excited to spend more time with your mate?” Aster giggled at her mum.

“Yes,” Elly answered with a smile on her face, realizing there was almost no point scolding her daughter for calling Chloe her mate when everything told Elly that Chloe was.

As long as Aster didn’t slip up to reveal her secret, Elly liked that she could be honest with her, especially when she knew that whomever her mate was would have a big place in her daughter’s life too. The idea of that being Chloe, brought another smile to Elly’s face before she shook her head as she remembered Chloe was married and though Chloe being her mate, she knew that would not be enough to keep the two women apart, she knew she would have to be patient until Chloe’s marriage ended of its own accord.

I don’t want to be that person…okay, not a person as I’m a werewolf…that comes between Chloe and her husband…but if Pierce is controlling her life then I feel perfectly fine with letting Chloe know that and give her strength to leave him and hopefully she won’t hold it against me and sees I only did it cause I love her.

Elly rapped her hand on the front door, unable to hide her smile when Chloe answered the door and invited her and Aster inside. It didn’t take them long to spot Pierce sitting at the dining table, tapping away at a laptop, headphones over his ears as he was chatting away to whomever he was on a video call to.

Chloe gritted her teeth as she glanced over at him, “Sorry, Pierce got called into a meeting he forgot about so he decided to join the meeting from here.”

“Is he gonna interrupt us?” Aster asked without hesitation or fear of being rude.

“No…Pierce will just be there chatting away to his colleagues via his meeting app on the laptop,” Chloe sighed.

“We could go to my place,” Elly offered.

Chloe shook her head, “Nah, we can still do this here. If it’s too much of a distraction then we can maybe reschedule and do this another time.”

Elly narrowed her eyes at Chloe preferring to shift their time together rather than go over to her house away from Pierce, wondering if this was another sign that Pierce was controlling Chloe. Even though she didn’t have proof of what Mark had told her the previous night, she was keen to find out just what Chloe’s marriage to the billionaire had become in the years she’d been away.

“We’ll do this now,” Aster decided then held up her arms to Chloe, giggling as Chloe reached out to pick her up and swing her onto her hip.

Elly reached out to drag her hand through Aster’s hair, resisting temptation to do the same to Chloe, “Let’s get this engagement planning underway then…and if we happen to interrupt Pierce’s meeting, I probably won’t apologize as I thought he was meant to be going to the gym to give us some free time together. Feels like he didn’t want to leave you alone. A hotel meeting on a Saturday?”

Chloe swallowed hard at Elly’s words, unable to argue against them or defend Pierce because she feared her friend was already picking up on some of her husband’s characteristics. Pointing towards the couch, Chloe closed the door behind Elly, then holding Aster in her arms, followed the brunette to the couch.

Chloe was somewhat surprised when Elly sat down on the floor in front of the couch instead of the couch but juggling Aster against her she managed to do the same to sit down next to Elly on the floor, their backs against the couch. As Chloe was expecting Aster to crawl back into her mum's arms, she was somewhat surprised when the young girl curled up into her own lap instead.

"Have you ever wanted to be a step mum, Chloe?" Aster asked without fear.

Elly's eyes widened at her daughter's question to her best friend, knowing why she'd asked it.

Aster, Chloe will not be your step mum...for a very long time until Chloe has chosen to leave Pierce and even then, the idea of Chloe and I actually managing to make a relationship work when I'm a freaking werewolf...!

"I am a step mum," Chloe answered the question nonchalantly, the reason why Aster asking her going over her head, "Pierce has two children that I'm step mum to. Hendrix lives with Aaron and David, he wasn't home last night as he was with his wife, Harlow. Alana lives in Sydney with her mum so I've only met her a couple times. Hendrix is 22 and Alana turns 18 soon."

"Oh," whispered Aster, trying not to sound like she was sulking.

"You've only met Alana a couple times?" Elly asked, wanting to move the conversation along.

"Yeah, well Alana's busy in Sydney with school. Pierce talks to her a couple times every month. I guess whenever we've gone on holiday it's generally been to Adelaide to see my brothers and my mum before she... We're just lucky that with Harlow living in Sydney for this year for Uni, Hendrix hasn't gone with her given what his relationship with Pierce is," Chloe shrugged.

Elly decided not to question it further, unable to stop smiling at the way Chloe held Aster curled up to her, wondering if Chloe could one day accept Aster into her heart as her daughter and how long she would need to wait before the three of them could be together as a family.

Steady on, Elly, you've barely being back in her life a few days...but I want it to be just the three of us...

"Is that okay, you having Aster curling up on your lap? Cause she can come curl onto my lap if you want, Chlo," Elly offered.

"It's more than okay," Chloe reassured, tickling Aster gently, grinning when the youngster squealed at her, "Auntie Chlo is very used to having kids crawling all over her."

"Stop it, Chloe!" Aster giggled.

Elly struggled not to sigh when she saw Chloe glance over at Pierce and the way he looked at the three of them sitting on the floor of his living room across the room from him, "So, we need to get down to planning this engagement party for my little sister and her beloved. I've locked in the date with Bea and Yashvi, Friday 13th December."

"Friday the 13th?" Chloe repeated, "Isn't that kinda bad luck to have it on a Black Friday? Is Yashvi working on the Saturday night of that weekend and every other weekend for a while?"

No, I'll be turning into a werewolf that Saturday evening and it's best you don't find out about that.

Elly turned to face Chloe, suddenly becoming aware that she could overhear Pierce's conference call meeting coming to an end as everyone was saying 'goodbye,' wondering if he would leave them alone to go to the gym like he was supposed to, "Yashvi's working nights for the next 3 weeks. That's the first evening she's free. We could have it on the Saturday night but the thing is I want this to be a really great party for the couple...and great parties continue into the next day and--"

"You don't want Sunday morning blues then Monday workday blues ruining that," Chloe interrupted and finished off for Elly, "I like the way you think, Elly."

Elly winked at Chloe, "I know you do. Plus, the girls want to have the party before the year is over and if we leave it later then--"

"It'll clash with all the Christmas parties’ people will be throwing," Chloe once more finished Elly's words.

"It's like you know exactly what's in my mind," Elly teased.

Or not...I'm a werewolf, I'm dangerous, I'm a killer, you're my mate, my one true love that I will wait eternity for you to fall in love with me like I'm already falling for you as nothing in the world comes between the bond of a werewolf and their mate...and why the hell didn't Pierce say goodbye to his colleagues when his meeting ended and take off his headphones?! OMG is he pretending he is still on his meeting call except he isn't so he's able to listen in to what Chloe and I are talking about without us knowing he isn't listening to his meeting? Except I can't tell Chloe that cause she's not meant to know I have super hearing that can detect Pierce's meeting ended! Or maybe he has another meeting to join...I'm keeping my eyes on you, you not so sneaky SOB, Pierce!

"Elly?" Chloe's voice called out to the brunette until she seemed to register that she’d been distracted and hadn’t heard what her friend had been saying.

“Sorry, Chlo, I got distracted. So, engagement party. We have the date locked in. We need a venue and to work out who to invite,” Elly moved the conversation along.

“I was kinda thinking we should see if we could have the party at the Rebecchi’s house. Dipi loves cooking, I bet she’ll put on a feast for us. Not a sit-down meal kinda feast but the cocktail canapes kind,” Chloe suggested, “Or I mean if you’d prefer to have it at yours…?”

“The Rebecchi’s house sounds good. I like the idea of having a family centric party. We can always stop by the Waterhole later in the evening if we want to continue the party after most of the kids have gone back home with their parents…oh wait, that’s me,” Elly blushed.

“I’m sure Suze and Karl can mind Aster if you want to continue the celebration,” Chloe pointed out.

“Okay, I’ll drop by the Rebecchi’s tonight to okay it with them. I haven’t seen them since I got back. Still taking my time to settle back in here,” Elly decided.

“Sounds good. We can always have the party at yours if they don’t want to but as if Shane or Dipi wouldn’t want to do this for Yashvi and Bea,” Chloe reassured.

Elly was distracted for a moment as she overheard Pierce throwing out some questions to his computer screen.

To no one…Pierce isn’t even on the conference call anymore…he’s just pretending to be…presumably to listen in to my conversation with his wife…only I can hardly explain to Chloe how I know what he’s doing…Mark was right about how controlling he is…I hope this kinda shite is as bad as it gets…then again it feels like Chloe has been isolated away from her brothers despite living so close to them and looking after their kids for them.

“Perfect. Now, what about the list of people we’re inviting. Everyone from the street, obviously. Yashvi’s cop mates at the station? Bea’s boss at the garage? I’ll give my mum a call to see if she wants to come down to Melbourne for it…that was an awkward conversation I had with Liz the other night telling her I was back. Do you think Kirsha or Jay would make the trip too?” Elly listed off all the people she could think of.

“I think that sounds like everyone the girls will want to celebrate with. We should be able to get most of the people to join us. Hope your mum can make it. Kirsha might be able to, Jay seems like more of a mystery man we’ve never met but you never know,” Chloe replied.

“It’ll be good to catch up with everyone else on the street I haven’t seen yet,” Elly realized.

“Everyone should be there, except maybe Paul and Terese but they don’t get out much nowadays,” Chloe sighed.

“How come?” Elly asked.

“I guess you haven’t heard, Paul’s been through a lot the last few years. He suffered a stroke and is mostly wheelchair bound. Terese does what she can to look after him. Dee’s been his carer since they got him home after the stroke. Dee had only just returned and reunited with Toadie for good when it happened so a job as close by as you can get. Paul hasn’t been able to return to work at the hotel but cause he’s Paul, he never can give up so he tries to run things from his living room and laptop. Pierce’s role, along with Terese’s, has increased so much without Paul around that he has to be at the hotel a lot more often than he used to,” Chloe explained.

“Wow, that’s a lot. I’ll have to make sure I stop in on Paul and Terese to say hi to them sometime this weekend…and Dee too. I’m glad to hear Dee and Toadie are finally making it work,” Elly smiled.

Elly then struggled not to roll her eyes at the sound of Pierce ‘ending’ the conference call he hadn’t been on for the past few minutes but was glad he wasn’t going to fake it for the rest of the time she and Aster were spending with his wife. Pierce then stood up from the dining table, “Chloe, I’m going to grab some reports I need to read through from the car that I left there last night.”

Chloe barely waved her husband out the door, as Aster looked up at her, “So, now can we discuss the music and food we’re gonna have at the best engagement party ever?”

Chloe grinned down at the little girl in her arms, then over at her mum, “I think it’s time for Aster’s input into this incredible celebration we’re planning.”

“I think you’re right, Chlo. We make a good team, the three of us, don’t we?” Elly winked at the woman she was ever but surely falling for.

Family…a good family…

“Yeah we do,” Chloe smiled back at Elly.

As Pierce walked down his driveway, he muttered to himself about his frustration at watching his wife sitting so comfortably with Elly and her daughter. He hated it. Elly hadn’t even been back for a week and already Pierce was worried about the trouble she could cause to his marriage. Even though there were no signs that Elly or Chloe still had feelings for one another, he didn’t want to take the risk they could.

Pierce wanted Elly out of the picture.

As he opened his car door to grab the reports he needed, he stared across the road towards the Kennedy’s house, an instant feeling of jealousy washing over him when he spotted Elly’s car in the driveway. The fact that an unemployed woman had found herself in possession of a car that was fancier then his car, made Pierce want to upgrade his car to a better one than Elly had.

Pierce ran his tongue across his lip as he continued staring at the car as another idea came to him instead and he hoped Elly would be out of Chloe’s life within days…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-Four

Tuesday 26th November 2024   

Elly and Chloe came to the end of their daily run around the neighbourhood at the end of Chloe and Pierce’s driveway, Elly paces ahead of Chloe but not as far as she easily could be, having learned to run at a slower pace than she was capable of.

As Elly turned around to smile at Chloe racing up to her, she then turned her head as she heard Bea yelling out to her from across the road, “Hey, Bea, what’s up?”

Chloe caught up to Elly, seeing Bea carrying Aster across the road to meet them, “Hey, Bea. Hey, lil Aster!”

Aster giggled at Chloe as she leaned over in exhaustion whereas Elly had barely broken a sweat, “Hi, Chloe! Did you have fun on your run with Mum?”

Chloe breathed deeply, “Sure did though as per usual she kicked my ass--butt…she kicked my butt. What are you doing today, Aster?”

Elly giggled at Chloe trying to hide that she’d sworn in front of Aster.

Aster wriggled against Bea’s arms as she held her to her hip, “We’re going to the movies! I’ve never been to the cinema before! Mum’s taking me to the first screening of Frozen 3! It comes out today! I’ve seen the previous ones like a million times but I can’t wait for Mum to take me to the new one at the first screening this morning. It’s so cool she got me tickets to it!”

Chloe winked over at Elly, knowing that she had arranged the tickets for the pair when Elly had spoken about Aster wanting to see the movie after their preparation for the engagement party had finished on the weekend, “Your mum’s pretty cool!”

“Your mum forgot her phone at home this morning and it’s been ringing off the hook several times. Aster wanted to answer it but I told her to leave it. Then Aster saw a message on your phone from a Lexa, saying she’s stopping by our place today,” Bea held up Elly’s phone, handing it to her.

“Who’s Lexa?” Chloe asked, Elly wished there was a hint of jealousy in her voice.

Elly watched as Chloe’s eyes widened with curiosity over the mention of another woman, “Lexa’s one of the family members Aster and I stayed with the past few years. She’s like a sis—good friend to me.”

“Lexa’s the one in the relationship with the other woman, right?” Bea asked.

“Yes, Clarke and Lexa are a couple. Clarke is Abby and Romulus’s daughter, along with Raven, then there’s Lexa, that’s the whole family,” Elly reminded her sister.

“Auntie Lexa, Auntie Clarke and Auntie Raven are the best people ever!” Aster enthused, “You should both meet them all!”

“Uh…sure,” Chloe shrugged, “I guess it just occurred to me that we’ve spent the last week since you got back discussing more of my last few years that…I hadn’t even asked about the family you’ve been staying with.”

“I’m sorry about that, Chlo. You’re right, I haven’t really spoken to you about them. I should…I will. Why don’t we make a plan to catch up later this week and I can tell you all about the family Aster and I fell in with?” Elly offered.

“Okay,” Chloe agreed, wondering why she was so curious to learn about the family Elly had had in her life.

“Mama, Auntie Lexa texted to say she’s stopping by here today,” Aster reminded her mum.

“Right,” Elly replied as she flicked open her phone and scrolled through Lexa’s messages, “Lexa won her cage fight last night that was out in this area and stayed at Lassiters to celebrate…oh…her and Clarke got kicked out of the hotel this morning by one of the managers as he didn’t like how loud they were being…sounds about right. They want to catch up for brunch before they head back home. You wanna spend the morning with Auntie Lexa and Auntie Clarke, Aster?”

“Cage fight?” Chloe repeated then frowned, “Pierce left for work early this morning…I hope it wasn’t him who kicked them out of the hotel.”

That’d be such a typical Pierce thing to do…bet he only did it as its two women…when is Chloe gonna see he’s not right for her?

“Lexa’s a professional cage fighter, she competes every few weeks,” Elly explained before looking at Aster.

Lexa would win a hell of a lot more fights if she actually used her full strength but we can’t have people working out what she is.

“But Mum, we were going to the movies this morning! Frozen 3!” Aster complained.

“I’m sorry baby girl, we can get tickets to the movie for tomorrow morning. Lexa and Clarke are only stopping by this morning before going home. If I’d known they were on their way, I wouldn’t have promised you I’d take you to the movie,” Elly apologized.

“No, I wanta see the movie at the first session it releases! I don’t wanna wait til tomorrow! Please, Mama, it’s Frozen 3! It’s my favourite! We can see Auntie Lexa and Auntie Clarke another time,” Aster begged.

Bea smiled down at Aster, “It’ll be the same movie tomorrow. We’ll keep off social media for the rest of the day so we don’t hear about any spoilers.”

“No, I wanta see Frozen 3 like we planned,” Aster sulked.

“I know, Aster, and I’m really sorry but I kinda want to catch up with Lexa and Clarke. I know it’s only been like a week since we got home here but I have so much I want to talk to them about,” Elly said reasonably.

I need to talk to them about Chloe being my mate…and what the hell I’m meant to do about that…not exactly a conversation I should have with Aster present though…

“I’d love to be able to take the day off work to take you, Aster, but we’ve got a lot of cars booked in today,” Bea sighed, feeling bad for not being able to help her sister out.

Chloe stepped forwards, “Well, why don’t I take Aster to the movies?”

Elly couldn’t help but smile at the idea of Chloe wanting to spend time with her daughter, “You’d like to go to the movies with Aster for me?”

“I mean, if that’s okay and not overstepping,” Chloe blinked nervously.

“No, of course not. I’d love you to take Aster to the movies for me if you’d be up for it and have the time this morning,” Elly enthused.

Chloe shrugged, “Once I get Mark and Aaron’s kids off to school, all I was going to do was working on my paintings ‘til I have to pick them up this arvo. What time is the movie…? Uh…I mean if Aster wants me to go with her…”

Aster clapped her hands together then leaned out her arms to Chloe, Chloe nodding at Bea, before Bea leant over and handed Aster to Chloe, whom immediately wrapped her arms around Chloe’s shoulders, “Yes, that would be amazing, Chloe! Can Chloe take me, Mum!? Please!”

“Of course, that’d be great,” Elly agreed, happy for Chloe to spend time with Aster and for the pair to develop the kind of bond she wanted her partner to have with her daughter, “I can text you the tickets. Do you want me to stay with Aster til you need to leave for the movie? I can call Lexa and tell her to give us another hour or two.”

Chloe grinned down at the young girl in her arms, feeling so comfortable spending time with her, “Nah, I bet Aster would love to see the kids again and help me walk them all to school and daycare, wouldn’t you, Aster?”

“Yes, Chloe!” Aster giggled.

Chloe glanced over at Elly, “Is it okay if I get an Uber to take us to the cinemas?”

Elly nodded then paused, “If Lexa’s on her way and picking me up, why don’t you take my car? My car keys are on my bedside table. Bea can grab them for you.”

“Great!” Chloe enthused, “Why don’t I get this little munchkin inside and ready for the movie? Bea can drop off the car keys. We’ll get everyone off to school then we’ll come back here to drive to the movies. Am I allowed to buy Aster a box of popcorn to enjoy at the movies?”

“Yes, of course, just the one box and make it a small one, got it, Aster, I don’t want you hopped up on bad food,” Elly agreed.

Before Aster could complain at her mum’s decision, all four turned their heads to the sound of a truck entering the street. The pick-up truck came to a quicker stop then it expected right in front of them. Elly waved to the couple sitting in the front seat.

“Auntie Lexa, Auntie Clarke!” Aster called out excitedly.

“Lil Aster! How are you? We miss you!” Clarke called back out to her.

“So good, Mum’s being really good here too! I can’t come with you today. Chloe’s taking me to the movies!” Aster giggled.

“Sounds like fun,” Lexa smiled, “So, this is Chloe…? You ready to go, Fresh Meat?”

Chloe and Bea both paused at the nick name Lexa had called Elly.

“Uh, hi,” Chloe greeted.

“Yes, this is Chloe. And my sister, Bea. Chloe, Bea, this is Clarke and Lexa,” Elly introduced them quickly, then looked down at her running outfit, “Sure, it’s just brunch. Who needs to get dressed up?”

“You look fine, Elly,” Clarke insisted, “C’mon, you want to come with us for brunch or do you want us to pick you up later?”

Elly reached out and stroked her hand through Aster’s ponytail, “You okay to spend the morning with Chloe? I’ll be back to pick you up as soon as the movie ends. Chloe can text me when she knows what time the movie should wrap up.”

“I will,” Chloe promised, eyeing the two girls in the truck as Clarke had her arm wrapped around Lexa’s shoulders, then to the brunette, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

“Nah,” Lexa shook her head, “I just got one of those faces.”

“Right,” Chloe whispered, feeling like she’d been lied to, “Go hang out with your friends for the morning, Elly. Aster and I will be fine.”

“Thanks, Chlo,” Elly smiled at the blonde, before heading over to the truck, seeing Clarke shuffle over in the front seat to give her room to fit in beside her, “We’ll only be a couple hours. I’ll see you two soon. Thanks for looking after Aster so I could go on my run, Bea.”

Chloe, Bea and Aster stood on the footpath, waving at Elly as she got in the truck and Lexa soon roared the vehicle out of the street.

“So, that was a couple members of the family Elly stayed with…huh,” Bea commented.

“Yeah, I don’t really know what to make of them either,” Chloe admitted, “I’ll ask Elly some more about them later. Let’s get Aster inside.”

“Okay, I’ll go grab you Elly’s car keys for you. You okay to put Aster in the car seat?” Bea wondered.

“Not a problem,” Chloe decided as she started walking up her driveway.

What was it about those two girls that weirdly felt like Elly and I…?

An hour later, Chloe had placed Aster into the car seat, ready to go to the cinema with Elly’s daughter after dropping her niece and nephews off at daycare and school for the day.

“Is that tight enough?” Chloe asked Aster about the straps of the car seat.

“Yes, Chloe, let’s go to the movies! I’ve never been before, is it scary?” Aster clapped her hands.

Chloe closed the cars’ back door then moved to sit in the drivers’ seat before looking at the youngster in the review mirror, “Not at all. It’s Frozen 3 so they’ll be lots of parents with their kids. It’s a little scary when they switch the lights off but you can sit on my lap or hold my hand if you want.”

“Like you’re my parent?” Aster lit up at the idea.

Chloe couldn’t help but smile at the idea then shook her head for thinking that when she was married to Pierce and what would that mean for her marriage if she contemplated wanting to be a parent to her ex-girlfriend’s daughter, “Uh…not quite. I can be Auntie Chloe, my lil Asteroid.”

“Okay,” Aster replied reluctantly, but giggled at being called Asteroid, “No one’s ever called me that. Only you should call me that.”

“It’ll be our lil thing then,” Chloe agreed, as she reversed the car out of the driveway, “Let’s go see the movie. Maybe we can talk your Mum into taking you to see the movie again later this week.”

“Ooh, can you come with us?” Aster enthused.

“I could do that,” Chloe agreed.

Aster kicked her feet up in excitement at Chloe spending more time with Elly, keen for Chloe to fall back in love with her Mum.

Several moments later, as they approached a red light up ahead, Chloe immediately frowned in concern when she placed her foot on the brake pedal but nothing happened and Elly’s car continued at the same speed, “Uh something’s wrong with the car. Hold on to your car seat straps.”

Chloe wanted to close her eyes as the car ran through the red light, a car coming from the opposite direction, slamming it’s breaks and honking its horn at her in anger, presuming she’d run the red light on purpose.

Chloe continued slamming her foot on the brake pedal to no avail as the car didn’t slow down and she was coming up to another set of lights that had just turned red too, “Don’t panic, Aster, I’ll get us out of this.”

“Okay,” Aster swallowed hard yet trusted Chloe.

Chloe pulled the break handle yet the car still refused to slow down, then her eyes widened as she looked to the side and saw a truck coming through the next set of lights that was still on green from its side, knowing she was on a colliding path with it in the next fifteen to twenty seconds, “Son of a bitch, stop the car!”

“Chloe, what’s wrong with the car?” Aster hollered.

“It’s not stopping and I don’t know what to do,” Chloe admitted, not wanting to point out the truck approaching the intersection, then breathing deeply, “Just hold on!”

Desperate to avoid the oncoming truck up ahead, Chloe deliberately drove the car off the road, where it skidded violently before slamming into the side of a light pole, coming to a stop.

As other people from the intersection realized another car had run off the road, getting out of their own cars to help, Aster sat in the back seat of the car, screaming out at Chloe, “Chloe! Wake up! Chloe!”

Chloe lay in the front seat of the car, unconscious, blood dripping from a wound on her head.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-Five

Tuesday 26th November 2024   

Having taken her friends on a tour of the local Erinsborough haunts, even though knowing they had spent the past few years scoping out Elly’s family and friends to check up on them, Elly stepped into the Waterhole with Lexa and Clarke behind her, “You wanta sit over there?”

“Nah, the couch over there looks cozy,” Clarke decided, walking over to it and wrapping her arm around Lexa’s waist as the couple sat down, with Elly joining them and sitting down on the chair opposite them, “So, I know we surprised you by stopping by this morning and you’ve taken us all over the sites of the town without saying much of anything the past hour, Elly, but you seem awfully keen to catch up. Everything going well back here at home?”

“Fresh Meat here needs our advice cause she met her mate and now she’s in a pickle over what to do about it,” Lexa sniggered at Elly.

“What? You did? Why didn’t you call me to tell me? You told Lexa? Wait, why didn’t you tell me, babe?” Clarke fired off her questions in one breath.

“I think I did,” Elly admitted cautiously, “And I just didn’t want to announce it to the world as I know nothing amongst the Pack stays secret for long, I wanted to be sure before I told you all.”

“Look at that look on her face, she’s so met her mate, there’s no denying it,” Lexa teased.

“Who is it?” Clarke asked keenly.

“Babe, how blind were you back on the street not to see the way our girl was eyeing up Chloe and the way Fresh Meat was so confident in the way Chloe was with Aster?” Lexa winked at her girlfriend.

“Chloe’s your mate? Your ex-girlfriend? That’s interesting…not unexpected but…wow! I can’t wait to have a new loved-up couple for us to be around!” Clarke grinned.

“Ease up, there, Chloe and I will not be a loved-up couple around the pair of you or…around anyone anytime soon. This is so complicated if Chloe’s my mate,” Elly sighed.

“Oh, stop saying ‘if’! You said it yourself the other day, your eyes changed colour after you met Chloe again and it felt like your whole life was swirling…classic mate signs,” Lexa determined.

“Okay…Chloe’s my mate,” Elly hesitantly admitted, “What do I do about it?”

“Make a move, Chloe will feel the pull to you, she probably already does, she just doesn’t know why it’s so strong and why she can’t fight it. Lexa remembers that feeling well to me, don’t you, my love?” Clarke pointed out.

“You must’ve missed the ginormous rings on Chloe’s ring finger,” Elly sulked.

“Oh,” Clarke sympathized, “It’s not like it’s never happened before that a werewolf’s mate is previously married but the good news is you know deep down somehow someway…Chloe’s marriage will end and you’ll be together eventually.”

After being distracted by a waiter coming over to take their order for drinks and food, Elly waited until he was out of earshot, “When am I expected to wait for that to happen? It’s so painful being around Chloe knowing what she means to me but not being able to be with her yet or for who knows how long…I can’t stand it. I just want to skip the part of Chloe’s marriage ending especially when I don’t want to be that person whom destroys a marriage…even though it’s not my own this time. I want to get to the part where Chloe, Aster and I are together and a family…just the three of us.”

“Would you listen to her? I didn’t know you were so pathetically impatient, Fresh Meat, it’s adorable,” Lexa teased Elly.

“Oh, c’mon, now Lex, we both went through this. Elly’s in love, she’s found the person she knows she’s gonna spend her life with except there’s a few complications to getting to be with her mate,” Clarke rolled her eyes at her girlfriend, before turning back to Elly, “Have you thought about telling Chloe the truth?”

“I don’t want Chloe to ever know about me,” Elly insisted.

“I think the blonde will notice when you never age,” Lexa pointed out, “I take it she hasn’t pointed out that you haven’t aged since you went away.”

Elly shook her head, “Nobody has but I suppose it will start to become apparent in a few years won’t it? I’m so scared of Chloe rejecting me if she learns what I am. Has that ever happened before? A human mate rejecting their werewolf partner due to not wanting to be part of their supernatural world despite the pull with their mate connection?”

Clarke and Lexa stared at one another for a moment, before Clarke answered, “Yes, that’s happened before. I know we go on about nothing in the world getting in the way of you and your mate being together or that anything in the world can be between you but you both still need to be together to be complete…truth is, though it is rare…the human still has their own say on if they want to be part of our world. We hate when the human rejects their mate…but we can’t do anything about it. It’s not like the mate connection is guaranteed to end up with a happy ending. It just means…”

“The werewolf spends the rest of their life alone, never able to have that relationship they crave and the human probably continues on and can at least survive in a non-all-consuming relationship,” Elly finished sadly.

“Give Chloe a chance, she may surprise you,” Lexa remained positive.

“I want to but I’m so scared of being rejected by Chloe…I mean leaving her husband is one thing, leaving him to be with me and knowing that being with me makes her all but an instant step-mum in Aster’s life as it’d be the three of us. Throw in the supernatural world existing and that I’m a werewolf, any of that could be too much for Chloe,” Elly said sadly.

“You just have to trust that your mate wants to be with you as much as you want to be with her and that you’ll work through this together. All of it from the husband to you having Aster be the most important person to you so that makes her important to Chloe, then to the whole…we’re werewolves’ revelation. Trust…it’s only been just over a week, Elly, it’ll take time but I promise you that you’ll make progress with Chloe. It’s inevitable,” Clarke declared.

How would Chloe feel if she found out she and I are inevitable?

“Did I forget to mention Chloe has a controlling husband whom has seemingly stripped her of her ability to have much of a life without him? I don’t know just how deep his controlling nature goes. I promised Chloe’s brother I’d look out for more signs that they’ve seen over the past few years and speak up to Chloe about it as she’s seemingly ignored her brothers’ concerns over it,” Elly added.

“Well, if he gets too controlling and you just want him out of Chloe’s life, all you have to do is…” Lexa swiped her fingers across her throat, then off Elly and Clarke’s looks, “It was a joke.”

Clarke ignored her girlfriend, “That’s a complication, not a great one to deal with but maybe that’s the challenge for you at the moment. To help Chloe be strong enough to take on her controlling husband and when she does, she’ll realize the strength she had, came from you and you did it cause you love her.”

“Maybe,” Elly sulked, “I know I didn’t believe the whole…mate concept when I was first turned…and I’m relieved I didn’t have to wait decades upon decades to find mine…I just hoped it would have been simpler than it could be.”

“Naw, Fresh Meat, did you think you’d bump into one another, the connection would flow through the both of you, you’d be kissing her within minutes once you met her and your life would be perfect from that moment forwards?” Lexa winked at Elly.

“Who ‘her’ are you kissing?” came a voice behind the friends.

Elly stared up at her rival, glaring at him for not only interrupting her conversation with her friends but that he could’ve overheard a very awkward conversation from his point of view about his wife and Elly wanting to be with her, “No one to concern yourself about, Pierce.”

Just your wife…

Pierce lifted his face gently, unable to ignore the feeling that was unnerving him about Elly talking about kissing another woman when he had thought she had decided she only wanted to be with men after her brief dalliance with Chloe, “Right…oh…it’s you two. Vying to get yourself kicked out of two establishments I have part-ownership in?”

Lexa smiled when Clarke wrapped her arm tighter around her waist, “Oh…it’s you. Vying to kick us out of two establishments you’re involved with and thus allowing us proof to brand you a homophobe and sue you for discrimination?”

“So, Chloe was wrong when she said she hoped it wasn’t you whom had kicked my friends out of the hotel this morning. Bet she’ll be thrilled to know it was you after all. Kicking out two women from the hotel, Chloe will be ashamed of you,” Elly tutted at Pierce.

“I didn’t kick them out because they’re both women, we had genuine complaints about how loud they were being in bed together. I had no idea they were friends of yours, was beginning to think you didn’t have any friends, Elly,” Pierce scolded.

Elly looked over at the couple before Lexa smirked, “Yeah, he’s probably right about getting complaints about us. You know me after I win a fight, need to celebrate with my girl here.”

“Well, perhaps the three of you can celebrate elsewhere. You should take your friends on a drive around the neighbourhood,” Pierce suggested.

“Yeah, we’ve already seen most of the neighbourhood, thanks for the advice,” Clarke rolled her eyes at him.

As Pierce was about to quip back at the women, his phone rang, “Sorry, ladies, I would love to keep this up but I’m gonna assume this is important. Hello, Pierce Greyson.”

Elly screwed up her face at Pierce’s rudeness that he wanted to keep throwing shade at them but her face softened when she saw Pierce freeze up on the phone call.

“Yes, she is,” Pierce answered whatever question had been thrown his way by the caller.

Elly focused on Pierce as he quietly turned away from them so she could overhear his phone call, her face falling as she overheard a woman telling Pierce his wife had been admitted to hospital following a car accident.

Chloe…and Aster! Was Aster in the car too? She had to be!

Elly unexpectedly growled as Pierce walked away from her across the room to exit the bar, listening to the final words she could overhear before he walked out the door and closed it behind him, with the hospital staff simply telling him that he needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Chloe has to be okay…I can’t lose my mate…I just found her all over again…but also Aster!

“Elly,” Clarke finally regained her attention, making out like she’d been calling to Elly for ages, “What’s wrong?”

“Chloe was in a car accident, she’s in hospital,” Elly answered quietly, “Chloe was taking Aster to the movies in my car…Aster must be with Chloe at the hospital…why hasn’t anyone called me?”

“Wow, I didn’t even think to listen in to his conversation,” Lexa admitted.

“It’s becoming habit to use my abilities around Pierce without him knowing,” Elly explained then turned to them, “What if Aster’s hurt? What if Chloe’s hurt?”

“Run,” Clarke whispered.

Elly raised her eyebrow at her friends.

Clarke tipped her head to the door of the Waterhole, “Get your butt to the hospital now to make sure your girls are perfectly fine…run! You know the way there. We’ll ask for directions and catch up with you there. We’ll only slow you down so…run!”

Elly nodded, jumping up out of her seat, rushing out of the Waterhole, then once she was outside the bar, Elly didn’t hesitate to brush past the patrons, breaking into a run, headed to the hospital.

Please let my girls be safe and okay…’my girls’…just let me call Chloe and Aster that in front of Chloe one day…just let them be okay…I can’t lose either of them…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-Six

Tuesday 26th November 2024   

Elly raced into the hospital after overhearing Pierce’s phone call that Chloe, whom had been minding Aster for her, had been in a car accident. Spotting Karl at the front desk chatting to one of the nurses, Elly rushed over to him, “Karl, is Aster okay?”

Karl narrowed his eyes at his niece, “Ah why wouldn’t Aster be okay?”

“I overheard Chloe was in a car accident and she was looking after Aster for me,” Elly answered in a panic.

Before Karl could answer Elly, Pierce rushed into the hospital room too, “Karl, have you seen Chloe? Is Chloe…okay?”

Pierce suddenly frowned as his eyes fell to Elly, “How did you get here so quickly?”

Yeah…I outran your little car…

Elly shrugged, ignoring Pierce’s question, hoping he wouldn’t think anything of her beating him to the hospital, let alone that she was only there because she’d listened into his private conversation, “Karl, I need to know Aster’s okay.”

And Chloe…

Karl flummoxed between the pair of them, “Slow down, the both of you. I haven’t seen Chloe or Aster. What’s happened?”

Elly glanced up at Pierce, letting him take the bait to speak up first, “I got a call from the hospital saying my wife was in a car accident and I needed to get here asap…what car? Chloe doesn’t even have a car…she wasn’t a pedestrian in a car accident, was she?”

“Chloe was taking Aster to the movies for me as I had to cancel on her when my friends turned up unexpectedly, I loaned Chloe my car to take her,” Elly started to explain and then as she was about to add that she’d gotten a phone call about Aster to lie about how she knew to be there, Pierce turned on her.

“You let Chloe borrow your car? Why would you do that?” Pierce demanded.

“Because I promised my daughter that I’d take her to the movies and I was a shit parent who decided to put my friends before Aster but Chloe stepped in to rescue me by offering to go with Aster instead. I loaned her my car, I didn’t think they’d end up in a car accident,” Elly replied, angry at herself for putting her need to talk to Lexa and Clarke about Chloe then spend time with her daughter.

Karl intervened between the pair once more, stopping them from arguing, “Just give me a minute to find out where they are. We did have two people involved in a car accident come in here half an hour ago but I wasn’t on the case and I didn’t see them come in so I don’t have any more details then that. I’ll be back in a moment.”

As Karl turned on his heel to go find out more info, Pierce turned on Elly again, “If Chloe’s hurt, this will all be your fault!”

"My fault? How?" Elly demanded.

"Chloe shouldn't have been driving your car! My wife shouldn’t have been minding your daughter just cause you got busy and wanted to dump her on someone! Why did you even come back here? You should’ve stayed with your friends wherever it was that you’ve been hiding out for the last four years!" Pierce accused.

“Chloe was helping a friend, Pierce, that’s all. We don’t even know how the car accident happened. You can’t go blaming me for lending Chloe my car when the accident might not have been Chloe’s fault,” Elly told him.

“Chloe shouldn’t have been near your car,” Pierce claimed once more.

“Oh what, like Chloe should’ve been at home being the good lil wife to you not working or doing much of anything with her life?” Elly accused.

“What would you know? You’ve been gone for years; you’ve barely gotten to re-know Chloe the past week. Chloe studies art history and is an artist in her spare time. She’s making something of herself. I don’t see you been gainfully employed or doing much of anything with your life or your daughter’s,” Pierce yelled at Elly.

Elly couldn’t help but let out a gentle growl at Pierce, she was so angry at him she almost wanted to give up her secret of being a werewolf so she could terrify him into being unable to control Chloe any further. Elly’s growl unnerved Pierce but Pierce wasn’t to know it was an inhuman growl because to him, nothing inhuman existed.

“I know enough to know Chloe has changed over the years and being with you is the only thing consistent with that. Like you’d have a clue about anything to do with my life,” Elly pointed out.

“Alright, enough of that,” Karl intervened between the pair once more as he walked back over to them, “Yes, Chloe and Aster were both brought in. The car slammed into a light post on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Chloe had to be removed from the wreckage. Aster’s fine, she’s just got a few bruises from the car seat straps digging into her. Chloe’s still unconscious but she has no other injuries so as long as she wakes up soon then she should be perfectly fine within a few days.”

Elly sighed in relief at both sets of news, yet was still concerned about Chloe being unconscious.

“What if Chloe doesn’t wake up?” Pierce asked, his worry evident.

Karl held out his hands to calm him, “Pierce, I’m sure Chloe will be perfectly fine. We don’t have any need to be worried yet. If Chloe’s not awake within the next few hours then we’ll reassess. Why don’t I take you in to see her?”

“Just tell me which room my wife is in?” Pierce demanded.

Elly watched on with annoyance that Pierce got to go see Chloe because she was desperate to see her too but scolded herself as she was just as worried about Aster and should be focusing on her more than her best friend.

Mate, love of my life, when will Chloe be mine? There’s nothing about the mate theory that doesn’t mean Chloe giving into our connection won’t take years and years…

Elly turned her attention back to Karl as Pierce stalked off in the direction of the hospital room Karl had told him Chloe was in, “Can I see Aster now?”

Karl nodded then led Elly in the opposite direction down the hallway. Karl opened the door to Aster’s hospital room, where she was lying on a small hospital bed. Aster lit up at the sight of Elly, “Mummy!”

Elly quickly swept past Karl, over to Aster’s side to swoop the young girl immediately into her arms, “Hey, baby girl, you okay? I was so worried as soon as I heard you’d been in an accident. I came as soon as I could.”

The nurse in the room whom had been looking after Aster frowned, asking Karl if he’d called Aster’s mum as Aster didn’t know Elly’s phone number off the top of her head and they were about to start tracking Elly’s details down as the woman in the car with Aster was unconscious.

“I thought you said you got a call about Aster being in the car accident?” Karl queried, misremembering that Elly had said she’d overheard a call.

“I did, must’ve been from someone else who saw Chloe had been brought in and realized it was Aster with her…like David and got another nurse to call me,” Elly lied, knowing she could hardly tell her Uncle she’d overheard Pierce’s phone call at the Waterhole with her superhuman hearing when Pierce was surprised to see her at the hospital, Elly went along with Karl thinking she’d gotten a call herself.

Then changing the subject, hoping Karl wouldn’t go around asking David about if he knew Chloe or Aster had been brought in to the hospital, “Can I take my lil girl home tonight?”

Aster curled up in her mum’s arms, already out of the bed and swinging herself onto Elly’s hip, “I wanta go home with my Mama, can I please? Please?”

The nurse nodded, telling them all Aster only had some bruises on her upper body from the car seat straps doing their job to keep her restrained in the car during the accident and only needed the doctor who’d seen her to give the sign off for Aster to be discharged so offered to go chase him to organize it.

After she left the room, Aster looked up at Elly, “Is Chloe okay? They wouldn’t tell me. Chloe saved my life today, Mama! She swerved your car into the light post to avoid a truck that was gonna collide with us when the breaks on ya car failed. Chloe didn’t think I saw the truck but I did, it was so scary, Mum.”

Elly stared at Karl in concern after hearing what Chloe had done, “Chloe’s gonna be okay, baby girl. She hasn’t woken up yet but she will soon and we’ll need to go and tell Chloe how thankful we are that she saved you. I’m so glad you’re okay and didn’t get hurt, Aster, I couldn’t live without you, you know that?”

“I know that, Mama, I couldn’t be without you too. Chloe will be okay, she has to be for you, you know that,” Aster insisted.

I know that…Aster knows that…Clarke and Lexa know that…nobody else can know that yet…

Elly glanced back at Karl, “The brakes of my car failed?”

“I’m sure it’ll be investigated properly to find out what happened. Do you and Aster need a lift home?” Karl offered.

Elly held Aster a little bit closer to her, still scared by how close she came to losing her daughter, “I was with my friends, Clarke and Lexa, when I found out about the accident. They were following me to the hospital so I’m sure I’ll catch them soon to get a lift with them. Do you think before we go home, we can go in and see Chloe?”

Karl shrugged, “Pierce is with Chloe now, I’m sure he’d be okay with you popping your head in to see Chloe, right?”

“Well, he was kinda blaming me for Chloe being in my car so I guess we’ll see,” Elly sighed, frustrated that as he was married to Chloe, Pierce was entitled to be there for the woman she was falling in love with.

Over in Chloe’s hospital room, Pierce was sitting next to Chloe’s bed, holding her hand, glaring at the doctor treating his wife, “When will my wife wake up?”

“We’re not sure, we never are with head injuries, but there’s no major damage done. I’m sure she’ll be awake soon,” the doctor reassured.

“Chloe shouldn’t have been in that car. Why would she take that kid to the movies without telling me? Chloe knows I like to know where she is,” Pierce muttered nonchalantly to the doctor, “I don’t want to have to worry about something like this happening. I just want Chloe and I to be happy. We’re trying for a baby. I need Chloe to make it through that so we can have everything we want together…she’s always so selfless, putting our niece and nephews ahead of herself but she shouldn’t have been driving that car. What would’ve happened if the accident had of happened on a deserted road? I might never have found her.”

“I’m sure your wife’s phone could’ve been tracked had she been missing for an extended period of time. Your wife will be awake soon, you and her can go back to trying to be parents in a couple days,” the doctor shrugged, not seeing the concern in his patients’ husbands’ controlling nature.

Pierce glanced up at the doctor, feeling like this doctor was more negligent then his colleagues, “How much would it cost for an off-the-record procedure to be done?”

The doctor raised his eyebrows at Pierce, “Depends what you want done. Your wife’s unconscious…I don’t want to lose my license.”

“I’ll pay you 10 grand right now if you do what I ask,” Pierce proposed to the doctor, without even telling him what he wanted.

“I think we can work something out,” the doctor shrugged gleefully agreeing to hear Pierce out.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Tuesday 26th November 2024   

Over an hour after Elly had arrived at the hospital, she finally swung Aster back onto her hip, thanking the nurses as she signed the discharge paperwork, ready to take her daughter home after her car accident. Clarke and Lexa stood behind the mother and daughter, waiting to encourage Elly to seek out Chloe before they left so their friend could see her mate and know she was safe.

Elly relented, allowing her friends to walk with her to Chloe’s hospital room, thankful they were willing to wait outside for her. Elly reached out her hand and dragged it through Aster’s hair, “You want to come see Chloe with me, Aster? Tell her she’s our hero for saving you today?”

“Yes!” Aster exclaimed, “Chloe had to save me, Mum, she’s your mate and she’s gonna be the most awesomest step mum ever.”

“Aster, my girl, you can’t talk like that. Yes, Chloe is my mate,” Elly hesitantly confirmed to her daughter, “But just because she’s my mate doesn’t mean Chloe and I will be together anytime soon. This pull I feel to Chloe, knowing that nothing will ever come between us…it doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole lot of something’s that will come between us and will continue to come between us for who knows how long. We need to be patient. It’ll happen…it could take months…years…decades…I’ll wait as long as it takes before Chloe is free to be with me…and you…the three of us as a family.”

“You won’t be waiting decades, Mum,” Aster giggled in assurance, “Weeks, I reckon.”

Elly wanted to roll her eyes at her daughter but couldn’t help but wish she could somehow be right, “Let’s simply see if we can go in to see Chloe to thank her for making sure you’re still here with me right now, Aster.”

After Aster nodded, Elly stepped over to Chloe’s hospital room, frowning that the door was closed, but knocked on the door anyway. Elly chewed her lip as Pierce opened the door, “Is Chloe awake yet? Aster wanted to thank her for looking out for her this morning and saving her life.”

Before Pierce could respond, Chloe’s voice gave Elly pure relief as the blonde answered, “Elly? Yeah, I’m awake, come in and see me. Is Aster okay?”

Pierce sighed as Elly brushed past him, with Aster sitting on Elly’s hip all but smirking at him, “The doctor said to limit visitors. Chloe needs more rest; she won’t be able to come home until at least tomorrow.”

As Elly stood next to Chloe’s bed and Chloe smiled wildly up at Aster, making the youngster giggle at how much Chloe was happy to see she was fine, Elly was the one smirking at Pierce when Chloe looked over at him, “Elly and Aster will only be here for a couple minutes, I just want to know they are doing ok. Since I’m gonna be here overnight, why don’t you go home and get me some clothes and belongings?”

“I thought I’d call Mark or Aaron to see if they can do that…and tell them they’ll need to sort out getting their kids from school and daycare for once,” Pierce pointed out.

“I’ll be fine here for half an hour without you, Pierce. Why don’t you give Paige a call and ask Terese if she can let Paige finish up for the day early so she can get the kids? I’m sure Aaron and Mark will want to drop by here to check on me after work,” Chloe reassured.

Pierce stared at Elly, feeling unnerved at leaving his wife alone with her ex-girlfriend but resolved to be more confident in Chloe’s love for him, “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Don’t go anywhere like to the movies in a car that’s not yours cause you really scared me today, Chloe.”

Chloe tilted her head at her husband, “Sorry about that. I’ll be fine in a couple days…can’t say the same for Elly’s car…really sorry about that.”

“Don’t be,” Elly assured then before Pierce left the room admitted, “Aster told me the brakes failed on my car. I’m the one who’s sorry you ended up being the one driving my car when it happened. Should’ve been me.”

Least with my strength any kind of car accident wouldn’t have been enough to kill me let alone harm me.

Pierce couldn’t help but nod at Elly, “Isn’t that lucky Chloe managed to survive what could’ve been your fate?”

“Very lucky,” Elly acknowledged, not sensing the malice in Pierce wanting it to have been Elly in the accident instead of his wife.

“I’ll see you when you get back with my belongings,” Chloe re-iterated to her husband, keen to have a moment alone with Elly and Aster.

As Pierce stepped outside the room, he left the door open, seeing Clarke and Lexa sitting on a set of chairs opposite the room, waiting for Elly as they held each other’s hands, “I feel like I’ve seen you both somewhere before…as in not just today at the hotel or the Waterhole.”

Lexa and Clarke both shrugged innocently, knowing they had been hanging around the Erinsborough area over the years once every month or so to check in on Elly’s family and friends to make sure they were safe without her. Clarke answered for them, “Can’t say the same about you. We’re just here to give Elly and Aster a lift home as soon as they’ve made sure Chloe’s safe. Then we’ll be out of your hair since we can’t stay another night in your hotel. Maybe Chloe can come out to visit us one day with Elly and Aster? Elly would love her friends to get along.”

“Wouldn’t that be interesting,” Pierce mused, “I’d love to find out where Elly’s wasted the last four years of her life hanging out with you…people.”

As Pierce stalked away from them, Lexa looked at Clarke, “I don’t even know Chloe and even I can see the girl can do a hell of a lot better than him.”

“That guy tracking us down to the cabin just cause his wife could come visit Elly’s friends, couldn’t think of much worse,” Clarke shivered.

Once Pierce had left her hospital room, Aster had immediately reached out her arms to Chloe but Elly held the youngster back, “Aster, Chloe’s still sore from the car accident I bet, she needs her rest, not you jumping all over her.”

“Get over here into my arms, Aster,” Chloe overrode Elly’s concerns, “I’m perfectly fine, just exhausted and I need to know you’re okay too.”

“See Mum,” Aster giggled at Elly before shifting from Elly’s hips to sit next to Chloe on the bed, curling up against Chloe’s arm, grinning up at the blonde, “We were worried you wouldn’t wake up, Chloe. Mum was really upset we nearly lost you.”

“I was fine…okay a lil worried when Karl said they were still waiting for you to wake up. I was worried about Aster too…of course. Two people I care about being in a car accident is not how I want any day to go,” Elly admitted.

Chloe reached out, taking Elly’s hand softly, “I’ll be fine. Few days on the mend. You might have to be without a running partner for the rest of the week.”

“Better than being without you for a hell of a lot longer than that,” Elly whispered, continuing to hold Chloe’s hand, “I’m sorry my car caused all this mess. Aster told me you saved her life…both your lives…to avoid colliding with a truck.”

Chloe stared down at Aster, “You saw the truck? I remember hoping you didn’t see the truck…and then I don’t remember much after that…just waking up here…Pierce sitting next to me.”

Aster continued curling herself against Chloe, wondering how long it would take her mum and the blonde to work out they had to be together no matter what, “You saved my life by swerving into the light post. You put yourself in harm’s way. You’re an amazing protector, Chloe.”

Chloe shrugged, not sure how to take the toddler’s words, “I was just doing what anyone else in the situation would’ve.”

“You saved my girl, Chlo. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you enough,” Elly whispered, squeezing Chloe’s hand.

“You don’t need to, seeing the smile on Aster’s face at being back with you when you walked in this room is all I needed,” Chloe assured, “Not to mention the look on your face too. You two shouldn’t ever be apart.”

Neither should you and I, Chlo…

“We won’t be cause of you,” Elly reminded the blonde, “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

Chloe reached out her free arm, encouraging Elly to lean down and hug her. Unable to resist, Elly leant down over Aster, before resting her face into the other side of Chloe’s neck, burying herself against the woman, with Aster shuffling her arms to hold them around both women and to be part of their hug.

Elly tried hard not to let several tears slip down her cheeks but wasn’t able to suppress them. Chloe felt the tears against her neck, “Hey, c’mon, Elly, I’m perfectly fine. It was just an accident. In a couple days we’ll have forgotten all about this day.”

Elly dug her face further against Chloe’s neck, desperately trying not to stay there holding the woman in her arms for as long as she could without Chloe realizing how deep she had fallen for her. But she needn’t have worried as Chloe suddenly took a sharp breath, whispering, “Ow.”

Elly pulled back from Chloe, swiftly sitting herself next to the woman on the bed, “What’s wrong?”

Chloe lifted her shoulder and tilted her head to the side, “Nothing, just my neck where your face was…suddenly it just really hurt having pressure there…weird. I probably just have a bit of whiplash or pulled a muscle there or something.”

Elly took a closer look at Chloe’s neck, “I’m sorry, Chlo, I didn’t see this before. There’s one stitch in the back of your neck…from I dunno like a puncture wound. That’s so weird. How do you get a puncture wound from a car accident?”

“Not sure, I wouldn’t worry about it if it’s stitched up,” Chloe decided.

“Will you make sure you ask the doctor what that wound was from next time he comes in here to see you, Chlo?” Elly asked the blonde to promise.

“I will, I’m sure it’s nothing, just a nice lil reminder of what I’ve gone and done to myself,” Chloe shrugged nonchalantly, then smiling down at Aster, “Now, what about you, Miss Aster? Please tell me you escaped the car accident without any injuries and your mum is taking you home to tuck you up into bed in a few minutes.”

Aster stared up at both the women, wanting nothing more to be the center of their attention for as long as possible, “I got some bruises on my body from the car seat straps keeping me safe in the car seat when the car crashed. I’ll be okay.”

“Aster, if I teach you anything…play the card of not being well and the only cure to your bruises is lots of ice cream and cuddles from your mum,” Chloe joked happily.

“Oh my God, Chlo, you are as bad as Aster!” Elly teased, “I’ll have to pick up a tub of ice cream on the way home now, won’t I?”

“We’ll be bad together,” Aster giggled at Chloe before nodding at her mum, “Ice cream!”

Elly shook her head at the pair of them as Chloe continued conspiring with Aster over what other things she could get away with over the next few days whilst Elly was still in shock over how close she’d come to losing her daughter.

This…I want this forever, the three of us being a family. Only the three of us. Chloe being the fun parent who spoils Aster every moment she can and me trying to bring these two into line and stop them conspiring against me and breaking all the rules all the time… When will we get this future?

Pierce drove back into Ramsay Street; frustrated Chloe had sent him away for such a menial task of getting her belongings to spend the night at hospital and that he was going to be away from her for the night. Whilst leaving Chloe to spend time with her ex-girlfriend and Elly’s daughter unnerved him, despite knowing he now had an element of control over Chloe.

Pierce frowned as soon as he turned his beamer into the street, uttering, “What the?”

Pierce parked his beamer in front of his house instead of driving it up the driveway, unconcerned he’d need to drag a bag with Chloe’s belongings back to it. Getting out of his car, instead of walking up to his house, Pierce crossed the street to the Kennedy’s driveway to inspect the car that had his full attention from the moment he spotted it.

A 2024 edition of the Maserati.

Pierce stared at the car with his mouth hanging open, “Elly’s car was destroyed not three hours ago. How the fuck does an unemployed woman like her get a replacement car so quickly? Let alone a fucking car like a Maserati and the most recent version of it to boot! This car would’ve cost a fortune!”

Pierce suddenly noticed the card sitting under the window wipes of the car. Picking it up, the front of the card simply had Elly’s name written on it in old-school handwriting. Flipping it over, Pierce read the card’s message:

‘Sorry to hear about your car. Hope you, Aster and Chloe are safe and well after the car accident. Thank you for being part of our family, Elly. We look after our family whether you are with us or with your own family. If you ever need anything, you don’t even need to ask. Romulus.’

“Who the fuck is Romulus? And how the fuck has someone like Elly found herself to know someone who can just drop a Maserati off for her like it’s nothing?” Pierce demanded to no one as he was alone.

Pierce then looked at the card again before tearing it into small pieces several times, “I really…hate that girl!”

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Friday 29th November 2024   

Elly bounded over to Chloe’s place, smiling as she saw the blonde waiting for her at the bottom of her driveway for once instead of always been the one waiting to surprise Chloe.

“You can’t be serious that three days after a car accident and two days since you got out of hospital, you’re ready for some exercise?” Elly exclaimed as she reached Chloe.

“Like my message said, it’s just a walk today to work my way up with some exercise, no running. You don’t need to join me,” Chloe blushed as she found herself staring at Elly’s body.

“Yeah, like I’m gonna let you go for a walk on your own after you saved my little girl and yourself from being killed by a truck by hitting a light post instead. What if a walk is too much for you and you collapse, Chlo?” Elly worried.

Chloe tilted her head before she started walking down the footpath leading out of the street, waiting until Elly caught up with her, “I’m not gonna collapse, I’m perfectly healthy. Three days of rest, now I’m back to it. Besides, if I was gonna collapse it looks like I’ve got you by my side to catch me.”

Damn straight I’d catch you…and want to kiss you and never let you go…stop me!

“That I’d be capable of,” Elly promised, “How are things since you’ve been home?”

Chloe shrugged, “Back to normal. Pierce has been working from home but he’s going back to the office today. I’m surprised he didn’t ask me where I’d be taking my walk to, he’s got the pattern of my run locked in his brain just in case I don’t make it back by the time the kids rock up and he knows where I am.”

Elly wanted to question Chloe over Pierce’s controlling tendencies like she had promised Mark she would but knew she’d only been back in Chloe’s life for less than a fortnight and wanted to wait until she was sure she had some idea over just how controlling Pierce was.

“You sure Pierce isn’t going to stop by several times today to check in on you?” Elly wondered.

Chloe shook her head, “Nah, though I suspect Pierce will call me a couple times today to make sure I’m coping without him. How about Aster? Is she doing okay after the accident?”

Elly shyly smiled at how much Chloe already seemed to care for her daughter, wanting nothing more for Chloe to have more of an active role in Aster’s life, “Aster’s perfectly fine. Bruises have all healed…thanks to all the ice cream I served her. Thanks for that idea you gave her. You know she listens to you and I just can’t say no to Aster.”

“You’re welcome,” Chloe giggled, “I’m glad she’s doing better and has healed. Did you ever find out what happened to your car with the brakes?”

Elly hesitated before nodding, “Yeah I was gonna talk to you about that…the insurance company investigated it and looked over the wreckage that is now my old car. The brake lines were severed…on purpose.”

Chloe paused in their walk, turning to Elly, “Someone damaged your car on purpose to cause an accident?”

Someone who has no idea what I am and that I’d be able to survive a lil car accident…okay if my car went up in a ball of flames then I’d be in some trouble but still likely to survive it… My only concern would be if Aster was with me like she was with Chloe, Aster could turn out to be a werewolf like me when she grows up so she could’ve survived a car accident like me as she’d be somewhat invincible. But I won’t know if Aster’s a werewolf until she’s a teenager when her strength and speed kick in…and the ability to shift into a wolf… I don’t want to find out early by having Aster’s life risked only for her to survive cause she is like me.

Elly stopped walking for a moment before leading Chloe to start walking again, “That’s what the insurance company are saying, they weren’t going to pay out at first as they wanted to investigate if I’d done this to my car on purpose to write it off, then claim the money. But my friend, Romulus, who’s kinda the Alph—leader of the family I fell in with…he has friends within the insurance company and set them straight. If it wasn’t for Aster being with you in the car at the time the brakes failed, I’d hate to think that anyone would think that I’d sent you off with my car knowing the brake lines had been cut.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, nobody could ever think that. I just can’t believe anyone would do that. I guess it could’ve been a random attack on any car in the street but I hope you’ll be extra careful just in case someone targeted you on purpose,” Chloe replied softly.

Elly couldn’t help but enjoy the care Chloe was showing her, “Guess we won’t know if it was random or targeted unless something happens again. But don’t worry, I’ll be extra careful.”

“But surely if it was targeted that person would’ve thought that Aster could’ve been in the car with you like she ended up being…just with me. Nobody would think to risk your lil girl being in the car with the brakes not working, right?” Chloe pointed out.

“I’d like to say they wouldn’t do that but I guess it’s not worth worrying too much about what could’ve happened if it had of been my driving the car like I probably should’ve been. I’m just worried that you’re okay after the accident cause if the brakes being cut was meant for me and you weren’t okay then I dunno what I’d do,” Elly whispered.

“I am okay, Elly,” Chloe reassured.

Elly nodded in understanding, hoping she could believe Chloe.

“I’m glad your friend sorted out the insurance claim for you. You know, you still haven’t told me a heck of a lot about the family you…fell in with,” Chloe restarted their conversation that had gone quiet, her curiosity over Elly’s missing years still weighing on her as she still felt like there was so much more Elly wasn’t telling her, “I know I vaguely met two of your friends when they stopped by the other day…and I’m also not gonna lie…when I got back home, Pierce wouldn’t stop going on about your new car that got dropped off mere hours after the accident. He wanted to go to the car dealer this weekend as he was inspired by your new car to upgrade our beamer but I told him we don’t need a fancy new car.”

Inspired…jealous more like it, Pierce. Wonder how jealous he will be when Chloe's eventually mine? 

"It's just a car, Chlo. Pierce doesn’t need to be jealous over it or get a new car of his own. I'm very lucky, the family are well off and don't mind sharing the spoils of their wealth. I don't want the fancy cars but the head of the family, Romulus, is very old-school in looking after everyone connected to his family even those not directly related to them like Aster and I. They're just a family, nothing special...other than they allowed me to rebuild my life. I needed that and it really did give Aster a good first few years of her life," Elly recounted briefly.

“I didn’t realize things were so bad for you before you…got attacked and disappeared,” Chloe replied sadly.

“I was just very much feeling alone and unsure how to provide a future for my lil girl. I know on the surface it still probably looks like that, I’m single, unemployed and living with my Aunt and Uncle…it’s hard to describe…but I got strength from the family I stayed with. They allowed me to raise Aster on my own and make me feel like we had a place in the world. I got to tutor my friend, Lexa, whom had dropped out of high school years before she should’ve. I managed to get her to graduate high school through the learning program I put her through. It was just stuff like that, it made me feel like I was achieving things in life,” Elly explained.

“I’m glad they…found a way to give you what you felt you were missing. Y’know…we kinda missed you a whole lot…don’t run off on us again and disappear,” Chloe quietly pleaded.

“I won’t, I promise, I’m here to stay. I really want to settle down here properly…like I probably should’ve. I’ll have to start looking for a job soon, I don’t even know what I want to do with my career. But first, I want to sort out getting Aster into daycare for next year to get her ready for school the year after. I need to focus on her first,” Elly decided.

“That sounds like the right thing to do and as for your career, I have faith you’ll figure it out,” Chloe smiled shyly.

“I really want Aster to have some friends, spend more time with the kids on the street y’know…and you. Aster’s totally in love with you,” Elly revealed, tempted to admit Aster wasn’t the only one, “Would that be okay…if Aster was to spend some more time with you?”

Ugh what are you even doing? Trying to set up Chloe to spend time with Aster so what…Chloe falls in love with Aster as much as you and wants to be with you and to raise Aster with you…and the three of us can be the perfect little family? Is that even possible? Or will I be waiting ‘til Aster’s grown up before you know how much we need to be together, Chlo?

“I’d like that,” Chloe answered simply.

“Really?” Elly was surprised.

“I’d like it even more if Aster spending time with me…meant I get to spend more time with you,” Chloe whispered.

How does all the time in the world sound to you, Chlo?

Elly blushed, “I think that can be arranged.”

Chloe smiled shyly at Elly, thrilled at the prospect of spending more time with her best friend.

But how much time can I honestly spend with Elly and Aster before Pierce notices…? And why do I have such a strong desire to get closer to Elly and Aster and get to know them better…?

Later that same day, Elly left Aster at home to be minded by Susan, whom was working from home that afternoon after meetings at the Education Department in the morning. Elly headed over to Chloe’s place, just after lunch time, having remembered after she and Chloe had returned from their walk that the previous week Chloe had agreed to go to dinner at her brother’s place with Pierce.

With the car accident several days earlier, Elly had completely forgotten about wanting Chloe to join her for another meal with the rest of the Brennan clan, even if it meant Pierce joined at her hip. Elly figured Chloe had forgotten too and hoped maybe she wouldn’t be pushing things to remind Chloe or see if she’d have to wait until the following week for Chloe to join them all for what the Brennan clan were happy to make a permanent get together with Elly, Aster and all their kids.

As Elly bounded up the stairs of #24, she suddenly had a case of déjà vu back to the previous Friday afternoon where she’d unexpectedly turned up at Chloe’s place, then ended up following Chloe getting an Uber to a hairdresser’s salon.

Two hours at the hairdressers for a trim…I never did work out what that was all about.

When Elly reached the top of the stairs, her déjà vu hit her even more as she glanced through the tinted window to the side of the front door and noticed that just like the previous week, it appeared that the couch in the living room had been moved to the side. She could see the outskirts of Chloe standing in the living room. She could hear Chloe breathing heavily, leaving Elly worried that her friend was having trouble breathing or that the walk they’d being on earlier had taken too much out of Chloe that she wasn’t ready for so soon after being in hospital.

Elly didn’t hesitate to open the security door which was unlocked then ignoring knocking on the front door, Elly instead pulled at the door handle, gently and silently snapping the lock on the door. Stepping inside the entryway, standing there by the door frame, Elly raised her eyebrows as her eyes landed on Chloe.

It took Chloe several seconds to sense the presence of another person in the house, turning to Elly.

“Uh…hi,” was all Elly could utter as she stared at Chloe, before adding, “Whatcha doing?”

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Friday 29th November 2024   

Chloe turned around to Elly, who had unbeknownst to her broken the lock on her front door as she was worried something was wrong with her friend, “Uh…hi…”

Elly stood there staring at Chloe for a moment, trying to keep her breathing under control as she once more asked, “Whatcha doing?”

Chloe shrugged then folded her arms in front of her, “I thought the door was locked…I normally hear Pierce or the kids walking up the stairs…”

“Door must’ve been unlocked,” Elly lied, pausing, “I…guess I was quiet when I came up the stairs…forgot to knock on the door…so if you had heard someone coming to the front door…you’d have…moved the couch back to where it should be without making a sound and gotten dressed into something more…”

“No one’s ever caught me before,” Chloe admitted, “If I had heard you coming up the stairs…I probably would’ve grabbed the vacuum cleaner over there to pretend that’s why I moved the couch out of my way…and that I…clean my house in this if I couldn’t have grabbed a shirt in time.”

Elly licked her lips, “And how long have you been doing…this?”

Chloe placed her hands on her hips, “Two years now.”

“And this is a form of…?” Elly trailed off; her eyes mesmerized by Chloe.

Chloe stared deeply at Elly, “It’s tai chi, a form of martial arts.”

“You look like you know what you’re doing,” Elly acknowledged.

“I’m a 3rd level black belt in tai chi,” Chloe revealed.

Elly couldn’t stop her eyes from roaming all over Chloe’s body and the tight gym shorts and sports bra she was wearing, “And when you said…no one’s ever caught you before…?”

Okay these clothes Chloe is wearing is way less work out gear that Chloe has been wearing each morning on our runs…I can’t not picture Chloe like this as often as possible now. Chloe knows martial arts, no wonder she was breathing so deeply…and maybe if Pierce is as controlling as what Mark says he is…this is Chloe’s way of keeping control in her own hands…

“Pierce doesn’t know I’m trained in martial arts,” Chloe admitted, “Neither do my brothers…or anyone…really.”

“No one knows?” Elly was surprised.

Chloe shrugged, “Well not ‘no one,’ my instructor at the dojo fitness center knows as she taught me everything that I need to know to have achieved the black belts I hold. I also teach a class at the center. The fitness center is run by a really strong woman, my instructor, as a not-for-profit business as they work to help women in need of…protection and strength from…the men in their lives.”

So, Chloe needs protection and strength from the man in her life…?

“That sounds quite inspiring that your instructor has created that for women,” Elly decided, before addressing what she wanted to do, “And is that why you found yourself at the fitness center…you need protection and strength from…the men in your life…? Or man?”

Chloe shook her head, “It’s not like that at all. Pierce isn’t someone I need protection from, if he was my brothers couldn’t be closer to me, living across the street. Pierce likes to know everything about every situation…it’s just who he is. Some might label it controlling. For me…training myself in martial arts these past two years…what can I say? It’s like I have something that Pierce doesn’t know everything about…that he doesn’t know anything about at all. Does that make sense at all?”

Elly took a few steps forward towards Chloe, “Are you sure Pierce doesn’t know about this?”

Chloe nodded, “Yeah, he doesn’t have a clue. Benefits of being unemployed since I married him. I have a lot of free time during the days when I’m not looking after my niece or nephews. I don’t know if you recall, but I do a lot of painting and I have a small art studio here at home…Pierce just thinks it takes me way longer than it does to actually create my works of art.”

“Because he thinks you’re here working on your art, not at the fitness center, training in martial arts. Or here at home in your living room where you shift your couch and coffee table out of the way and you practice your tai chi right here in your house,” Elly realized.

“Yes and no,” Chloe shrugged, “Part of it is that Pierce thinks I’m working on my art when I’m at home here working on my tai chi for an hour or two each weekday but the other part, I’ve come up with a pretty reasonable excuse as to where he thinks I’m going when I do go out to the fitness center to run my classes twice a week.”

“Care to enlighten me,” Elly pressed.

Chloe glanced down at her watch, “I have a class I have to go to now, I kinda missed my Tuesday class on account of the car accident. I don’t want to let my girls down again. Can we talk about this another time? What did you come over here for anyway?”

“Aster and I are going over to your brothers for dinner again to make it a bit of a regular thing, help Aster make friends with the other kids to help her fit in a bit more. Last week you said you’d join us…with Pierce. I figured with the car accident and all you probably forgot so I thought I’d check if you could join us all…even though it’s last minute again. Aaron said Hendrix would be there tonight…which might be a sore subject for Pierce if he joins us but Aaron said Hendrix is more than happy to have you both join all of us so he can catch up with you…and might…probably ignore Pierce at the same time…but you never know, Hendrix and Pierce spending a couple hours together every week…might finally break the ice between them,” Elly explained.

“I did forget,” Chloe realized, “I’m sorry. I can’t just change Pierce’s plans last minute as I almost did last Friday evening, he’s just such a stickler for knowing things in advance. I’ll ask him tonight over dinner that we can start joining you all on a regular basis every Friday evening. I appreciate Hendrix finally wanting to make what effort he can with Pierce. Hopefully Hendrix can be there on other Friday evenings we can be there.”

“Except for Friday two weeks from now,” Elly smiled.

“Ah, our famously planned engagement party for Bea and Yashvi,” Chloe recalled, “Yes, aside from that one, I will make sure Pierce and I make more of an effort to spend time with everyone Friday evenings as of next week.”

“Sounds great, I think your brothers really miss you and want to spend more time with you,” Elly couldn’t help but grin, then as her eyes roamed Chloe’s body once more, trying hard to hide it, unsure if she was, “You’re seriously a black belt in tai chi?”                                                                                                                                       

“No, I’m 3rd level black belt,” Chloe corrected with a smirk, “What? Do you not believe me? Just because you kick my ass every morning in our run?”

Elly stepped forwards once more til she was standing in front of Chloe, “It’s not that I don’t believe you, it’s more…that level of martial arts…for no one to have noticed you have that kind of strength and power. That’s a big secret to keep and I don’t see you being the type for keeping secrets, Chlo.”

“You’ve been away longer than you think,” Chloe reminded her, with a smile, not wanting to upset her friend by reminding her of the decision to leave her family and friends wondering what had happened to her for years, “I can keep secrets now, y’know.”

“Prove it,” Elly challenged the blonde.

Before Chloe could respond, Elly struck out her fist to Chloe’s right cheek to gently strike it, not as hard as her strength allowed as she didn’t want to hurt the woman she was in love with. But Elly was surprised when Chloe struck out her own hand, blocking her strike, twisting her hand around, then as she was wondering what Chloe was going to do with it, didn’t see Chloe swing her foot to the back of her knee.

Before Elly knew it, she was flat on the carpet of the living room in Chloe’s house. With Chloe lying on top of her.

Chloe had forgotten to release Elly’s hand when Elly was falling to the floor and Elly had dragged her down with her by accident.

Elly stared up at the woman lying on her, surprised her own strength wasn’t enough to stop Chloe from flipping her to the floor, “Sure proved it, Chlo.”

Damn, look at her! The way she’s lying on my body…Chloe’s only wearing a sports bra…her body it’s so close to mine. I want this, Chloe entangled with me every moment I don’t need to spend focusing on Aster.

Why did you trip Elly to the ground? You stopped her attack; you didn’t need to go this extra step and fall over on top of Elly. Why am I breathing so heavily? Is that Elly’s hands holding my hips? What is it that you feel for Elly? You can’t still have feelings for Elly, you got over Elly years ago…you married Pierce! This is just…I don’t know what this is…

“Sorry about that, I didn’t mean to kick you to the ground. I forgot you weren’t one of my students who know to expect me to do that,” Chloe blushed, lifting herself gently but not enough to make a move to shift from lying on Elly.

Elly continued clinging her hands to Chloe’s hips, “Train me?”

Chloe frowned, “What do you mean?”

Elly reluctantly squeezed Chloe’s hips, letting Chloe lift upwards and rise to her feet. Elly grudgingly joined Chloe standing back upright in the living room, wanting nothing more than to hold Chloe like that for hours but knowing she couldn’t.

“I want you to train me,” Elly whispered.

“In tai chi?” Chloe raised her eyebrow.

“Yes, I want to learn from you,” Elly decided, running her hand through her hair, “I’ve only gotten a sneak peek but you’re good at what you do, Chloe. Train me in tai chi with you…this could be our thing. I know we go running every morning but if you train here at home on your martial arts on your own…maybe you wouldn’t mind me joining you.”

“I’d like that,” Chloe nodded, “It’d be nice to…not keep this a secret and have at least one other person I can…share my martial arts with. What about Aster? Spending extra time with me, that won’t…be a problem with Aster…or would you need to bring her with you?”

“I think Aster would be over the moon at me spending time with you…learning the craft of martial arts. I might not be able to train with you every day but when I can get someone to mind Aster for me…or Aster’s kinda used to being without me watching over everything she does. I can make time for this,” Elly promised, “Now…you have a class your teaching at the fitness center soon…can I join you?”

“I’ll just get us a couple of bottles of sports drink to take with us and I’ll be right back. I’ll change into something more casual as I generally prefer to get changed into my martial arts gear there. I don’t usually bother with the full outfit at home. Do you want to borrow some of my sports clothes to change into there too? If you take a liking to martial arts, then we can get you fitted out for a set of your own gear next week,” Chloe offered.

“Sure, saves me having to go home to change then explaining to Suze I’m going out again. I’ll text her to let her know I’ll be home in an hour or so,” Elly smiled.

“Is two hours okay to get there and take a 1-hour class?” Chloe asked.

Elly shrugged, “Sure, of course. Sounds like you’re taking me far away.”

“Not really,” Chloe replied cryptically before turning around and getting the things Elly and her needed.

This is fine, right? Spending extra time with Elly without Pierce knowing.

Chloe training you in tai chi? Could you be more obvious you want to spend as much time with Chloe as you possibly can…whilst she’s wearing really tiny shorts and a sports bra and just the feel of her body against mine… Training with Chloe in martial arts…this will end well!

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty  

Friday 29thNovember 2024    

Elly followed Chloe as they left Chloe’s house to go to the fitness center for Chloe’s martial arts class, “Do you want me to drive? I promise this new car is safe and the brake lines have not been broken. Bea keeps checking them every morning just in case. She promised me she’ll stop doing that in a week or so.” 

As Chloe walked down the stairs, she looked back up at Elly behind her, “I actually already ordered an Uber, it’ll be here in a moment. I’m used to taking an Uber there, kinda a habit and it makes it easier…” 

Elly thought back to the previous week, trailing Chloe unnecessarily and that Chloe had ended up going to the hairdressers for two hours, “You said you have a reasonable excuse as to where Pierce thinks you’re going when you go to the fitness center, does taking an Uber there have anything to do with it?” 

I really should tell Chloe I trailed her last week…that was a stupid obsessed with my mate thing to do…yet in a way it’s led me here…an excuse to spend extra time with Chloe knowing she’s keeping this secret from Pierce and that I can be part of that secret…and Chloe in tight skimpy gym clothes… It won’t be long before I give into my need for her… 

Chloe nodded softly, “Yes, it does.” 

Ten minutes later, the Uber parked about a block further back than it had the previous week but Elly didn’t let on she knew where they were. As they got out of the Uber, she allowed Chloe to take the lead to walk them down the block to the hairdressers. 

“So I have this straight, you attend this fitness center twice a week to provide a class to women on martial arts? Pierce has no knowledge of this whatsoever and to excuse the fact you go do these classes, you go to your friends’ hairdressers to get your hair done, twice a week?” Elly posed. 

“Yes, I get a treatment, shampoo, conditioner and blow dry on Tuesdays and a trim on Fridays. Sometimes ironed straight too after the trim when my hair gets a lil too sweaty from the workout I do before at the center. Pierce is kinda obsessed with me looking my best with my hair care so it works in my favour. I get to keep him happy by getting my hair done and I get to inspire a bunch of women in martial arts because I love it,” Chloe explained. 

“And your friend from Adelaide whom you went to school with, Raul, is the owner of this hairdressers and he’s well aware of your martial arts abilities?” Elly continued to confirm Chloe’s story. 

“Yes, sorry, I did lie when I told you no one knows I’m a 3rd degree black belt except the people at the fitness center. Raul knows about all of it. He’s…actually the one who introduced me to my instructor and guide to set me on this path. I was always at his hairdressers and the fitness center is directly behind his salon, there’s a hallway leading one to the other. Raul’s such a supportive friend to help me. Pierce actually loves him. I introduced them a few years ago when Raul moved from Adelaide. He’s the only person Pierce trusts to spend time with…doing my hair,” Chloe answered. 

Was Chloe about to say Pierce only trusts her to spend time with Raul…? What, because he’s gay? Can’t ask that, I can’t tell Chloe I was attacked by a case of stalking Chloe last week… 

“He sounds like a really supportive friend,” Elly determined, “I can’t believe you do all this to come out here for your classes. Would Pierce even notice if you didn’t get your hair done so often?” 

“Since I don’t have my drivers’ license, I have to use Uber and Pierce sees the charges on our bank statements. Pierce doesn’t have access to my Uber account to see the times I get the Ubers to realize how long I’m out here for. Yeah Pierce would probably notice after a few days. He’s just big on giving me everything I need,” Chloe shrugged. 

As they reached the front of the salon, Elly turned to Chloe instead of walking inside, “Are you sure you don’t do all this…because Pierce is controlling and you need to know how to smack him where it hurts if you needed to?” 

“I do it because it’s something I’m good at and the women at this fitness center do need to know how to smack their partners where it hurts if they needed to,” Chloe reassured. 

As they walked into the salon, Elly couldn’t help but smile as the guy she’d seen the previous week, shuffled from the desk of the salon straight over to Chloe and wrapped his arms around her in a hug. 

“Chloe, girl, how are you after your accident? Hetty told me all about it when you couldn’t make your class and appointment on Tuesday,” Raul exclaimed. 

“I’m fine, one day in hospital, bit of bed rest, back to my normal self. Hetty said she’d help me teach this class in case I need a bit of a break,” Chloe reassured, then pulling out of the hug, pointed to Elly, “Oh, this is my friend, Elly. Elly this is Raul.” 

Friend…? I hate that word. 

“Hi, nice to meet you,” Elly smiled. 

Raul opened his mouth gently, “A friend…Chlo, I barely knew you had any of them. Any friend of Chloe’s is more than welcome here at my salon. I’m Raul. Now, what can I do for you here at the salon. Please tell you you’re willing to let me put some highlights in your hair.” 

Barely knew Chloe had friends…? Chloe has friends...or does she? She has Bea, does he not know about Bea? 

“We’re not going to have time for that today, Raul. Elly’s going to try out my class. I’m sure we can get Elly a quick trim before we gotta skedaddle back home,” Chloe told him. 

“A friend and she knows you run a martial arts class? I thought you keep that one secret from everyone. Not to mention this place. Last time anyone came here for you was Pierce and my God girl, I still remember how he left my salon and I’m happy to say we both know he’s not planning on returning here again,” Raul went off on a tangent. 

Okay…what’s that about? 

“Yes, well Elly came over my house and busted me working out in the living room so I had to tell her that I’m trained in martial arts and run a class at the gym center. And whilst I would love to have you and Elly spend hours getting to know one another…we gotta get ready for the class. We’ll be back in just over an hour for that trim appointment. You got time to squeeze Elly in for a trim if she wants?” Chloe asked. 

“I’m in for getting a trim if you’re not too busy,” Elly agreed. 

“I will take care of both of you in an hour when you’re done with your class. I’ll see you both very soon,” Raul winked at the pair of them. 

Chloe tilted her head towards the back of the salon, with Elly soon following the blonde as they opened the door and entered a hallway. 

“So, what was all that that Raul was going on about the last time Pierce came to the salon?” Elly asked curiously. 

Chloe grimaced as she stared at Elly, “Well, that’s actually what lead me to martial arts. I was just at the salon, getting my hair done as normal. My martial arts instructor and the woman who owns this fitness center was getting her own hair done next to me. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time that she was either of those things. She was just this sweet unassuming lady I was sitting next to whilst getting our hair done. Pierce…he was in a bad mood. Something was going wrong with his winery and he was under a lot of stress. We had an event at the winery he wanted us to go to. I…got the time wrong that I was supposed to be ready for Pierce to pick me up. My phone was in my handbag at my chair, I was getting my hair washed with a treatment so I didn’t know Pierce was ringing me.” 

“What’d he do?” Elly pressed, knowing they were nearly at the end of the hallway. 

“Pierce stormed into the salon, thinking I’d stood him up on purpose. My hair was still wet but he…started to drag me from the chair, telling me I’d just have to make my hair work with a wet style and get dressed in the car as we were late for the event,” Chloe continued. 

“And did Pierce drag you out of the salon?” Elly asked with hesitation. 

“No, he didn’t. Cause that sweet unassuming lady I’d been chatting to for an hour whilst getting my hair coloured walked right up to him as Pierce had his hand on my arm, standing in his way out from the salon. Pierce yelled at her to get out of our way, he was pointing at her and she…reached out her hand and snapped his finger in three places in two seconds flat,” Chloe admitted. 

“Ouch,” Elly exclaimed. 

“Yeah, I’ve never heard the sound that came out of Pierce’s mouth. He was in some serious agony I never want to experience. Safe to say, we didn’t make it to the winery. Spent all night at the hospital, Pierce had surgery on his finger but it hasn’t ever fully recovered. Pierce loves Raul and we have him over at our place all the time but that was the last time Pierce will ever set foot in the salon…cause of that crazy lady that disfigured him and had him screaming in pain in front of…a whole lot of people. A few weeks later, I came back to the salon. The lady happened to be there too. We got to chatting, she thought she’d never see me again let alone that I’d accept her apologies. Before I knew it, Hetty had convinced me to take one of her classes…and here I am two years later running two of my own every week,” Chloe couldn’t help but smile at the end. 

“Hetty sounds like a hero,” Elly decided, “But all this begs the question…why do you say Pierce isn’t controlling?” 

“Pierce was stressed out, I messed up the time I was meant to be ready…he’s never done that type of thing before or since. Having his finger snapped in three places by Hetty taught him a lesson. Besides I only look at the positives that it’s brought me here to help other women. So, you ready to take this class with me or what?” Chloe brushed aside Elly’s concerns. 

Okay…Chloe’s not ready to talk about Pierce and how controlling he is…just be patient with Chloe on this…she needs to come to terms with it herself…give her time. 

“Okay, let’s do this class. We can talk about the rest later,” Elly decided, letting Chloe know she wasn’t going to sweep it under the rug. 

Chloe opened the door that led to the fitness center, smiling as she watched Elly look around at the place. The center was small but was fitted out with an area Elly assumed was for classes and another where other women were training with others on their martial arts. 

Chloe reached out her hand to gently place it behind Elly’s back, “Hey, I should introduce you to Hetty, my instructor and…the woman who taught Pierce a lesson.” 

Elly relished the feeling of Chloe’s hand against her back, wishing her clothes weren’t separating the touch of Chloe against her, but she was soon distracted as her eyes landed on the woman Chloe was tilting her head at, “That’s not Hetty, there is no way that woman snapped a single bone in anyone’s body.” 

“I did tell you she was a sweet unassuming lady, didn’t I?” Chloe pointed out. 

Lucky they weren’t in earshot of Hetty, Elly raised her eyebrow at Chloe, “She’s like 4 feet tall and 80 years old!” 

“Hetty’s 5 feet tall, Elly. And yes, she’s 80 years old. Pretty unassuming for a martial arts specialist aye?” Chloe grinned, “C’mon, I’ll introduce you to her.” 

Elly smiled as Chloe’s hand remained against her lower back for a few seconds as they walked over to the woman. 

Chloe greeted the woman warmly with a hug, “Hetty, I have a beginner who wants to try my class today. Is that okay? This is my friend, Elly, by the way.” 

Hetty stared Elly up and down, “Nice to meet you, Elly,” before looking back at Chloe, “Is she good?” 

“Elly’s never done martial arts before but she’s very fit and competitive, she’ll do fine,” Chloe encouraged. 

“I’m sure I’ll learn plenty from the class and be able to kick someone’s ass by the end of the lesson,” Elly grinned at Chloe. 

Hetty smiled at the way Elly was looking at Chloe, then stuck out her foot to Elly’s ankle swiftly, “Won’t be kicking my ass anytime soon, darling.” 

Elly fell backwards, landing on her back, lucky the fitness center was fitted out with a mattress flooring, that made her fall a little less painful. Not that she felt it much at all, with her werewolf strength, but she realized instantly she needed to act like she did, “Ow, what was that for? Are you laughing at me, Chlo?” 

Chloe reached out her hand to help Elly back to her feet, “I’m sorry, Elly, but the look on your face as you fell backwards…you didn’t see it coming at all.” 

Weird…my reflexes as a wolf are normally pretty spry. 

Elly pouted, “Well, then, it looks like I need to sign up for a whole lot of lessons to learn the craft of martial arts. And, Hetty, it was nice to meet you…I will kick your ass one day.” 

“No, you won’t,” Hetty smirked as she walked away from the pair to some other clients, noticing that Elly was far too focused on Chloe to hear her mumble to herself, “4 feet tall! Please!” 

Cocky…you don’t know you’re dealing with a werewolf…whom needs to be better prepared to be tripped up next time… 

“Well, now I know where you learnt how to trip me up onto my ass like you did back at yours,” Elly teased, “Are you gonna do that to me again as I’d prefer a warning if you are?” 

“Let’s get changed into our gear for the class,” Chloe replied, “And to answer your question…yes, I probably will trip you up on your ass more often than you think just to remind you I’m the one in charge of the class.” 

Elly couldn’t help but continue to smile at the blonde. 

If Chloe’s gonna show me up in this class, I’d prefer to drag her down with me like last time…Chloe landing on top of me is worth every bruise I get for falling over…bruises that heal within minutes but bruises all the same…I just want Chloe tangled up with me all day, every day… 

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-One

Friday 29th November 2024   

“So, how you feeling after your first class?” Chloe asked as she and Elly walked out of the salon, having gotten their hair trimmed after their martial arts class.

“I didn’t know I could hurt in so many places,” Elly groaned, even though she knew any pain she did feel was momentary but she was still surprised her reflexes weren’t quick enough to keep up with Chloe, “I thought you only taking part of the class cause you’re still taking it easy after the accident was meant to be a good thing. Hetty is way stronger than I ever took her for. No wonder it didn’t take her much to teach Pierce a lesson.”

“Are you sure you want to come back for more?” Chloe wondered, “Martial arts isn’t for everyone.”

Wherever you are, Chlo, I will always want to come back for more…

“There is no way I’m giving up just because my first class involved me…tripped up on my ass and falling over rather than being able to defend myself from the ‘attacks’ you set up for us to role play. I just need more practice. You’re not getting rid of me anytime soon,” Elly resolved, “When do I get to wear one of those cool martial arts outfits you and everyone else was wearing? Can I train with you next week sometime at your place on days I get someone to mind Aster for me?”

Or getting rid of me ever y’know cause we’re meant to be together…except you don’t know that, Chlo, cause you’re married and that’s probably too much pressure to explain how your my mate, what that means…and that I’m a werewolf…

“I’m glad. I suppose we can get you kitted out next week. Everyone who starts off with their first couple classes or comes in for their own workouts wears casual gym clothes, you weren’t out of place at all. You really enjoyed learning martial arts to want to even do extra training with me at home,” Chloe replied with a smile at the idea of spending more time with Elly.

I want this…to spend as much time with Elly as I can. Why is that? Is it about spending time with an old friend…? Or is seeing Elly in the tight gym clothes she was wearing during the class and being close to her risking my feelings for Elly returning? I can’t want them to…right…? That’s far too complicated for my life to deal with. I just have to keep things platonic…it’s not like Elly has feelings for me so the risk of mine returning would be for naught…

“I really did enjoy it, Chlo. I want to keep doing it with you,” Elly replied coyly.

So subtle…not…

“Now, I should order us an Uber to get home,” Chloe changed the subject, confused if Elly’s comment meant what a small part of her wanted it to.

As Chloe went to grab her phone from her handbag, she saw the two bottles of sports drink and pulled them out instead, “Oops, sorry, bit late but we were meant to have these during the class. Do you want one to freshen up after your lively first martial arts class and lovely hair trim Raul gave you on the house to lure you back as a long-time customer?”

Elly held out her hand for the bottle, grateful for the whisker of a second that Chloe’s fingers grazed against hers, “I really didn’t need the free hair trim on top of the free martial arts class but you’re very kind getting your friends to offer them anyway. I’ll happily pay next week. Or is there a proper gym membership I can sign up for?”

“You can sign up for a monthly membership. You really are keen to learn, aren’t you?” Chloe was surprised, as she took a sip of her own sports drink.

“I’ve got good taste in the way I want to rebuild my life here,” Elly shrugged before taking a sip of the liquid.

Elly reviled at the taste of the sports drink immediately, trying not to but unable to stop herself, spitting the liquid onto the side of the pathway they were walking along, “Jeez, Chlo, what is this stuff? I’m sorry but you have bad taste if this stuff is what you drink all the time after your workout.”

Chloe shrugged, continuing to swig at her bottle, “I guess we have different taste buds. I like it, it’s raspberry flavour.”

“That is not raspberry,” Elly spluttered out, “Where did you find this stuff?”

“Our chef buys them for us…well me, really. Pierce prefers a couple of the other flavours. My go to is always raspberry. I dunno where Rene gets them from. Can’t say I’ve ever seen this brand sold anywhere before but he always picks up a carton of them for us in our shopping. Why don’t we stop by the convenience store on the corner to get you another different kind of sports drink before I order this Uber?” Chloe suggested.

Before Elly could agree, distracted by putting the lid of the bottle back on, Chloe looked up suddenly, “Pierce! What are you doing here?”

Ugh, Pierce. Here we go again! Every time I think I’m getting closer to my mate…this twat shows up and reminds me that Chloe is his…for now… It’s just a pity he doesn’t know that.

Pierce strolled up to the pair, “Looking for you, Chloe.”

“You could’ve called me. How did you know where I was?” Chloe continued questioning.

Pierce nearly stumbled over his words, his annoyance at Chloe being with Elly distracting him, “Well…I…I was do our banking for the week…going over our statements…I saw your Uber account debited. I know you have your hair appointments out here a couple times a week. I thought we agreed that you were going to skip today’s appointment so you could continue to rest up after your car accident Elly’s car caused.”

Don’t take the bait, Pierce just wants to pick a fight with me about my car so he can blame me for Chloe’s accident again. Just try not to engage with Pierce as much as you can…concentrate on anything else…Chloe’s smile looking at me when she realizes we belong together…getting rid of this vile tasting drink…okay back to Chloe…the feeling of having Chloe in my arms one day…

Chloe blushed as she eyed Elly, “I did promise that this morning…I lied to Elly and told her we’d discussed that I was capable of going out for my appointment. And look, see, I brought Elly with me so I knew I’d be okay as Elly would keep an eye on me. Plus, check out the adorable trim Raul gave Elly. Her hair looks fantastic, don’t you agree, Pierce?”

Fucks sake, Chlo, I really wanted to simply not engage with Pierce and now you’re throwing me at him to hate me even more for spending time with you.

“Hardly noticeable,” Pierce grumped, “Chloe, you should’ve stayed at home, you promised me.”

“Pierce, Chloe was perfectly fine,” Elly intervened, wishing he had any clue just how fine Chloe was that she co-ran a martial arts class without needing to take a break but she also knew Chloe seemed to have reasons for wanting to keep her training a secret from her husband, “I’d never let anything happen to Chloe…and if it did, I’d have called you. C’mon, Pierce, lighten up, it was just a hair appointment. Chloe’s healthy as can be…aside from her horrid taste in sport drinks.”

“You gonna tease me about that every time we go…get our hair cut and I bring sport drinks from home rather than shell out for new ones whilst here?” Chloe blushed, then realized she needed to cover up the reason they had sport drinks when they were only supposed to be at the salon getting their hair done.

Elly wanted to lean over and kiss Chloe’s cheek for how adorable she was to nearly mess up the reason why they were out and about away from Ramsay Street together, when Chloe had kept the secret of her martial arts training for two years. But then Elly had found out that day, Pierce couldn't possibly do the same within hours of Chloe's secret being busted?

Elly wanted to keep Chloe’s secret as long as possible, as she knew if she did, then she was going to be able to find a way to spend as much time alone with her mate. She wanted to learn from Chloe and hoped the time spent together would lead Chloe to realize they needed to be together.

And as much as Elly wanted to show Chloe affection, doing so in front of Chloe’s husband would never go down well so Elly resisted.

"Only 'til you get better taste in your sports drink," Elly teased back.

"Right, are you done here and can I take my wife home?" Pierce interrupted their rambling, annoyed at Elly spending time with his wife, unable to ignore feeling threatened by the woman.

Chloe frowned at her husband, “And just leave Elly to get her own way back home to the same street we all live on? I don’t think so. Elly and I will get an Uber home like we were just about to. You go back to the office; I’ll text you when I get home to let you know I’m perfectly fine and don’t need any more rest after the car accident. I’ll see you when you get home later tonight. Which before I forget to mention it…I want to start going to my brothers for dinner on Friday evenings with the rest of the family.”

Pierce sighed in exhaustion, annoyed Chloe dismissed his concerns for her health and wouldn’t part from Elly, “Chloe, I’m not up for that tonight.”

“I’m not asking you to be, Pierce. I know you don’t like plans sprung on you and that we have dinner prepared at home for us tonight. I meant as of next Friday, I want the two of us to go to dinner with my family and friends to spend some time with them once a week like we always should’ve been. I feel like I don’t spend enough time with them…and Hendrix said he might be there some Fridays. When he isn’t visiting Harlow or Harlow visiting him. He’s making an effort to…sit in a room with you and not…try to punch you or yell at you…it’s progress,” Chloe pushed.

Pierce eyed Elly suspiciously, feeling like her influence was all over Chloe for his wife’s decision and he wondered if it was Elly being there herself at those dinners that was encouraging Chloe to want to spend even more time with her, “We’ll talk it over at dinner tonight.”

Elly watched as Chloe smiled in elation at Pierce’s response, like he had already agreed to what she wanted when he hadn’t even come close.

Is Pierce that controlling of Chloe’s life that a subtle hint that he might give her something she should already have, has her so excited? I don’t know how to approach Chloe about Pierce’s controlling nature. If I say something to her, she might defend her husband, turn on me…I need to approach this the right way…

Twenty minutes later, Elly had walked Chloe back inside her house after the Uber had dropped them back to Ramsay Street. Pierce had reluctantly left them to return home on their own as he went back to the hotel to continue working for the rest of the afternoon. Elly saw the temptation in Pierce’s eyes to blow off his work in favour of trying to limit the time Chloe was with her, wondering if Pierce had picked up on the vibe that Elly was a threat to his marriage.

I am a threat cause I know Chloe’s my mate and once Chloe starts to accept that bond we share…he’s got no hope.

As Elly stood at the front door, on the porch, Chloe turned back to her, standing just inside the entryway. Elly smiled at the way Chloe stared at her, wishing she could just lean forward and capture Chloe’s lips with her own.

I can’t…Chloe’s married; she needs to make the first move.

“Thanks for keeping my secret from Pierce,” Chloe whispered.

Elly shrugged, “No problem, I know if we both keep this secret that I get to learn martial arts with you…and I really want to do that,” Elly then paused as she chewed on her lip, “Chlo…was that weird to you that Pierce tracked you down from your Uber charge and rushed over to find you?”

Chloe blinked several times, “Pierce was worried about me, I did lie to him and told him I’d stay at home today so he would go off to work. It has only been a few days since the car accident. I was pretty exhausted during the class and I was glad Hetty was there to help me.”

Elly reached out her hand, taking Chloe’s hand in her own, the feeling between their skin electric to both of them, but Chloe didn’t know the reason why.

Elly stared deep into Chloe’s eyes, “Chloe…I think it’s more than that. Pierce is controlling you…everything he does and says…you deserve better than Pierce…you deserve…”

Me--

Elly’s thoughts stopped there as Chloe released her hand from Elly’s grip and opened her mouth gently in response as Chloe stepped back and shut the front door in her face.

That was not the right way to approach Chloe over Pierce’s controlling nature…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-Two

Sunday 1st December 2024   

“Ugh,” Elly awoke with her head pounding from a headache, as she slammed her hand against the alarm that was sounding on her bedside table. Elly had to hit it again to switch the alarm off.

As soon as Elly fell back to curling back in her bed, Aster knocked on her bedroom door, then without waiting for an answer, entered her mum’s bedroom, “Good morning, Mum!”

“Morning,” Elly grumped, even though she did smile when Aster crawled up on her bed and snuggled against her. But Elly soon groaned when Aster’s elbow dug into her ribs, “Ow! Aster that hurt!”

“I know, I love the Nu Moon, Mama,” Aster giggled.

“New Moon,” Elly corrected, “Say it with me, baby girl, New.”

“Nu,” Aster mispronounced once more.

“New,” Elly gently pronounced, “C’mon, Aster, you can get it right, New.” 

Aster struggled another couple of times, before finally getting it right, then lit up as Elly hugged her when she did. 

“The New Moon is the best, Mum,” Aster went back to saying. 

“Says you, I strongly dislike the New Moon,” Elly groaned, “I have to feel like a human being with zero strength and all the icky humanness for an entire day.” 

“It’s one day a month, Mum,” Aster teased, “Don’t you like being a human for the Nu…New Moon?” 

Elly shrugged, “I’m still a wolf, I just don’t have any powers on the day and night of the New Moon. It’s a weird feeling, Aster, to go from strength to nothing overnight then the next day I’m back to normal. I used to count down the days ‘til the New Moon my first couple years but now…” 

“You miss being a wolf for one day a month?” Aster asked. 

"I do," Elly admitted, "When I was first turned I never thought they'd be a day that I would say I would prefer to be a wolf over being a human but for the past few months every time the New Moon comes to pass for one day and night a month...I miss my powers. I miss you being able to elbow me in the ribs and I don't feel a thing. I miss feeling as close to being invincible as I can be."

"Are wolves still invincible on the New Moon?" Aster wondered.

"I'm not invincible at all, Aster, I can still get hurt...it just takes a lot more to hurt me. But less so today, I'm still a pinch stronger than humans on the New Moon but not by much," Elly explained.

"Will I be a werewolf when I grow up?" Aster asked.

"There's a chance you will be but we won't know until you're a bit older, close to being a teenager," Elly answered.

"I think I want to be a werewolf like you, Mama. Is that okay that I want to be?" Aster questioned.

Elly leant down, kissing the top of Aster’s head, “I want you to be happy no matter who you turn out to be…but I do admit I’m a little bit worried over what your life as a werewolf could bring you yet I’m equally scared without werewolf powers that you’re vulnerable. I guess at the end of the day, I’ll worry about you either way.”

“I like that you worry,” Aster admitted.

“I’m your Mum, it’s what I do,” Elly smiled, “Alright, it’s time to get up and get this horrible human-like day on the road so it can be tomorrow already and I’m back to being myself. What do you want to--?”

Aster burst out laughing when Elly dragged herself out of bed, tripping over the blankets caught on the edge of her bed and fell over on the floor of her bedroom.

“I strongly dislike the New Moon,” Elly grumbled in repetition.

A few minutes later, Elly wandered out to the living area with Aster by her side, immediately shaking her head when she spotted Bea sitting at the dining table with Yashvi on her lap, making out with her, "Good Morning. Yashvi, nice to see you here first thing in the morning for a change. Don't you normally get in within minutes of Bea needing to leave for the garage?"

"Mmm morning," Bea mumbled, not letting go of her girlfriend.

"Got off early," Yashvi mumbled too, continuing kissing Bea deeply.

Elly rolled her eyes at the couple, trying not to feel too jealous of their displays of affection and wanting the same for herself and Chloe, "It's so nice to see you two in the morning and have a meaningful conversation with you both."

"Mmm," both women moaned again.

As Elly led Aster to the kitchen and carefully lifted her to sit on one of the stools opposite the kitchen island, she shook her head at the girls, "Could you two please get a room as I'd prefer Aster to eat her breakfast without the displays of affection where she should be eating?"

Bea eventually dragged her lips away from Yashvi's, "Oh, don't you worry, Elly, we were headed to our room any moment now. I just wanted several minutes of enjoying my girl here when she surprised me by coming home early. Suze should be up soon to mind Aster whilst you go for your run. And don't be jealous, Elly, I know you're craving someone to fall in love with like I have."

Elly narrowed her eyes down at Aster, silently warning her daughter not to chirp up with anything close to resembling Chloe as she didn't want her sister to know she was falling deeply in love with her married friend until she felt confident that Aster accepted her warning. Elly placed some toast in the toaster and turned the gas stove on with the frying pan to cook up some eggs.

"I'm not jealous, Bea. I'm happy you found your happiness. Yes, I might be wishing to meet that person for me but it doesn't make me jealous...annoyed as all hell that you flaunt your love every chance you get," Elly teased.

"And the whole time you've been back, Yashvi has practically been on the night shift and we've barely seen each other, you haven't seen any flaunting," Bea teased back, staring at Yashvi.

"Don't remind me," Elly groaned, then yelped loudly as she burnt her hand against the frying pan, "Oww!"

Stupid New Moon, I wouldn't even feel this any other day of the month! 

"You okay, Mama?" Aster worried.

Elly shook her hand back and forth, trying to alleviate the pain she was feeling and hide it from Aster, "Yeah, I'm fine, baby girl. Just a lil burn."

"Sure, you're okay, Elly?" Bea asked.

"Yeah, actually that reminds us, we heard a thumping noise a few moments ago. We meant to go check on it but we got all distracted," Yashvi blushed.

"I'm fine," Elly reassured, "I might've accidentally..."

"Mum tripped over getting out of bed and fell on her face," Aster chirped with a smirk on her face.

Bea smiled back at her niece, "That does not sound like Elly at all. Tripping over, burning her hand on the frying pan. Having a bad day, sis?"

"That is exactly what I'm having but I'm sure I'll have a better day tomorrow," Elly announced.

“Maybe you should stay home today rather than go out with Chloe for your run?” Bea suggested.

“Mama will be okay for her time with Chloe, won’t you Mum?” Aster checked, secretly hoping the more time her mum spent with Chloe would only lead them to be together.

Elly nodded as she turned back to making scrambled eggs for her daughter, “Yes, I’ll be fine to go for a run with Chloe…I might have to settle for not beating Chloe today but I’ll try my darndest not to let that happen.”

“Alright, well if you’re having a bad day, cut the run short and head home, okay?” Bea decided.

“I can do that for you all. Seriously, there is nothing to worry about, it’s an off morning. We all have them---ow, ow, ow!” Elly screeched as she grabbed the toast out of the toaster and burnt her hands on the edge of the appliance.

“You sure are having one hell of an off day,” Bea shook her head at her sister.

Okay…just let me get through today without looking like a complete and utter fool in front of Chloe…then I’ll spend the rest of the day curled up in bed with Aster ‘til tomorrow comes and I’m back to myself.

A little while later, Elly stood at the end of Chloe’s driveway leaning against the fence. Two days earlier, Chloe had shut the door in Elly’s face when Elly had called out Pierce’s controlling ways to her friend and things had been strained between them.

It hadn’t stopped Elly from turning up for their run the previous morning. Elly had been afraid when she’d turned up at the end of Chloe’s driveway on the Saturday morning that Chloe wouldn’t be there. But she was and after a few pleasantries, Chloe had quickly taken off out of the street with Elly following her before catching up to Chloe within seconds for their run.

It seemed to Elly that Chloe didn’t want to talk about Elly’s accusation of Pierce’s controlling behaviour. If Elly didn’t start pleading her case that Chloe deserved better, than Chloe was happy to go on their run together. Though a strong part of her didn’t want to just let it go, she also didn’t want to turn Chloe against her completely so decided to hold off until they had a better moment to talk about Pierce, with the hopes Chloe would hear her out this time.

Chloe jogged down the end of her driveway, towards where Elly was standing, “Morning.”

Elly let out a small yelp, being so consumed with her thoughts of Chloe she hadn’t heard her at all, “Chloe, you surprised me!”

Chloe was almost taken aback by Elly’s surprise as she always seemed to know when Chloe was coming, “That’s a first. You feeling okay, Elly?”

Elly shrugged, “I’m just having a bad day…nothing that bad, just falling out of bed and burning my hand on the frying pan…and the toaster…I’m good.”

“Sounds like a string of bad luck is hitting you today,” Chloe noted.

“I won’t let any of that bad luck go your way,” Elly promised.

“I’m not worried about me, I’m more worried about you,” Chloe admitted.

You should be worried about you, Chlo, your husband is a controlling man…I shouldn’t say that…

Elly waved her hand to the side, “Don’t be silly, it’s just a bad morning. I will be back bright and early tomorrow morning, scaring you, promise.”

“I’ll believe that when I see that,” Chloe shook her head.

Oh, you will… Ugh, why am I such a clumsy human? Was I always this way?

“You will,” Elly insisted, then waved her hand for them to start their run, “After you.”

Not needing to point out this was the first time Elly had ever let her have a head start, Chloe took off down the pathway but within seconds pulled up when she heard Elly trip over behind her.

“I’m good,” Elly yelped after tripping over her feet turning to start running and landing on her face on the footpath.

Chloe frowned her eyes as she turned around to see Elly lying on the ground, Elly’s unusual clumsiness unnerving her, “You were not kidding about this bad day you’re having.”

Elly climbed back to her feet, “I think it’s safe to say you’re gonna beat me today, I’ll look forward to coming second.”

“If you keep tripping over, you won’t be coming second, you’ll end up in hospital,” Chloe worried.

“Oh, I will not,” Elly insisted, brushing off her elbows and the grazes on her arms, “You can patch me up and kiss me better, Chlo.”

Watching Chloe’s mouth open and close at her unexpected flirtation, Elly couldn’t bear to have Chloe call her out on flirting with her if she didn’t want her advances. Risking making a fool of herself again if she fell over, Elly winked at Chloe before taking off running down the footpath.

Ugh, I cannot believe I flirted with Chloe so obviously like that…please don’t be put off by it and tell me I was being inappropriate…

Was Elly flirting with me? Why…? Did I want…Elly to be flirting with me? Ugh, you’re just imagining things…don’t read into it…unless Elly does it again… Stop thinking it could…Elly could never want to be with me again…

Elly was relieved when she heard Chloe chasing after her, smiling when Chloe quickly caught up to her and the pair ran out of the street together, commencing their daily run which Chloe eventually won.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-Three

Wednesday 4th December 2024   

Elly knocked on Chloe’s front door nervously, gently relieved when Chloe replied “Come in,” in a low yet audible voice. Of course, Chloe could’ve whispered it and Elly still would’ve heard her.

Elly anxiously opened the front door, glancing at Chloe whom was already standing in the middle of the living room, preparing herself to begin her martial arts practice, “Hey you. Nobody was at home to watch Aster for me today but she needed a nap and I’ve managed to hook up this baby monitor that…well to be honest was a present Bea had bought me before I disappeared for baby Aster but was never here to use it. It still works and I have the monitor camera pointed at Aster’s bed that I can access the feed on my phone. I probably can’t train with you as long as I usually do as I guess Aster will wake up in 45 mins to an hour. Is that alright?”

Chloe shrugged, “Sure, y’know I guess you could always bring Aster with you to watch us train if you think that would be easier.”

“My daughter will reveal your secret martial arts life to the first person she next speaks to if we let her in on this. Aster loves to speak her mind, I’m surprised she hasn’t gotten me into more trouble with that mouth of hers,” Elly admitted.

I don’t think I thought through how hard it is for Aster to not reveal what I really am…that is not the way I want Chloe to ever find out about me…

“Okay,” Chloe shrugged once more.

Elly watched as the blonde turned away from her to begin stretching before their workout. Things still hadn’t felt like it had gotten back to normal between them since Chloe had shut the door in Elly’s face days earlier when Elly had told her friend that her husband was controlling her.

It had been nearly a week since that moment with the pair continuing their daily routine of going for a run each morning. With Elly deciding to wait until a more appropriate chance to broach the topic of Pierce’s controlling attitude once more, Elly wondered more and more if she was delaying bringing it up again because she was more afraid of Chloe slamming an invisible door on their friendship.

But no matter the worry Elly endured trying to comprehend why Chloe wouldn’t want to hear her out and what it could do to their bond they were building; Elly was positive above all that Pierce would never hurt his wife.

Elly had discussed Chloe’s reaction on Friday with her eldest brother, Mark, when she and Aster had joined him and his family for dinner Friday evening. Mark hadn’t been surprised by Chloe’s reaction, admitting Chloe had done a similar thing to himself and Aaron when they had tried confronting her over Pierce’s behaviour. Mark encouraged Elly to persist with Chloe by spending time with the blonde but to take things slower in relation to their worries over Pierce.

So, that’s what Elly had done the past few days, realizing if and when Chloe was ready to hear her out, then she’d be the person Chloe could turn to.

I’d prefer Chloe come to terms with how controlling Pierce is…but at the end of the day if I have to risk my relationship with Chloe…then I will to protect my mate…

With Pierce at the hotel on the weekdays, Chloe’s ability to use her living room as a place she could practice her martial arts without her husband knowing, Chloe had allowed Elly to join her in practicing the craft the previous two days. The previous day, they had followed the same pattern as Friday, going to the fitness center for Chloe’s martial arts class, and Chloe had had her hair done afterwards, this time without Pierce intervening as they left the place.

Chloe had been friendly and kind to Elly, helping to begin her training in martial arts, smiling whenever Elly made an incorrect move or giggling to herself when Elly insisted she would one day best her, only to be tripped over quickly onto her back.

The flirty banter Elly had stunned Chloe into confusion with several days earlier hadn’t been spoken about but Elly had lightly continued to flirt with Chloe, hoping one day she would be able to express her feelings for Chloe without hesitation.

As Elly set up her phone on the coffee table, which had been moved to the side of the living room, she wondered if Chloe was watching her. Even though she couldn’t see Chloe’s eyes, she liked the idea of Chloe watching her every move.

Elly opened up the app that showed her the camera vision of Aster sleeping in her bed on the phone screen so she could keep an eye on her whilst she trained with Chloe. Turning back to the blonde, she was disappointed to see Chloe wasn’t watching her like she’d hoped she was.

When does Chloe’s bond to me as her mate kick in that she knows it’s me she has to be with no matter what? I thought the bond would be instant for the two of us from what I was always told and that’s how it worked with Lexa even as a human, she was drawn to Clarke instantly. Is there something stronger holding Chloe back or do I need to make more effort to make Chloe realize there’s something between us that can’t be stopped?

Elly smiled as Chloe finally looked up at her, saying, “I got you something for Friday’s session at the fitness center and my class since you did so well during yesterday’s but I wanted to save it ‘til today. Hetty gave it to me to give to you…since I didn’t have any cash on me and can’t pay by card as it’d lead back to the fitness center…but she insisted as a thank you to me for volunteering to run the classes I do for her.”

Elly’s smile slowly dropped as Chloe handed her a folded pair of a martial arts uniform.

Do I need to change into this cause I was gonna take my light sweater off in front of Chloe to show off the gorgeous crop top I’m wearing today…? Maybe martial arts isn’t all it’s meant to be…

“Something wrong?” Chloe asked as she watched the look on Elly’s face.

Elly looked back up at Chloe, “No, sorry, I just wasn’t expecting this. I thought I’d buy myself one of these at the next class. Do I have to change into this now?”

Chloe shook her head, “Nah, these are just for the classes to change into and out of at the fitness center. As you can see, I don’t bother with the outfit when I’m at home…be a bit hard to explain if Pierce did come home unexpectedly.”

I sure can see…tight shorts…tight shirt…strong muscles…long legs…

Elly cleared her throat as she realized she’d been staring at Chloe’s body, “Cool…let’s do this… Hey, what’s all this?”

Chloe raised her eyebrows as Elly was distracted by a bunch of paperwork on the coffee table, “Oh, that’s just the maps and info on Pierce’s island. I wanted to talk to Pierce about it the other night about going out there to get a feel of how the island has recovered from the fires that happened on it whilst we were out there a few years ago. I was hoping we could get around to putting the island up for sale but Pierce looked at the maps the other night and said he didn’t have time to bother with the island right now so I guess I’d better put them away rather than waste time thinking about what to do with the island.”

Elly reached out, taking the map of the island, her eyes immediately studying every aspect of the map within seconds, before turning back to Chloe and putting the map back when she found it, “You can sell an island?”

Chloe shrugged, “Yeah, of course, that’s how Pierce obtained it.”

Elly blushed, “Right, course he did. I hope you get it sorted soon once Pierce decides it’s a priority.”

Chloe thought back to her trip with her friends several years ago for Elly’s 35th Birthday after her best friend had gone missing that had ended with half the island up in flames after a lightning strike, feeling sad that Elly hadn’t been there with them, “We’ll get around to it. Now, let’s get training.”

“Right, of course. Thanks for the martial arts outfit, I’ll make sure to hide it in my sports bag and do what I can to wash it when no one’s looking, with any luck Aster won’t find it and start asking questions. Now, training, where did we get up to yesterday?” Elly replied as she placed the gift inside her bag and turned back to Chloe as she removed the jacket she was wearing.

Chloe’s eyes immediately darted to Elly’s abs and lower body.

When did Elly get that toned? Her abs look like steel I could bounce off of…that sounded…dirty. Well, I just mean…Elly looks like she hasn’t aged a day nor had a baby cause she looks…hot!

“Chlo,” Elly’s voice finally got through to Chloe, the tone of her voice suggesting to Chloe she’d been calling out to her several times.

Chloe raised her face, trying to avoid staring at Elly’s body, “Right…uh…we were up to…just follow me for the warm up.”

Was Chloe checking me out? Maybe the bond Chloe feels for me starts here…working out in very lil clothes and lots of skin on skin contact when Chloe teaches me moves that will make her fall to the ground…okay fine, I fall to the ground cause my werewolf strength doesn’t exactly allow me to move my body like it does Chloe’s when she knows all these moves to best me. Why didn’t I think of wearing one of my crop tops weeks ago for our run every morning?

Nearly an hour later, Chloe was sweating at the end of their workout, whilst Elly had barely broken a sweat. After tripping Elly off her feet and falling on top of her when Elly pulled her down with her, Chloe was completely spent having spent the entire workout distracted by how amazing Elly’s body looked.

This is perfectly normal to admire my best friend’s body…the woman I fell in love with years ago and slept with one time…

With Aster still napping back at home, Elly continuing to check on her via the baby monitor app on her phone that was sitting on the coffee table in easy eyesight, Chloe wandered over to the kitchen for a bottle of water from the fridge, “You want anything, Elly?”

Your body tangled up in mine for hours on end…oh she means food or drink…

"I'll just take an apple," Elly said pointing to the bowl of fruit on the dining table, smiling when Chloe leaned over to throw her an apple which she caught.

Elly raised her eyebrows as Chloe turned away from her to drink the water.

Don’t stare at Elly and her abs, Chlo, don’t stare at those abs like you’ve been doing for the past hour just wanting nothing more than to…water, just drink the water, don’t think about…Elly’s abs…and how much better looking they are to Pierce’s…

Elly watched as Chloe was chugging down her water, “You really exhausted there, Chlo?”

Exhausted…of looking at your abs for the past hour and just wanting to run my hands across them…why did I agree to train Elly in martial arts? If I can’t keep my thoughts of Elly to how they should be when she’s your friend and your married! This is just a once off, there’s nothing between Elly and I…

Elly shrugged as Chloe ignored her question, biting into the apple and immediately being repulsed by the taste of the fruit, “Ew, what’s with the flavour of your apple? Apples are not meant to have a flavour attached to them let alone this one.”

Chloe’s phone beeped at the same time Elly was talking to her and she found herself distracted by it, not listening to the brunette.

“Chloe,” Elly called out, about to ask for something else to eat, but then watched the look on Chloe’s face, “Something wrong?”

Chloe placed the phone back on the kitchen counter, “Oh, it’s nothing, just Pierce has gotten one of the local museums to display one of my paintings.”

Elly smiled at the news, “That’s great, Chlo!”

“Yeah, I guess,” Chloe sighed.

“Why aren’t you excited by this? I mean, I’ve heard about your artwork and paintings and whilst I haven’t seen them, I bet they’re perfect,” Elly enthused.

“Pierce paid the museum to display the painting and he thinks I don’t know that. My paintings are good but they aren’t good enough to be displayed in a museum. My artwork is only hanging up all over the Lassiters complex because Pierce insisted that Paul and Terese needed to get on board with it. He probably paid them too,” Chloe replied sadly.

Elly discarded the apple by throwing it in the bin, before reaching out to Chloe and taking her hand gently in hers, still surprised by the feelings invoked in her by her best friend, "I may not have seen your paintings but I know you, Chlo, and if you put your heart and soul into those paintings and pieces of artwork...they'll be amazing. If Pierce had to pay the museum or Lassiters to display your work...then they are very lucky to have it displayed than someone else’s. I'd love to see your artwork."

Chloe blushed at Elly's compliments, "I have a studio here in what used to be my old bedroom... It's the one place that is totally private for me to create my artwork in peace even when Pierce is home...Pierce doesn't even have the combination to unlock the door... Which I know is a weird thing to have in our shared house, one of the bedrooms locked with a security combination panel…I guess a regular lock and key…the key could be copied. It's the only thing I ever asked of him for. Privacy to create my artwork and he does that for me. I don't let him in my studio, he sees my artwork when it's finished, never before."

I’ll take that as a no, Chlo…

As Elly began to loosen her grip on Chloe’s hand she was heartened when Chloe instead squeezed her hand and even more when Chloe continued, “I’ll show you my art studio.”

Chloe won’t show Pierce her art studio but she’ll show me…I feel special…maybe Chloe is starting to open up to me in a way that proves she’ll fall in love with me…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-Four

Wednesday 4th December 2024   

Elly bit her lip as she stood behind Chloe and waited for the blonde to unlock the door combination to her art studio.

Chloe looked back at her whilst typing in the code, “This is totally a bit too much that I have my art studio locked up so Pierce can’t walk in whenever he wants and sees my work before it’s finished, isn’t it?”

“Well, the combination code security system instead of a good ol’ fashioned lock and key definitely makes for an interesting statement to Pierce that you need your privacy to create your artwork,” Elly teased, “But it must be a good thing that you have this space away from him that he can’t control.”

Chloe ignored Elly’s comment about Pierce’s controlling nature, “I do a lot of thinking in here. When I’m not busy with my niece and nephews or training on my martial arts, I’m in here painting or doing metal work…but mostly a lot of thinking.”

“You do metal work?” Elly was surprised, “I guess there really is a lot I still don’t know about you, Chlo. I love that you keep surprising me. I love that you’ve found a way to spend your time without working and doing lots of thinking…that can never be a bad thing.”

I just kinda love you, Chlo… Have you ever thought of me in this room…or the memories of our night together we spent in this room?

Chloe unlocked the door and stood to the side to let Elly in, “Metal work is the majority of my art displayed around the complex, my paintings are up across the hotel. Pierce loves showing me off, sometimes I wish he wouldn’t as I don’t think I’ll ever know if my art is any good cause it’s always him driving who displays it and I always wonder…”

“If Pierce is paying them off,” Elly finished for Chloe with an air of annoyance that Pierce would do that kind of thing in the belief he was helping his wife.

Elly walked into the art studio that was previously Chloe’s bedroom back when her eldest brother and Elly’s fiancé, Mark, owned the house. The last time Elly had been in this room was two nights before her wedding to Mark, having slept with Chloe in the aftermath of Mark cancelling their wedding. Chloe had been in love with Elly at the time, Elly wanted to know what that felt like to be with someone whom was so sure of their love for her, unlike Mark.

Would it be cheeky of me to mention that night to Chloe to see how she reacts to it? If she’ll blush and show me that maybe some of her thinking done in this room has been about me and that night, we spent in one another’s arms…

“Wow, I haven’t been in this room since you and I spent the night together in each other’s arms,” Elly stated brazenly, turning back to Chloe to see how she would react to it.

Chloe immediately blushed at Elly’s words, her mind racing of thoughts of their night together but immediately composed herself, “It’s been my art studio a lot longer than it was ever my bedroom.”

Subtle blush…not enough to convince me Chloe has spent much time thinking of our night together in this room whilst she’s created her artwork.

“Well, I had a really nice time the last time I was here,” Elly licked her lips, then stared around the room, “But judging by all the work in here…I’m going to enjoy this time here as well.”

Chloe blushed once more as she watched the way Elly was staring around the room, “They are just paintings.”

“And your metal work,” Elly added as she walked over to a workshop table that was scattered with pieces of metal, some unused, some in the middle of being used and a small blowtorch Chloe must’ve used to create the work, “This is really cool. When did you discover your love of art?”

Chloe shrugged, “Not long after I stopped working at the hotel. David and Aaron didn’t have their boys yet. Mark and Paige had only just got back together, plus they didn’t move here til a year or so ago. Looking after the kids wasn’t something I had in my life so I had to find something to occupy my mind or I’d have gone crazy.”

“Is that why it was easy to talk Pierce into giving you this private space that he allows you to lock yourself in whenever you feel the need to create your art…or think about things?” Elly asked.

“Pretty much,” Chloe agreed, “When we first got married, Pierce was all about doing everything possible to give me anything that I wanted. Aside from working at the hotel as he didn’t want me wasting my time there. It took me several months holed up in here creating my paintings before I finally showed him a finished product of one. I felt like I had to perfect it so he would be proud of all my hard work…now I just wish he would be honest about what he thinks of my work instead of immediately saying where he’s gonna display it around the complex.”

Letting Chloe’s words sink in, Elly walked over to the canvas in the middle of the room, glancing at Chloe, before looking at what was on the canvas, “May I?”

When Chloe nodded, Elly turned to the canvas, tilting her head at the half-finished painting, “Wow, what is this place your painting?”

Chloe shrugged, “I don’t really know. It’s just a place that’s stuck in my head for some reason.”

“Lots of trees and shrubbery, a hammock and…is that a beach you’re painting in there towards the side?” Elly was impressed with Chloe’s work.

“Yeah,” Chloe answered quietly.

“Looks like a relaxing place you want to spend time at rather than just paint it, Chlo. Your work is amazing,” Elly complimented.

Chloe couldn’t help but blush at Elly’s gentle compliment, “I guess I kinda do want to spend my days at this place I’ve imagined up in my mind. Thanks for saying it’s amazing, it’s the first time anyone’s ever said that. Pierce just goes over the top with the compliments, I hardly believe if he means them. Mark and Aaron are kind about what they say about my work but they don’t really have time for it, they’re too busy being parents to have much time for me.”

Elly began glancing around at the other paintings scattered around the room. Most were laying against the wall on the floor in piles of half a dozen paintings. Elly leaned over and began flipping through one pile of paintings, smiling at each piece of artwork and admiring them one at a time before looking at the next one.

Elly smiled wildly when her eyes fell to one of the paintings, “Is this…Aster?”

Chloe ran her hand through her hair nervously, “Well, I…”

Elly lifted the painting up from between the paintings it was between and held it up to look at every detail of it, “I mean it’s not Mark and Paige’s lil girl, Rose. And this girl even has Aster’s plaits for her hair so I just thought…”

“Yes, it’s Aster,” Chloe admitted hesitantly.

Elly stared between the painting and Chloe, “How did you know what Aster looked like? Because unless I’m mistaken and you’ve got a quality for aging the frame and painting…it doesn’t look like it was done within the last month Aster and I have been home…”

“I didn’t…I didn’t even know you were alive and that you’d had a lil girl nor named her Aster…I just…earlier this year I was just thinking about it quite a bit. Maybe you had survived, maybe your baby was a little girl…and I just imagined what…she’d look like,” Chloe chewed on her lip.

“You imagined right, Chlo, this painting is incredible. It looks so much like Aster. I honestly can’t believe how good this work is…how much thinking about Aster went into it,” Elly smiled.

“It wasn’t too much thinking. Aster just came to me when I was thinking about her…the painting only took a few hours to complete…it was just easy thinking that your daughter would be this cheeky, assertive little girl. Why don’t you keep the painting?” Chloe offered.

“You want to give me this painting?” Elly was surprised.

Chloe nodded, “It should be yours. It’s one of the few paintings I keep in here that I can’t show to anyone because…”

Elly placed the painting of Aster at the front of the pile, happy to take it with her as the feelings of Chloe imagining what her daughter was like felt like there was still a bond between her and Chloe even when she was away and presumed dead, “Pierce wouldn’t be happy to realize you were spending time imagining what my daughter was like when he’s keen for the pair of you to have children.”

“Yeah, Pierce wouldn’t be happy at all about that, he really wants to be a Dad,” Chloe admitted.

Does Chloe really want to be a mum…with Pierce? Don’t ask that…you don’t want to hear Chloe say that she wants to commit her life with Pierce by having kids with him… I know it’s meant to be nothing in the world stopping us from being together...but that kinda would.

“I’ll take the painting of Aster…or your version of what you thought she’d look like which is pretty accurate,” Elly replied, turning back to the pile of paintings in front of her, flipping through them again.

Chloe watched Elly silently as she stared at each one with a smile on her face, then Chloe suddenly panicked.

Wait, I can’t let Elly find the painting…

“Hey, Elly, if you liked the painting I’m currently in the middle of, I reckon you will love these paintings over here cause they are all about cities and beaches and places that I’ve visited,” Chloe raised her voice to encourage Elly to leave the paintings she was looking at.

“Sure, I’ll look at them in a moment, I just want to finish looking at these ones, Chlo. These are really good, I can’t believe you don’t think these don’t belong in a muse…” Elly trailed off as she reached the last one in the pile.

Damnit…she found it…things are gonna get awkward…though not as awkward if Pierce knew this painting existed…

Elly stared at the painting, her mouth wide open.

Okay, that I didn’t see coming…

“And you just painted this one from your imagination or from your memory?” Elly asked quietly.

“That…you weren’t meant to find…I forgot I had it in here…can you just forgot you ever saw that?” Chloe pleaded.

Yeah…we’re so talking about this, Chlo…I ain’t gonna give up the chance to discuss this…

“I’d say this is the proof that Pierce has never stepped inside this room cause if he’d have found this painting…I think he’d have been a whole lot more upset when I reappeared,” Elly commented.

“Can we not talk about this painting?” Chloe asked as she blushed heavily.

Elly couldn’t help but place a smirk on her face as she glanced up at Chloe, “Do you not want to talk about the fact you painted a portrait of me or that you painted me naked?”

Chloe’s thought about me naked…after she got married to Pierce…that’s a good sign I’m still on her mind romantically…

“Both,” Chloe continued blushing.

“I like it, I’ve never had anyone paint my portrait. You sure did commit my body to your memory to be able to paint this…” Elly smirked once more at the blonde, then looked at the painting again, tilting her head, “What are these smudges on this part of the painting?”

Chloe ignored Elly’s comment about having her body memorized, “I ruined the painting cause I was upset at the end of painting it…I missed you…I didn’t know if you were alive or not.”

“These were your tears,” Elly realized.

“Can we not talk about this painting anymore? I don’t want Pierce to ever find out about it as he’ll think…” Chloe trailed off.

That I was still in love with you when I painted it…I can’t say those words to Elly…cause maybe I still am and always will be…but you’re committed to Pierce…no matter how you feel…

Elly then placed the painting back down where she found it, then looked at Chloe cheekily, “Well, in that case I better not offer to be your model for you to re-paint this portrait then shall I?”

Chloe opened and closed her mouth, but before she had any chance of responding to Elly, she almost sighed in relief as the pair were interrupted by the sound of Elly’s phone ringing.

Way to kill the mood of my cheeky advance on Chloe? How would she have responded to that…besides the shock on her face?

Elly placed the paintings back in the pile she’d found them in, reaching for her phone from her pocket. She realized it had been several minutes since she’d checked on the camera of Aster in her bedroom, praying the call wasn’t about something going wrong with her daughter but then saw the caller ID came up as Raven.

Elly looked at Chloe, “I need to take this,” and as soon as Chloe nodded at her, answered the call, “Hello?”

Thank you for that interruption…please can Elly completely forget about this painting and the mere idea of her modelling for me so I can paint it again…?

Elly’s back straightened and her face fell as soon as she heard Raven’s voice on the phone, “Elly! We messed up! We need your help!”

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-Five

Wednesday 4th December 2024   

Elly glanced back at Chloe, as she had just answered a phone call from Raven whom had interrupted Elly’s teasing of Chloe after she’d found Chloe had painted a portrait of her naked. Raven sounded rattled as she had said that the Pack had messed up and needed her help.

“Raven, just give me a minute,” Elly quickly said before saying to Chloe, “Is it okay if I take this back out in the living room? I’ll be back in a moment.”

Chloe nodded silently, watching the brunette leave the room quickly. She was relieved for the interruption as the idea of being able to turn down Elly’s cheeky request to have her re-paint her with her posing naked, had thrown Chloe so much she didn’t know how to react.

Painting Elly from her memory had been something Chloe had done in the privacy of her art studio, at the time it had felt like the thing to do to help her emotions with Elly missing. But now she couldn’t even comprehend the idea of painting Elly’s portrait again, let alone sans clothes. Something she never wanted Pierce to ever know she’d done once. She couldn’t possibly risk that again when she’d kept this portrait secret for over three years.

But now with the interruption, Chloe’s mind wandered to the woman whom had called Elly – Raven.

Who’s Raven? Is she one of the family members Elly spent the last four years with? Why hasn’t Elly explained all about her other family?

Back out at the living room, Elly put the phone back to her ear, “What happened?”

“We need help, Elly. The cabin’s gone, burnt to the ground,” Raven told Elly hastily.

“What? How? Who did that?” Elly fired off rapidly.

“We messed up…a bunch of humans followed us back here and they…tried to smoke us out of the cabin that they ended up setting it alight,” Raven half-explained.

“Is everyone alright?” Elly asked with worry.

“Yes, we all got out. We’re alive but we had to leave everything behind. Aside from Romulus’s Jeep, we barely have anything except what was already on us, lucky that included my phone. The five of us are all here, we got to the closest petrol station, Romulus is filling it up, the others are in the car but we don’t exactly have anywhere to go, Elly,” Raven explained further.

“Why were humans following you back to the cabin?” Elly backtracked from Raven’s previous comment.

“Lexa and Clarke had a run in with a group of guys last night…” Raven replied quietly, then off Elly’s grunt of knowing there was more to the story, “The girls were out at a club celebrating a title fight Lexa had won, she’s been working so hard to not use her strength and abilities against her human opponents, you’d be proud of her.”

“Get to the point, Raven, I was with Chloe, she could come back any second,” Elly asserted.

“Right…how’s that going by the way, you and your mate?” Raven got distracted.

“Difficult. Chloe’s my mate, I’m falling wildly for her and I know one day we have to be together but that day isn’t today cause she’s married. I’m trying everything possible not to destroy that for Chloe and let her marriage come to its inevitable conclusion without being the reason for it,” Elly snapped, “But that’s so not what we should be discussing right now. What did Lexa and Clarke do?”

“There was this drunk guy that kept making a pass at Clarke and wouldn’t leave her alone. They kept moving to different clubs to get away from him but this guy wouldn’t give up. He had friends with him but he was always there trying to get at Clarke. Kept saying he had a connection with her that he could feel it…” Raven explained before trailing off.

“What happened?” Elly pressured.

“This guy…Bellem…or Bellamy or something, I dunno, that’s what Lexa said his friends were yelling out when they tried to find him as he disappeared from the club. Anyway, he had disappeared from his friends as he had cornered Clarke in an alley when Lexa went to take a phone call. Lexa came back to find him trying to get Clarke to be with him, Clarke was just been overly polite in her rejection of him and Lexa…lost it at him…she wolfed out and killed him,” Raven admitted.

“Damnit, Lexa,” Elly whispered, “How is she coping? What about Clarke?”

Raven half-smiled at Elly’s concern for her family, “Lexa’s a bit of a mess but it’s not the first time she’s done this but it is the first time she lost complete control because someone was trying to hook up with her mate and she got viciously territorial about it. Clarke’s trying to remind her that it’s not her fault…she lost control and the wolf took over when she attacked this guy.”

“I know the feeling too,” Elly remembered, “Except for the part that Finn wanted to kill Chloe, not try to hook up with her…and also he did want to kill Bea. So, Lexa killed this guy and…how did that lead to the cabin being burnt to the ground?”

“The guy’s friends, they followed Clarke and Lexa back to the cabin. They were in a state of shock and panic after what had happened, their wolfy instincts weren’t kicking in like they normally do, they didn’t know they were being followed. I don’t think these guys had any clue that they were following werewolves but they waited out by the cabin til sunrise…for more of their friends to arrive then…the place went up in flames. We only knew it was them cause when Lexa got Clarke out of the burning cabin, they saw the guys running away. Lexa wanted to run after them to make them pay for nearly killing us all in a fire but Abby stopped her, made her see two wrongs don’t make a right,” Raven explained.

“Poor Lex,” Elly consoled, “What can I do?”

“Got a place for us to stay, Elly?” Raven asked quietly.

Elly shook her head, “No, the Kennedy’s is filled to the brim, even if I bunked back in with Aster, they’d only be one room free. All my friends’ here their houses are packed too…I mean Chloe and Pierce have like…two spare bedrooms here but--”

“We’ll take it,” Raven interjected.

Elly scoffed, “I am not moving in a bunch of wolves to my best friend and…mate’s place…who lives here with her husband. Even though the idea of Pierce Greyson living with a bunch of wolves and not having a clue is absolutely hilarious. What’s the rush to find a place to stay anyway? The moon cycle isn’t ‘til next weekend, can you stay at a hotel for a couple nights ‘til you find a place longer term?”

“I know, we’re just panicking after losing everything we had in moments and the set-up we had at the cabin. The bunker, the wide-open spaces…it was just perfect for us during the full moon cycle but it’s all gone. Finding a new place with the set-up like we had…it takes time, Romulus and Abby can’t get out of their important jobs at the bureau and hospital. I don’t think we realized just how good we had it and how long it’ll take us to find the perfect spot to…be ourselves,” Raven replied.

“I wish I could help more,” Elly said, “I’d love to be able to take off back to you guys with Aster to help find you a new place to live…I’m finally getting Aster settled here…and okay there’s a selfish part of me determined not to leave my mate so I continue building the bond between us.”

“It’s okay, Elly, I get it. We’ll be in contact as soon as we find a place to stay,” Raven decided.

“I wish I knew of a place for you guys to…go…” Elly trailed off as she picked up a piece of paper from the coffee table, “Hang on…why didn’t I think of this earlier? I have the perfect place you and the Pack can live…no one will bother you, not for some years at least and I should be able to get some warning of when you might need to leave. It is the perfect spot to be yourselves whenever you want to be…”

“Sounds promising,” Raven mused, “Tell me more.”

The hair on Elly’s arms suddenly stood up and Elly straightened her back after she placed the piece of paper back where she found it, “Can I give you a call back soon? I just realized Aster’s due to wake up any minute so I should go check on her first.”

“Okay, I’ll hear from you soon, looking forward to hearing all about this place you think we can live,” Raven smiled happily, “Bye Elly.”

“Bye Raven,” Elly replied, hanging up the phone then turning to Chloe, standing in the hallway, “Hey, sorry about that…one of my friends from the family I lived with just needs some help, I’ll sort her out after I get back to Aster to make sure she’s up for the rest of the afternoon. So…were you waiting for me long?”

What the hell? How did you not sense Chloe standing in the hallway…what did you lose your sense of smell and super-hearing?

What was that about Elly not leaving her…mate and building a bond between them? Who’s that? Aster? And, why was Elly holding that page and talking about it being the perfect place where no one will bother her friend…? Why would that place be perfect to anyone?

“Not long,” Chloe answered vaguely, “I locked up the art studio. Everything okay with your friend…Raven?”

Elly shrugged as she shifted to pick up her handbag, “Yeah I just have to sort out something for her. Don’t worry, I’m not…”

“Gonna rush off and abandon us all again?” Chloe finished for Elly, the worry evident in her voice.

“I’m not going anywhere…except home as Aster needs to get up from her nap,” Elly replied as she flicked the baby camera back on her phone screen, glad to see her daughter was still asleep.

“Right, yeah of course, go home to your girl,” Chloe encouraged, feeling relieved Elly wasn’t up and leaving her.

Elly smiled at the blonde, her ears picking up the sound of Chloe’s heart beating incredibly slowly.

Is that why I got surprised by Chloe behind me? Chloe’s heart always beats at that pace around me, long, slow beats… Ugh, don’t be ridiculous, Chloe’s heart beats don’t mean anything…you’re just off your game around her.

Before Elly could thank Chloe for spending time with her, Elly turned her head to the front door as she heard a noise down the end of the driveway.

See I heard that!

A few seconds later, Chloe caught up to the sound Elly heard though it was much fainter to her ears, “Crap, is that Pierce home?”

‘Crap’…even Chloe doesn’t want him home! Oh, right cause we were working out, the living room has had all the furniture moved to allow space for us to work out and…I’m here…

Elly watched as Chloe quickly shifted to rushing around the living room, shifting the coffee table back onto the middle of the carpet. Elly then helped Chloe shift the couch back into position as silently as they could, hearing Pierce slam his car door shut and make his way up the driveway and stairs.

Should I ask Elly to leave via the back door so Pierce doesn’t see her here? Is that bad if I try to hide Elly?

But there wasn’t time as Pierce came through the front door as soon as Chloe and Elly stepped away from replacing the couch, “Chloe, how…? Elly, surprised to see you here.”

“I just stopped by to…ask Chloe if she wanted to go shopping with me to look for a dress for Bea’s engagement party sometime before next week,” Elly lied convincingly quickly.

“Right,” Chloe agreed just as quickly, “We’ll decide on a day to do that next week.”

Pierce eyed Elly up and down, “You came over to ask Chloe to go shopping…wearing that?”

Elly glanced down at her crop top, realizing she hadn’t put her jacket back on after training with Chloe, then shrugged, “I went for a quick run around the block whilst Aster was napping. Stopped by after that. There a problem with the way I dress?”

Pierce looked over at his wife, who was also dressed in her running gear, but he hesitated to ask if the pair had been spending their time together, fearful of finding out they were.

“Elly was on her way out,” Chloe told her husband before asking, “What are you doing home from work so early?”

Pierce couldn’t help but stare between the two women, “I want to spend more time at home with you, Chloe. Work from home a bit more. After your accident…I couldn’t bear to lose you.”

Chloe sidled up to Pierce, touched by his compassion, and feeling the need to reassure her husband and herself that she was committed to him and whatever she felt for Elly, she needed to get past it, “Working from home more sounds good, I know how hard it’s been on the hours you do since Paul had to give up helping at the hotel on the day to day tasks. But I don’t want you home all days of the week, it’s still important you focus on the hotel most days. I’m glad you didn’t lose me either.”

Elly had to stop herself rolling her eyes at the couple as Pierce leant down to kiss Chloe’s lips with Chloe leaning into the kiss gently.

Ugh, could this get any worse? Having to stand here and watch my mate be in love with someone who doesn’t deserve her? Cripes, would you listen to the way Chloe’s heart races a million miles an hour. It’s so different to when Chloe’s alone with me and her heart beats slowly. I guess the way Chloe’s heart is racing when she’s with Pierce really shows how deeply she’s in love with him…how am I supposed to wait for the pair of us to be together…? Wait…is Chloe’s heart racing when she’s with Pierce because she loves him…or…she’s scared of him?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-Six

Monday 9th December 2024   

After her training session with Chloe at her place, it was late afternoon as Elly walked around the Lassiters complex with Aster, her daughter very animatedly dancing around the place from the lakeside to the Waterhole and now to Harold’s Café. Elly had spent the past hour showing Aster all around the Erinsborough neighbourhood. Having been back in town for three weeks, Elly felt that it was more than overdue that she spent time with Aster out at the local places. Aster and her had spent far too much time settling into the Kennedy’s.

“Mum, can we stop off at Harold’s for a drink?” Aster begged.

“I thought you had your lil heart set on going to the very cool Tram for a snack and a hot chocolate?” Elly pointed out.

“We can go to the Tram another day, Mama. Let’s go to Harold’s, you’ve talked about this place so much, it’s so cool, look at it,” Aster enthused.

Elly glanced over at the café she’d spent so many times popping in and out of during the four years she’d lived in Erinsborough. She smiled at the memory that she technically met Chloe at Harold’s all those years ago, having brushed past each other in the café, then later Elly assuming that Chloe was stealing from Mark at one of the tables outside the café.

“What you smiling about, Mum?” Aster asked.

“This café is the place I met Chloe years ago,” Elly answered.

Aster grinned back up at her mum, “Did you love her right away?”

“Pfft,” Elly scoffed, “I thought Chloe was a nutjob! We did not get on at all and I had no idea that I could ever want to be with a woman let alone that Chloe is the only one for me. But I guess that’s the interesting path to true love, all the steps in between and the people and events that get in your way. I know Chloe’s it for me, I just don’t know how long it’s gonna take…months…years.”

“It won’t take that long,” Aster asserted, “You’ll get your path to true love with your mate, Chloe soon, Mama.”

Elly squeezed Aster’s hand, “Not if you keep talking like that, I won’t. Gotta keep my secrets and not call Chloe my mate, Aster.”

“Okay, Mum,” Aster agreed, “So…Harold’s?”

“Alright, we’ve been walking around the complex for nearly an hour, time for a break,” Elly decided.

“With chocolate cake and hot chocolate?” Aster asked cheekily.

“Only if we share the chocolate cake cause there is no way a mother should let their lil girl have an entire piece of cake just over an hour before your dinner time,” Elly countered.

Aster nodded in agreement as they walked into the café, then before Elly was barely through the door of the café, she heard Aster yell out happily, “Chloe!”

Elly’s smile crossed her face as soon as it landed on Chloe sitting at one of the booths in the café and grew brighter as she saw the way Chloe reacted to Aster greeting her.

Chloe immediately looked up at Aster calling out to her, smiling wildly at the little girl, “Hey, Aster, what brings you to Harold’s?”

Aster ran over to the blonde, giggling when Chloe closed the book she was reading and reached out her hands to scoop Aster into her arms from where she was sitting at the booth, “Mum’s been showing me around the Lassiters complex and now we stopped here for chocolate cake and hot chocolate!”

“Hey, Elly,” Chloe greeted softly as she looked over at her ex.

“Hey, Chlo,” Elly greeted back equally as soft.

Before either woman could say anymore, Aster snuggled against Chloe, “Can Mum and I join you, Chloe?”

“Aster,” Elly said in a tone scolding her daughter, “Chloe’s here spending time…to herself. We don’t need to invade every moment of Chloe’s life.”

Aster looked up at Chloe, cheekily asking, “Can we invade every moment of your life, Chloe?”

Chloe ran her hand down Aster’s hair, playing with her plaits, “Are you kidding? You better invade every moment of my life, Aster! I love having you around…both of you around.”

Way to encourage her, Chlo, Aster will never want to be apart from you if you say things like that…but also…swoon! Chloe loves having us around…

“Are you sure we’re not bothering your late afternoon chill reading session? Cause Aster and I were spending some quality mother and daughter time that we are more than capable of continuing,” Elly checked as she stepped towards the booth.

Chloe glanced at her book, then shrugged, “My chill reading session was getting a bit boring. You’re welcome to join me.”

Elly nodded shyly, “Okay, I’ll just go order for Aster and I,” then seeing there was no food or drink on Chloe’s table, “Do you want me to get something for you?”

Chloe shook her head, “Nah, I’m good.”

“You already ate?” Elly asked.

“Actually, I didn’t have anything to eat or drink here. Pierce has us sorted for our meals at home and coffee machine. I don’t eat or drink anything processed, I’m sure Dipi’s food is great, it’s just not the kind of food in my diet. I know it’s weird that I stop by the café to not have anything to eat or drink but Dipi’s never had a problem with it. She’s all the time letting me hang out here when I need a break from being at home. She even loans me her books to read,” Chloe answered.

“Okay,” Elly replied cheerfully but deep down she was confused why Chloe was so against eating any food not prepared by her chef that she’d spend time in the local café without ordering anything.

As Elly was at the counter ordering, Aster grinned up at Chloe, feeling safe in her arms, “Mum and I saw your artwork around the complex. Mum kept pointing them out to me as we walked about the place. You make good stuff, Chloe.”

“Thanks, Aster,” Chloe was chuffed as she squeezed the young girl in her arms, “I’ve got a piece of artwork for your mum that she needs to pick up from me that I think you’ll like loads but you gotta keep it a secret. Can you do that for me?”

Aster nodded enthusiastically, “I can keep all your secrets, Chloe. Mum will too.”

Elly returned to the table, “What secrets are we keeping now?”

Chloe shrugged, “Oh, nothing, just the painting of a particular someone that we got interrupted by Pierce the other day stopping you from taking home. Aster’s gonna keep it a secret when you get it home.”

“It’s a big risk, Aster trying to keep a secret,” Elly teased, knowing Aster would be elated to see Chloe painted a portrait of the youngster before she’d even met her, “But we’ll see what we can do once I grab that painting from you which I’ll do tomorrow, promise.”

Elly reached out for the chair opposite Chloe and Aster at the booth but Aster slapped her hand to the table next to Chloe, “Mama, sit here next to us.”

Sit next to Chloe at a booth…this kid of mine is gonna grow up to be a dating match maker.

Chloe watched as Elly hesitated over where to sit, “C’mon, come sit next to us, Elly.”

Spurred by Chloe’s soft enthusiasm, Elly sat down next to Chloe, with Aster still sitting in her lap, “Sure this is okay?”

“Why wouldn’t it be? Aster, do you want to stay with me or curl up to your mum?” Chloe asked.

“You, Chloe, cause if I sit on mum’s lap then we can’t eat or drink our chocolate without me getting in the way,” Aster reasoned, despite knowing Elly was used to eating and drinking around her when she was sitting on her Mum’s lap.

“That’s a very good point, Aster. If you need any help cutting your cake or not spilling your drink, you let me know,” Chloe offered.

Elly couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the feelings she had seeing Chloe with Aster, desperate for the three of them to be a family, but was soon distracted by the book Chloe had been reading that was lying there on the table, “You were reading this?”

Chloe shrugged, “Yeah, I get bored at home despite my time working on my artwork and…” Chloe tilted her head to indicate the secret martial arts training no one but Elly knew about, “Plus, after picking up all the kids from school and daycare this arvo and managing to drop them straight to the boy’s cause David had just finished a shift at the hospital…I figured I deserved a little time to myself and came to read one of Dipi’s books that she likes to loan me.”

“So, this is Dipi’s book?” Elly was surprised.

“Yeah,” Chloe answered, “Not exactly a subject for everyone but I like it.”

“The Supernatural World of Witches, Werewolves and Zombies?” Elly read the title.

What the hell would Chloe think if she knew this was all real…? Okay, Zombies aren’t real and Witches are more spiritual beings but…the concept of them is and we all know Werewolves are real… Chloe doesn’t know that. Does this mean she might be more open to it one day…?

“I’ve spent a bit of time studying history and found myself looking into spiritual history. Before I knew it, Dipi was showing me all these books she had y’know cause she’s big on the tarot cards and spiritually and I found a fascination with all it,” Chloe explained.

“Werewolves are real,” Aster perked up, then off her Mum’s look, “I mean I think they are. And witches, I think they are too.”

Chloe smiled at the little girl, “Never say never is what I’d say on the subject of the supernatural existing.”

“I think that’s the right way to think about it,” Elly winked at Chloe, “You never know what could be out there among us.”

As a waitress brought over Elly’s order of a hot chocolate and a piece of Dipi’s famous chocolate fudge cake with caramel drizzle, Elly thanked her then nodded at Aster to dig into the piece of cake that was almost big enough for all three of them. Elly took a few sips of the hot chocolate so that it was easier for Aster not to spill the drink when Elly helped her take a few sips.

Chloe smiled happily at the pair’s interactions with one another. Elly blushed shyly as she noticed the way Chloe was watching them, “How long have we got to spend with you before you need to go home?”

What I wouldn’t give for the answer to be forever.

Chloe looked at her watch, then smiled back at the pair she was sitting closely with, “Pierce won’t be finished with work for another couple hours and dropping the kids back to David earlier than usual means I have nothing important on for the rest of the day, just a typical dinner with Pierce, nothing special.”

“Perfect,” Elly licked her lips at being able to spend more time with the two people who meant so much to her and getting to see Chloe and Aster’s bond with one another continue to grow, “What else can you tell us about this book of yours and the studying you’ve done on spiritual history?”

Elsewhere at Lassiters Hotel, Paige knocked on the office door, spotting Pierce at the desk packing up his briefcase, “Hey, Pierce, can I get you to sign these documents to sign off on holding that massive conference that was booked with us and the rooms we need to hold for the attendees?”

“Can you ask Terese to sign them? I’m taking off early today,” Pierce announced.

“Oh, okay, sure I can do that. Anything special going on for you to be leaving work early?” Paige queried.

“Sure is,” Pierce gloated, “It’s mine and Chloe’s 4th wedding anniversary today! We always do this thing where we pretend that we’ve forgotten our anniversary in the morning but then Chloe puts on the most amazing dinner for me to celebrate as her way to surprise me cause of course Chloe hasn’t forgotten and I spoil her with an amazing gift which no clues but she’s going to love this year. I’ve got to pick up something special for tonight’s surprise before I get home to Chloe.”

“I guess that explains why Chloe was thrilled to hear David would be home early today to take the kids from her as soon as she picked them all up, gave her time to prepare things for you. Heading off a bit early or are you planning on interrupting Chloe preparing your amazing dinner?” Paige pointed out.

Pierce grinned, “Yeah I know a part of Chloe is gonna be disappointed in me interrupting her plans for me this year but I’m sure once she hears what I’ve got planned, she’ll forgive me. It’s gonna be one hell of a night.”

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Monday 9th December 2024   

After picking up his gift for Chloe, Pierce walked into his house with a bright smile on his face but his smile immediately faded when he quickly noticed that the house was empty, “Chloe?”

Pierce had expected Chloe to have been in the kitchen about to prep their wedding anniversary dinner as she did for him for the past two anniversaries they had celebrated together since their wedding. The kitchen was empty without a single item of food on the counters, waiting for Chloe to work on.

Whilst Pierce was somewhat relieved, he wasn’t interrupting Chloe in the middle of preparing her surprise dinner to change their plans for their anniversary without her knowing and upsetting her, he was concerned why Chloe didn’t seem to be at home.

Pierce wandered down the hallways, calling Chloe’s name a few more times, before reaching her art studio and knocking on the door, “Chloe, are you there? I’m home early.”

Receiving no answer, Pierce placed his hand firmly on the door handle, trying to break it open but having no luck, then grunting as he punched the lock combination mechanism, “Why did I let you have this room all to yourself to use for your art studio in privacy? I knew I should’ve made the guy who installed this, give me a way to access it without Chloe knowing.”

Leaving the art studio, unable to access it, Pierce wandered to the bedroom he shared with Chloe. Finding it empty too, Pierce headed outside to their backyard to make sure Chloe wasn’t taking advantage of the warm weather by the pool, but didn’t find her there either.

Walking back out to the main area of the house, Pierce muttered to himself, “Where are you, Chloe?” before pulling out his phone.

Back at Harold’s Café, Chloe was still sitting with Elly in one of the booths, with Aster sitting on her lap. Aster and Elly had finished off the hot chocolate together but were struggling to get through the rich and creamy slice of cake Elly had ordered. The pair had been there with Chloe for almost an hour, talking non-stop about anything and everything.

Aster spent the entire hour happy as could be to see the pair getting on so well, she loved sitting there in between them, speaking up with enthusiasm at any chance she got. She adored the way Chloe encouraged her and how she was the same with Elly. Aster only wanted good things for the pair and wanted to be part of it with the pair of them.

Elly looked at the slice of chocolate cake, with the fork in her hand, “You really should try this chocolate cake, Chlo. It’s delicious and so filling, hence why Aster and I still haven’t finished this one slice.”

Chloe eyed the partially eaten slice of cake and the expression on Elly’s face, pleading to take a bite, “Nah, I can’t, if it’s too filling for the pair of you over the last hour then it definitely too much for me.”

“Oh. C’mon, it’s one bite, you know Dipi makes the best chocolate cake around. Don’t make me take the rest of this cake home and eat it during the middle of the night,” Elly pleaded softly.

“Be naughty like us and join in on the chocolate cake, Chlo,” Aster giggled.

“You two aren’t letting me out of here without taking a bite of this cake, are you?” Chloe pouted, yet unable to avoid smiling gently.

“Not a chance,” Elly replied as Aster popped up with, “We’ll always get our way with you, Chloe!”

We will if Chloe and I give in to being each other’s mates…

Why does the idea of letting Elly and Aster always get their way with me…sound so appealing?

“Okay,” Chloe finally relented, “One bite.”

Elly didn’t hesitate to cut out a bites’ worth of the cake with the fork in her hand. Then without bothering to hand the fork over to Chloe to eat herself, she placed the end of the fork with the cake on it an inch in front of Chloe’s mouth, “I promise you, Dipi’s cake is incredible, you won’t regret this.”

Chloe licked her lips, silently wondering if she’d done so in anticipation of the cake or because she was sitting so close to Elly that the thought was crossing her mind that she could kiss the brunette if she wanted.

If I wanted…? I think it’s if Elly wanted cause she’s the one who doesn’t have feelings for you…okay also it is if I wanted cause you’re not the one who’s single…

Chloe leant forwards, taking the bite of cake from the fork Elly held out for her, surprised by the look of desire that seemed to be on Elly’s face. Then wondered if the look on her own face was giving off the same vibes to Elly. But Chloe was soon distracted by the taste of the cake as she bit into it, moaning, “Mmm.”

Is there anything better than the sound of Chloe moaning…? Moaning in bed at the pleasure I’ve given her…that would be better but this for now I’ll take what I can get to hear that sound…

“Incredible, isn’t it?” Elly purred as she watched Chloe reach out to finish the bite of cake on the fork, smiling gleefully when a small part of the fudge stuck to the corner of Chloe’s lip.

If you were mine, I’d just lean over and kiss you ‘til the fudge is no longer there…but I can’t.

I must be imagining the way Elly’s looking at me…she doesn’t have feelings for me…cause I don’t know what I’ll do if…

“Incredible is probably underselling it,” Chloe found herself flirting back to Elly.

Wait, am I flirting? Why?

Elly snickered at how adorable Chloe looked and that she’d yet to realize she had the fudge on her lip, “You missed a piece of the fudge, it’s stuck on your…”

Chloe immediately reached her own hand up to try to wipe away the fudge with her finger but reached for the wrong side of her lips, then when feeling nothing, “Are you just making fun of me and there’s nothing there, Elly?”  

“You eat like me,” Aster giggled up at Chloe.

Elly licked her lips then without hesitation reached out her own hand, slipping her thumb to Chloe’s lip, wiping away the fudge from Chloe’s lip. Elly watched as Chloe smiled at her sweetly before realizing she was still holding her thumb out with the fudge on the tip of it.

If you were my girl, Chlo, you’d lick the fudge away then kiss me and—

“Chloe!” came a voice at the door of the café.

Not be with him…

Chloe looked up immediately to Pierce who was standing there, instinctively moving herself away from Elly, “Hey, Pierce. What are you doing here? Have you finished work early today?”

As Pierce strode over to the booth the pair were sitting at with Aster, Elly awkwardly reached out for a napkin on the table to wipe the fudge off her thumb. Elly tried not to roll her eyes at Pierce interrupting her moment with Chloe before scolding herself that even if he hadn’t, it wasn’t the kind of moment she should be sharing with his wife.

Pierce eyed the way Chloe had shifted away from Elly, the way she was holding Aster in her lap and how Elly’s hand had been brushing Chloe’s face, trying not to feel the jealousy he was confronted with at his wife’s ex being so close to her, “I was wondering why my wife isn’t at home, I was going to surprise her by coming home early before she cooked our special dinner cause I’ve got a surprise of my own for this evening.”

Chloe shrugged, “Just came here to read and chill out, you know I do that some days when I don’t have to look after the kids after picking them up from school. Ran into these two, lost track of time hanging out with them. Why didn’t you just call me if you were wondering where I was? It’s not like I knew you’d be surprising me this evening.”

Pierce stood there with his mouth gently open, “Why wouldn’t you expect me to surprise you on our wedding anniversary?”

“Isn’t our anniversary next we…?” Chloe trailed off at her immediate mistake.

I forgot my wedding anniversary and spent the time with my ex-girlfriend and her daughter wondering half the time if Elly could ever still have feelings for me…

Chloe forgot her wedding anniversary…? Snerk! To be fair, you should’ve known it was, last night you spent the evening telling Aster of the story of how I became a werewolf four years ago and you knew the day after that you missed Chloe’s wedding…but the point is, Chloe forgot!

Pierce’s eyes narrowed as he tried to hide his embarrassment of Chloe asking if their wedding anniversary was the following week, “Chloe, it’s the 9th December today.”

“I know what date we got married, Pierce,” Chloe replied defensively, yet quietly because she felt Pierce’s embarrassment at her mistake, “I just…I thought the 9th was next week. I…lost track of the date…I’m sorry. I’ll go home and make a start on our anniversary dinner, I’m sure we’ve got plenty of food in the fridge, I’ll come up with something.”

Such a little housewife…I hate what he’s done to her.

Pierce glanced down at the plate that still had the unfinished cake slice on it, with Elly dangling the fork in her hands, “Ugh, don’t tell me you were eating that crap, Chloe.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Chloe lied, “Elly and Aster were, I was just helping Aster take bites of it. I’ll leave them to finish it off and we can head home, plenty of time to turn this anniversary around. I’m so sorry I forgot. I’ll make it up to you tonight.”

Pierce took in the last few words Chloe had said, deciding he could remind Chloe of them once they were alone and the last thing he wanted to do was cause a fight between them in front of Elly to leave Chloe needing consoling from her former flame, “I like the sound of that. Let’s go home, Chloe.”

Elly wanted to find any excuse for Chloe not to go spend the night in the arms of Pierce but who was she to step in between them without revealing her growing feelings for Chloe and leaving Chloe in the awkward position of turning her down.

Chloe looked down at Aster, putting a smile on her face, “You okay to go cuddle up to your mum, my little Asteroid?”

Aster glanced between Pierce and her mum before relenting knowing she shouldn’t make a big deal of Chloe needing to leave with her husband for their anniversary, “Can we do this again soon, Chloe?”

“Absolutely,” Chloe promised before she squeezed Aster and helped her to shift off her lap over to Elly’s.

Elly reached out to place her hand on Chloe’s shoulder before the blonde could get up, “I’ll see you tomorrow for our run.”

“Count on it,” Chloe then promised Elly.

As she juggled Aster in her arms, Elly smirked to herself as she leaned over, kissing Chloe lightly on the cheek. Overhearing Pierce draw a deep breath at her move, Elly said, “See you then, Chlo,” before winking at Pierce, wondering if he would react to her move of planting a kiss on Chloe’s cheek but the businessman restrained himself.

Chloe blushed as she stood up, feeling elated at the feeling of Elly’s lips against her skin.

That’s just a friend thing…?

“Bye, Pierce,” Elly smirked out at her rival in a fake politeness, forcing him into farewelling her and Aster too as he didn’t want to appear rude in front of Chloe, “Elly, Aster, see you both around sometime.”

Chloe looked back at Elly and Aster before following Pierce out of Harold’s Café.

Elly couldn’t help but audibly sigh when Chloe was gone, prompting Aster to look up at her mum, “How did Pierce know where Chloe was?”

Elly shrugged, “Didn’t Pierce say he called Chloe?”

“But Chloe’s phone never rang and she never texted no one,” Aster pointed out.

Elly shrugged all over again, “Then I guess Pierce must’ve guessed where Chloe would be. There’s not too many places in Erinsborough that people go to.”

Accepting that answer, Aster moved on, “You okay, Mama?”

Elly juggled Aster on her lap sweetly, “I’m just getting impatient, Aster, and I really shouldn’t because I know this could take some time. Can’t expect Chloe and Pierce to end overnight.”

“But when they do end, we’ll treat Chloe better than Pierce does, right?” Aster looked at the positives for her mum to focus on.

“We’ll treat Chloe like the Queen that she is, you can absolutely count on that. And she’ll love us so much more fiercely than she ever has Pierce,” Elly promised.

I just hope that’s enough to finally win over Chloe…I don’t even know how to play this anymore. Do I continue to wait until her marriage comes to an inevitable conclusion? Or make a move on Chloe, make my intentions and feelings for Chloe clear to leave her with the choice of leaving Pierce for Aster and I?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-Eight 

Monday 9th December 2024

Chloe walked with Pierce back to their house after Pierce had found her spending time with Elly and Aster at Harold’s Café. Chloe having forgotten that it was their wedding anniversary and upsetting her husband at knowing she’d forgotten.  

The couple were only a couple streets away from Ramsay Street. Chloe had been working herself up to apologizing to her husband once more for not remembering their anniversary was that day. 

“Pierce, I’m so sorry I forgot today’s our anniversary. I genuinely thought the 9th December was next week. I don’t know where time is going at the moment. I swear it’ll be Christmas soon and I might just wake up thinking it’s a regular day of the week. My head is just all over the place at the moment and I haven’t been with it the past few weeks,” Chloe admitted. 

“Does this have anything to do with Elly returning with Aster and the amount of time you’ve been spending with them?” Pierce asked outright. 

Chloe shook her head, “No, I was feeling this way for a week or so before I bumped into Elly and Aster, I just didn’t know how to bring it up with you. I’d prefer to talk about it another time though, as it’s our anniversary and we need to focus on us. I really want to make it up to you that I forgot it was today…four years ago we got married. I’ll make us a nice meal and we can curl up on the couch after dinner and just talk about…our life together…where we’d like to be in the future.” 

“Or…how about something better for our anniversary?” Pierce announced as they rounded the corner onto Ramsay Street, then turned around to see the look on Chloe’s face, knowing he was about to surprise her. 

Chloe opened her mouth in surprise, just as Pierce had anticipated, “What is this?” 

“Our ride to the city for a private dinner tonight on the rooftop of one of the swankiest buildings followed by a concert just for the two of us by your favourite band,” Pierce enthused. 

Chloe didn’t bother to check if Pierce did indeed know whom her favourite band was, already embarrassed at forgetting their anniversary, she didn’t want to further embarrass her husband if he got it wrong and make him go scrambling to fix it, “On a helicopter…parked in the middle of Ramsay Street?” 

“We sure are,” Pierce smiled wildly at his wife, wanting to remind his wife just what their life together could be, knowing the helicopter transport was one way of many to show Chloe. 

“Isn’t this helicopter a bit…in the way? Is it even legal to park it here? What if the neighbours complain?” Chloe questioned. 

Pierce stepped up in front of Chloe, “Yeah, we’re probably breaking some laws here but it’s a fine worth paying for and the helicopter ain’t gonna be here for long so what do you say we get the pilot to rev this thing up and get the engine started, jump on board and get our anniversary underway?” 

“And is the helicopter going to bring us home tonight?” Chloe wondered. 

Pierce took Chloe’s hands in his, “I got us a hotel for the evening in the city, I want to celebrate how happy you’ve made me the last four years, how happy we’ve both made each other, and I want us to…” 

“Start trying for a baby?” Chloe realized. 

“I think it’s time to start trying again, Chloe,” Pierce whispered, before leaning forwards and bringing Chloe into a deep kiss, “I want us to have everything together. We have the perfect marriage. We have a solid investment in the hotel that you don’t ever need to worry about your future. We have an amazing house near half your family. Kids is what we’ve always wanted. You might live on a different timeline to most but we can do this. We can be parents to an amazing child or…children. I want us to start this future together soon…tonight if you want. Don’t you want the same thing as I do, Chloe?” 

Chloe stood there staring at her husband, wondering if she really did want everything with him. As she kissed him back again, Chloe hoped the feeling of being safe in his arms was really how she truly felt about her husband. 

Or do I want everything with Elly? And Aster? I can’t even begin to think of such a thing…a life of wanting everything with Elly and Aster…it has to be Pierce… 

“So…what’d you say to him?” Elly asked Chloe the following day with trepidation as Chloe was recounting her conversation with Pierce that had occurred after Chloe and Pierce had left Elly and Aster at Harold’s Café. 

Chloe watched as Elly was sparring with Hetty as they hung out at the fitness center before their class Chloe was going to take shortly, before shrugging, “Pretty much just nodded then got on the helicopter to spend a classy night out with my husband. Turned out to be a…really nice anniversary evening together once we got over that I forgot it was our anniversary. Pierce knows how to give me a perfect evening.” 

Hetty smirked at Chloe’s admission of forgetting her anniversary with Pierce before blocking one of Elly’s punches, yet rolled her eyes at her friend suggesting her husband gave her the perfect evening. 

What’d you expect Chloe to say? That she doesn’t want to have everything with Pierce cause she wants it with you? She doesn’t even know how you feel about her… Maybe you need to put yourself out there first cause if Pierce is controlling Chloe then she’s hardly going to leave him for you if she doesn’t know you want to be with her… But then that means coming between Chloe and Pierce and trying to get Chloe to end her marriage and I don’t want to be that…non person…that people will always accuse as breaking up a marriage. At least it feels like Chloe didn’t commit to Pierce’s need to start a family… Also, seriously, I know I’ve only been doing martial arts for a couple weeks now, but how is Hetty still able to best me…? 

What did you want, Elly to give you a reason why I shouldn’t want everything with Pierce and want it with her? That’s not going to happen…Elly would never want to break up a marriage, nor do so because she doesn't have feelings for you. 

“Sounds like it still ended early, Chlo,” Elly pointed out, ducking as Hetty tried to punch her, “Or did the helicopter drop you and Pierce back home bright and early before we met up for our run this morning…? Actually, I don’t remember hearing a helicopter at all and I’m pretty sure the entire street would’ve gone off at Pierce for that stunt if it was late at night or early in the morning. I would've enjoyed watching Karl go off at Pierce for it.” 

Chloe smiled when Elly came close to landing a strike on Hetty but her instructor stopped her once more, “I told Pierce to give the helicopter the flick once it landed in the city for our dinner he’d set up. We got a taxi back home last night.” 

“So, no fancy night at a swanky hotel?” Elly couldn’t help but ask and even more secretly hoped it was because Chloe didn't want to spend a romantic evening with her husband at a hotel. 

Chloe shrugged, “Wasn’t feeling it last night after dinner, it was a nice meal don’t get me wrong but I was just not in the mood. Pierce understood.” 

Pierce did not understand… 

“That’s a nice necklace,” Elly pointed out, “Anniversary gift from Pierce?” 

Or just an everyday present from your billionaire? You wouldn’t need to buy Chloe gifts to prove how much she means to you.

“Yep,” Chloe answered, reaching her hand out to the necklace, “Also, another reason why we came home last night. I may’ve lost track of the days but I didn’t forget my anniversary was coming up. My present for Pierce was at home and I got so swept up by the surprise helicopter in our street that I jumped on board before getting Pierce’s present. Convinced him to take us home last night so he could at least get his anniversary present on our anniversary. He could hardly say no to that.” 

Don’t ask Chloe what she gave Pierce for their anniversary cause you don’t care and don’t want to know how much she loves Pierce being represented in her gift to him…ooh Hetty’s busy distracted and staring at Chloe’s necklace which means I can… 

Elly ducked and swiped her right leg out, tripping Hetty onto her backside on the training mats. Elly grinned over at Chloe, jumping up and down for a few brief seconds at her excitement at finally getting one over the seasoned martial artist. Elly’s grin widened as she watched Chloe staring at her happily. 

Elly continued staring at the blonde, feeling so proud of herself for impressing Chloe with her martial arts skills she’d picked up within weeks. Elly was so invested in waiting for Chloe to congratulate her move, that she didn’t see the smirk beaming on Chloe’s face or that Hetty had stood up behind her. 

But Elly soon felt it when Hetty returned the move, tripping Elly to fall flat on her back. 

“Ow,” Elly moaned, as she overheard Chloe giggling at her misfortune, “You couldn’t just let me have that moment of finally beating you, Hetty?” 

Hetty stared down at Elly, before reaching out her hand to help to her feet, “You’re good but you’re not that good. I tried telling Chloe that so I’ll tell you too, nobody gets the better of me ever and if you do it lasts less than 5 seconds.” 

“I’ve been learning off you and Chloe for a couple weeks, give me ‘til the end of the month, I will absolutely take you down, Hetty, and it’ll be more than what I just accomplished a moment ago,” Elly promised. 

Once I figure out how to combine my superpowers with the actual craft of martial arts that doesn’t involve me overpowering Hetty too much, thereby proving I’m not human. Anyone figuring that out would be an absolute disaster and no doubt scare Chloe from ever seeing a future with me.  

Chloe giggled as she saw Elly pouting, “I’m sure you will, Elly. We done sparring here and ready to start our class?” 

“Only if you’re done teasing me for getting tripped up on my backside again, Chlo,” Elly continued pouting, before watching Chloe turn and head over to the rest of the class whom were waiting for Chloe to start the class. 

As Elly started to follow Chloe, Hetty held her back, “If you want me to make you look good in front of Chloe all you gotta do is say the word, Elly.” 

Elly blushed at the woman, wondering if Hetty truly did see through her feelings for Chloe after only spending a handful of hours with the pair.

Hetty watched Elly's silence in deciphering what she meant, "We both know Chloe deserves better than Pierce. If you want Chloe to know that person is you, I'll back you to make Chloe realize what she's missing and try to help you look a lot better at martial arts than you are. All you gotta do is say the word."

Elly thought for a few seconds, having Hetty figure out she had feelings for Chloe didn't worry her as much as it could've that it would ever get back to Chloe nor Pierce from the martial arts instructor.

Elly answered Hetty simply, “Word,” before walking over to Chloe without looking back at Hetty.    

It might not be much, attempting to look good in front of Chloe during these martial arts classes but I can’t just keep standing by and watch Chloe’s life slip further into Pierce’s…I need to make some kind of a move on Chloe…and impressing Chloe with looking good has to be a decent place to start.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Tuesday 10th December 2024

Just over an hour later after their martial arts class, Chloe and Elly were leaving the fitness center, via the hairdressers after Chloe got her usual trim to alleviate Pierce’s suspicions of where she’d been spending her afternoon.

Elly turned to Chloe, “I got a favour to ask. Bea and Yashvi’s engagement party this Friday night…I need a new dress. I haven’t brought a really nice dress in ages and don’t really have anything on me that’s engagement party-esque. I guess when I returned, it never occurred to me I’ll be attending my sister’s engagement party let alone her wedding one day. Plus, I need to get a nice dress for Aster, too. Do you know of any shops around here that could be perfect for me?” 

Chloe thought for a moment, “Oh…” 

“If you’re pressed for time and need to get back home before you pick up your niece and nephews from school and daycare, I can just get an Uber home myself, Chlo. Aster’s been looked after by Karl so I have plenty of time to browse the shops on my own,” Elly offered. 

Chloe glanced at her watch, “Nah, I got time. Not a lot of time, about half an hour before I gotta be in an Uber back home. There is actually a really nice shop for dresses about 3 blocks from here, if you don’t mind the walk.”   

“Lead the way,” Elly decided. 

A few moments later, Chloe and Elly were at the shop Chloe had suggested. Within minutes, Elly had found a dress for Aster and was already looking at dresses for herself, “Ooh what about this one?” 

Chloe glanced at it, “Not your colour…no offence.” 

Elly looked down at the dress she was holding, “Good point, you’re right. I love that you don’t sugar coat it for me so I don’t turn up wearing a dress that is so not my colour.” 

Chloe then smiled at Elly as she put the dress back on the hanger then started flicking through other dresses before picking out another one, “Okay, Chlo, this has to be the dress!” 

Chloe’s jaw dropped gently as Elly held the dress up against herself. 

Holy…everything good and pure in the world…that dress shows so much skin and Elly will look sexy as anything wearing that dress…and I’m supposed to spend an entire evening at the engagement party not wanting Elly? 

Now, that’s the reaction I was hoping for, Chlo! Let’s see if this lil number can work its magic and make you realize I’m all yours if you want me… 

Elly winked at Chloe’s inability to form words, “I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’ Thanks for your input, Chlo,” then turning to get her purse out of her handbag, spotted another dress, “Oh my, Chlo, this dress is completely perfect for you. Wow, it even kinda matches my dress…not that that’s the reason why you should get this dress and I know you weren’t planning on buying a new dress for the party but…look at this one, Chlo, it’s totally you.” 

Chloe walked over to Elly, taking the dress off the rack and holding it against herself, swallowing deeply as she felt Elly’s eyes roaming her body and wondering if she was imagining it, “Damn, Elly, you’re right this dress is so…” Chloe’s eyes fell to the price tag of the dress. 

Out of my price range… 

“It’s perfect, isn’t it?” Elly enthused, “Who knew we could find three perfect dresses in ten minutes time here? C’mon, let’s be bad and buy these dresses before someone else sees how incredible they are.” 

Chloe started to put her dress back on the rack, “You get your dresses for you and Aster, I have several dresses at home to choose from.” 

Elly reached out to stop Chloe placing the dress back, “Are you kidding me, Chlo? This dress is perfect, you legit do not even need to try it on to know that. You’ve got to buy this dress. Give me one reason why you can’t get this dress?” 

I can’t afford it… 

“It’s a bit…pricey,” Chloe admitted. 

Elly frowned, “Not for the wife of a billionaire.” 

Chloe placed the dress back, “I forgot my card at home.” 

“I’ll buy it for you then,” Elly offered. 

“You don’t have to do that, Elly,” Chloe refused, “It’s just a dress.” 

“Not when it’s the perfect dress for you, Chlo. What’s going on?” Elly pressed. 

Chloe finally shrugged, “I lied about not having my card to pay for the dress. It’s just…over my limit to put it on the card.” 

“How so? Have you racked up that much debt on your billionaire’s card with a spending obsession you’ve managed to hide from me?” Elly wondered. 

Chloe wanted to snigger at the thought of doing that, “It’s not a big deal but I can only PayWave anything I want to buy on my card and this dress is…over that limit. I don’t need you to buy the dress for me, Elly. I mean, hey, it’s Tuesday, got a few days ‘til the party and look,” Chloe pointed to a sign on the counter where the shop assistant was helping other customers, “They have an online shop, so I’ll get Pierce to buy me the dress on his card tonight then pick it up on Friday after our class but before the party. Problem solved.” 

“Pierce limits your spending to under a $100 per transaction via PayWave?” Elly scoffed, “Are you sure you don’t have a shopping addiction?” 

“Course not,” Chloe insisted, “If I wanted to, I could go to a hundred stores and spend under $100 on my card at each and every one and he wouldn’t notice. I just can’t purchase anything more than that cause I don’t have the PIN for this card.” 

“That doesn’t make any sense, Chlo. Why is Pierce limiting your spending by you not having the PIN for the card that allows you to not PayWave it and authorize transactions over $100 with the PIN and yet he’s allowing you to make as many small transactions as you could want?” Elly pointed out. 

Chloe turned away from the dress, refusing to look at it anymore despite knowing Elly was right about how perfect it was for her and that it did match Elly’s dress, “Pierce is just…funny about money stuff. He changes PIN’s and cards and accounts all the time. I couldn’t keep up with the way he kept changing it every week so I gave up and we settled on my account working this way but he still changes the PIN every few days and I just…don’t buy things that are expensive unless I ask Pierce to buy it for me. Not that I have to tell him what it is I’m buying; he just gives me one of his cards to order what I need online. It’s a system…it works for us.” 

It sounds like Pierce is in some denial of money problems that you don’t seem clued in on. If this isn’t another piece of proof that Pierce is controlling you because this is financial abuse with the way he’s found a way to control your spending…I don’t know what is. 

Deciding not to debate the matter further, still afraid of Chloe shutting her down if she brought up her concerns about Pierce being controlling before she could find a suitable way of approaching the matter, Elly assured Chloe, “You order the dress tonight and we’ll pick it up on Friday,” then winking at the blonde, “You are gonna look like the hottest woman in the world at this party. You’ll have everyone wanting you out of that dress!” 

Chloe opened her mouth in surprise, trying to work out if Elly was flirting with her, as Elly turned around with the dresses for herself and Aster, taking them to the counter to buy them. 

I must be imagining Elly flirting with me…right? Elly couldn’t want me…out of that dress? 

A few moments later, as Elly and Chloe stepped outside the shop, Elly’s hand holding the bag with her purchases, Chloe took them aside so she could order an Uber to take them home. 

Across the road from the girls, Pierce’s beamer pulled up and parked in a free bay, that was within sight of the pair yet they didn’t spot him. Pierce stared down at his phone that was in the phone cradle, then glared across the road at Elly and the way the brunette was staring at his wife.

Pierce wondered if Elly still harboured feelings for Chloe and if she did, what that could possibly do to his marriage. 

“Chloe’s started inviting Elly to her appointments at the hairdressers and now they are what…going on a shopping spree blocks away from where I know Chloe is meant to be with Raul. I can’t stand how much time Elly is spending with Chloe. I want my wife back before Elly can persuade Chloe to do something she doesn’t want to,” Pierce said bitterly to himself, “I want Elly gone before the end of this engagement party…I’d better start working out how to do so.” 

With the girls oblivious to Pierce’s presence nearby spying on them, within minutes an Uber driver picked them up to take them back home to Ramsay Street. Pierce was tempted to follow them home, with an excuse that he wanted to work from home more often to spend time with Chloe just in case Elly was intending on spending more time with Chloe. But a phone call from the hotel reminding him of an important meeting he needed to be at in half an hour quashed his idea of keeping tabs on how much time Chloe and Elly were spending together.

Chloe and Elly parted ways when the Uber took them back home to Ramsay Street.

Fifteen minutes after Chloe had returned home, she heard a knock on her front door. Chloe had been in the laundry, sorting through her washing that needed to be done, and couldn't help but smile at the idea of the visitor being Elly and Aster. Just the thought of the pair brought happiness to Chloe.

I really need to get a handle on what these feelings are when it comes to both Elly and Aster. Why do they make me so happy? The life I have now with Pierce is the life that I have chosen. What makes you even think Elly likes you that way...?

Chloe was surprised when she opened the front door to find no one standing on her door step. Opening the security door, she found a box with a card attached to it scribbled with her name. Picking the box up, Chloe stared out down her driveway looking for any sign of who had left the present but there wasn't a person in sight.

Chloe closed the doors behind her, walking over to the kitchen counter, placing the box down. Opening the card first, Chloe recognized Elly’s handwriting –

‘Chlo, couldn’t resist, you know me! Xox Elly’

Does the kisses and hugs actually mean…? Stop that! It doesn’t!

Chloe put her thoughts to the side, opening the box and was surprised to find the dress she’d refused to buy at the dress shop inside.

Chloe stared at the dress, reaching her hand out to it then lifted her left arm to check her watch for the time, as she couldn’t help but think.

That doesn’t make any sense, I’ve been home fifteen minutes. The Uber takes at least 10 minutes each way to the fitness center and that shop was just a bit further away… Did Elly get the dress at the shop without me knowing…? No, she didn’t because you were still standing in front of the rack the dress was on when she paid for her dresses… Maybe she asked for one from out the back when she paid to surprise me cause there’s just no way…Elly got this dress so quickly…and with the box and the card and the… Kisses and hugs in the message…what do they mean?!

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty

Friday 13th December 2024

Chloe walked out of her bedroom she shared with Pierce into the main area of her house. Pierce was standing at the kitchen counter, looked up as she walked into the room, “Wow! Chloe, you look…wow! What a dress! That dress is perfect for you! I don’t think I’ve seen you in that dress before. I love it! I’m a lucky guy to have you dress up like that for me.”

Is that what I’m doing…dressing up for…Pierce? Or am I doing it for myself…or worse…Elly?

“It’s just a new dress, no big deal,” Chloe dismissed.

Pierce ran his tongue over his teeth, “Did you pick it up recently?”

Chloe gently smoothed out a crease in the side of her dress, “Ah, yeah. Tuesday after I got my hair done.”

“Did Elly go shopping with you?” Pierce asked, knowing the answer yet also knowing Chloe didn’t know he knew.

“Nope, just me,” Chloe lied.

I lied to Pierce…when did I start doing that?

“It’s just the pair of you have been spending a lot of time together recently and Elly was with you that other week getting her hair done too with you,” Pierce pointed out, trying to remain calm over Chloe lying to him.

Chloe frowned as she saw the food Pierce was preparing at the kitchen counter, willing to use it as a distraction to stop talking about the dress and Elly in case she was forced to lie to her husband again, “Are we taking dinner with us to the engagement party? They’ll be plenty of food.”

Pierce continued prepping the meal, annoyed Chloe had changed the subject yet knew he couldn’t call her out for lying to him without revealing he’d seen the pair together outside the dress shop because then she’d accuse him of following her, “Nah, it’s our dinner. We ain’t eating whatever fattening and processed food that Dipi has put together for everyone. I’ve got our favourite wine bottle that’s been chilling in the fridge all day to take with us too. I’m sure its good food provided by the Rebecchi’s but no, thank you. I’m not even going to suggest that the alcohol on the menu will be even close to half-decent compared to the Greyson wine range because if those people had taste they should’ve asked me to contribute to the bar range…and I’m sure they knocked you back when you offered for us to supply the wine.”

“And let me guess, Rene delivered this food fresh to us today and you don’t want to waste the food even though we’ve known about this engagement party for weeks and could’ve made sure to take the day off from Rene preparing our meals just for one night,” Chloe told him, ignoring her husband’s claims that she had even considered offering the Rebecchi’s to supply his wine, but when Pierce didn’t reply, she shrugged, “Wish you would’ve told me before I got ready in my new dress and put all my makeup on.”

Pierce leaned over to his wife, kissing her lips gently, “You won’t be spilling this meal on that gorgeous dress of yours and we have plenty of time before we need to get over to the Rebecchi’s so if you need to redo a bit of your makeup, we’ll be fine. Don’t want to turn up to the engagement party too early. Who’ll be there early for us to spend time with, Bea, Yashvi, Shane, Dipi…Elly?”

An entire night with Elly…and almost all our friends and family around us…including my husband…

“I’ll do my best not to,” Chloe replied, annoyed at the delay in arriving at the party later than she thought, “Y’know Elly and I planned this entire party for Bea and Yashvi…seems a bit rude if I turn up later than everyone else.”

Pierce started grabbing some plates and cutlery to serve up their meal, “You did the planning which is more than you needed to do. I know Bea’s your friend but really there’s no need for you to turn up early to this party. You’re not part of their family…and those are the people who will be at the party early. We’ll get there when everyone else does…”

But what if those people kinda do feel like my family?

Chloe chewed on her lip, “But what if they need me to help with the set up?”

“They don’t,” Pierce insisted, then serving up their meal to his wife, “Now, let’s have dinner, we’ll be over there before you know it.”

Chloe sighed silently, accepting the plate from her husband, resigning herself to doing what he asked yet counting down the minutes until they would be at the party with their friends and family.

An hour later, at the Rebecchi’s house, the engagement party was in full swing. The happy couple had been spending time with everyone in attendance but Bea had noticed how quiet her sister had been. Elly, along with Aster, had mingled with some of the neighbours they hadn’t spent much time with since they’d returned.

Bea kept watching at how Elly continued staring off at the front door of Toadie’s house, like she was waiting for someone. Walking over to her sister, Bea smiled, “You looking for someone, El?”

Elly blushed at being caught out, “Not really. Just keeping track that everyone who said they’d be here do turn up.”

“Liar,” Bea teased, “Looking for a blonde best friend of yours perhaps?”

“Perhaps definitely, Auntie Bea,” Aster giggled.

Elly didn’t resist handing Aster over to her sister, “How about you let Auntie Bea take you for a few moments to stop you both from thinking something’s going on between Chloe and I when it isn’t?”

“Oh, so then the two of us can just go off together to chat about what’s going on between you and Chloe?” Bea chuckled.

“There’s nothing to discuss,” Elly repeated, “Chloe’s married and until such time that she isn’t…if there ever is such a time that she’s not, there is no Chloe and I.”

Bea noticed the disappointed look on Aster’s face, juggling her gently, “Well, I for one am glad to hear it. Chloe deserves better and you, Elly, deserve someone you can love completely but it’s best not to mix those things up since Chloe is with…”

Bea trailed off as she watched the look that fell across Elly’s face then glanced across the room to where Pierce and Chloe had walked into the house, “Good chat, Elly.”

“Uh huh,” Elly responded, completely oblivious to her sister as her eyes couldn’t be removed from Chloe as she walked into the house. Her eyes roaming every inch of Chloe’s body in the dress she had picked out for her earlier in the week but she soon sighed as her eyes reached the arm attached to Chloe’s arm, that of Chloe’s husband, Pierce.

Chloe can do so much better than that controlling man…but how do I keep waiting until such time that Chloe isn’t with Pierce?

It didn’t take Chloe long to pick up on the feeling that she was being watched as soon as she’d entered the house for the party, her cheeks blushing red once she locked eyes with Elly and realized her best friend’s eyes were focused on her.

Is Elly staring at me the way that Pierce does…with want and need and desire…? Impossible…right? And damn…Elly’s dress is showing all the skin and all the everything anyone could ever want in a beautiful woman…

Chloe was taken out of her dalliance staring at her ex when Pierce walked them over to her brothers and Paige, finding herself immediately distracted by them and breaking her eye contact with Elly. Whilst Elly continued watching Chloe from across the room, silently pleading for the blonde to come over to talk to her. Without Pierce attached to her arm.

Over at the bar, Yashvi was getting a drink from the bartender that had been hired for the gig so the rest of their friends and family could relax and enjoy the night without getting their own drinks. Yashvi thanked the bartender, Bo, for getting her drink.

“Enjoying your party yet, Yashvi?” Bo asked.

Yashvi took a sip of her drink, marveling at the taste of the cocktail, “It’s pretty good, much like this cocktail you mixed up. Where did you and Elly meet cause she was the one who recommended you to us?”

Bo shrugged, “We just…run in the same circle of friends kinda thing. We’ve only vaguely known one another for the last couple years.”

“Right…I think Bea and I really need to meet this family that Elly and Aster fell in with and all the circle of friends they have,” Yashvi noted.

Bo ignored Yashvi’s comment as she herself became distracted by Elly staring across the room at the blonde woman who’d just walked in, “Who is that?”

Yashvi raised her eyebrow at the bartenders’ query, “That’s Chloe, good friend of Bea and Elly.”

“A friend…? Not the vibe I’m getting between Elly and Chloe,” Bo admitted honestly.

Yashvi stared at Bo for her comment then at the way Elly and Chloe were glancing at one another, “There is no vibe between Chloe and Elly… See that guy Chloe’s hanging off of, that’s her husband, Pierce…and Elly…has made it clear to Bea that she will not come between them as she’s not the type of person to break up a marriage…and there’s nothing suggesting that Elly even wants to be with Chloe…or anyone for that matter.”

“Elly’s not the type of person alright,” Bo hinted, “But there’s everything suggesting there’s a vibe. I can tell.”

“Oh, can you now?” Yashvi asked curiously, “I don’t see what you can cause I don’t sense a vibe…and if there is a vibe, please don’t tell my fiancé, Bea, cause she doesn’t need to worry about if her sister, Elly, would come between a marriage when it’s our engagement party.”

“Got it,” Bo agreed, “But between us…there’s a vibe.”

A moment later, Pierce interrupted Yashvi and Bo, holding out his bottle of wine, “Can I please get two glasses of this finest bottle of wine and then ask you to chill the bottle in your fridge? I’ll be back for a top up later on…make sure you don’t serve that wine to anyone except me or my wife, Chloe, the blonde woman in the stunning dress over there.”

Yashvi raised her eyebrow up at Pierce until he noticed her, clearing his throat and adding, “Yashvi…congratulations on your engagement to Bea…”

“Gee, thanks, Pierce,” Yashvi held her tongue at Pierce’s lack of care for the reason for the party.

Bo gently placed her hand over Pierce’s, staring into his eyes, “It’s nice to meet you, Pierce. Don’t worry about your wine, I’ll take very good care of it. Be sure to come by soon for a top up…I’d love to get to know you better, Pierce.”

Yashvi frowned at the interaction between the bartender and the businessman as she watched Bo pour two glasses of his wine, handing them to him as Pierce smiled wildly at the woman then walked back to Chloe, “What was that?”

“Just helping out a friend,” Bo whispered, glancing back at Elly whom was still staring off at Chloe as Pierce handed her one of the wine glasses.

An hour later, Elly was overly frustrated at the party. She’d taken up an offer from Paige to let Aster go home with her, the rest of the kids and for Aster to sleep over in Rose’s room. Paige wasn’t fussed about staying long at the party and Elly had hoped that she’d be able to carry on the party to the Waterhole or Back Lane Bar with the engaged couple and with any luck Chloe would join them sans Pierce. 

But Elly hadn’t even had a chance to ask Chloe to continue the celebration, in fact, she hadn’t spent a single moment with Chloe at all. Pierce had Chloe on his arm the entire time and was avoiding them going anywhere near the brunette. Elly was getting fed up of trying to go over to her best friend with Pierce consistently moving her away to chat to other guests every time Elly tried to intervene them. 

It was driving Elly mad how much she just wanted to say ‘Hi’ to Chloe but instead she’d spent the past hour glancing at Chloe every chance she got. She was pleasantly surprised every time she caught Chloe staring at her just as often, blushing shyly every time she was caught looking at Elly. 

After the engagement party speeches by the happy couple, Dipi and Shane had stepped forward to say a few words then Karl and Susan had done the same, only their speech had gone on quite a bit longer than anyone thought. Watching the way Pierce held onto Chloe through the speeches like he wasn’t going to ever let her go and how Chloe just allowed it, frustrated Elly so much that she couldn’t be with her mate. 

Wanting a break from her ever growing need to mess everything up by throwing herself at Chloe and waiting for it to blow up in her face, even if Chloe did respond to her move, several minutes after the speeches Elly took off to the bathroom. 

Knocking on the locked door several times and calling out if anyone was in there, Elly soon shook her head as she accidentally snapped the door handle, slipping into the bathroom. Elly quickly rolled her eyes at realizing she should've used her super hearing or super smelling powers but had been too distracted by her want for Chloe.

Yashvi had Bea sitting on the bathroom counter, her hand thrusting deep into Bea's center with her panties flung to the bathroom floor. Bea was moaning in pleasure before suddenly realizing the couple weren't alone, "Elly, what the hell are you doing in here?" then when she felt Yashvi pull away from her, "Babe, don't stop, still need you."

Instead of walking out on interrupting the couple, Elly closed the door behind her and placed both her hands against the bathroom door, her anger at Pierce and desire of wanting to be with Chloe overwhelming her, that she didn't want to go back out to the party. Especially as she realized her eyes were flickering between two different colours of red and gold.

Representing her anger and desire at once, Elly couldn't go back out to the people at the party and couldn't look at the couple engaged in their love for one another.

Of course, Bea and Yashvi didn't know about Elly's in-human flickering eye colours and figured she had turned around in embarrassment at catching them in the bathroom together, yet didn't know why Elly hadn't just left.

"Elly, we're kinda in the middle of...something - God, that's good," Bea spluttered out, then realizing Elly had her hands raised against the bathroom door, "Elly, what's wrong? Hun, I think you better...stop, Yashvi...and give me a moment with my sister."

Yashvi reluctantly kissed Bea gently before removing her hand from between her legs, lowered Bea off the counter and helped Bea to put her panties back on. Yashvi felt weird as she walked past Elly, with her fiancé’s sister turning away from looking at her as she opened the door for her to leave the bathroom and return to the party.

Yashvi could’ve sworn she saw light flickering around Elly’s eyes but dismissed it as a trick of light.

Elly immediately closed the bathroom door again, placing her hands against the door, trying to regain control of herself before she could face her sister.

"Alright, now that you interrupted the nicest part of my engagement party so far because you didn't want to leave Yashvi and I to what we were doing...what's going on with you and don't tell me it's nothing, Elly? Tell me the truth for once," Bea demanded in annoyance, seeing how conflicted her sister was even though she refused to look at her.

I can’t keep this to myself for much longer…I need to tell someone…Bea will understand, right?

Elly blinked her eyes as she continued avoiding turning around to look at her sister, blurting out, “I’m in love with Chloe.”

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-One 

Friday 13th December 2024 

Bea stood in the bathroom at the Rebecchi’s. During the midst of her engagement party with Yashvi, Elly had walked in on the couple getting it on and instead of walking away from the couple, Elly had seemingly been upset so Bea had asked her fiancé to leave them alone for a moment and Elly had finally confessed to Bea that she was in love with Chloe. 

“You’re…in love with Chloe?” Bea repeated. 

Elly still stood facing the bathroom door, her hands against the door at shoulder height, unable to turn around because her eyes were flickering between gold and red and she was afraid of Bea finding out her other secret, “Yes.” 

“Elly…” Bea started, her tone telling Elly she was upset with her. 

“I know, okay, I don’t want to be because of how complicated this could get but I am…so in love with Chloe,” Elly confessed. 

“Complicated is an understatement, Elly. Chloe’s married to Pierce, you can’t do this,” Bea stated. 

“You think I don’t know Chloe’s married? And what do you mean I ‘can’t do this’? What exactly do you think I’ve done?” Elly worried. 

“I didn’t mean it like that, sis. I just don’t want to see you getting hurt if you get in between Chloe’s marriage. If Chloe leaves Pierce or their marriage ends, you know I’d support you being with Chloe, but I don’t condone any form of cheating. If you do that, I’ll be disappointed in you, Elly, and I don’t want to feel that way about my sister,” Bea admitted. 

"I'm not going to get in between Chloe's marriage. This is just how I feel, Bea," Elly reiterated.

"Elly, look at me," Bea pleaded.

Elly panicked for a moment, seeing flickers of her eyes still changing colour in the back of the bathroom door, praying Bea hadn't noticed them yet realizing her sister would have reacted by now if she had. Elly closed her eyes for a moment, taking several deep breathes. Opening them once more, she waited a few seconds to make sure her eyes had reverted back to normal before turning around to look at her sister face to face.

"You okay?" Bea asked worriedly.

Elly took another deep breath, "I'm just very agitated right now. Trying to breath my way through this agitation."

"How long?" Bea asked vaguely.

Elly got what her sister meant, "Since I got back here...I bumped into Chloe before I saw everyone at home and I just...I love her, Bea. I knew in that moment I bumped into her outside the house that I loved her and I need to be with her."

"What makes this any different to the last time you and Chloe had your...dalliances?" Bea asked straightforwardly.

Elly ran her hand through her hair, "Bea, if you only knew...what this...Chloe means to me. Chloe is it for me. I'm completely in love with her, my world spins every time I'm around her. This is different to the last time I slept with Chloe and dated her, Chloe's the only person I'll ever love and want to be with. It hurts my heart not being able to be with her."

"It hurts your heart that much?" Bea repeated.

"It really does," Elly admitted, before blushing, "I've been eye-fucking Chloe all night long at this party."

Bea raised her eyebrow, "If this party hadn't been held in mine and Yashvi's honour...I probably would've noticed. It's cause of the dress Chloe's wearing, isn't it?"

Elly nodded, "My eyes keep wanting Chloe out of that dress and into my arms so the two of us can actually--"

"Okay, yeah, that's more than I need to know, Elly. The eye-fucking and wanting Chloe undressed, I got it…even though you saw more than you needed a few minutes ago and I shouldn’t be so embarrassed to only hear about what you want to do with Chloe," Bea blushed right back at her sister, before placing her hand on her hip, "You really want to be with Chloe?"

“Yes, Bea, I love her,” Elly declared. 

"And what about Pierce?" Bea wondered.

Elly shrugged, "What about him? Pierce isn't good enough for Chloe, anyone can see that...except for Chloe."

“True, but Chloe’s still married to Pierce. You can’t get between that. If Chloe leaves him of her own accord and you two work things out from there, that’ll be fine but you really can’t intervene in Chloe’s marriage just because after all these years you finally sorted out what your feelings are for her,” Bea advised thoughtfully.

“Even if Pierce is controlling every aspect of Chloe’s life and she needs to be free of him to be her own person again?” Elly mused.

Bea paused for a moment, “Okay, that you can get in between to help Chloe stand up for herself to leave him but…that doesn’t mean you can convince Chloe to leave Pierce because she should be with you. You need to let Chloe make the choice to leave Pierce because it’s the right thing for her.”

“I will, I want Chloe to be strong enough to leave Pierce of her own accord. That’ll mean she’s on her way back to being the Chloe that I first met, the one who fell deeply in love with me. I don’t want to break up a marriage by making a move on Chloe before it’s over with Pierce,” Elly promised.

“Sounds like you will try to do things with Chloe the right way this time,” Bea acknowledged, “I’m sorry if I’ve seemed…not thrilled by this…I do want you and Chloe to be together if that’s what you both want and it happens after Chloe’s single… I guess…me getting married, not that I ever believe Yashvi would do this to me but I’d prefer her to leave me than cheat on me.”

“I get it, Bea,” Elly smiled at her sister’s honesty.

“Where does Aster fit into all this?” Bea asked.

Elly blushed deeply, “Aster would be thrilled to have Chloe be her step-mum…she’s on board the Chloe and Elly ship. She can see how happy Chloe makes me, she wants the same for Chloe.”

“You told your not-quite 4-year-old daughter you’re in love with Chloe?” Bea raised her eyebrow.

Elly smiled shyly, “Aster kinda figured it out, she’s pretty quick like that. She knows how deep my feelings for Chloe are and she’s supportive if we get together. I know how important it would be to take things slowly with Chloe in regards to her being a massive part of Aster’s life and that would take time to build…if anything…were to happen between Chloe and I.”

“Nice little back pedal, sis. You almost had me thinking you and Chloe are a sure thing and that building things between the two of you with Aster would be easier said than done,” Bea pointed out.

‘Sure thing’ is what Chloe and I are, Bea…I just can’t explain to you how I know that…

“If Chloe can find a way to extract herself from Pierce…I know in my heart that Chloe and I will be together and we’d be the happiest family in the world with Aster…just the three of us… I can’t explain it, Bea, I just…know,” Elly hinted gently.

“Well, I hope your heart knows what it’s in for. That it’s prepared for how long the wait could be if Chloe does choose to leave Pierce and that moving past her marriage to being a family with you and Aster will take time once your feelings for Chloe are known to her… But I hope it’s also prepared for…Chloe not to leave Pierce and you need to move on with your life,” Bea put forth honestly.

“My heart knows what’s to come, no matter how long the wait is,” Elly smiled confidently.

“Then I’ll be there for you…no matter how things work out…or don’t work out with Chloe,” Bea reassured, “You want to head back out to this party now? See if you can pry Chloe away from Pierce for one moment at the very least?”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Elly decided.

Meanwhile, whilst Bea and Elly had been talking in the bathroom, Pierce was tied up himself. Not with Chloe like he’d intended on spending the entire evening with Chloe on his arm. Instead, he was firmly entranced by the bartender. He’d gone back to get a top up of his and Chloe’s wines nearly ten minutes ago but hadn’t left the bar yet.

Pierce had immediately brought up his winery and his knowledge of wines, spinning the bartender, Bo, tales of his experience and was impressed by her own knowledge, “You are quite enchanting, Bo.”

“I know I am,” Bo smiled as she placed her hand on Pierce’s once more, before lying, “I could say the same thing about you, Pierce.”

Pierce felt a wave of warmth from Bo’s hand, “Are you trying to enchant me on purpose, Bo?”

Bo leant forwards to Pierce, “That’s what a succubus does, Pierce. We enchant someone to fall for us cause the energy that person provides us keeps us living and then you don’t even remember a thing.”

“A succu-what?” Pierce frowned.

Bo sniggered at the businessman, annoyed that she was keeping him busy for no reason other than to allow his wife time away from him at the request of her friend, Lexa. But despite Pierce’s somewhat flirty banter, Bo was glad that it didn’t seem like the businessman was going to hassle her into trying to sleep with him. Realizing even her powers of seduction didn’t seem strong enough to pull him away from being faithful to his wife, she shrugged at knowing Lexa sending her to distract Pierce, wouldn’t lead to the kind of distraction Lexa had in mind.

To which Bo was glad not to have to seduce Pierce completely. She knew her girlfriend, Lauren, was waiting at home for her. Dating a succubus came with the knowledge that their relationship was always an open relationship because Bo needed sexual energy from humans to live. But Bo was glad Pierce would not be the human she would be using that night, knowing he’d probably bore her to death before she got what she needed from him.

Bo chuckled, “Oh, Pierce, Pierce, Pierce. I could explain it to you but then…you’d end up just forgetting anyway. But you won’t forget before you go tell that lovely wife of yours that you’re not feeling too well and will go home to bed like the stud you are. Oh, and let Chloe know that she should enjoy the rest of the evening with her friends. Then you can forget it all when your back home.”

Pierce stared at the brunette beauty with disbelief, “You really must be trying to enchant me if you think that’ll happen.”

Bo smiled wickedly, stroking Pierce’s hand again and letting her powers of persuasion work their magic on him, “Why don’t you tell me more about this winery of yours? I love a man with a love of wine and whom understands that a bartender cares about the wine that she serves her patrons.”

“Don’t tell my wife but if there was one thing I’d change about Chloe, it’d be her knowledge of wines. She loves a good quality wine but she doesn’t know or want to know about how much work goes into a beautiful bottle of wine,” Pierce admitted.

Bo hummed gently, “Then I’d love you to tell me all about your favourite bottle of wine from your winery. I’m sure Chloe has friends to keep her company.”

Pierce nodded, unwittingly falling for Bo’s influence.

Elly and Bea re-entered the living room together. Elly immediately frowned when she spotted Pierce at the bar laughing and smiling at the bartender.

I didn’t know Pierce knew how to laugh…

Elly’s eyes soon landed on Chloe standing awkwardly by herself in the corner, watching her brothers and David laughing and having a good time. Bea saw Chloe too, quickly nudging Elly in the side, “Chloe will probably say no but why don’t you invite her to join us and Yashvi at the Back Lane Bar for the after party that I’ve just decided we need now that my big sis has the night off from being a responsible Mum with Aster staying at #32 for the night?”

Elly barely hesitated as she nodded at Bea then slid over gracefully to sidle up to Chloe, “Hey, you, barely seen you all night long.”

Except for all the eye-fucking I was doing with you across the room from me from the moment you arrived in that sexy dress I picked out for you.

Chloe smiled wildly at Elly, thrilled she finally had a moment alone with her, “Hey, Elly. We put on a great party for the girls didn’t we. Sorry, we haven’t had much time to celebrate our successful party. Guess I’ve been busy spending time with my family. It’s nice seeing more of Aaron and Mark.”

When will Aster and I be part of your family, Chlo?

“All good, we’re here now,” Elly focused on the positive, “Hey, Paige took Aster home to spend the night at theirs to have a sleepover with Rose so I am child-free tonight.”

“I had heard that from Mark, lucky you, Elly! What are you gonna get up to without that lil munchkin around?” Chloe grinned.

“Bea wants to head to the Back Lane Bar with Yashvi and I for after party drinks. Care to join us, Ms. Brennan?” Elly asked, knowing full well she was ignoring Chloe’s prefix of Mrs.

Chloe hesitated for a moment, “I should probably head home with--”

“Chloe,” Pierce interrupted the pair, not even giving Elly a chance to roll her eyes at him as he said, “I’m not feeling too well, think I’m coming down with something,” Pierce told her as he rubbed his stomach, “I’m going home to bed. You should stay here and enjoy the rest of the party seeing as though you spent so much time planning it, you deserve to see it through ‘til the party wraps up.”

“Are you sure?” Chloe wondered, surprised by Pierce’s decision, thinking it was not like him at all.

Pierce ignored Elly as he leaned forwards, brushing his lips to Chloe’s, “I’ll see you at home later this evening. I’ll try to wait up for you but I’m probably going straight to sleep.”

Chloe barely managed to wave her husband goodbye as he left the party then turned to Elly.

Elly winked at Chloe flirtatiously, “Would you look at that? Looks like we’re both without our responsibilities for the rest of the night? Few drinks at the Back Lane Bar to celebrate?”

Chloe smiled, “First round is on me.”

Bea supporting my love for Chloe as long as I wait for Chloe to leave Pierce…drinks with Chloe at the Back Lane Bar with the engaged couple…can this night get any better?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-Two

Friday 13th December 2024 

Chloe, Elly, Bea and Yashvi arrived at the Back Lane Bar not long after all the guests at the engagement party had headed home for the night. The four women wanted to keep the celebration going after their fun at the party held at the Rebecchi’s. Chloe was secretly astounded that her husband hadn’t felt well, gone home early and even encouraged her to spend the rest of the evening with her friends.

Maybe Pierce knew he’d be puking his guts out for a while and thought that’d kill the romance between us…or maybe he actually saw how happy it made me spending time with my family…and now with my friends.

As the four women walked into the bar, they immediately headed to the bar for a round of drinks.

“We’re doing shots,” Yashvi declared as they walked to the bar.

“I think I’ll just stick to wine,” Chloe replied.

“We’re doing shots,” Bea agreed, then smiled at Chloe, “Like I’m gonna disagree with my wife to be on our first night out in over three weeks.”

“We’re doing shots,” Elly winked at Chloe, “C’mon now, you don’t want to disagree with the madly in love couple we’re celebrating tonight, do you?”

“We’re doing shots,” Chloe conceded, “I’ll get the first round.”

“Perfect,” Bea smiled, “Then the rest of us can get another three rounds of shots.”

“We’re not doing four rounds of shots,” Chloe exclaimed.

“Sure we are, Chlo,” Yashvi giggled, “Why else come to the Back Lane Bar? If we wanted more wine, we’d have gone to the Waterhole. It’s your first night out in forever without Pierce, it’s Elly’s first night out since she got back, and Bea and I have been kept apart nearly a month because of my job. We are going all out to celebrate so…shots!”

“I haven’t done this many shots in…a good long while. Probably not since shot skis in Whistler ten years ago,” Chloe mused.

As the foursome waited at the bar to be served, with a handful of people in front of them, Elly glanced at Chloe, “Shot what?”

“Shot skis, it’s a tradition over in some Canadian cities or mainly up on the snowy mountains there,” Chloe half-explained.

“Tell me about this tradition,” Elly pushed, “Is this a drinking game?”

“Yes and no,” Chloe recalled, “Okay so you have 3 or 4 people with a round of shots. The bars have wooden boards, long, thin like an individual ski only without the front of the ski slanted upwards, it’s all one straight board. You place the shots on the board in these holes designed to hold the shots half out of the board and then all of you have to work together to lift the board from the bar, tip the board to your mouths without all the shots falling out of the grooves and off the board or y’know…”

“Spilling all over all of those that take up the task of shot skis?” Elly finished.

“Don’t tell me you also do this one handed, Chlo,” Bea giggled.

“You can if you really want a challenge and it’s quite the accomplishment if you can down your shots from the board one handed. It’s all about synchronicity between the group. You all have to be aligned to the same motion. The two at either end of the board have the responsibility of lifting the board. The one or two in the middle have more of the responsibility of tipping the board to have the shot glasses reach everyone’s mouths in place to drink the shot,” Chloe explained, “Oh and if everyone successfully downs their shot without spilling it, you yell out ‘Shot Skis’.”

“Synchronicity between the two of you…duh I mean the group of you,” Elly replied thoughtfully, “Too bad there’s no ski-like boards in an Aussie bar.”

Yashvi glanced behind the bar, annoyed after the bartender served the girl beside her who had arrived after them, “Well they’ve got those paddle-like boards they use to try to be fancy with when they serve chips and whatnot on.”

“Bit too small, Yashvi, wouldn’t have room for 4 shots on them and also without the holes to sit the shot glasses in you have even more of a chance to spill them everywhere,” Chloe commented.

Ignoring Chloe’s last point, Elly saw an opening and went for it, “But it will for two on each board. Teams of two then. Bea and Yashvi. Chlo and I. Four shots each. Let’s see if we can synchronize and down each shot at a time.”

“Perfect,” Bea agreed, knowing what Elly was doing with Chloe and allowing her to pair up with her ex, “Yash and I are gonna crush this cause we are so in sync with one another.”

As the bartender finally came over to them, Yashvi ordered, “Four tequila shots and can we borrow two of those boards to drink them off of?”

Chloe screwed up her face, “You never said it’d be tequila shots.”

“We’re here to have fun,” Elly reminded her, “No responsibility…and the rate we’re going, the morning off going for a run, that’s for sure.”

As the bartender placed all four shots down then the wooden boards, he took Chloe’s credit card before watching the four of them place two tequila shot glasses on each of the boards, he warned them all that if they spilled the drinks on the floor of his bar, he’d be charging them a cleaning fee or handing them a mop to clean up themselves.

With no one else at the bar to be served, and nobody needing the bar space, Bea and Yashvi shooed him off, as they eagerly started to lift the wooden board with their outside hands before placing their inside hands on the bottom of the board and tipped the board up to their mouths.

Bea groaned when half her shot dripped down her dress, “Yash, you tipped it too fast.”

“And you tipped it too slow, my love,” Yashvi teased back.

Elly winked at Chloe once more, “We’ve got this. Synchronized is us to a t.”

Chloe couldn’t even find words to agree with Elly, silently struggling to work out if she was imagining Elly was flirting with her.

Within seconds, Chloe and Elly slapped the wooden board back on the bar, with Chloe proudly yelling out, “Shot skis!” at their victory for managing to tip the tequila shots into their mouths without spilling a drop.

“Okay, that’s not fair they did it perfectly. Another round of shots now for us to try,” Bea grumbled as she tried to get the bartenders attention but then stopped when Elly held her hand back.

“Let’s hang out at the free table over there for a bit, we can do the second round of shots in a little while where you and Yashvi can attempt to beat Chloe and I all over again,” Elly grinned, unable to stop feeling like such a simple game proved to herself how Chloe and her were made for one another.

Now, when will Chloe realize that?

“You want to pace yourself with the shots, don’t you?” Bea teased, “Don’t want to get completely out of control and spend the rest of the night vomiting in a bucket?”

“Something like that,” Elly groaned before leading the four over to the table, smiling as she realized it was small enough for her to sidle right up to Chloe without it being too obvious since the space around the table was limited.

A little while later, Elly had reluctantly left Chloe’s side for a bathroom break. Exiting the stall, Elly rolled her eyes at realizing the two women who’d entered the bathroom after her were Bea and Yashvi and they were making out with one another against the wall.

Ugh all the tequila and alcohol in general that this bathroom stinks of put me off smelling that it was these two.

“Seriously, you two, this is twice in the last couple hours I’ve walked in on you two in a bathroom. Aren’t I lucky you’re not doing anything more than making out with my little sister this time, Yashvi,” Elly tutted at the pair.

Bea broke her lips apart from Yashvi’s but moaned when Yashvi moved to begin kissing against her neckline, “Sorry, El, it’s been a long and lonely three weeks without my girl at home every night. We’re just making up for lost time, we’re not like this all the time.”

“Yes, we are,” Yashvi mumbled.

“Okay, yes, we are,” Bea blushed, “But you’ll get this feeling one day, El, when you get to be with the person of your dreams.”

Chloe…

“Wait,” Elly frowned, “Where is Chloe?”

“At the bar ordering us another round of shots with my card so Yashvi and I can finally achieve shot skis like you two have done the past three rounds,” Bea answered.

Elly shifted to quickly washing her hands at the sink, “You left Chloe alone out there?”

“Chloe’s an adult, Elly,” Yashvi pointed out, “She can spend a few minutes alone in a bar while me and my fiancé make out with one another here by the bathroom sink.”

Bea teased, “Til we take up in one of the stalls once you leave so we can--”

“Ugh, I just worry about her,” Elly complained at the couple, interrupting Bea’s teasing, then when she saw they were more interested in one another, dried her hands on the paper towels provided before heading back to the bar.

As soon as Elly walked back into the room the bar was set in, she felt uncomfortable, then even more so when she saw Chloe was at the bar with a group of four guys hanging off of her. Chloe tried to shrug away from the guys.

Chloe, just use your martial arts and kick their asses…and end up with an assault charge and needing to explain to Pierce where her martial arts training came from…ugh.

Elly had barely taken two steps towards the group, hoping to drag Chloe away from them, when she was quickly enraged as she saw the man who had his arm around Chloe’s shoulders, removed it only to place his arm against her lower back, then squeeze her ass.

Elly tore over to the group within seconds, reaching for the guy’s hand. Wondering why Chloe hadn’t reacted to push him away as soon as he had grabbed her, Elly squeezed the guys’ hand. He immediately turned to Elly in dismay, yelling at her by asking what she was doing to him.

Trying very hard not to snap your hand in ten different places for touching my girls’ ass!

Elly released her grasp of the man’s hand, throwing it back at him, where it smacked the side of the bar and he yelped in pain, “Get your hand off of her, you pathetic man.”

As the guy shook his hand in front of him, trying to eliminate the pain from it and ignore the feeling that this woman shouldn’t have been able to squeeze his hand that hard, he boasted in front of his friends, trying to make out he wasn’t a jerk touching Chloe without her permission, “What, are you her guard dog? This bitch was lapping up my attention before you got here.”

Elly noticed Chloe cower in the corner of her eyes, worried about how meek Chloe was being with this group of guys when she had the ability to knock them all out together, “You touch a woman like that again, I’ll snap that hand of yours in two. Let’s go, babe.”

Babe…? Well, I didn’t want to give this guy Chloe’s name and ‘babe’ was the first thing that came to mind…

Babe…? Is my heart fluttering at Elly calling me ‘babe’? Stop that, you’re with Pierce and need to be…and being here tonight is probably such a big mistake and yet…here you are…

Elly led Chloe away from the group, placing her hand on Chloe’s lower back for a moment, then removed it, fearing she was just making a similar move that she’d yelled at the random guy for. As they stood back at the table, specifically standing with their backs to the group of guys, Chloe leaned over to Elly, “It’s okay, Elly, you weren’t invading my personal space by placing your hand on my back.”

Elly blushed at Chloe knowing exactly what she was fearing, “Good to know. About the…’babe’ thing…I just didn’t think that guy warranted knowing your name. ‘Babe’…seemed like the word that came to mind.”

Chloe blushed just as heavily, glad for the darkness of the bar hiding it, “I didn’t mind. Sorry, I didn’t get around to ordering our last round of shots.”

Elly shrugged, “That’s okay, think you and I proved what a pretty good team we were tonight with your drinking game. Bea and Yashvi were a little upset they couldn’t master it like we did.”

“We do make a really good team,” Chloe agreed, then as she felt Elly’s eyes staring deeply at her, Chloe swallowed hard, “I’m gonna…go outside for a breath of fresh air. Just after that incident with the guys, I need to recollect myself for a moment y’know.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” Elly offered.

 Chloe shook her head, “No, you wait here for Bea and Yashvi otherwise they’ll think we’ve left.”

“You do know my sister and her fiancé are probably semi-naked together in one of the toilet stalls going at it like the loved-up couple they are?” Elly pouted.

Chloe nodded, “Knowing those two…you’d be right. I’ll only be a few moments. Just need to take a few deep breaths in the fresh air.”

Elly reluctantly let Chloe leave the bar, watching her every step as she left through the exit.

Why couldn’t tonight be about Chloe and I celebrating our engagement as the happy, in love couple…? Steady on, Elly, you’ve been back in Chloe’s life for a month…plenty of time ahead of us for that.

Elly was quickly distracted by a guy coming over to her table, placing a cosmopolitan drink in front of her, but before he could even get his opening line started, Elly snapped, “Not on your best day.”

The guy stared at her with surprise at the brutal rejection, then shrugged, when Elly told him to “move along and find someone else to crack onto.”

As he did, Elly stared towards the entrance of the bar, counting down the seconds until Chloe would return, but she hadn’t seen that the guy harassing Chloe had slipped outside after Chloe…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-Three

Friday 13th December 2024 

Chloe walked out of the Back Lane Bar, surprised by how quiet things were outside the bar as there was no one around. Taking a walk down by the laneway that was next to the Back Lane Bar, Chloe leant against one of the brick walls. Breathing deeply, Chloe wondered if she should’ve even been there spending time with her friends that evening.

Chloe remembered her husband was at home unwell from the earlier part of their evening, feeling like she should be more concerned for Pierce and calling him to check how he was going. Shrugging with the decision that Pierce was meant to be sleeping off whatever illness that had befallen him and that she should leave him be without interrupting his sleep.

What I am more worried about is that I shouldn’t have come out here drinking with the girls…I should not have suggested that drinking game nor drunk so much tequila… All this pressure about trying to work out what my feelings are for Elly and hers for me…drinking was beyond a mistake.

I need to leave this be, you’re with Pierce, that’s not going to change no matter how Elly was looking at me from across the room. I need to leave it, I need to forget about it, I need to…vomit!

Chloe turned around, facing the wall, throwing up the contents of her own stomach on the ground.

Please tell me Pierce didn’t pass on whatever he had to me and it’s just me knowing I shouldn’t be out here drinking like this…I should call Elly and ask her to take me home…

"Hey, gorgeous," a man called out to Chloe, interrupting her thoughts.

Chloe continued throwing up, though she didn't have anything left to throw up, she thought the sight of her doing so would be enough for him to leave her alone.

"Don't you remember me?" the man asked as he sidled up to Chloe.

Chloe leant her arm against the wall, still half leaning over it, as she turned her head to face him, disgusted as she instantly recognized him as the man from the bar whom Elly had removed his hand from being placed on her ass.

"We got interrupted back there in the bar. I was in the middle of buying you a drink and then we were gonna have a hell of a night together," the guy suggested to Chloe.

Chloe placed her left hand over her stomach, wondering if she could vomit again all over this guy to put him off and distract him until Elly came looking for her then worried how long that could take, “You’ve got the wrong girl for that.”

“What, cause of that angry brunette you had practically hanging off your arm when she interrupted?” the guy accused.

“Not because of her, what would you know about her? Nothing. Nothing to do with her anyway. I’m married so there will be no spending the night with you. I love my husband,” Chloe insisted, with a hint of hesitation in her last words.

The guy seemed genuinely confused then noticed the rings on Chloe’s hand, “Really? Cause the way you and that brunette were looking at each other…figured you were about to blow me off cause you’re with her.”

Why would a stranger think Elly and I are together?

Chloe ignored his comments on Elly, deciding to lie to him, “I’ve already called my husband to come pick me up as I’m not feeling well. He’s still at the party we were celebrating at that other bar down the road from here. You’d better get outta here before he gets here as he’ll kick your ass.”

The guy suddenly lashed out, pushing Chloe back against the wall, “Somehow I doubt that. Now, why don’t you give me a kiss and maybe I’ll then think about getting out of here…c’mon, love, it’s just a kiss.”

Chloe placed her hands against his chest trying to stop him coming any closer to her.

I should tell him, right…? If I tell him, he won’t hurt me…but then I’ll have to tell everyone else and I’m not ready for that…

Back inside the Back Lane Bar, Elly had been impatiently waiting for Chloe to return. Tapping her fingernails against the bar table, she stared off at the group of guys whom had harassed Chloe just minutes prior. She frowned when she saw the biggest antagonist from the group was nowhere to be found.

Where did he go? Where is Chloe?

Elly was quickly distracted by Bea and Yashvi returning from the bathroom, teasing, “Thought I wouldn’t see you for like another hour or so.”

Bea shrugged then looked at Yashvi lovingly, “We weren’t gonna spend all night in there, Elly, especially when we have our own bed to go back to tonight.”

“Think I liked it better when Yashvi was on night shift and I didn’t have to know what my sister was up to with her fiancé,” Elly pouted, then off the couples’ look, “C’mon, you know I’m jealous about what you two have.”

“You’ll meet your person…when the both of you are ready,” Bea insisted, with a hint of telling her sister Chloe needed to be ready too.

Before Elly could remind Bea that she knew she needed to wait for Chloe to be single before starting things with her, Yashvi piped up, “Hey, where’s Chloe and our fourth round of tequilas?”

Bea shook her head at her fiancé, “At least you asked for Chloe first but I’m not sure I want another tequila just yet.”

Elly glared at the group of guys across the room, still wondering where the other guy was, “That pack of morons were hassling Chloe when I got back. She couldn’t get our order from the bar cause of the way they were treating her. One had his hand on her ass that I had to remove for her, she should’ve kicked his ass. She went outside for a few minutes to take a breather.”

Don’t say things like Chloe kicking his ass cause Chloe doesn’t want anyone to know she could, yet she would if she had to…

“Which moron was doing that to Chloe?” Bea asked angrily.

“Babe, calm down, don’t go antagonize them. I’m sure they got the hint to leave women alone,” Yashvi insisted.

“The moron isn’t there anymore…I didn’t see where he went. Maybe he went to the bathroom or…Chloe should’ve been back by now…” Elly replied.

“He didn’t go outside for a breather of his own, did he?” Yashvi asked with concern.

Elly stood up taller at the suggestion, in fear of it being true, “I’m going to check on Chloe.”

“We’ll all go to check on her,” Bea proposed, “Besides, it’s best to have a cop with you in case anyone needs arresting.”

Elly shook her head, “I’m sure it’s nothing…Chloe’s just taking her time…checking in on Pierce or something and the guy is…nowhere near her. I’ll check on her, you two stay here.”

Before Bea could argue further, Elly had swiftly left them behind at the table, rushing out of the club.

Bea glanced at Yashvi in concern, believing that Chloe was perfectly fine, she was more worried her sister was already getting too invested in Chloe’s life and would only end up getting hurt.

As soon as Elly was outside the bar, the quietness of no one around unnerved her, she trained her ears to concentrate on any sounds, hoping to hear Chloe’s voice. Even if it was Chloe calling Pierce to check he was okay at home, resting up.

Elly soon heard the sound of voices down the alley lane next to the Back Lane Bar and hurried after them. Elly froze at the end of the lane, seeing Chloe standing with her back against the wall and the guy who had tried it on with her was leaning over her, trying to kiss her.

Ugh, Chloe, kick his ass! This is not what Chloe needs…

Elly took several steps forward down the alley, her heart beating rapidly at the sight of her mate being threatened, then froze once more.

Okay…THIS is not what Chloe needs…it’s not what I need either…

Elly stood frozen at the end of the alley, staring at Chloe’s fearful look on her face as the guy towered over her, then down at her hand as she watched it transform into a claw.

THIS is not what either of us need right now…I can’t lose control…I can’t…you can’t get angry over Chloe being threatened…Chloe can kick this guy’s ass on her own with her martial arts…she doesn’t need you protecting her… Chloe doesn’t need to see that you’re a monster…Chloe doesn’t need you to tear apart the guy and kill him because he can’t take ‘no’ for an answer…Chloe will never forgive you if you do… You can’t change…it’s not the full moon cycle…if you change into a werewolf now then you’ll shift into your pure wolf form…you don’t have control or remember what happens…it’ll be like Finn all over again…I’ll kill this guy…then I could risk killing Chloe cause I won’t know it’s her…my mate…I can’t change…

Elly watched with horror as her hand continued shifting, her claws getting sharper, then looked up at Chloe again as she saw the guy grab her by the shoulders and shove her against the wall.

What’s wrong, Chloe? You have a black belt in martial arts…kick his ass…so I don’t turn into a wolf and kill him for you then…turn on you…

Elly growled to herself as she watched the guy press his lips to Chloe’s as Chloe punched her fists against his shoulders, trying to push him off of her. Elly could hear Chloe’s heart beat racing in fear as the guy continued kissing her.

Damn it, Chlo, please don’t let me lose control and kill again…this guy or Chloe…just knock the guy out…or scare the living daylights out of him…but then I’ll terrify Chloe too…just don’t kill either of them…don’t hurt Chloe…

Elly spent the briefest of seconds looking down at her dress.

I liked this dress…if I change then I’m…gonna have an awkward time getting home naked…or explaining to the girls why I lost my dress and ended up naked…

As Elly felt her legs begin to shift, watching the guy continue pushing himself onto Chloe, she eventually gave into her anger she felt over needing to protect her mate. Using her right hand, the one that hadn’t shifted into a claw, Elly undid the zip on the back of her dress. Grateful that the dress was strapless at the shoulders, she slipped out of the dress and using her unclawed hand, threw the dress to the floor in the shadows. Her shoes quickly followed.

Without bothering to enjoy the cool breeze against her naked body, except for her panties, Elly gave into her desire to shift into her true wolf formation.

Within a moment, WolfElly stood 2 meters tall on her hind legs, her claws by her side with nails sharp enough to tear a human being in two. WolfElly sniffed the air before staring at the pair in front of her and launching herself towards them. Her mind not that of Elly’s who knew not to hurt Chloe or tear either human apart.

Without knowing the danger approaching them, Chloe finally lifted her leg and kneed the guy in the crotch. As he broke the kiss that he’d planted on her, Chloe wound her arm back to smack him across the jaw but was surprised when he instead lashed out at her first, smacking her in the face and knocking her to the ground. Chloe’s head hit the pavement and she was soon unconscious.

The guy was about to lean over her, working himself up to hurt Chloe even more, but he overheard a noise behind him. He quickly screamed when he found himself confronted by a terrifying werewolf.

WolfElly stood over him, roaring over him, as Chloe continued laying on the pavement next to them unconscious. Without another word, the guy ran for it in the opposite direction, nearly tripping over his own feet but managing to run down the end of the laneway before turning down one of the other streets, not slowing down as he ran ten blocks without looking behind him to realize the wolf wasn’t chasing him.

WolfElly instead had stayed in the laneway, hovering over the unconscious woman.

WolfElly stared down at the woman, feeling an immediate confliction to her, not understanding why, and yet also felt incredibly hungry…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-Four

Friday 13th December 2024 

Chloe laid unconscious on the pavement, down the back of the laneway next to the Back Lane Bar. She’d been inadvertently knocked out when a drunken lowlife had tried to force himself on her, managing to kiss her for a handful of seconds, before been pushed back then knocking Chloe to the ground, hitting her head dangerously.

But even though the drunken lout had run off, scared for his life, Chloe was still in danger.

WolfElly in her true wolf formation, due to the lack of the full moon cycle, was standing over Chloe’s unconscious body.

WolfElly in this formation didn’t have the capacity to think like Elly did, she didn’t have the memories of Chloe or the knowledge of what Chloe represented as Elly’s mate. She only saw Chloe as food, yet still felt conflicted over the woman lying on the ground.

WolfElly shifted towards Chloe, crouching down next to her, sniffing her face where the guy had struck Chloe in the side of the face. WolfElly licked the wound that was forming on Chloe’s head, deeply confused over the feelings the woman was invoking in her.

Unbeknownst to either of them, Bea and Yashvi had given up waiting around in the bar for Elly to go look for Chloe. As the couple stepped outside the Back Lane Bar, the pair were stunned when they heard a howling sound. Almost like a wolf howling.

Bea and Yashvi stopped in their tracks at the sound. Bea stared up at Yashvi immediately, confused by the colour of Yashvi’s eyes flickering in the light.

But before Bea could mention it, Yashvi grabbed her hand and they took off towards the lane next to the bar.

As they got to the entrance of the lane, Bea and Yashvi froze once more, seeing Chloe lying on the ground and someone leaning over her but in the darkness and shadows, they couldn’t work out who it was.

“Chloe!” Bea yelled out loudly.

WolfElly turned at the sound of Bea screaming, instinctively rushing in the opposite direction of the sound. Leaving Chloe as she was unconscious on the pavement, WolfElly bolted down the alleyway, in the direction the drunken guy had. Her long legs, leaping far quicker than any human could. But as she reached the other end of the alley, WolfElly rounded the corner then unexpectedly turned back towards the alleyway.

Bea and Yashvi were racing down the lane towards Chloe, WolfElly stood there on her hind legs, peering at them from around the corner. WolfElly was unable to stop staring at the blonde woman, still feeling hungry but not enough to want to hurt the woman. Running away from humans wasn’t something most werewolves did but they instinctively knew they couldn’t be caught.

Bea and Yashvi reached Chloe quickly. Yashvi cradling Chloe’s head as she checked for her pulse. Bea crouched down next to the blonde, trying to shake her shoulders to wake her. Yashvi was relieved when she announced Chloe had a pulse and Bea continued working on trying to wake Chloe from her state.

WolfElly stared at the three women before suddenly being overcome with a strange sensation.

WolfElly soon transformed back into human looking Elly.

Elly stood at the end of the alleyway, stark naked. Shivering in the breeze, Elly had to wait a few seconds until her eyes readjusted. When they did, the first thing she noticed was Chloe being held in Bea and Yashvi’s arms.

Elly wanted to run over to them to help Chloe as she was freaking out if Chloe was alive let alone hadn’t done too much damage when the guy had thrown her to the ground. But Elly couldn’t run to her mate to check on her. How could she explain her naked state? Let alone from turning up in the opposite direction of where they had run from? Would Bea and Yashvi believe for one second that Elly would leave Chloe unconscious on the pavement and walk away from her? Also, whilst naked?

Elly groaned at herself as she instead turned away from the three women, swiftly moving down the street she was now on. Taking several minutes, Elly finally rounded the block surprised how big the area was and trying to be somewhat careful no one spotted a naked woman sneaking about.

Elly returned to the entrance of the laneway she had started on, glad the entrance to the Back Lane Bar next door was still empty and that it hadn’t looked like any of the patrons had heard any strange noises.

Elly knew she’d turned into her true wolf formation but she had no clue what had happened the moment she had disappeared when the wolf took over.

Spotting her dress and shoes, that she’d luckily had enough time to scramble off her body before she had transformed in full, Elly snuck over to them. Elly rushed putting the dress back on, her eyes focused on her sister, mate and sister’s fiancé the entire time. 

The relief that had washed over Elly at the sight and sound of Chloe breathing was unlike anything Elly had experienced. Holding her shoes in her hands, Elly rushed over to the women.

“Chloe! What happened?” Elly lied, knowing full well the most of what had happened to her mate.

Chloe groaned, her head thumping in pain, but she almost couldn’t help but smile at Elly’s appearance.

Answering for Chloe, Yashvi said, “It looks like Chloe hit her head on the pavement. How you feeling, Chloe?”

“Like I hit my head on the pavement,” Chloe answered honestly, groaning once more.

Elly knelt down next to Bea and Chloe, taking Chloe’s hand, “You’ll be okay though, right?”

Bea looked at Elly’s bare feet and dress that somehow looked ruffled up, “What happened to you, Elly? How did we beat you to finding Chloe?”

 “I went the other way when I left the bar, circled the block from the other direction until I found my way here,” Elly lied, “But enough about me, what happened, Chloe?”

Chloe remained laying cradled in Yashvi’s lap, “One of the guys in the bar, he followed me out here when I came out for a breather. He tried it on with me, I tried to shut him down but he kissed me, I didn’t kiss him back. I finally managed to push him away but he shoved me to the ground…that’s the last thing I remember. Did you see the guy?”

“We heard a howling sound then when we came upon this alley way, we saw a guy but he was huge, like 2 meters tall, it was shadowy but he looked dark-skinned, ran out of here quicker than I’ve ever seen a person run before,” Bea admitted, glancing over at Yashvi, remembering how strange her fiancé’s eyes looked earlier.

“That’s not even close to how I’d describe the creep who tried it on with me,” Chloe frowned, then wiped the side of her face that was sticky with the back of her hand, “Ugh…did he like drool on me? I’m all gross and sticky.”

Elly frowned at the other girls, pretending not to know who’d done that to Chloe but having more of a clue than any of them combined.

Pretty sure that twat left long before…did I drool on Chloe as a werewolf…? How did I get that close to her and not eat Chloe…?

“We should get you to a hospital,” Elly changed the subject.

Elly was surprised when Chloe shook her head, “I don’t need to go to hospital, I’ll be okay. Bump on the head, bit of a head ache. I’ll sleep it off and be right as rain in the morning…just without the morning run…definitely skipping that, Elly.”

“Are you forgetting you were unconscious several weeks ago too from your car accident?” Bea pointed out with worry, “You need to get your head checked out, Chloe.”

Chloe reached for the area where she’d hit her head, “It’ll only worry Pierce. I’m fine. I don’t need to go to hospital…and also can we keep it between us that the drunken idiot kissed me…? I probably shouldn’t have told you but…if Pierce finds out then he’s just gonna cause a big ruckus in tracking the guy down.”

I’d like to track that guy down and scare him all over again in human form for forcing himself on Chloe…but it’s not my place, is it…? It’s Pierce’s…and if Pierce tries to track this guy down…what if there were any security cameras around this area that picked up a wolf-looking being wandering around…or there’s also the naked me darting around the block before I found my dress again…

“Chloe, there’s no need to worry about what Pierce will think about this situation. He’d be worried about you but he’d know it wasn’t your fault this guy kissed you,” Yashvi insisted.

“I’ll be fine, it’s not worth the hassle,” Chloe insisted back, then when the three women didn’t look like they were gonna budge, “Give David a call for me. We’ll get me home to Ramsay Street, you can drop me off to David and Aaron’s, David can check me out to give me the all clear before I go home.”

“And if David wants you to go to hospital?” Elly pushed.

“Fine, then I’ll go to hospital if David insists that I have to…I just don’t want Pierce to know the guy kissed me,” Chloe exclaimed.

Elly squeezed Chloe’s hand, “Okay, Chlo. We’ll make sure Pierce doesn’t find out. Why don’t we see if we can get you up and walking? Bea and Yashvi can organize us a taxi or Uber back home.”

Bea wanted to disagree with Elly spending more time with Chloe but gave in, helping the other two to get Chloe to her feet, “You okay, Chlo?”

Chloe took a few steps, regaining her balance, “Yep, I’m fine…still wondering who the guy was that you two saw standing over me if it wasn’t the drunken idiot cause he was nothing like you described.”

“Let’s get you home, then worry about the rest after David checks you over and makes sure you’re perfectly fine,” Elly dismissed Chloe’s worry.

Bea handed Elly and Chloe’s purses to them, having taken them with her when she and Yashvi had left the bar to look for the others, “We’ll order an Uber, you two take it slow walking down the lane to meet us down the end. Yash and I will go stand out there, waiting for the Uber. Take your time.”

Elly immediately reached out to place her arm around Chloe’s waist to hold her upright as Bea and Yashvi stepped away from them to walk down the end of the lane, “You okay there, Chlo? For real, this is me, you can tell me the truth.”

With the couple out of earshot, Chloe looked up at Elly, glad to slip her own arm around Elly’s waist, “You’re probably wondering why I didn’t kick that guy’s ass knowing that I could?”

“I’m sure you had your reasons like that idiot surprising you and you not seeing him coming,” Elly made up, pretending she didn’t see Chloe freeze.

“I froze,” Chloe immediately admitted, “He came up to me and I froze. Every single piece of advice I’ve given my girls that I train to protect themselves went out the metaphorical window. I finally kicked him in the nads but that only made him strike out at me and I think that’s when I fell to the ground…I just froze.”

“It’s okay, Chlo, no one can be prepared to have a drunken guy make a move on you and expect to kick his ass without warning,” Elly reassured as she helped walk Chloe down the alley.

“I didn’t want Pierce to find out…if I kicked the guy’s ass then I’d have to come clean to Pierce that I know martial arts…I never thought about that before…that I couldn’t use my strength to save myself because I didn’t want Pierce to find out,” Chloe replied quietly.

“Don’t you worry about a thing. That guy will have karma come back to him for what he did. I just want to make sure you’re okay,” Elly squeezed Chloe’s hips.

Good thing that Elly believes me…but I’ll have to tell the truth soon…

“Guess I had someone else looking out for me if the girls saw someone else standing over me… Is it weird to think that person was protecting me even though I was unconscious and the person took off when Bea and Yashvi turned up?” Chloe asked.

“I think that person was your protector, Chlo. Probably scared the drunken idiot off but then got scared themselves that it would look like they hurt you when the girls appeared on the scene so booked it,” Elly suggested.

That’s what I want to believe…that even in my true wolf form I’d protect Chloe…from anything, even myself…

Bea and Yashvi stood at the end of the laneway, having booked an Uber to pick them all up. Bea stared up at Yashvi, eyeing her suspiciously.

“Anything wrong, baby?” Yashvi wondered, feeling anxious at the way Bea was staring at her.

Bea chewed on her lip before admitting, “When we were standing outside the bar and we heard that howling sound…your eyes flickered to a purple colour…”

“Huh?” Yashvi frowned.

Bea shook her head at the craziness, “I’m sure it was nothing…just a trick of light…or one of the building’s from around here…their lights reflecting in yours.”

“Had to have been, can’t see any other reason for my eyes flickering a different colour. Glad you felt you could tell me the truth, Bea,” Yashvi replied honestly, before leaning down and pecking Bea on the lips.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-Five

Saturday 14th December 2024 – The Night Before The Full Moon

Elly bounded up the stairs to Chloe’s house very early that evening. Obsessively checking her watch like she’d done all day long, Elly knew she had just over an hour and a half before the sun began to set. It would take her less than an hour to make her way to the Pack to their new home and though she was leaving it to the last minute to leave, she wanted to spend as much of the day with Aster as possible.

Deciding to leave Aster in the capable hands of Bea and Yashvi until Tuesday morning hadn’t been a decision Elly made lightly. But she knew bringing Aster with her, whilst would be enjoyable for Aster to spend the days with the family they had grown to love, abandoning the toddler for three full nights when she didn’t need to was too much to do to Aster anymore.

Besides, after they’d returned home the previous night from their rowdy engagement party, Elly had overheard Bea and Yashvi talking for ages in their bedroom about wanting to start a family of their own. Elly hadn’t wanted to listen into the conversation but it was enough to make her see that minding Aster for three full days could do the couple some good and help them decide when they were ready for children of their own.

Knowing she was going to be away from Chloe for three full days pained Elly but she knew staying away was the only way to keep Chloe safe. Especially after their experience the previous night, where unbeknownst to Chloe, Elly’s anger at a drunken moron had caused her to fully transform into her wolfy being without the need of the full moon. She could’ve hurt Chloe or done something worse. Luckily for both of them, WolfElly hadn’t harmed Chloe and Chloe hadn’t found out Elly’s dark secret.

Elly had yet to mention to Chloe that she was taking off for several days. Chloe’s head knock the previous night and clearance from David that she was okay, had allowed Elly to focus on her mate rather than have to think about the upcoming three days.

The hangovers and head knock gave them both a reason not to go on their daily run that they’d been accustomed to over the previous month.

Elly knocked on Chloe’s front door, surprised to sense that Pierce wasn’t at home. Elly smiled as soon as Chloe opened the front door, then frowned at the look on Chloe’s face, “Hey, Chlo! Everything okay?”

Chloe stood there in a leather jacket, her face swollen from tear stains down her cheeks, “I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not, what happened?” Elly asked, brushing past Chloe to walk inside the house, “Pierce not home?”

Chloe reluctantly closed the door behind Elly then turned to her, “Pierce went out with our personal chef, Rene, to scour for some new ingredients for some meals Pierce is keen to try out. He’ll be out most of the night. Him and Rene do this every couple months, scour for food, get it to Rene’s for storage, then they go out for a night on the town. Pierce likes his whiskey so he’ll stumble home drunk later tonight.”

“So, you didn’t tell Pierce anything about the guy whom attacked you last night as I assumed if you did, Pierce wouldn’t have left your side?” Elly asked.

Chloe nodded towards the couch, leading Elly over to it and sitting down next to her, bending her legs underneath her, “David gave me the all clear about my head injury, you were there with me at David’s when he did that. No point worrying Pierce for no reason…and risking my little secret about martial arts training getting out…even though it didn’t serve me much use last night. Thanks for texting me this morning to check in.”

“Anytime, I was worried about you. I was relieved when you texted back immediately. I do trust David’s judgement…I just wished you’d let us take you to hospital just in case,” Elly worried.

“I’m fine,” Chloe re-iterated, “So, what brings you over here?”

Elly eyed the puffiness of Chloe’s eyes but also couldn’t help but lust over the way Chloe looked in her leather jacket that she’d seen Chloe wear several times when she went to the fitness center, “I’m headed back to the family I lived with. Going to spend a few days with them. I’ll be back Tuesday morning.”

“Oh,” Chloe was disappointed to hear she would have to spend several days without her best friend.

“I should’ve told you earlier but I just wanted us to have the best time last night at the engagement party,” Elly explained.

“Is Aster going with you?” Chloe asked.

Elly shook her head, “Aster’s gonna stay at home here with Bea and Yashvi…and Karl and Suze, of course. I…um…I overheard Bea and Yashvi talking last night…about starting a family. Don’t tell them I told you but I thought…looking after a toddler for a couple days would…hopefully not put them off wanting to have kids of their own.”

“I’m sure the girls will do fine looking after your lil girl for a couple days. And it’s not…a secret to me. Bea’s told me before she and Yashvi want kids. They’ve spoken to one another about it…they are just struggling to work out…how and when to make it happen,” Chloe revealed, “I’m sure they want to wait until they get married mid-next year before they look to get pregnant and Yashvi wants to carry their baby first…Bea might go next depending how they get on with the whole…getting pregnant process for them.”

“Kinda wished Bea would’ve told me all this,” Elly replied sadly.

“Bea will, give her time to wrap her head around it all. It’s kinda huge for her…a handful of years ago, Bea was living on the streets, now she’s engaged, planning a wedding and wanting to start a family. All the big life changing things,” Chloe reminded Elly.

“I should be there for Bea through it a bit more than I have been and I don’t just mean attending all these things in Bea’s life with Yashvi. I just mean spending more time with Bea so she learns that she can come to me about these things. If she wants to be a mum, she only has to ask me about it…I mean I don’t know about the…process she and Yashvi will need to go through but I should have some motherly instincts to impart of Bea,” Elly realized.

“Why don’t you stay at home for the rest of the weekend? Go see the family in a few days?” Chloe suggested.

If only it was that simple…I’d need to move the full moon cycle cause I’m too afraid to be around any of you when I turn into a werewolf…last night was a big of a risk as I’ll take…

The pair were interrupted by the sound of Elly’s watch beeping at her. Elly ignored it, brushing it off, “I…gotta get home to the family no later than 8 o’clock tonight. I set a couple reminders so I know the absolute latest time I can…get on the road.”

Thanks to daylight savings time, 8.31pm is sunset…half an hour to prepare myself when I get there…that’s plenty of time, I’m not risking anything by being here with Chloe after 6pm when I need to be on the road by 7pm…no later.

“You really have to go see them tonight?” Chloe wondered, her heart aching at being apart from her best friend for several days.

It’s just a few days without Elly…why do I feel like this?

“I promised them I’d be there tonight. They’re expecting me and making a big reunion dinner. And…uh…Lexa has a cage fight on Monday night…that’s why I said I’d stay until Tuesday morning…so I can see her compete then come home,” Elly lied.

Chloe nodded slowly, “Guess I can’t keep you from your friends. They probably miss you.”

“They do and I miss them too,” Elly admitted.

“I’ll miss you,” Chloe whispered.

Elly was heartened by Chloe’s words, “I’ll miss you, too…and Aster. I wish I didn’t have to go away…”

“Maybe one day you can take me to this cabin this family live at and show me where you…spent four years of your life away from here,” Chloe nervously suggested.

Yeah, the cabin burnt to the ground a few weeks back when the Pack were hunted down by some humans who didn’t know who they were dealing with. The Pack have an entirely new home now…one that I’ve made sure I know exactly how to get to for sunset even though I’ve never been there before…

“I’d really like to take you to meet them one day…I’m sure they’d fall in love with you,” Elly assured.

Just like I am with you…how can I continue to not say these kind of things to you? I can’t keep this to myself much longer, Chlo…if I tell you how I feel then maybe we can be on our way to our life together…

Chloe wiped her own cheek gently, bringing Elly’s attention back to the blonde’s puffy eyes, “Were you crying before I got here?”

Chloe stared down at the ground, trying to avoid Elly looking at her, “I’m fine. You should go…reunite with your friends.”

“No, you’re not, Chlo. What’s wrong? Why were you crying?” Elly pushed gently, “Is it about last night? What that guy did to you? Did you change your mind about telling Pierce?”

Chloe wrapped her right arm around her own waist, the leather jacket squeaking gently, “No, it’s not that at all. I mean, I know I should’ve fought back against him and…freezing up…I never expected to do that in my years of training. I just…I’m having one of those days, y’know…”

No, could you tell me…?

“You know you can tell me anything,” Elly reassured, then when Chloe refused to look at her again, Elly put on a shy smile, “Have I ever told you I love that jacket? I’ve seen you wear it a few times when we’ve gone to the fitness center.”

Chloe wrapped her left arm around her waist, quietly hugging the jacket she was wearing around her, “Thanks.”

Elly eyed the jacket, before her sense of smell caught on to something, “Is it just me or is that jacket…too small for you?”

Chloe nodded, still refusing to look Elly in the eyes, “Don’t tell Pierce.”

“Don’t tell Pierce what, Chlo?” Elly was confused.

“About the jacket, I only wear it when he’s not around. He doesn’t know that I have it,” Chloe whispered.

“Why are you hiding your leather jacket from Pierce?” Elly wondered.

Chloe fiddled with the cuff of the jacket, “It’s not my leather jacket.”

That explains the smell of the jacket…it smells like another woman… Did Chloe pick it up at a used clothing shop and is ashamed to tell her husband the billionaire that she’s wearing a second-hand jacket?

“Second-hand clothing is in now, Chlo, it’s always been in! Nothing to be ashamed about even if Pierce would prefer you to wear the latest styles,” Elly pointed out.

“It’s not second-hand clothing like that…it is but…the leather jacket belonged to a friend of mine. I wear it when Pierce isn’t around to remind myself…of her,” Chloe admitted quietly.

“Sounds like she meant a lot to you. Do you still see your friend?” Elly asked, curious as to why Chloe seemed so upset.

“I haven’t heard from Nicolette in years…almost three years ago to the day…guess that’s why I was just having a moment about it to myself before you came by,” Chloe refused to look Elly in the eyes.

“Nicolette?” Elly repeated in a whisper, “She was a close friend of yours?”

Chloe finally met Elly’s eyes, scared to tell her the truth but feeling like Elly was the one person who wouldn’t judge her, “I had an affair with her.”

Chloe cheated on Pierce…with someone whom isn’t me!? I don’t even know this girl and I’m jealous Chloe had an affair with her…. Is Chloe crying because she wants Nicolette back?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-Six

Saturday 14th December 2024 – The Night Before The Full Moon

Elly sat next to Chloe on Chloe and Pierce’s couch, trying desperately not to reel with jealousy at Chloe’s admission of being involved in an affair with another woman on Pierce years ago, “You…had an affair with this woman…on Pierce?”

Chloe darted her eyes back to staring at the floor, not sure if she was regretting opening up to Elly about Nicolette, “Please don’t tell Pierce.”

Elly swallowed hard, trying to put aside her jealousy, reaching out her hand and taking Chloe’s gently in her own, “You can trust me, Chlo, I would never tell Pierce anything you don’t want him to know.”

Chloe nodded but remained silent.

“Tell me about Nicolette,” Elly whispered before she could stop herself.

Don’t be jealous, don’t be jealous! You weren’t around Chloe three years ago, you were punishing yourself back then for killing Finn and getting in control of your werewolfiness, you weren’t here…for Chloe to have an affair with her like Nicolette was…

Chloe gently pulled out her phone and after a few moments, showed Elly a photo on her phone of herself hugging a red headed woman.

I said tell me about Nicolette, not show me that she’s gorgeous, a red head…ugh like Mel…does this mean Chloe has a type with female red heads? And how those big blue eyes are staring at Chloe like she’s the only woman in the world…I don’t like her… How can you say that? You don’t even know this girl…you can’t blame her for wanting to get involved with Chloe…Chloe’s irresistible…I’m not the only one to have noticed…you can’t not like Nicolette because she got to be with Chloe and that’s the only thing in the world you want.

“Nicolette’s beautiful,” Elly conceded, “She’s shorter than you…height difference can be sexy.”

Chloe stared at the photo herself for a few seconds before closing it, “Nicolette is beautiful…I miss her…I miss her friendship.”

“You’re not friends anymore…the affair…ended badly?” Elly wondered, almost willing Chloe to tell her about her affair, feeling a selfish need to find out if Chloe having an affair years ago would mean she could do it again, this time with her.

You can’t want that…you can’t want Chloe to have an affair with you. You need Chloe to separate from Pierce first…starting things with your mate as an affair…you promised yourself you wouldn’t be the reason Chloe ends things with Pierce.

“Nicolette left and I don’t know where she is,” Chloe admitted sadly.

“Tell me about her,” Elly requested again, hoping this time Chloe would tell her about the red head and that she could find a way to stop being jealous of a woman she’d never met.

Chloe regained Elly’s eyesight, “Nicolette Stone and I started out as friends. In July three and a half years ago, she turned up in Erinsborough to reconnect with her mother…Jane Harris…you remember her?”

“Jane who fired me from Erinsborough High School and started…” Elly trailed off before going on a tangent that her losing her job led to Chloe kissing her for the first time, “Nicolette is Jane’s daughter?”

Chloe nodded, “The very one. Nic…I got used to calling her Nic. Nic and I bumped into one another…there may’ve been some flirting from Nic’s side but I didn’t notice. We saw each other around town at the Waterhole and Harold’s a couple times over the course of several days. She asked me out…I said I was married…and that was meant to be that as far as anything more than friendship.”

“But it wasn’t?” Elly realized.

“I was already pregnant to Pierce,” Chloe revealed for the first time.

Elly’s eyes widened sharply at the knowledge of learning for the first time that Chloe had being pregnant to her husband.

Chloe could’ve had a child with Pierce…she did have a child with him? Did she have the baby and then something happened to the baby? Or did she not go through with the pregnancy? I know Pierce is keen for children with Chloe but I thought it was Chloe who wasn’t ready for them with him…because she knows deep down, she needs to be with me…right?

Chloe felt several tears welling up in her eyes as the memory of her early pregnancy came back to her, “Tyler and Mark were having a hard time looking after Mum. Nic’s a nurse so Pierce and I offered to have Mum move in here for a couple months with Nic as our in-home nurse because Mum needed to be cared for and help with most things. Pierce didn’t want me under any stress because of the pregnancy. The baby…he wasn’t planned.”

He…? Chloe had a son…could’ve had a son? All this time I wanted Chloe to have a daughter in Aster…I never thought about Chloe having her own child…with Pierce…

“Not all babies are planned, Chlo. I don’t for one second ever regret Aster, you’d never regret your son,” Elly reassured.

“You’re right…I don’t or I wouldn’t have…if I hadn’t lost him before he was born,” Chloe admitted with tears in her eyes.

“I’m so sorry to hear you lost your son, Chlo,” Elly said earnestly.

“The affair with Nic didn’t come about as part of my grief of miscarrying my son, she and I…started before that. Pierce didn’t get on with Nic as soon as he found out she’s gay…he was threatened by her…he was right to be…typical cliched bisexual me went and saw to him being right,” Chloe scolded herself.

Elly took Chloe’s hand in her own again, trying to remain calm at the feelings invoked in her at touching Chloe’s skin.

And hearing Chloe talk about another woman…I’m not jealous…

“I was spending a lot of time with Mum and Nic whilst Pierce was busy at the hotel as I was no longer working then. About two months into my pregnancy, we were awaiting being able to do a CVS test to see if the baby had the Huntington’s gene. We kept the pregnancy a secret from Mum as we knew we had to make a decision on whether or not we could continue with the pregnancy. Mum of course overheard Pierce and I talking about the baby. Mum was so happy for us, she didn’t understand we weren’t able to decide if we could have the baby, seeing her struggling with her Huntington’s it was all too much for me,” Chloe explained.

“Nobody could blame you for that, Chlo…Fay’s illness is your future,” Elly said sadly.

But I’m in your future too…not just the Huntington’s…me, you…in love for as long as we can possibly be.

Chloe took a deep breath before continuing, “Pierce and Nic were sniping at one another all the time because…the truth is I was always listening to Nic’s opinion…about the baby, the pregnancy, Mum, Hendrix and Pierce…Nic and I just connected in a way that we listened to one another. Pierce…he started wanting to make plans for us to move to a new house, to have multiple children…we didn’t even know if this baby was free of the Huntington’s gene. We ended up letting David and Aaron take Mum for a couple weeks up to the Whit Sundays until we could have the CVS test and know what our decision on the baby would be. Nic…stayed here with us…then one day, she announced she needed to move out. I thought it was the sniping back and forth with Pierce that got to her…but she confessed she’d fallen in love with me.”

“Who wouldn’t?” Elly asked honestly, wishing Chloe knew she was talking about herself.

“And I did something I never thought I would…all the stress I’d been under worrying about if this baby wouldn’t have my condition…worrying about my marriage to Pierce and whether I’d made the right decision to marry him…my own future looking at me with my Mum…and you and your unborn baby disappearing without a trace nearly a year earlier…the accusations the police made deciding that Finn must’ve killed you both before he ran off overseas…” Chloe bit her lip as she trailed off.

“You started an affair with Nic,” Elly finished for her.

Chloe squeezed Elly’s hand, hoping for understanding, “I took her to her room and I slept with her. I thought it was just a one-time thing, a mistake I’d never make again. Nic understood that’s all it was, she never pushed me into what happened between us…but as we got closer to when we could get the test done, all my anxiety kept me from opening up to Pierce about what I felt…and with David and Aaron away…Nic and I started sneaking around together at their place. It was almost easy to have an affair with Nic. Pierce was too busy working or making plans for our future without even telling me…Nic listened to me, all my worries about…everything.”

“Nic sounded like she was the friend that you needed,” Elly accepted.

The friend I needed was you, Elly, but it wasn’t to be…

“Nic was my friend, first and foremost. I know we blurred the lines with the affair we had but she was always my friend no matter what. Nic…was the one who helped me understand that Pierce is controlling my life…” Chloe revealed.

Is that acceptance from Chloe that Pierce is controlling her…? Or acceptance years ago that led to denial now?

“Nic and I would probably get on quite well together considering we think a lot alike,” Elly eased into admitting, not wanting to point out she had already accused Pierce as controlling to Chloe.

I really can’t hate a girl I’ve never met who only did the same things I would’ve had I been in Chloe’s life back then.

“I know Pierce is controlling my life, I’ve always known deep down. Nic and I went for a walk to discuss Pierce’s controlling ways and…what was going on between us. A few days earlier, Pierce and I had gotten the good news that our baby didn’t have Huntington’s and it was confirmed we were having a boy…we were going ahead with the pregnancy because he was a healthy baby…but I still had all these doubts. Not the least of all that I was 3 months pregnant and having an affair on my husband. Nic and I knew we couldn’t continue on as we were. I was looking at having a baby…Nic did want to be a Mum one day. But it wasn’t like I could leave my husband to be with Nic and raise my child with her,” Chloe chewed on her lip.

And yet I want you to leave your husband to be with me and raise my child with me…I feel like knowing about Chloe’s affair with Nic is making it more obvious to me that Chloe won’t do that again…

“Did you choose to end the affair with Nic and focus on your marriage and the baby?” Elly wondered.

Chloe shook her head, “No, I asked Nic to help me find a way out of my marriage to Pierce…and when she promised me that she would, I let Nic go off to work at the new job she’d gotten at the hospital so I could think about how I was meant to end my marriage. But then…I felt pain in my stomach…and I was having a miscarriage.”

“I’m so sorry, Chlo,” Elly whispered.

“Pierce was devastated. How was I to leave my husband after losing our baby? Then came my Mum coming back from her holiday with the boys and I had to tell them all I’d lost the baby…I didn’t stop the affair with Nic. We couldn’t engage in the affair after I lost the baby but it became an emotional affair. Hendrix became suspicious and told Pierce. He kicked her out when she took the fall for us and told him she’d fallen for me. She moved in with Aaron and David, Mum ended up moving back to Adelaide…Pierce forbade me to have any contact with Nic because of her feelings for me. He made me choose him over her…that lasted a few weeks. Before I knew it…Pierce was busy back at work, trying to be sensitive whenever he wanted to discuss if we could try for another baby and I…kept turning back to Nic and falling into bed with her without him even knowing I was back in contact with Nic,” Chloe explained.

“Pierce always puts pressure on you that your marriage had to be his way,” Elly reminded Chloe.

“That’s exactly what Nic said to me one time I snuck her into the hotel for a rendezvous in one of the rooms there. About two months into our affair…I convinced myself that I needed to leave Pierce. Nic and I planned it out during one of our…times together in the hotel room. Nic had reconnected with Jane whom had moved here too but it wasn’t going as well as she had hoped. She didn’t have anything keeping her here…I wanted a way out of my marriage so…Nic and I were gonna run away together,” Chloe revealed.

Chloe was going to run away with this other woman? Would she run away with me…ugh I’m so utterly jealous of Nicolette…she had everything I’ve ever wanted with Chloe since I realized she’s my mate… Chloe was having an affair with her, risking losing her marriage over her, found a way for Chloe to accept how controlling Pierce is and that Chloe was willing to leave her entire life behind to run away with Nicolette… Does Chloe still wish she could’ve run away with Nicolette? How does any of these revelations about Nic…end up with Chloe and I being together?

As Elly’s thoughts consumed her about how Chloe’s past with Nic could impact her future with Chloe, Elly didn’t hear the beeping reminder on her watch telling her she needed to be on her way to The Pack before sunset…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-Seven

Saturday 14th December 2024 – The Night Before The Full Moon

“You and Nic were prepared to…throw your lives here in Erinsborough away to runaway together?” Elly repeated for clarification, desperately trying not to sound as jealous as she was.

“Yes, Nic and I spoke for hours about our plan to runaway up the coast together. I was so ready to pack what little I wanted to take with me, leave with Nic and start a brand-new life away from Pierce. I knew my brothers wouldn’t understand but I’d be free of Pierce. The next day, I packed my bag, turned up at where Nic and I agreed to meet…but she never turned up,” Chloe said, her tone sad at the last part.

Thank you, Nic, for not showing up and running away with my future mate cause if you’d have both have done that…I might never have found Chloe again…found my mate and my purpose on this world could’ve been for nothing but raising my lil girl.

“Did you want Nic to turn up so you could runaway with her? It’s just…if you were prepared to leave Pierce then…why didn’t you in the years since? Was it because you only wanted to leave to be with Nic?” Elly asked her questions quietly, pleading with Chloe not to say she was still clinging to being with the red head.

If Chloe still wants to be with Nic, then what does that mean for Chloe and I? Thinking about Chloe wanting to end her marriage to be with Aster and I is one thing…it’s another thing entirely if there’s still this woman out there that Chloe wants… Is Nic another person I’ll need Chloe to get over before she’ll give in to our bond as mates?

Chloe wiped a tear from her eye, “My affair with Nic and wanting to runaway with her…it wasn’t about Nic specifically. She was a really good friend to me and honestly that’s all she’d have ended up being even if I did runaway with her. I know she wanted more but I think she knew deep down that she wasn’t the one for me.”

Nic knew what I know without even knowing she knew the extent of it…Nic wasn’t the one for Chloe because I am…how much longer can I keep denying myself from admitting this all to Chloe?

“So, you would’ve runaway with Nic then…known you’d break things off with Nic to be friends only…to get away from Pierce and his controlling ways?” Elly asked.

Chloe nodded sadly, “Nic must’ve known…running away with me didn’t mean I was planning on spending my life with her instead…guess that’s why she never turned up when I went to meet her…why I never heard from Nic again.”

“Nic knew you hadn’t fallen for her as much as she had fallen for you…and leaving on her own was the easiest way to not get her heart broken months down the line,” Elly posed.

Chloe shrugged, “Pretty selfish of me…to use a good friend like that. As an escape from my marriage that was crumbling. Nic and I…we were good together…especially when we were alone in bed together, we were really good together…” Chloe trailed off as she blushed deeply, before clearing her throat, “But what I had with her it wasn’t…everything I was looking for.”

You don’t have to look anymore, Chlo, I’m right here… Also, me totally ignoring the Nic and Chloe were good in bed together comment…

“I don’t think it was selfish,” Elly reassured the blonde, “You needed someone to help you with what you were going through and I wasn’t around to be that person for you.”

Chloe swallowed hard at the mere suggestion of Elly being the person she could’ve turned to instead of Nic, then shook her head at the thought that if Elly had been around back then Elly would have wanted to have had an affair with her, “I still feel selfish that I was never going to be invested in wanting a relationship like Nic wanted. Running away with her…would’ve been a mistake. I hate that I used Nic as a way out of things with Pierce. I wish she knew that…”

“Do you know where Nic took off to?” Elly asked, realizing Chloe may simply need closure from her affair with Nic if she never got it when the affair ended.

Chloe shrugged, “No idea, she didn’t contact me again. Jane hung around here for a couple months after Nic took off thinking Nic would just come back when she was ready before she went after her, trying to track her down. Jane’s pretty close to Paul so I’d have thought if she ever found Nic that it’d gotten back to Paul. Of course, I investigated the town Nic and I were planning on running away to but nothing came of it. I’d just like to get in contact with Nic again so I can tell her how sorry I am if she thought I was only using her and that her getting out of the affair by leaving without contacting me again was the only way to get over me.”

Elly eyed the leather jacket Chloe had curled herself in, subtly sniffing it again, smelling the other woman’s scent on the jacket, “If you were able to find Nic again…you’d only want to apologize to her and get closure from Nic thinking you were using her?”

Chloe nodded gently, “That’s all I’d want, I’m not interested in re-starting anything with Nic.”

Elly reached out her hand, running her fingers lightly over the edge of the bottom of the jacket, “Can you loan me this jacket? I have a friend…one of the family members, Romulus, he works for the Federal Bureau, he can track her down and help you get that closure.”

Yeah, Romulus could do that…or I could just give Clarke the jacket and she’ll have Nic sniffed out within a week or two…no matter where she is in the country. Seriously, that nose of hers is disgustingly good at tracking anyone.

Chloe glanced down at the jacket, “Why does Romulus need Nic’s jacket to track her down?”

“Luck,” Elly lied, “Having something that belongs to the person he’s trying to find brings him…good luck.”

Chloe eyed Elly suspiciously at the reason she’d given her but somehow knew she could trust Elly with anything so slowly removed the leather jacket from her body before handing it to Elly, “Don’t lose it…okay? I know it’s silly to keep something of Nic’s especially if Pierce spots it in my wardrobe because he might recognize it but I just…I’ve always wondered if she left because she felt used by me and wanted to make sure she knew that I never saw her that way.”

Elly took the leather jacket carefully, “You can trust me, Chlo. I won’t lose Nic’s jacket, I’ll make sure my friend does everything possible to find Nic so you can have closure and move on.”

“Thanks,” Chloe whispered.

“Chlo, can I ask you something…?” Elly started then continued when Chloe nodded at her, “You know Pierce is controlling your life…why do you let him?”

“And why have I been claiming to you that Pierce isn’t controlling and slammed the door in your face that one time over it?” Chloe added without answering.

“I…wasn’t going to bring that up,” Elly blushed, not wanting to have been proven right when Chloe ignored the problem.

Chloe shrugged, feeling ashamed, “Pierce…still treats me well. I had an affair on him…I feel guilty for that to this day. I shouldn’t have hurt him that way…even if he doesn’t know that I could’ve hurt him like that. Not a lot of people would want to take care of me when my illness takes hold, Pierce will. He might be controlling and sometimes he does things I don’t like but he…I can’t leave him.”

Not the answer I was looking for… If I argue with Chloe that she’s gonna have to because what she doesn’t know is that we need to be together…I could push her further away if she’s convinced herself she can’t leave her husband…

“I know you think right now that you can’t leave Pierce…but one day things might change and I’ll be here for you when it does,” Elly promised.

Chloe smiled shyly at Elly’s words but didn’t respond.

Sensing Chloe was going to shut down on her again if she continued egging on Chloe to leave her husband, Elly chewed on her lip as she stared down at the leather jacket in her hands, “My friend will need to know everything you know about Nic to track her down. What else can you tell me about her?”

Elly swallowed hard as she watched Chloe smile hearing Nic’s name again and light up as she started talking about the red head once more. Elly was so focused on trying to allay her jealousy over how much Nic truly meant to Chloe that she failed to register her watch beeping at her with another reminder that the moon would be rising in the sky in less than an hour…

A little while later, Chloe was standing in the kitchen with Elly, pouring them both a glass of water, having been talking to one another for some time. Elly’s jealousy over Nicolette was still present but she felt as reassured as she could be that arranging for Clarke to track Nic down wouldn’t lead to Chloe wanting to reunite with Nic instead of her.

“You okay, Elly?” Chloe asked as she handed over the glass, “Do you hate me for having an affair on Pierce?”

Elly placed the glass on the counter next to her as she stood in front of Chloe, still holding the leather jacket in her other hand, along with her handbag slung over her shoulder, prepared to take the jacket with her to get some answers for Chloe, “I’m not gonna lie…you really surprised me when you told me you’d had an affair with Nic several years ago. I never saw you putting your marriage at risk over a fling that lasted several months…but I get why you did it. Pierce has never treated you right, Chlo. To answer your question, no, I don’t hate you. I could never hate you, Chlo.”

I love you…how much longer can I keep denying myself from saying it to you?

Chloe nodded shyly, “I’ve been holding all this in about Nic and what I did with her for so many years…I think even if your friend doesn’t track down where she ran off to on her own…I’ve gotten my own form of closure by talking about it to you and getting it off my chest. Does that make sense at all?”

“Yes, it does make sense, Chlo,” Elly agreed, “You needed someone who you could be completely honest with and I’m glad that happened to be me. I will never judge you or think bad of you, no matter what.”

Chloe placed her own glass of water down on the counter, before leaning forwards, wrapping her arms around Elly’s waist in a hug and placing her head against Elly’s shoulder, “You’re always here for me and you do let me be completely honest with you without any judgment. How do you do that?”

Elly held Chloe against her, surprised when the blonde pulled back to stare into her eyes, “I’m just me…and you’re always honest with me…even when you need to take some time to be honest about things like Pierce controlling your life.”

I wish I could be honest with you, Chlo.

What are you still hiding from me, Elly? I know there’s more to the last few years than you’ve been telling me…

Chloe pursed her lips, “Will you be honest with me, Elly?”

“About what?” Elly paused.

“What you’re hiding from me,” Chloe answered ambiguously.

Without thinking about all the things that she was hiding from the blonde, Elly saw her chance to be honest with Chloe, the only way she knew how to.

Elly leant forwards, capturing Chloe’s lips with her own, kissing her gently before deepening the kiss when Chloe didn’t pull away. Elly’s mind was racing at the feeling of finally having her mate in her arms, where she belonged but she feared Chloe would soon push her away because it wasn’t right for the blonde to be kissing another person whilst married. Despite having admitted to previously having an affair, Elly knew Chloe wouldn’t go there again.

Or would she because she’s my mate and an affair with me wouldn’t be about a reason to get out of her controlling marriage…? It’d be because we were made for one another.

When Chloe moaned into the kiss, Elly relaxed gently that Chloe wanted to keep kissing her, softly clutching at Chloe’s hair, trailing her fingers through it, as she continued kissing Chloe deeply.

A moment later, Elly quickly realized Chloe needed to break the kiss for oxygen to breathe, leaving her lips lingering near Chloe’s, staring into Chloe’s eyes, “I love you.”

Chloe blinked several times, the power of Elly’s kiss followed by her words, utterly bewildering her, “You…what?”

“I love you,” Elly repeated, “That’s what I’ve been hiding.”

Among other things…

Chloe opened her mouth to reply but didn’t have a clue what she could possibly say to Elly, terrified of thinking she was dreaming.

Before either could say another word, Chloe and Elly broke their eye contact when Elly’s watch began beeping loudly and incessantly without stopping. Elly stared at the device, her eyes widening as she read the time.

“Is that another reminder you need to leave?” Chloe whispered, unsure if she should beg Elly to stay so they could talk about their kiss and Elly’s love confession.

Leave? Left! I should’ve left more than an hour ago! I forgot! I got so caught up in talking to Chloe and then with the kiss and I just told her I love her and…I don’t have time; I’ve got a minute before I turn into a werewolf! I need to go! Now! Chloe can’t learn the truth about me!

“I gotta go,” Elly blurted out, dropping her hand from Chloe’s face, the leather jacket still in her other hand, and without another second she rushed to the front door, streaming out of the house as fast as she possibly could.

Chloe didn’t hesitate as she rushed out after Elly, “Elly, come back, we gotta talk about this, you can’t just walk out on me after what just happened between us.”

Elly was practically flying down the stairs to the driveway when she glanced back up at Chloe, “We’ll talk later.”

Thinking Elly would be taking off for three days and stopping them from talking about their kiss anytime soon, Chloe persisted after Elly down the stairs, shocked by how quick Elly was running away from her, “Elly, we need to talk about this now.”

Elly didn’t look back at Chloe this time as she raced down the driveway, desperate to outrun Chloe and get away from her before she turned into a werewolf in less than a minute.

“Elly, wait up!” Chloe pleaded as Elly was already turning up the street away from Ramsay Street when Chloe had made it to the end of her driveway.

Realizing she still had her own handbag and Nicolette’s leather jacket in her hand, knowing she had promised to help track the woman down for Chloe, Elly didn’t want to damage the jacket or leave it or her handbag in the middle of the street when she shifted, so she threw both items behind a hedge of a neighbours house, before Chloe turned into the street. Hoping no one else would find them and that she’d remember to collect them.

As Chloe turned onto the street out of Ramsay Street, she was stunned to see Elly was already a hundred meters in front of her and completely out of her ability to chase her down. Chloe came to a stop, holding her hands to her hips in exhaustion, as she worried why Elly had run away from her.

Was the kiss that bad? Did Elly freak out at thinking we’d end up having an affair like I did with Nic and that it wouldn’t mean anything serious to me? How the hell does she run that fast?

Feeling reassured that Chloe had given up chasing her, Elly relaxed her composure as she continued running away from Chloe in case she started running after her again, refusing to let Chloe see her as a werewolf.

As she turned into another street, grateful for no humans to be around outside, Elly glanced up to the sky, seeing the near full moon begin to rise. Within seconds, Elly felt the transformation happen, continuing to run down the street, until she leapt forward, her clothes tearing from her body.

WolfElly landed on the path, her four legs gently coming to a halt from her run.

Sniffing the air, WolfElly howled at the night sky before she shot off back in the direction that she had come from in.

A moment later, WolfElly sat on her hind legs on the corner of Ramsay Street, watching Chloe reluctantly walk back up the stairs to her home.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-Eight

Saturday 14th December 2024 – The Night Before The Full Moon

Chloe stood at the top of the stairs at the front of her house, just outside of the front door. It was after 10 pm. Pierce had stumbled home drunk ten minutes earlier and jumped in the shower. Even though he was in another room to her, Chloe could barely stand to be in the house with her husband. So, she stood outside the front door, leaning over the balcony, wishing she could be just about anywhere else.

Barely two hours ago, Chloe had been in the embrace of her best friend, Elly, kissing her passionately and hearing Elly’s quiet words that she was in love with her. Then before she could barely get another word out about what they’d done, Elly had raced out of her house, outrunning Chloe at an extreme pace until Chloe had given up trying to catch up to Elly and returned to her home alone, confused over what happened between them.

Chloe couldn’t even look at her husband, Pierce, when he arrived back home after a night on the town with their friend and personal chef, Rene.

Chloe had kissed another woman whilst still married to Pierce. Not the first time that had happened. Chloe didn’t know if she regretted confessing to Elly that years earlier, she had had an affair on Pierce, with her friend, Nicolette.

But this time felt different.

Way different. Nicolette had been an escape from her problems that had been banking up in her marriage to Pierce and an excuse to take the easy way out and leave him without a word before realizing she couldn’t do that without someone by her side.

Chloe had been in love with Elly for months, betrayed her own brother to be with Elly. Not to mention, the feelings Elly had invoked in her since her best friend had returned after years missing, feared dead.

Elly could be someone she would tell Pierce she was leaving him for. Or perhaps she could’ve been, if things had been a bit different.

Chloe refused to get drawn into another affair. No matter how much her heart was telling her how much her kiss with Elly meant to the pair of them.

Where are you, Elly? I could really use you here to have talked to you about our kiss and your declaration of love instead of you taking off like you did… Why did I kiss you back? I need to know if you really love me, Elly…cause I think I still love you… I can’t have another affair; I can’t let that kiss go any further whilst I’m with Pierce…and I can’t leave him…

WolfElly sat on the corner of Ramsay Street, the one looking across from #24. WolfElly stared up at Chloe leaning against the balcony, wishing she could go and curl up at Chloe’s feet and be there with her.

It had taken Elly nearly two years but when she shifted into her wolf formation during the light of the full moon cycle, she now had the memories of her human life. And when she awoke during the sunrise, she contained the memories of her time as a wolf. It was only when she transformed into her full werewolf beast out of anger, without the full moon cycle, that she no longer had her memories, like she had when she’d killed Finn and the previous night, trying to save Chloe from the drunken guy.

WolfElly panted gently at the thought of whether that would be her life, wanting to curl up at Chloe’s feet. Would Chloe even want that? A werewolf for a girlfriend, who wanted to curl up at her feet whilst she was a wolf? Or just plain, why would Chloe want a werewolf for a partner?

Because Chloe’s my mate and the bond between us means she’ll look past my three-night a month problem…right?

WolfElly almost smiled to herself if that was possible, as she realized Chloe had seen her and was staring straight at her. WolfElly flinched as she locked eyes with Chloe, fearing her mate would either run away from her back inside the house at the sight of a wolf or chase after her to find out if there was indeed a wolf at the end of the street.

But instead, Chloe stood there by the balcony, staring at WolfElly from across the street curiously.

After a few moments of staring silently at one another, their connection was broken and WolfElly growled to herself as she sensed Pierce exiting the house to stand next to Chloe at the balcony.

Why does that pig get to be with Chloe? Chloe needs to leave him for me…me who’s sitting here 50 meters away from Chloe panting like the wolf that I am and just wanting to curl up at Chloe’s feet…sometimes I can see why choosing to be with a human would be an easier life for Chloe…I just can’t understand how that human would end up been Pierce.

Chloe glanced away from the animal across the street, sitting on the corner. Pierce had stumbled out the front door and as he shifted to stand beside her, Chloe noticed he was wearing a white singlet and a pair of boxers, “Don’t you want to get changed into actual clothes being out here in case someone spots you?”

Pierce shrugged, “Came out here to get you to come to bed with me.”

Chloe shuddered at the smell of whiskey on Pierce’s breath, “I’ll come to bed in a moment, just standing out here, enjoying the fresh air.”

“How was your night?” Pierce asked with a mumbled tone that suggested he didn’t care.

Elly kissed me, I kissed her back…Elly said she loved me…I barely responded because I never thought Elly could feel that way about me…Elly ran away…I chased after her but couldn’t catch her…and now I’m standing out here away from you, staring at a dog across the road because I can’t tell you the truth…

“Nothing special,” Chloe finally shrugged, “You should get to bed, you look trashed.”

“I’m fine,” Pierce lied before stepping behind his wife and wrapping his arms around her waist, “Let’s go to bed together tonight, Chloe.”

WolfElly continued sitting across the road, staring at her mate and growling quietly to herself as she saw Pierce wrap his arms around Chloe. She wanted to stop him, scare him away from Chloe but she knew she couldn’t. She couldn’t risk Chloe finding out her secret.

“Not tonight, Pierce, you’re drunk, you’re not good when you’re drunk,” Chloe dismissed, then before Pierce could pressure her more to sleep with him, Chloe pointed to the animal across the road on the corner, “Have you ever seen a dog like that one across the street?”

Pierce glanced at where Chloe was pointing, squinting his eyes at the animal, “Chloe, that’s a wolf, not a dog! We need to get inside away from it!”

Chloe frowned up at her husband then back at the animal sitting peacefully on its own, “It’s just a big dog, Pierce. Nothing to be scared of.”

“That’s a wolf, Chloe,” Pierce repeated in agitation and fear, “We need to get back in the house.”

“You can go to bed, I’m fine here. Even if it was a wolf, it’s been sitting over there for a while now, hardly hunting me. The front door is right there, I’d beat it inside even if it did try to come after me. Seriously, go to bed, I’ll be in soon,” Chloe promised.

“Five minutes,” Pierce ordered before leaning down and pressing his lips to Chloe’s, “Whatever you do, Chloe, do not get it in your head that we should get a dog,” then shaking his head as he stumbled back inside the house, “It’s a bloody wolf, not a dog. I won’t have a bloody wolf anywhere near us.”

Once Pierce was back inside the house, Chloe audibly sighed, before finding herself smiling as she caught the eyesight of the gorgeous grey dog, “I can barely see you but I feel like I already know you…such a weird feeling.”

WolfElly sat there staring at Chloe, glad to see Pierce had stumbled away from her, having wanted to howl at the moon watching him kissing the woman she loved. After several moments of simply enjoying watching the blonde staring at her, WolfElly purred as she saw Chloe nod at her then return back inside the house.

Growling quietly at her mate going back inside the house with the man who was controlling her, WolfElly still understood she couldn’t do anything to stop Chloe that evening.

Unprepared for spending the night as a wolf around Erinsborough when she was meant to be roaming free with the Pack at their new home base, WolfElly wasn’t quite sure what she was meant to do for the evening and it’s not like she could get to them in her wolf form.

WolfElly soon decided she had hours to go until she returned to her human formation so went for a walk around the neighbourhood.

Hours later, WolfElly returned home to the Kennedy’s, seeing as though it was home to her. Unable to go inside the house and curl up in her own bed because she was incapable of unlocking the doors and also didn’t want her family to see her and know that there was a wolf around them.

WolfElly snuck around the backyard of the house, circling the backyard for a few minutes before finding a decent spot on the grass where she curled up and fell asleep for the rest of the night.

As the sun rose the following morning, WolfElly transformed back into her human form. It didn’t take long for the woman to wake up with the sun rising in the sky and the breeze blowing lightly against her naked body.

As Elly flickered her eyes open, she groaned at knowing she was curled up lying naked in the backyard of her house. Alone. Instead of with the rest of the Pack like she’d planned out. But her unexpected conversation with Chloe that had made her lose track of time, let alone her unexpected kiss with Chloe, meant she’d spent the night roaming the streets of Erinsborough, keeping out of sight, before falling asleep in the backyard at the Kennedy’s.

That kiss…damn that was a good kiss…

Elly smiled at the memory of the kiss, before sighing at her worry that Chloe would want answers about her feelings the next time that she saw her, let alone if she might reject her outright.

Elly groaned as she sat up, relieved to see Bea had failed to bring the laundry in the previous evening and it was still hanging on the line. Standing up, Elly grabbed a pair of undies, jeans and a t-shirt, quickly putting them on.

As Elly was pulling the t-shirt over her head, she flinched as she heard footsteps behind her.

“Elly?” came Bea’s surprised voice.

Don’t say you saw me getting changed, don’t say you saw me getting changed.

“Morning, Bea,” Elly said brightly as she adjusted the t-shirt then turned around to her sister.

“Did you just put your t-shirt on…straight from the clothes line out here?” Bea asked, then seeing the area of the grass WolfElly had curled up in to sleep, “Did you…sleep out here last night?”

Elly shrugged her shoulders, “Don’t be ridiculous. What’s for breakfast this morning? How’d Aster go being looked after by you and Yashvi last night?”

Bea continued looking at her sister with disbelief that she had dismissed her questions, “Weren’t you meant to be spending three days…at some place you never actually told us with the other family that looked after you and Aster?”

Elly pursed her lips, “Plans changed. I’ll have to call them as soon as I can as I never got around to letting them know I wasn’t able to make it. Actually, I just need to duck out for a bit. Do you want to let Aster know I’m back if she’s up and I’ll sort breakfast for her when I get back?”

“O…kay…so you’re not going to tell me where you were last night or where you slept?” Bea pushed.

“It’s really not important, I slept fine. I’m more worried about Aster as well as my friends not knowing I didn’t make it out to them,” Elly answered, before walking away from Bea.

Bea frowned as she watched her sister skip off barefoot around to the front of the house, wondering what on earth had come over her.

A few moments later, Elly had wandered down the block from Ramsay Street, returning to the hedge that she’d thrown her handbag and Nicolette’s jacket behind the previous evening before she’d transformed into a werewolf. Sneaking around it to collect the items, Elly was soon walking back home, waiting to check her messages on her phone when she got back there.

As Elly crossed the street in front of Chloe’s house, she turned around to it. Elly was unable to shake the feeling that she needed to do everything possible to avoid Chloe for at least the next couple days. She was too fearful that Chloe wouldn’t react well to their kiss, despite kissing her back, and would reject Elly’s need for Chloe to leave Pierce to be with her…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Forty-Nine

Sunday 15th December 2024 – The Night Of The Full Moon

“Elly home?” Chloe asked the second Bea opened the front door at the Kennedy’s.

Bea raised her eyebrow at Chloe’s unexpected brashness, deciding to tease her, “Hi, Bea, nice to see you this bright and early on a Sunday morning. You’re looking great like you haven’t been up all night with a toddler trying to get Aster to go to sleep because her Mum was away and Aster thought it’d be fun for Yashvi and I to not go to sleep most of the night. Say, any chance Elly’s home?”

Chloe blushed at Bea’s teasing, “Yes, I meant all that too.”

“But, you mainly meant the Elly part?” Bea continued teasing, surprised to see Chloe blushing even further as she silently nodded, “You just missed her. Elly had breakfast with Aster then took off with her for the day, said she’d need Vee and I to mind Aster again this evening for her. Elly didn’t say why or where she was going today…or what time she’d be back. Were you expecting her to go on your run together this morning?”

“Oh,” Chloe replied sadly, feeling desperate to talk to Elly about their kiss the previous night, “Ah, no I know Elly and I weren’t going to be able to go for our run for the next few mornings.”

“You look worried about Elly,” Bea picked up on, “Actually, you don’t happen to know where Elly slept last night, Chlo?”

Not with me… Did I want her too? Wow, that is not a question I thought I’d be asking myself…

“Okay, now I feel a little justified in my worry. Elly didn’t sleep here last night? I was with Elly ‘til just after eight-ish last night but she…ah…took off. She said she was meant to go stay with the other family for several nights but I wasn’t sure if she still took off to them after she left my place…or came back here,” Chloe stumbled over her words.

Came back here after she ran away from me up the street from here…if I tell Bea that part then I’ll need to tell her about the kiss I shared with Elly…and as much as I need to talk to Elly about that…I can’t risk anyone else finding out cause then that risks Pierce finding out…

Bea shrugged, “My sister was being weird this morning when I saw her in the backyard changing into a t-shirt that she’d gotten straight from the clothes line. I swear it looked like she’d slept outside in the backyard. She didn’t end up going to spend the night with the other family like she’d planned. I dunno, maybe she took Aster with her to see them even though she’d be back with Aster later for Yashvi and I to mind tonight again.”

“Okay, yeah that is weird if Elly slept in your backyard…I’m sure she slept in her bed and was just outside early this morning,” Chloe decided.

“That makes more sense,” Bea admitted, yet didn’t believe that Elly had slept in her bed last night, then changed the subject, “So, what were you chasing Elly for?”

Chloe opened and closed her mouth for a moment, “Well, I just…needed to talk to her.”

“You can talk to me,” Bea offered.

Chloe shook her head, “Nah…it’s more…Elly related. So, she didn’t tell you what time she’d be back here?”

Bea wondered what could be ‘Elly related’ for Chloe, worried her sister’s feelings for Chloe had caused something to happen between them, yet thought to herself, as the married one, Chloe wouldn’t be so eager to get a hold of Elly, “Not a clue what time she’ll be home.”

“I’ll call her,” Chloe decided, then as she turned to leave, Chloe turned back to Bea, “When she gets home, can you let me know, Bea? I kinda really need to speak to her.”

“Sure,” Bea agreed, as she watched Chloe wander back across the road to her house, feeling like something had happened between the pair and worried what that would mean for her sister who had a habit of running away from her problems.

Over at the Flametree Café, Elly sat at a table with Aster, having a cup of tea and hot chocolate, hiding out away from the main Erinsborough haunts that Chloe would know to look for her.

If she wants to look for me…she so doesn’t…

The Flametree Café was part of the day spa away from the Lassiters complex, it was still part of Erinsborough but with Harold’s Café, the Waterhole and the Tram, as dining experiences locally, this café was the least frequented by locals.

Elly wanted to do what she could to give Chloe space and was too worried about Chloe outright rejecting her despite knowing the bond between them wasn’t meant to be stopped by anything.

Aster knew something was up with her Mum, seeing as though she was still in town instead of disappearing to be with the Pack like she was supposed to be but Aster also knew Elly had a habit of trying to protect herself from getting hurt.

As they sat together at the café, Elly was on the phone to Lexa, having called her friend to let her know she was fine despite not meeting up with them as planned, “I’m fine, Lex. I didn’t make it out to meet you guys because something came up and I couldn’t get there. I didn’t get lost halfway there.”

“We were more concerned you didn’t make it the whole way out to us before the moon rose and you transformed halfway on the way…that would’ve been dangerous if you had,” Lexa pointed out.

“Very dangerous to have transformed out there but I didn’t because I stayed out here in Erinsborough and it was…okay,” Elly revealed, “I mean yeah, I didn’t have the best timing because I completely and utterly lost track of time…and okay that it was the night before the full moon…but overall, everything went fine. I transformed, nobody saw me wandering around the town for the night before I curled up and fell asleep. I mean…Chloe kinda spotted me but it was from afar and I don’t think I freaked her out…”

“I’m glad last night worked out for you. Can’t believe you of all wolves would lose track of time on a wolf night or that it was a wolf night. Must’ve been some distraction. Chloe seeing you as a wolf even from afar still worries me. You know how careful you need to be before you tell Chloe the truth because if she reveals our secret to anyone else, we’re at risk,” Lexa worried.

“Tell me about it, I had everything planned out to give me extra time to make my way there and I just…totally lost track of time. It was fine, I promise you, Chloe only saw me from afar. I don’t think she was scared of me. It was actually…it made me think that if I ever was to tell Chloe…and that is a massive IF…maybe she wouldn’t…be as scared of me as I think she would be,” Elly explained.

“Being scared is one thing, blurting out our secret to people who shouldn’t know is kinda what I’m mostly concerned about, Fresh Meat,” Lexa admitted, “But then again with Chloe being your mate, you kinda need to reconcile the fact that you need to tell Chloe the truth one day soon. If you think Chloe might be receptive to our big secret…I’d suggest you tell Chloe before you make a move on her, that way she knows what she’s getting into by being with you.”

Little bit late for the telling Chloe before I make a move on her…

Elly glanced at Aster, happily sitting across from her sipping her hot chocolate.

If I tell Lexa that I kissed Chloe and Chloe kissed me back in front of Aster…that daughter of mine will be overjoyed but also never stop talking about it.

“I know…after last night…I think I’m starting to see that one way or the other…I need to tell Chloe the truth about me. I guess you’re right when you’ve said in the past that Chloe will work out something’s different with me when I don’t age…not to mention all my other powers. I’m just struggling to work out when to tell her…on top of waiting for Chloe to realize her future is with me and not Pierce,” Elly confessed.

“It’ll all work out in the end, Fresh Meat,” Lexa promised.

“I really hope you’re right, Lex,” Elly agreed, “Look, I’m gonna stay out here tonight. I’ll give you a call tomorrow morning to let you know I made it through another night.”

“If you need any help, you know where we are,” Lexa offered before hanging up the phone.

“Chloe will understand when you tell her you’re a wolf, Mama,” Aster added quickly.

“I can only hope Chloe will. I’m not ready to tell her the truth yet, Aster, but one day soon I will,” Elly decided, “Perhaps before next months’ full moon cycle…or the one after that.”

“Okay, Mum,” Aster agreed happily.

As Elly put the phone down, Chloe’s name came up on the Caller ID for an incoming call. Elly flicked the phone on silent, letting the call ring out, then glanced at Aster who was looking at her strangely, “Not a number I recognize. Besides, I’m spending my day focused on you, Aster, my girl.”

As Aster nodded and continued sipping on her hot chocolate, Elly placed a smile on her face.

I can’t avoid Chloe forever…how about until the end of the moon cycle when I know I’m back to myself…? I guess at least one good thing came out of last night…I don’t need to leave Erinsborough to turn into a wolf on the full moon.

Later that day, Chloe returned to the Kennedy’s, asking Bea as soon as she opened the front door, “Elly home yet?”

“Chloe, this is the third time today you’ve asked me that. Don’t you trust that when she does come home, I’ll let you know?” Bea pointed out shyly to her friend whom was clearly desperate to speak to her sister.

Chloe blushed once more, hating how obvious it was that she wanted to talk to Elly about their kiss yet it was appearing more and more that Elly was avoiding her as she also wasn’t taking her calls, “I know, I’m sorry…I just really need to speak to Elly…”

“What happened between you both?” Bea asked.

“I will tell you, Bea…I just need to talk to Elly about it first,” Chloe promised, before sighing, “I’ll try Elly again later…”

Before Chloe turned away, Bea added, “Chlo, whatever it is that you and Elly need to talk about, just give my sister some time. She’s not going to run away again…she promised us all, she wouldn’t.”

As Chloe turned back to walk home once more, she grumbled to herself.

I hadn’t even thought that Elly might run away again…one little kiss and everything could change…I need to get Elly to talk to me about it…I don’t even know what to say or feel about our kiss…

That evening, Chloe was once again standing against the balcony out the front of her house alone. She came to find that she was happy to do a lot of thinking at the balcony rather than locking herself away in her art studio.

Elly hadn’t called her back. She’d avoided the handful of calls that she’d made. On top of that, Bea had texted about an hour ago to say that Elly had returned home to drop off Aster to be looked after for the evening before rushing out the front door again less than a minute later. Chloe assumed that meant that Bea either didn’t have a chance to tell Elly that she had been eager to talk to the brunette.

Or Elly ran out on Bea because she truly doesn’t want to talk to me about our kiss…

Despite her anguish, Chloe smiled as she suddenly spotted the dog from the previous night sitting on the corner of the street again. Chloe had secretly hoped it would come back but didn’t think that it would.

Pierce glided outside to the balcony to stand next to his wife, “You out here again? What’s going on, Chloe?”

Chloe continued staring at the dog from across the street, “Just doing some thinking, Pierce. Looks like I’m not the only one out here again.”

Pierce groaned when he saw the wolf again, “What is that wolf doing back again? We seriously need to call animal protection on that wolf.”

“You’re not calling animal protection, Pierce. She’s harmless,” Chloe determined, deciding not to argue that it wasn’t a wolf.

Pierce rolled his eyes at his wife, “How do you even know it’s a ‘she’?” before his foot nearly tipped over a bowl at Chloe’s feet, “Chloe, what is with the bowl of water and…is that some of our leftover dinner? What are you insanely trying to entice the wolf to come eat this food?”

Maybe…I have no idea why I want to see the dog come over here to me…

Chloe shrugged, “It’s hanging around outside at night on its own…thought it might be hungry.”

Pierce glared across the road at the animal, feeling unnerved by the wolf, unable to argue with his wife about it because he refused to allow Chloe to be upset with him so he could get her to start a family with him like he desperately wanted, “Fine, feed the wolf, you’re making a mistake if you do and that thing hurts anyone. But whatever you do, you are not letting that thing in our house. I’m going to bed, got some reports to read, don’t be out here for long.”

Chloe watched as her husband turned to go back inside, smirking at him, “Pierce, we both know you let me do anything I want.”

Pierce shook his head at his wife’s teasing, “I’m not letting a bloody wolf in our house, Chloe.”

Chloe turned back to the edge of the balcony, staring back at the animal, unafraid of it.

What is it about you that makes me want to give you a good home and curl up at my feet at night…? Why is Elly avoiding me after our kiss? Does she think I’ll refuse to be friends with her ever again if Elly does…have feelings for me…yet can’t leave my husband for her…?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty

Sunday 15th December 2024 – The Night Of The Full Moon

Twenty minutes after Pierce had wandered back inside their house to go to bed and read reports before falling asleep, Chloe was still standing outside by the balcony. Staring off at the dog sitting on the corner of Ramsay Street, staring back at her.

Chloe gently tapped the bowl of water with her foot that she’d sat out on the edge of the top of the stairs, not knowing why she felt like she wanted the dog to come and join her.

Chloe smiled as the dog gently yet somewhat reluctantly stood up and padded across the street to #24, “There you go.”

WolfElly walked over to the driveway of #24, unsure what she was doing getting closer to Chloe, expecting Chloe to freak out about her once she got closer.

WolfElly sat back down at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the house, fearing any moment Chloe would run inside the house away from her. But instead, she was pleasantly surprised when Chloe crouched down and pushed the water bowl closer to her.

WolfElly stumbled her way up the stairs, finding the stairs harder to manage with four paws instead of two legs. But she managed to reach the top, still waiting for Chloe to scream in terror once she got closer, not even knowing why she was getting close to Chloe in her wolf formation.

WolfElly was shocked when Chloe reached out her hand to push the water bowl to her, bowing down in front of it to sip the water from it.

Well, this is embarrassing. How’s Chloe gonna feel about me when she knows one day that this is me…lapping up the water in the bowl with my wolf tongue like a freaking…ugh werewolf that I am…? Oh, flips’ sake, Chlo, why you go and put your leftover dinner in the other bowl? I hate my whole life right now…Chloe’s never gonna look at me the same way when she knows it’s really me.

“There you go, good doggy,” Chloe encouraged.

WolfElly looked up at Chloe as she was about to dig into the bowl of food.

Doggy? Is that why Chlo isn’t afraid of me…? She thinks I’m a bloody dog! I love this woman and I’ll bloody well tell her this one day but she can be quite adorably daft as a…wait a minute… Okay either I’m imaging this because I don’t want Chloe to be as adorably daft as she’s being right now but…didn’t Abby say something about sometimes human mates when they see their werewolf, they see them as a dog instead? Like they are blinded by love that they see us as harmful dogs…? I really hope that’s it.

WolfElly was even more surprised when Chloe reached out her hand, this time to stroke it against her face, “You’re not so scary. Don’t know what Pierce was going on about.”

Not so scary ‘til you learn who and what I truly am, Chlo.

Giving into the affection Chloe was giving her, WolfElly found herself purring gently at the feeling of Chloe running her hand against her left ear.

Before she knew it, WolfElly had ignored the food on offer and shuffled herself forwards until she had curled herself around Chloe’s feet as she stood back to the balcony once more.

“Why is it that you feel so familiar? Those eyes of yours…they remind me of someone but I just can’t pick it,” Chloe muttered out to the animal.

Elly, they remind me of Elly’s eyes.

Okay, should I be more offended that Chloe doesn’t know what my eyes look like considering I want to spend the rest of my life with the two of us staring into one another’s eyes at every chance we get…or glad that Chloe isn’t gonna figure out my dark secret?

WolfElly didn’t get a chance to find out if Chloe was working out the truth when out of nowhere, rain started drizzling on them.

Chloe stared up at the night sky, “Are you kidding me? It’s peak of summer in Aus, we had a 35 degrees day today. Why is it now raining?”

WolfElly pouted with a shy howl, leading Chloe to stare down at her, “Do you have a home to go to and stay out of the rain?”

Being able to understand Chloe clearly, instead of being an animal that didn’t, WolfElly glanced up at Chloe and shook her head.

“C’mon, then, can’t leave you out here all night if it’s raining,” Chloe decided, before walking over to the front door and opening it, “C’mon now, you can sleep next to my bed tonight.”

Next to or in…? Oh, who cares, Chloe’s inviting me into her bedroom…okay fine, she’s inviting ‘Dog’ me into her bedroom…I think I’d prefer this if I wasn’t a wolf… Cripes what is Chloe gonna think of me when she does learn the truth and that it was me about to eat her leftover dinner from a dog bowl, curling up to her feet and wanting to curl up in her bed with her…? She’s gonna think this is as weird as it is.

Before Chloe could say anything about needing to check with Pierce first, WolfElly dashed inside the house quickly. Chloe soon picked up the bowls and shuffled inside the house where she placed the bowls back down by the entrance, glad to see the dog watching her do so and made her feel like she understood where the water and food would be for her.

Without leading the way, Chloe grimaced as WolfElly dashed off down the hallway towards her bedroom, not even realizing the animal should not even know which room was her bedroom. Although the open door probably gave it away had Chloe thought about it.

When Chloe reached her bedroom door, she found WolfElly standing in the doorway, baring her teeth at Pierce. Of course, because Chloe wasn’t seeing WolfElly as she appeared, she didn’t see that WolfElly was baring her fangs at her husband.

Pierce was sitting up in their bed, having managed to get his legs out from the bed sheets so he was sitting on top of the doona, not wanting to jump off the bed but was able to if he needed to as the wolf growled at him, “Chloe, what are you doing? Letting this thing in our house!”

Chloe walked over to WolfElly, finding herself patting the animal on the head, stroking her ears, “It’s raining outside, she doesn’t have a collar on, I don’t know if she’s got a home to go to. It’s just for one night, I promise. I left her food and water bowls by the front door. She can sleep on the floor by the bed on my side.”

I’m not sleeping on the floor when the option is there to sleep in your bed… Ugh this is far too weird to comprehend…Chloe is gonna be aghast when she realizes it was me, the wolf, who wanted to sleep next to her on her bed…okay, not with Pierce in the bed too, I need to get rid of him.

Pierce threw the reports he’d been reading on his bedside table, “Chloe, what part of ‘that’s a wolf’ are you not seeing? I’m calling animal control to collect this thin—her.”

WolfElly growled harder at Pierce, showing him as many of her fangs as she possibly could, then feeling Chloe continue to tussle her hand against her head, purred loudly.

This is so embarrassing, wanting to scare Pierce out of his bed whilst also purring like I am a sappy little puppy dog when it comes to Chloe. I’ve got some explaining to do when Chloe one day learns the truth about me.

“No, you’re not, Pierce. Look at her, she’s harmless, it’s just one night. We can take her to animal control in the morning,” Chloe stated firmly.

WolfElly nodded her head up at Chloe, deciding she needed to play somewhat nice yet still wanted to get Pierce out of the bedroom.

Pierce eyed the wolf, swallowing hard at how much his wife was defiantly standing by the animal, realizing he was in a tough spot with Chloe, needing her to start listening again to his requests to start a family with him, “I swear to God if this wolf attacks us in the middle of the night…I’ll beat the snout off that creature til it stops.”

Not bloody likely.

WolfElly growled gently as Chloe left her side to go over to the bed, leaning over it to peck Pierce on the lips.

“It’ll be fine, she’ll sleep on the floor. She’s not going to attack us so they’ll be no you beating her…and if you do, then you’ll be sleeping on the floor for a very long time,” Chloe promised.

Pierce smiled, relaxing with his wife, pecking her on the lips again, “Then you’ll just need to sleep on the floor with me, my love.”

Excuse me while I try to stop vomiting over here…

WolfElly whined when she saw that Chloe pulled the doona sheet back and the couple were getting into bed together.

Not on my watch…

As Chloe and Pierce got under the sheets, WolfElly surprised them both by leaping up onto the bed, landing next to Chloe.

“Woah, friendly doggy, aren’t you?” Chloe was surprised as she immediately reached out and stroked the animals’ neck.

Pierce looked agitated again, “Chloe, stop with the ‘doggy’, it’s a wolf! It might be friendlier than what you’d expect a wolf to be but we are not having that wolf in our bed.”

WolfElly leaned over Chloe, growling at Pierce.

“I think she heard you,” Chloe teased her husband.

As Pierce started to pull back the sheets again, determined to get out of bed and remove the wolf from the bed, WolfElly bared her fangs to him, snapping several times. Pierce shuffled himself backwards to get away from her but ended up shuffling too far and falling off the edge of the bed, landing on his ass.

That’s more like it!

WolfElly continued growling at him as Pierce pulled himself off from the floor.

“I’m not sleeping in the bed with that thing!” Pierce insisted.

Chloe glanced between her husband and the animal, stroking its ears, listening to her revert back to purring at her, “Looks like you’re sleeping on the couch, Pierce.”

“You can’t be serious,” Pierce was shocked.

“She’s very determined to sleep here and I trust her. Besides, I’m too tired to argue with you. Bed or couch, it’s your call,” Chloe decided.

WolfElly bared her fangs to Pierce once more, this time laying off growling at him, thinking it might even scare him more.

Pierce shook his head then grabbed his pillow, “If you get eaten by the wolf, your brothers are not going to believe it’s your own fault for letting this thing in our bed.”

“I’m not going to get eaten by a wolf,” Chloe rolled her eyes.

Maybe when I’m in my human form you will and not that kind of eaten…I can’t believe I just thought that…

Pierce swallowed hard, “Are you sure your safe?”

“Yes, Pierce, go sleep on the couch. I’ll be fine, I’ll see you in the morning. Getting some sleep is better for you than stressing all night long,” Chloe told him.

“I’ll be stressing all night long on the couch,” Pierce replied to his wife with his concern for her.

“Good night, Pierce,” Chloe waved him off.

“I’m still calling animal control first thing in the morning to find this thing a home…in a zoo or out in the wild,” Pierce nodded at his wife, unable to stop glaring at the animal who’d essentially kicked him out of bed, before he left the room, leaving the door open, then stopping by the laundry to leave the back door ajar, hoping the animal would find its own way out of the house in the middle of the night.

Chloe rolled her eyes at him once more but relaxed as soon as he was out of sight, then smiling at the animal, “You want to sleep at my feet, girl?”

As Chloe slid down and laid her head on her pillow, getting herself comfy, she frowned heavily as the dog shifted upwards before digging herself under the bed sheets, “Woah, where you going?”

WolfElly purred as she found herself curling up against Chloe under the bed sheets, feeling her stroking her head once more.

“So much for sleeping by my feet. You are incredibly friendly for being a so called wolf. Just don’t tell Pierce about this, if he comes in here and finds you under the bed sheets, he’ll shoo you out of this house so fast you won’t know what hit you,” Chloe complained about her husband, before wrapping her arms around the dog, then lifted her head again, “Don’t bite me, okay?”

WolfElly curled up to Chloe’s body as much as she could, continuing to purr softly as she felt thrilled to be in Chloe’s arms.

This is not how I imagined curling up in Chloe’s arms…but as weird as this is…and as much explaining I’m gonna have to do one day far off into the future when I tell Chloe the truth about me…I’ll take it.

“Sleep well, girl,” Chloe wished before yawning then closing her eyes to begin falling asleep, resting her arm around the animal’s torso next to her.

WolfElly closed her own eyes, knowing she was about to have the best sleep of her life in her mate’s arms.

As weird as this is…being in my wolf formation here…it feels perfect being in Chloe’s arms…at least for a few hours at least. I’ll wake up before Chloe does and disappear into the night like I was never here…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-One

Monday 16th December 2024 – The Night After The Full Moon

As the full moon had shone high in the sky the previous night, WolfElly had lucked out and after Chloe’s kindness to let her spend the night at her place away from the unexpected rain that had fallen, found herself able to curl up into Chloe’s arms next to her in Chloe’s bed. With Pierce refusing to sleep in the bed with the wolf, he’d been relegated to the couch.

With the decision to lie in Chloe’s arms for a few hours then sneak off into the night, WolfElly didn’t anticipate having the best night’s sleep as a wolf since she’d been turned over four years ago.

As the sun began to creep up into the sky, WolfElly laid fast asleep in Chloe’s arms. The blonde just as comfortable sleeping deeply.

With the sun moving inch by inch into the sky and the moon falling deeper behind the horizon, WolfElly stretched out in Chloe’s arms before slowly but surely transforming back into her human formation.

Elly groaned gently before falling back asleep where she was.

With Chloe’s arm wrapped around her torso.

Elly’s naked body been spooned by Chloe from behind.

About half an hour later, the sunlight from outside Chloe’s bedroom was peeking through the edge of the curtains. Chloe’s eyelids fluttered gently, her breathing slow and controlled, before closing her eyes again.

Chloe yawned, stretching her arm around the body she was holding, her fingers stroking the skin beneath them until they suddenly paused.

That doesn’t feel like Pierce’s abs… Whose hair is in my face?

Chloe paused for a moment, afraid to open her eyes as the rest of her body reacted to the feeling of spooning a very naked person whom was decidedly not her husband.

A woman…her skin is so soft…it feels right to be holding her…what is wrong with me? I’m married. To Pierce!

Chloe slowly blinked her eyelids open until they fell upon the woman she was spooning.

Elly! What the hell! Why is Elly curled up in my bed? Lying here with my arm wrapped around her body? Naked! Elly’s naked! I’m not naked…that’s one good thing…is it good? Argh! Of course, it is cause your married…not to Elly! And…wait…wasn’t there a dog here last night? A dog that curled up in my arms under the sheets and wanted to share the bed and all but kicked Pierce out of our bed? Why is Elly here…naked…where the dog was? What if Pierce wakes up and sees me lying in bed with a naked Elly?

Chloe gently pushed her body forwards against Elly’s but upon hearing the brunette moan gently at the contact her eyes widened in horror at the position she was in. And yet, on some level, it felt right to have Elly sleeping peacefully in her arms.

But that level couldn’t be dealt with now because Chloe was more scared of her husband walking in on them then dealing with her feelings for the woman in her arms.

Or the fact that the previous night Chloe had fallen asleep with a dog curled up against her yet had woken up with a naked woman in its place.

“Elly?” Chloe whispered anxiously.

“Mmm,” Elly mumbled in response.

“Elly!” Chloe said with a sharper tone.

“Feels good, Chlo,” Elly murmured.

What feels good? Me?

“Elly!” Chloe stated again and when Elly still didn’t rustle except for some mumbled breathing, Chloe finally gritted her teeth before pinching her fingers into Elly’s side as gently yet firmly as she could, “Elly, wake up.”

Elly finally began rousing, stretching her arm above her head and her legs out.

“Elly, what are you doing here?” Chloe whispered sharply.

For a brief moment, Elly reveled in the feeling of Chloe embracing her as they laid together in the blonde’s bed, “Don’t wake me, babe.”

Babe?

“Elly, you need to get up now! Why are you in my bed?” Chloe asked quietly.

Naked…? I really want to ask why Elly’s naked…

Elly finally opened her eyes, taking in her surroundings, then feeling Chloe’s body behind her, realized she wasn’t meant to be there. Turning her head gently to look up at Chloe whom was leaning over her, “Chloe?”

Chloe unwrapped her arm from Elly’s body, “You need to get out of here before Pierce finds you! He’ll think we cheated!”

We did cheat, Chlo, we kissed two nights ago!

I mean more than our kiss two nights ago!

Before Elly could react, she sighed as Chloe pulled her body back away from hers, dragging the bed sheets with her, exposing some of Elly’s body, “How did I get here?”

Play dumb, why don’t you!

“Last I checked, I fell asleep with a dog cuddling up to me! And I woke up to you in its place!” Chloe answered with confusion, then shook her head, “We don’t have time. You need to leave now. We can talk about the rest later when Pierce doesn’t find out I had another woman in our bed!”

Not just any woman! Elly! Pierce will think we cheated without doubt! We did, but not like this!

“What dog? There was a dog here?” Elly feigned innocence, before adding, “Okay, okay, I’m going.”

Elly groaned before yawning and taking her time to get herself up.

Chloe was about to bring up the dog that she’d let sleep in her bed that night again but got distracted as she blushed as Elly stood up, leaving the bed sheets on the bed. Elly’s carelessness to her nakedness left Chloe looking down at the floor when Elly turned back to face her, “Um…I’ve got some… Why don’t you grab some of my clothes from the middle draw in the chest over…there?”

Wow, Chloe’s doing anything possible to look anywhere but at me…let’s see if I can tease her a little bit more.

“No, thanks, I’m good,” Elly declared, before turning around and headed out to the hallway.

Chloe looked back up at Elly, her eyes widening as she saw Elly’s naked body from behind but more so for the fact that Elly was about to walk around her house naked when Pierce could be about. Chloe threw the bed sheets off of her, rushing to get out of bed and follow the brunette, “Elly, get back here!”

Elly padded down the hallway barefoot, calling back to Chloe quietly, “Thought you wanted me gone.”

“Well, yes, but not walking around my house like that…when Pierce could be up,” Chloe pointed out.

Elly smirked at the blonde, “Like what?”

As Elly stepped out into the main area of the house, Chloe blushed heavily at Elly’s confidence to pretend she didn’t know what she was talking about nor care about how blasé she was being in front of her.

Then Chloe remembered her husband had gone to sleep on the couch and rushed out after Elly quicker, trying to think of an explanation she could possibly give Pierce for the naked ex-girlfriend exiting their bedroom.

What explanation? I don’t even understand what happened! I swear there was a dog sleeping next to me last night! Did I get drunk and imagine that part? Or am I drunk now imagining waking up with my arms around a naked Elly?

As Chloe stepped out to the living room, she was relieved to see Elly standing over the couch as the sound of Pierce’s snoring cut through the air loudly, confirming he was still fast asleep. Chloe’s relief that he wasn’t about to catch his wife with her ex-girlfriend was a weight off her shoulders but she was still bewildered by what had happened the previous night.

Chloe watched as Elly stepped towards the front door, “Here I’ll get you a blanket, just give me three seconds.”

“I told you I’m good, Chlo,” Elly turned to the blonde, smirking as Chloe avoided looking at her body once more, “See you around, maybe tomorrow or the day after.”

Tomorrow? The day after!? Oh, hell no, I need answers now as to what Elly was doing in my bed! Wait…Elly’s not walking out my front door…naked!

Chloe rushed over to the front door as Elly had opened it and taken off towards the stairs, “Elly, put some clothes or a blanket on! You can’t walk out of my house like that!”

But it was too late.

Elly was already descending the stairs and was just about at the bottom one when Chloe had called out to her. Chloe placed her hands at the back of her head, watching in pure anxiousness as Elly confidently strode across the road to the Kennedy’s stark naked. Her heart pumping rapidly at the mere thought of any of their neighbours spotting the naked woman leaving her house.

I don’t know what’s worse…Pierce finding Elly in our house like that or one of the neighbours seeing Elly leaving my house naked because that would get back to Pierce within minutes. Even my brothers wouldn’t be able to keep that from Pierce.

As Elly reached the Kennedy’s and walked inside the house, Chloe still stood there at the top of the stairs outside the entrance of her own house. For about five minutes she stood there, holding her breath, just waiting for someone to pop up and ask her why Elly was naked at her place.

Chloe suddenly got her breath back when Pierce walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, “Jesus Christ, Pierce! You scared me half to fucking death!”

Pierce smiled down at the woman in his arms, completely oblivious to what he could’ve caught Chloe doing less than five minutes earlier had he awoken then, “Sorry, babe! I’m just glad to see the wolf didn’t eat you last night. Where is the thing? I should call animal services now to--”

“She’s gone,” Chloe swallowed hard, still staring off at the Kennedy’s house, “Opened the door for fresh air and she bolted out of here. You won’t catch her.”

“Glad to hear it. I’m still going to call them. Wolf roaming the streets of Erinsborough needs to be reported. I might even go after it tonight if I see it in this area again,” Pierce decided, then realizing Chloe wasn’t listening to him, “Did you sleep okay, last night?”

Best nights’ sleep I’ve had in years…

“It was a bit weird…having an animal curled up on the bed…and you not there,” Chloe lied.

“Well, it’s a good thing that everything will go back to normal tonight,” Pierce whispered, holding Chloe closely to him.

“Right…normal,” Chloe whispered.

So…should I give Elly like five minutes or an hour before I go ask for answers from her…? You can wait a few hours at least…right?

Over at the Kennedy’s, Elly was glad the front door was unlocked, yet knew that meant at least one family member was already up and she hoped it had been Karl whom had already left for a shift at the hospital with the rest of the house empty.

As luck would have it, it wasn’t in Elly’s favour.

Sitting at the dining table, with a newspaper propped up in front of her face, about to take a sip of her coffee, Yashvi froze in her place when Elly wandered into the house naked.

Yashvi’s mouth was hanging open as above the newspaper she could see Elly’s upper body before she closed her mouth and went to open it again to speak.

But before she could, Elly closed the door behind her, strolled past Yashvi with a firm, “Don’t ask.”

Then as she walked down the hallway towards her bedroom, Bea was wandering down from the other direction. Her look of shock at Elly’s state prompted Elly to say to Bea too, “Don’t ask.”

With Bea staring at her sister as she walked into her bedroom, she then looked at Yashvi sitting at the table, finally taking a swig of her coffee, “Did my sister just…?”

“Yep,” Yashvi confirmed without being asked that Elly had indeed wandered into the house nude, then raised her eyebrow, “Your sister has a nice set of boo--” then as Bea stared at her wide-eyed, Yashvi cleared her throat, “Shoulders. Great set of shoulders. Hey, you should read this article, it’s a great read.”

“What is going on with Elly?” Bea demanded, even though she knew Yashvi knew as much as she did.

“You suspected Elly slept outside in the backyard two nights ago, she was changing into clothes she’d taken from the clothes line when you caught her, she slept somewhere else last night and rocked up naked this morning…only one thing it could be,” Yashvi mused.

Bea placed her hands on her hips when Yashvi didn’t finish her musing, “I’m waiting.”

Yashvi blushed, “Oh, sorry, babe, thought we were having one of those couple moments where we know what the other is thinking. The only thing it could be is…Elly’s joined a nudist colony.”

“What?” Bea asked in surprise.

“I mean, what do we really know about this family that took Elly and Aster in? They live out at some cabin in the woods…keep to themselves…their nudists and sleep out in nature. Moon’s been full the last few nights. Plus, Elly was meant to go back to spend time with the family yet never managed to so it ended up probably still being a good time for Elly to get back to her…nudist lifestyle,” Yashvi decided.

“Should I like…talk to Elly about this?” Bea wondered, bewildered that Elly would hide something like that from her or think she would judge her lifestyle choices.

“I wouldn’t worry about it. Bring it up next time you’re having a casual convo with Elly, just don’t push it or force the issue,” Yashvi advised, “So, Elly’s got a secret life as a nudist. There are worse things your sister could be lying to you about, babe.”

Bea stared back at the direction of the hallway, “Guess that’s true.”

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-Two

Monday 16th December 2024 – The Night After The Full Moon

Late that afternoon, Elly stood outside in the Kennedy’s backyard.

Back to being clothed after the adventure the previous night, curling up in Chloe’s arms as a werewolf, whom appeared as a dog to her mate, then waking up naked in the same position. Walking home across the road nude had been something Elly was confident enough to do. Yet she knew she was risking a lot had any of their neighbours caught her leaving Chloe and Pierce’s house starkers.

And they wouldn’t even know Chloe woke up with my naked body against hers… Wow that felt good…! Good in a way that’s leaving me wondering how the hell do I wait for Chloe to realize I’m the one she needs to spend her life with and dump her controlling husband for me?

With Bea at work at the garage, Yashvi back home at the Rebecchi’s, Karl at work and Susan deciding it would be fun to take Aster with her to the school for the first day of the last week of school term for the year to let the youngster get an idea about school life as she’d never been to a school before, Elly was spending some quality time on her own.

Quality time might not have been the words for it, more like quiet time to herself. Elly was wandering around the backyard, watering and trimming back some of Karl’s precious plants.

Turning the water off at the tap and rolling the hose back up to hang on its reel, Elly froze nearly a full minute before Chloe appeared.

Elly had heard and smelt someone enter the Kennedy’s household, realizing quickly it was Chloe. Being outside in the backyard, Elly had silently hoped Chloe would give up after seeing ‘no one’ was at home and go back to her own place.

Elly wasn’t ready to talk to Chloe yet.

As confident as Elly had been walking out of Chloe’s house naked, she was terrified of the questions the blonde would have for her.

Two evenings ago, Elly had kissed Chloe, with Chloe kissing her back before Elly then declared she loved Chloe, leaving Chloe speechless.

The pair hadn’t even talked about that as Elly had spent the previous day dodging Chloe’s need to talk to her.

Then had spent the full moon transformed as a werewolf and found herself spending the night in Chloe’s bed. Only to wake up in her human form later than she’d thought she would. After Chloe had woken up and found herself entangled against Elly’s naked human body under the sheets. Of the bed Chloe shared with her husband.

Elly had skedaddled out of Chloe’s house, with Chloe aghast at Elly’s confidence to walk around the house then across the road naked. There was no real explanation Elly could give Chloe as to why she’d fallen asleep next to an animal and woke up next to a naked woman.

Elly had prayed that she could at least get through to the next day, the end of her three-night cycle as a wolf for the month, before she would have to sit down with Chloe and find some way to explain what had happened the previous night. And deal with her confession of her feelings for her.

I can’t possibly tell Chloe the truth…I need more time to think of an explanation that I can give Chloe. Yes, you’ve spent all day trying to come up with a lie that’ll be convincing enough and come up with…nothing! I should’ve disappeared and hit up some of the local haunts Chloe doesn’t visit for the day again…or maybe actually gone over to catch up with the Pack which I’ve completely neglected to do because I’ve been completely thrown by how things with Chloe have turned out the last few days…

Chloe opened the back door of the Kennedy’s, somewhat equally relieved and scared to find Elly standing in the backyard, having obviously just finished watering the plants out there, “Hey, glad I found you. I’d have come over earlier but Pierce decided to work from home today. I…couldn’t get away except for my run this morning and I should’ve come over after that but Pierce called wanting to meet me at Aaron’s gym shed. Then we came back home and he finally got called into the hotel to deal with some issue he couldn’t do from home.”

“Okay,” Elly replied quietly, wondering why Chloe put up with a husband like Pierce when she was very much free to be with Chloe the second she wanted to, even though she knew she hadn’t exactly made her desire to be with her as explicit as she could, “I’m a bit busy right now, can we catch up in the morning or…ah after our martial arts class tomorrow?”

“Busy? Watering Karl’s plants and tidying up the backyard?” Chloe quietly accused Elly of fobbing her off, “Elly, we need to talk.”

“’Bout what?” Elly feigned not knowing what Chloe wanted.

Chloe ran her hand through her hair, before asserting, “Where do I start? You kissed me the other night. You said you love…me…and you were naked in my bed this morning!”

“Must’ve been sleepwalking and found myself in your bed without realizing it,” Elly lied, ignoring the first points.

“And you ended up in the exact same position that the dog I brought into our house so it didn’t spend the night out in the rain on its own?” Chloe pushed.

Elly shrugged, completely flummoxed over not wanting to tell Chloe the truth about her life as a werewolf, desperate not to have a repeat of the other evening as she’d lost track of time talking to Chloe then had to literally run away from her so she could turn into a werewolf without Chloe seeing, “Can we please just talk about this another time? I promised Karl I’d do some work out here in his garden to thank him and Suze for spending time with Aster looking after her for me over the past month I’ve been back here.”

Chloe gritted her teeth as Elly took off and walked into Karl’s green house, closing the door behind her. Wanting answers and for Elly to stop brushing everything aside, Chloe followed her into the green house, closing the door behind her.

“Chlo, please, we can talk about everything tomorrow. I promise I’ll be as open and honest with you as I can be,” Elly promised, knowing she still couldn’t tell Chloe the truth about her because it risked the entire magical world being exposed if Chloe didn’t take to the news well, “I can’t do this right now.”

“We’re doing this now, Elly. You can’t fob me off anymore. I’m not going anywhere and neither are you until we sort this out,” Chloe insisted.

Elly stared around at how they were standing in the closed green house.

Why did you walk in here? Of course, Chloe would follow. I feel trapped. If I brush past Chloe to leave, she’s gonna try to block my path. Should’ve just fled out of the backyard to anywhere else that is not standing here in a glass box with Chloe demanding to know what she might not be ready for…my feelings for her as well as who I truly am…

“What do you want from me, Chlo?” Elly threw her hands up in the air.

“The truth,” Chloe decided, worried if her decision to push Elly for the truth would help her or leave her with more questions, as most time spent with her best friend often did, “Let’s start with why you kissed me the other night.”

Elly shrugged, “You were missing Nicolette, don’t know a thing about the girl but figured if she was there, she’d have kissed you to make you feel better.”

“Don’t lie to me, Elly,” Chloe sighed.

Elly made a move to leave the green house but Chloe stepped in front of her to block her path, “Chlo, I told you, now is not a good time. Please can you just wait until tomorrow?”

“No, what’s going on with you? I’m not just going to let you walk away from me this time. There’s nothing you can do that’s gonna make me let this go and not want to know the truth,” Chloe asserted.

Lord, Chloe is hot when she’s angry. Look at the way her nose twitches and her lips curl downwards…those lips are everything…I need Chloe to let this go…just give me until tomorrow after the final night that I turn into a wolf this moon cycle when I’m more myself… Those lips are just so damn kissable…

Before Elly could stop herself, she leant forwards, kissing Chloe all over again.

Chloe tried to fight the kiss, thinking of her husband and what betraying him all over again could lead to. But this was different to her affair with Nicolette.

This was Elly. The woman she’d fallen deeply in love with years ago. The woman who hadn’t fallen in love with her. The woman who was now actively kissing her. Again.

Chloe immediately fell into the kiss, like she’d done the other evening. She wrapped her hands to Elly’s waist and pulled the woman closer to her, surprised when Elly clutched her hand into her blonde locks and softly holding her chin with the other hand.

Chloe broke their kiss, searching Elly’s eyes as to her feelings for her, “Tell me again.”

Knowing exactly what Chloe needed to hear from her, Elly re-affirmed, “I love you, Chloe.”

Chloe’s eyes still continued staring deeply into Elly’s, seemingly needing more from the woman in her arms.

Elly ran her fingers softly against Chloe’s chin, “I’m deeply in love with you, Chloe. I need you.”

I need you, too… Can I say those words? If I say them, then it’ll be like admitting to Elly that I think I’m falling in love with her all over again…and I can’t…I’m with Pierce, I need to be strong enough to fight what’s happening with Elly and I…it’s the right thing to do to fight it…right?

Chloe’s rambling thoughts were cut off when Elly didn’t wait for a response from her, pressing her body back to Chloe’s and her lips melding back against Chloe’s.

You have to fight this…

Chloe was taken aback when Elly pushed the pair of them up against the small workbench Karl had in the green house that he used to re-pot his plants. Chloe had her back against the workbench, with Elly moving her hand from her chin to behind Chloe to push some of the garden tools on the workbench straight to the ground without care for what she was knocking over.

Breaking the kiss, Chloe sighed, “Elly, we need to stop--”

Elly refused to let Chloe continue any further, interrupting her, “We could stop this…or we could also…”

Unable to stop herself, Chloe gave into her feelings for Elly completely, putting her need for Elly ahead of all the reasons why she shouldn’t.

For the first time, she made the first move, crashing her lips back to Elly’s.

The reasons I have are pretty important and yet I’m in this moment with Elly and she’s making me forget them…

Elly and Chloe both moaned at the sensation of their tongues clashing with the others’ as they deepened the kiss. Chloe gripped Elly’s hips tightly as she went to twist them around so Elly’s back was to the workbench but Elly firmly stopped her, pushing her back against the workbench.

“I want you, Chloe, and I’m gonna show you just how much,” Elly said with authority that made Chloe speechless.

And turned her on.

Bringing their lips back together, kissing passionately for a moment, Chloe was surprised when Elly didn’t even break their kiss to practically rip her own shirt off her body. Chloe’s hands raised from Elly’s hips to feel the skin of the brunette’s lower back, her fingers on fire from the feel of her skin.

Before Chloe could explore any part of Elly’s body, Elly lifted Chloe up from the ground, gracefully like Chloe weighed nothing to her, sitting her on the workbench. Chloe whined as Elly broke their kiss but was surprised to see the look on Elly’s face full of pure desire.

A look she’d have given everything for Elly to give her when she first fell in love with her.

Elly bit her lip as Chloe seemed to revel in the way she was looking at her, “I’ll never be ashamed of how much I want you, Chlo.”

That’s everything I wanted Elly to say to me when I fell in love with her…there’s nothing I can do to stop this…I want Elly as much as she wants me…

Chloe barely moved a muscle yet before she knew it, Elly had torn her shorts from her body. Chloe hadn’t even felt her hips lift off the table in order for Elly to remove them. But Chloe didn’t have time to contemplate Elly’s smooth moves to get what she desired, breathing heavily when Elly flicked her right hand in a motion that ended with Chloe’s panties across the other side of the green house.

Chloe stared into Elly’s eyes, knowing Elly was waiting for her to make the next move. The lust and love Chloe felt radiating from every inch of Elly, compelled Chloe to lay back on her forearms on the workbench, before spreading her legs.

Am I going to regret this when it’s over?

Chloe was once more surprised at Elly’s lack of hesitation in showing her attraction and love for her when Elly ducked between her legs, lifting Chloe’s feet to hang over her shoulders to give her as much access to Chloe as she possibly could ever need.

Chloe threw her head back and moaned loudly the instant she felt Elly show her just how unashamed she was to want her the way she always wanted Elly to.

I’ll regret this in twenty minutes but for now…there’s no way I could ever regret this…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-Three

Monday 16th December 2024 – The Night After The Full Moon

Bea yawned as she walked through the front door at the Kennedy’s but immediately smiled when she saw her fiancé sitting at the dining table. Yashvi was sitting there, reading a magazine, almost in the same position she was earlier that morning when Bea had gotten up and a naked Elly had strolled right past them without explanation.

“Hey, babe,” Bea greeted, “How long have you been hanging out here? Not all day I hope.”

Yashvi grinned at Bea then pecked her on the lips as she walked over to her, “Nah, I went to the Station to complete some reports I wasn’t meant to do ‘til tomorrow’s shift but I wanted to get them out of the way so I can be home on time for the rest of the week. Unless there’s some other disaster that happens upon the community that needs police intervention. Headed home to see Dad and Mum for a bit then just been hanging here for the past hour or so waiting for my girl to finish work.”

Bea chewed on her lip nervously, “We should really…talk about our living situation. Not that I don’t mind you still technically live at your Uncle Toadie’s and spend most nights here but y’know when we get married…or maybe before that…”

“We’ll get a place of our own, Bea,” Yashvi confirmed, allaying Bea’s fears, “We’ll start looking for a place soon. Do you want to discuss this over dinner about the type of place we’ll need?”

Bea sighed in relief that she and Yashvi were on the same page, “Perfect. Oh, that reminds me, we’ll be eating dinner on our own. Suze called me on the way home. Aster had the best day with her at the school, getting a feel for school life. Suze and Karl know how exhausting it’s been on us the past two nights minding Aster for Elly and seeing as though Elly’s meant to be on another one of her disappearing acts tonight, they decided they’d take Aster out to dinner with them.”

“To exhaust Aster to the point of her collapsing into her bed the second they bring her home?” Yashvi asked, with a hint of hope in her voice.

“That’s the hope!” Bea agreed, then started heading to the backdoor, “So, I thought I’d fire up the pizza oven and make us a pizza for dinner.”

Yashvi glanced back down at her magazine, “Uh, I wouldn’t go out there if I was you. We’ll order in dinner.”

“Do you not like my pizzas, Vee?” Bea teased.

“You know I do, Bea, but I wouldn’t go out there right now,” Yashvi repeated, then when Bea stared at her questionably, stated with her tone of voice matter of fact, “Elly and Chloe are having sex in the greenhouse.”

“What? They are not!” Bea shrieked in disbelief.

Yashvi went back to looking at her magazine, “Yeah, see when I was at my folks place, I was in the backyard helping Dad with some chores. Heard someone in your backyard so I poked my head over the fence. Saw it was Elly, Chloe was with her, then a few minutes later when we’d wrapped up outside, I came over here cause I was curious about the whole…nudist colony theory and wanted to know if that’s what’s up with Elly. Instead, all I found was the greenhouse with its windows covered in moisture and the shadows of Chloe lying on Karl’s workbench with Elly between her legs. I won’t repeat the sounds Chloe was making.”

“Very funny, babe, Elly explicitly promised me she wouldn’t get in between Chloe and Pierce’s marriage,” Bea dismissed what Yashvi had told her before heading out the backdoor to the backyard.

Yashvi glanced down at her watch, “Three. Two. One.”

On one, Bea rushed back inside the house, in shock, “Elly and Chloe are having sex in the greenhouse!”

“Uh huh,” Yashvi pretended Bea hadn’t just repeated exactly what she’d told her.

Bea’s eyes were wide, “The greenhouse windows are nothing but moisture. And like Chloe’s lying on Karl’s workbench with Elly between her legs! Plus, the sounds Chloe is making…I mean…it’s…”

Yashvi stared at her watch once more, “Wow, I caught them like that over an hour ago. That’s one talented tongue your sister has.”

Bea stared at her fiancé, aghast.

Yashvi shrugged, “Or I guess they are probably onto round 2 or 3 of their sexathon. It’s not like Elly could have the stamina with her tongue to be down there for more than an entire hour,” then when Bea looked even more aghast, realized why she was shocked, “Babe, you know you have a talented tongue of your own. I shouldn’t be talking about Elly’s like that when yours is the best I’ve ever had.”

Bea pouted, “I could go an hour if I wanted to.”

Yashvi wiggled her eyebrows, “I look forward to that experience.”

Bea placed her hands on her hips, “Y’know, I should be pissed off to high fucking heaven right now about Elly doing exactly what she promised me she wouldn’t. I knew she had feelings for Chloe and yes, the other night when you asked if anything was going on between them after the engagement party Back Lane Bar shenanigans, I lied to you. I made it explicitly clear that Elly cannot get involved with a married woman because I swear if you or I ever had someone come between us, I hope we can at least respect each other enough to end things rather than have one of us cheat.”

“We do respect each other like that, Bea. So, you’re not pissed at Elly?” Yashvi asked with confusion.

“Oh, I’m fuming at my sister and when she comes in here after screwing the greenhouse down with Chloe, a married woman, I’ll let her have a piece of my mind…but right now, I kinda wanta drag you to my bedroom to remind you who has the talented tongue around here,” Bea declared.

“Don’t have to ask me twice,” Yashvi decided, throwing her magazine on the table and hopping up to take Bea’s hand, letting her fiancé drag her to their bedroom.

Back outside in the greenhouse, Chloe moaned in orgasm once more. She’d lost track of how many times Elly had made her cum all over Elly’s face.

So much for thinking Elly and you making love to one another would be over in twenty minutes. I swear Elly’s been licking and fingering you for over an hour and you haven’t even touched her. How the hell does this woman have the stamina in that tongue of hers? This also being the woman who barely dipped her tongue inside you the only other time we slept together, for fear of what it meant to her sexuality to do that…with another woman… Oh, sweet Jesus, she’s starting up again with her tongue…

“Elly!” Chloe’s voice was rasped with exhaustion.

Elly pressed her lips to Chloe’s opening between her legs before lifting her head, “Everything okay, baby?”

Chloe smiled sweetly at the word Elly had called her, “I can’t…I need a break from your tongue and fingers. You’re tiring me out, Elly, you’re so good to me. I didn’t know I could be pleasured like this by anyone.”

Elly blushed heavily, “I was a bit keen. Once I started and felt the taste of you on my tongue, it was hard to ever want to stop.”

Chloe blushed right back at Elly, feeling the sincerity in how much Elly had enjoyed making love to her, finally squeaking out, “My turn?”

Elly nodded gently, before ducking her head down and giving Chloe one more gentle lick across her opening, “Couldn’t resist one more taste.”

Chloe moaned at the feeling of Elly’s tongue once more, then spent the next moment struggling to get herself together enough to sit back up on the workbench. As Chloe finally stepped down from the workbench, she was amazed when Elly leant towards her, scooping her up in her arms. The look on Elly’s face said everything to Chloe, “You are so damn proud of yourself for how madly you made love to me.”

Elly kissed Chloe deeply, enjoying the whimpering sound Chloe made as she tasted her own juices on Elly’s tongue, “I love you, Chloe. I needed to show you that.”

“You did,” Chloe whispered, then squeezing Elly’s hips, “Let me show you.”

Without waiting for Chloe to make a move, Elly all but ripped her own shorts from her body, tearing her panties off and throwing them across the room. Elly’s strength in tearing clothes apart was an incredible turn on. As was when Elly laid down on the floor of the greenhouse, spreading her legs, pleading with Chloe to make love to her.

Chloe quietly observed their lack of foreplay, with their desperate need to make love to one another taking precedence. Chloe laid down, hovering over Elly, kissing her gently, “What is it about you that makes me want to forget everything else in the world?”

Elly smiled wildly up at her mate, knowing that’s exactly what their bond as mates was about, yet knew she couldn’t possibly explain that to Chloe, “You get it now…that I love you.”

“I do,” Chloe nodded, trying desperately not to think of anything to do with what would happen with her life the moment she would step outside of the greenhouse.

Chloe kissed Elly again, giggling gently when she felt Elly lift her hips into her own, clearly impatient and wanting to be touched, “You’ll have to excuse my lack of stamina unlike you, Elly.”

Elly brushed her hand through Chloe’s hair, “I don’t need stamina for a never-ending love making session with you. All I need is you and what you can offer me. You’ll always be enough for me, Chlo.”

Never-ending love making session…why does Elly say that like we honestly could have that one day…?

Unable to bring up what feelings she had for Elly, her confliction over how she could possibly even begin to think of them ever having a future together, Chloe instead chose to fall into Elly’s arms. Chloe slipped her right hand in between Elly’s legs, teasing the woman below her mercilessly until she slid two fingers deep inside Elly’s core.

Elly moaned loudly at the sensation she was feeling, enjoying every second of her mate making love to her. She moved her hips in rhythm with Chloe’s fingers, groaning at every time Chloe slid her fingers in and out of her, the motion driving Elly wild with a pure need to be with Chloe like this for every day of her life.

Elly enjoyed not needing to tell Chloe how to pleasure her, with the blonde’s instincts about her body right every time. It came as no surprise to Elly that Chloe found her clit in record time, curling her fingers to it.

Elly’s arms wrapped tighter around the woman on top of her as she felt her orgasm rip through her body. Elly’s reveling in her orgasm grew as Chloe slipped her fingers out of her core, immediately shuffling down her body and replacing her fingers with her tongue, lapping furiously at the wetness between Elly’s legs.

Elly moaned even louder. Her desire for Chloe feeling impossible to ever not have Chloe make love to her every night. Her need for the pair of them to start a life together with Aster was already entering into her mind, as Chloe flicked her tongue furiously inside of her.

Chloe was in two minds of being thrilled yet sad when Elly finally screamed out in pleasure.

I wish I had Elly’s stamina to keep going…but I am completely worn out.

Chloe continued crouching between Elly’s legs, licking up every droplet of cum Elly had created, before eventually gliding back up Elly’s body. Chloe pressed her lips to Elly’s, “I just need a little break before I go again.”

Elly ran her hand down the side of Chloe’s face, “Take all the time you need, Chlo. Just lying here in your arms, holding your perfect body is all I need to be happy.”

Chloe curled herself around Elly’s body, staring deep into her eyes before reaching out and taking Elly’s hand in her own and placing them against Elly’s chest. The thoughts of everything she would need to deal with once she left the loving embrace of Elly and left the greenhouse frightened her.

But for now, lying entangled up in Elly’s half-naked body, was enough to make her forget as much as she possibly could.

Is this the start of a relationship between Elly and I or…the end because it shouldn’t happen again…?

As Elly nuzzled her face against the crook of Chloe’s neck, she too was dealing with forgetting what would happen when she stepped foot outside of the greenhouse.

Unlike Chloe, Elly’s thoughts were purely knowing just how perfect it was to know this could be the beginning of their lives together.

But what Elly was forgetting about the world outside of the greenhouse, was once again that she would soon be turning into a werewolf within hours….

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-Four

Monday 16th December 2024 – The Night After The Full Moon

Elly ran her fingertips up and down Chloe’s arm. The pair had laid curled up in one another’s arms for some time after they’d made love to one another. How long, neither of the women knew. They’d lost track of time. Time was meaningless when they were in each other’s arms.

Too many thoughts were plaguing the pair of them.

Elly wondered if she had truly managed to convince Chloe that she was deeply in love with her. It’s not like she was able to explain just how true it was and that the pair of them being mates meant for them. Elly knew on some level Chloe would be able to come to terms with who she really was, knowing that whilst possible it was incredibly rare for a human mate to reject their werewolf mate.

But now that Elly had given into her feelings for Chloe completely and Chloe had been more than receptive, there were two massive things on Elly’s mind.

When would be the best time to reveal the truth to Chloe? About her being a werewolf and that Chloe’s her mate. Should she be honest about who she really is before Chloe and her ended up together so Chloe knew what she was getting into to be with her? Or wait until Chloe and Pierce’s marriage inevitably collapsed and she and Chloe were solidly together as a couple before revealing all? Risking the entire magical community’s existence came every time a human learned the truth. How would Chloe truly react to the truth about werewolves and how being with one whilst is perfect with her mate, is still complicated?

And how does Chloe actually feel about her?

Elly knew Chloe loved her, even if Chloe wasn’t able to admit it to herself. But Chloe’s inability to express her feelings during their love making session and now as they held one another silently, left Elly wondering if Chloe was too busy worrying about what their time together meant for her marriage to Pierce. Or if Chloe was doubting her own ability to leave the controlling man for her.

Meanwhile, Chloe was indeed questioning what giving into her feelings for Elly meant for her marriage. Was this just another betrayal of Pierce that wouldn’t go anywhere because her life was too complicated to think she could possibly start a whole new life with Elly?

Yet, there was no denying for Chloe that making love to Elly as they had hadn’t felt like the best experience of her life. And she felt it just as strongly that it was the best experience of Elly’s life too.

Elly finally broke their silence, “How are you feeling, Chlo?”

Chloe closed her eyes for a moment, “A million different emotions that I don’t even begin to know how to describe.”

“I get it, Chlo,” Elly reassured, “And not to create a million more emotions for you…I need you to know that I want a future with you. With you and Aster, the three of us.”

“I can’t even think about the future,” Chloe replied quietly, sensing Elly’s sadness as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Pressing her lips to Elly’s neck, trying to reassure her that the idea of a future with them was still something for her to consider.

Elly reveled in the feeling of Chloe’s lips to her skin, every inch of her was on fire, holding the woman in her arms.

“The future is something I can’t think about now,” Chloe repeated, “But we do need to talk about this…what happened here tonight…the past few nights actually, Elly.”

“We do,” Elly confirmed, then frowned, “What’s the time?”

Before Elly could lift her arm to look at her watch, Chloe lifted it for her, looking at the watch face herself, “Few minutes ‘til 8pm.”

“What?” Elly’s face fell.

“Well, we did spend a great deal of time making love to each other, Elly. And we’ve probably been laying silently in one another’s arms for a couple hours now,” Chloe pointed out, suddenly wondering if Pierce was worrying over where she was, “I should text Pierce, tell him I’m hanging out with Bea and Yashvi, so we can have some time to talk about all this.”

As Chloe was rambling, Elly wasn’t listening to her as she was beginning to have a full-on panic attack for letting herself be completely taken over by Chloe once more that she’d forgotten the full moon would be setting in the sky soon, “I have to go.”

“Wait, what?” Chloe was confused.

“I’ve got to go,” Elly repeated as she quickly withdrew herself from Chloe’s embrace, standing up and looking about for her clothes.

“Are you seriously doing this to me again, Elly?” Chloe demanded, feeling this was reminiscent of Elly’s behaviour after they’d kissed two nights ago.

Elly gathered her ripped up clothes and began putting them back on her body, “We’ll talk in the morning, I promise you, Chlo.”

“No, we need to talk about this now,” Chloe insisted desperately, standing up and dragging her own ripped up clothes on, “Elly, we made love to one another. We can’t avoid talking about this and what this means.”

“I’m not avoiding, we’ll talk tomorrow,” Elly decided, rushing out of the greenhouse.

Chloe took off after the brunette.

In the kitchen at the Kennedy’s, Yashvi was curled up standing behind Bea with the older woman in her arms, dressed in nothing but their slinky dressing gowns.

“That was amazing, Bea. You should be pissed off at Elly more often if hours in your bed with you is your response,” Yashvi smiled.

“You know it was more about us than me been pissed off at my sister for doing the one thing she told me she wouldn’t. Probably won’t get to talk to Elly ‘til the morning, whilst we were in bed together, Elly and Chloe probably--” Bea trailed off when Elly and Chloe came storming into the house from the back door.

“Elly, we’re talking about this now,” Chloe demanded.

Bea stared at the state of the two women in partially ripped up clothes, “Christ, did the pair of you forget that you can be capable of sleeping together without tearing your clothes apart!?”

Elly looked at Bea abruptly, slowing down from rushing through the house, “It’s not what it looks like, Bea.”

“It’s exactly what it looks like,” Yashvi pointed out, “Besides we both kinda saw the pair of you in the greenhouse and it couldn’t be more obvious what it looked like you were doing.”

“How could you do this, Elly? You swore you wouldn’t get in the middle of a marriage like this,” Bea accused.

“You spoke to Bea about us?” Chloe asked in shock.

Elly glanced at the clock in the kitchen, panicking at how little time she had before the moon was high in the sky, “I don’t have time for this. I’ve gotta go. I’ll sort this out tomorrow with you all.”

“Elly, don’t run away from me again like the other night,” Chloe insisted.

“What happened the other night?” Bea wondered.

Before Elly could stop her, Chloe revealed, “We kissed the other night and Elly ran away from me.”

“Elly!” Bea scolded her older sister, “You told me you wouldn’t do this! I thought maybe tonight was just a one-time thing. I didn’t think this was an ongoing thing! It needs to stop! Cheating is wrong. I thought I made that clear to you to wait until Chloe’s single…if she ever is because she’s married…to Pierce!”

Don’t remind me, sis…

“Chloe and I both got ourselves into what happened out there, Bea. We know cheating is wrong…it just happened, okay? And I…we will deal with this…tomorrow. I have to go!” Elly pressed.

“Not even gonna ask about Aster, Elly?” Bea accused, her annoyance at her sister growing by the minute.

Elly stared at the clock once more, “Is Aster okay?”

“Of course, she is, she’s with Karl & Suze. They are purposely tiring Aster out for us so we’re not up all night with her again. Which considering you never actually ended up going to see your other family, why have you still been disappearing the past couple nights?” Bea wanted to know.

Elly gritted her teeth, “Bea, I don’t have time. I will talk to you about this in the morning. Tell Aster I love her.”

Chloe wrapped her arms around her body, once again demanding, “Elly, we need to talk about what’s happening between us now! I’m not waiting for tomorrow.”

Putting her secret staying unrevealed first, Elly didn’t respond to Chloe as she instead rushed out the front door.

Chloe threw her hands down to her side, telling Yashvi and Bea, “Don’t tell anyone what happened between Elly and I today. I know it was a mistake and I don’t really know how I’m going to deal with it right now but I need to talk to Elly before I can. If she would just stop taking off and disappearing on me. I’m going after her.”

“Okay,” Bea replied, without able to say much more before Chloe was already out the front door running after Elly.

Yashvi glanced down at Bea, “Your sister sure knows how to avoid problems. Just give her some time, talk to her tomorrow like she promised. If she still refuses, then you can go off at her about whatever it is that’s going on with her and why she couldn’t stop what happened with Chloe today.”

“Yeah, guess you’re right,” Bea agreed.

“Aren’t I, always right?” Yashvi teased.

“Maybe,” Bea grinned.

Meanwhile, Chloe tore down Ramsay Street after Elly who had a pretty decent head start, but Chloe refused to give up as easily this time compared to the other night.

“Elly, wait up, we need to talk,” Chloe demanded.

Elly ignored Chloe as her feet pounded the pavement out of Ramsay Street. She hated running away from her mate, hated the thought that she’d left Chloe so utterly confused after their spent hours making love to one another and holding each other in their arms.

I don’t know what was more perfect…the love making or the laying in Chloe’s arms…just picturing our entire future together in love with one another and raising Aster together… Except now it feels like you are running away from that future as you’re not ready for Chloe to learn the truth about you…

“Elly!” Chloe shouted again as Elly turned down another street.

But Elly didn’t stop running. Within another minute, Chloe was no closer to catching up to her but she refused to give up.

As Elly turned down another street, her skin bristled as she felt the moon rising in the sky. She knew the transformation was coming. She felt that Chloe was still at least one street behind her, even though she knew it was still a risk that Chloe was following her, she couldn’t stop Chloe wanting answers. And she couldn’t stop changing into a werewolf.

Within another minute, Elly leapt up from the ground, her tattered clothes tearing off her body completely and when she landed back on the footpath she did so on all fours as WolfElly.

WolfElly shot off to the end of the street as Chloe rounded the corner to the street. Chloe still saw the dog up the end of the street, curious as to where it had come from as it seemed to still be randomly around her the past few nights.

As WolfElly sat at the end of the road, watching Chloe come to a stop in her run after Elly, instead staring off at her.

WolfElly soon turned around and padded down the street, wondering if Chloe would continue to chase her. But instead, Chloe didn’t follow the dog. Chloe frowned heavily as on the path ahead of her was something that caught her attention.

Chloe walked forward until she crouched down and picked up the remains of what she recognized to be Elly’s torn up clothes, that seemingly had been destroyed even further with more rips and shreds to the clothes. Chloe stared at the clothes in her hand, then glanced up towards where the dog had been sitting, “What the?”

Chloe kept the clothes in her hand as she went back to walking down the street towards where the dog had been sitting, still hoping she could find the animal.

An hour later, back at Chloe and Pierce’s house, Pierce looked at his personal chef, Rene, and a friend of his that Rene had called in for help, Roman, “You understand what we’re doing?”

Rene cocked the shotgun in his hands, “Animal control aren’t particularly interested in your accusations that there’s a wolf hanging around your area the past few nights. We don’t want a dangerous wolf on the loose despite the animal not attacking your wife last night. If we find it, we shoot to kill.”

“Wolves pelts sell for good money,” Roman chuckled darkly.

“Should never have left that wretched animal alone with my wife last night. Too busy trying to do whatever Chloe asks of me. But when Chloe skipped dinner tonight, I went out walking the neighbourhood in frustration at what’s been going on with Chloe for the past month or two. Saw Chloe following the damn wolf. Should’ve confronted her and told her to leave the damn thing alone but I think we need to make sure that wolf will never cause trouble for anyone again. I don’t care that it never showed any aggression, I want the animal destroyed,” Pierce decided.

“Let’s go hunt a wolf,” Rene smiled gleefully at the other men as he handed them each a handgun.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-Five

Monday 16th December 2024 – The Night After The Full Moon

As Pierce, Rene and Roman headed out of 24, ready to go hunting down the stray wolf, Pierce was surprised to see Chloe coming through the door.

Pierce immediately signaled for Rene to hide the shotgun he was carrying, “Chloe, what have you been up to this evenin--? What the hell happened to you?”

Chloe sighed as she looked down at her tattered clothes, forgetting to come up with an excuse for her state, not able to tell her husband the truth that Elly had stripped her clothes from her body before they made love to one another, “I was just at the Kennedy’s, hanging out with Bea and Yashvi…we got bored…decided we’d have fun…re-creating clothes from our teen years…where ripped up clothes were…the in thing.”

Pierce eyed his wife suspiciously, “Right…looks like you had…fun.”

Fun…or the most perfect experience of my life…

“Fun was had,” Chloe agreed.

Pierce cleared his throat, “Were Elly and Aster there?”

Elly was between my legs pleasuring me for longer than I’ve ever experienced…I can’t say that…

Chloe shook her head, “No. Elly was…I dunno where she was. Aster was with Karl and Suze for the night,” then changing the subject, “Sorry, I missed dinner. I got caught up with the girls but I’m hungry now if you want to sit down and eat…” then looking at Rene and Roman, “Hey guys, you…all going out tonight?”

Rene nodded, “Yeah, we were just heading out to get a drink together. You alright to have dinner on your own or do you want your husb--?”

Chloe waved her hands, interrupting the chef, “All good. You three have a good night. I’ll be fine.”

Sitting here alone with all my thoughts…and no husband hanging off me, making me feel hundreds of times guiltier than I already am…

With Pierce desperate to go off and hunt down the wolf, he reluctantly decided against staying home with his wife, as he stepped forwards to Chloe, glad when she let him take her in his arms, “We won’t be long. Hour, maybe two. This isn’t one of our typical whiskey drinking nights where we’re gone half the night.”

Chloe leaned up and pecked Pierce on the cheek, “I’ll see you when you get home.”

Within minutes, Pierce and the two men had left the house, with Chloe none the wiser over the shotgun and hand guns they had on them or what they were up to.

Chloe found herself curling up on the couch alone. She was so confused over what had happened between herself and Elly the past few days, what she’d let happen between them that afternoon and now she was festering over why Elly had disappeared.

Disappeared, leaving her clothes behind, on one of the streets up the road from Ramsay Street. Where the dog from the previous few nights had appeared not far from the abandoned clothes. The way Elly had appeared out of nowhere the previous morning in her bed, in the exact position where the dog had been when she’d fallen asleep the night before.

Why does this dog keep showing up where Elly used to be? And why does Pierce keep insisting that it’s a wolf? Is my mind playing tricks on me in what I’m seeing just because I’m so busy being tangled up in my feelings for Elly that I can’t think straight? What is going on with me…and why do I have this feeling in my gut that I need to go after the dog right now to protect it?

Chloe stood back up, heading to her bedroom to get changed into clothes that were not as torn as the ones she’d put back on after Elly had gotten her way by tearing them from her body. Within minutes, Chloe was wondering away from Ramsay Street without knowing she was headed in the same direction that Pierce and his mates had taken.

Also, out in Erinsborough during the evening was Dipi after closing up Harold’s Café for the night. Dipi walked along the boardwalk of the complex, about to head home when something caught her eye padding through the complex past Harold’s Café and wandered through the walkway between the Waterhole and the complex’s building where the real estate agency was.

Dipi raised her eyes suspiciously at the wolf, who looked like it was just wandering around the neighbourhood looking for a place to stay.

Dipi was soon interrupted by Pierce and two other men, one she’d seen visit Pierce’s house and could only assume was the personal chef that was responsible for Chloe never eating or drinking her food when she visited Dipi’s café. The other, she’d never seen before.

As Pierce walked over to Dipi, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the personal chef shift a shotgun to behind his back. Dipi sensed that the men were set to cause trouble but didn’t feel it had anything to do with herself or she was at risk of their trouble.

Dipi’s feeling was confirmed when Pierce asked her, “Hey Dipi, bit of a random question but we’re chasing down a wolf that has been hanging around the Erinsborough area the past few nights. Animal control don’t seem to believe there’s a wolf but I’ve seen it the last two nights and again this evening. You haven’t by chance seen the thing, have you?”

Dipi saw no point in completely lying to Pierce, yet didn’t trust the man for a single second with the information he wanted from her, “I did, actually see a wolf, walking past here just a moment ago. Threw me for a minute as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wild animal like that but it didn’t exactly look like it was out to hurt anybody. It went in the direction past the Waterhole towards the hotel then past the hotel.”

Pierce fell for Dipi’s misdirection of where the wolf had taken off to, turning to his buddies, “Let’s go. Thanks, Dipi.”

Dipi turned around to watch the three men take off, trudging past the walkway the wolf had gone down as the men headed towards the hotel instead.

Pursing her lips, Dipi whispered to herself before she headed home, “I knew you were one of us and part of our community, Elly…but a werewolf…? I didn’t see that coming. Last thing we need is any humans discovering what you are, Elly. Stay safe out there.”

WolfElly wandered the Lassisters complex. She knew it wasn’t the safest place in the world to be out at a place that people were still hanging around at night but most patrons of the Waterhole were inside the venue and most at the Lassiters hotel were at one of the hotel’s restaurants for a late dinner, if not already tucked up in bed.

WolfElly wasn’t scared to be around humans, mostly because she knew she could outrun them if she needed to and they were mostly confused to see a wolf in the wild. And truthfully, she was desperate to stay connected to what she still called her own kind, even though she knew she wasn’t a human and hadn’t been in years.

About an hour after WolfElly had wandered past Harold’s Café, she found herself by the lake. WolfElly laid down by the lake, wondering if there would be any chance Chloe would allow her to sleep by her side again, then shook her snout at the mere thought. Chloe was already suspicious about what was going on with her, and Elly was not yet prepared for Chloe to learn the truth.

WolfElly twitched her head as she sensed footsteps approaching her. If WolfElly could’ve smiled as wide as she could in her human formation, she would’ve when she spotted Chloe approaching her.

How is it that Chloe found me? Is it because we truly are connected to one another, no matter what?

“Hey, you, why do we keep running into one another…stray?” Chloe asked.

WolfElly’s elation at seeing Chloe and having her talking to her was marred seconds later when the smell of Pierce wafted through her nose buds. Pierce and two men rushed over to them.

“Chloe, get away from the wolf,” Pierce demanded.

Chloe turned to her husband, “Not this crap again. It’s a dog, Pierce, and she’s not going to hurt anyone.”

“The hell it’s not,” Pierce shouted, then as he reached Chloe, he looked as the wolf slowly rouse to her feet.

WolfElly arched her back, feeling immediately threatened by Pierce and his cronies but more importantly, she felt protective of Chloe. Chloe was more important to her than herself. As much as she loved Chloe, Elly struggled to deal with that thought as anyone being more important to herself should only be Aster.

“Pierce, go home, I’ll come with you,” Chloe offered, sensing she needed to get Pierce away from the animal in case something did go wrong.

“We’re not going anywhere whilst this wolf is hanging around our neighbourhood and could endanger lives,” Pierce argued.

“Then, we’ll call animal control now. We’ve all spotted the animal, they can come and ensure she finds herself a new home if she doesn’t already have one,” Chloe argued back.

“I don’t think so, Chloe. I’m not letting that thing out of my sight. Get it, boys,” Pierce then directed his fellow mates.

Chloe’s eyes widened in shock as Rene pulled out his shotgun then Roman lifted his handgun at the animal, “What the hell are you doing? You can’t shoot it, that’s inhumane.”

“It’s a dangerous animal, Chloe, it’s not human,” Pierce told her, then held Chloe’s arm back to stop her from trying to help the wolf.

WolfElly glared at the three men surrounding her, feeling threatened by them and worrying ever more for Chloe if anything happened to either of them. WolfElly bared her fangs, hoping to scare the men away but instead it seemed to spur them on.

“Do it, shoot her,” Pierce directed at Rene, pulling Chloe back so he was standing in front of her, with the belief he was protecting his wife.

Rene pointed the shotgun at Elly, cocking it to remove the safety trigger, his finger on the trigger about to pull it.

Before WolfElly knew it, without any run up, she launched herself at Pierce.

But almost as soon as she left the ground, WolfElly realized how big a mistake she was making.

WolfElly couldn’t attack Pierce.

If WolfElly bit him or clawed him in any way, then her life as she knew it would be screwed.

Pierce Greyson would become a werewolf.

And though Elly hadn’t been incumbent to the werewolf who had turned her because he had been an omega, a betrayer to his alpha wolf and his pack, if Elly turned Pierce into a werewolf, then she would be responsible for everything he did and showing him the ways of their kind.

That was not something Elly was ever prepared to put herself through. Teaching her mate’s husband how to be a werewolf. That he could live forever as a werewolf like her.

And what if Pierce’s mate turned out to be Chloe? Would Chloe’s bond with her be conflicted with that of a stronger one to her husband?

All those realizations hit Elly in the mere two seconds it took her to leap up at Pierce and she refused to allow herself to become the monster that turned Pierce Greyson into a monster like her.

WolfElly pulled up shorter than she originally intended at leaping at Pierce. Pierce had leapt forwards in order to protect Chloe more than he already was.

As WolfElly was relieved that the other two had failed to fire their guns at her, she failed to see the knife Pierce brandished out of nowhere at her.

Landing in front of Pierce instead of on top of her foe, WolfElly whimpered as she copped the knife Pierce was wielding in her side, falling to the ground onto her side, the knife luckily pulling out from the wound to the grass, her legs crumpling beneath her.

Okay, yep, that hurts like a literal knife to the ribs!

Chloe’s eyes widened in shock at witnessing her husband stabbing the dog even though it was clear that the animal had changed its mind about attacking him. Seeing the animal whimpering in severe pain, Chloe yelled at Pierce, “What the hell did you just do? You could’ve just killed her! She may die!”

Chloe didn’t listen to Pierce as he tried to reason with her, instead she was too focused staring down at the animal as it whimpered heavily, lying alone on the ground, blood seeping out of its side. Chloe tilted her head as she watched the animal’s eyes blink several times, trying desperately not to close them and pass out.

Why are those eyes so familiar…? Wait…how could that even be possible…? It can’t be…Elly?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-Six

Monday 16th December 2024 – The Night After The Full Moon

Chloe struggled against her husband as he held her back from tending to the dog that Pierce had just stabbed in the side.

The dog that had eyes that looked identical to Elly’s, laid cowering on the ground of the lakeside, bleeding from the wound.

“Let me help her,” Chloe begged.

“Absolutely not, I’m not risking you getting hurt because that wolf is looking for vengeance,” Pierce insisted.

“Looking for vengeance because you stabbed her!” Chloe yelled at him.

Pierce turned to Rene, ignoring his wife, “Shoot her, now! I want this done.”

“No!” Chloe screamed as she leapt forwards in protection of the animal that had Elly’s eyes, pushing Pierce forwards too.

Pierce reeled in pain when Rene’s bullet grazed past his arm, scrapping the skin of his forearm, “OW! What the hell kinda shot was that?!”

“Sorry, boss,” Rene apologized quickly as he and Roman rushed to Pierce’s side.

Pierce barely noticed as Chloe left his side, instead crouching down next to the animal who was still bleeding out from the stab wound.

Pierce gripped at his arm, wrapping his fist around where the bullet had grazed him, to stop the blood from dripping down his arm, “You idiot! You shot me!”

“It was an accident,” Rene apologized once more as he tore part of his shirt off, tending to Pierce’s wound by wrapping it around his arm to stem the bleeding when Pierce eventually lifted his hand from the wound.

Chloe ignored the three men as they huddled around the injured arm, trying to stop the wound from losing too much of Pierce’s blood. Crouched by the dog’s side, she reached out, petting its fur before its ear, trying to ignore the wound in its side dripping blood as well as the fact that its eyes looked so much like Elly’s, “We gotta get you some help to fix that wound, can’t have you dying on me.”

WolfElly whined in pain from the stab wound yet was also overjoyed to see Chloe caring so kindly for her when Pierce was yelling and screaming about his arm being shot up.

Seeing Pierce and the men distracted, WolfElly struggled yet eventually managed to stand up, wobbling on her four legs. Chloe leant over, placing her hands to the animal’s shoulders, like she was doing whatever she could to help it stand up.

“There you go, can you walk?” Chloe asked her.

WolfElly took several steps before almost collapsing again, caught by Chloe before she hit the ground.

Before she knew it, Chloe crouched back to the ground, scooping WolfElly into her arms and lifting her up from the ground, “How about we get you out of here?”

WolfElly found herself nodding at Chloe gently, surprising Chloe that it felt like the animal understood her and also trusted her.

Chloe surprised even herself as she managed to walk several meters away from Pierce with WolfElly in her arms before he even noticed what she was doing.

“Chloe, where are you going?” Pierce demanded, seething in pain from the gun shot would, “I need to go to hospital, you’re coming with me.”

Chloe turned to her husband, “No, I’m not. You got shot because you and your mates were stupid enough to go hunting an innocent animal. You hurt her and now I’m going to get her some help…to stop you from being charged with animal cruelty. I’m helping you. You’ve got your idiot buddies to take you to the hospital for a couple stitches.”

I’m so not helping Pierce but if he sees it that way, it won’t look like it actually is…I’d rather take this animal to get help than go with my dumb husband to explain to a doctor he got shot in the arm thinking he was hunting a wolf.

“You’re choosing that thing instead of me?” Pierce realized angrily.

“She’s got a stab wound and needs help. That bullet barely grazed you, don’t be a baby,” Chloe found herself teasing Pierce’s overreaction.

With that, Chloe turned away from Pierce, struggling with the weight of WolfElly in her arms but managed to walk away as fast as she could.

Chloe overheard Pierce whimpering in pain that it was more than just a graze then yelling at Roman to go after her, to bring her to meet him at the hospital and shoot the damn wolf without missing.

In her need to protect them both, Chloe found herself feeling more strength than she thought she had, bolting towards the Lassiters complex with WolfElly.

Distracted by Pierce needing help stopping the gunshot wound from bleeding as Rene called for an ambulance, Roman spent an extra minute with the men before he turned around to follow Chloe.

Pierce glared in the direction Chloe had been crouched down on the ground with the injured wolf, “I will kill that bloody wolf…and get my wife back to the woman she was when she fell in love with me that would never choose anyone over me.”

As Chloe heard Roman chasing after her, she ducked behind one of the buildings she was next to, seeing him walking past her a moment later. Chloe tried to calm WolfElly from her whimpering but was pleased to see the bleeding from the stab wound had stopped.

Chloe looked around the place, realizing that nobody had come to Pierce’s rescue when the gun went off as the Waterhole had closed up fifteen minutes ago. Glancing down at the animal in her arms, Chloe smiled, “Do you think you can survive a little while longer before I need to get you help? I have a feeling Roman is gonna spend at least the next half an hour looking for us and I don’t want him shooting you. Can’t risk it.”

WolfElly purred gently in agreeance, knowing she was already beginning to heal and while the wound wasn't going to heal up overnight it would at least stop bleeding out soon as part of the process of accelerated healing.  

“I’ll take that as a yes then. Good, because I have somewhere that we can hide…as long as the Waterhole staff have gone home,” Chloe decided. 

A moment later, Chloe stood at the entrance to the Waterhole. She'd had to let WolfElly down from her arms. WolfElly slunk to the ground next to Chloe's feet as Chloe pulled out her set of keys.

"Just between you and me," Chloe started to explain, even though she felt ridiculous talking to the animal like it understood her, let alone the fact she was trying to comprehend why the dog had Elly's eyes and that Pierce kept insisting it was a wolf when all she saw was a dog, "When Pierce got me to give up my job at Lassiters...nobody asked me to hand over my set of keys to all the buildings in the complex. I've had them on me the whole time. Pierce has never even noticed them on my key set. So, you and I, are gonna hang out for a little while in the Waterhole's store room. I don't want to risk leaving any lights on and Roman finding us too quickly. Gotta keep you safe."

A few minutes later, Chloe had helped to carry WolfElly into the Waterhole’s storage room. She sat down with her back to the wall, smiling when WolfElly curled up on her legs.

Chloe leant forwards, gently running her hand to the wound on WolfElly’s side, unsurprised when she growled softly but didn’t attack her, “Is it my imagination that it’s looking like it’s healing already? It’s certainly not spitting out lots of blood but the wound is still open and seeping some blood. You better tell me by way of dragging me towards the door if you need help for that wound.”

WolfElly simply purred again, placing her face against Chloe’s leg to rest on it, when Chloe grabbed a towel and begin putting pressure on the wound to stop it bleeding.

“Who are you really?” Chloe suddenly asked.

WolfElly’s ears perked up at Chloe’s question but she tried not to react any more than that. It’s not like she could explain to Chloe in her wolf formation.

WolfElly watched as Chloe suddenly yawned then closed her eyes, her hand still keeping pressure on the wound.

WolfElly decided she felt safe enough to stay with Chloe. She knew it was a risk if it got to sunrise and she once more transformed back into the Elly that Chloe knew. She hadn’t explained to Chloe the last time that had happened as she’d ignored answering her questions. She couldn’t possibly get away with it happening again.

The least of all for the reason that WolfElly’s stab wound would still re-appear on her human body until it had healed completely.

Plus, it’s not like she could run away from Chloe if she tried, not for a few hours until the wound had sealed up. Then she would be able to run away. As long as Chloe let her back out of the Waterhole, seeing as though the front door was locked from the inside.

WolfElly knew the plan was simply to hide out there for an hour or so. She’d find a way to slink away from Chloe when Chloe was busy trying to get her to a vet clinic or similar for help.

As Chloe sat there with her eyes closed, her mind was racing. Even though she knew she should’ve been the responsible wife and gone to the hospital with her husband, she felt such a connection with the animal curled up to her. She needed to know why it had Elly’s eyes, why Elly had awoken in the place that the dog had fallen asleep, why Pierce was insistent that it was a wolf and why watching her own husband stabbing the animal had broken her heart.

Chloe’s mind then began thinking of all things Elly.

Chloe could easily have been distracted by thoughts of the past few days let alone those of a few hours ago where Elly and her had made love then held each other in a silent embrace for hours.

But Chloe’s thoughts this time were all about the little things about Elly that she had noticed since Elly had returned from being missing for four years.

First off there was the fact Elly, along with Aster, went missing in the first place, taken in by a new family for four years. Elly’s abilities to eat copious amounts of food, sneak up on her without Chloe having a single clue, her strength to outrun her every single day except one random day that Elly was not feeling herself, this sense that Elly sometimes heard things before she did, that she had somehow gotten the engagement party dress for her in an astonishing amount of time, that Elly had lifted her up like she weighed nothing, Elly’s stamina, that Elly’s ripped up clothes had been located meters away from the dog, that Elly’s eyes matches those of the animal curled up against her.   

Before they knew it Chloe and WolfElly had fallen asleep, lying in the storage room of the Waterhole, their comfort of being with one another enough to lower any fears of being found together.

Hours later, Chloe rustled awake, surprised to find herself having slept in the Waterhole storage room. She pulled herself up from the position she’d slept in, stretching her arms and back.

Chloe’s eyes suddenly widened as they fell to the animal lying on its side on the ground near her. She missed the feeling of the dog curled up against her but figured the dog needed its own space whilst sleeping.

Chloe panicked for a moment, fearing that her inability to stay awake to protect her, had led to the dog passing away from her stab wound.

Chloe breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the animal’s chest rise up and down in quiet breaths. Chloe looked at her watch, shocked she’d slept through the night, “Damn it, I need to get you some help! That stab wound must really be hurting you. We weren’t meant to stay here the night; I was supposed to get you help hours ago!”

Before Chloe could stand up, she watched as WolfElly started shaking gently.

Chloe’s eyes then widened as wide as they possibly could when the dog that laid there on the ground whined quietly before unexpectedly transforming from a dog into that of one Miss. Elly Conway.

Chloe took a sharp breath as she saw Elly curled up, naked, on the floor in the same position as the dog that was there just a moment ago.

Chloe’s shock extended further when she saw the stab wound that the dog had in its side was now residing in Elly’s ribs.

Chloe blinked heavily and shook her head, trying to comprehend what had happened before her very eyes.

Elly’s a…dog…?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Tuesday 17th December 2024

Chloe sat in the Waterhole’s storage room, running her fingers against her temple, closing her eyes then re-opening them. She’d been doing that for the past five minutes, expecting every time that when she opened her eyes again, they wouldn’t fall upon the sight of a naked Elly curled up on her side on the ground of the store room.

Because how could it be possible that Elly was lying there?

When moments before, a dog had laid there in exactly the same place.

Chloe swallowed hard as her eyes focused on the stab wound in Elly’s ribs. It didn’t look like it was bleeding out but it hardly looked like it had healed either.

Chloe finally worked up the courage to shuffle over to Elly, running her hand up and down Elly’s arm, “Elly, wake up.”

Chloe felt like she was living the same day on repeat, having woken up the previous night next to a naked Elly in the place of the dog she’d felt connected to.

“Elly,” Chloe shook the brunette again gently.

Elly roused from her sleep, blinking her eyes open but immediately feeling the pain in her side and gasping for air whilst clutching at the wound.

Chloe quickly removed the light cotton jacket she’d worn the previous night when she’d gone out looking for the animal. She quietly wrapped it around Elly’s shoulders. Elly rolled over onto her back before feeling more pain and curling back up on her side, “Chloe?”

Chloe took a few deep breaths, “You okay?”

Elly struggled with the jacket Chloe had put around her shoulders, trying to put it on properly, seeing that Chloe was leaning towards her, clearly showing she wanted to help her but was trying to keep her distance.

Cause I’m naked…and I’m pretty sure I just turned back into a human from being a wolf so…Chloe’s wigging the fuck out! Can’t believe my secret got out this quickly…now I have to pray Chloe accepts me for whom I am… I’m a monster whom nearly lost control and made Pierce a monster…how can Chloe accept me when I’m not even sure I accept myself…?

Elly winced in pain once more as she got her arms through the jacket, then tried to curl it around her torso without putting it against her wound, “I’ll be okay in a day or so.”

“We should get you to a hospital. You were stabbed last night, Elly,” Chloe told her.

“Yeah, I remember, Chlo. Pierce stabbed me when I went to attack him,” Elly whispered before reassuring her, “It wasn’t that deep, it’s been healing overnight and should be nothing more than a scar by later today.”

“You remember?” Chloe was surprised.

Elly nodded, then struggled for a moment as she noticed one of the Waterhole aprons lying on a shelf, lifted herself up enough to get it then placed it over her lower body, figuring Chloe would prefer her to cover up, “I’ll answer your questions, Chlo…just ask.” 

I mean I'd prefer we just skipped over the talk and went straight to being in each other’s' arms once more but I don't think I'm getting outta this conversation that easily.

"Oh, because when you said you couldn't answer my questions last night and that you'd do so today, now you want to talk," Chloe spat out.

"Ok, I deserved that," Elly admitted, "But, Chlo, what you don't understand is--"

"You ran away from me, Elly! We kissed and you ran away, then we slept together and you ran away again! Least you're consistent," Chloe snapped.

"Chlo, I had reasons as to why I ran away from you. I know I should've been honest with you from the start but there was so much risk and I was trying to stop you from getting hurt if you found out the truth about me," Elly tried to explain to begin with.

Chloe shook her head in disbelief as she remembered the image of Elly transforming right in front of her, "Oh, what? That somehow I really did see what I saw a few minutes ago and that you’re a dog."

“I’m a what?” Elly frowned in confusion, then remembered that Chloe had spent the past few nights seeing her as a dog instead of the wolf that she is.

I really should call Abby and check with her that she did tell me years ago that human mates see their wolf mates as cuddly lovable dogs…

“Don’t try to deny what I saw, Elly,” Chloe accused.

Elly placed her fingers to the bridge of her nose, terrified of Chloe’s reaction to the truth, stammering out anxiously, “I’m not denying…some of what you saw. I’m not a dog, Chlo…I’m a…I’m a…I’m a werewolf.”

Chloe’s eyes bulged widely as she opened and closed her mouth, unable to say anything in response.

“I’m a werewolf, Chlo,” Elly repeated, feeling that Chloe needed to hear it again.

“That’s not possible,” Chloe finally whispered.

“That’s exactly what I thought when I was first told I’d been turned into a werewolf…but it’s true, Chlo,” Elly implored.

“Did I fall asleep last night or did I hit my head and knock myself out?” Chloe wondered.

“You fell asleep…you were pretty exhausted last night…I’d like to take credit for that but I think it was more to do with the last 3-4 nights finally catching up to you,” Elly told her, unable to deny she wanted to move the conversation along to whether they could be together after their love making session the previous afternoon.

Chloe blushed at the memories of sleeping with Elly but was determined not to let that distract her, “How do you expect me to believe you, Elly? I believe I saw what I saw that you transformed from being a dog just five minutes ago…and I mean that…that’s not possible…but a werewolf…that’s impossible.”

Elly sat up, her back against one of the shelves in the storage room, sitting opposite Chloe. Elly stared at Chloe’s eyes, until Chloe finally stared back at her, “I was turned the night before you got married to Pierce…when I left your Hen’s party and I got attacked by a guy then…disappeared… I was attacked by a werewolf and turned into one. It’s why I disappeared.”

“I’d say that makes more sense than the bogus reason you gave for not feeling like you belonged here anymore and fell in with another family…except it doesn’t make sense at all because werewolves don’t exist,” Chloe decided.

“We do exist, Chlo,” Elly replied quietly, “I know I’ve been hiding this from you. I never really knew how I was ever gonna tell you the truth and to be honest, this is hardly the way I imagined telling you. I agonized over how I could tell you what I am because of how dangerous it is for any humans to find out about us.”

“Humans? You make it sound like you’re not human,” Chloe frowned.

“I’m not,” Elly acknowledged, “I may look human but I’m not. I’m a werewolf whom looks human except for three nights of the month that I turn into a wolf. The night of the full moon…and the two nights surrounding it…last night was the night after the full moon…the last night in the cycle…for this month. When it’s not those three nights of the month, I have the strength, speed and hearing of that of a wolf.”

“Why did Pierce see you as a wolf but I kept seeing a dog?” Chloe frowned.

I’m so not ready to tell Chloe all about her being my mate…I need to know Chloe accepts me for what I am before I open that can of worms that’ll inevitably lead to Chloe leaving Pierce to be a family with Aster and I…even though I do kinda want to rush ahead to that part…

“Some people just…see what they want to see,” Elly lied, “Chloe, I’ve seen you researching spiritual beliefs and beings such as werewolves…you know I’m different.”

Chloe nodded gently, “I felt it as soon as you returned…that you were different. I couldn’t put my finger on it…what it was exactly.”

“It’s this…that I’m a werewolf,” Elly admitted, “Do you believe me?”

“I’m not sure what I believe,” Chloe countered, “But I’m guessing if last night was the final night for the month you turn into a werewolf, you’re not gonna expect me to wait around another month to show me again.”

Elly grimaced, “Well…for honesty’s sake…technically if I get really…really mad…I can shift into a different style of werewolf…but you wouldn’t want to meet that wolf…no one should ever.”

Again…you nearly met that wolf four nights ago outside Back Lane Bar…I don’t want you to ever meet that wolf again…I don’t ever want to be that wolf… If Pierce had done more damage than stabbing me last night, would I have transformed into that wolf and killed him?

Chloe couldn’t help but shiver at Elly’s words, feeling her pain and fear in them, “Guess I shouldn’t make you mad then…I’m still not sure I believe you, Elly.”

“I know it takes a lot to believe that the supernatural world exists,” Elly replied.

“More than just werewolves?” Chloe was surprised.

“Lots more,” Elly revealed, “But I think that’s a conversation for another time when you’ve gotten used to the idea of me being a werewolf.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea of you being a werewolf,” Chloe decided.

Ouch…not exactly how things are going to work between Chloe and I in the future if Chloe can’t get used to and accept what I am…

“I felt the same way, y’know,” Elly whispered, recalling her own experience, “When I first found out I was turned into a werewolf, I thought it was just some horrible joke that the family I fell in with were playing on me. That it was their way of excusing that they’d kidnapped me but didn’t want me running home to alert the authorities about them. But there was something so honest about them all. Then a few days later…the moon rose into the sky the night before the full moon…and I felt myself shift into a werewolf…then the next morning I was curled up on the ground…naked.”

“You wake up naked a lot?” Chloe suddenly asked.

“Kinda comes with the fact that wolves don’t wear clothes…it’s why I don’t mind walking around your house and across the street naked confidently…I’ve come to accept nakedness is just how I wake up three mornings a month no matter where I am,” Elly smiled confidently, then shrugged, “And this is coming from someone who was turned into a werewolf when she was weeks away from giving birth and spent the next few months hating my childbirth body, needing to get used to not wearing clothes when I transformed.”

Chloe quirked her head, “Does Aster know about you? Wait, is Aster also a…werewolf?”

Elly smiled at the way Chloe almost squawked the last word, finding Chloe adorably trying to get used to the idea of werewolves, “Yes, Aster knows, she’s always known. I never wanted to hide what I am from my daughter…it’s almost gotten me into trouble a number of times as Aster has that habit of talking before she thinks. There’s a chance that Aster will become a werewolf when she grows up. I was human when she was created but I was turned into a werewolf before she was born. We won’t know until she’s a teenager.”

We as in…you and I, Chlo, will together anxiously be waiting around for the next decade or so to find out if our little girl, Aster, is a wolf like me…or human like you…and I suppose her human father, Shaun…

“Werewolves can have babies?” Chloe almost scoffed.

“We can, yes,” Elly confirmed, “We’re also strong, fast, have really good hearing and…well we eat a lot more than you probably think we do.”

“Well, that explains a few things that I thought were…off about you…no offence,” Chloe shrugged, glad when Elly didn’t take it to heart, “So, this is why you really disappeared for four years?”

Elly nodded, “Yes, the family that I fell in with…they took me under their wing because they’re werewolves too…kinda refer to them as The Pack. I was turned by an Omega wolf, betrayer of his Alpha wolf, so I never got to learn from the wolf whom made me. Romulus saved me from that wolf when I was attacked after the Hen’s party…took me back to their cabin and his wife, Abby, explained to me…what I am. After learning that I really am a wolf, a few weeks later I gave birth to Aster and my new family supported me through the change…motherhood and…my whole werewolf deal.”

“And you disappeared for four years without a word because…of all this…werewolf…stuff?” Chloe accused.

“I didn’t want to leave you…I wanted to come home every single day but me being a werewolf…it’s not the life I’d ever want anyone to have if they can avoid it. It can be great…the speed, agility, hearing come in handy…but the turning into a dangerous werewolf for three nights out of the month…knowing you can hurt your friends and family…it’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” Elly admitted.

“Doesn’t sound all that bad to me,” Chloe shrugged, “The dog version of you is very cuddly.”

“You’re sweet,” Elly half-smiled, before sighing, “Maybe if you saw the wolf version of me, you’d have a very different opinion of me. I know you can’t be scared of me…but sometimes I wonder how this is supposed to work…”

You can’t be scared of me if we need to be together…cause how could this work…? How could this work even if you’re not scared of me…?

“How what’s supposed to work?” Chloe wondered.

But Elly refused to answer, terrified that telling Chloe about how she was her mate if that put pressure on Chloe to end her marriage to get together with her before she was ready.

Chloe continued, “I’d never be scared of you, Elly. I might not completely believe that you really are a werewolf…but I know I could never be scared of you.”

Elly hung her head, staring at the floor, “You don’t know that…you need to know the real me…I’m a monster.”

If you and I are ever going to work, Chlo…you need to know the real me…

Chloe scoffed, “You’re not a monster, Elly…I don’t know what you are but I’d never call you that and you’ve been pretty honest with me this morning…at least I think you have…I honestly am not sure if you’re playing some epic prank on me despite the fact, I am absolutely positive I really did see you transform before my eyes. I saw you leap at Pierce when you saw him and his guys with their guns, but I also saw you stop yourself from attacking Pierce mid-leap. You chose not to attack him because you’re not a monster.”

Elly felt the fear of Chloe’s rejection coming, yet came clean regardless of the consequences because she couldn’t lie to Chloe about what she’d done if they were going to have a future together one day, “I murdered Finn.”

Chloe’s face fell instantly in shock of Elly’s confession.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-Eight

Tuesday 17th December 2024

Chloe blinked wildly as she stared at Elly sitting across the room from her in the storage room at the Waterhole, not sure if she had heard Elly correctly, “You…what? No, that’s not…Finn…nobody killed Finn… You’d never do that…you’re not a…”

“I am,” Elly admitted, knowing Chloe couldn’t get the word ‘murderer’ out of her mouth, “I came back…I wasn’t gone for four years, Chlo…I came back three months after I had disappeared. I thought enough time had passed and that I would be okay to be around humans again. I came back and I…I killed Finn. I didn’t mean to…it…I lost control…I killed him.”

Chloe shook her head in disbelief, “No…you wouldn’t do that. Finn…disappeared to the other side of the world when we thought he killed you and your baby…the police…they were positive that Finn had made his way to Shanghai… You weren’t here, you were…nowhere near here… You said it yourself, you…left because you’re a were…wolf.”

Elly finally lifted her head to look into Chloe’s eyes, “I left again because I found out that day that I really am a monster. I thought I wasn’t. I thought I could just slot back into my normal life several months after I left, that I could come back then bring my baby girl with me after I’d settled in for a day or so and you could all meet her and everything would be back to how I thought it was meant to be. I thought I’d just be able to go away for the full moon cycle each month back to The Pack and I’d just be a werewolf that doesn’t hurt anyone…I murdered Finn, Chlo…I did it. The Shanghai stuff…I swear I didn’t know about it until my family told me…Lexa and Raven they set that part all up for the police to believe that Finn escaped overseas…after I’d killed him.”

“Why?” Chloe asked meekly, unsure really how to react to the notion of Elly harming anyone let alone killing someone.

Elly ran her hands through her hair, feeling the distress in Chloe’s voice, terrified revealing her truth would push her even further away, especially if that meant back into Pierce’s arms after their time together, “I arrived home one day in March, several months after I’d disappeared to get a handle on my werewolf nature. I left baby Aster with The Pack, thinking I’d be able to bring her home in a day or two. Lexa drove me home and was planning on hanging around the area in case I needed anything. Nobody was home but I was so excited to be back, Chlo, I’d missed everyone so much. But then I found Finn in the backyard…and he…”

“Finn had his memories back,” Chloe suddenly realized.

“I’d always feared that Finn’s memories would return and he’d turn back into the psychopath he once was. I walked in on that…Finn was outside, filming himself on his phone…I dunno…keeping memories of his regained memories. He was rambling…about wanting to find me and Aster so he could…be with us…as a partner and father,” Elly explained.

“And you couldn’t just…reject him if being with Finn was not even close to what you want…? Okay…well he was unstable with his memories back and reverting back to psychopath Finn…and you may’ve thought that he’d turn on you if you did reject him,” Chloe wondered whilst realizing there were reasons why it wasn’t that simple for Elly.

“That’s not why I lost control and killed him,” Elly told her, “Finn was beyond unstable…he kept rambling…that…Bea was in his way. That when he tracked me and my baby down so he could be a family with us…Bea wouldn’t be able to cope with us betraying her like that. Finn started going on about…the island. That you and Pierce were taking a bunch of our friends and family to the island. Finn was talking about how he’d gotten maps for the island or something…there was some mineshaft…he was gonna kill Bea…and make it look like she’d killed herself due to her distraught over me going missing.”

“So, you killed him…to stop Finn killing Bea?” Chloe concluded.

Elly took a deep breath, “No…Bea wasn’t the only one in Finn’s way to being a family with Aster and I.”

Chloe frowned, “Who else could’ve been? Shaun at that point was believed dead…unless Finn had worked out that Shaun had survived and that he needed to--”

“You were in Finn’s way,” Elly interrupted to reveal.

“How do you mean?” Chloe was surprised.

Elly couldn’t help the small smile creeping on her lips, “Finn believed you still loved me…despite you marrying Pierce…he thought you were in his way…that you would…stop me from being with Finn…because you love me.”

Present tense…subtle with your confidence, Elly.

I did still love Elly back then…as much as that would’ve hurt Pierce…I loved them both…do I still love them both? Can I love Elly if…I might’ve been part of the reason she murdered someone?

Elly watched as Chloe’s face fell, her own smile falling when Chloe responded, “Did you murder Finn because of me?”

Elly swallowed hard, feeling Chloe’s hurt, fearing that she really could push her away from ever loving her like she was meant to, “Chlo, I lost control. I wasn’t in my right mind…it wasn’t because of you. It was all of it…Finn thinking he could find me and I’d just…be with him…that Aster could use him as another parent…that he wanted to fake Bea committing suicide…and yes…that he wanted to go after you.”

Chloe nodded, still wondering if Elly’s reaction to kill Finn had more to do with herself than Elly was letting on but didn’t want to be the reason anyone had been killed, “How did you…do it?”

Elly shrugged, “I honestly don’t remember. As I said earlier…there are two types of wolf that I can shift into. The one you saw the previous few nights…or not I guess since you see me as a dog instead of a wolf. That’s the one I shift into during the full moon cycle. It took me over a year of shifting before I could get used to remembering what happens when I do shift. Then there’s the other kind of wolf…the kind you should never meet…”

Again…

As Elly decided not to mention that Chloe nearly did meet that wolf several nights earlier outside the Back Lane Bar, she continued, “I’ll never have my memories or knowledge of who I am in that wolf form…that wolf is nothing but a monster… That monster can be unleashed if I don’t keep my anger in check…Finn unleased that monster in me…and I killed him. The guilt that I felt…it sent me and Aster away for nearly four more years until I was sure that I could keep my anger under control. I still struggle with that…I nearly attacked Pierce tonight…if I hadn’t already been in my normal wolf form…I’d have risked turning into the other one and who knows what I could’ve done…I really am a monster.”

“I would never call you a monster, Elly,” Chloe determined, “You’ve done the wrong thing…yes…and that guilt must’ve been tremendous if it sent you away from everyone you loved for years on end…but I can see…how you could’ve lost control at Finn.”

“Thanks, Chlo,” Elly whispered.

“But you did nearly attack my husband tonight,” Chloe then threw out, “I know you stopped yourself and he had no right to try to kill you…or hunt you or whatever the hell it was that he was doing with his mates tonight…but if you’d have hurt Pierce…I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

Best not to mention then that I stopped myself on account of not being able to deal with turning Pierce Greyson into a werewolf rather than I realized it was the wrong thing to attack another human… As much as that may or may not eliminate Pierce as my rival for Chloe’s affections…I want Chloe to choose me and only me because we’re meant to be…not because Pierce got turned into a werewolf too…

“I’m sorry, I know nearly attacking Pierce was something in my control at that time that I shouldn’t have done… It doesn’t matter that I did stop myself nor that they were the ones after me. I knew better, I knew that attacking any of them would’ve proved once again that…like it or not…I am a danger to those I’m around,” Elly hung her head again.

“Okay, so you’re a bit of a danger to be around when you get angry or feel threatened by a bunch of angry men with guns and knives…it’s not the worst thing in the world,” Chloe pointed out.

Elly swallowed hard at Chloe’s confirmation that she was a danger to be around, even though the blonde had played it off as not a big deal, feeling like she really was a monster, “Not the worst…but close to… Do you think you’ll ever be able to accept what I am…what I’ve done?”

Chloe thought for a moment, despite knowing the silence was paining Elly, “I think I can come to terms with you being a werewolf…I’ll probably need to watch you shift again just to make sure I truly believe you really are what you say you are. Accepting what you’ve done…that’s gonna take a bit more time.”

“Then I guess I need to give you that time,” Elly decided, sighing when Chloe nodded, unsure if Chloe wanted space from her too.

I still don’t know where we go from here…Chloe knows the truth about what I am…but where does it leave us…after giving in to one another and making love to each other yesterday? Is Chloe going to leave Pierce for me? Will Chloe, Aster and I be a family soon?

Unable to stop biting her tongue from what she was desperate to know, Elly bit her lip instead as she asked, “Chlo, where does this leave us?”

Chloe stared at Elly, feeling like she knew what Elly was asking her but wasn’t sure how to answer her.

“Chlo, I love you…I want us to be together…you, me and Aster…the three of us as a family,” Elly added, firmly letting Chloe know where her heart was.

What about Pierce and…?

As Chloe sat there pondering how she could possibly respond to Elly’s declaration, she was almost relieved when Elly tilted her head to the side, clearly hearing something that she couldn’t, “What is it?”

Elly didn’t answer as she sniffed the air too, leaving Chloe raising her eyebrow at her actions.

How did I not notice these things about Elly?

Elly started shifting the apron and jacket to make herself look a tad bit more presentable as Chloe whispered, “Someone’s coming?”

Before Elly could answer Chloe, the pair looked up as the door to the storage room opened and Dipi appeared.

“Duh…hi, Dipi,” Chloe greeted nervously, then looked at Elly’s lack of clothes, “This is not what it looks like, Dipi.”

“I know,” Dipi reassured vaguely, “I just came in to grab some milk for Harold’s as my delivery hasn’t turned up yet. Shane knows I have a spare set of keys to this place.”

“Milk…? In the storage room? Might want to check the fridge in the kitchen, Dipi,” Elly pointed out.

Dipi raised her eyebrows at Elly, then leant into her handbag, handing Elly the contents, “Brought you some clothes.”

Elly took them from Dipi, staring up at her and seeing Chloe doing the same, “How did you…?”

Dipi ignored Elly’s question of how she knew she would need a pair of clothes, not wanting to reveal she knew Elly was a werewolf nor how she knew where Elly had spent the night, she looked over at Chloe, “Pierce is looking for you, Chloe. He went knocking on everyone’s doors this morning as soon as the sun rose…before the sun rose actually…Paul didn’t appreciate the early wake up. Pierce told me that much at least.”

Chloe’s eyes widened, “Right…Pierce was shot last night and I…got caught up here…looking after Elly who…”

“I had a couple drinks,” Elly lied, “Chloe made sure I didn’t vomit then we both just fell asleep.”

Dipi nodded along, not even bothering to ask why Chloe would do that if she’d known her husband had been shot, “Pierce is fine, just a graze to his bicep but you should get home before he comes looking for you away from the street. He’s worried about you…he’s also…he’s going on about the neighbourhood not being safe…that there’s this wolf out there. He said he got shot because of the wolf and he’s not going to stop until that wolf is…gone.”

Dipi watched as Chloe hesitated and then glanced at Elly, seeing the way Elly looked back at her, and getting the picture of what might be happening between the pair.

Chloe stood up, regathering herself, “I’ll head home now. Try to stop Pierce’s rage about the wolf. Thanks, Dipi.”

Elly clutched the clothes Dipi had gotten her, knowing she had to stay back to get changed, “Thanks, Dipi.”

Dipi quietly left the pair be, not bothering to stop by the kitchen for the milk she’d supposedly come in for.

“Are you sure you’re going to be okay after being stabbed?” Chloe looked down at Elly.

“I’ll be fine, healed completely within hours,” Elly answered as she stayed sitting curled up on the floor, staring up at Chloe who then turned towards the door after hearing Elly would be fine, “Chlo…before you go…about what I said…”

“I need time,” Chloe immediately responded, “What happened between us yesterday…what happened last night…you being a werewolf…trying to hurt Pierce…even for a second before you changed your mind…it changes things.”

As Chloe walked away from her and exited the Waterhole, Elly teared up at her words, feeling like Chloe had rejected her before they’d had a chance to be together.

I was right…I’m still not in control of my powers nor my emotions…I am a monster…I could’ve really lost control and harmed Pierce last night…next time it could be someone I actually care about… How can I possibly stop myself from hurting the people I love?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Fifty-Nine

Tuesday 17th December 2024

Chloe took a deep breath before she entered her own house, the egg shells she felt the need to walk around grating at her. Chloe’s guilt at what happened between herself and Elly eating away at her and her confusion over Elly’s declaration that she wanted them to be together, leaving her wondering how she could possibly make the decision that could end up changing her entire future.

Spotting Pierce sitting on the couch, his upper arm in a bandage, Chloe greeted him as politely as she could, “Morning, how’s your arm?”

Pierce stood up immediately, rushing over to Chloe and wrapping his arms around her as she’d barely had time to close the door behind her, ignoring the pain in his arm as he squeezed his wife, “Chloe! Where have you been? I was so worried about you! My arm is fine, I’ll have the bandage on for a few days. Bloody wolf! All it’s bloody fault I got shot!”

Chloe glanced up at her husband as she squeezed his waist, “I’m glad you’re okay, I worried about you too. Don’t worry about the wolf, forget about her, I bet she’s gone now after what you did. I mean, she is gone. I took her to the vets but when I was arguing with them to treat her stab wound, she ran out of there and disappeared. Fell asleep on the way home. Shouldn’t have done that but was just too tired to call anyone. I was perfectly fine…as you can see that I am.”

“Can’t believe the wolf disappeared, I’m going after that bloody thing. I’ve already alerted the local ranger and the police when they interviewed me after I arrived at the hospital with a gunshot wound. We’re going to make sure that thing gets locked up like it deserves,” Pierce bulldozed as he unwrapped his arms from Chloe, but left his uninjured arm around her waist and led her to the couch where they sat down together.

“Let it go, Pierce. She’s gone and I doubt very much we’ll see her again…not anytime soon, anyway. Besides, I’m still mad at you for stabbing her. You deserved to be shot in the arm for what you did,” Chloe told him firmly, deciding not to be swayed by her husband, now knowing the wolf was Elly.

The woman I spent hours making love to one another and betraying my husband and…

“I was trying to protect you from it! The thing lunged at me and was going to attack me! I was protecting myself,” Pierce claimed, ignoring Chloe’s claims that the wolf wouldn’t be seen for a while, “How are you not angry at it for doing that?”

“I’m not in the mood for this, I’m tired and didn’t get a good nights’ sleep. If you want to keep arguing we can, later today, but you were in the wrong, Pierce. You were only hurt because you and your stupid mates tried hunting something that won’t harm you unless you provoke it. You want to go out tonight and try to hunt it down again, be my guest, you won’t find the wolf. Just leave it be, Pierce,” Chloe scolded him before standing up and walking to their bedroom on their own.

I don’t know what I’m doing anymore...I’m putting up with Pierce and his misplaced anger over the wolf…the wolf that happens to be Elly! Elly, the woman whom I cheated on Pierce with several times the past few days…and is now asking me to be with her… To leave my husband to be with Elly and Aster as a family…the three of us…except Elly doesn’t know…I need time to think about what I’m supposed to do…I never thought Elly could possibly love me and throw my entire world upside down…is Elly prepared for me to do the same?

Later that evening, Chloe had been annoyed when Pierce had once more insisted on going out after the wolf, yet relieved knowing that the wolf would be safe since Elly wouldn’t be turning into a wolf that night and would be perfectly safe. Even though the realism of knowing Elly was a werewolf and that werewolves were real, was still confusing the hell out of the blonde. Feeling like she had this massive secret that she would need to hide from the rest of the world for the rest of her life.

Chloe was also glad that her husband had gone out for the night once more, leaving her with her thoughts as she sat alone on their couch. Trying to accept the fact that she could no longer run from or ignore needing to make a decision about her future and how that decision could affect the people in her life.

Chloe’s thoughts were interrupted by a knocking on the front door.

Elly.

Chloe no longer needed to know who was on the other side of the front door, she knew that knocking action that Elly made off by heart now.

A part of Chloe didn’t want to answer the door, worried the decision about her future would be pushed by Elly wanting an answer from her.

But talking things through with Elly about everything and being completely honest with her about their situation was what Chloe decided she needed to do.

Elly was honest with me this morning…I need to be honest with her…and myself…for the first time in more than a month…

Chloe opened the front door, surprised to find an overly anxious Elly on the other side of the door, “Hi.”

“Hey,” Elly greeted nervously as she stepped inside the house when Chloe let her in.

Chloe suddenly noticed the handbag Elly was holding against her side seemed rather oversized and fuller than her usual handbags, “Everything okay? Did your wound heal fully?”

“Healed perfectly, nothing but a small scar now. But everything’s…not really…okay, I saw Pierce and his buddies out hunting again around the complex when I was out for a walk to clear my head an hour ago,” Elly admitted.

Chloe sighed, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t talk Pierce out on his…ridiculous crusade of wanting to hunt down the wolf and get…it…out of our lives. Good thing I know he won’t be doing that tonight…or y’know for at least another month…guess you keep a pretty good track of the full moon cycle. Give it a couple days, Pierce will give up when he doesn’t find the wolf. He’ll have forgotten all about it by the time you’ll be turning into a wolf next month. Guess I should look up your wolfy nights on the calendar myself so I know when they are.”

Elly looked at her feet, “I can’t give it a few days, Chlo.”

“How do you mean?” Chloe was confused.

“Aster’s in the car. I packed a few of our things, not much but enough to get by,” Elly answered vaguely.

“You’re going back to The Pack to stay with them for a few days to get over being attacked by Pierce last night?” Chloe assumed.

Elly swallowed hard as she looked up at Chloe, “I’m going back to The Pack to live with them.”

“For…a few days?” Chloe almost repeated.

“For good,” Elly clarified.

“Elly, you can’t just leave,” Chloe was stunned by Elly’s decision, “Why would you do this? You’re not leaving…you can’t.”

“Chloe, I have spent all day thinking about this and the only thing I have realized is that I’m a dangerous animal who can’t be around humans. I’ll do nothing but hurt one of them one day or worse,” Elly declared.

“You’re not a dangerous animal,” Chloe argued, then swallowed, “What could be worse than hurting someone?”

Elly ran her tongue over her bottom lip anxiously, “I didn’t stop myself from attacking Pierce because I would’ve hurt him…I did it because if I had attacked Pierce in my wolf form…I’d have turned Pierce into a werewolf…and that I couldn’t have lived with.”

Chloe blinked her eyes at the thought of her husband becoming a werewolf, “Okay, I admit, Pierce being a werewolf…isn’t ideal…married to a wolf…not sure I could get used to that.”

So…Chloe and I shouldn’t get married in the future…?

“Pierce Greyson being a werewolf would be the worst thing I could do…since what I did to Finn. I don’t like Pierce, he’s a controlling manipulating asshole but making him like me…needing to show him the world that I live in…I couldn’t do it and for that…I’m a monster. So, I am doing what I need to…to protect those around me,” Elly explained.

“By leaving us all again? You can’t do this, Elly,” Chloe was heartbroken by Elly’s decision.

“I have to, I’m protecting everyone. I’m still a monster, I need to be with my people. Aster barely understands as it is, I need you to understand why I’m leaving,” Elly begged.

“I will never understand why you’d do this to us again,” Chloe stated, “Do you have any idea what you really put us through when you abandoned us for four years? Do you expect me to keep your secret for the rest of my life and not know where you are? You were literally saying the other day that you need to be here for Bea whilst she and Yashvi try to work through how to become parents. Bea needs you. Susan and Karl need you…I need you too…don’t go.”

Elly smiled shyly at Chloe’s words, “Chlo, you misunderstand me. Yes, I need to leave to go live with The Pack so that I’m no longer a danger around humans…but you’re not a human I would ever hurt no matter what.”

“Okay,” Chloe whispered in confusion.

Elly stepped forwards, shoving her handbag to swing onto her back as she took Chloe’s hands in her own, “Aster and you are the only humans I know I can be around that I will never hurt no matter what. I can be around you.”

“Okay,” Chloe repeated, still no less confused.

“I am going to live with The Pack and Aster so I can…be what I am…I’m tired of being terrified that one wrong move and I’ll attack someone or turn someone into a werewolf just with the touch of my claws when wolfed out. I know Bea needs me but Bea would never be able to forgive me if I ever hurt anyone she or I care about. That’s why I can only be around those I won’t hurt,” Elly squeezed Chloe’s hands, “Come with me and Aster.”

“What?” Chloe stumbled out in shock.

Elly stepped forwards even closer to curl her arms around Chloe’s waist, pleasantly surprised when Chloe took her in her arms, placing her arms to Elly’s hips too, “I can be safe with my wolf family…and I know we will take a lot to get used to being around. But you and I, Chlo…we can make this work. I love you. Come with me?”

We have to make it work…we’re inevitable…should I tell Chloe that? Explain to her that she’s my mate and no matter how long it takes or what we’re up against…one day we will be together. Pierce, Chloe dealing with me being a werewolf, raising Aster, all of it…we’ll get through it all and be together…

“Are you asking me to…run away with you and Aster?” Chloe was completely stunned.

“Yes,” Elly answered simply, then when Chloe remained silent, “Chloe, I know you have a lot here for you worth staying for…your brothers and family. Your classes at the training center and all the women that you help there. I’m not saying we run away and never come back here or never have any contact with anyone. I’m just saying we go away where we can be safe and happy together. You, me and Aster as a family. No Pierce controlling every aspect of your life. No wasting your life away by not working because Pierce thinks you’re too good for that. We can make a life together, Chlo, with Aster. The three of us.”

“I don’t think we can,” Chloe whispered so quietly that Elly only made the words out using her super hearing.

Elly leant forwards, encouraged when Chloe herself leant in for a kiss with her.

Chloe’s the one kissing me here…and I’m sure kissing back…so why doesn’t she think we can do this?

As they broke from the kiss, Elly pressed her forehead to Chloe’s, “We’re so good together, Chlo. Yesterday…with you, being with you it was nothing short of perfect. I know leaving Pierce and what you think you know about yourself will change by leaving him and making a new life together with Aster and I. It’ll be scary but I love you…and I know deep down you love me too. We can make this work and spend our lives together. Aster loves you, Chlo, the three of us could be the most amazing family.”

How is Elly so sure I love her?

Chloe closed her eyes for a moment, “I can’t leave Pierce, Elly. I can’t pack my things, disappear into the night with you and Aster for the three of us to be a family…no matter how much I want to.”

“Why?” Elly pleaded, her heart in agony over why her mate wouldn’t want to be with her.

Chloe squeezed Elly’s hips, “Elly, there’s something that I haven’t told you since you returned…I’ve known for the past few weeks and it happened before you got back but I’ve been too scared to deal with this and have been ignoring it because I know then I’ll have to tell Pierce and…then I can’t leave him…”

Even if a part of me wants to be with you.

“You can leave Pierce, Chlo. You’re strong enough to walk away from him. You can be with me…we can be happy together. I know we can…and there is not one thing you can say that will have me believe that you and I won’t be together as soon as tonight starting our future together,” Elly declared with complete positivity.

Chloe felt her shoulders crumple as she accepted what she’d been trying to avoid, “I’m pregnant.”

Not one thing…except that…

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Sixty

Tuesday 17th December 2024

Elly took a sharp breath at Chloe’s pregnancy announcement.

Chloe saw the confliction in Elly’s eyes as she continued, “I’ve been avoiding dealing with knowing that I’m pregnant to Pierce again.”

“Are you sure you are?” Elly asked, pleading for it not to be true.

Chloe nodded, “I haven’t taken any pregnancy tests or gone to my doctor but yeah…I know the signs. I missed this months’ period a few weeks ago. I know my body. I know I’m not far along but I’ve had all the pregnancy signs. I’m pretty sure I fell pregnant…a few days before you arrived back. I figured it out a few weeks ago…it’s like I knew as soon as I fell pregnant…I knew it had happened…I just felt different after Pierce and I…I just knew I was pregnant, then I missed my period and…I just knew. I should’ve told you but then that would mean…it’s happening and I’m tied to Pierce forever.”

“Chlo, you were in hospital with concussion after your car accident. How did they not pick it up then? And…just a few nights ago you were drinking at the engagement party…I mean drinking whilst pregnant isn’t the worst thing,” Elly tried to make sense of Chloe’s announcement.

Chloe sighed, “I told the doctor I couldn’t be pregnant and they didn’t run any blood tests on me. The drinking was wrong, I knew it was but I was so messed up…I’ve been pretty messed up accepting that I must be pregnant. Part of the reason why I went for a breather that night…was to throw up as much of the alcohol as I could…I know drinking early in my pregnancy…during my pregnancy at all isn’t right but I just…needed a release that night…I still probably haven’t come to acceptance about this.”

“Because it’s Pierce’s baby and being tied to Pierce forever…isn’t what you want,” Elly prayed she was right because she wasn’t ready to give up all hope for her and Chloe.

Chloe struggled for a moment, “It’s not that I don’t want this baby…but I know what Pierce will be like. He’s been waiting for this for years, we tried for years…or well I…might not have tried as Pierce thought I was…I’ve been on birth control pills the entire time since I last miscarried. Pierce doesn’t know. David knows…he’s the only one who does…he steals the pills for me from the hospital pharmacy every time I run out so it’s not on my medical or pharmaceutical records. David’s never even told Aaron or questioned why I hide this from Pierce. David risks his career every time he does this for me. It’s no excuse and I know I can’t explain why I do this but…if Pierce ever found out that I’ve been stopping us from having a baby together…doesn’t matter now, does it?”

“You want this baby but Pierce being the Dad and having a tie to him forever is too much for you?” Elly asked, not wanting to make Chloe over-explain herself for deciding to keep using birth control pills without Pierce’s knowledge.

Elly was just glad that Chloe showed all the signs of not wanting a family with Pierce. And yet here she was, pregnant with his child anyway.

Where does this leave Chloe and I now? The mate theory never accounted for this…

“I’ve been so scared the past month that this baby could have the Huntington’s gene, that I could pass that onto a child. That’s why I took the birth control pills,” Chloe elaborated, “Pierce and I…we spoke about doing IVF to ensure the baby wouldn’t carry the gene. In the end…Pierce wanted us to try for a baby the old-fashioned way.”

“And what…force you into a decision on if to terminate if a baby conceived had the Huntington’s gene? He’s controlling you, Chlo, don’t you see how bad it is that he does that for you. You can’t want that for your baby,” Elly pleaded.

“I can’t take this baby from Pierce and raise him or her without him. I might not like some of the things Pierce does…but the child deserves to be raised with their father in their life. I need to do this for my child. And I need you to keep this a secret. I want to wait until the baby is 10 weeks and I can have the baby genetically tested to find out if she or he has Huntington’s…then I’ll tell Pierce he’s a Dad,” Chloe decided.

“And what will you do over the next 6 weeks? Waste away in agony not knowing if you want to have this baby with Pierce? Knowing deep down that if this baby is healthy…Pierce’s controlling ways won’t stop at you. This baby deserves to be in a loving family,” Elly acknowledged.

Chloe tried to shrug nonchalantly, “Pretty much what I’ve been doing on my own for the past month. I know you won’t believe me but Pierce won’t be like this with a child, he’s longed to be a father again for so long. To be there and raise the child this time. You have no idea how much Pierce wants this.”

Feeling like she was losing her chance at being with Chloe, Elly threw out without even thinking about what it would mean for the pair of them, “Come with me anyway. Pierce doesn’t need to know about this baby, I’ll raise this baby with you and make sure that he or she has a loving family with us and Aster.”

Chloe was completely surprised by Elly’s proposal, unsure how she could possibly respond.

“You and this baby need love, I can give that to both of you, Aster will too. She adores you. What happened between us yesterday…it was perfect, Chlo, our entire world together in that moment was perfect,” Elly confessed before pleading, “Let us have that entire world together for as long as we possibly can…the four of us.”

Chloe eventually placed her forehead against Elly’s again, “Elly, this baby needs to be raised by his or her parents.”

“She or he will be by you and we can build a family together,” Elly promised.

“Pierce may not be the world’s best guy…or father to Hendrix and Alana…but he missed most of the kid’s lives growing up because Lisa didn’t want to share custody of her kids, Pierce respected that. He’s been wanting another chance to raise a child and be there for them every day they need us. I don’t think I can take my child away from their parent…just because…there’s someone else I could be with,” Chloe said quietly.

“Then we find a way to make this work for all of us. As much as I can’t stand Pierce, if he needs to be in this child’s life than…we’ll do what we have to. I’m not going away overly far from here…I know right now I’m scared of myself being around humans but I’ll get confident again. I just need a bit of time away. I know I said I’d be gone for good but…I will not be gone for long…I will return. That will give you time to learn if the baby is healthy and…when I get back…we can see where things stand between you and Pierce,” Elly offered, changing her plans on a whim, before smiling shyly, “You want to be with me, Chlo, you said it. You don’t need to be with Pierce for the sake of this baby.”

“You don’t know Pierce…he will never let me go…” Chloe cleared her throat awkwardly adding, “Raise this baby with you…be with you. I don’t even know if this baby is healthy…until I do, I can’t make any decisions…like leaving my husband,” Chloe decided.

Does Chloe really think Pierce will never let her go…maybe I should tell her about the mate theory…? But then that’ll put too much pressure on Chloe, won’t it? She’ll know she has to leave Pierce; she’ll know she has to act on that…I want Chloe to be with me because she chooses me…accepts her love for me…

“We could be great together, Chlo, better than great, perfect. I love you, Chloe...and I know you love me too,” Elly pleaded for a chance for them, “We can make a way to make our family work…even the craziness that is me being a werewolf…and Aster maybe growing up to be one…”

“It’s not about the complications of us being a family or you being a werewolf…okay I might still be trying to wrap my head around that part…and the idea that Aster could grow up to be one too. We could be perfect together…but right now…I need to do what’s best for this baby and that’s trying to make my marriage work with his or her father…right now is not our time…if it’ll ever…be our time,” Chloe concluded sadly.

Elly listened to Chloe’s words carefully, feeling her own heart breaking at every word. Knowing she and Chloe were meant to be and that was inevitable helped Elly know that no matter what, the pair would find the right time to be together. But not knowing when and fearing that Chloe could end up deciding to stay with Pierce because of the baby for future years on end, left Elly heartbroken it could be a long time until they could be together.

“I’m sorry,” Chloe whispered when Elly looked away from her.

Elly breathed deeply before looking back at Chloe, lifting her hand to cup Chloe’s cheek, “Don’t be. I have all the faith in the world that somehow, someway, the two of us will be together and we’ll be a family.”

“How can you be so sure? I don’t know where my life is heading right now,” Chloe admitted.

Elly’s lips curled into a small smile, trying her best to remain as positive as she could be to Chloe without revealing how she knew, “Because I love you and I know deep down you love me…and one day that’ll be more than enough for you to see what I do…and know that we need to be together… There is nothing in the world that can stop it…one day it’ll be our time.”

Chloe stood there, wondering how Elly could be so positive in the face of rejection, “Maybe it will…but I don’t know if it’ll happen…just don’t disappear on us for long…what’ll I tell Bea…and the rest of your family?”

Elly pressed her forehead to Chloe’s again, “I’ll write to them tomorrow…tell them that Aster and I are safe and we’re okay but some things happened and I needed to get away. I will be back…can’t very well miss Bea’s wedding now, can I?”

“Don’t be gone that long,” Chloe pleaded, knowing Bea hadn’t even set a date yet for her wedding but wanted it to be late the following year.

“I won’t...I want Aster to attend Erinsborough Kindy next year…so there’s that to come back for too,” Elly replied quietly, before lifting her head to place her lips to Chloe’s forehead, kissing her softly.

Chloe felt tears welling up in her eyes but before she could say another word, Elly had turned and walked away.

Will it be our time…one day? Or has Elly walked away forever…because this baby has changed everything?

An hour later, Elly and Aster were on their way to The Pack. Elly struggled in the windy condition but persisted, knowing she needed to leave Erinsborough behind. Not forever, but for now, Elly couldn’t be around humans except for her daughter. Elly knew running away again was gonna hurt her family but for now her heart was completely broken and she needed time to heal it again, if that was at all possible.

Elly had been so sure Chloe would join her and Aster.

Chloe was her mate; how could they not end up together?

But for now, at least, she needed to leave Chloe to accepting her pregnancy to Pierce and one day in the future the pair of them would reconnect once more and they’d be a family of four.

I need to believe that or else I’ll never survive this heartbreak…

“Where are we going, Mama?” Aster asked, even though Elly had told her daughter numerous times.

“We’re going back to The Pack to live for a while, I’ve told you, Aster,” Elly repeated.

“But why?” Aster persisted.

“Because I’m still a danger around our family and I need to deal with that with those that understand me,” Elly answered.

“But what about Bea and Yashvi? And Uncle Karl and Aunty Suze? And Chloe? We can’t leave Chloe, Mama!” Aster was upset.

“They’ll be okay in time, this isn’t forever but I need us to be away from those I could end up hurting,” Elly announced.

“But Chloe’s your mate, Mama. You need to be together, why isn’t Chloe coming with us?” Aster insisted.

“Chloe has her reasons for not coming with us,” Elly replied politely.

“You need to be together,” Aster repeated.

“We do and we will be, Aster, I swear to you. I still completely believe that Chloe and I will be together,” Elly confessed, “But right now…is not our time.”

“Then why are we leaving Chloe and everyone else? Why can’t it be time for us to be a family with Chloe?” Aster pouted.

Elly struggled with her emotions over Chloe not being with them, “We need to keep the people we care about safe, Aster. It’ll be time for Chloe and I one day, I promise but right now, it’s just you and me. And The Pack. We’re just about to them.”

“When’s one day gonna come, Mama? I miss Chloe already,” Aster admitted.

“So do I,” Elly concurred, “We’ll be together…one day. A few months from now, years…however long it takes, I’ll be waiting for Chloe. Count on it.”

“I don’t want it to take years, Mama,” Aster complained.

“Me either,” Elly whispered, then shivered once more in the cold, surprised how much the cold was affecting her, looking out at their new home as they approached it, “We’re here, Aster. This place will be our home with The Pack for the time being.”

Aster glanced up, looking amazed by the view ahead of her and her Mum, “This is gonna be our home…Mama? Where are we?”

Elly continued paddling the oars of their dingy through the strong winds towards land, glad to know she had managed to find the place she’d never been to without getting lost, “Aster…welcome to Pierce’s Island.”

“Wow!” Aster’s jaw fell open as she stared at the island they were heading to.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Sixty-One

Tuesday 17th December 2024

Elly sighed as she dragged her overnight bag that she’d thrown together quickly with her belongings out of the dingy. Of course, she knew she was going to be away for more than simply overnight. She knew it couldn’t be four years that she’d be away but she knew it would probably be for a couple months.

Elly knew she was only punishing herself. She hadn’t hurt anyone but she’d come so close to turning Pierce into a werewolf and that scared her more than she liked to admit.

Elly didn’t want to allow her self-punishment to overtake her life as it had after she’d killed Finn. And she knew she couldn’t do this to Aster again.

Aster would be due to start kindy in February. Elly hoped that by that stage she would’ve punished herself enough to return home to Erinsborough with Aster. To rebuild their lives properly this time. For Aster to start kindy and for her to find a job and settle in properly with her own life in Ramsay Street.

And not spend all my time and energy wondering when Chloe and I will be together…I’ll just be patient…and watch from afar as Chloe has a baby with Pierce and not feel like I’m dying inside every time I think of when Chloe and I will be together… I need to be strong…I can’t stay out here forever. If Chloe and I are to be together than I need to be in her life. And if that’s as a friend whilst I watch her start a new life with Pierce, then I will…and I’ll be patient until I know it’s Chloe and I’s time to spend our lives together…

For now…I’ll just die a little inside as I struggle through a month or two out here trying to get past my fear that I’ll attack and hurt someone…even someone who has everything I want in my life…and he doesn’t even know the half of it! Pierce doesn’t know Chloe has their baby on the way…

“Mama, what is this place?” Aster asked as she stood by the dingy on the beach of Pierce’s Island, her Mum having used the dingy to get them across from the main land in just over half an hour, with the youngster impressed by her Mum’s strength.

Elly grabbed the bag she had packed for Aster, throwing both their bags over her shoulder one-handed, turning to her daughter, “It’s Pierce’s Island. Do you remember back when we arrived to Erinsborough, we had a lunch with Chloe and Pierce? They both mentioned this place, that Pierce owned it before they got married and they came out here a few months after you and I went…missing.”

Aster nodded along to her Mum’s words.

“Whilst they were out here with some of our friends and family, like Bea, there was a fire. It damaged most of the greenery but it’s been a few years and it’s all grown back. Chloe was looking to try to get Pierce to sell the Island since it’s just sitting here but he had no interest in bothering to sell it,” Elly explained as she took Aster by the hand and started leading her across the beach, “Do you remember when I told you to keep it a secret that the cabin that we lived at with The Pack burnt down a while back and they were now living in a new place, free to roam when the full moon is about? They’ve been living out here since…no one knows they’ve been out here.”

“Wow,” said Aster with amazement as she continued staring around her at the island.

It was late into the night, way past Aster’s bedtime, and whilst she couldn’t make out much of the island’s surroundings, Aster was almost excited at the prospect of exploring the island in the morning with her Mum.

Aster hoped the rest of The Pack would join them to teach them all the places on the island that they’d gotten to explore themselves since they’ve been here.

Aster stared up at Elly. Whilst she was excited to see the family again and exploring the island was going to be an adventure for them, Aster knew something was wrong.

Her Mum had packed their bags and they had up and left within the matter of half an hour. Aster hadn’t said goodbye to Bea or Yashvi or Karl and Susan. And she hadn’t said goodbye to Chloe.

Though sitting in Elly’s car outside whilst Elly had gone to see Chloe, Aster got the impression that her Mum had said goodbye to Chloe and she didn’t know why.

Elly had said during their dingy ride to the island that she was too dangerous to be around their family and Aster knew she was trying her best to hide something from her, but she was most worried about why Elly would willingly say goodbye to Chloe. And why Chloe would let them go.

“Will Chloe and Bea and everyone come to visit us here, Mama?” Aster asked.

“Nobody from Erinsborough knows where we are, Aster. They can’t know that we’ve inhabited Pierce’s Island as the new home for The Pack,” Elly answered, then squeezing Aster’s hand, “Baby girl, I know you have so many questions but it’s late and I never even told The Pack we were on our way here. Can you just let us find a way to settle in for the night here? I’ll answer some of your questions in the morning.”

“Okay, Mum,” Aster agreed, sensing the sadness in Elly’s voice.

Several moments later, Elly and Aster had walked further inland on the island. Elly didn’t quite know exactly where she was meant to be going as to where The Pack had set up on the island and to be honest, the island was much larger than she imagined it to be.

Course Pierce would’ve made sure to buy such an extravagant island…then never visit it for years on end…

Elly smiled as she noticed light up ahead and before they knew it, they had found themselves in a small clearing of grassland. There was a fire in the middle of the area, controlled as The Pack laid out on makeshift lounges around the fire.

To the side of the fire, there were a handful of tents. Not your camping style tents. The kind you find in a glamping resort, that were large enough to have large beds in them. Elly hoped the tents had beds in them, though she knew The Pack were willing to sleep anywhere, even in their human form. However, the glamping tents were old-looking and seemed to be covered in some dirty ash over them. Despite how many years it had been since the fire had raged against the island.

Elly put on a smile on her face as best as she could. Clarke was the first to notice their arrival from over a hundred meters away. It didn’t take too much longer for the rest of The Pack to spot them. When they got closer, Aster dropped Elly’s hand, racing off ahead of her mother to reach the family first.

Raven scooped Aster into her arms, “Hey, little one. What are you two doing here? Thought your Mum was meant to come visit us several nights ago.”

“Mama didn’t need to come here for the full moon cycle, she was okay back at home. But now we’re out here to join you and Mama won’t really tell me why,” Aster replied.

As Elly finally caught up to her daughter, she shrugged, “It’s late, I’ve already told you I’ll explain more in the morning,” then greeted the family, each of them giving her a quick hug and reassurance they were glad to see her and Aster.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call to let you know we were coming. Do you have a place for us to stay here for a lil while?” Elly asked nervously, not sure why when she knew The Pack were so welcoming to her when she was with them.

Abby nodded immediately, “There’s four tents here, Elly, we always knew to keep one for you and Aster when you needed a place to stay with us.”

“Everything okay, Fresh Meat?” Lexa asked with concern at seeing Elly attempting to smile but didn’t believe for a moment she was happy, despite reuniting with the entire family for the first time in a month.

“I just want to get Aster settled in for the night,” Elly replied, “It’s way past her bed time.”

“Raven can show you both to your tent, we’ll talk in the morning,” Romulus grunted in instruction, making it clear to the rest of them to give Elly space.

About an hour later, Elly left her tent with Aster sleeping peacefully. She could tell the only members of The Pack who hadn’t called it a night was Clarke and Lexa and didn’t mind speaking to them.

When she walked over to them, Clarke was yawning wildly and was already standing up to go to bed, “You doing okay, Elly?”

“Just needed some fresh air,” Elly shrugged, then not wanting to stop her friend, “I don’t need you to stay up for me, we can catch up in the morning.”

Lexa sat up from where she was lounging around near the fire, “Go to bed, babe. I’ll keep Fresh Meat company for a little while until I join you in bed.”

Clarke nodded before walking off to their own tent.

Elly quietly sat down next to Lexa.

“You all set up in your tent with Aster? Pretty happy you two both have your own beds in there? We found the tents the first day we came out here. Two had Queen size beds, the other two tents came with two singles in them. With two couples, then Raven on her own and you and Aster, it’s like the tents were made for our whole family. Though Raven keeps going on about needing to drag a Queen bed out here to the island if she ever meets her mate. I keep telling her she can swap with Clarke and I if she needs cause a single bed won’t turn me and my girl off as it’s the ultimate bed for sleeping as close to your girlfriend as possible,” Lexa babbled in response to Elly’s quietness.

Elly unexpectedly burst into tears, finding herself instinctively lying down with her head against Lexa’s lap, burying her crying face against the tattooed brunette’s thigh.

At first, Lexa didn’t know how to react to her friends’ breakdown, before finally stroking her hand through Elly’s hair, then asking in a whisper, “What happened?”

Elly mumbled through her tears with Lexa unable to make out what she’d said.

“Okay, you’re going to have to repeat that without the tears if I’m to offer any help,” Lexa told Elly as gently as she could.

“Chloe chose Pierce over me,” Elly managed to get out, her sobbing continuing.

Lexa continued stroking Elly’s hair, “Chloe’s your mate, Elly. I know it might seem like Chloe’s chosen her husband but she’s probably just afraid of how strong her feelings for you are because they are stronger than any human’s feelings--”

Elly sobbed loudly as she interrupted, “Chloe’s pregnant.”

“Oh,” Lexa sighed in instant understanding of the complexity her friend was dealing with.

“Chloe chose Pierce over me…because she said she needs to raise her baby…with his or her father,” Elly cried heavily, “What am I supposed to do?”

“I’m sorry, Fresh Meat. If you told me that Chloe was doing everything to fight the mate bond between you or that she’d learned you’re a werewolf and felt that she needed to choose a boring life of safety over life with you and Aster…I might’ve been able to help because I have experience with both of those things with Clarke,” Lexa admitted, “I don’t know what to tell you other than…patience.”

“It’s not like I didn’t offer to raise the baby with Chloe, it doesn’t matter to me that it’s Pierce’s kid. I care that Chloe and her baby are safe. They won’t be with him…Chloe knows how controlling Pierce is but she’s convinced he’ll be different with the baby…of course he doesn’t know she’s pregnant yet. She needs to have a test for the baby to see if the baby has her genetic condition before she makes a decision on continuing with the pregnancy. I don’t think she’s gonna tell Pierce until she knows for sure the baby is healthy…it could be a couple months until that happens. Am I a horrible person…okay werewolf if I…?” Elly trailed off, continuing to sob.

“Would hope even just a little bit that Chloe didn’t have Pierce’s baby so you don’t have to wait…years for Chloe to come to her senses and need to be with you as much as you need to be with her?” Lexa posed.

Elly nodded her head against Lexa’s lap, “I hate myself. I don’t want to wait years to be with Chloe. I just want to be a family with Chloe and Aster…and Chloe’s baby…I’d do anything to have them all with me…I just hate how much Pierce has the things that I want so badly. How am I expected to either hope this baby isn’t healthy or that Chloe will look past her desire that she has to raise the baby with Pierce and isn’t tied to him for the next two decades if not longer?”

“Wow, two decades of waiting around to be with your mate…I know wolves can take centuries to meet their mate but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a wolf meeting their mate and then having to wait decades to be with them,” Lexa sighed softly.

“That’s not making me feel any better,” Elly grunted.

“Right…have I ever told you I’m not the best support person for difficult situations?” Lexa couldn’t help but admit.

Elly continued sobbing, trying to wipe away her tears but more kept falling.

“Did you come back to us because you can’t be around Chloe anymore…watching her through this pregnancy…witnessing Pierce living the life with Chloe you crave?” Lexa asked quietly.

“Yes,” Elly mumbled, “And also some stuff happened between Chloe and I…and then I nearly attacked her husband in my wolf formation…I could’ve made him a bloody wolf…I’m too dangerous to be around. I need time away from everyone to come to terms with that…and the baby is just more of an excuse as to me needing to stay away from Chloe whilst she makes her decision when she knows if the baby is healthy…I don’t want to do this…I want to be able to be there for Chloe…I need to be strong enough to deal with my issues and go back home in a month or two…and hope that Chloe will change her mind and that she wants to be with me no matter what happens with her baby.”

“You will be okay taking this time to figure things out and maybe it’ll be good to give Chloe this time too…maybe once she realizes you’re not in her everyday life, she’ll come to accept how much she wants to be with you too and in a couple months you can go back home to sort things out between you both,” Lexa advised, continuing to stroke Elly’s hair, “You should try to get some sleep, you’ll have a lot to do tomorrow exploring the island with Aster.”

“Can I stay here with you for a little while longer?” Elly whispered.

“Sure,” Lexa agreed, “Things won’t look so bad in the morning.”

Elly closed her eyes gently as she yawned, “Oh…and I slept with Chloe the other day and Chloe found out I’m a werewolf.”  

Lexa snapped her eyes down at her friend, “Way to bury the lead on that announcement! I want to hear more about that than Chloe’s decision to stay with her husband…for now. Tell me all about the Chloe and Elly goss.”

When Elly remained silent, Lexa groaned, realizing her friend had fallen asleep.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Sixty-Two

Almost Two and a Half Months Later – Tuesday 25th February 2025

Chloe stared at her feet as she sat in the hospital waiting room, her mind running over the lies she had spun to her husband earlier that day as to how she had nothing planned for the day. When instead, she had finally had the courage to make the doctor’s appointment that was well overdue and even more courage to turn up at the hospital.

Desperately afraid that her brother-in-law, David, or their neighbour, Karl, would see her there at the hospital and then mention it to Pierce. David was one to keep one of Chloe’s secrets from Pierce about taking birth control. Not that that had resulted in doing her much good the last time she’d slept with her husband.

Because here Chloe was, months later than she should’ve been there, pregnant and waiting for her first ultrasound. She’d been to the doctor the previous week for a blood test but had taken her time to have the courage to go in for her next appointment.

Chloe knew she was pregnant. She’d known for months, not long after Elly had returned, she even knew in her gut the day after Pierce had been with her. But it had taken her months to come to terms with it. She thought she’d started to accept it after she’d confessed to Elly that she was pregnant, that she would find a way to accept it and tell her husband his dreams of starting a family were happening.

But then Elly had taken her daughter, Aster, and disappeared once more.

It had been nearly three months and Chloe hadn’t heard anything from her best friend.

Woman I love…but can’t admit that to anyone…barely even myself.

Elly had left all over again, fearing her friends’ and family were in danger of her attacking them.

The revelation that Elly was a werewolf still didn’t quite compute with Chloe. In some ways, it made perfect sense to Chloe as there was so many little different things about Elly that fit with her been supernatural. There was also the fact that Chloe had seen with her very own eyes Elly transforming from being a dog into her human self.

Elly not explaining to Chloe why she’d seen her as a dog instead of the supposed wolf that she is confused Chloe into thinking there was something wrong with her.

Chloe had wanted to call Elly every single day since she’d left. She did at first, but Elly’s phone was switched off. After a week of trying to call her and the phone still been switched off, Chloe had accepted she needed to let Elly go. As hard as that was.

Elly had promised she’d return one day soon, that she wouldn’t disappear for years on end like she’d done before. For killing Finn, another of Elly’s secrets Chloe felt bound to protect, even though it would bring the Kennedy’s much relief to know Finn would never surprise them by returning again. But what relief could they have knowing Elly had been the one to kill him?

Chloe had seen the letter that Elly had sent to Bea and the rest of her family explaining why she had packed up her things and taken off with Aster once more.

To say Bea was angry months on was an understatement.

Bea had fumed at Chloe when the blonde had explained to her that Elly had taken off again but didn’t know where she was. The letter that arrived a few days later from Elly to her family explaining that she needed to leave once more, yet promised she would be back within a few months when Aster was due to begin kindy, didn’t help matters.

Bea didn’t understand just what had happened to make Elly disappear and Chloe had borne the brunt of Bea’s rage.

Bea had no idea that Elly was a werewolf, one that was terrified of hurting her family if her rage took over her.

Though Bea didn’t let Susan or Karl or Pierce in to the truth as she knew it, as far as she knew Chloe and Elly had slept together again in the Kennedy’s greenhouse, and the following day, Elly had up and left with Aster. Without giving Bea any chance to explain like she promised she would.

The presumption being that Chloe had refused to leave her husband, Pierce, and Elly had runaway, after being unable to deal with her feelings for Chloe.

Bea had no idea that Chloe’s pregnancy was the driving reason as to why the blonde made the heartbreaking decision not to pursue a relationship with Elly.

Bea’s rage was luckily kept between herself, Chloe and Yashvi, but it had damaged the friendship between Chloe and Bea, whilst Yashvi tried to focus Bea on the fact that Elly would return and that she needed to trust that Elly had her reasons.

Chloe had feared Bea’s rage would lead to Elly’s sister revealing she’d betrayed her marriage vows to Pierce but she never did and despite their fractured friendship, Chloe was thankful that Bea hadn’t complicated her life even more.

But that didn’t mean that Chloe hadn’t spent the past few months wondering if she’d made the right decision to stand by Pierce and the baby she was carrying. Wondering what her life would be like if she’d taken the biggest risk of her life, following her heart, and agreeing to run away with Elly and Aster.

Wondering couldn’t do Chloe any good. She’d made her decision, she’d put the baby she was carrying ahead of her feelings for Elly, and here she was.

At the hospital, waiting to have her first ultrasound and CVS test, so she could learn if her baby was healthy and could tell her husband, Pierce, that she was finally pregnant with the baby he longed for.

The fact that Chloe had kept her secret from him for so many months still astounded her that Pierce, whom was so desperate for a baby, had been blind to her pregnancy symptoms.

Or maybe it was because since Elly left, Chloe had somewhat reverted back to the wife Pierce wanted, the one who did what he asked and didn’t ask questions of him. Of course, Chloe still attended her martial arts classes twice a week and trained each day at home without Pierce knowing about it. And she also kept up her decision with Pierce not to begin trying for a baby.

For starters, they didn’t need to, Chloe was already pregnant. But after making love to Elly, Chloe was too nervous to sleep with her husband again until she knew the baby that she was carrying was healthy and she could commit to Pierce fully by getting over Elly.

Chloe’s decision to stop sleeping with her husband and try for a baby had to come to an end soon. Pierce had decreed they had taken nearly four months off from trying and he insisted that a holiday he had spontaneously booked for a week away together in a fortnight’s time, they would restart trying for a baby.

Chloe had agreed.

Of course, that was because Chloe had finally been given the push that she needed to go to the doctors for her first ultrasound and CVS test. She would receive the results back on if their baby was healthy within two weeks. So, with Pierce declaring the holiday they would be taking in a fortnight’s time being just after she knew if she would be carrying this child to birth, Chloe had been as enthusiastic as she could be about this holiday with him.

Seeing as though the holiday wouldn’t be needed when Chloe would tell him that she was pregnant upon receiving the CVS test results.

Even if the results came back that their baby had inherited her Huntington’s disease, Chloe knew that she would still be honest with Pierce about it. She wasn’t prepared to make a decision about continuing the pregnancy without him knowing and she could never end the pregnancy with Pierce never knowing they could’ve been parents.

Chloe had already waited more than three months to tell him. She knew he’d be upset at her for keeping it from him but she had hoped if the CVS test fell their way, Pierce’s happiness would override his anger.

And if the baby had the Huntington’s gene, then Chloe hoped Pierce would be understanding as to why she had kept it from him for so long. Her fear of passing on her disease had paralyzed her into silence.

Because it truly had.

The voice in the back of her mind reminding Chloe of what she could’ve had with Elly if she had instead decided to leave with her.

But it wasn’t to be.

Elly had her life with Aster, trying to find confidence in herself that she would never hurt anyone as a werewolf so she could return to her life in Erinsborough.

And Chloe had her life, focusing on her unborn baby and the decision she might need to make with her husband if the baby could inherit her fate of a disease that would cruel their life.

Chloe was finally eased from her thoughts when the doctor called her into her appointment. As she walked into the room, Chloe noted another lady sitting in a chair outside the hospital room, whom had nodded at Chloe politely.

After Chloe greeted the doctor, she was soon sitting up on the table waiting for her ultrasound to be taken so she could see her baby for the very first time.

The doctor rolled her chair over to Chloe, her casual approach relaxing Chloe as she felt success at managing to get into the appointment without David or Karl seeing her, though she would soon feel less relaxed.

The doctor held open Chloe’s medical file, smiling up at Chloe gently, “Your blood test results have come back and you are definitely pregnant, Mrs. Brennan.”

I knew that…not like this could just be some hysterical pregnancy…

Chloe still grimaced at the confirmation of what she’d known deep down for months.

The doctor frowned at Chloe’s reaction, “You’re not…happy by this news?”

“It’s complicated,” Chloe answered vaguely after hesitating for a moment, “I’ll need to have a CVS test for the baby…today…after the ultrasound if possible.”

“We don’t need to rush any decisions because a CVS test does come with a small risk of miscarriage but if you do want to proceed with it, we can do that today for you,” the doctor explained.

“I’ll take the risk,” Chloe decided immediately, then clearing her throat, knowing she’d been too scared to talk much when she had the blood test for the pregnancy test the previous week, “I don’t know if you’ve checked my medical records but I have…Huntington’s disease…I need to know this baby doesn’t have the gene before I…decide if I…I mean if my husband and I…”

The doctor couldn’t help but frown once more, “Of course… Do you mind me asking…was this pregnancy planned?”

“Not at all,” Chloe answered honestly, “I’m too scared of passing on my Huntington’s to…want to get pregnant. I know I can go through IVF to make sure the egg that can be implanted with my husband’s sperm is an egg that doesn’t carry the gene but my husband thinks we can have a healthy baby naturally…guess we’re about to find out.”

“I see,” the doctor noted in a tone that suggested she didn’t mean the words at all, then reached out for Chloe’s medical file again, flipping through it.

“Is something wrong?” Chloe asked meekly.

“Nothing…I just assumed you’d be over the moon at learning your pregnant…I must’ve made a mistake,” the doctor whispered, chewing on her lip as she read the medical report again.

“About what?” Chloe worried, “If this is because I’ve waited months longer than I should’ve to come in for my first ultrasound…and the CVS test could’ve been done a month ago, I know, and I know that if the baby does have the Huntington’s gene then I’ve probably left it too late to not want to continue with the pregnancy but this pregnancy has left me completely frozen over what I’m meant to be doing. I never wanted this…I mean I do want to be a Mum, I do want this baby, it’s just I’m so scared that you’re going to tell me in a couple weeks this baby has Huntington’s and that because I wasn’t careful enough with birth control that I ended up pregnant with a baby that I…do want but was not expected…that I’ll…”

The doctor closed the file, looking up at Chloe and holding her hand up to calm the blonde, “I’m sorry…I should’ve read the rest of your file to know you have Huntington’s…I just got it wrong that this baby you’re pregnant with is…that you’ve been desperate to get pregnant, Mrs. Brennan.”

“What would make you think I’m desperate to get pregnant?” Chloe furrowed her brow, annoyed that the appointment was taking so long when she just wanted to have the ultrasound and CVS test as soon as possible so she could return home before Pierce noticed she wasn’t there.

There was a gentle knock on the doctor’s office door.

“Who’s that?” Chloe wondered.

The doctor grimaced, “That would be the psychologist I asked to join me in this appointment with you…you passed her on the way in here.”

“What do I need a psychologist for? You never even bothered to check my records to know I have Huntington’s, that this baby could have it too…and okay yeah maybe I do need to talk to someone about how I’m completely unprepared for this pregnancy and have been putting off even admitting that I am pregnant that I’m here months later than I should be because I’m not sure I want to have this baby with my husband,” Chloe rambled off honestly.

“You really aren’t desperate enough to do anything to have gotten pregnant with this baby?” the doctor confirmed.

Chloe stayed silent as she shook her head.

The doctor cleared her throat, “I thought the psychologist was needed because your blood test didn’t just reveal you are pregnant, Mrs. Brennan…it revealed there is an…extreme amount of drugs in your system…a level high enough that…I’ve never seen before…”

Drugs? Is my baby okay?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Sixty-Three

Tuesday 25th February 2025

Chloe laid there on the ultrasound bed, having awkwardly sat in silence whilst her doctor spoke to the psychologist and turned the lady away, to perhaps return if necessary, should Chloe want to talk to her.

The doctor returned to Chloe, sitting down in her chair, next to the hospital bed.

“What do you mean I have drugs in my system?” Chloe demanded, “There must’ve been a mix up with the blood samples as I don’t take drugs, never have…maybe I’m not even pregnant. Test again.”

The doctor held up her hands once more, then reached into Chloe’s file, flipping to the page with her blood test results, “Mrs. Brennan, we tested the blood three separate times to ensure we had it correct and the lab investigated me personally the other day to ensure the sample I took was yours and there hadn’t been a mix up. We can take another sample to test again but this is accurate what I’m telling you.”

“How can it be accurate? I don’t take drugs. My brother is a Detective, I’d be the joke and horror of my family if I had a drug habit and he had to arrest me for it. And this is the guy that arrested his own bride on their wedding day…trust me, he would arrest me if I went anywhere near drugs,” Chloe rambled in confusion.

The doctor couldn’t resist almost smiling at Chloe’s story about her brother, before looking back at the results, and despite Chloe claiming not to have taken any drugs or not being desperate to get pregnant, needed to go back to the facts in the report, “For starters, your brother wouldn’t be arresting you…well maybe because this one drug on the list is…not even approved by the TGA yet…how did you get this particular drug? The rest is all organic or over the counter. My concern over them is about how much you’ve been taking, the levels in your blood stream are way beyond the dispensing levels on any of these drugs and they shouldn’t be taken together.”

“I don’t take drugs,” Chloe repeated with annoyance at the doctor’s claims, “I don’t even take vitamins so I don’t know what drugs you are talking about or why you would think I could have drugs in my system or what the drugs are meant to do--”

“The drugs aren’t the illegal kind, they are all medical type drugs…to assist in increasing your fertility rate to get pregnant,” the doctor finally revealed.

Chloe stared at the woman blankly for a moment, before shaking her head, “But I don’t want to get pregnant…this baby wasn’t planned. You must have mixed up the blood samples, I’m probably not even pregnant. It’s just a hysterical pregnancy…I mean…obviously.”

The doctor placed her hand on Chloe’s, calming her, “The test isn’t wrong and it was your blood sample. The drugs are…all through your system. I’ve seen patients overdose on over the counter drugs and some women double the dosage of fertility drugs, thinking that will assist with getting pregnant…but the level of drugs in your system is…extreme. There are barely any other nutrients in your body because these fertility drugs are sapping them up. Mrs. Brennan, I need you to be honest with me as I’m going to need to call the psychologist back here to talk to you about accepting that these drugs have done what you wanted…even though they could have serious repercussions because of how much you’ve been taking.”

Chloe slapped the doctor’s hand away, “I’m not taking any drugs, I’m not desperate to have a baby…yes, now that I am pregnant, I do want this baby and I want him or her to be healthy…but I have never even looked at any fertility drugs let alone want to take any…because I could never live with myself if I knowingly passed on my Huntington’s.”

“So, how are these drugs in your system?” the doctor finally asked, seemingly believing her patient.

“How am I supposed to know? Like I said, I don’t take vitamins, there’s no way I have drugs in my system and not to some insane level that you think I need to talk to a psychologist about how I’m so desperate for a baby,” Chloe firmed.

“You must be taking them somehow. What about any other medication you could be on? Is there anything in your diet that could contain fertility drugs?” the doctor started asking.

Chloe looked puzzled for a moment before repeating, “My diet?”

“Yes, can you tell me a little bit about your diet and where you get your food from?” the doctor persisted, slightly obliviously to what was upsetting her patient.

Chloe swallowed hard, “My husband and I have a personal chef. All our food and drinks, he supplies us with. We don’t eat any other food. We don’t go out to eat. We do occasionally have the odd drink outside of the sports drinks and waters our personal chef gets for us. Or the wine that my husband gets for us…he owns a winery. Do you think my chef is drugging my food?”

The doctor tilted her head, wondering if Chloe was being oblivious, “Does your chef want you to get pregnant?”

Chloe shrugged, “I don’t really have a whole lot to do with him. My husband, Pierce, is the one who gets Rene to order our food and drinks. Pierce snaps his fingers and Rene does what he wants. He’s reasonably close to Pierce, maybe he knows that Pierce wants a baby.”

“Or…” the doctor began hinting, thinking through everything Chloe had said to her, “How badly does your husband want a baby?” 

Chloe pulled a face of surprise, “My husband wouldn’t be in on this. There’s no way.” 

“Okay,” the doctor decided, again unable to hide her tone that suggested otherwise, “But if there’s no one else except the pair of them who could be drugging your food...and your husband wants a baby badly...?”

"Pierce doesn't want a baby that badly," Chloe insisted, "My husband is not drugging me with fertility drugs in some desperate attempt to get me pregnant. We’re not even trying for a baby right now, we haven’t slept together in months because I wasn’t falling pregnant. I insisted to Pierce that we take a break for a number of months in the hope that a break could then help us to get pregnant later this year. Except…well…I guess we didn’t need a break at all because I ended up pregnant anyway the last time we… Pierce knows we’re not trying so why would there be drugs in my system if it was him? That’d be pointless drugging me for months on end…for some hope that I’ll change my stance of us taking a break and sleep with him. You're wrong and I'd like you to take another blood test to prove it."

"I can do that," the doctor conceded, knowing deep down something wasn’t right with this situation and despite the argument that Pierce would halt the drugs because he wasn’t sleeping with his wife she felt assured that he was aware of what was going on and that her patient would soon come to accept that, "But if the test reveals the same levels of fertility drugs in your system, I want you to speak to the psychologist...about your husband and your personal chef...and how you intend on...dealing with that."

"Fine," Chloe agreed angrily, her mind racing with thoughts of disbelief that Pierce could do such a thing to her.

Pierce wouldn’t do this to me…to us…would he? He might be fixated with being a father again and some of his decisions on wanting a baby have been…but he wouldn’t drug me! It doesn’t matter that these drugs mostly don’t require a doctor’s prescription to dispense if they are been drugged into my system without my knowledge…it’s not Pierce doing this! It’s either Rene or this blood test is wrong…it can’t be Pierce and I won’t believe I’ve been drugged until I see another round of test results…it’s not Pierce doing this to me!

Chloe wanted to stop her thoughts, otherwise her anxiousness she already held for this pregnancy, would be consumed by anger and confusion.

Chloe cleared her throat, "Can we get onto the ultrasound already? I don't want to talk about what my husband...might be capable of."

The doctor nodded, turning her attention to the ultrasound, not wanting to argue with her patient and upset her further than she already was.

A few minutes later, Chloe was trying to feel more relaxed as she tried everything to put the thoughts of being drugged with fertility medication out of her mind. She wanted to focus on the baby she was carrying, not that he or she may have been created with a little assistance she was unaware of.

As the doctor placed the jelly over Chloe's tummy, rolling the wand over it, Chloe suddenly worried if the drugs had affected the baby or if there was any other illness the baby could be carrying. She'd been so focused on her Huntington's gene been transmitted, that it only just occurred to her the baby could have any number of other genetic defects, whilst she prayed for the baby to be healthy.

"How far along are you, again?" the doctor asked quietly, looking for the baby's heart beats.

"Three and a half months...I know...way past when I should've come in for my first ultrasound…but as I said…this pregnancy has me frozen by fear that the baby will have Huntington’s…and now…it’s probably too late to do anything should the baby have the gene…I’m already a terrible mother," Chloe admitted miserably.

Chloe's rambling misery was interrupted by the doctor, as the baby appeared on the ultrasound machine screen, "Are you sure you're three and a half months along?"

Chloe immediately got distracted looking at the image of her baby on the screen, ignoring the doctor’s question, “That’s my little peanut? Wow. I have to be a better mother to you from now on if you…are as healthy as you look, peanut…”

Peanut? You used to call Aster ‘peanut’…why would you call Pierce’s baby peanut? Can this baby be a peanut too like Aster? I miss Aster…and Elly…

The doctor continued swirling the wand around to show as clear a vision of the baby, repeating her question, “You said you’re three and a half months along…are you sure about your dates?”

Chloe nodded staring deeply at the image on the screen, not paying any attention to the doctor’s movements as she swiveled the wand around more to get a better view of the baby again, “Yes, I haven’t slept with my husband since mid-November…pretty sure that was the day I was ovulating at the highest percentage…Pierce likes to keep track. I missed my early-December period…so my last period was early-November…guess that means I’m closer to four months…I’m so terrible for being so scared the last three months to come to terms with this pregnancy…I’ve been frozen for so many months with fear my baby will inherit my fate…”

“Are you sure it was mid-November?” the doctor asked, more casually Chloe felt.

“Yeah…a…friend of mine came back to town mid-November…just a couple days after the last time Pierce and I…I remember the first time I hung out with her again properly…the milkshake she had made me queasy and reminded me of…never mind. Why are you asking me these questions? Is my baby okay…? Is my baby older than three and a half months…? Have I been pregnant longer than I thought? I didn’t even notice, I’m already doing such a horrible job of being your Mum, peanut. It’ll already be too late for me to make any choice if I have given you my future of Huntington’s,” Chloe suddenly panicked at the doctor’s questions.

The doctor continued staring at the screen as she focused the image of the baby in the center of the screen, then turning to her computer, started adding some details until she realized Chloe was getting impatient with her worrying.

Looking back at Chloe, the doctor admitted, “Your baby is only about two and a half months old. Are you sure you got your dates right?”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Chloe furrowed her brow, “It was absolutely mid-November that I was last with my husband as I know my friend returned from being away for years right after that. She left because…things didn’t work out…and that was several weeks before Christmas and she was around for a month so I know when the last time I…slept with my husband before we decided to take a break from…trying for a baby. There is no other time after that, that Pierce and I slept together…there was a few hours late November that I was unconscious after a car accident but Pierce would never have…and the timing of that still makes no sense. I wasn’t ovulating then so the chances of me getting pregnant…isn’t high. You must have your dates wrong on how old this baby is.”

“I’ve been looking at ultrasounds for over twenty years, I’m 100% confident this baby I’m looking at is not as old as when you say he or she was conceived,” the doctor assured Chloe, then when Chloe paused, she asked cautiously, “If the last time you slept with your husband was a month before this baby was conceived…no judgements and you do have confidentiality with me…is there a chance the father of this baby isn’t your husband?”

“That’s not possible,” Chloe scoffed, then immediately got caught on her words as her eyes grew wide, “That’s really…not possible!”

I slept with Elly two and a half months ago…but that’s…really…not…possible! There’s no way this baby could possibly be…Elly’s?

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Sixty-Four

Tuesday 25th February 2025

“Hey, Chloe,” Dipi greeted Chloe, surprised to bump into the blonde at the gift shop in the Erinsborough Hospital.

But Chloe didn’t respond, not even looking over at Dipi so Dipi prompted her again, “Chloe? Everything okay?”

Chloe suddenly jumped at hearing someone calling out to her, her mind feeling like it was in another universe whilst she barely even realized she’d been standing in a gift shop let alone the local hospital, “Dipi?”

“You okay, Chloe? You look like you’re on a different planet,” Dipi commented.

She’s not wrong…

Chloe still stayed silent, her jaw unable to move to speak, and even if she did, she didn’t know what she could possibly say. Chloe felt like her world had been turned even more upside down than she thought it was.

“Chloe, is there a reason why you’re at the hospital?” Dipi pried quietly, trying to get Chloe to open up, then when she didn’t answer, she added, “I don’t know if you know but I’ve been supplying the gift shop with tarot cards for them to sell for a few years now. They keep wanting me to book in some time to provide tarot readings for their customers but I’m always so busy at Harold’s I just don’t have the time. At least with the tarot cards, it gives some of the patients here some mystic in trying to determine their future.”

“That’s nice,” Chloe mumbled out, not really listening to Dipi at all.

“That’s a really cute soft toy you’re holding there,” Dipi pointed out, smiling at the light blue creature with green spots that wasn’t the least bit scary but instead was adorable, “Are you getting it for one of Mark or Aaron’s kids?”

Chloe stared down at the soft toy as she lifted it gently in her hand, she barely remembered picking it up or even walking into the gift shop after her appointment with her doctor, “I guess.”

Was I thinking of giving this toy to Rose…or my baby…whom might impossibly be…Elly’s baby?

Dipi reached out her hand gently, “Do you mind if I have a look at the toy?”

Chloe passed it along without question, her mind completely spinning.

As Dipi held the toy, she looked over at Chloe and the look of disbelief and confusion all across her face, “Chloe, you’re not here at the hospital for something…related to your Huntington’s, are you?”

Technically…not me but my baby…I had the CVS test…now I have to wait ten days to get the results…

“It doesn’t matter why I’m here, it’s not important,” Chloe lied.

Dipi ran her tongue over her teeth, “Really? Because you look like your entire world has been spun off its axis.”

Dipi’s right…that’s exactly what has happened to me.

“I’m fine,” Chloe claimed.

Whilst it only felt like a few seconds as she stood there with Dipi, Chloe’s mind scrambled through the last hour she’d spent at the hospital and everything that had turned her life upside down.

Chloe had been lying on a hospital bed, in the middle of her ultrasound with the doctor standing next to her. Chloe had not only been told that she’d been drugged with fertility drugs, she’d also been told her conception date didn’t match the last time she’d slept with her husband.

The conception date of her baby instead matched when she’d cheated on her husband by making love to her ex-girlfriend, Elly.

Her ex-girlfriend whom also happened to be a werewolf.

But that was crazy, right? Elly couldn’t possibly be the baby’s parent because two women can’t conceive a child together, it wasn’t physically possible.

“What’s not possible?” the doctor had gently asked her patient.

Before she could stop herself, Chloe had blurted out, “I slept with my ex two and a half months ago. It was just a one-time thing.”

One-time thing that I made love to Elly…but she with me…that was more than a…one-time thing…

The doctor nodded at Chloe, of the belief that she knew what had happened and yet she had no idea, “Then I’d say your ex is the father of your baby, Mrs. Brennan. There’s no judgment from me and you have doctor, patient confidentiality.”

Chloe had shaken her head at the doctor, “No, you don’t understand, my ex…cannot be my baby’s other parent…”

“What makes you so sure if the timing fits…?” the doctor had asked.

“Elly left because I was already pregnant, I had all the signs, I’d missed my period. I told Elly I was pregnant to Pierce and we couldn’t run off to start a new life together,” Chloe rambled, her thoughts going back to that fateful evening.

As Chloe’s thoughts often did, since the moment Elly had walked out the door, Chloe had wondered what her life could be like with Elly and Aster.

But being pregnant to Pierce had stopped her from that life.

And now Chloe’s entire world was spinning at the mere idea that the baby she was carrying could even in the remote chance, be Elly’s baby.

“Elly? As in…your ex…girlfriend?” the doctor was surprised, but not in a judgmental tone about Chloe’s ex being a woman.

Or so Chloe had thought until the doctor’s next question came quickly, “As in…Elly’s…pre-transition?”

What…? Oh…the doctor thinks Elly is a guy transitioning into a woman… Well, honestly, what else is she supposed to think? I can’t exactly tell her Elly is a woman, always has been, but she’s also a werewolf… Werewolves don’t exist…they do but I need to keep that secret to protect Elly… Elly did tell me werewolves can have werewolf babies…I never thought that meant two women could have a…wait…am I carrying a werewolf baby? I was so worried my baby would have the gene for Huntington’s…not the gene for…werewolf!

Chloe reluctantly nodded in a half-hearted way, hating lying to the doctor about Elly’s gender but also understanding the truth would make even less sense to the doctor.

Chloe then had a thought, “Can you do a paternity test?”

“We can do that along with the CVS test…again, both carry a small risk of miscarriage,” the doctor agreed, “Do you have anything of Elly’s…or Pierce’s if you want to check it against him?”

No, I need to know if this is Elly’s baby…will Elly’s genomes for her gender come up in a test like this…? If it does, I’ll just have to explain it away…I need to find out if this is Elly’s baby…if our baby has Huntington’s…if our baby is a werewolf…I need to find Elly for that…I don’t know where she is…

Chloe reached into her handbag, pulling out a bracelet and handing it to the doctor, “Elly dropped this…after our time together. I went back the day after we had…to…look for missing clothes and I saw a bracelet Elly wore on the floor. I’m not sure if this will be enough…”

The doctor took the bracelet softly, “Only one way to find out.”

“How long will it take to learn who the…parent of my baby is…that it might be my ex’s?” Chloe asked nervously.

 “Ten days, same as the Huntington’s gene. Are you sure you want to go through with this?” the doctor answered then asked again.

“I have to know…on both counts,” Chloe decided, before closing her eyes for a moment, “What am I supposed to do for ten days?”

“Try not to think about it. The Huntington’s I mean. You’ve been worried about that for months, there’s no reason to think this baby will carry the disease,” the doctor reassured, “As for the baby’s paternity…that’s up to you. If you think there’s more chance of the baby being your ex’s…and your husband is likely to work out the baby isn’t his based on the due date from when the pair of you last…you might want to have a conversation with him to prepare him… Or you don’t tell Pierce at all. It’s not my place to say.”

“I don’t know what to do,” Chloe admitted, her mind once more spinning at the idea that because Elly was supernatural, it was might be possible that the baby she was carrying was hers instead of her husbands.

I don’t even know where Elly is…how do I deal with this all on my own without having Elly here with me…or to think for a second that Pierce could ever understand…or forgive me for cheating on him…and maybe somehow…creating a baby with Elly.

“But…” Chloe stammered, “Would I be able to get two photos of my ultrasound…I think I need more than one to…believe what I’m seeing about the baby being a month later than I thought.”

“Of course,” the doctor agreed.

“And there’s one other thing I need from you,” Chloe hinted quietly.

Back in the gift shop, Chloe’s haze over her doctor’s appointment and the possibility that the baby she was carrying was Elly’s after their time together, was leaving her unable to attempt a conversation with Dipi, whom she’d bumped into.

“Are you sure you’re fine, Chloe?” Dipi asked worriedly, “I know it’s not really my place but you look a million miles away.”

Do I wish I was a million miles away with Elly, Aster and…our…maybe baby…?

Chloe finally looked up at her friend, “Yeah, I’m okay. I should get home. I didn’t mean to be here this long. Hope the tarot reading goes well.”

Dipi nodded, not wanting to correct Chloe that she wasn’t doing any tarot reading at the shop, she was only dropping off supplies for them to sell, “Enjoy the rest of your day, Chloe… Oh…and don’t forget this. Whichever child you’re buying it for will love it.”

Chloe reached out for the soft toy, not noticing it glimmering gently as it left Dipi’s hands or Dipi’s eyes glimmering the same colour, bid Dipi goodbye before purchasing the soft toy from the gift shop owner.

Leaving the hospital, Chloe then took an Uber to her martial arts class, accepting more and more that she’d need to step back on her classes, passing the mantel back to Hetty, seeing as though she was close to finding out in a few weeks if she would have the baby if it didn’t have her Huntington’s gene.

Arriving back to Ramsay Street in another Uber two hours later, Chloe stared up at her house for a moment, feeling immediately queasy and confused. She instantly remembered being told that she’d being drugged with fertility medicines without her knowledge. Chloe didn’t want to believe for a second her husband of more than four years would ever do such a thing in a desperate attempt for them to have a baby. As she held her hand against her stomach, she wondered if it was at all possible that instead she was pregnant to Elly instead.

That just can’t be possible…we’re two women…or well…Elly’s a werewolf and she did tell me she can have werewolf babies…but I thought that meant she can give birth to werewolf babies…not that she and I could have…a baby…together.

Shaking her head at the thought of waiting ten days to find out the truth about her baby’s health and parentage, Chloe pulled out her phone. She texted Pierce to let him know, after she picked up her niece and nephews from school, she was going over to her brothers’ house to spend time with the kids there for a few hours.

More than just a few hours later, Chloe returned home. It was very late at night; she’d skipped dinner with her husband. Not even able to bring herself to eat dinner with Aaron and Mark and their families as she spent time with them all for the evening. The thought of eating food, if that was the way she’d been drugged for who knows how long, she wasn’t going to be able to eat for the rest of the day.

As she walked into her house, Chloe took a deep breath.

Ten days…I find out in ten days if my future is here with Pierce and a healthy baby or with…and I now refuse to believe in my fear of this baby having Huntington’s…but how could I have a future with Elly if the baby is hers…and I don’t even know where she is? I need Elly to come home like she promised, she said she would by the start of the school year for Aster but she never did… Ten days…I get through ten days…then I’ll know where my future will lie…my baby’s future too…

Pierce looked up from the dining table as Chloe entered. His laptop in front of him, books scattered across the table. Pierce’s beard and hair looking somewhat unkempt. He’d been so busy lately, the past few months, he had been up most hours, wasn’t taking as meticulous care of his hair and beard.

Chloe hadn’t been too caring about her husband’s sudden change in working far more often over the past two months, he still doted on her and gave her everything she needed, including space in the days after Elly and Aster had taken off. And the less she worried about Pierce, the more time Chloe had to worry about her pregnancy and Pierce’s reaction when she eventually told him.

And now if this baby could possibly turn out to be…Elly’s…how will Pierce possibly react to that?

“Did you have a good day, my love?” Pierce asked, running his hand through his beard.

“It was good,” Chloe answered briefly, “I’m really tired, I’m going straight to bed. Will I see you in an hour or so?”

“Absolutely, Chloe, I’ll turn in within the hour. I’ll see you then,” Pierce smiled.

A moment after Chloe had left the main area of the house, Pierce stared back down at the book he had open in front of him. Pierce was glad that Chloe hadn’t taken any interest in the work he’d been doing the past couple months. He’d become obsessed, you see, spending hours upon hours, days upon days that had turned into months, researching into the one thing that had been troubling him since his wife had brought home a wolf for an evening and it had tried to attack him the night after.

Chloe didn’t know what he was doing, she didn’t see that just because the wolf hadn’t returned to the neighbourhood since that fateful night Pierce had accidently been shot in the arm, that Pierce hadn’t let it go.

Flicking the page of the book he was researching, Pierce continued reading the chapter he was on.

A chapter all about werewolves.

Close to an hour later, Pierce felt like he had solved the mystery that had been plaguing him for months. He’d read this book numerous times and this particular chapter, the ink was showing signs it was starting to fade, he’d read it that many times over the past few weeks. Every detail made sense to him, he finally felt confident enough in himself that there was no questioning his discovery.

As Pierce flicked back to the start of the chapter on werewolves, he wrote two words above the chapter title:

ELLY CONWAY

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Sixty-Five

Wednesday 26th February 2025

It was just after midnight when Pierce came to bed. It was hours later than he’d promised Chloe he would. Pierce felt that he’d finally cracked the mystery that he’d been trying to solve for over two months.

The mystery his wife didn’t even know he was looking into.

About the wolf whom had almost attacked him several months ago and what was so different about Elly when she’d returned after years gone missing before she packed up with her young daughter and left all over again.

Pierce wanted to forget all about Elly after she’d disappeared once more, but even he could see that Chloe’s ex had an effect on his wife in the month that she’d been back in town. To what extent that effect was, Pierce didn’t know but he knew something had changed in Chloe. It had begun with Elly returning to town and got worse in the days that preceded Elly taking off again, days in which a wolf had roamed the streets of Erinsborough and even spent an evening sleeping in their bedroom with Chloe after Chloe had been so taken by the animal and wanting to give it a home for the night.

After a bungled attempt to hunt down the wolf to slaughter it, Pierce had been shot in the arm by a friend and he himself had stabbed the wolf in the side. Chloe taking the wolf to safety whilst Pierce dealt with his injury was the last time that he had seen the wolf. And yet he somehow feared it would return one day.

When Elly took off again with Aster, no one seemed to know where she’d gone, she hadn’t been open enough to reveal the location as to where she’d spent those four missing years. Not even Chloe or Bea knew where she’d gone.

And with the wolf disappearing the same time that Elly did, no one else made a connection between that. Most people didn’t even believe there had been a wolf in their neighbourhood and Chloe went quiet when he did bring it up.

Pierce began researching wolves without Chloe’s knowledge. At first it was something he did during his spare time at the hotel. Then a few days later, Pierce came across a passage in one of his books that spoke of the traits of wolves during the full moon cycle.

The first book he was using for his research gave the notion that the full moon cycle is what caused the legend of werewolves.

Pierce had scoffed loudly as he skimmed the passage that spoke of the legend, before finding himself looking for a full moon calendar online, laughing at the mere thought the wolf he’d been seeing had appeared on those nights.

Pierce’s laughter was cut short when he’s discovered the full moon cycle had been the same nights the wolf had been around.

From there, Pierce was obsessed.

Pierce’s research changed from wolves to werewolves as he learnt all about the supernatural being and whether or not they could possibly exist in the world. As he continued down that path, he began thinking more and more about Elly’s month in Erinsborough and how different she was.

Pierce didn’t know Elly anywhere near as much as his wife did but he wasn’t blind to Elly’s sudden confidence, ability to eat more food than he could, the expensive car that had been replaced within hours by the mysterious family that had taken her in, the rowdy couple whom he’d kicked out of his hotel before finding out they were friends of Elly’s and how Chloe spoke of how fast Elly could run when the pair used to go running together each morning.

Hours before Pierce headed for bed that night, he had finally had enough confidence to believe that Elly wasn’t the person she presented herself to be.

Elly was a werewolf.

The same wolf that had hung around Chloe for three nights, stalking her.

Pierce knew he wouldn’t be believed, he wondered if his wife was naïve to the truth about her so-called-best friend.

Pierce watched Chloe sleeping for a moment, before removing his shirt and pants, slipping into the bed next to her. Wrapping his muscled arm around Chloe’s waist, Pierce decided all thoughts of Elly needed to be left until the morning.

When he would have more clarity over whether or not his obsession over the werewolf would warrant trying to track Elly down to keep her from Chloe permanently. Now that he was sure he knew what Elly truly was and knew just how to kill a werewolf was with a silver bullet…

A few hours after Pierce had slipped into bed with her, Chloe laid there wide awake. Pierce was snoring, deeply asleep, his hand strongly gripped against her waist as she laid on her side, her back to him.

Chloe had fallen asleep for two to three hours but had awoken with the thoughts spinning in her mind unable to let her relax enough to continue sleeping.

It had taken Chloe months to get the courage to go to the hospital about her pregnancy. She was frozen with fear that she’d conceived a baby that would carry her Huntington’s gene, whom would not only have to watch their mother suffer a horrible death, but then have to go through the same disease themselves without her by their side.

Whilst the Huntington’s gene was still worrying Chloe, she felt like everything she knew about her life had changed in the doctor’s office.

Not only did she receive the long overdue confirmation that what she’d known to be true was that she was pregnant.

But the last thing in the world she ever expected was for her baby’s conception date not to line up to the last time her husband had slept with her.

That her baby was conceived at around the time that she’d slept with her ex-girlfriend, Elly.

Pregnant to another woman felt impossible to Chloe. It had never happened before to anyone, as far as she knew.

And the only thing giving her belief that the baby she was carrying could possibly belong to Elly, instead of Pierce, was that Elly’s werewolf nature had made something magical happen between them the evening they’d made love to one another.

Elly had told her that werewolves could have babies, she never thought that meant a female werewolf could impregnate their female lover.

Adulterer…I cheated on Pierce with Elly…I’m not her lover…and if this baby is hers…Elly’s not even around to help me cope with having our baby… Where are you, Elly?

Chloe shifted her own arm, placing her hand against her stomach, picturing the tiny baby growing inside of her.

Ten days…I find out in ten days if you are a healthy baby that can live a full and healthy life…and if magic happened when I made love to Elly and she’s your Mum…too. Ten days…I can wait that long…lying here in Pierce’s arms…every night, hearing him snoring, his hand on my waist…like he needs to hold me…his abs sometimes against my back…the smell of his deodorant and aftershave still present despite showering because that’s just how he smells nice…knowing deep down the only thing he wants is to wake up every morning…and make love to me every chance he can in his effort to create a family for us…

But in our hiatus of trying for a baby so we could stop putting so much pressure on ourselves for not falling pregnant…not that I was trying as hard as Pierce thought I was…I’ve gone and created a family with someone else.

Chloe smiled as she stared down at her hand holding her stomach. It was like acceptance had washed over her. Chloe suddenly knew without a doubt in her mind anymore that the baby she was carrying was impossibly yet absolutely her and Elly’s child.

Chloe didn’t need to wait for any paternity test to tell her in ten days that Elly was biologically the baby’s parent. Her hand holding where the baby was sitting in her body, Chloe could feel it in every fiber of her being that she had magically conceived this baby whilst making love to Elly the day before Elly had left again.

Chloe ignored the sound of Pierce’s snores, as the only thing in her mind was telling her she needed to reunite with Elly. She’d broken Elly’s heart by refusing to leave town with Elly and Aster, under the belief that she was pregnant to her husband and needed to raise the baby with him. But she wasn’t, her ties to Pierce felt like they could be over in an instant.

An instant that would involve her revealing that she’d slept with someone else and was carrying their baby.

Chloe didn’t think Pierce could handle that news and she was prepared to protect Elly from Pierce’s rage by not telling him whom she was pregnant to. And even if he figured it out or convinced her to tell him, there was next to no chance that he would ever believe she’d fallen pregnant to another woman.

Chloe worried that Elly might need the proof of the paternity test to believe her. Elly had been aware that Chloe and Pierce had stopped sleeping together to take a break from their plans of starting a family. But would she truly believe Chloe hadn’t just gotten pregnant to Pierce like she’d assumed she had and would need convincing that the baby was hers.

Not to mention, how do I tell Elly that now that the baby is hers that I do want to be a family with her, Aster and our baby, but I broke her heart when I told her I couldn’t be with her because I needed to raise this baby with Pierce? Will Elly think she’s my second choice? That I’m only choosing her because the baby’s is hers…when she should’ve been my choice all along…

“Ten days,” Chloe whispered to herself, convinced that waiting for the paternity and Huntington’s test results, would be enough for Elly to believe the baby was hers. And Chloe would just need to do whatever possible to make Elly believe how much she loved her and she would never be second choice.

And starting in the morning, Chloe would use the ten days to do everything she could to track down the cabin Elly and The Pack resided in. So, the moment she knew her baby was 100% Elly’s and she had a handle on what future her baby would have with the Huntington’s gene, she could reunite with Elly and Aster, for the future she never thought they could have together.

Until now.

Pierce’s breathing against the back of her neck irritated Chloe suddenly and she was soon reminded of being told she’d been overdosed with fertility medication. Chloe leant back to lie on her back, twisting her head to the side to stare at her sleeping husband, his hand still gripped to her hip. She stared at his face in the dark, trying to wrap her head around the knowledge whatever she’d been eating and drinking for an unknown amount of time was covered in fertility drugs. She hadn’t tasted anything wrong with her food but it had to have been the only way the drugs got into her system.

Though they weren’t harmful and the only thing these drugs did do was increase the chances of her falling pregnant, Chloe felt rightfully violated by whomever was responsible.

Is it Pierce who’s been doing this? He’s been so desperate to have a baby with me…but is he that desperate to drug me? It can’t be Pierce…it has to be our chef…right? But why? Pierce is the one whom wants us to start a family, Rene wouldn’t care either way… Was the doctor, right? Am I just naïve to what my husband could be doing to me? Can I really lie here in his arms for nine more nights? Be at home with him for another ten days…questioning everything I’m eating and drinking…questioning everything I feel for my husband when the only thing I truly want is to be with Elly and Aster…if I only knew where they were…I don’t think I could wait to confirm what I already know about this baby… Where is this cabin The Pack live at? Think about every time Elly mentioned it…think of any clues on how to find it…

Chloe laid there next to her husband, racking her brain for close to an hour trying to think of any possible clue Elly had said about where she had lived with The Pack at a cabin for four years. Chloe thought logically about where in a city the size of Melbourne, a cabin could be located that was within distance for them to seemingly work normal human jobs whilst also being far enough away that they kept to themselves to protect humans from getting hurt.

This is going to be a long and uncomfortable ten days…if not longer…if I don’t work out where Elly and Aster have gone…otherwise there will be no reuniting with them for our baby…I’ll just have to come clean to Pierce I’m having someone else’s baby…move in with my brothers’…live on their couch because they don’t have room…or I could come clean to Bea that I’m having her niece or nephew and move in with the Kennedy’s…waiting and hoping for Elly to come back home like she promised…

Chloe sighed as she finally closed her eyes, deciding she needed to fall asleep if she had any chance of surviving whatever unknown future she would have without Elly in her life.

The moment Chloe finally relaxed and began to drift asleep, her eyes snapped back open as a memory of Elly hit her. One day after their martial arts training session at Chloe’s house, when she had shown Elly the paintings she had created of both Elly and Aster, Elly had been interrupted by a phone call from one of the members of The Pack, Raven.

Elly had mentioned finding another place to live. Why, they would need another place to live, Chloe didn’t know. But that didn’t matter to Chloe right now, because the one thing Chloe remembered was that Elly had been holding a map when she was talking about her friends finding a new place to live. A map that was Chloe’s.

Elly’s on the island.

Chapter Text

The Chemistry In Darkness

Chapter Sixty-Six

Wednesday 26th February 2025

As soon as Chloe had worked out in her thoughts that Elly must've gone to the Island to live with The Pack, she felt a lightness soften in her stress she'd been under for months. She knew all her stress could only be lifted by reuniting with the woman she loved but for now, just working out where Elly had disappeared to, helped Chloe's confidence.

And confidence is what Chloe needed the most right now.

It allowed her to listen to her heart that the baby she was carrying was Elly's and gave her as much positivity as she could manage that in ten days, she would find out that her baby didn't have the Huntington's gene.

With that, Chloe took a quiet look at Pierce, sleeping peacefully on his side next to her. Extracting herself from Pierce's hand that was holding her waist, Chloe was out of her own bed within seconds.

Looking down at the gray cotton trackies and light blue t-shirt, and then at the clock, seeing that it was just before 3am. Chloe didn't waste any more time worrying about how early in the morning it was or that she was wearing her pajamas. She quickly walked over to the chest of drawers that contained some of her and Pierce's clothes. In the bottom drawer there was a backpack bag Chloe used to use when she stayed over at her brothers to look after their kids at their place.

Chloe didn't pay attention to the clothes she was grabbing and throwing into her backpack, for all she knew they were mismatched clothes. Within a minute of getting out of her bed, she was already in the hallway with the bag slung over her shoulder, realizing she'd forgotten to get socks from her drawers but not wanting to risk waking her husband to go back for a pair. Putting on a pair of slip-on shoes that were laying on the floor of the living room, Chloe regretted even more not packing a pair of socks to wear with them, but she was so determined to get out of the house, nothing was going to hold her back.

As Chloe reached for her handbag that was sitting on the kitchen table, she looked around the house that was cloaked in darkness, feeling a wave of guilt passing over her.

Am I really going to do this? Run away in the middle of the night? I love this house. I’ve lived here for the last six or seven years…I fell in love with Elly at this house…then spent the last four and a half years living here with my husband…I do love Pierce…I couldn’t have stayed married to him for this long if I didn’t love him. But my love for Elly is beyond words…and now I need to reunite with her to tell her that…I want to be a family of four with her, Aster and our baby.

Chloe reached into her handbag, pulling out the soft toy she’d picked up at the hospital gift shop earlier that day. Chloe smiled as it now made sense to her why, even in her daze of learning Elly was her baby’s parent, that she had bought the toy.

Placing it back in her handbag, knowing she had to bring it with her, Chloe then sighed once more as she looked around the darkened house.

I can’t just do this to Pierce…I can’t just walk out this door and never come back or never explain why I left…that part of my heart that does have love for him…for how much he loves me…I owe Pierce some form of closure that I’ve left him.

Chloe put her handbag back down where she found it, her backpack on the floor as she walked over to the dining table. Turning on the lights, knowing she was risking waking up her husband, Chloe hurriedly found what she was looking for. A set of letter writing templates that had fancy borderlines around the edges of the pages.

Taking out three pages from the set and the enclosed pen, Chloe began writing out two letters she needed to write to explain what she was doing.

Ten minutes later, Chloe folded both letters into envelopes, writing names on the envelopes. Taking the envelopes to her handbag, she pulled out two other items she wanted to include, placing one in each envelope.

Feeling like she had given herself closure over her decision to leave on a quest to reunite with Elly, more so than closure to those she was leaving behind, Chloe was soon quietly opening the front door as quietly as she could.

After closing the door behind her, Chloe pulled out her phone, ordering an Uber to take her to Anson’s Corner, before walking down the steps to her driveway to meet the Uber when it arrived less than five minutes later.

Hours later, Pierce awoke to an empty bed. Frowning immediately at the absence of his wife lying next to him, Pierce didn’t think too much of it, wondering if Chloe had been unable to sleep and had gone for her run early.

Grunting, Pierce got out of bed and headed straight for the ensuite to have a shower to start his day.

Ten minutes later, Pierce had slipped on a casual pair of business pants, loafers and his nicest business shirt but decided to leave his suit jacket in the closet as it was set to be a hot summers’ day.

Walking into the kitchen, Pierce put the kettle on, keen to make himself a cup of coffee to enjoy with his breakfast. All of Pierce’s thoughts were about what he was going to do with his knowledge that werewolves existed and he was absolutely positive that Elly was one of them. He knew he wanted to track down where Elly the werewolf had disappeared to, he knew how to kill a werewolf and had no fear of what he needed to do to get rid of her to ensure she never returned to Chloe’s life again.

As he reached out for the coffee on the bench, his eyes finally fell to the letter standing up against some items on the kitchen table that had his name addressed on it.

Abandoning his coffee that he was meant to be making, Pierce reached out for the envelope.

Lifting the contents out of the envelope, there appeared to be two pieces of paper with a card in between them.

Pierce’s eyes lit up immediately as he read the words on the first piece of paper that his wife had written him:

I’m pregnant

Pierce blushed a dark shade of red as he glanced down, glad he had worn his black casual business pants, when he realized the warm feeling of his excitement at Chloe’s pregnancy had led him to lose control of his bladder for a second as his penis had pissed a stream of urine down his leg.

Immediately regaining his bodily function control over his excitement, Pierce awkwardly adjusted his pants, trying to ignore how humiliated he’d have been if Chloe had been there to tell him in person and she had seen his reaction had been to piss his pants. Pierce felt even more embarrassed that had Chloe been there to tell him the news, he probably wouldn’t have been able to regain control so quickly, his entire bladder would’ve let loose and he’d have been unable to hide his penis soaking his entire pants with his urine. Not to mention the smell would’ve been unavoidable for Chloe to not have noticed.

A grown man pissing his pants in excitement at the one thing he had wanted desperately in years, was not the reaction he had ever expected of himself. He’d imagined this day for years, being excited was all he saw, but instead he’d turned into a little boy who couldn’t use the toilet. He was meant to enjoy the moment of knowing his penis had impregnated his wife, not wanting to scold it for a different action.

Breathing deeply, feeling confident his little accident was over and his pants would soon dry, without the piss stain being visible and he wouldn’t even need to change his pants, Pierce then flipped the page to the back of the envelope, to the card that was next.

Pierce didn’t bother to feel embarrassed this time as he felt another squirt of piss down his pants as his eyes fell to the photo of the ultrasound of the baby.

His excitement of being able to privately celebrate the news of being a father, left him not caring that he was still embarrassed by his inability to stop the two quick streams of urine that had slid down his legs.

Ignoring the warmth, wet feeling, Pierce smiled gleefully, “That’s my little baby. Look at you! You’re so small yet so big! I love you so much already.”

Pierce’s glee didn’t last as long as he expected it to. Pierce had expected it to last for years, he was already flashing to moments of the baby being born, growing up with him and Chloe, spending decades together and him been the best father he could possibly be to this child.

But every moment was stripped away from him as soon as he tore his eyes away from the ultrasound photo and he placed it on the counter to read the next page of Chloe’s writing.

Pierce’s eyes widened in complete shock as he read the words:

Congratulations…you’re not the baby’s parent!

Check the conceive date on the ultrasound, we weren’t together then, I was with someone else and I’ve gone to start the family I’ve longed for with my baby’s parent. I’m sorry I hurt you.

Pierce re-read this letter ten times, trying to make it make sense.

Flicking back to the ultrasound photo, he did as Chloe asked and immediately found the date the baby was conceived printed amongst Chloe’s personal details at the top of the photo. His mind was racing, telling him it must be some horrible joke.

But as he saw the date printed in black and white, he did the math in his head and knew it wasn’t a joke. Unless Chloe had gotten the doctor to lie about the date on the ultrasound.

This baby was two and a half months old, conceived mid-December. The last time he had slept with his wife had been the month prior